Evaluation from today....

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Postby Chris Fraize » April 18th, 2006, 11:46 pm

This video is from an evaluation we had today. This Mastiff, (“Bruce”) starts off wanting a piece of Chris. By the end of the evaluation Bruce began to trust and Chris was able to pet him.
We show this video because we often get calls from people who are at their wits end with their “Problem” dog and don’t know what to do aside from euthanizing the animal. We want to show these people that there is hope. With some effort and understanding the problem behaviors will go away.

http://www.madmaine.com/problemsolving

We are having a Canine Problem Solving Seminar on May 20th and 21st for anyone who is having problems with their dog. We will cover problems with behavior, obedience, personal protection, police k9, weight pull and much more!

Though this video only shows problems with behavior, this seminar will cover much more than that!

For more information visit our website for the details! http://www.k9sts.com/events

Thank you,
April Fraize
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » April 19th, 2006, 7:56 am

I would've wet myself when Bruce lunged.

Now how applicable will that be for other people? He's fine with you now, but is he still going to be aggressive towards others?
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Postby Maryellen » April 19th, 2006, 8:14 am

that was a very good video.. however, i personally feel that a dog that has bit 3 people should be put down. what guarantee do you have that he wont lunge at other people?
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Postby Chris Fraize » April 19th, 2006, 10:05 am

Hello all,

Maryellen,
EVERY dog has the potential to bite a human.

Many people feel that the dog should be put down after it bites. After evaluating the dog I can tell you that they owners unknowingly ‘trained” this dog to be aggressive. This behavior is due to handler/owner error. The owners have slowly shaped (molded) the behaviors of this dog. They owners are divorced now. The husband would do the “Who’s that! “WATCH EM”! When someone would knock at the door. The wife would then scream at the dog for barking at the people at the door. This behavior was learned. “Bruce” is 18 months old. He can be re-trained and re-shaped. I could not have done anything if the problem were genetic. I can guarantee you that “Bruce” will be less likely to show aggression, less likely to be afraid and less likely to bite with each passing lesson. Remember ANY dog has the potential to bite!

Back in the old days trainers didn’t know how to fix a problem like this. They (the trainers) were afraid to get near he dog never mind retraining the dog! If the problem were genetic I would agree the dog would need to be put to sleep. This isn’t a question of genetics. This is a communication break down and a betrayal of trust. Why put the dog down because the handlers made uninformed mistakes? Besides they wouldn’t put him down anyway. Now, knowing that they aren’t going to put him down and that the behavior is learned, why would I send them away? Can you think of a person that needs a dog trainer more than “Bruce’s” owner?

Even today I watch the new outbreak of rescue and animal cops shows and I am AMAZED at how these “trainers” “test” a dog’s temperament. The child’s (plastic) arm on the end of a broomstick while the dog is eating (In most cases a dog that has been starved and trained (unknowingly) to protect it’s food! Wow! The dog sees (knows) this as nothing more than a stick! Now the evaluator starts to see the dog show its teeth! I WOULD TOO IF YOU POKED ME WITH A SITCK WHILE I WAS EATING! But would never bite a child that came up to me while I was eating! The dog knows the difference! Many dogs are needlessly destroyed due to their evaluators misunderstanding dog behavior.

“Bruce” is by no means rehabilitated. That was ONLY the evaluation. The owners have a TON of work to do. When they are done, (if they follow my instructions and advice) you would never have believed that “Bruce” was aggressive. We have turned many dogs worse than “Bruce” in to competitive obedience champions and working therapy dogs. Knowledge replaces fear!

Come and see for yourself!

Safe training,
Chris Fraize
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Postby Maryellen » April 19th, 2006, 10:22 am

are the owners going to work 100% to retrain bruce? are they going to come back to you for follow up visits?? do you feel the owners can handle bruce to have him behave around strangers ?
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Postby mnp13 » April 19th, 2006, 10:28 am

Maryellen, people who end up with dogs like Bruce will make any dog act like Bruce. Put Burce down and their next dog Fluffy will probably have the exact same "behavior" problems.

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Postby babyreba » April 19th, 2006, 10:57 am

the dog looks very fearful to me. do you qualify his aggression as fear aggression, or something else?
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Postby cheekymunkee » April 19th, 2006, 10:57 am

Even today I watch the new outbreak of rescue and animal cops shows and I am AMAZED at how these “trainers” “test” a dog’s temperament. The child’s (plastic) arm on the end of a broomstick while the dog is eating (In most cases a dog that has been starved and trained (unknowingly) to protect it’s food! Wow! The dog sees (knows) this as nothing more than a stick! Now the evaluator starts to see the dog show its teeth! I WOULD TOO IF YOU POKED ME WITH A SITCK WHILE I WAS EATING! But would never bite a child that came up to me while I was eating! The dog knows the difference! Many dogs are needlessly destroyed due to their evaluators misunderstanding dog behavior


I agree with THAT!! My dogs would tear that plastic hand to shreds ( they would think it was a game of tug) but you could not FORCE them bite a real human hand.
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Postby Maryellen » April 19th, 2006, 11:12 am

true michelle, but 3 bites??? there is no guarantee that bruce will not bite again. and, who did bruce bite? in todays world, dogs that bite make it worse for the breed irregardless of what breed it is... there is no excuse for a dog that bites , let alone 3 times.. i am sorry, but while the video was good, i dont agree with giving the dog another chance.. 3 bites is more then enough, an the dog is only 18 months old, not fully mature yet, and yet everyone is making excuses for a dog that bit 3 times...

as far as the plastic hand, some dogs wont bite it and some will.. i tested a dog that bit the plastic hand, then i waited a while, and used my hand to make sure, since most dogs know plastic from real.. the dog tried to get my hand as well... that one didnt pass.

yes, all dogs can bite.. however, to make excuses for a dog that bit 3 times is not acceptable to me personally.. and i am not talking about a pit bull..
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Postby a-bull » April 19th, 2006, 11:16 am

Chris Fraize wrote:Hello all,

Maryellen,
EVERY dog has the potential to bite a human.

Many people feel that the dog should be put down after it bites. After evaluating the dog I can tell you that they owners unknowingly ‘trained” this dog to be aggressive. This behavior is due to handler/owner error. The owners have slowly shaped (molded) the behaviors of this dog. They owners are divorced now. The husband would do the “Who’s that! “WATCH EM”! When someone would knock at the door. The wife would then scream at the dog for barking at the people at the door. This behavior was learned. “Bruce” is 18 months old. He can be re-trained and re-shaped. I could not have done anything if the problem were genetic. I can guarantee you that “Bruce” will be less likely to show aggression, less likely to be afraid and less likely to bite with each passing lesson. Remember ANY dog has the potential to bite!

Back in the old days trainers didn’t know how to fix a problem like this. They (the trainers) were afraid to get near he dog never mind retraining the dog! If the problem were genetic I would agree the dog would need to be put to sleep. This isn’t a question of genetics. This is a communication break down and a betrayal of trust. Why put the dog down because the handlers made uninformed mistakes? Besides they wouldn’t put him down anyway. Now, knowing that they aren’t going to put him down and that the behavior is learned, why would I send them away? Can you think of a person that needs a dog trainer more than “Bruce’s” owner?

Even today I watch the new outbreak of rescue and animal cops shows and I am AMAZED at how these “trainers” “test” a dog’s temperament. The child’s (plastic) arm on the end of a broomstick while the dog is eating (In most cases a dog that has been starved and trained (unknowingly) to protect it’s food! Wow! The dog sees (knows) this as nothing more than a stick! Now the evaluator starts to see the dog show its teeth! I WOULD TOO IF YOU POKED ME WITH A SITCK WHILE I WAS EATING! But would never bite a child that came up to me while I was eating! The dog knows the difference! Many dogs are needlessly destroyed due to their evaluators misunderstanding dog behavior.

“Bruce” is by no means rehabilitated. That was ONLY the evaluation. The owners have a TON of work to do. When they are done, (if they follow my instructions and advice) you would never have believed that “Bruce” was aggressive. We have turned many dogs worse than “Bruce” in to competitive obedience champions and working therapy dogs. Knowledge replaces fear!

Come and see for yourself!

Safe training,
Chris Fraize


O.k., I get all excited everytime you post a video, but I can never get them. Something about "plug ins"? I'm so bad at this stuff. What am I doing wrong?

That is a great post above. I agree with you 100%. Dogs bite for a bunch of reasons---fear, aggression, confusion, instinct, etc.---but mostly because they're 'dogs', not people. We try to mold them into our lifestyles and communicate with them when they speak a totally different language. Many, many people are successful at integrating a dog into their life, but just as many aren't---and I don't think the dog should pay when there are people like Chris who are willing to work with the 'problem' dogs and give them a shot.

Again, great post. I will definitely be making a stop at your place next time I'm in Maine.
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Postby Malli » April 19th, 2006, 11:53 am

I'd say he definately has fear aggression. Not a great temperment for a mastiff, but then again, it sounds like he was taught it.

I have to agree with Chris, better have him trained then not, since I've seen many people keep dogs worse then that, dogs that wouldn't let the wife wake up with husband from his chair in the living room, the same dog had to be muzzled the entire time he was at the Vets and had a higher risk from surgery because we had to remove his catheter early and could not check on him because of his issues. I could never accept that. I have higher standards then most of the population ; most (except if it was a Pit Bull, of course! :| ) just work around a dog with aggression issues. Its really shocking what people will put up with or better yet, fail to even notice as a problem.

I am sure Chris will be able to educate this lady about what will set the dog off and safeguards she can take to avoid situations that he is not initially ready to handle. Most likely she is there because it was that or AC would euthanize the dog? :| So she will want to prevent this from happening ever again.

I'd love to hear updates on his progress Chris. Do you think he will ever be completely trustworthy with strangers?

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Postby mnp13 » April 19th, 2006, 3:26 pm

If the behaviors behind a bite(s) is a learned behavior then it is correctable by correct and consistant training. From watching an evaluation in person, I have faith in Chris' assesment.

The number of bites does not mean a whole lot to me. No matter what the breed, when a dog is afraid enough it may bite. And, no, I do not think the breed matters. Dogs are dogs. Learned fear aggression can be fixed with training. Genetic fear/ shyness is a different thing (and a different topic)

People who don't understand dog behavior and don't bother to learn create unsafe dogs. Breed has nothing to do with it.

They wouldn't have paid for the evaluation (do you charge?) if they weren't looking to fix the problem.
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Postby a-bull » April 19th, 2006, 4:39 pm

mnp13 wrote:If the behaviors behind a bite(s) is a learned behavior then it is correctable by correct and consistant training. From watching an evaluation in person, I have faith in Chris' assesment.

The number of bites does not mean a whole lot to me. No matter what the breed, when a dog is afraid enough it may bite. And, no, I do not think the breed matters. Dogs are dogs. Learned fear aggression can be fixed with training. Genetic fear/ shyness is a different thing (and a different topic)

People who don't understand dog behavior and don't bother to learn create unsafe dogs. Breed has nothing to do with it.

They wouldn't have paid for the evaluation (do you charge?) if they weren't looking to fix the problem.


amen . . . :)
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Postby SisMorphine » April 19th, 2006, 7:18 pm

I think if it was a dog in rescue who had bitten 3 people then yes, it should be put to sleep. Why? Because it has issues and rescues do not usually have the ability to do rehab for the time necessary to be able to safely adopt out this dog. They cannot tie up a foster home for that time with one dog when in the same amount of time they could push many more dogs through there. And there are very few people out there who could safely adopt a dog like this and continue on with his training.

BUT this is not a rescue dog. This is a dog already in someone's home. If she is serious about rehabbing him, and has the time and willingness to commit to this, then let her!! Like Michelle said, once you see Chris do an evaluation you will trust his opinion. It is learned fear aggression, due to an irresponsible handler, in a young dog. He's got youth on his side, here. If the woman is serious about putting in the time and effort to this dog then yes, awesome. If not then the most humane thing to do would be to PTS immediately instead of passing over to a rescue to do the job so that he is even more confused, afraid, miserable.
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Postby katiek0417 » April 19th, 2006, 7:59 pm

I absolutely agree that any dog can bite. I also agree that dogs can be "rehabilitated" with hard work. If these owners are willing to pay for an evaluation, etc, then who are we to say they won't follow through. Time will tell on that one.

I will say that my other trainer, Wes, works with a lot of GSD rescues. Abaout a year ago, an older couple (maybe in their 60's) came in with a GSD named Mercedes. She was a rescue. Very young (maybe about 13 mos old). This dog was terribly frightened. No person or dog could come withing 10 feet of this dog without it growling, lunging, and snapping. She did have a bite under her belt...the owners were already very attached to her, and they did not want to put her down. They brought her to Wes knowing that he not only specialized in GSDs, but also aggressive dogs. She bit Wes that very first day. It was a tough road, but the owners worked tirelessly with her. Within nearly 2 months, Wes was able to have every one of us (his Champions class) take Mercedes' leash, walk with her, pet her, etc. She was even able to play with the other dogs during play time. While Mercedes is still apprehensive around strangers (and she might always be like that), she's not lunging and snapping at people.

As much training that goes into the dog, though...well, it also goes into the owner. Someone who has watched their dog be aggressive has a fear that it will happen again. When they walk the dog, they are frightened. They think "Uh oh, a person is coming towards us." The thing that people forget is that a leash is like an umbilical cord. Everything the owner feels travels right down the leash (when I compete with Sacha, she does better off-leash than on). Wes also worked with Mercedes' owners to help them gain confidence in their handling of her....

Mercedes' problem was not genetic, though. There may have been a different outcome if it was....
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Postby dogcrazyjen » April 19th, 2006, 8:32 pm

Chris, good for you for not turning her away. I have had several people come to me asking for help-every other trainer said to put these dogs down and refused to work with them. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not. But when the choice is turn them away knowing they refuse to put the dog down, or try to help them, it seems selfish not to at least try.

Please let us know how this turns out. Looks like you have done a good job so far.
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Postby Megan Welch » April 19th, 2006, 11:29 pm

Hello all,

I was present at the time of the evaluation (I was video taping) I can personally say that there was a clear difference in Bruce after Chris was able to work with him. When Bruce first entered the training building he was growling at me along with Chris. After Chris worked with Bruce, I was able to walk any where in the building and Bruce no longer growled at Chris or me.

If you had met this dog in person and were experienced with reading dog behavior and understanding people behavior you would understand that this behavior is a learned behavior.

My question to Maryellen is; have you ever been so sure that you are right about something? Have you ever been taught something by someone who thought it was absolutely correct? Have you then been corrected by another person, who explained to you (the right way), showed you, and made you understand why this way is correct? Its like the old adage “Ignorance is bliss.” If you know no different, how could you be expected to act any different? This was all Bruce was taught for 18 months of his life. Dogs can’t talk, they can’t verbally tell people to back off and that they are afraid. I see Bruce communicating that he is one confused dog.

I have seen Chris work with much worse dogs than Bruce. One particular dog comes to mind, Jack, a Chesapeake Bay retriever. Jack had bitten 15 people and most of them had to get stitches. When Jacks’ owner worked with him and explained everything to him correctly, she has never had the problem again. Jack now wins just about every competitive obedience trial he competes in and is now a certified therapy dog and goes into old age homes weekly. His owner is not worried at ALL that Jack will be a bite risk any longer. This owner, along with Bruce’s owner were not willing to put their problem dogs down. If you ask the average dog owner if they see their dog as their child 90% are going to say yes. Telling someone to put their dog down, who they think is their child, is like telling them to put their child down! It is NOT going to happen, and most people get offended and then are REALLY not going to train the dog.




Maryellen, I can understand from a rescue standpoint that most people getting a dog do not want to inherit a problem dog. People want a dog that already knows its house manners and is just going to sit around the house and love everyone. I cannot stress enough how this lady is not going to put her dog down. Even if she has to keep him locked away in her house and avoid contact with other people, she is not going to get rid of this dog. Should we just turn her away, when we are 100% sure that we can help her? Clearly you can see in the video that Bruce can change, remember that this is just the evaluation. Think of the progress we can make with this dog after 8 weeks of training, or 6 months of training, or a year of training. If you watch in the video Bruce is trying hard to run away from Chris, he does not WANT to bite, but he will if he is pressured into a situation. I can compare that to myself, I am not a fighter, but if I get pushed into a corner and feel the need to defend myself, I will rethink the thought of fight.


I have been training, learning and living with Chris for three years. EVERY time I seem to think Chris cannot solve a problem or he cannot do something with a dog, he always seems to impress me. When the evaluation with Bruce started I too believed that this dog should be put down. I looked at Chris while Bruce’s handler was filling out our paperwork, and shook my head in disgust. After watching Chris work (and being here for three years) I was simply impressed by his work. I want to personally invite you to our problem-solving seminar. I truly think you will learn a lot. I do not want to offend you at all, but I believe that with the line of work you are in, you cannot afford to miss this seminar. If you ask anyone who has come to Maine to work with Chris, NO one has EVER left here with something bad to say. Everyone always learns something when they are training with Chris. Weather you come to the seminar or not is completely up to you, but everyone is always treated like old friends when they are here we try to let everyone have a good time. Maryellen, if you decide to come to the seminar I can guarantee, if you keep an open mind while you are here, you will certainly learn something new about dogs. Especially about pit bulls, Chris is the pit bull guy; he knows all the idiosyncrasies of this breed. The seminar is not breed specific, but being in that breed rescue it certainly wouldn’t hurt to get as much information from experts as possible.

The picture below is Jack, the Chessie.

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Postby a-bull » April 20th, 2006, 9:10 am

Did I miss info. about the seminar??

I'd like to come to one . . .
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Postby Purple » April 20th, 2006, 9:16 am

a-bull wrote:Did I miss info. about the seminar??

I'd like to come to one . . .


http://www.k9sts.com/events/
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Postby a-bull » April 20th, 2006, 9:22 am

cool, thanks.

What is the focus of the seminar?

Does it mostly surround protection and bitework---because I'm not really into that much . . .
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