In the wake of two recent dog attacks in the Bay Area, one of them deadly, dog trainers urge the owners of all dogs to take responsibility for aggressive behavior.
Josh Bond turned to a dog trainer 3 weeks ago, after his one year old border collie mix Bristow turned from protective into aggressive. "It was kind of out of control where we couldn't stop him from being aggressive toward other people. He would lunge at strangers on the street, people who would come over, he would jump or lunge at them, nip."
Bond says he also wanted his dog to learn how to adjust to his new role in the family, after the arrival of baby Xander.
"We absolutely don't want him to ever harm Xander. Everyone is part of our family. The dog is part of the family too, but obviously baby comes first," says Bond.
Dog trainer Jas Leverette, founder of California Canine Solutions, says people have to understand three things about their dogs. "Understand the dog's temperament, read dog's body lanugage, and socialize the dog correctly."
Leverette says different breeds are prone to different behaviors, but all dogs can be trained to behave well, no matter the situation. He says the key is establishing a relationship with the dog where it is clear you are the pack leader, and the dog is not dominant over any humans in your family, including children.
He says dog owners should watch for dominant behaviors from the dog: jumping up, pawing, raised hackles or even the slightest growl are all signs of aggression and red flags that the dog thinks he's in charge, not you. Leverette also says people who have multiple dogs should be aware of the pack energy among the dogs, and the potential that one aggressive animal could set off the others. "You need to recognize it and address the issue because it will escalate," says Leverette.
As for Bond, he says Bristow is already showing signs of improvement. He says the dog is calmer, more obedient and less aggressive. He looks forward to seeing his son and dog grow up together. "I would like to see them be best friends."