Modification vs. Management

There are two main approaches to handling aggressive problems. A behaviorist can implement a management program or they can design a modification program.

In simple terms, a management program teaches owners how to avoid triggering the dog’s aggression, where a modification program changes the way the dog reacts when exposed to a situation or alters
their association towards a particular trigger.

While there is a time and place for both approaches, many people utilize management programs without incorporating a modification program into the equation. The problem with this approach is that it does not teach the dog a different reaction. As an example, if a dog has food aggression a management program may involve feeding the dog in another room; but what happens when someone accidentally drops something on the floor and goes to pick it up; often a bite occurs. This is not a failure on the dog’s part but on the human’s part since they never taught the dog to react differently. A modification program should determine what type of aggression the dog has (there are many different types), design a program to safely start having the owners teach the dog a different association with the situation / trigger and finally have the dog not display aggression when exposed to the trigger.

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Frequently Asked Question
What is a Behaviorist? What do they do?

A behaviorist is responsible for evaluating a dog to determine what problems are going on, why they are going on and coming up with a plan to correct the issues. In other words the behaviorist looks into the canine mind to figure out how the dog thinks and lets owners understand why the behavior is occurring and then comes up with a plan to correct it

How do I know if I need a Behaviorist or a Trainer?

When an owner states they are having problems with their dog other then commands it is helpful to have a behaviorist get involved. If your dog is well behaved except that he doesn’t sit or heel then you probably want training. If your dog is jumping, chewing items, is aggressive, or you believe has any mental or obsessive problem then you want a behaviorist. This is usually seen in destructive behavior, any form of aggression, ‘the bad dog syndrome’ and many other terms owners complain about.

How do you determine the cause of the problem?

A behaviorist observes and evaluates the dogs body language and personality as well as interviewing the owners and observing their interaction with their dog in order to determine what the causation of the problem is.

How do you solve my problem?

Once we determine what the problem is and what is causing the problem we will give you techniques and exercises to do in order to solve the problem you are having with your dog. We will also explain why you are having the problem in the first place so you better understand it and can prevent future problems from occurring.

At times it requires simple counter conditioning or retraining of owner interactions and other times it rangers all the way to mental disorders requiring medication and advanced behavioral techniques to resolve.

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