Posts filed under ‘Dog Behavior modification’

Adopting a Rescue Dog



I received a phone call from Metro Area Animal Adoption Association asking if I could come out to evaluate a dog named Cupid that had developed some aggressive behaviors. Cupid is a Golden Retriever, Chow & German Shepherd mix and he’s about two years old.

What a Cutie!

He had been adopted once but returned due to aggression. At first I was hesitant to take on Cupid’s case. Upon evaluation, if I got too close to him, he would lunge aggressively at me. So putting on a leash or collar was out of the question. So was trying to get him off the couch! Simple handling of Cupid was nearly impossible for me. But once Julie, who met me at the foster home to help out, put his leash on I grabbed it and went for a walk with Cupid. Immediately I discovered that underneath the aggression was a dog who wanted only to give kisses and to be loved but most of all needed guidance, discipline and strong leadership.
Although I was still hesitant about this case I decided to take Cupid into my home and try to rehabilitate him.

Chance Hanging Out

Chance Hanging Out

Initially there were power struggles, attempts at lunging aggressively at me and some biting. It was touch and go at first but through it all I saw a sweet sole underneath his tough exterior. Each day Cupid would respond better and better. There were fewer power struggles, no lunging, but still some dirty looks!
In the end, Cupid accepted the guidance and direction he was given.

He loved to run in open fields and chasing a Frisbee or tennis balls. However, he won’t bring them back so he still needs some work on the whole fetch thing! Now, almost a month later, Cupid’s aggression has disappeared and throughout all the trials and tribulations of his rehabilitation

Chance is such a Good Boy!

Chance is such a Good Boy!

process I fell in love with him and decided to adopt him to be a part of my pack. He is truly a joy and I am really enjoying his company. To be honest I started taking him everywhere and he loves it.

Think it Fits My Image

Think it Fits My Image

Cupid has also brought back life into my own two dogs who are 12 and 14 yrs old. Usually my dogs never want to socialize with the dogs that come into our house for behavior issues because they are old and arthritic and it’s just too much effort to socialize. But amazingly they did with Cupid.

Polo, Danny & Chance

Polo, Danny & Chance

Cupid has given my two dogs a second chance at living a youthful life and for that I am forever grateful!
Now Cupid’s name has been changed to Chance. As the title of this story suggests, everyone needs a second Chance. So Chance was an appropriate name for a dog that truly has been given a second chance at living his life to the fullest.

May 7, 2019 at 11:13 pm Leave a comment

Casey Is On Her Way To Become A Seizure Response Dog

Casey is destined to serve a special duty to her owner and that is to inform him of an impeding seizure.  In reality Service dogs are born with a certain temperament and personality. But her owners love her and are willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. Casey is 10 months old and is all puppy.

Can we Play?

Can we Play?

She is quite active, but has more of a nervous hyper temperament and gets startled easily. She is very manipulative and knows how to get what she wants. One of the games that Casey likes to play is to race around the yard and do a full nelson on the owner’s poor Mom. She jumps on guests and sometimes when you try to make her do something she will roll on her belly as she kicks out her feet in all different directions. Oh and I almost forgot about getting car sick. Which can be a problem if she is supposed to travel with her owner all the time.


The actual training to be a seizure response dog will be done by a certified Service Dog Trainer provided she passes the initial evaluation. A seizure response dog requires special training and has to have the right personality. There have been many cases where a dog has actually bitten the person having a seizure.


The major reasons that Casey went to bootcamp is to address the jumping, nervous hyper behavior and to socialize her so that she isn’t so fearful about her surroundings.  Even when she sits still it seems like her head and eyes are swinging back and forth and her eyes show how nervous she is.


The first few training sessions were just for brushing up on her obedience. I worked on walking on a loose leash, sit, sit-stay, down & come. By the afternoon of the second day she was working at a level that would allow me to start taking her places.

See How Good I Can Be.

See How Good I Can Be.

Now working on the jumping is 24/7. Every time she got out of the crate, running around outside and even a little in the house, she was ready to jump and I was ready to correct. The good news is that her jumping is getting less and less frequent. Once again her jumping is a way to control the situation. If she doesn’t like what you are doing she jumps, if she doesn’t want to do an exercise she jumps and if she is overly excited she jumps.


After the first two days it was time to start socializing her. Shyness can be expressed several different ways. The most common is that a dog will tuck their tail under their legs with ears down and not make any eye contact. They may try to move away when someone approaches. Another way is a dog that really wants to say HI, but is afraid or not sure of how to act. Their tail may wag, but as soon as someone goes to pet them. The dog will turn into a mop. They will suddenly flop down, wiggle all over the place and perhaps submissive urinate. The head will toss back and forth and try to avoid eye contact. This was Casey’s style. So it was essential that she be socialized in a controlled setting.


Our first trips were to different pet stores. The environment at a pet store will have lots of distractions, but will also be quieter and not as many people. The good news is that by the end of the visit to the second store, she was calming down and not so nervous. The next phase was to take her to the city. I took her to  Royal Oak and Birmingham.

Casey in Royal Oak

Casey in Royal Oak

These would be short jaunts in the car which will let her get used to driving in a car. There was only one time that she got sick and that was actually the second time I took her anywhere. I am glad to say that I am seeing an improvement each time we go.  Today my plan is to take her to Rochester. The drive will be the longest she went on and it is my hope that she doesn’t get sick. She is improving each day and I have high hopes that she will be fine.




November 9, 2010 at 2:15 pm Leave a comment

Adopting the Right Dog

Adopting the Right Dog? Copyright@2010

Remember that your decision to adopt should be based on your lifestyle and the lifestyle of your family and not based on how cute or cuddly a particular rescue dog may look.  Dog ownership is a huge commitment and a big responsibility so you should take your time and avoid a rushed decision.

Working with Nina a rescue dog

Working with Nina a rescue dog

Be aware that many rescue dogs have a somewhat turbulent past which may require extra attention to training and behavior modification.  You must be prepared to spend the necessary time that may be needed to ensure stability in your new dog. It is also very important to make an informed decision on adopting a particular dog. Ask questions about background, prior owners, etc.  It is very easy to make a decision based on emotion when the sad eyes and scared faces are tugging at your heartstrings.  However, this can be a recipe for disaster.  It is your job to make a sound decision based on breed research, stability and appropriateness of temperament for your family. If you are full of emotion, you cannot make a sound decision and your family and your new companion will suffer as a result.  So be sure to resist any decision that is based purely on emotion.

I cannot stress enough the importance of analyzing your lifestyle and choosing a dog that matches your energy level. For example, a less active family should not choose a high energy dog that requires lots of exercise. A more active family should choose a dog that is able to join your family functions and is capable of being very social. If a low energy family chooses a dog that has high energy, both family and dog will suffer greatly and behavioral issues are sure to arise. Many dogs are returned to the rescue group or humanely euthanized due to the owner’s inability to control behaviors that are a result of a bad match between the dog’s activity level and temperament and the family’s social structure and activity level.  Don’t let this happen to you!   You want to make sure your new dog would have a forever home.

I have personally adopted three dogs and they all have brought great joy into my life. In fact my first dog was a stray found on Ryan Rd. We called him “Ryan”.



I also adopted a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever named Rivie. She became a certified Therapy Dog. Currently I have Windy my big yellow Labrador. What a great dog.


June 24, 2010 at 3:01 pm Leave a comment

Working on Territorial Aggression and Crate Aggression

Worked on territorial aggression and crate aggression

Continue Reading March 24, 2010 at 7:22 am Leave a comment

Tucker, the Rescue Dog goes Shopping

We went to the Pet Supplies Plus on Woodward and worked around these distractions and stimulus. Once again he was nervous at first and gave

Tucker in the Pet Store

Tucker goes shopping

everyone a watchful eye. Within a half hour he was taking treats from all the men. Great job Tucker!

March 24, 2010 at 7:13 am Leave a comment

Tucker’s First Day in the City

Dealing with city life can be scary for a country boy.

Continue Reading March 23, 2010 at 9:28 pm Leave a comment

Meet TUCKER a Rescue Dog in Training

Meet Tucker, a rescue dog in training

Continue Reading March 23, 2010 at 9:03 pm Leave a comment

Hello world!

Welcome to Alternative Canine Training’s Blog (A.C.T.) Here you will find useful tips on how to achieve the perfect dog and how to solve behavior problems once and forever! Behavior problems such as housebreaking, jumping, barking, digging, stealing food, running away, aggression, separation anxiety and much more. As an added bonus you will learn how to speak to your dog in the language they understand. The exciting part is that you can follow along specific cases. See how individual dogs went from terrorist to loving members of society. Of course we always appreciate your comments and feedback.

My own personal mission statement has always been that all I ever wanted to do is train dogs and help people. Alternative Canine Training’s mission statement is that we want you to have a well trained dog that you can take anywhere, under any circumstance.Through this blog we hope to accomplish both missions.

A.C.T.’s blog will be both entertaining and educational for every dog owner. Look for upcoming posts!

February 18, 2010 at 7:43 pm 2 comments


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