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ADMIN NOTE: Please welcome this weeks special guest speaker / chatter (?) Mr.

Shikashio, President of the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants and owner
of Complete Canines LLC.
Welcome Michael Shikashio, it is a pleasure to have you here tonight to chat about some topics
that are crucial for anyone dealing with dogs to know about
1. Bite prevention
2. Proper way to break up a dog fight.
Both these topics have come up numerous times throughout various groups and this one is no
TO ALL MEMBERS: Please note that our guests come here to chat and answer questions, as
their time is limited we would appreciate if we could keep on topic. Our guests are not here to be
'quoted' and due to nature of some queries it is unfeasible to provide an answer online. Thank

Denise O'Moore Hi Michael and thanks for joining us tonight.

Michael Shikashio Hi everyone! Thanks for having me and I am looking forward to the discussion. A
couple of quick notes before we kick off the conversation:
- We'll try to stick to topics related to bite prevention. While training and behavior modification are certainly
important areas, they are very broad subjects on their own!

- If you are observing aggressive behaviors with your own dog(s), it is best to hire a qualified professional who is
experienced with modifying and handling aggressive behavior through positive reinforcement based methods.

Since there is a nice mixture of dog trainers/consultants and dog owners on this list, I'll start with the single most
important factor in preventing dog bites for both dog pros and owners.

Learn how to "speak" dog. Dogs communicate extremely well through body language. When we observe that
body language with an educated eye, then we can modify our own behavior and adjust accordingly to what the
dog is "saying."
There are many communicative signals that a dog may exhibit that often come before they bite. After all, biting is
an "expensive" behavior for a dog, as they are risking injury to themselves by using biting to make the "threat go
away." So in most circumstances, a dog will try very hard to make the "threat go away" through less expensive
When we recognize the precursors to the possibility of an impending bite, then we can back away from the dog
and avoid escalation of aggressive/agonistic behavior.

Here are some of my favorite free resources for learning how to "speak" dog:

Zoom Room Guide to Dog Body Language

Lisa Stewart Phillips How important would you say it is to listen to a growl?
Kim Carnell very I never ignore a growl

Michael Shikashio Hi Lisa Stewart Phillips. It is extremely important to pay attention to a growl. It is an
easily understood warning signal that the dog may escalate to a bite. (versus some of the more subtle
communicative gestures)

Kim Carnell have seen this done and it worried me a dog growls and a trainer growled back is this
not asking for retaliation

Esther Chai Is piercing stare a sign of dominance?

Michael Shikashio Growling is like the whistle on a tea kettle. It signals the water is about to boil over. If
we take the kettle off the stove (back away from the dog), then we reduce the chance of a boil over.

Lisa Stewart Phillips Kim that is why asked, for owners who have been told a growl is a bad thing.

Kim Carnell Michael I like they way you put that point over using the kettle hope I can pinch it

Michael Shikashio A "piercing stare" is generally a communicative signal to increase distance from a
threatening stimulus. It really depends on the overall context of the situation and what the rest of the dog is
"saying." A dog who stares intently may also be simply looking to have a piece of your delicious dinner!

Denise O'Moore Michael what are the most common human errors you have encountered that have lead
to bites in the past?

Kim Carnell I have heard it said that when a dog growls that is a sign of dominance I disagree I see it
as a listen to me I am informing you I am not happy

Denise O'Moore Yes it is basic communication Kim. Pity it gets reprimanded so often!

Lisa Stewart Phillips Don,t want to bombard with questions, so this is my last one, what are the most
common causes of dog on dog aggression?

Michael Shikashio Great question Denise O'Moore. The single most common error is not observing the
signals from the dog indicating they are stressed/uncomfortable/fearful with what the human is doing. Often, the
human escalates their actions in an attempt to control the dog, which can backfire by ending in a bite.

Kim Carnell Ok have seen this a dog is going for a bite and the trainer screamed at it high pitch then
made loads of noise does this increase the dogs behaviour rather than calming down the situation, looking at it I
saw an increase, dog became more vocal and went well over threshold, would you say it is better to remain quiet
and slow down your body langauge

Michael Shikashio The single most common cause of dog-dog aggression I see is over resources.
Resources are not only limited to food, but can be resting space, territory, people, other dogs, other animals, or
generally anything the dog finds of value.
Another common factor is lack of socialization from an early age with other dogs. Learning to communicate with a
variety of other dogs is crucial to becoming adept at social signaling.

Jennie Sillence I would like to know how you brake up a dog fight, with a breed where you cannot
open the jaw have nothing to open it. There are methods advised, but do these work once a dog is holding on?

Michael Shikashio Kim Carnell: I use this general rule with clients - the more you move, the more the dog
will move. This applies to almost any behavior the dog is engaged in. While some dogs will certainly "listen" to
the actions of the trainer you describe, it can often escalate the arousal/aggressive behavior of the dog.

Let's talk about how to properly break up a dog fight.

One of the worst bite injuries I have recently seen was with an owner who tried to break up her two GSDs after a
fight erupted. She required 350 (yes, three hundred and fifty) stitches to her hand and forearm from a redirected
bite. The dogs had very minor injuries after the fight and did not require veterinary care.

Standard disclaimer alert: The following information is provided for the purpose of learning safer techniques for
separating two or more dogs in a fight. At no time should any of the techniques be used in the context of training.
A safety and management plan implemented through the guidance of an experienced professional will
significantly reduce the likelihood of a dog fight.
This information is written for dog owners (as some trainers/daycares have additional tools such as air horns or
break sticks that an owner wouldn't necessarily have), though it may be useful for dog pros as well.

So, what is the first rule of fight club? Don't stick your hands in between two fighting dogs!
A natural reaction would be to separate the fight as quickly as possible. Though, it is best to take just an extra
moment to approach the situation in a manner that is less likely to result in a redirected bite.

There are basically two types of dog fights:
- Type A: One or more dogs are snapping/snarling/growling/biting and RELEASING.
- Type B: One dog has the other in a bite and hold, and is NOT releasing.

Here are the pros and cons of the most common methods I usually see discussed to break up a "type A" fight (for
the purposes of this discussion, we will assume the dogs are off-leash, as most on-leash "type A" altercations
can be separated simply by pulling each dog away by the leash). Note: NONE of these methods will work ALL of
the time. Hopefully, this list will allow for other options in your tool box if ever needed.

- "Wheel barrel" method. You pick up the "main aggressor" in the fight (if there is one) by grabbing anywhere
from the knee joint up to the hip area of both their REAR legs, and walk backwards. (Grabbing below the knee
could cause twisting injuries.) As you "wheel barrel" backwards, you turn so that the dog is eventually facing
away from the other dog. Then, wheel them forward into any room or contained area where you can quickly shut
the entry.
This of course works better with two people (one for each dog), but can work with one person if there is a "main
(Note: There is still risk with this method of a dextrous dog turning and redirecting a bite.)

- Water/hose. While it may take a few moments to get to a hose or dog's water bowl, it is still preferable over
using your hands to get in between the dogs. I only advocate this method outside or in a house with carpeting.
Using water in a house with vinyl or other flooring that becomes slippery when wet could lead to a disastrous
situation. It's tough to break up a dog fight if you're knocked out cold on the floor after slipping and falling!

- Barriers. Blankets, baby gates, chairs, umbrellas, or anything else you can grab that can be placed in between
the dogs. If one is not physically capable of the "wheel barrel" method, then using an object to try and diffuse the
fight by blocking the "main aggressor" and pushing them back to a containment area is an option.

- Citronella spray (SprayShield). This stuff works...most of the time.
I've talked to many trainers/consultants who have used this during dog-dog altercations. Most have told me it is
very effective when they have used it.
Practice spraying it at an inanimate object so you will know how it functions when you need it.

OK. This post is getting long, so I will start another to talk about Type B fights.

How to properly break up a dog fight continued:

Type B fights can often be a very scary situation to witness. One dog has a strong grip on the other dog and is
not letting go. Here are the common methods to separate them:
(DO NOT pull the biter away from the other dog in an attempt to separate them as this can cause additional
damage to the dog being bitten.)

- Citronella spray (SprayShield) (see the first post in this topic)

- Slip leash method: (Again, this is a last resort for an emergency situation --- NOT a training method.) Generally,
you do not have to worry about a redirected bite as the dog is so focused on biting the other dog, though, care
should be taken as always.
Take a leash and carefully guide it under the biter's neck, then take the clip end of the leash and feed it through
the loop handle of the leash. (You can go as far as taking the leash off the biter if all else has failed.) This
essentially creates a slip leash. Tighten the leash while at the same time placing one foot on the back of the dog
between the shoulder blades to prevent pulling the dog up (which would cause more damage to the dog being
bitten). Yes, you will be constricting the dog's airway --- again, this is a last resort method which may save the life
of the other dog. This also allows control of the biter once they release the other dog.

Kevin Duggan How do you go about using a break stick if you have one available?

Jennie Sillence So basically cutting off the airway? What about redirecting to you once they let go?
I'm guessing they will let go to gasp for air

Michael Shikashio Hi Kevin Duggan! A break stick works by inserting it in between the dogs rear teeth
(behind the canines), after lifting the dog's lips. The stick is then twisted and/or "levered" to separate the dog's
Disclaimer: I have never had to use one in a "real" situation, but was taught early on in my career using one in
bite work.

Lisa Stewart Phillips Very scary stuff! I have never come across a truly dog aggressive dog. IME it is
mostly fear reactivity..

Kim Carnell on type B fights why do people advocate putting sticks up dogs bottoms then surely this
would inflict pain to the dog making it hold on tighter or am I completely wrong

Jennie Sillence It is not easy to get anything between the teeth, when the dog is gripping
And you don't walk about with a break stick

Michael Shikashio Great question KIm Carnell! I've heard of the "good ole thumb up the butt" technique,
but wouldn't advocate it for the reason you mention. Also, using a slip leash method will allow for control after the
dog has released their hold on the other dog/human.

Denise O'Moore Jennie I was once in a situation that I needed a break stick - no I didn't have one on me
but there was a tree near by so I got the owner to break off a branch.

Michael Shikashio OK. Let's talk about dogs and kids as well, and how we can help to avoid dog bites to
children. Millions of children suffer dog bites every year, and most of the bites happen from the family dog or a
friend or neighbor's dog.

First and foremost, I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to Jennifer Dawson Shryock (
and Colleen Pelar ( They are the official gurus on this subject and I highly
recommend checking out both of their websites!

The advice to "supervise your kids around dogs at all times" is certainly a great start. I like the analogy of
"watching your kids around dogs like your kids are in an eight foot deep swimming pool for the first time." In other
words, you aren't going to take your eyes off of them!
Fantastic! But would you know what to look for as signs of trouble without being aware of what to look for?
So, supervision alone is not enough. Parents and caretakers need to be able to recognize the communicative
signals of dogs that indicate stress or discomfort, and when to intervene.
Refer to my first post in this thread for some free resources on how to recognize those signals.

I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here. Both Jen and Colleen have tons of free information available, so check
out their websites and pass it along!

Kim Carnell if using a break stick do wait until the dog relaxes to take a breath of air although they
don't release their jaw it is a little easier

Christine Kiefer What would you do if one dog is pinning the other down. The dog on the ground is
snapping upwards, both growling/snarling but neither does bite.

Kim Carnell Do you not find though that with all the use of videos on utube where parents show off
their dogs growling and showing their teeth at children and laughing so sad and that others follow

Michael Shikashio Awesome question Christine Kiefer. In my experience, that is the type of altercation
that is best to break-up by cheerfully calling the dog on top away (if they have a decent recall). A happy toned
response while moving away from the dogs will often diffuse the situation, while keeping the humans safe as well.
If this doesn't work, then the methods referred to in "Dog Fight A" type scenarios could be utilized.
Sharon Kimm I have 9 giant breed dogs 1 male who will a few times a week pick a fight with one of
two other dogs, also male. All 3 are young around 13 months. The dog that starts it never wins, it rarely results in
a real fight, it looks bad but usually it's just a lot of noise and all the other dogs join together and make him back
down, usually resulting in one of the 2 he picks on in the first place just standing over him until he stops. More
often than not I spot the signs that it's about to happen, tail up, aggressive stance etc, and I distract him, with an
exciting voice, rattling a box of treats, throw a toy, anything to distract him. The other dogs do not want to fight
and are good friends. There has never been a fight that has not been started by the one. Is me distracting him
doing the right thing. I am worried that I am masking the problem rather than dealing with it. I would appreciate
your thoughts.

Michael Shikashio It is a shame that there are videos like you mention,Kim Carnell, floating around on
the web. However, I do feel that there is an educational opportunity with the sudden explosion of these videos as
I have seen many trainers/consultants and even educated pet owners commenting on the danger of ignoring the
animal's warning signals.

Esther Chai As regards to pinning re Christine Kiefer description above, is this behaviour acceptable?

Jennie Sillence Have you or anyone else used citronella once a dog is holding on? I guess you spray
at the nose.

Lisa Stewart Phillips Love the kids and dogs, dogs are not bomb proof, I would trust my 7 year old
daughter less round my dog than I would him with her

Michael Shikashio That's quite a handful of dogs, Sharon Kimm! Kudos to you for doing exactly the right
thing to diffuse the tension.
It is a "temporary" measure, as you mentioned, and may not truly address the problem.
Anytime there is a consistent "aggressor" in a group of dogs, there is significant stress placed on the "victim(s)" in
that group. Over time, the stress can be the catalyst for an increase in the frequency and intensity of the conflicts.
It is best to address the issue before it escalates.

Esther Chai: "Pinning" as described in the context above is NOT acceptable behavior and the dogs should be

Esther Chai Should there be consequences for pinning behaviour like a no?

Michael Shikashio Let me pop this post in here for the trainers following along:

Here is my top 10 list for "things dog trainers and behavior consultants need to do that will play a role in their
safety during aggression cases." While some of these may seem like extreme measures, remember, there are
often severe ramifications when a dog bites.

In addition to the possibility of injury or death to humans or other animals, ramifications can include seizure and
quarantine of the dog, euthanasia, criminal penalty, and liability. The laws will vary depending on jurisdiction, but
must be understood by the trainer/consultant working with aggression cases.

1. The whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Whether you do an on-line history form, or do your history taking at the consult, it is imperative to ask this one
question BEFORE you step foot in their home or meet their dog: "Has your dog ever bitten anyone or any other
animal?" (Further digging is necessary if they use phrases like "only nipped" or "didn't leave a mark.")
Equally important is to obtain a copy of the dog's vaccination records.

2. Remind me again?
Call ahead to the client a few minutes BEFORE you arrive to remind them of any safety and management
measures you have requested to be put in place. Ask them directly if their dog is safely contained as you have

3. Are you dressed for success?
Clothing should not be loose enough for the dog to grab a hold of. Dangling scarves, jewelry, hair, untied shoes,
unsecured treat pouches, and any other loose articles should be secured BEFORE meeting the dog. Footwear
should be resistant to slipping and should allow for you to move comfortably and quickly if needed.

4. Fight!
Know how to safely break up a dog fight. While we will take every measure to prevent a dog-dog altercation, we
must be ready and able to act accordingly in this rare circumstance.
We will discuss this more in a separate post.

5. Tools, tools, tools.
Always check the fit and proper functioning of any tool you implement before starting the behavior modification.
For instance, check that the leash is securely clipped to the collar/harness. A number of times, clients of mine
accidentally clipped the leash to the I.D. tag loop, which would easily break when pulled.

6. You wanna dance?
Related to the post above, learning to "speak" dog is imperative. It is crucial to be cognizant of your own
movements and body language. Moving suddenly, or even getting up from your chair can easily trigger an
aggressive response from some dogs. The position of your body and stance in relation to the dog can
significantly impact their behavior at that moment.

Never, ever get down on the floor (sitting, laying down, or resting on your knees) at the dog's face level, until you
have established a thorough history (functional assessment) and you are certain the dog does not view you as a

Never, ever approach a dog that doesn't want to be approached. I can't say this enough. One of the most efficient
manners to build trust is to allow the dog to approach you on their own terms, without putting social pressure on

7. Where's Waldo?
Be sure to let someone know where you are going for all of your consults. An itinerary of all the names, phone
numbers, and addresses of the clients you are visiting should be left with a trusted emergency contact. This is not
only from a dog bite emergency perspective, but for general safety and welfare reasons as well.
Your emergency contact should also be programmed in your personal cell phone.

8. Someone call 911!
Know where the local emergency veterinary clinic is, as well as the closest emergency room. While we never
want to visit either of these places as a result of a dog bite, it can happen. A good idea is to program these
locations into your GPS so valuable seconds aren't wasted in an emergency.

9. Is there a doctor in the house?
Always have a first aid kit in your facility or vehicle and know how to stock it and use it. A first aid course (both
human and pet related) is an essential part of the education base of any dog pro working aggression cases.

10. I'm feeling a little uncomfortable here...
If at anytime you feel like the case is "over your head", you feel unsafe, or you feel the client is not in compliance
with your instruction, it is absolutely OK to sever the client/consultant relationship and/or refer to another
professional. This type of decision should be applauded as it demonstrates professionalism and recognition of
ethical standards!

Bill Tharp You mentioned the air horn earlier as a means to break up a dog fight. Does it work well? I
would feel better about using a horn,than the citronella spray when another persons dog may be involved.

Michael Shikashio Hey Jennie Sillence, I have not used in on a bite and hold, but have used it in Type A
scenarios. It is designed to be aversive to the dog's olfactory sense, so spraying it directly at the nose would
probably be the most effective use in that situation.

Esther Chai How do you assess dog to dog aggression, do you use a stooge dog?
Bill Tharp At the dog park.

Denise O'Moore ADMIN NOTE: Hi all it's coming to that time where we will need to start wrapping the
interview up so thank you for all your questions. We still have another 10 mins so get in quick.

Kim Carnell I do lots of work with the dog and owners before I introduce a dog, but this dog will be at
a great distance so that I can observe the dogs body language and the owners ability to handle the dog

Michael Shikashio Hi Bill Tharp: From an anecdotal standpoint, air horns work well for some of my
daycare colleagues. Though, while it may work in that situation, one would have to be careful not to upset the
other dog owners in a dog park setting. An airhorn will be heard by all the dogs in the vicinity, as well as the
people standing nearby. Citronella spray can be aimed fairly well at one small area.

Esther Chai: I use stuffed dogs to assess most dog-dog aggression cases where I do not have much history.
Though, most of my dog-dog aggression cases are assessed using historical data, observation, and a functional
assessment of the presenting behavior problems

Roxann Byrne Love that analogy of a bark being a whistle on a kettle! Going to use that with clients if
you don't mind Michael

Michael Shikashio Use it at will, Roxann Byrne! You can impart that analogy through the entire
continuum of signals that precede a bite. Putting the kettle on the stove could be the initial stage - lip licks, head
turns, whale eye/half moon-eye, etc.

Christine Kiefer guess it is a typo Roxann Byrne and you mean a growl.

Georgina Lees-Smith I hope this is not in any way off topic. I wonder what suggested protocols you
would put in place to help treat a resource guarding issue between two dogs (of the same household). I
understand the severity and the RHP of objects can vary between dogs and that it can also be context
dependent. Do you think these situations can be changed? What would you recommend assuming there were no
extraneous factors coming into play (such as thresholds, illness etc)? Hurry up and answer this I have more
questions on this subject x

Sharon Kimm This had been a very interesting/informative thread. Thank you Michael, and to admin
for organising it.

Georgina Lees-Smith is it over now Michael Shikashio? X

Esther Chai About socialisation; is it crucial to select temperament of puppies to be put together.
Often it seem puppies who are weaker tend to be picked on.

Denise O'Moore ADMIN NOTE: Hi all it's me - Thank you Michael for this interview. For anyone who still
has a question please feel free to ask and TAG Michael in it so he can answer it for you as soon as he can. Don't
forget to check our events page as next week - 2nd Dec we will be joined by Linda Tellington-Jones - developer
of TTouch. Linda will be here to answer all questions about this method she sucessfully worked with for the past
4 decades. Again Please give a huge THANK YOU to tonights guest Michael Shikashio.

Michael Shikashio Hey Georgina Lees-Smith! That would be a bit of a lengthy response from me.
I have a case study coming out in the next APDT Chronicle detailing exactly what I did with two dogs with a
history of fighting over resources.

Kim Carnell Thank you from me as well lots of great information. Thank you to Michael for giving up
his time and for Denise for organising it

Christine Kiefer Thanks!!! Great thread!!

Michael Shikashio Thank you all for being here! I truly enjoyed the discussion!

For those of you interested in the field of animal behavior consulting, the IAABC is currently waiving application
fees for all levels of membership. The code to waive membership application fees is GFBHAZ. This code will
expire on Nov. 30th. Membership benefits include networking opportunities through our members only Yahoo and
Facebook groups, guided tutorials by experts in the field of animal behavior consulting, and a consultant locator
service for Associate and Certified Members.
We are also having our annual conference at Tufts University on April 12th and 13th of 2014. More details will be
coming via both the Tufts and IAABC websites, and discounts to both the live webinar and conference
attendance will be available to IAABC Members!
Denise O'Moore Welcome Kim, thank you for joining us.

Georgina Lees-Smith Awesome.. I have a case study for you have been using a training method, I
cannot wait for it to be critically analyzed.. Positively of course. Will look out for the article
Thanks so much, sorry i came in a bit late x

Denise O'Moore That's fantastic Michael - thanks for sharing.

Debbie Callaghan Hi Michael Shikashiol. one thing i'm struggling with is putting together a policy for
the best way of clients getting a dog off our guiding dogs if ever a situation of an attack arose. This is something
that is on the increase and a difficult one due to clients varying abilities after a dog has actually latched on. What
could our clients carry to help get this dog off, or do we just let go of the guiding harness to give the dog chance
to defend itself? the dog is already restricted by the harness. Spraying the offending dog, our dog would get
sprayed too, we are dealing with blind handlers. Such a tricky one but one that needs addressing. Your thoughts
please? much appreciated.
Roxann Byrne It was Christine I meant growl Thanks Michael for all the info

Denise O'Moore ADMIN NOTE: Again I'm back...this time it's all good!!! Michael be staying on a bit longer
to answer your questions. Thanks everyone.
Michael Shikashio Hey Debbie Callaghan. That is a REALLY good question.
I typically follow a "least invasive" method when approached by a strange dog displaying "aggressive
If you have treats, throw a handful at the dog's paws to see if that distracts them long enough for you to slowly
back away. (You should remain in a sideways stance that is less confrontational but is also the most defensive
posture that allows for quick action.) Subsequent treats can be thrown up and over the dogs head to create
distance if they continue to approach.
Look or call for whoever appears to be the dog's owner and firmly say "please come get your dog now!"
(Sometimes, the owner will freeze and actually need to be told to do the obvious.)

If you have a dog or child with you, hold them with one hand behind and to the side of you, so you are between
them and the aggressive dog. You should have one hand free so that you can use the methods described in
this post.

If that doesn't work, I would resort to the citronella spray as, while it may affect the service dog, it could prevent
catastrophic injury to them and the handler. (As mentioned before, practice spraying it at aninanimate object to
get used to its function.)
Finally, don't run. Slow and steady is the way to go.

I should also add that if a person is confronted by a dog they think may bite, certainly sacrificing any object
they may be wearing or holding can give the dog an alternative "target."
Removing a hat, jacket, gloves, or scarf and then using that item as an extension of the arm can buy a few
moments to slowly back away from the dog. (Release that object to the dog.)
Other objects such as purses, umbrellas, treat bags, bikes, or anything else you can put in between you and
the dog may be used similarly. Look around for anything you can use as a barrier - cars, bushes, fence,
telephone pole, etc.
OK. I hope I was able to get to everyone's questions. Feel free to tag me in a post on this thread and I will get
back to you!

Denise O'Moore Thanks Michael for the extra time. Any additional questions for you un-tagged I find, i'll
forward to you

Barbara Woods Thank you to Denise for organising this , and thank you to Michael for such great
information, all of which seem easy to understand and implement if necessary, really enjoyed the thread

Cheryl T. Heinly I wish I could have participated in this discussion but I was working. Great advice as
my SAR dog was involved in the Type B bite where the biter held on. While the other person freaked out, yelling
and screaming, I stayed quiet and was reaching for my water bottle. By the time I put my hand on it the biter had
released. This is a known biter, and not the first time it's happened.

Jordan Levine I had to use the leash method once on a B type fight when a pit had my Belgian Terv
by the back of the neck and was shaking her... Effing huge pit. The owner called AC on me luckily there were
witnesses so nothing came of it. Luckily my girl only got 4 punctures. The pit was fine but kept trying to go after
my dog again so I dragged it into the exit cubicle at the dog park which is when the owner finally noticed what
was going on.

Cheryl T. Heinly Wow Jordan... I have a Leonberger that weighs about 150 and the biter was a
mixed breed, maybe all of 50 lbs? NO warning growl at all. He was hanging onto my dogs lip and shaking... My
boy was shrunk down and trying to get away... lots of people saw it and were impressed that my dog did not
So the owner called AC on you because you used that leash method? The only reason I would be worried to use
it is that my dog coming to me once the biter releases... you have to hope the owner of the biter is smart enough
to take their dog in the opposite direction!

Jordan Levine Lol most big dogs take a lot of provocation before they retaliate. I see it all the time at
the local parks. I have had a lot of great experiences but quite a few nasty ones... One guys dog recently went
after my guys and my friends 7lb sheltie. It punctured two of my dogs and the sheltie(three large punctures) and
bruised the sheltie's ribs. The guy said"he's a rescue. He just plays rough." o_O

Cheryl Grover Hi can I ask a quick question on growling back at the start...Ive just picked up this
post... Michael Shikashio Cesar Milan never backs away from a growly dog. he would stand ground and "SHH"
the dog until it submits and calms down. This has been effective with my own dog who sometimes can be toy
possessive. Isnt walking away letting the dog "win" and empowering him?

Michael Shikashio Thanks for your question Cheryl Grover.
Backing away from a growling dog will reinforce the growling behavior as the threatening stimulus "goes away",
which is what the dog wants.
We WANT to preserve this behavior because, (going back to my analogy), it serves as a signal that is a
precursor to biting. It is the whistle on the tea kettle.
It's not that punishment or confrontation do not work in some circumstances, though, if I try to poke the kettle off
the burner to stop the whistle, I might risk getting burned by hot water.
I'd much rather back away, turn off the burner, and avoid getting burned.

Essentially this means that I can change the presenting resource guarding issue through a counter conditioning
protocol, with plenty of safety built in because the dog DOES growl when uncomfortable.

I WANT to empower the dog to be able to make choices. If I begin to remove choices, such as growling by
punishing it, then they may often choose what is left in their behavioral repertoire - biting.

It is much more difficult to work with a dog that gives little warning and goes right from freeze to a bite, versus a
dog who freezes, growls, snarls, snaps, and THEN bites.

Hope that answers your question.

Cheryl T. Heinly Yes, and why this dog never growled a warning to my dog... it is punished anytime it
growls, I have witnessed this many times. I had a dog that was punished when it growled so when I heard the
growl during play with another dog, because he was fed up, I was elated! I never "growl" back at dogs as they
know we are not dogs, first and foremost, true Michael? You could be opening a can of worms or the hot tea