Dangerous and capable. Severe aggression help.

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Tue Nov 13, '12 2:53pm PST 
@ Lobo, I have no issue with you. You put up a regional trainer link. Fantastic! Let her look.

I have never said/will never say high drive dogs can't be trained with R+...or, rewards (for Atlas' sake). The problem with the drive here is that it is functional, and on an under exercised dog. The drive comes in but this breed has very, VERY high territoriality, which can flip into resource guarding. The fundamental problem we are seeing here. You are very well off dealing with someone who has these understandings. Casey Lomanaco had an article pooh-pooh'ing the contributions exercise play in behavior problems. Sorry, but that's wrong. You couple a lack of exercise with a lot of drive, and you are *begging* for a problem. If my, let's say, Lab, is going to start to lash out in an RG way, that is a different dynamic than an AB doing this. He is territorial. He is meant to get aggressive when he perceives territorial threat. So when you have a dog who doesn't have proper boundaries, has energy with nowhere to put it, starts to want to claim ownership of a food source, it's just playing on a different field. For a Lab, this would be very disconcerting. For an AB, you read it differently. That's why I am so psyched the owner wants to work with this dog. He is more asserting than flipping out. He wants that food, and in a measured way is ensuring he gets it. This is not "dominant"...but not being dominant (which I remind is just a word) doesn't mean you can't be assertive. Labs don't really have that genetic. ABs do.

This doesn't preclude an R+ person working with this dog, but given that so many of that community mock high drive as existing, cannot see aggression as functional (which is purely evidenced in this dog), etc., I think the OP would be seriously wasting her time with someone who does not have an established track record working with this breed.

Some here thought he should be euth'd. I understand that, but I understand this breed. Someone like Bryan Hendricks will sort this out. Promptly. Maybe by methods some don't agree with (and I can't even say that for certain, as he would assess this dog and establish what is best), but they will work, give this dog his life back and restore the family to harmony.

The OP is appreciating my comments as what I am saying is connecting. It is clear I know this breed. And I do, very well. This is a VERY good thread for those considering an AB, to remind them you better think long and hard, for this behavior is not untypical. Sadly. It's not they are not stable. They are an EXTREMELY stable breed. But they are highly territorial, do have one heck of a lot less bite discretion than a Lab does, and also are quite sensitive. This is a difficult blend. And as regarding Casey's article...look back at the beginning of this thread. I was predicting this was going to be an under-exercised AB. I am not a swami. It is simply par for the course with ABs.

On record saying punitive mindsets backfire with ABs. I say that all the time with breed promotion. But this does not equate with no use of punishers. If someone were to weird out that he uses them, they need to look at his SUCCESS with this breed. You do not have to agree with him, but that does not mean you can doubt him or his potential for success. He is very skilled with a breed that many fail with. I am talking topend trainers...they fail with. But he campaigns them to the highest level and gets them placing against far easier dogs, such as Mals or GSDs. If you want to doubt his methods...LOOK at that video! At one stage, the dog barks at him in a "hurry up!" sort of a way. Which I find not only charming, but telling....far from a suppressed dog. A happy dog, very willing to speak his mind.

Proof is in the pudding. And it's right THERE. Bryan apprenticed under one of the very top trainers on the east coast, and has gone on with his specialties and excelled with this breed. No one trick pony, being invited to be in a small, selected group to represent the Malinois in international competition. His skill and success cannot be doubted. If you question HOW he got at those results, look at him work his dog. Could you see a dog more positive and willing? We all like body language, so there you go.

If you want to promote more positive trainer options, I think that is great. I....meaning me, myself and I laugh out loud....don't try a suppress. But nowhere, no way, no how *in this entire universe* can it be said that THIS trainer is not exceptionally well qualified to work with this dog. He lives, eats, breaths and sleeps them. The AB community refers to him. He is an expert. All this quoting of "guidelines" does not make that not so. Those are to keep us safe from hacks, and sadly there are many. Bryan Hendricks sure as hell isn't one of them.
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Tue Nov 13, '12 3:17pm PST 
@ Leia, thanks so much for putting those other videos up. It is a reminder that, although heck knows it is said enough in here laugh out loud, a lot of trainers who aren't averse (pardon the pun, lol!) to using corrective collars, are highly skilled with using rewards and develop all their dogs from the ground up using PR. This is a very skilled trainer. It's not like he has his head stuck in a hole, lacks a skillset or whatever else. Just because he uses certain words doesn't mean he is the gestapo or that dogs must be oppressed. Just because he may use corrective collars doesn't mean he is reliant. He is widely skilled, and built himself from the ground up, worked around a myriad of great master trainers and now has found his heart. He didn't simply go to a dog trainers school and hang a "dog trainer" sign on his door. He's as good as trainers get regarding his success, the vibe of his dogs, and the enthusiasm for those who train with him. Anyone would be lucky to work with him.
Brandi *Mrs.- Goosie*

I like Butt- scritches...just- not from u
Barked: Tue Nov 13, '12 4:46pm PST 
Well in MY opinion or at least it seemed to ME Asher might not have been referring to that trainer, thinking it seemed to me Asher was just making a generalization, and listing info on how to find a trainer, in case that trainer didn't work shrug maybe I got it wrong? confused

Well my comment was late to the part oops I refer to page 6 Asher's last comment

Edited by author Tue Nov 13, '12 4:48pm PST


Jax (earned- her wings- 5/30/12)

Give me your- toy.
Barked: Tue Nov 13, '12 5:31pm PST 
Lela, thanks for the videos. They are awesome! The dogs clearly want to work. applause

Q.E.D., baby,- Q.E.D.!
Barked: Tue Nov 13, '12 7:36pm PST 
Tiller! applause applause
This breed is considered a working dog in many areas - and is bred as such. It would stand to reason then, that this breed is not one that, depending on its breeding, would be responsive to something/someone's training techniques that is not familiar with breed characteristics, and someone that is not applying breed specific techniques in dealing with behavior. Regardless of what some people say - breed characteristics DO matter, and someone not familiar with such things could be giving egregiously incorrect/poor advice based on their limited experience. I hope the OP does appropriate research prior to taking advice from several well intentioned but clearly uninformed posters.

Edited by author Tue Nov 13, '12 8:11pm PST

~Emma~ RL1

Mixed breed,- Pure heart
Barked: Tue Nov 13, '12 10:15pm PST 
Another trainer to check out:

Melinda Berger of Dream Dogs LLC http://www.dreamdogsonline.com

Edited by author Tue Nov 13, '12 10:17pm PST


Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Tue Nov 13, '12 10:21pm PST 
I don't have a whole lot to add but I think Tiller's advice is great. I think utilizing a trainer that has lots of experience with the OP's specific breed is an invaluable resource. smile
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Wed Nov 14, '12 12:33am PST 
Oh my goodness, these videos of Hendricks working the mal are awesome! What a top approach. He/she reminded me so much of Jackson in the first heel work video, all excitement and raring to go, it really made me smile. Atlas, I think it would definitely be worth a trip for an assessment with that man. He looks like a great trainer to me with great energy.

Edited by author Wed Nov 14, '12 12:49am PST

Rocky *CGC*- With the- angels.

Gone but never,- ever forgotten- xxx
Barked: Wed Nov 14, '12 9:04am PST 
I think the trainer Tiller suggested is fab...

Dogs like Atlas need a trainer like Brian Hendricks. Yes, I don't like the dominance and pack theories but like Tiller said, the proof is in the pudding. It takes a very special trainer to work with dogs with these issues and get great results every time. I think the OP is past the 'pick and choose' stage when it comes to trainers... What is needed now, is a specialised trainer, even better that Brian Hendricks specialises with ABs...

It is not fair on Atlas or the OP to try out trainer after trainer.

I'm also a firm believer that a dog as far gone as Atlas can't be rehabilitated using purely positive training techniques. A dog that actually makes contact with people in an aggressive fashion, will not listen to a clicker (not generalising) when it is in such a state. The owner and trainer needs complete control at all times and if that means using a choke chain, I'm not against it... Safety has to come first and although it would always be a last resort for me, you really have to think about the breed you are dealing with. I would never use a choke chain on a Labrador for instance, but the bottom line is, Atlas is an American Bulldog! An extremely powerful breed that will fight you with all it has, and no doubt, they have A LOT!

You cannot let your heart rule your head in this situation. Sure, the OP loves her dog and I do not believe that a trainer should hurt Atlas in any way but this is the dogs last chance... It that means a choke chain, so be it... I would rather have a happy, healthy, non-aggressie dog as the outcome of a choke chain than an angry, aggressive dog with no hope because my heart told me that those methods were cruel.

An electric collar actually saved Rocky's life at one point. I would never use one lightly ever again but Rocky only had it on once, got one shock and it saved him from being returned to the rescue and euthanised... It was 10 years ago and done by a military dog trainer but ultimately it saved his life... Because of that, I will never regret it.

Of course, I've learned a lot since then and Rocky was never an unhappy dog... I don't agree with electric collars in most circumstances and now that I am older, if I had my time again, I wouldn't use the electric collar but I am not against other 'tools' when used correctly and efficiently...

Therefore, I think people have to get over what technique is used, as long as it is used correctly, and focus solely on saving Atlas's life.

Miss- Pig!
Barked: Wed Nov 14, '12 11:47am PST 
But electric collars have never been recommended by anyone here for aggression issues, Rocky. Even the people who use them.

This Hendricks bloke might not even go that route, and hopefully he'll try other methods, but if he did i wouldn't see it as a good sign to be honest. But each to their own.
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