Expand Your Knowledge

Arousal and Aggression with Sarah Kalnajs

When working with an aggressive dog, we must always consider what is happening inside the dog’s mind. What are the base behavioral causes of the problematic behaviors it is exhibiting?

Arousal is a physiological state that prepares a dog for activity, excitement, or aggression. Mediated by the sympathetic nervous system, a dog in a state of arousal experiences an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate, in addition to an influx of hormones, such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol.

This aroused state prepares the dog for physical activity, and thus enhances its response to perceived threats arising from a variety of trigger stimuli. In all types of aggression, arousal can play a role in increasing a dog’s emotional response, making them more likely to display aggressive behavior.

In this webinar we will take on the important task of identifying the environmental factors that contribute to arousal and look at prevention strategies for managing these factors so that arousal remains low and does not escalate to aggression.

The Role of Emotion in Aggressive Behavior with Dr. Nicole Lobry de Bruyn 

This hour-long webinar, followed by a further 30mins of Q & A, aims to explore and educate dog professionals on the emotional basis for aggression using a Pankseppian model of understanding of the core emotional states.

Dogs, like other mammals, live rich emotional lives, and a deep understanding of the emotion behind a behaviour can assist those trying to help a dog with aggressive responses.

The talk will be packed with interesting and informative video and aim to show an ethical and effective way to decrease aggression and move forward towards a happier and more peaceful individual.

Assessing Canine Posture and Movement with Sarah Keller

Sarah Keller will showcase the basics of assessing canine posture and movement, including what good posture and movement looks like, red flags to watch out for, and how to document concerns
Knowing what is and isn’t normal can be very beneficial for pet professionals when something deeper might be going on!

The Aggression Constellations With Suzanne Clothier

Each dog can be thought of as a unique constellation of traits which, taken as whole, form the complex fabric we call temperament. Moving far past simple labels like “anxious” or “hyperactive” or “reactive” or “aggressive” the CARAT approach provides a nuanced lens through which we can see that specific dog in detail.
CARAT assesses these temperament traits:
  • CORE – Arousal, Resilience, Energy
  • SOCIAL – Sociability, Social Tolerance, Social Use of Spae
  • INTERACTIVE – Biddability w/Stranger, Biddability w/Familiar, Patience
  • SENSORY AWARENESS – Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory
  • PERSISTENCE – Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory, Predatory/Chase
Using a bi-directional scale, CARAT captures the full range of the classic inhibition<->activation, avoid<->attract, and shy<->bold continuums.
This framework for assessing the individual dog begins and ends with the dog as viewed through the observable patterns of behavior. CARAT recognizes that each trait interacts with the others to balance, exacerbate, or minimize other traits. Further, the full constellation of traits interacts with the environment, genetics, experience and the handler!

Working Aggression Cases Virtually With Karishma Warr

Can we successfully work aggression cases virtually? Is it possible to gather all the information we need without ever meeting the dog? How do you teach humans and dog the necessary skills from the other side of the world? Have you ever wanted to be a ‘fly on the wall’ and watch an experienced consultant successfully work an aggression case? Join Karishma Warr Ma., CPDT-KA, CSAT as they deep dive into an aggression case study, talking through every step of the process. See how the online training experts at Calm Canine Academy incorporate technology to innovate their aggression practices. First contact, intake forms, between session support, and data/ record keeping — get a behind the scenes look at how a virtual aggression case actually works and be inspired to use technology to innovate your own dog training practice

The Science of Aggression With Dr. Kristina Spaulding

Aggression is a critical issue in dog behavior. Understanding the underlying factors and motivations for aggression is necessary if we are going to maximize our ability to successfully address it. Drawing from research on aggression in other species can help inform our work with dogs. Other disciplines define aggression differently. Learn how researchers categorize aggression and how this information can add perspective and insight to the assessment and behavior modification of aggression. Another key area for understanding is the neurobiology of aggression. Neurobiology can shed light on the underlying causes and motivations for behavior.
This webinar will include a brief review of the neurobiology of aggression. Finally, we will review dog-specific research on factors linked to aggression. We’ll conclude by pulling everything together and discussing the implications for the assessment and treatment of aggressive behavior in dogs. This webinar will bring you up-to-speed on the latest science and increase your understanding of the complexity of aggressive behavior.

The Genetics of Aggression With Dr. Jessica Hekman

What do (and don’t) we know about how genetics affects canine aggression and other parts of dog personality? In this webinar, Dr. Jessica Hekman will take a deep dive into her own area of research – how genetics affects personality in dogs, with an emphasis on aggression. How much of canine personality is due to genetics and how much to environment? How do researchers track down genes related to personality? Have any such genes yet been found? Can we expect a genetic test for dog aggression any time soon? In this webinar, Jessica particularly addresses examples from human literature about the genetic influences of aggression. 


Learning the Ropes! All Things Leash Handling With Grisha Stewart AND Michael Shikashio!

In punishment-based dog training, the leash is used not just as a restraint, but as a way to inflict pain or startle, and many lessons about dog training include how to handle the leash to get the most force in a precise way. With the rise of positive reinforcement training, the leash was no longer needed to ‘teach’ the dog and lessons on leash handling fell by the wayside. And yet dogs were still walked on leash. Not having guidance on leash handling opened up positive reinforcement trainers to a wide range of unfortunate mistakes, including unintentional pressure, restricted freedom, safety hazards like rope burns and loose dogs, or regressing to leash pops in frustration.


While each of us uses more skills beyond the ones we developed ourselves, Mike is known for his defensive handling techniques and Grisha is known for her BAT leash skills – how to use a long line to create a sense of freedom while still maintaining safety and control. We thought it would be helpful to join up to share our tools in the same webinar, so you can learn when to use which, and why. We are both continually learning, so we also thought it would be a fabulous opportunity to teach each other how we work. Both of us will give an overview of the leash handling skills we teach, and also guide the other through a practical skill.  Follow along as you add new skills to your leash handling toolbox!

Toward a New Understanding of C.A.T. with Kellie Snider

Early behavior analysts broke behavior down into a treacherous matrix of four judgements plus extinction. They taught us that negatives and positives, punishers and reinforcers all fit into tidy categories of wholesome goodness and hellacious badness. When the Constructional Aggression Treatment was first presented as Kellie Snider’s MS thesis research in 2006 it was met with both excitement and concern. It was exciting because nearly anything that might improve our ability to help dogs with aggression is exciting. It was concerning because of that dastardly term, negative reinforcement, which is hurriedly herded into the hellacious badness category. Also, the research procedure back then was clunky, and some dogs went over threshold. We found out what we needed to know, but our audience worried. The good news you should know is that many dogs were helped in the course of the research and more than 60 species have been helped since. In this presentation Kellie performs a brief postmortem on the early dissemination of CAT and of the essential relationship between function and construction, even going so far as to explain how CAT should not be distilled down into a negative reinforcement trope. She will discuss the addition of the term “alert” to supplement “threshold”, and will answer questions at the end of the talk. She hopes that you’ll leave this presentation feeling very cozy in the wholesome goodness category, or, perhaps even better, with a whole lot more questions.

Play Way! for Aggression Cases with Dr. Amy Cook

Can you make your dog laugh? Can you interact in play socially without your dog going over the top, or just leaving you for better things? Social play is fun and therapeutic, but doesn’t always come naturally to us! Come learn with Amy how to connect to your dog by playing like a dog! And for dogs for whom life is an over threshold event, therapeutic play is even more important. We all need better tools to help our dogs lighten up, shake off the tension, and learn they’re safe in the world. Play can also help you more accurately assess threshold, help you get emotional change in dogs, and build your own sensitivity to the subtle changes that happen before real discomfort sets in. In this webinar you’ll learn the art of conversation, how to collaboratively negotiate play, to give your dog an equal voice, and to have fun together without going over the top!

Treat and Retreat with Suzanne Clothier

This powerfully effective technique is used to help socially shy dogs master the intricacies of feeling comfortable interacting with and being around people. This is a dog-centric technique that is force-free, and one that does not use negative reinforcement. Instead, respect for the dog’s boundaries, arousal and abilities are combined with nuanced observation and engagement of SEEKING to help build the dog’s skills. Using thin slices, Treat-Retreat helps the dog develop skills in comfortable ways that are readily generalized.

Our Dog Bit Our Toddler! HELP! Part Two with Jennifer Shryock and Helen St. Pierre

Dealing with aggression cases that involve children or expectant families can be hard to navigate at times, for even the most savvy dog professionals. In this presentation, we will discuss specific case examples on helping families that have dogs with prior bite histories welcome home baby safely, and families with dogs that had no bite history suddenly dealing with the difficult situation of a child that has been bitten. Learning the right questions to ask, the delicate approaches needed and how to help families juggle time management will all be covered!

Our Dog Bit Our Toddler! HELP! with Jennifer Shryock

We all hate getting this call. A child has been bitten. Now what!?! Jennifer Shryock, B.A., CDBC will share 5 important factors she considers with every bite victim family as she supports the family moving forward.

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Navigating Difficult Conversations: When Euthanasia for Behavior is a Consideration with Dr. Chris Pachel

If your professional role includes counseling pet owners through consideration of available intervention options for behavioral problems, it is inevitable that you will experience a situation in which the option of euthanasia is on the table for one reason or another. This is a complicated subject and it is important that the behavior consultant has a solid grasp on the factors that influence this conversation and its outcome across various circumstances.

Specific discussion topics will include: a discussion of risk assessment and safety, navigating the role of the pet in that specific household, quality of life and welfare considerations, the impact of guilt on caregiver decision making, as well as specific conversation strategies and client support resources.

Using Enrichment To Treat Aggression with Emily Strong and Allie Bender

Aggression cases can seem daunting with so much on the line. How do you know what to prioritize? How do you know which path to take? How do you meet a dog’s needs when they have to be so heavily managed to keep everyone safe?

For us, the answer lies in enrichment. Enrichment – meeting all of an animal’s needs – creates a clear path forward and breaks down a sometimes seemingly impossible case into manageable, doable chunks for you and your client. Join us as we discuss what enrichment is and showcase how to implement it in a systematic way using one of our complex case studies.

Beyond the Bite: Crucial Consulting Skills with Dr. Melanie Cerone

Aggression cases often pose unique challenges for behavior consultants due to their gravity and the emotional impact of dog bites on clients. Effective client counseling skills are critical to facilitating behavioral change in aggression cases. Consultants must establish strong, positive helping alliances with their clients while maintaining professional boundaries.

This webinar is designed to assist behavior consultants in understanding the emotional issues unique to dog bite cases, provide tools for enhancing basic counseling skills, and identify ways to set and maintain professional boundaries.

Dog to Cat Aggression with Katenna Jones

When dogs and cats are not getting along in the home, everyone suffers – especially the cat. Unfortunately, despite the best of intentions, such cases are often not truly addressed, or, are even handled incorrectly.

This webinar will provide behavior consultants with helpful information, strategies, and effective game plans that can help improve the lives of everyone involved.

Recognizing Pain in Dogs with Dr. Debbie Torraca

Aggression and other negative canine behaviors are often assumed to be “behavioral.” In reality, many behaviors may be pain related. Failure to address the pain will continue to lead to additional negative behaviors.

This webinar will assist the trainer/owner in identifying pain, its ramifications on a dog’s movement and behavior, and how to address them.

Livestock Guardian Dogs- What You Need to Know for Your Aggression Cases with Erin Williams

Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) numbers in rescue, shelters and sanctuaries are increasing. Euthanasia is often the end result, with the most common reason given, as aggression. With a better understanding of the characteristics and needs of these breeds, we can reduce this dire trend.

As animal handlers, trainers, carers and clinicians we can learn to work safely and successfully with these breeds and offer better education for their owners or prospective owners.

View Our Free Webinars

Looking to learn more about helping dogs with aggression? We have a variety of resources available for FREE on everything from understanding dog aggression to emergency handling!

Keeping it Simple in Aggression Cases with Michael Shikashio

This webinar will teach you how to streamline your current processes and behavior modification plans.

Using a systematic approach and focusing on the most crucial components of working an aggression case will benefit you and your clients by saving time, effort, and resources.

Precursors for Aggression with Michael Shikashio

This webinar discusses the precursors for aggressive behavior and the typical…and not so typical situations that precipitate a dog bite.

Prognosis and Realistic Goal Setting in Aggression Cases with Michael Shikashio

Setting realistic goals for clients in aggression cases is crucial for success and avoiding burnout.

This webinar will demonstrate how to use an objective approach by evaluating eighteen key factors to set realistic expectations for clients.

The Forgotten Art of Leash Handling – Keeping Yourself and Others Safe with Michael Shikashio 

This webinar includes a variety of leash handling techniques including leash locks, leash grips, leash mechanics, leash harnesses, leash muzzles, and emergency leash techniques, as well as a number of equipment setups that can be incorporated into your work in aggression cases to maximize safety.

The Basics of Canine Nutrition with Linda Case

A comprehensive course providing evidence-based science about all of the essential nutrient needs of the domestic dog offered by the amazing Linda Case M.S. Perfect for dog care professionals and trainers!