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Trainer helps owners tame aggressive dogs

Pit bulls Pearl and Sam are seen with dog trainer Brandon Fouche in this undated file photo.
January 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
When Nicole Bruckman rescued her pit bull, Sam, he was anxious and aggressive. He even bit a friend of Bruckman's.

"We were kind of at our wits end. We couldn't go on vacation. We didnt' really know what to do," she said.

Bruckman turned to trainers and spent tons of cash, but nothing worked until she found dog aggression expert Brandon Fouche, a no-kill advocate with a surprising childhood story.

"I was mauled by a police dog," he said.

Fouche was almost killed in the attack, and the dog was put down.

"I knew that when I woke up, they told me that dog was put to sleep, it was my fault, and that changed everything in my life for me. I felt responsible for the life of that dog," he said.

Now, Fouche dedicates his life to transforming aggressive dogs, and he says sometimes the trick is really about training dog owners -- not the hounds.

"Dogs are aggressive, they are predatory. But we don't understand we are producing that predatory instinct in that dog just by trying to show we love them," he said.

According to Fouche, a human's idea of play time actually sends the wrong message.

"Playing ball, which is a predatory thing, can create aggression in your dog," he said.

So, if your dog isn't every man's best friend:

- Don't play fetch or tug of war.

- Don't chase your dog, or allow it to chase you.

- Don't buy squeaky toys. They reward the sensation of a predatory kill.

If you get a dog before you have children, like Bruckman did, don't allow your four-legged friend to do anything you wouldn't want it to do when your child is born. That means:

- No jumping.

- No sitting on your lap.

- No sleeping on your bed.

- No licking.

It may sound harsh, but Fouche says it's changed every dog he's worked with, including Sam -- just ask Bruckman.

"I couldn't believe it was the same dog," she said.

Now Sam has a playmate, Pearl, which has everyone's tail wagging.

If you'd like more information on Fouche and his techniques for coaching your canine, you can visit his website.


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