Old Fashioned Dog Aggression: Dogs, Pit Bulls and Dog Bite Prevention In General!

(This is taken from a message board post I wrote on an internet jiu-jitsu Bulletin Board.  The discussion turned off-topic and– being the resident dog trainer in the community– I had to step into the thread and refute some earlier posts that were misguided or misinformed.  I thought you might find the following interesting as it dispels several dog training myths.)


*** WARNING:  Not for the sensitive.  This is a No-Holds-Barred response addressing several issues that I don’t necessarily agree with, but that still needed to be answered by a professional nonetheless.   Skip this article and go onto the next one if reading about extreme handling techniques makes you queasy.  It’s definitely not in reference to the everyday issues that we encounter as professional dog trainers. ***

There’s so much misinformation in this thread, I don’t know where to start?

Perhaps by explaining my take on dogs, and who I am.  My name is Adam Katz.  I am the owner of Dogproblems.com, as well as several other gateway/feeder dog training web sites.

I owned a company in Southern California for 6+ years called South Bay K-9 Academy.  I’ve done training for almost every type of dog activity.  Film, obedience, behavior modification, police work, protection, etc… (You can read more about my bio at http://www.dogproblems.com)

And I am an expert on behavior modification and the “Pit Bull.”  I am also the author of the book, “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer: An Insider’s Guide To The Most Jealously Guarded Dog Training Secrets In History!”

Here’s the scoop on dogs, Pit Bulls and dog training in general:

1.)  To Fulano (Another member of the discussion board): Koehler was great in his time.  He was revolutionary.  But he’s like Freud: A catalyst.  His techniques work, but they’re outdated and old fashioned.  Kind of like riding around in a Model T.

[Editor’s note: Reference is to William Koehler, a former military trainer and head of the Disney dog training program in the 50’s and 60’s.  He wrote several dog training books that you can still purchase in pretty much any book store.]

And they generally cause a loss in attitude, hand shyness and insecurity.  For example, you don’t need to “hang” a dog (by the leash) that is super-handler aggressive because we now have more effective ways to communicate to the dog that are less dangerous if used by amateurs.  Like working with muzzles.  And the remote collar, which if used properly is very safe and endorsed by hundreds of veterinarians.  For behavior modification purposes, be sure to work under the supervision of a qualified and experienced professional trainer.

[Editor’s note:  Koehler recommended–in very rare cases–that the handler should lift a highly aggressive dog up by the leash until the dog went unconscious.  I do not recommend that you do this.  Especially if the dog weighs more than you!!!]

As for the table techniques: I trained with Tom Rose, who was the same guy that taught the guys at Alderhurst the table.  (although I could be mistaken and be confusing them with someone else.)  It too is old fashioned.  The top guys in Europe (Germany, Holland and Belgium) have long ago abandoned the table work.  And these are the guys that are turning out the top bloodlines and winning the top IPO trials (police dog competitions.)

[Editor’s note:  An old fashioned technique would be to work with a dog on a raised table in order to decrease dominance issues. ]

2.)  Regarding the Pit Bull:  There’s nothing specific (in regard to human aggression) that is really any different about this breed than any other.  They are the “bogie” breed of the 80’s.  In the 50’s, it was the German Shepherd dog.  The 60’s and 70’s brought in the Doberman.  In the 80’s, it was the Pit Bull.  The 90’s saw the Rottweiler.  And now in the new millenium, it looks to be the Rare Breeds, ala the Presa Canario, American Bulldog, Akita, etc…

These dogs (Pit Bulls) do not have locking jaws.  This is a myth.  And they are no more likely to be human aggressive than any other breed that happens to have a strong chase drive (what we call prey) and is bred by amateur/back yard breeders.

3.)  Your best defense against an untrained dog that is running loose and has confronted you:  Stand still, don’t look in his eyes and don’t move.  Fight the urge to run.

4.)  If the dog is sizing up an attack and you feel you are imminent to get bit, pull off your belt or your shirt (if you’re a man) and twist it into a rope.  Move it from side to side and get the dog to bite it.  Keep movement in the rope, and pull the dog over to a car or something you can jump on top of to get away.  (Hey, it’s a long shot, but at this point you’re pretty much screwed.)

5.)  If the dog has clamped onto your dog… again… you’re pretty much screwed.

6.)  If the dog has clamped onto and bit a child, here’s what you should do.  Again, the situation and odds that you won’t get bit aren’t very good, but it’s your own darn fault for not taking precautions (see below):

Lift the dog up by his two back legs.  If he doesn’t immediately turn to try and bite you, then jam your thumb up his anus.  As the dog releases and turns to bite, throw him over a wall or through the window of a car.  (Again… good luck… like I already said, you’re in a “No-winner” situation.)

7.)  Dogs– even pit bulls– can be trained to be around other dogs.  Or at least tolerate them, if not interact.  Please see the dog in the picture at (url deleted of Pit Bull Rhodesian mix) was so dog aggressive that if he saw another dog through the back window of my truck, he’d get so violent that the whole truck would start to shake.  After a couple weeks of applying the right techniques he now plays nicely with my parent’s Rottweiler.  (The other dog in the picture).

8.)  Money Talks and B.S. Walks in the dog world.  That’s why I issued my “$10,000 Dog Trainer Challenge!”
See: http://www.dogproblems.com/public/278.cfm

Everyone likes to think that “Their special breed can’t be trained to do X.”  When it comes to obedience training… it’s usually bunk.

9.)   Statistically, Cocker Spaniels bite more children each year than any other breed.

10.)  More Veterinarians and Vet. Technicians hate Chows more than any other breed.  Far more than “Pit Bulls”… which are considered relatively placid.

11.)  If I understood Bond correctly (another board member) I don’t know what planet he’s on.  Husky’s are not used for protection work.  It’d be like trying to win the Kentucky Derby with a Mule.  Ain’t gonna happen.

12.)  The World’s top police dog breed now in use is the Belgian Malinois.  This breed far surpasses the German Shepherd dog for police work in practically every area except tracking.

If you have any further questions (or something I missed– Gee… this could be another book!) please ask.

13.)  Oh, yes… the precaution for dog attacks that you should take:

Buy a stun gun. The kind with the two probes that shoot the electrical charge between them. (Not the taser, which shoots a projectile attached to two cords).

If you see a stray or unleashed dog approaching you, press the button a couple of times. We’ve found that the electrical charge hits ultra high frequency sound waves that only the dog can hear. About 50% of the dogs would IMMEDIATELY turn tail and run away.

And if the dog gets any closer, you can lay him out with the shock.
(Common sense warning: Only do this if you feel you are in imminent danger!)

You can find stun guns on the internet pretty cheap… try to get one that makes a loud crackling noise.  Pepper Spray works on a lot of dogs… but surprisingly, not all.  Aim for the nose.  I don’t like OC (pepper spray) as much as the stun gun because stupid dog owners who let their dogs run off leash and yell out, ‘My dog is okay,’ simply don’t understand that their dog may only be okay if:

– My dog is more dominant.

– Their dog is submissive and does not try to dominate.

If the mix of temperaments is such that both dogs are super-dominant… guess what? You’ve got a dog fight.

We used to sell the really loud-sounding stun guns, repackaged as an “Electronic Dog Fight Stopper”.   But people in both Canada and Ireland were buying them to smuggle into the country as weapons. The Canadian and Irish customs got privy to it and started confiscating the products, so I stopped selling them.

There is another product, called a “Dazer” that I’m thinking about carrying… it’s just a sound deterrent device.

But if I were you, I’d buy a stun gun.