Questions & Answers - With Aaron Stewart

Submit your questions to get advice on your training challenges from one of the most trusted experts in the field.

Aaron Stewart, Owner, Trainer, and Behavior Expert of The Educated Dog started his career with Interquest Detection Canines in 1990 working with scent detection dogs. IDC is one of the largest providers of scent to detection canines to public and private schools, government facilities, private businesses, and major sporting events. Over the past 15+ years, he has worked with a vast number of breeds, including Laboradors, Golden Retrievers, German and Dutch Shepherds, and Belgian Malinois. Aaron worked contraband scent detection canines for several hundred school districts across Texas, and have done searches with explosive scent detection canines for Delta Airlines, a foreign minister of defense, Lockheed Martin, The Dept. of Energy, and the Cotton Bowl. During his time with The Dept of Energy, he worked human scent detection canines.
Put Aaron's years of experience to work for you. He is not your typical "heel, sit, stay" trainer. Aaron concentrates on and specifically solves behavioral problems. In addition, he offers consulting, which is very important but often overlooked. This includes what you should know about choosing the right breed and dog for you. Many people make the huge mistake of not preparing for their new dog. Getting a new puppy is much like bringing home a new baby - only this baby has four legs, doesn't wear a diaper, and chews on everything in sight.

Aaron works with all dogs, regardless of size, from extra large to super small, all dogs and owners can benefit from his training techniques. So don't wait until you are having problems to call. Start off on the right paw and you will thank yourself later. If your dog has already been through some type of "obedience training", yet your issues still exist, his behavior session can help change your dog into a well-mannered pet, using the way it naturally learns.
Visit Aaron at The Educated Dog!

Issue: My dog keeps biting
So I just now got thus ten week old german sheperd and it won't stop biting my other dog and my kids what should I do and why does it keep biting?

Use These Tips to Stop Puppy Biting.
Puppies can make for wonderful pets, but just as with a child you must teach them certain things while they are still young. When you set good behavioral habits in them as puppies, you are teaching these habits to them for life because they will carry these good habits into adulthood. Biting is a common issue among puppies. They like to play and roughhouse and think biting is okay. However, if you let a seemingly small habit like this continue, your dog can become violent when he's grown.
There are a few tips that can help any puppy owner to stop puppy biting. Socializing your dog with other dogs and people helps tremendously to deal with a problem such as puppy biting. You should encourage interaction between your dog and other dogs and people so they understand the importance of socialization and are less likely to bite other dogs or people when they see them. Socialization also helps in other ways, including that it teaches your dog not to be afraid of others.
Never use violence to try and teach your dog what is right and wrong. This is only going to have a reverse effect and make them think violence is okay. It will also make them fearful of you which is not what you should want as the owner of your pet. Hitting or slapping the dog when they bite as a way of trying to get them to stop biting is only going to erode their trust in you.
Instead, rely on talking to the dog and reprimanding them verbally if they bite after you have told them not to. Dogs are very smart animals and know when you use a certain tone of voice that they are in trouble. Make sure you speak to them immediately after doing wrong, so they understand what they are getting in trouble for. If you wait for even five minutes afterwards, they may be confused as to what they did wrong.
If you cannot seem to solve the problem, you can always call in a professional. There are dog trainers in every location that you can hire. They are professionals and have the knowledge and expertise to deal with a dog's behavioral problems, including puppy biting. Of course there will be a charge for this so you have to make sure you have the money to pay for it.
The most important thing to remember is that there is always a way and dealing with a puppy biting problem as soon as possible is crucial. There are multiple ways of dealing with a behavioral problem such as this and it takes more time to teach some dogs than others. Deal with it when they are still a puppy and you will save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run.

Issue: Won't listen outside of the house...
My dog is a three and a half year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier. She was a rescue that we got about 2 years ago and has been an angel. The only issue we're having is that she will not listen to us (myself and my girlfriend) while we're outside. If we're in the apartment, or even in the back yard she will follow directions. But once we're out on the walk it's almost impossible to get her to slow down or stop. Any advice?

I wish the answer was a simple one but it's just not that easy.
Here's a couple of things that come to mind that I see all the time.
1. She doesn't see you or your girl friend as pack leaders. Question, Is she allowed on the furniture inside?
2. How many days a week is she walked, how long is the walk?
Pulling is often the symptom of a dog that is not walked often or long enough to meet their needs. Your average *high* energy dog requires 5-6 days a week approximately no less than 30 min, with 45 min being optimum. This does not mean walking in front of you let alone pulling, nor stopping to sniff whenever they please.
Your best bet is to seek professional help.

Issue: Constant Barking
How do I get my dog to stop barking at passing joggers in the morning when he is on the lead in the backyard. I know that he is trying to protect us, but it is driving us crazy! ~ please help. . l

The best way to address this type of behavior is to spend some time with the dog while they are tied up on the lead and work towards positively encouraging when he stays calm and get into a dominant but relaxed state when he is reacting to passers by. You may want to get him to go into a submissive posture (on his belly) 123 if he is not responding and then be ready with the treats when the moment that he would bark has passed without him acting up.

Issue: Very Aggressive
My big male alpha dog is very aggressive in general but especially around kids. What can I do to make this better?

The primary is never allow any dog to achieve dominant status over any adult or child. If dogs always know their social ranking and are never allowed to challenge people, they will usually be good family members.

Food rewards help train young puppies, but as dogs get older, they must receive praise for good behavior and mild discipline for bad behavior. Dogs should earn everything they receive from their owners. They should sit to receive petting or treats, sit before going out the door, sit before getting out of the car, sit to have the leash attached to the collar. These exercises constantly reinforce the notion that the owner is boss.

Finally, prevention of aggression requires that the owner win each and every confrontation with the dog. If the dog wins a showdown by growling when you try to get him off the sofa or take his toy or approach his food bowl, he receives a 'go' signal for the next step in an attempted takeover.

Issue: Neighbor's Dog
My neighbor has a 2 dogs who never stop barking. They stand next to our fence and basically bark at the wind. What can I do? I have spoken to the owners, but they are totally non-responsive and are actually really rude.
Please help!

If the dogs are next to your fence, a good deterent is to purchase Bark Off and place both units on each end of your fence. This way when the dogs bark, an ultra sonic signal is emitted which should work in quieting the offending dog.
Remember that dogs do not naturally bark. Many people think that all dogs bark, but in the wild, it is quite the opposite. Barking is a result of something else which is usually associated with an unstable environment or unstable pack leader. Since you can't make progress with the dogs pack leader, you should nip it in the bud by using an ultra sonic device. These work up to 20 feet away and are inaudible to human ears.
Good luck.