Sophie’s Story: Private Dog Training and Aggression

Food aggression in Kansas City.

Sophie is a Bichon Frise who joined our family at 8 weeks of age and just 2 days after our first Bichon passed away. Due to our grief, we thought everything she did was cute and acceptable. By about 12 weeks of age, Sophie started barking at people and became very territorial about anything that went in front of our home. As time went on, she became so stressed and agitated when people would come to visit that we began to feel like prisoners in our own home. Opening the front door was virtually impossible! She would even bite friends who would come to the house, at times tearing their clothes or even causing them to bleed. She eventually became so aggressive that even taking her on a walk was a huge challenge. After biting a friend who she knew, we decided it was past time for help.

We heard about Beyond the Dog through a friend and called for private lessons. Kristyn arrived at our home to Sophie’s “death bark; however Kristyn was able to settle her down in minutes. It was a miracle to me! We learned that Sophie’s problem was due to a lack of socialization and after restructuring the pack and desensitizing and conditioning Sophie, her stress level changed and she learned that people are not scary. She is now a relaxed dog and enjoys having people come visit. Kristyn made weekly visits to our home where she worked with Sophie as well as us. Kristyn was very professional as well as compassionate to our situation. Kristyn worked with us on how to be the pack leaders and how to re-teach Sophie with positive reinforcement and behavior modification.

It has been very rewarding to have our friends comment on Sophie’s change of behavior. She is a much happier dog and we can be social once again due to Kristyn’s skill and expertise. We wish we had called Beyond the Dog sooner. Everyone in our family believes that the extra time, effort and money as been totally worth it.

–Cindy, John and Sophie Wyatt (Lenexa, KS)

Resource Guarding

Sophie is our Bichon Frise who had many issues. After curing her of her people anxieties with the help of Kristyn, I decided to address her problem with resource guarding. Of course, Kristyn was once again contacted.

As a puppy we thought it was cute that she would run through the house dragging the toilet paper. As she got bigger she would not let us get the paper from her mouth without growling. She would guard me in the car if someone tried to take her off my lap and any new toy or treat that was introduced was impossible to retrieve from her. There was a definite pattern forming, and since we had a small grandchild, she needed to be cured of the guarding.

Kristyn came to our home and we worked for many weeks on the ‘traditional” way to retrain a dog with resource guarding. . I spent a lot of time DAILY with Sophie practicing what we had been taught and we were making progress, although it was very slow. One day, after a few months of training, Sophie decided she did not like having our training item taken away from her when I was done, and she bit me. I was horrified and heartbroken as I had always told myself that she would never bite me. Kristyn was called immediately, as I feared that we needed to put Sophie down. Kristyn calmed me down and we set an appointment.

Kristyn had put much thought into a new way to teach Sophie. We started over, practicing slowly and when practice was over Sophie always kept the toy/treat and I would walk away. It again took a ton of work and effort but she is truly retrained and no longer guards. I am at ease when my grandson is around, and confident that she can have things taken from her and does not feel threatened.

We still practice periodically each week and friends, neighbors, family and I marvel as she is a different dog. All the time spent working with Sophie has been so worth it! She is happy and content, and we owe it all to Kristyn and her expertise.

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