Inside most growling, barking, lunging dogs, is a confident, well-adjusted friend just waiting to come out. With patience, good humor and positive training, we can make it happen.
- Specialist in dog fear and aggression
- Aggression towards other dogs
- Aggression towards people
- Object or location guarding
- Experienced with large dogs and bull -.breeds
- Practical, straightforward techniques
to help you manage and progress
- Expert help for multi-dog households
- Positive, kind, safe training methods
Finding the friend inside
Having a dog as a friend can be one of the most joyful experiences in the world. But some dogs can turn out to be an unexpected challenge - even if you’re an experienced owner. It doesn’t mean your dog is bad, mean or untrainable. But you need some expert help. If this is you, stop the worrying and let’s talk.
I’m Alex Lezcano CTC and I’ve been working as a professional dog trainer for more than five years.
If you’ve had a run around the site, you’ll know that I have a particular interest in helping the
owners of dogs with fear-related aggression. I know that those owners are often experienced
and have done a great job with general obedience training. But they’ve hit the wall with this
particular problem and need help – understanding help, kind help, help from someone with
a cool-head and a sense of humor that will get them on track and bring out the best in the
dog they love.
A bit of background
I grew up around dogs and have had dogs in my life for as long as I can remember. But I know that to help you with your dog’s behavior, then instinct, intuition and hands-on experience alone aren’t enough. Your relationship with your dogs is so important that if you’re going to put your trust in me, you want to know I have the education, training and qualifications. Here are mine:
I’ve studied, and continued to study, how dogs learn, the most effective techniques to train them and how to pass those techniques on to owners.
I am certified by CSAT.
I am also a graduate in advanced dog training and behavior at the Academy for Dog Trainers, led by the world-renowned training and behavior expert, Jean Donaldson.
Sharkie, Snookie and Schatzie
Read their story
Lynn and Tony were finding their three Schnauzers a challenge. Lynn and Tony were retired and what was supposed to be a relaxing, enjoyable time for the couple was becoming increasingly stressful.
All three of the dogs barked constantly. One of their dogs was anxious and fearful when out on a walk, which made him difficult to manage. Another was extremely shy and anxious and often cowered, even around the house.
After a series of training sessions, all of their dogs gradually learned that other dogs didn’t need to be feared and walks were a great adventure. They became much more confident and outgoing. And the unruly barking was under control. The stress levels came down for everyone, human and canine and Lynn, Tony and their Schnauzer trio are loving their new life.
Mary and Owen’s cattle dog, Pocima was aggressive to dogs while on leash and worryingly spooky around humans with objects in their hands. A little assessment and work showed that Pocima wasn’t fear aggressive, she was highly social (if not particularly well-mannered) and her aggressiveness on leash was frustration. She wanted to meet and greet. Her spooky behaviour around humans with objects was just because she wanted them to throw it and give her a game of fetch. She’s learned to control her frustration and she’s proved to be a really ball crazy girl, but now sits waiting for the throw. Happy Ending.
Click here for how we can help
How I can help you and your dog?
Four steps to a fun, fearless friendship
My approach to training is based on an extensive study of the way dogs learn and long experience of working with them and their people.
Here’s how it works:
• Assess: What’s the problem, when and where does it happen most?
• Manage: Put in place some positive tools and techniques to manage things safely for you, your family and others
• Modify: Get down to work pretty smartly to start modifying the behavior
• Repeat, repeat and reinforce: Make sure every step of progress in your dog’s behavior is positively reinforced and practiced in different environments and circumstances. That way, you’ll get predictable, calm behavior wherever you are
Understanding fear and aggression
Lose the fear, lose the aggression
For a dog, aggression isn’t ‘meanness’, it’s part of the way they communicate. Sometimes that’s related to fear, even if, in our eyes, they’ve got no reason to be afraid. If they’re frightened of other dogs or strangers, they want them to go away. If they see a threat to their ‘stuff’ – their food, toys, their home, even their owner, they want to defend them.
We may not know why they’re fearful. (We can’t get the dog on the psychiatrist’s couch and analyze him.) But the good news is, actually, we don’t need to know. We can go from where we are and start taking positive steps to change the dog’s view of the world and his behavior.
My job is to help your dog learn that what he fears isn’t fearful at all. In fact, it predicts really good stuff, so he’s no reason to be aggressive.
Cooling the frustration
Not all aggressive behavior is about fear. Sometimes, all that lunging and barking is about frustration. They want to get to that other dog or that person to say ‘hello’ but the leash or the fence gets in the way. This calls for a different approach. We want these dogs to learn that well-mannered behavior is what’s needed if they’re going to be able to say ‘hi’ or get to ‘people watch’ in the yard.
Neither is an instant fix. Fear-related aggression, particularly, takes time, patience and a head that’s cool under pressure. But that’s where I come in. I’ll give you techniques to manage your dog’s behavior safely while we’re making progress with training. And my approach is always positive.
Making the journey to fearlessness fun
Having an aggressive dog is no joke. But that doesn’t mean that training can’t be enjoyable. The more you and your dog feel relaxed and enjoy training, the easier the progress. That’s an important part of my job, too.
Just need some help with obedience?
Want to cut to the chase?
Click here for first steps and prices
Not aggressive, but out of control?
If you’ve got a happy, confident dog, but with some frustrating habits, I can help here, too.
If your dog is jumping up at people, exhausting you by pulling on the leash, or refusing to come back when you call, get in touch and we’ll talk about how I can help.
Busting some myths
There are plenty of myths around dog training. They don’t help. They just serve to make good owners feel bad about their dogs. So let’s bust a few here:
Aggressive dogs are trying to dominate
No they’re not. They may be afraid (concerned for themselves or stuff that’s important to them, like food or toys) and trying to get what’s frightening them to go away. Aggression is a strategy that works for them – usually, the frightening thing does indeed go away. So they repeat the behavior. Punishing the aggressive display just makes the dog more fearful. You suppress the signs, but not the fear. That can make the dog unpredictable. If backed into a corner, they may bite.
In other cases, the dog is just frustrated and that frustration tips over into growling, barking and lunging when they can’t get to the object of their frustration. (We all know what frustration can feel like).
Either way, they’re not trying to dominate their owner.
Aggressive dogs are just badly trained
It ain’t necessarily so. Many fearful and aggressive dogs are extremely obedient until they’re put in a situation that makes them afraid. Owners who haven’t experienced this before may well struggle to deal with it. They’ll almost certainly have people telling them they should punish their dog or ‘show him who’s boss’. But that just makes the situation worse.
Dealing with fear and aggression is tricky. It calls for diligence, patience and impeccable timing. It’s not an easy skill to acquire without help.
Once aggressive, always aggressive
Not so. Dogs can learn to overcome their fear or control their frustrations with kindness and patience. Once we’ve accomplished this, they can be happy, confident, loving companions. Obviously, it’s important to take things slowly and manage the risks to yourself, other people and other dogs. In some severe cases, you may need to continue to manage those risks throughout your dog’s life. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good life together. And the earlier we start on the road of modifying the behavior, the better.
Some breeds are more aggressive than others
There isn’t evidence to support this. Some breeds have a bad reputation in the media without a doubt because a small minority of owners encourage and promote their dogs’ aggression. But that’s not a reputation the breed overall has earned or deserves. I work with all breeds of dog – none are more difficult to help than others.
Training sessions and packages
Here’s how my training sessions work and how much they cost.
• Give me a call and we’ll have a chat about you and your dog and the behavior issue that is causing you problems.
• If you want to progress, I’ll come and see you, assess your dog and we’ll talk about a training program.
• Dogs learn best in short bursts (so do humans, come to that) so sessions are around an hour long.
You can choose:
Training together: I’ll work with you and your dog together, talk you through the techniques, how dogs learn and how to spot the signals of progress so we know when to move onto the next step
Day training: I’ll come to your house to train your dog two to three days a week for an hour and do the ‘heavy lifting’. If you’re out at work or want to get on with your day, that’s fine. I’ll give you a report on what we’ve learned, the progress made and the next steps. I’ll come and meet you every week to talk to you about what we’ve done, transfer the knowledge and demonstrate techniques.
Single sessions: $125 dollars per session. If your dog has fear related aggression, we’ll need multiple sessions to make solid progress. Slow and steady is the key to lasting success.
Six packs: $ 690 for six hour-long sessions
Aggressive dogs and medical problems
In some cases, aggression can have a medical cause. If your dog’s behavior has changed suddenly, he may be in pain or have neurological problems. If there is any doubt, I’ll advise you to contact your vet for a check up to rule out any medical cause.
Give me a call