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Aggression Guide

Holly’s Den *


Behavior Modification Training Guide for Reactive & Aggressive Dogs

NOTE: I will not be able to respond to sales requests from Mon Nov.30, 2015 until Jan 2, 2016 due to knee replacement surgery.


Step by step instructions in PDF format provide effective direction for both trainers and pet owners who need help training reactive and aggressive dogs!  The Holly's Den Guide uses only gentle, positive, dog-friendly training methods.



Package A - Reactivity/Aggression to Unfamiliar People: $8


Package B - Reactivity/Aggression to Other Dogs: $8


Package C - Combination of Packages A and B: $10


Professional Trainer's Package--Permission to Reproduce Individual Pages: $20


Please Honor the Copyright: © Copyright 2006 – Beverly Hebert. All rights reserved.

Reproducing Packages A, B, and C in whole or in part violates the copyright.  The Professional Trainer's Package is identical to Package C but includes permission to reproduce individual pages for client handouts.


About Your Order:

When you click the "Buy Now" button you generate a payment screen that gives you a choice of payment methods, including using your credit card of choice.  When you complete your transaction, PayPal sends an automatic notification to Holly's Den with your return email address; as soon as I get this notification, I reply and attach a copy of the package you ordered. 


What the Holly's Den Behavior Modification Training Guide for Reactive & Aggressive Dogs Can Do For You


If you are a dog trainer: Help you start off on the right foot and then keep you on track with an effective regimen for reactive and aggressive dogs


If you are a pet owner:  Help you to understand and recognize what comprises a good training program and how to work with your reactive/aggressive dog in a way that will make things better instead of worse.


About This Product:

On an email dog training discussion list someone once posted that she had just finished yet another book about how to work with reactive/aggressive dogs, but was still not sure how to get started, and still asking herself, “Now what?”

This booklet, now in PDF format, began as an answer to my own need for a more systematic approach to helping my clients with their reactive/aggressive dog problems.  Like the list poster above, I was still looking for a handy reliable road map to help me guide my clients through our training journey together.

My solution began with a critical review/evaluation of all of my reference materials including my correspondence with other trainers.  I especially drew on the work of Brenda Aloff, Jean Donaldson, Dr. Lore Haug, Dr. Patricia McConnell, Pat Miller, Emma Parsons and Dr. Karen Overall for core concepts.  With that in my "training bag” I then added what I have been learning from my own day to day work and observations with these dogs and their owners.   Creative organization resulted in transforming all this into a series of single page handouts with a logical flow, including page titles to allow for easy access of specific topics or training exercises.  After printing out my copy, I keep it handy in a slash pocket manila folder.


Why This Product Is Unique

  1. The division of information into single page handouts makes individual pieces of information easier to find/access.

  2. Single page handouts make it easier to absorb and remember bits of information (remember learning to read and spell with flash cards?).

  3. The organization of the single page handouts within the package provides a logical progression for training activities and exercises.

  4. Being able to print out individual pages makes the information easily portable.


A Look At What’s Included:

Intro to Behavior Modification for Reactive & Aggressive Dogs

How to Get Started

Conditioning Calmness in Reactive & Aggressive Dogs

Playing Follow the Leader

Going for a Walk with Your Leash -Aggressive Dog

Instructions for Counter-Conditioning Exercises

Emergency Handling Strategies

Accepting Approaches of Unfamiliar People and Dogs

Behavior at the Door

Welcoming Visitors Into Your Home

How to Deal with Resource Guarding

References and Recommended Reading List

And much more!


Readers' Comments


Your guide is marvelous! It's clear, succinct, and wise. Thank you!

Susan Conant, Newton, MA

Three-time recipient of the Maxwell Award for Fiction Writing, Dog Writers Association of America

Author of mystery series featuring Holly Winter of Cambridge, MA and her Alaskan malamutes Rowdy and Kimi


Just finished reading your booklet and I LOVE it.  The layout is wonderful and it sort of summarizes and organizes the info in all of the books I have been reading relating to aggression/reactivity. 

Theresa Corcoran  & Sammy, Overland, Missouri 


I ordered a copy for myself, and it is EXCELLENT. It's also a bargain.

Best wishes,

Rachel Long, Bellecreek Sports Dog Training Center, Pearland, TX


Thank you for your Booklet....I love the format. It is certainly user-friendly and a great resource. I keep re-reading the package as I pick up more important details each time.

Jill Campain, Australia


What a great resource you created with this Reactive/Aggression Guide.

Robi Kublin, CPDT, Willowick, Ohio


It's much more extensive than I thought it would be and I am just so pleased!

Lynne Benson-Colbert, M.S. TrueHeart Dog Training, Belmont, CA.


Your dog aggression project is better than just good—you cover the techniques so well I think it would be useful to every trainer.

Tom Kirshbaum, CTC

Loyal Friends, LLC


I felt so much more prepared after reading your aggression guide – it is awesome! Having things put in order and spelled out for me was really extremely helpful.

Kim Lutz, Warrenton, Missouri


Hi Beverly,
I have always liked and admired your posts on the APDT  I'm also excited about having something like this to share with clients to better help set them up for success with their dogs.  Thanks!
Patti Gutzeit


Your booklet  is an excellent compendium of the advice that I've received over the  last 3 years while dealing with this problem. Thank you again for writing up these excellent tools for dealing with  aggression...I'm planning to recommend your guide to the trainers we've worked with because it's the best compilation I've seen of advice that works.

Thanks again.

Judy Wolff


I've only started reading the guide but am loving it!

Diane Garrod and the terv duo

Canine Transformations Learning Center - Specializing in reactive dogs

Langley, Washington


I have been doing this business for 25 years, but I still found your writings to be done very well - easy to follow and understand. I give it 10 stars!

Debbe Weissbuch


Happy Tails "in-home" Dog Training


I just wanted to say a direct thank you...I had a look at your website, and was very impressed and sent off for your training package for reactive dogs. I’ve found it is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for – a pragmatic, logical step-by-step guide for taking things forward. I must admit, I’d been becoming obsessed by reading books about these problems – there are so many good ones out there – and it is a relief to have found something that distills all this knowledge into a protocol for actually getting out there and doing something about it!!! With very best wishes,

Fiona Strachan (and Barney the black lab)


About the author:

I have a B.S. degree in nursing, plus 20 years of experience as a professional writer.  For the past 5 years I have also been a pet dog trainer (my third career).  My writing credits include published articles in Dog Fancy, Whole Dog Journal, the APDT Chronicle of the Dog and a Maxwell Award nomination by the Dog Writers Association of America.   To read my article about training reactive and aggressive dogs, click here: "Fighting Fire Without Fire"  How to Handle Dog-Aggressive Dogs:  WDJ, Dec. 2001.


Positive Training Help for Aggressive Dogs

Force and pain based punishment methods are contraindicated when working with aggressive dogs.


Punishment increases stress and any increase in stress will make your dog more rather than less aggressive.


Punishment can create a negative association in the dog's mind between the punishment and the object of the dog's fear/aggression.


If used to suppress outward signs of aggression without changing the underlying emotional state, punishment can produce a dog that strikes without warning.


It is very important for the reactive/aggressive dog to feel safe in the owner's presence.

The Holly's Den "Behavior Modification Training Guide for Reactive and Aggressive Dogs" uses only gentle dog-friendly training methods.


Below is a complimentary hand-out to supplement your Aggression Booklet:

Holly’s Den *

Give Your Dog A Chill Pill

This is my interpretation of how to use a seemingly simple but very powerful technique for training reactive/aggressive dogs to remain calm in the presence of unfamiliar people or other dogs.  Our initial training goal is that whenever your dog spots one of his arousal triggers - strangers or other dogs - and hears you say “Chill Pill” or "Check It Out" or some other phrase of your choosing (or you can click if clicker training), he will immediately orient back to you for a treat, instead of continuing to stare at his trigger and become aroused.  By  interrupting the arousal sequence, you will be preventing your dog from practicing the behavior you are trying to change, as you teach him a new way of responding. The end results are that he will learn self-control, to follow your lead, and to stay more relaxed around his triggers (the things that “trigger” his arousal).  Here’s how to make it work:

Set your dog  up to succeed

1) Your dog should be hungry and you should use great treats (cooked chicken or beef), appealing enough to tempt your dog, even in the presence of arousing distractions!   While training, send your dog the right message (everything is OK and we are safe) by keeping your own demeanor calm, upbeat, friendly, and happy.

2) Go to places where you can safely control your dog and keep him calmMaintaining sufficient distance from your dog's triggers is a key component.  Choose settings where you can position yourself far enough from other people and dogs that your dog is able to remain calm and will not become too overwhelmed, aroused, or stressed to eat his treats.  This can be as simple as keeping your dog beside you inside of your car, where you can determine how close or far to park from the action, such as people are going in and out of a pet store or a dog park with their dogs. As your dog improves, you can lower the windows and eventually get him out of the car.    Neighborhood walks, quiet parks and other places with outdoor seating may be used when your dog can handle the closer exposure, but be ready to walk away as necessary from an approaching person or animal to prevent your dog from becoming aroused.   Gradually you should be able to decrease the distance needed for your dog to remain calm around his triggers.

3) Act the moment your dog spots a trigger.  Timing is crucial!  You must observe your dog and the exact moment when he spots a trigger, click or use a consistent verbal cue like “Chill Pill” or “Check It Out” and feed him BEFORE he has a chance to become aroused.  Remember the training adage that “you get what you reinforce,” so always aim to work under your dog’s “arousal threshold,” so that you are rewarding your dog’s calm behavior.  Initially you may have to hold the food right up to his mouth to get his attention, but after a few repeats your dog should start to turn to you for his treat as soon as he hears the click or your verbal cue.  Right now your dog looks at people or other animals because he may be wary and suspicious, worried and fearful, or even just interested and excited.  Giving the dog treats (positive reinforcement) just for calmly looking at his triggers, allows him to act on his natural tendency to check out the environment, while preventing reactive responses and conditioning the dog to associate the sight of people, other dogs, etc. with good things!  Eventually this conditioning will produce a more relaxed attitude.  In addition, by encouraging your dog to orient and look back to you when he spots a trigger, you are training him to pay attention to you and accept direction from you, even in the presence of arousing distractions!

4) Schedule Regular OutingsRather than letting your reactive dog spend day after day not leaving your own home and yard, ideally try to get her out every day. You don’t have to stay out for long periods of time, just a few minutes is enough.  What is important is routine frequent exposure to strangers, dogs, etc. (whatever your dog’s arousal triggers may be) under circumstances where your dog is able to remain calm and be rewarded for calmness.  Regular practice is essential when you are building new attitudes and habits!  Also, think in terms of lifetime routines - as your dog improves you will still need to at least occasionally carry treats with you on walks/outings to periodically reinforce the new behavior. 

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Holly's Den
Dog and Puppy Training
San Antonio, TX
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© Copyright 2002 – Beverly A. Hebert. All rights reserved