Fearful, Reactive and Aggressive Dog Coaching

Aggressive Dog Training

Family Dog Mediation® and Coaching for Fearful, Reactive and Aggressive Dogs

The vast majority of dogs that display any type of reactive or aggressive dog behavior are experiencing some level of fear, frustration, anxiety, or stress … a small percentage of others may simply be performing the instinctual behaviors that they were selectively bred to do. “Fearful, reactive and aggressive dogs” are just having “big feelings” and need help learning how to cope.

These programs are best suited for dogs who:
  • Bark and lunge at dogs, people or moving objects during walks
  • Bark, growl or cower when greeting strangers
  • Guard food, toys, people or spaces
  • Fight with other dogs &/or pets in your home
  • Act out when left home alone
  • Have issues with being handled
  • Are scared or fearful when introduced to new environments
  • Fence fight with other dogs

If you do not see your particular issue on this list, that’s okay.  In the majority of cases, we can customize one of the Fearful, Reactive or Aggressive Coaching programs described below to meet your needs. Please email me to discuss your situation.

Were you referred to Crimson Hound by your veterinarian, a pet professional or a family friend? Send me an email and tell me who I can thank for the referral and I will send you a one-time coupon code for 10% off the price of a package.

What will my journey with Crimson Hound look like?

Your “training” plan will go BEYOND dog training. It may involve management protocols, muzzle training, communication, games, enrichment and, yes, it will involve teaching your dog some new behaviors. The solution may involve a bit of learning and compromise on your part as we use your list of wants and desires to develop a realistic set of goals that will also meet your dog’s needs.

Only modern, ethical reward-based methods that follow LIMA training principles will be used – methods that do not rely on the use of force, coercion or intimidation. Your Crimson Hound training plan will NOT include the application of aversive techniques and quick fixes such as squirt bottles, choke collars, slip leads, prong collars, or e-collars (AKA bark collar, vibration collar, training collar, shock collar) to address and unwanted behaviors.  

In order to fully support you and your dog, I may recommend consulting a veterinarian, a veterinary behaviorist or I may refer you to another trusted trainer who may be better able address you and your dog’s needs.

Crimson Hound does NOT use “corrections” with aversive tools in response to so-called “bad” behaviors. Why not?

In some cases, what the client sees as bad behaviors are actually just the dog performing behaviors that humans have spent thousands of years selectively breeding that dog to perform. In such cases, you can’t punish away these instinctual behaviors without causing mental distress to the dog. We can, however, teach the dog new, alternative behaviors that the owner will find acceptable.

As mentioned previously, the vast majority of dogs who display what we consider fearful, reactive and aggressive behaviors do so out of fear, anxiety (chronic fear) and distress. Punishing a dog for trying to communicate its feelings is not only unethical, but it generally has long-term fallout without long-term gain.

As a trainer who believes in using ethical, rewards-based training methods, I will look for the cause of the fear or aggression and build our training plan from there.

AVSAB Statement on Humane Dog Training

“Based on current scientific evidence, AVSAB recommends that only reward-based training methods are used for all dog training, including the treatment of behavior problems. Aversive training methods have a damaging effect on both animal welfare and the human-animal bond. There is no evidence that aversive methods are more effective than reward-based methods in any context. AVSAB therefore advises that aversive methods should not be used in animal training or for the treatment of behavior disorders.”

Read the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior’s full position statement here.


Training Package Options
for Fearful, Reactive or Aggressive Dogs

Everyone is in a different place with regard to knowledge and training experience. This is why Crimson Hound offers two styles of coaching programs for fearful, reactive and aggressive behaviors that are grounded in Family Dog Mediation®.

Which one is right for you?

Keep in mind that the fewer coaching sessions you choose, the lower the probability of reaching the goals that you have established for you and your dog. Dogs that either have severe behavior problems or have been practicing maladaptive behaviors for extended periods of time will require more time to learn new behaviors. I recommend that clients who are working with more severe behavior problems begin with 6 sessions. Additional 2-session extension packs can be purchased as needed.

Are you new to dog training? Do you have the time and want to take on the challenge with the support of a dog trainer to guide you on every step of the journey?

The Complete Reactive Program includes the Initial Mediation Session plus 4 or 6 coaching sessions, coaching support between sessions, customized notes and homework after each session, video tutorials plus much more.

Do you have a full schedule? Are you struggling to find the time for dog training each day?

The Reactive Safe At Home Day Program is designed to accommodate your busy lifestyle. After outlining your goals during our Initial Mediation Session, I will come into your home and teach your dog for you during three sessions each week. The length of this program will vary depending on your goals and where your dog is currently sitting along the pathway to success. A minimum commitment of four weeks is required for the Reactive Safe At Home Day Training program.

Which program is best for a dog with Separation Anxiety?

First, we need to differentiate between separation-related behaviors and true separation anxiety.

Does your dog bark, whine or howl for a short while after being left alone? Does your dog destroy items when left alone – chews up shoes, rips up a pillow, gets into the garbage, etc.? If you answered yes to either question, your dog is most likely performing separation-related behaviors the Complete Reactive Program. These behaviors generally take place when the dog is left home alone by the owner, so would not be a good fit for any type of day training or board-and-train program (regardless of what you may have been told).

True Separation Anxiety is a panic disorder and cannot simply be trained away. A dog with SA goes into a panic attack when left alone and will not settle until the owner returns. The dog may bark and howl and work himself up into a frenzy. He will likely also drool excessively and urinate and/or defecate (even though house trained). In his frenzied efforts to escape the confines of the home, the dog may destroy doors, windows or trim and may injure himself trying to break out of his crate or get out through a window. These dogs need the support of a veterinarian, who may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication, and a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer. A CSAT is a professional dog trainer who specializes in working with separation anxiety. The road to recovery is a very long, slow process involving virtual training with a CSAT and supporting your dog by not leaving him alone until he is able to cope.

I can help you with separation-related behaviors, but will refer you to a CSAT if your dog has separation anxiety.


What happens during the Family Dog Mediation® Session?

Every client begins his/her journey with an Initial Mediation Session.  During this 90-minute session, we will use the lens of Family Dog Mediation® to look at your dog’s L.E.G.S.® to help you understand why your dog does what he does and explain why many of the “bad behaviors” that you are seeing may just be your dog being the dog he was designed to be.

We will review your goals, look at areas where your dog shines and places where there might be misunderstanding and/or miscommunication between you and your dog. From here, we will begin to develop a solution that will meet the needs of both you and your dog. Your “training” plan will go BEYOND dog training. The solution may involve a bit of learning and compromise on your part as we take your list of wants and desires and develop a realistic set of goals that will also meet your dog’s needs.

Why happens between coaching sessions?

  • Homework.  After each session, you will receive a list of things to work on.
  • Practice … Practice … Practice.  Behaviors do not just happen overnight.  It takes a lot of practice to teach a skill or modify a behavior.  Set aside time for several short training sessions each day – no more than 5-10 minutes.   
  • Set your dog up for success. Be sure to end sessions while your dog is still having fun so that she will want to come back for another training session.  If you or your dog is getting frustrated, take a short break and regroup.  
  • Distance, Duration and Distraction. When working on any new behavior, add and increase each of these, one at a time and in small increments.
  • Remember …. baby steps.  Take small steps in advancing behaviors.  If you take too big a step and your dog is unsuccessful, reel yourself back a bit.
  • Help your dog generalize new skills.  Just because he knows how to ‘sit’ in the living room, it does not mean that he will immediately know how to ‘sit’ in the kitchen or out in the yard.  Be patient and practice in different locations to help your dog to transfer and generalize behaviors.
  • Keep a training journal.  Sometimes, it can feel like you are making little to no progress, but if you keep a daily training journal, you can look back and see just how far you have come. This is also a great place to keep track of questions that you want to ask during your next session.

Why does Crimson Hound no longer sell single sessions?

While the Initial Family Dog Mediation® Session is an extremely informative andintegral part of my programs, it is NOT a complete training plan in and of itself. It is simply the stepping-off point for your journey with your dog. In order to be successful, additional coaching sessions are needed to help you incorporate what you learned in the Initial Mediation Session, along with other skills you will learn along the way, into daily life with your dog.

Learning a new skill or changing an old habit is not an overnight process. Depending on how long the dog has been practicing the behavior, it can take a significant amount of time to create a new replacement behavior. This requires time, patience, repetition and consistency. Crimson Hound’s coaching program options provide flexibility, while still providing support for you and your dog throughout your journey.

“It takes as long as it takes. There is no time limit on behavior change.”

~ Deb Jones, Ph.D.


Complete Reactive Program

The Complete Reactive Program provides you with all of the training and coaching support necessary to set you up for success – coaching sessions in the privacy of your own home, coaching support between sessions, customized notes and homework after each session, video tutorials, and much more.

Your dog is struggling, but I know from experience that living with a fearful, reactive or aggressive dog can take a huge toll on you, the pet parent, as well. Teaching your dog new skills, modifying maladaptive behaviors and changing negative associations is only a portion of the equation when it comes to addressing fearful, reactive and aggressive dog behaviors! I will help you along every step of your journey.

Keep in mind that the fewer coaching sessions you choose, the lower the probability of reaching the goals that you have established for you and your fearful, reactive or aggressive dog.

The Complete Reactive Program Includes:
  • Initial Family Dog Mediation®  Session* (1.5 hours)
  • Six 60-minute coaching sessions
  • Custom homework plan after each coaching session
  • Your New Dog booklet
  • Relevant handouts &/or reading material
  • Video tutorials
  • Coaching support between sessions

*This program can be extended in 2-week packs as needed.

The Initial Family Dog Mediation®  Session* may be conducted in-person or virtually – depending on the situation.

Coaching topics may include: muzzle acclimation, causes of leash reactivity, resource guarding and/or aggression, management and enrichment protocols, communication, new skill building, Topics will vary as every program is customized to each client’s unique needs.

If you have completed the Initial Family Dog Mediation®  Session PLUS at least two (2) Coaching Sessions, you are eligible to attend Group Practice Sessions. During these 45-minute sessions, you will have the opportunity to practice the skills that you are leaning with other reactive dog clients in small groups of 2 to 3.


** A 2-week Extension can be purchased within 5 days of completion of purchased program.

Were you referred to Crimson Hound by your veterinarian, a pet professional or a family friend? Send me an email and tell me who I can thank for the referral and I will send you a one-time coupon code for 10% off the price of this package.


Reactive Safe at Home Day Program

Feeling overwhelmed about your dog’s training or behavior issues? Difficulty in finding time in your schedule to work with your dog every day? Worried about sending your dog away for a board-and-train program? Let Crimson Hound do the heavy lifting with a fully-customized program hel

The Reactive Safe at Home Day Program is the perfect alternative to a board-and-train program. When you enroll in this program, I will visit three times each week to work one-on-one with your dog – in your home and around your neighborhood.  Your dog stays in your home for the entirety of the program and is trained using only reward-based methods that are based on the latest in dog behavior science. Aversive tools and methods will NEVER be used when working with your dog.

During the Initial Family Dog Mediation® Session, we will discuss your goals and your dog’s needs. From this, we will develop a customized training plan that will guide us through the program. This training plan will be a living document to which we can expect to makes changes as we move through the process.

Teaching your dog new skills and changing old habits is only a portion of the equation when it comes to modifying behaviors and learning new skills! When thinking about which program to choose, keep in mind that the fewer coaching sessions you choose, the lower the probability of reaching the goals that you have established for you and your dog. 

This program includes the necessary dog training, but also includes tons of support for YOU as well. Over the course of the program, you will receive post-session updates and short videos so you know what skills we are working on. You will be asked to schedule a weekly skills transfer session so that I can coach you through each step so that you can continue to work with your dog throughout the week.

The Reactive Safe At Home Program Includes:
  • Initial Family Dog Mediation®  Session (1.5 hours)
  • Minimum of 4 weeks of in-home sessions (3 times per week)
  • Weekly skills transfer session with owners
  • Video updates and homework after each session
  • Custom homework plan after each coaching session
  • Your New Dog booklet
  • Relevant handouts &/or reading material
  • Video tutorials
  • Coaching support between sessions
  • Enrichment activities at the end of every session

This program can be extended in 2-week packs as needed.

Day Training is perfect for:
  • Muzzle acclimation
  • Leash manners and reactivity
  • Inability to relax
  • Impulse control issues around food, toys and doorways
  • Confidence building
  • Cooperative care techniques for handling difficulty
Day Training is NOT a good option for:
  • Dogs that are fearful of humans
  • Any type of human-directed aggression
  • Any type of behaviors directed towards specific people
  • Separation anxiety


** A 2-week Extension can be purchased within 5 days of completion of purchased program.

Were you referred to Crimson Hound by your veterinarian, a pet professional or a family friend? Send me an email and tell me who I can thank for the referral and I will send you a one-time coupon code for 10% off the price of this package.

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