Achieving Balance and Harmony


A Traumatized Pit Bull and a Frightening Rottweiler/Shar-Pei Mix

Season 4 | Episode 19 | Buddy and Rufus

When new home owners find an abused pit bull, they are not prepared for the issues that come along with him. This traumatized dog lunges and bites when meeting new people, and his owners just can't control him. Also in this episode, foster dog Rufus, a young Rottweiler/Shar-Pei mix, frightens away potential adopters with his aggressive behavior.


Rescue Rufus 911

People often confuse insecure dogs with aggressive dogs. An insecure dog’s actions can be similar to an aggressive dog — growling, lunging, showing teeth — but while insecurity is a behavioral issue, aggression is the result of an issue.

Dogs aren’t born aggressive; they become aggressive when insecurity, fear, anxiety, tension, or hyperactivity get out of control. With all dogs that I’ve worked with, aggression is the outcome, the explosion, the manifestation of something the dog doesn’t want anymore. I’ve found that almost every dog that trained to be calm-submissive has the potential to become aggressive. That’s why I try and educate people to prevent aggression rather than have them call me in when the dog is already a “red-zone” case

Human Aggressive Buddy

When it comes to using corrections to rehabilitate a dog or to initiate certain proper behavior, I can’t stress enough how important precise timing is to the process.

First of all, corrections must come within a fraction of a second of the unwanted behavior. Dogs are excellent “associative learners,” meaning they quickly put together cause and effect when taking in new information, but they also live in the moment. If a dog pulls on the leash when you leave the house, you can’t wait to get to the street corner to correct him.

The other part of timing is to make sure your corrections are not coming too often and too quickly. If you’re doing too many corrections at once, you’re not giving the dog’s brain enough time to absorb the communication and come up with the answer. When he’s not allowed to complete the process, he can become numb to the correction and get frustrated or irritated.

Most importantly, you need to be balanced and calm-assertive at all times during the correction process. The dog needs to know that you are there to create trust and respect.

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