The following is an email that was forwarded to us by someone who has scheduled an evaluation for their dog with Brandon. The dog has dog aggression issues. This person wanted to share with Brandon the response he received from a trainer when he reached out to them for help with his dog:
“Thank you for your interest in our services! We would be happy to help you out with [your dog], though bear in mind that the goal with any dog-aggressive dog is for them to be well behaved when on a leash around other dogs. A dog that has already demonstrated a penchant for dog-aggression should never be fully trusted. Unfortunately certain breeds, pit bulls especially, have been bred by people to be aggressive. This behavior is GENETIC and cannot be cured. If it exists in an individual dog, it will always exist. My husband and I are particularly fond of the breed, but we also understand that they have limitations and can be deadly. They not only behave aggressively but have been bred to kill. :( And they don't understand why it's bad. It doesn't make them bad dogs, just different and we need to accept that difference for the safety of other dogs. We don't take this lightly. I would be happy to help you have more control over [your dog] when he is on-leash, but we would not have him off leash around other dogs and would not be encouraging you to do so. If that's acceptable, we'd love to have him join us for training.”
We would like to know your thoughts, as a community of dog owners, rescuers and advocates. How does this mentality within the dog training profession affect those who rescue and advocate for these breeds? IS aggression genetic in these breeds? Bring us your thoughts. And Brandon will join in later to address each of the statements made by this trainer.
The Fouche Way community is a special group of people. Often the clients who come to Brandon have rescued dogs from the streets and shelters and inherit behaviorial problems that they didn't realize they were going to experience until they brought the dog home. Brandon hears time and time again how people are so dedicated that they spend lots of money in training and trying everything they can to solve the problem, often to no avail. Bless these people that they continue to try to find the solution, but often their life shrinks instead of expands. As we know, dogs can help to reduce stress and blood pressure in humans, but not when every day you are worried that your dog is going to attack someone or another dog.
Giselle and her husband are amazing people and dedicated to doing the right thing. They have been volunteers at Westside German Shepherd Rescue. When they found a dog roaming the streets that needed a home, they took him in and then realized he had severe dog aggression issues. They everything they could to get him help, including postponing their wedding so they could pay for bootcamp and training. For two years, they searched for solutions, spent a lot of money, and the problem kept getting worse. Giselle’s husband even got bit. They finally found Brandon and the hope always comes along when you embrace The Fouche Way:
I cannot begin to express my amazement at the gift Brandon has given us.
Two years ago my husband and I found a beautiful 1 year old German Shepherd
roaming the streets, leash in his mouth, name tag removed--seemingly dumped.
After checking for a chip and finding none, we hit the streets looking for his
owner. That evening we took him home. The next morning we made the excruciating
decision to take him to the shelter on the off chance that there was someone
out there looking for their dog.
He was there for five days and when we went to claim him we were informed that he was severely dog aggressive. He had not exhibited any aggressive behavior in the time he was with us, so we were surprised, but took him with us nevertheless.
Being volunteers at the Westside German Shepherd Rescue and having fostered four dogs prior to this we were confident that we could handle the situation.
A few weeks later we decided that we needed help.
Over the next two years we tried different trainers and behaviorists. We sent him away to bootcamp twice, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, learning commands to distract, exercise, choke, no-pull, prong and e-collars, and medication. None of it helped. If anything it just exacerbated the issue. He lashed out at my husband biting him during an episode. He pulled so hard as to knock my husband off his feet escaping and getting to a dog resulting in stitches, vet bills and endless apologies and guilt.
At home he was a different dog, so we kept him inside most of the time. Going out was a quick in and out mainly done by my husband. When my husband was not around it aroused such a sense of panic in me knowing I would have to take him out and knowing he would act out. I started putting him in my car and driving him to quiet spots just so he could relieve himself without either of us having to stress out. When my husband would leave town, I would set an alarm for 430am just so he could walk around the block and not have to worry about running into a dog.
Over the last two and a half years we have spent thousands of dollars, postponed our wedding so we could afford a second round of bootcamp and highly priced training, and finally decided that this was just the dog we had and that we loved him enough to deal with it.
I've read enough and watched enough to know that somehow this was just as much our problem as it was his. We just had never met anyone who could tell us what to do and who could show us the way. I knew that our dog did not have a TRAINING issue, but a REHABILITATION issue, but finding a place/person who was equipped to tackle the issue head on is near to impossible. We knew he needed to meet dogs but most places train aggression by avoidance.
I found Brandon through a friend of a friends Facebook thread of all places. I read every review and every article and watched every video and watched the seminar twice AND I KNEW HE COULD HELP US.
We dropped Odie off at 9 Saturday morning.
Brandon spoke to us for an hour evaluating both our behavior as well as the
dogs. We were then instructed to come back at 4.
When we arrived we had to wait a while as he was still with another client, but even that was in a way a gift. We got to watch as another couple picked their dog up after one day there as well and see the awe on their faces over the change in their dog.
When he got to us around 4.30 he spent another hour and a half talking us through the days events. He then showed us a video of our dog. It started off hard to watch: our dog running around barking and snapping at too many dogs to count. Three clips in we see our dog running around sniffing other dogs and letting others sniff him. My husbands mouth hung open. I cried. IT WAS A MIRACLE. What Brandon was able to accomplish in 7 hours was simply astonishing.
He then spent another hour explaining his method and what we would need to do to keep it going. He brought our dog out and walked us through teaching him to walk behind us (it took less than 10 seconds!) and how to walk around and next to another dog with out incident (took about 15 seconds!).
In total he spent an additional three hours talking with us and showing us how to deal with our formerly fearful, neurotic, and unstable dog.
When we got home we took him out and when another dog approached--HE DIDN'T EVEN LOOK AT HIM!!
Since then, we have spoken with Brandon every other day to give him a progress report and he is so encouraging and positive. We will be taking our dog to weekly day care to spend the day around other stable dogs and learning how to get over his fear.
I cannot begin to thank Brandon enough for what he has done for us in such a short time. If you have a dog with aggression issues YOU NEED TO CALL BRANDON. Don't make the same mistake we made and make him your last resort--make him your first.
Until Odie came to Brandon, he could not be around another dog without acting aggressively. Here is Odie in Brandon's office coexisting peacefully with another dog:
It has been over a month since their initial consult with Brandon. Odie continues to do well and is learning to play with other dogs. He is better on his walks. Giselle and her husband now have what they have been looking for the past several years--hope, a solution, and a dog that they can truly enjoy. And Odie can be the dog he was meant to be.
Meet Sid. He's at Brandon's facility for rehabilitation. Squishy is having a conversation with Sid. Can you tell what it is?