After an incident of your beloved dog biting a stranger, it is expected for you to be a little shocked and unsure of how to handle the situation. This type of situation isn't rare. Luckily, with a little help and education, both owner and dog can get back to life as usual once we find the cause and address the factors leading up to the bite.
The owners we worked with today were walking with their pup, just like they do daily. When another dog and owner approached and the dogs began growling at each other, the stranger stuck his face near the dog's face to try to talk to him and calm him down. Immediately the man knew that was a mistake, but could not back away before the dog felt threatened.
After the incident, our clients were shocked and in constant anxiety of how their dog would react to others. Unsure of how to help avoid similar situations in the future, they placed a muzzle on their pup during walks. Both owners' nerves also began affecting the way their dog would act such as barking at people passing by, which previously wasn't an issue, as well as scare guests by barking once they entered the house. They knew it was time to seek help.
They first contacted a traditional dog trainer. He came out to house, evaluated the dog, became intimidated by his size and decided not to work with them. He did urge them to purchase a prong collar as a last effort. We asked the owners to remove the prong collar before we arrived in order for us to work with him without any extra agitation or discomfort.
The pup was not aggressive or dominant from what we observed in spending some time with them. After listening to the story of the bite, the owners were relieved that they didn't have an aggressive dog, but only was acting out of circumstance, with errors on both sides on the part of the humans. With prong collar and muzzle removed, we took them on a Respect Walk. Using the style of leash we recommend, we taught them how to walk him properly, to take control over his barking, and keep them calm as well. Both owners relaxed and we walked all over town, through the shops district, and their busy apartment complex. The dog didn't bark or even pay attention to any of the people passing. They all did great!
Once back at the apartment, we showed the owners how to have door control as well as the respectful way of letting company come in their home without being jumped on or barked at. We also worked on teaching them the "down, stay" command to keep him from jumping on furniture or running up and down the hallway when company arrived. Separation anxiety was also addressed. Previously, he would break out of his crate when alone, destroying it in the process and tear up the carpet before the owner returned. Three wire crates later, it was definitely necessary to show them how to make sure her dog would be happy and relaxed while she was gone for the day instead of anxious and destructive.
We had a great time with the owners and are so happy they no longer need to fear walking her sweet pup or leaving her house only to return to a mess. One of the most rewarding and important parts of our work is helping restore peace of mind to owner and dogs alike.