Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  How would you respond to this request?

    Posted 11-16-2017 01:03 PM

    We received this request for advice. How would your respond?

    "I am writing to you in regards to my family dog, Zeus. He is a two year old German Shepherd.
    June 10, 2015 was the best day of my siblings and my life! Our parents allowed us to get a family dog! I remember the 2 hour car ride to pick him up as if it was yesterday! Life was great! We have always wanted a family dog, and that year our dream came true! But since that time, my parents separated and my dad took Zeus with him- my siblings and I stayed with our mom. Recently my parents decided to work on things and my dad and Zeus are back with us. Unfortunately, Zeus returned not the same dog he was when he left. Because my dad was so busy focusing and working on himself, he forgot to focus his energy on Zeus' mental needs.

    We are so happy to have Zeus back, however he has turned people aggressive and has even forgotten and started to hate some of my siblings. Because of this, he has to be tied up or in his kennel a majority of the time. My parents and I have looked into intense boot camp training for aggression and we found one that we might be interested in, if we can find money to pay for it. My parents just broke the news to us that their last resort, if no one is willing to take him in, is send him to the pound! We are all so upset. All my siblings and I want for Christmas is to be able to keep our friend, Zeus.

    If you have any suggestions or tips, please send them my way!"

    What would you recommend to this person? What are your thoughts about Zeus? What are your thoughts about boot camp? What kind of recommendations do you make with this type of situation? Would you provide any advice related to surrendering Zeus?


  • 2.  RE: How would you respond to this request?

    Posted 11-19-2017 10:48 AM

    I fostered a dog that was DOG aggressive and the trainer at the shelter suggested that I go to Dr. Ian Dunbar's web site for training tips.  I ended up spending $75 for a 15 part lecture that taught me a lot!!  It's a big time investment but I ended up adopting the dog so I'm glad to have the knowledge.  Dunbar is a veterinarian and an animal behaviorist who uses positive training techniques.  He uses food treats (Ziwi Peak which is a kind of kibble) but my dog is a very picky eater so I use a home made peanut butter/pumpkin dog biscuit that I make (recipe is online) and that works well and is nutritious.  Good luck.


  • 3.  RE: How would you respond to this request?

    Posted 12-06-2017 03:58 PM

    Ian Dunbar is awesome, isn't he??  He has wonderful dog training content as well as content for dogs with problems


  • 4.  RE: How would you respond to this request?

    Posted 12-06-2017 08:36 PM

  • 5.  RE: How would you respond to this request?

    Posted 11-21-2017 06:52 PM

    Oh wow, I feel for this family. It doesn't sound like a good situation if he's not liking the kids. I worry about the training-- lots of 'intense boot camps for aggression' that I've heard of use negative methods like shock collars that could make his issues worse. I would make sure they find out what methods the boot camp uses before they send him there. If someone was asking me, I'd recommend that they take him to a veterinary behaviorist instead and go from there.


  • 6.  RE: How would you respond to this request?

    Posted 12-06-2017 03:57 PM

    That's super important, right? Finding out what training techniques are used??


  • 7.  RE: How would you respond to this request?

    Posted 12-07-2017 12:15 PM

    Wow, what a sad story.  Where is this family located?  I think they need intervention on a team level.  A veterinarian well versed in behavior (they could find that at, a veterinary behavior specialist ( and a positive reinforcement trainer.  I would bet my next cup of coffee that the veterinarian consult and positive trainer would be less expensive and likely more humane than the bootcamp trainer.  This will help to determine what exactly this dog needs and address the problem on a comprehensive level.  They can find a qualified trainer in their area by asking some simple questions.  My favorites I've heard and now use are:  What happens when the dog gets it right?  What happens if the dog gets it wrong?  Something painful, frightening or otherwise unpleasant should not be the answer to the second question.  

    My two cents on a sad situation.  



  • 8.  RE: How would you respond to this request?

    Posted 01-04-2018 06:59 AM

    Just curious if there is any update on this situation? How commendable of the kids to reach out..I wonder their ages?  First thing I do in situations like these is ask to speak to the owners of the dog(preferably both via speaker phone). I ask very detailed questions to understand the nuances of the circumstances. IE I have found quite often in owner surrenders the owner or  the person trying to help will say the dog bites or has bitten, is aggressive, doesn't like people and so on when in fact that is their interpretations but not  totally factual or circumstances surrounding incident/s give glimpses as to the provoking factor.  Not saying in this case but I do know detailed questions will yield a lot of crucial information to make a better determination of best course of action.


  • 9.  RE: How would you respond to this request?

    Posted 01-10-2018 12:10 PM

    Hi Mary Lou,


    Sorry for the delayed reply.  We made recommendations to these people, but i don't know the outcome.  Good suggestions, thanks for your post!