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Need help finding a trainer

January 14th, 2007, 07:26 PM
Well I've started noticing Duke has recently become aggressive towards certain strangers while out on our daily walks. He will choose random people, of various sexes, hieghts and races and stop dead in his tracks and let out a low growl and start barking. I initally tried solving it by letting out a loud "ah ah" to try and distract him even for a moment so I could give him praise and a treat. This worked momentarily but then he would go right back to it. I then changed me methods to try and lightly yank on his lesh everytime he barked and saying, "No" firmly and then praising him once he stopped.

A bit of background info on him for those who hasn't read any of my posts

Duke is a 5 months old Rotti/German Shepherd/Collie and was unfortunately bought from my ex- work place which was a privately run petstore, from a BYB. I knew all of the BYB's we bought from and can confidently say they were not puppymills however the very fact they were selling to pet stores in the first place and breeding mixed dogs for profit screams irresponsibility. It was a very very bad descion on my part and I have to say after being their for a year or so I should of been able to resist those puppy eyes much better, even though I had already been in the process of looking for a dog. Either way I admit it was a BIG mistake on my part, one which I never intend to repeat.

I enrolled him in Puppy Kindergarten at 3 months old and he graduated 6 weeks later at the top of his class:). He also attends weekly puppy play sessions at an indoor dog facility, which is a supervised socialization class where puppy's get to interact with one another.

He is scheduled to be neutered next month and then will go on to continue he's obedience training at the basic level and then onto agility training to see if he likes it or not.

Since day one he has met a variety of people, come to large reptile expo's as I breed a few species of snake, lives with two cats and has been around loud traffic and urban noises as well as rural situations.

I know with consistancy I could probabaly correct this behaviour on my own as I understand he is technically only doing what he was breed to do ( Rotti's and GSD's to protect and collie's tend to bark at everything) however for obvious reasons it is completely unacceptable and I want to ensure Duke grows up to be a great breed ambassador. I simply feel I may be a bit too inexperinced to correct this behaviour by myself and have therefore decided to find a trainer experinced in dealing with dog aggression to help Duke and I.

Price isn't a big deal but here are the three I have hunted down that I am considering and am curious if anyone has personally dealt with them and can recommend one of them or warn me about any bad experinces with them.

The first are called Bark Busters and have offices all across Canada and worldwide and one in my area. This is their website

They claim to be able to solve most problems within a three hour period and have a lifetime gaurintee meaning if the behaviour does reappear they will come back free of charge to help correct it. Again as I have stated before I have no experince in dealing with trainers and am not sure how it normally works but dosen't 3 hours seem a little short? I like the rest of their site as they seem to have a very positive approach to correcting problems and using the mind over physical methods. I left them a message and am waiting to hear back from them.

Next is Command Control k-9, I really liked their advertisment in the phone book as they specailize in correcting aggressive dogs as well as do shutzhund training and police scent dog training so they seem to be very experinced as well as they breed and german shepherds, which Duke is 1/3. Also waiting to hear back from them (I'm telling you guys its a big consperacy, dog trainers hate answering phones)

And lastly was Command Response Dogs, The trainer, Dave Walker has a long list of credentials which can be found here on his website I like his approach as well as he openly admits all training methods do not work for all dogs which I strongly believe and he seems to be very flexable. The consulataion is an hour long and $250. Again price dosen't really matter to me as obviously I just want to be able to help Duke become the best canine citizen he can possibly be.

Out of those 3 I'm really favouring either Bark Busters or Dave Walker. What does everyone think? I still need to hear back from each one and get a price qoute and I want to interview them a bit more to get and idea how they work and their approach and so on but for the preliminary review I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts.



January 14th, 2007, 07:44 PM
Where in Ontario are you? I've heard great things about BarkBusters in Toronto, not so great from some other areas. I know a fantastic trainer here in Burlington/Oakville area too, if you're anywhere near here.

January 15th, 2007, 11:14 AM
I know someone - not on your list though. But where do you live in Ontario?

January 15th, 2007, 03:03 PM
Sorry for the late response, I'm in Mississauga, Ontario. Some people have told me not to jump to early on a proffesional trainer and that through more socilization I can probabaly solve this problem by myself. I'm very confused now as today when I took Duke back to my brothers schoolyard to pick him up he didn't bark once at any of the parents or kids.

However just yesterday he barked at a lady and her dog something that up until last week he had never done before. In total he has done it 3-4 times over the last week. It's always been random and never directed at the same type of person twice. He is going back to obidence class at the end of Febuary ( none before then or I'd go sooner), do you think it could just be the fear period and I should just try and praise and treat him when he dosen't bark and try and distract and divert the problem when he does bark until we get back to obidence classes or find someone sooner?