Anything’s Pawsable

Being able to talk to a best friend can be one of the most comforting, liberating things you can do. With a dog, you’re guaranteed to get a warm, slobbery lick instead of judgment. Sounds great, right?
Text by Sandy Lindsey | February 28, 2019 | Lifestyle

This very handsome, energetic and lovable 10-year-old Chocolate Lab gets along with cats and dogs alike. His eyesight, hearing and physical abilities are still that of a pup half his age and he loves going for walks. A quick study, he knows how to sit on command and is ready to learn more. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?;

“People have told me that I have more ‘get-up & go’ than a 6-year-old!”

Growl no more

Can you train aggression out of a dog? Yes. Dogs use aggression as a means of keeping themselves safe in situations where fleeing isn’t an option. By nature, dogs are non-confrontational, so if your dog is being aggressive in any context you need to identify why your dog feels threatened and what it is he’s trying to accomplish by being aggressive. Is he trying to get someone to stop touching him? Make another dog go away? Trying to chase a scary stranger out of his safe space. Training a dog to be non-aggressive isn’t actually about training the aggression “out,” but instead treating the underlying emotional state of the dog through behavior modification. A trainer’s goal is to help your dog to stop feeling the need to be aggressive and instead start deferring to you, his handler, for direction. Most aggressive dogs are fearful, nervous or conflicted dogs despite their very outward and scary presentation of barking, lunging or biting. If your dog feels more safe, secure and confident, their aggression will no longer serve a purpose. But just because it’s possible to rehab an aggressive dog doesn’t mean it’s going to be a quick fix. It’s often months (sometimes a little longer) before owners start seeing significant behavior changes. Factors that determine whether or not a dog is a successful candidate for aggression rehabilitation are the age of the dog, the dog’s bite history, and owner compliance. Your dog can’t get better unless you’re 100% committed to following a trainer’s behavior modification plan! To find a canine professional qualified to deal with aggression in dogs, visit


› Dee Hoult is the owner of Applause Your Paws, South Florida’s largest privately owned pet dog training company. Want to ask Dee a question about your dog? Email or send a DM on Instagram @ApplauseYourPaws.