We are the area experts on treating aggression. After 30 plus years of working with thousands of dogs we can be trusted to help you navigate the very tricky waters of rehabilitating and re training a dog who has exhibited aggressive behaviors. Our program focuses on what is the trigger for the dog we are working with. Once that trigger is properly identified we develop a treatment plan, that if adhered to by the humans, will reduce the dogs need to react aggressively. There is very little about dog behavior or dog choices that surprise us.
We teach our human students to learn to read their dog’s body language and other indicators that a aggressive behavior is about to unfold.
Part of our approach is to teach the human to recognize and value the language the dog is communicating before the aggression can manifest. Prevention is one of our fundamental principles. We can help you understand your dog, and we can help him/her understand our rules, our human rules- the rules of compatibility.
Reach out to us if you desire to modify your dogs behavior to one’s that are more compatible with family life. We have had great success with hundreds of troubled dogs over these past 3 decades.
Read Lizzy’s story-
This is Lizzie.. she was rescued 12/28/13 from a local shelter; they’d had her only a couple days before offering her for adoption. Our family has never been “anti” pit bull; we are dog lovers, and what we saw was just a young dog in need of a home. What we learned very quickly is that for all the good things that can be said about pit bulls, they are still powerful, stubborn, incredibly strong dogs. Sadly, the rescue did not really put in enough time to get to know the Lizzie, so when we brought her home we had some issues…
– Lizzie was severely dog aggressive. This is the major issue; and the only one that I really want to get deep into. Unfortunately, we were given NO indication of this by shelter staff; and now after the fact – I am glad we weren’t, because we probably wouldn’t have brought her home. I know that we are only one of a very small number of happy endings and feel that, if anything, the shelter staff should consider putting more time into evaluation before offering animals for adoption – they would likely have a much lower return rate. Her other issues have been resolved through training, patience, and most of all – persistence. We suspect that she’s “defensive” in her aggression; as her demeanor toward other dogs generally seems to be “I’m going to get you before you get me”. A few days after bringing her home, we found out about her aggression the hard way. We were on a walk one day when she almost killed a neighbor’s small toy breed dog. Note that the small dog was off leash and charged into the street at us, and thankfully, my husband had Lizzie under control and I was able to grab the smaller dog. But still – in that moment, the dog at the end of our leash was absolutely, positively NOT the dog that we wanted to bring home to our family.
So I immediately started researching training. On a referral from a coworker, we tried a local “all positive/all reward” based trainer – one who is of very good repute and who has trained hundreds of award winning purebred dogs. I knew something was wrong right away, when the trainer had Lizzie spend 60 of the 90 minute consultation in the car. This trainer was uncomfortable handling my dog, this wasn’t going to work out. I did take many of her suggestions, but the trainer stated that she “did not want a pit bull in her classes” because other owners might be “scared” so we could only do one on one training and here are some things to try and oh by the way, we don’t say “no” to the dogs, we redirect. Needless to say, I continued searching for a trainer.
On another referral from a very close friend (who happens to be all of 5 foot nothing and weigh 100 pounds soaking wet) we went to Trifecta. Said friend is the proud “mommy” of a 95lb German Shepherd/Pit Bull mix and a 110lb Husky – both of whom trained at Trifecta, and both of whom are incredibly well mannered dogs. The minute I called, I knew I was going to be among “my people”. There was no run around, no BS, and most of all – in the initial 5 minutes that Lizzie and I were in the door, she recognized the higher power in Lisa and Grace. We had our evaluation, and then we had A PLAN. My dog-aggressive dog laid down in a small room surrounded by 8 other dogs – while I stood there and cried. We immediately went into a class, and Lizzie acted out A LOT – which was good, because we learned her triggers, and we learned what she responds to.
We started our classes 25 yards away from the rest of the class, with two leashes in case either the harness or collar failed. My monster and I were welcomed by everyone, and I have never met such a supportive bunch of women, both trainers (Lisa, Grace, Mare, Bonnie, Noel) and students alike. Some nights, we worked in the same class with purebred show dogs, and were treated as equals. As time went on, we were able to work alongside the rest of the class. Then the second leash was no longer needed. Then, one magical summer night, Lizzie politely sniffed a (rather unruly) Labradoodle, and allowed him to sniff her back – her body language was in the right place. She was better. Certainly not cured, but decidedly better.
It’s been a constant work in progress, but Lizzie is soon going to be able to just walk by other dogs and not be interested. She’s to the point now where she can – so long as they aren’t barking at her. If they’re barking, we still see Kujo come out – but as long as we remain consistent, I believe it will be less and less. I plan to take her in for more exposure/refresher courses in the spring/summer time, because until she’s through adolescence, she’s still going to be a wild child.
I have sung the praises of Trifecta and will continue to do so to anyone I come across that has a dog and has issues with their dog. I cannot say enough about this place and these women. They are all honest, down to earth, and most importantly – they LOVE dogs. It’s not about making money for any of them (or if it is, it sure doesn’t show) it’s about working together with owners to make lifelong companions. And that in and of itself is a priceless item.