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An Aggressive Dog. A two-day course is coming to


St. Petersburg to address the issues of working with an aggressive dog.


by Joann Rechtine, CPDT-KA, MS, MPH, RN, CPC


If you have been asked to work with a dog that has been labeled aggressive, you may feel anxious and a bit fearful. Most of us are not adequately prepared to deal with the issues that this type of dog may have nor do we have the skill set needed to ensure that we (people working with dogs), the owners and the dog stay safe. I was spurred to learn more about working with aggressive


dogs by a specific incident. Before I studied to become a dog train- er, I volunteered to walk dogs at a shelter. At the initial visit I was told to go into the kennel area and ask a volunteer who I could take for a walk. As an aside, this was my first time EVER in a shelter. I did as I was instructed and leashed up a dog for a walk. As we were leaving the kennel area a dog in a run lunged at the dog I was walking and “my” dog lunged back. Another volunteer tried to intervene, and she was bitten by the dog that I was walking. It was traumatic for all, but mostly for the dog I was walking as he now had a bite history. All of this could have been prevented if there had been proper training and education provided. Michael Shikashio, CDBC and Trish Loehr, MSC, CPDT-KA,


ACCBC, CDBC have spent the last few years going around the country and world teaching people like me about safety, defensive handling and the behavior modification techniques necessary to keep all involved safe. They are experts in the field of aggression, ani- mal behavior and rehabilitation. Both saw a need for education as they encountered many situations in the training and shelter world where people and dogs were getting hurt. There was a lack of knowledge on the dog handler’s part about what to watch for with so called aggressive dogs and how to manage training and handling sessions safely. There are many things to be considered when one is thinking


about working with an aggressive dog. Do you understand canine body language? Is there a safe place to do an assessment and do you have the proper equipment? Can you get the dog to/from a kennel safely? Do you know how to break up a dog fight? Do you have the proper leash handling skills? The list goes on and on. The two-day course coming to St. Petersburg in March, will


address these issues and more. If you work or volunteer in a shelter or rescue group, you won’t want to miss this opportunity. Aggression in Dogs: Safety, Defensive Handling, and Training will be presented March 3-4 at the Dog Training Club of St. Petersburg. Michael Shikashio and Trish Loehr, along with forensic dog bite expert Jim Crosby, M.S., CBCC-KA, of Jacksonville, Florida, will be speaking on dog to human aggression. The workshop is open to all trainers, behavior consultants, veterinarians, shelter staff, or anyone interested in learning more about dog aggression and how to stay safe.


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Aggression in Dogs: Safety, Defensive Handling & Training. March 3-4. 9a-5p. Dog Training Club of St. Petersburg, 4400-B 34th Street N., St. Petersburg. DTCSP.org For informa- tion on the course, contact Joann at 585.905.8281


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