Advice, Support & Training

The story of Max

A few months ago I was asked to assist with a 5-year-old German Shepherd named Max. Max had quite the reputation in his neighborhood. He attacked other dogs, people on bicycles, and almost anything else that moves. The police and city authorities were already involved. The owners were desperate and had already worked with a few other dog trainers, with little to no result.

The first day I visited Max's owners at their home, I got to experience Max's mood first hand as he decided to bite my leg. Fortunately no stitches or major damage, but he did set the tone.

I took the owner and Max on a walk to see how Max reacts to his environment. I saw that Max was trying to figure out how to react correctly in all kinds of situations, but that his owners didn't know how to show him what behavior was and wasn't allowed. So Max just took the lead and did what he thought was best.

After I figured out what we could improve by training, I started training Max and his owners. First we worked on rewarding and correcting. Especially the correction part was new to the owners. They hadn't been taught how to properly correct a dog and so Max had never experienced boundaries on his behavior.

After we talked about rewarding and correcting, it was time to work on timing. Timing is crucial in training. Rewarding or correcting at the wrong time can lead to an increase in the behavior you are trying to address.

Getting the timing right takes a lot of training. The next few training sessions we improved the skills on timing corrections and rewards.

Max is behaving nicely now and his owners said 'they started to love him again'.