PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
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It is best to hire a dog behaviorist for the following issues. Behavior modification is different from dog training. Behavior modification requires an expert understanding of animal behavior. Dog training is different than that. Dog training, and dog trainers, concentrate on teaching skills through repetition. Thus, dog training is perfect for teaching Sit, Down, Heel, Come when called, as well as for skills such as agility, retrieving on command, and such. A dog behaviorist concentrates on figuring out WHY a dog is doing an unwanted behavior, and to develop a solution that meshes with a dog’s natural instincts. You don’t want to hire a dog trainer to solve behavior problems. They don’t have the knowledge or background to do it properly.
For example, I received a call the other day from a woman with a year old Australian Shepherd that is growling and biting at family members. They hired a dog trainer who proceeded to spray the dog with Bitter Apple for growling, and then when that didn’t work and the trainer was bitten, the trainer then slammed the dog’s head against a wall! Obviously, she had no solution and had no business working with this dog… and they fired her. I am an experience dog behaviorist: I told the owner that we need to determine WHY the dog is feeling the need to threaten, and then we can come up with a humane solution.
House Training: House training, housebreaking, or potty training… whatever you want to call it… every dog needs this lesson. No one wants to live in a home that smells and isn’t clean. A dog behaviorist will properly diagnose why the dog is having accidents and will come up with a good solution. Many dogs end up in shelters because people get frustrated and eventually fail when potty training their puppies. Don’t let this happen to you! (READ: Common House Training Mistakes) Call now!
Unpleasant Greeting Of Guests: Barking, Jumping, Running Out The Front Door, Growling: Is your dog out of control at the front door? Most dogs are horrible when guests arrive. I expect a dog to notify me, through barking, that a guest has arrived. What I don’t want is then for the dog to continue to bark out of control, jump up on people, run out the front door, or threaten my guests. This is a SERIOUS PROBLEM.
Dogs Fighting In The Home: Only a qualified dog behaviorist can help you with this issue. Having your dogs fight in the home is one of the worst experiences. Sometimes, it results in injuries, or one or more dogs are killed, and/or the people are seriously injured in the process. This is one of the most challenging problems to solve, and you shouldn’t try it on your own. You need professional help.
Aggression With People Or Dogs: No dog owner should attempt to remedy dog aggression on their own. You are in over your head. You need to hire a professional dog behaviorist.
Fearfulness: A fearful dog is an unhappy dog, and sometimes a danger to itself or others. You need to hire a professional dog behaviorist.
Destructiveness/ Chewing / Separation Anxiety: Dogs that break out of their crates, are destructive, chew stuff that isn’t a toy are stressed and improperly managed. Sometimes the problem is inappropriate management and training of the dog. In other cases, the problem is Separation Anxiety. Learn how to make your dog happier and less stressed, and how to solve these types of problems.
Moving Your Dogs Into The Home With Someone Else’s Dogs: It is foolish to move into someone else’s home when they have other pets, whether dogs or cats or other species, without first having a plan. It doesn’t always work out, and sometimes animals are attacked and killed. Let me teach you my plan for doing this.
Pulling On The Leash: Some people don’t need a full obedience program for their dog… they just want their dog to walk nicely on a leash. Let me show you the proper way.
I am an expert dog behaviorist… but not everyone in the pet world is an expert…
A TRUE STORY: I was one of the featured speakers for a large pet event. As I was giving a presentation, at an adjacent booth was one of the other featured speakers, a well known veterinarian, who had a well known radio program. He was conducting a free microchipping promotion. A man and his wife approached him to have their 4 month old Boxer. The veterinarian bent over, greeted the dog in a friendly way, the boxer got all happy, went up to the veterinarian, and jumped up on him. This guy then slapped that Boxer puppy so hard in the face that it went flat to the ground. He then told them, “I don’t let dogs jump up on me.” After my presentation, I went to the event organizers and told them what happened, that if they didn’t speak to him, that I’d not participate in the next day’s program. So, just because this guy was a well known vet, didn’t make him a behavior expert, did it? Would you want that done with your puppy? That was cruel, uncalled for, and abusive. That isn’t behavior modification, it is even potentially criminal behavior. The guy was a jerk.
Bad Situations Made Worse: People can become used to dogs being treated poorly, to the point they allow bad veterinarians and dog trainers to abuse their dogs for money. And they allow their dog’s home life, and bad behaviors, to deteriorate to the point that the dog is miserable. Your dog’s bad behaviors are a cry for help. You need to hire a humane professional dog behaviorist. Your dog isn’t “bad”, your needs help!
Behavior Modification Isn’t The Same Thing As Obedience Training. Behavior modification is problem solving. I have to be almost like Sherlock Holmes sometimes to figure out what I’m seeing and hearing. Let me give you an example. I was recently asked to examine 4 Newfoundlands that were fighting, and one dog in particular which would bite. These are normally VERY friendly dogs. The more questions I asked, the more I knew that something didn’t add up. The dog’s behavior couldn’t be the result of what I was initially hearing. Something else was wrong. I wasn’t being told the whole story. I spent about 3 hours interviewing each family member about the home environment for each person and about each dog. I also examined each dog’s behavior individually and together. Eventually, I got to the root of what had happened: It turned out that one of the owners had a drug problem (which wasn’t disclosed to me at first), and that one of the dogs who was instigating the fights had been physically abused by a former boyfriend and given meth and crack cocaine! That’s when everything changed. The answer and direction was clear: I recommended not only counseling for the family, and drug rehab for that family member, but also asked them to coordinate with their veterinarian to detox the dog, and then recommended a behavior modification program to deal with integrating this dog into the pack. That was a very complex case. It took a lot of questions and detective work to get to the root of the problem, because the root causes were a family secret and it took a lot of deductive reasoning when things didn’t add up. I had to gain the trust of the family, and I had to puzzle out what had happened to this dog for it to turn out this way. People don’t always tell me all that has gone on when their dogs are having problems, and I have to often unravel lots of stories and situations in order to get at the root of the problem and then devise a plan to fix what has happened. PLEASE READ about “B”, a rescue dog that successfully completed one of my Behavior Modification programs
If the person you are considering hiring wants to put an electric collar on your dog as a demonstration or as a lesson… YOU ARE NOT WORKING WITH A GOOD DOG BEHAVIORIST. Read my article on electric collars [ Let’s Talk About Electric Collars ]. You are dealing with someone who is not qualified, not going to work out the situation, is trying to make the most money in the least amount of time with the least amount of effort. Even the manufacturers of these collars don’t recommend doing that with their devices. Don’t let them do that to your dog. Don’t be pressured by their sales pitch, and don’t give in to scare tactics. Thank them nicely and be glad you moved on.
Behavior modification is typically required to deal with various problems (Read Example of How I Deal With A Behavior Problem) such as Aggression, Anxiety, Barking, Begging, Chasing, Car Behavior, Car Sickness, Chewing, Digging, Fighting, Dominance, Fear & Phobias, Jumping on Furniture & People, Leash Fighting, Puppy Training, Mounting, Potty Training, Running Away, Separation Anxiety, Shyness, Spoiling, Strange Behaviors, and Submissive Urination.
Call or email me if you are dealing with these types of issues. Explain your situation in detail, and I’ll tell you what I recommend as the next step (Here are examples of Behavior Modification: Beanie the Dachshund , Cujo the Killer Pekingese, Buddy the Rottweiler ). This type of thing is often called “dog whispering“, but that term really doesn’t properly describe what I do. Here is my review of Cesar Millan’s book, “Cesar’s Way“. And it also involves working through what is going on in the owner’s life, and not just focusing on what the dog is doing (Read: Call Me: I’ll Listen And Help; Preparing Your Dog & Home For Holidays )
YOU CAN’T DO IT YOURSELF
MOST DOG TRAINING BOOKS ARE OUT OF DATE and you can’t rely on them to help you figure out and solve behavioral problems. Unfortunately, most dog trainers are also out of date, and have ONLY read these types of books and rely on these outdated solutions for your dog. These outdated methods will harm your dog, and usually won’t fix the problem. For example, one prominent, top selling dog training book recommends hanging a dog with a leash until it passes out, if the dog acts aggressively. This is not only wrong, it is abusive and it won’t solve the problem. Another book recommends throwing things at your dog to get it off the couch. That kind of thing will just make your dog afraid of you. Yes, it might get them off the couch, but it will also cause many other behavioral problems. I spoke to a customer the other day who was told by her breeder to do some pretty rough stuff with her pup… and she did it until the pup started cowering and growling at her. Breeders often don’t know the answers, either. Others will try to sell you an expensive electric collar and promise they can fix anything in a handful of lessons, promising almost magical results… and we all know that’s just not true… no one can fix everything and there is no magical dog training method.
Any dog trainer that offers behavioral modification sessions must be well versed in a wide variety of behavioral modification theories and techniques, and experienced in using a wide variety of dog training methods on a wide variety of dogs and in a wide variety of situations. They must also be a good with dogs and people. Sometimes, you can find someone that is good with animals, but not with people. I have met a number of dog trainers who were alcoholics… always late to the lessons or never showing up, not people you could depend on, and so forth. You can also find trainers that are good with people, but not with animals. I met a trainer a number of years ago who had been training dogs for nearly a decade, but had never owned a dog himself. He was way too rough on the dogs and had little sympathy or understanding of what it was like to own a dog that had problems. To be an effective behaviorist, you need to excel in working with dogs and people. Many times, I am counseling people, not just working with their pets; the problems stem from what the owner is doing, not what the dog is doing. And I have run across and heard about, over the years, so-called trainers with phony credentials and/or criminal records… and they then are entering into people’s homes and working with their dogs and possibly with their kids. So, do your homework: Get references. References will settle who you should go with. I can always give you names and numbers. Many people know me. I’m easy to check out.
I have had to counsel people in a variety of stressful situations: spousal abuse; children who were abusive to the dog; angry people; anxious people; wimpy people; overly tough people, and so on. It’s not just about the dogs, it is often also about the people. Sometimes dogs are put in impossible situations where they can’t adapt (see my article: BEWARE: Dogs Can Attack Kids At Halloween; Traveling With Your Dog )
Behavioral modification involves working with many different theories about how problems develop and are maintained. It takes many years, and a lot of effort, to learn the theories and how to apply them in real life situations.
Evaluation of a behavioral problem is most effective if the behaviorist has a very good comparative understanding animal behavior, including, but not limited to that of wild and domestic canines, such as wolves, jackals, coyotes, foxes, African wild dogs, and domestic dogs (including a wide variety of breeds). Then, the practitioner needs a good understanding of the theories of animal and human behavior, since most dog problems are a result of the relationship between the owner and the dog. It is important to be able to understand how to apply behavioral theories such as classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and instrumental conditioning. It also helps to understand other behavioral theories to help customers with the emotional difficulties they are experiencing with their pets. From there, a good behaviorist knows how to identify, define and assess behavior. Finally, a behavioral modification program needs to be implemented. A good Behaviorist can present a plan in a way that the customer can absorb and manage without being a dog expert.
As a dog behaviorist, I work with a wide variety of behavior problems and issues. I find this work to be the most interesting part of what I do. I enjoy working with these types of situations, especially for the mental challenge of figuring out what went wrong, what is now going on, and then coming up with a solution that works. I obtain a great deal of personal fulfillment and satisfaction when I am able to help a frustrated owner save a difficult dog. I believe this kind of work is so important that I will sometimes offer my services for free to rescue organizations. I also have to work with families and all the issues that are affecting their dog’s behavior. We get into it sometimes.
Most dog trainers are not qualified to give behavioral advice. When your dog needs behavioral modification, you need an experienced dog behaviorist.
Studies indicate that up to 90% of all dog owners report some behavioral problems with their pet, with an average of 4.7 problems per dog. Of animals taken to shelters, between 50% to 70% are euthanized because of behavioral problems, mainly because of biting. Pet owners have a great need for information and are interested in getting answers to the problems that they face. Many dog problems are left untreated. YOU ARE NOT DOING YOUR DOG ANY FAVORS BY LEAVING THEM IN A MISERABLE STATE! It is immoral to let your dog suffer behavioral problems that can be fixed or managed through proper behavioral modification techniques. It is also immoral to give a dog away to a shelter instead of taking personal responsibility to attempt to fix these problems by hiring a professional dog behaviorist.
Many times, new customers expect that I am going to use corrections to solve their pet’s behavior problems, and they are surprised when I come up with other solutions. I have actually had a couple of customers that were so angry with their dogs, that they were then angry at me when I didn’t come in and start correcting the living daylights out of their dogs! I have to explain to them that I don’t get angry or rough with dogs to solve problems; not all dog behavior is a result of disobedience or dominance; and that not all solutions revolve around submission and avoidance. Sometimes the dogs are worried or overly excited, or are doing the behaviors for other reasons, that sometimes a dog is doing something normal and it isn’t something that can or should be fixed, and in those instances, it would be unfair, and even abusive, to correct the dogs. I also have to explain why the owner’s corrections, which they were using before they hired me, have been backfiring and have to stop. When your dog needs behavioral modification, you need an experienced and knowledgeable Behaviorist. Most of the dog training books are WRONG, and you can’t rely on them to fix your dogs behavioral problems. And it is really hard to examine yourself when YOU are the problem. You often need an unbiased outside expert to help you.
Many of the methods I use to treat various behavioral problems can also be applied to puppies prevent behavioral problems once they become adults. In other words, if you start out right with your puppy, you can oftentimes prevent serious behavioral problems when your dog becomes an adult. Also, you can do yourself a big favor by getting expert advice on picking the right breed and dog for your home, some behavioral problems are genetic, and you can save yourself a lot of heartache if you get a dog with a good temperament.
WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE?
Is your dog having “issues”?
I can help most dogs overcome anti-social or maladaptive behaviors such as Inappropriate Aggression, Fear Biting, Separation Anxiety Barking, Begging, Chewing, Pulling on Leash/ Lead, Separation Anxiety, Dominance/ Dominant/ Submissive, Fearfulness/ Fear, Jumping, Mounting, Shyness, etc.
Dog training ISN’T the same thing as behavioral modification. Obedience training (teaching Sit, Down, Heel, Come, etc.) doesn’t fix behavioral problems in most instances. I have spent many years studying canine behavior. I have extensive experience with a wide range of behavioral problems and techniques. Many times, I will be working in conjunction with your veterinarian to solve a particularly difficult behavioral problem.
For example, a couple of years ago I was hired by a customer who owned 2 adult male Weimaraners. A couple of weeks prior to me receiving a call from the owner, the dogs had gotten into a terrible dog fight. While the owner was away on vacation, the dogs were being watched by a friend of the family. The friend had let both dogs into the back yard to exercise and eliminate, and in a split second, the dogs were on one another in a full blown fight. The fight lasted 20 minutes and both dogs were pretty torn up. Both dogs required hundreds of stitches and weeks of recovery.
I was then called to evaluate the dogs and the situation. When I met the dogs, the extent of the injuries were pretty bad. However, the wounds were mostly skin and not broken bones or damaged nerves. I then went to unravel what was going on in the home and what was going on between these two dogs. In these circumstances, I get in my “Sherlock Holmes” mode and start to puzzle out the issues. Dogs don’t talk, so you have to figure out what is going on in their heads. I also carefully interviewed the owner and got to know her. In the end, the problem was partly the dogs, partly the way the owner was managing and leading her dogs, and partly medical. Some behavioral problems have a medical root. I sent the dogs for a checkup from the vet, asking for certain things to be examined, and sure enough, my hunch was right. There was a medical issue that no one had seen, not even the vet had seen it initially. By observing the dogs, and by process of elimination, I was able to pinpoint the causes for the fight, and the ongoing animosity the dogs had towards one another, and we came to a successful conclusion. In the end, the dogs could play with one another, sleep next to one another, not be tense around one another, and the fighting had stopped.
Similarly, I’ve worked on dogs with separation anxiety, compulsive behaviors, fear biting problems, aggression problems (aggression isn’t the same as fear biting), dominance problems, and so on.
You shouldn’t be trying to work with an aggresssive dog on your own. I have experience with these situations
1.) Dealing With Aggressive Dogs
2.) Dog Aggression In The Red Zone
3.) Dog Attacks: The Spoiled Dog
4.) Dog Bite Statistics
5.) Don’t Deceive Yourself About Your Dog’s Problems
6.) Fearful and Defensive Behaviors
7.) HELP! I’m Afraid Of Being Bitten By My Dog
8.) HELP! My Dog Bit My 10 Year Old Son
9.) HELP! My Dog Doesn’t Like Other Dogs
10.) Kids and Dogs
11.) The Case of the Fearful Dog
12.) The Case of the Fearful Pup
13.) This Pit Bull Attack Never Had To Happen
14.) Using A Guard Dog To Protect You From Prostitutes
15.) When Should It Be OK For A Dog To Bite?
16.) Anti-Social Dogs
17.) I Hate Retractable Leashes
18.) The Most Annoying Dog In The World
19.) Dogs That Hate Leashes
20.) Should You Ever… ?
21.) Abnormal Behaviors
22.) Being Emotionally And Physically Distant From The Family Dog
23.) Abused Dog Behavior
24.) Bad Dog!
25.) Dog Barking Laws = Dog Ban Laws?
26.) Why Does My Dog Bite Me?
27.) Don’t Be Soft On Animal Abusers
28.) I Hired The Wrong Dog Trainer
29.) The Wrong Breed Of Dog?
30.) Guilt And Dog Ownership
31.) House Sitting Dogs For Friends
32.) Why Have A Dog That Never Gets Attention?
33.) I Want To Hurt My Dog
34.) I Shouldn’t Have Purchased A Dog
35.) What To Do When Your Dog Doesn’t Like A Family Member?
36.) How Do You Turn A Bad Dog Into A Good Dog?
37.) I’m Afraid Of My Puppy
38.) Antisocial Personality Disorder And Cruelty To Animals
39.) Death, Grief And Loss Of Your Dog
40.) My Dog Doesn’t Like Anybody
41.) When I Correct My Dog He Attacks Me
42.) How Do You Find A Lost Dog?
43.) High Strung Dogs
44.) That Dog Invades My Personal Space
45.) Will Taping A Dog’s Mouth Shut Stop His Barking?
46.) What Do You Do When Spanking Your Dog Doesn’t Work?
47.) I’m Afraid To Take My Dog To The Vet In Case He Bites Them
48.) My Mistakes With Old Style Dog Training
49.) My Dog Is Unpredictable
50.) Dog Boot Camps: Good Or Bad?
51.) My Dog Breaks Out Of His Crate
52.) What’s The Difference Between Adolescent Dogs vs. Adult Dogs?
53.) Dog, My House Is A Disaster Because Of You!
54.) Are All Dogs Territorial?
55.) Pet Store Training
56.) I Don’t Want My Dog To Grow
57.) Jealous Dogs
58.) Is Your Dog Obsessive Or Possessive?
59.) Can You Go To Jail For Beating A Dog?
60.) My Puppy Is Scared And Won’t Eat
61.) What Do You Do When You Don’t Like Your Dog?
62.) What About Kids Teasing A Dog By Barking At It?
63.) Help! I Spanked My Dog, Now He Hates Me
64.) Rare Dog Breeds: Training And Behavior Modification
65.) Alpha Roll: Is It OK To Force A Dog Onto Its Side As A Correction?
66.) Why Does My Dog Run Away From Strangers?
67.) Why Does My Dog Roll Over When I Get Angry?
68.) Forcing A Dog
69.) Why Do Dogs Run Away And Hide When They Are Being Corrected?
70.) Can Dogs Tell If Other Dogs Aren’t Fixed?
71.) My Dog Bites Me When Scared
72.) My Dog Runs Away From The Leash
73.) I Need A Leash That A Dog Can’t Bite Through
74.) He Won’t Get Rid Of His Dog, Should I Break Up With Him?
75.) My Dog Grabs My Pant Legs
76.) What Do You Do If Your Dog Has Swallowed Something?
77.) Can You Fix Dog Training Mistakes?
78.) Is It Dominance When A Dog Puts A Paw On You?
79.) My Dad Hurts Our Dog
80.) Are Dogs Evil?
81.) How Do You Save A Hard To Manage Dog?
82.) If A Puppy Growls And Bites Should You Get Rid Of It?
83.) Why Do Some Dogs Become Neurotic?
84.) My Dog Is Afraid Of The Back Seat Of My Car
85.) My Dog’s Head Jerks When My Hand Gets Near
86.) My Dog Can’t Express Normal Body Language Due To A Medical Condition
87.) My Dog Doesn’t Like His New Home
88.) My Dog Is Extremely Afraid At The Veterinarian’s Office
89.) Bringing Home A Rescue Dog – The Danger of “Anti-Socializing” Your Dog
90.) Pit Bull Question
91.) Healing Wounds To The Heart: You And Your Dog
92.) Crazy Barking At The Front Door
93.) Depressed Dog Behavior Treatment
94.) City Dog
I am experienced. I know what I’m doing, and I’ve had a very high success rate. Unlike some trainers, who will promise they can fix any behavioral problem, I don’t say that. It’s not ethical to promise such a thing. Behavior isn’t like that. The folks that will make these claims are almost always, what I call, ‘shock collar trainers’.
There are some problems that have a genetic root to them, and so you have to devise work-arounds for those types of dogs. Dogs are decendants of wild animals – wolves – so pack order and other canine related issues must be taken into account. They are not fuzzy little human beings, they are canines. And sometimes problems are just not problems at all, the dog just needs obedience training, period (Read: My Dog Is Too Friendly With Strangers). Some problems are just related to the community you live in, or your ideas about dog ownership. We have to discuss those philosophical issues sometimes (READ: My Philosophy On Dog Ownership; The Natural Habitat Of The Dog )
Temperament, and thus, breeding matters. Also, sometimes you have owners, or family situations, that are impossible for a particular dog to deal with. For example, let’s say you have a true guarding breed, but you put the dog in a situation where it has to be friendly, and meet and greet strangers on the territory every day. No amount of training, behavioral modification, treats and nice talk and friendly gestures by strangers is going to make that dog accept all those strangers on the property on a daily basis. I have owned 2 Fila Brasileiros in my lifetime. The breed standard specifically states: One of his characteristics is his distrust (orig. ojeriza) of strangers. That’s putting it mildly. These dogs hate strangers from birth. Take one home at 8 weeks of age, and within a week or so it will bond to you and your family. And for the rest of the dog’s life, it will hate strangers. It will attack a stranger that comes onto the property uninvited. They are very aggressive and very distrusting. It is an interesting breed to own, but they aren’t for everyone. There are other dogs that are also protective. Put the wrong dog in the wrong household and someone is going to get hurt. There are other behavioral traits that breeds have that also can’t be “fixed”. Sighthounds are hunters and killers of game. Scenthounds are nose oriented, and typically very food motivated. Herding dogs will try to herd other animals, instinctively. And so on. These aren’t behavioral problems. But, put one of these dogs in a situation that isn’t meshing with their temperament, and then you’ll have problems: anxiety, barking, chasing, digging and so forth. Further, some dogs have faulty temperament. That’s why there is a temperament standard for every breed, a benchmark for what the breed is SUPPOSED to be like. I meet many dogs that don’t fit the standard, and so they have behavioral quirks. Some can be modified and worked with, and some can’t. But, you can’t ‘reprogram’ them to be what they aren’t.
So, in sum, if you are seeking a professional with years of hands on experience and success with a variety of breeds and behavioral problems, you’ve come to the right place.
Why Should You Choose Sam Basso To Train Your Dog? (What To Expect)
Customer Testimonials (Please call me if you’d like to talk to my references)
My Prices (Complete description of prices for each program)
My Rules (Policies, Payment, Cancellations, Rules, Disclosures, etc.)
Tension In The Home
Locations Serviced: Ahwatukee, Anthem, Avondale, Buckeye, Cave Creek, Chandler, Chandler Heights, DC Ranch, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Laveen, Litchfield Park, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Peoria, Phoenix, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Sun City, Sun Lakes, Surprise, Tempe, Tolleson
Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.