Over the years our trainers have seen a marked increase in the requests for consultation on aggressive behavior. Just 10 years ago 5% of the people who contacted us requested information on aggression issues, and now it is running at about 70%! What is going on these days? Aggression issues can come from many angles with a dog, be it from lack of exercise or mental stimulation, lack of training and proper socialization around dogs or people, or modern lifestyles that don’t allow for proper outlets of dog energy. Whatever the reason, the number of calls that we receive regarding aggression issues has grown dramatically. At Fidelio Dog Works, we take aggressive dogs very seriously.
To address the needs of these dogs and the challenges of their owners, we have partnered with Board Certified Animal Behaviorist Lauren Hays. Lauren is one of two certified animal behaviorists in Texas and she focuses and specializes in aggression issues. Fidelio Dog Works is very pleased and lucky to have her as part of our team. Lauren brings years of dog training experience and educational training to these challenges and a deep commitment to helping clients improve their lives and protect their family members and neighbors in aggression cases.
Aggression issues are particularly worrying to us because we’ve seen so many issues over the years develop and get to the point where the consequences are disastrous.
Lauren and the rest of the Fidelio staff have seen so many dire consequences arise over aggression issues over the years that we want to illustrate what could happen if things go unchecked.
Without resorting to mongering, here are some of the consequences we’ve encountered over the years:
- Loss of homeowners insurance
- Increase in insurance rates or demand that the owners maintain extra rider policies on their property to cover dog related injuries.
- Demands by the insurance companies to remove the dog from the property in order to maintain coverage.
- Involvement in lawsuits
- Called in to testify
- Legal fees for lawyers
- Dog could be classified as a “dangerous dog” by the city
- Quarantine of the dog after an incident involving a person
- Other limitations of where the dog can go placed on them by the city
- Injury to family members
- Injury to neighbors
- Injury to other dogs
- Eventual euthanasia of the dog
When you consider the list of outcomes from having a dangerous dog, the risks become very apparent. Not only is it you, the owner’s, responsibility to manage your dog, but the financial risk to you of not addressing the issues can be significant.
In short, if you have an aggressive dog in your home you need to address the issues promptly before someone or another animal gets injured. When you engage a behaviorist, they will thoroughly evaluate what is going on and create a program to work on the behavior and to implement a command and control protocol to prevent situations where the dog becomes aggressive. In some cases what we recommend is not pleasant and is difficult to accept for clients, but our experience is vast and we tell the truth no matter how difficult it may be. We believe that clients deserve to know what they are facing.
The expertise required to understand and deal effectively with these issues is far beyond the scope of standard dog training. A highly trained animal behaviorist is the best hope of success for you and your dog. Certified animal behaviorists have the level of experience necessary to deal with aggression issues. Understanding aggression issues requires significant advanced training and years of direct experience.
Why is an expert so expensive when working with aggression issues? The risk to a behaviorist that deals with aggressive dogs is significant. All of us have been seriously injured in the past by client dogs and some of us have been permanently debilitated by those injures. Also there are paperwork and office requirements when we work with one of these cases. Due to potential legal ramifications of having an aggressive dog, we must thoroughly document every step taken in working with an aggressive dog in a manner that allows us to quickly and easily work with authorities and the courts when an injury occurs.
All this means that professionals that specialize in aggression issues are not inexpensive. If you have an aggressive dog, then you bear the responsibility and expense of dealing with the issue.