Dan's Unique Service Gains Attention in the Media, Read the Buzz about Dan's Targeted Dog Training for Your Dog....
MALTA – The owners were at their wit’s end. Their family dog, a small, fluffy wisp of dog, a PomaPoo, had turned into a fourlegged nightmare. What was once a cute puppy had grown into an unpredictable mess. Ironically named Chewie, the canine would snap and bite on a whim, urinate throughout the house and jump on anyone and everyone. “You are our last resort,” said the owner to Dan Rossignol of Dan Trains Dogs during a recent doggie intervention. “Our vet said we really need to consider putting him down if we can’t get him to change his behavior.”
That revelation had come during Chewie’s last veterinarian visit for a bladder infection. The small 10 pound canine decided he did not like the vet trying to treat him and had turned violently aggressive toward her, snapping and biting her during the routine examination. The chocolate-colored dog had not always been that way. When they had purchased him three years before, he had been a sweet addition to the household.
The family thought they were doing everything correctly. They brought the puppy a large crate, took him on long daily walks, and fed him the best dog food available. “We treated him like a memberof the family,” she said. “But he only got worse. He just took over.”
In spite of the love they showered on him, Chewie became increasingly aggressive. His wire crate became off-limits, his behavior more unpredictable, his outbursts unmanageable. Even something as simple as trying to pick up a pair of shoes left by the doorway sent the dog into a frenzy.
“We just do not know what to do,” she said. “I feel bad that our love may have resulted in his having to lose his life because of something we are doing wrong.” Known as the Adirondack Dog Whisperer, Dan said it is the type of love we show to dogs nowadays that is creating many of the problems.
“Today we give them people love instead of dog love,” he noted, adding that in spite of how we feel about our canine family members, they still carry the instincts of wolves and those innate predispositions create confusion in today’s domestic world. Many canines feel a need to protect the entire household and act like Alpha dogs, but the majority of the dogs are not meant for those high stress roles. Most, he said, like Chewie, are beta or omega dogs and need to be just a pet. That is one of the reasons Dan travels to the family’s home to work one on one with both the owners and the dogs.
“I am the troubleshooter,” said Dan, who traded an executive position to work with dogs. “I don’t leave until all your issues are resolved.” Passionate about dogs and his life’s calling, Dan also studied with master trainer Judy Sherman and has trained dogs for police and sheriff departments before opening his own business, specializing in aggressive canines.
Resolving the dog’s issues is not the only solution to the problem, said Dan. The owners have to learn how to treat their dogs so that the canine understands their place in the household. “They need to know who the head of the pack is,” said Dan, pointing out that the owners needed training as well.
“I do an intervention with dogs and their owners,” explained Dan, who estimates he has a 90 percent success rate. “People wait until they have a foot out the door before they call or wait until the dog has bitten more than once. Mostly the dog is confused and so are the owners. The first thing you have to teach is the pack leadership walk. Until the dog walks by your side, they are the leader.”
Dogs naturally have a prey-mode mentality placing the dog in a state of mind where he does not think, he just acts and reacts to the sights, sounds, and smells surrounding them. “Once a dog realizes who the leader is, overall, obedience opens up and he begins thinking with his brain,” said Dan. “They are now no longer in prey-drive.”
In today’s urban landscape, having a dog that knows how to behave at the end of a leash is necessary, even for those who live in the country. And it is that leash that will aid in the training. “Discipline cannot be done with the hands,” he added. “It is the timing – it must be done within two seconds of the deed or the dog does not know what the discipline is for.”
The leash, he said, allows for gaining control over the dog in the household if he reverts to unacceptable behaviors, as well as establishes leadership when on walks. Using short, one word strong commands, a special collar, and unwavering confidence, Dan said the key was consistency and quick response to the bad action.
“We use a citrus and water based spray,” said Dan, showing a small, palm-sized can. He explained that the spray does not hurt the animal, but causes enough discomfort that they do not want to repeat the bad act after a couple of douses in the mouth.
Chewie’s behaviors, Dan said, were learned behaviors and could be rectified with constant attention over the next 30 days. “The dogs will pick up on our fears and frustrations and relay those fears and frustrations into bad behavior,” said Dan, adding that the owners’ actions inadvertently end up teaching dogs how to behave badly.
As for Chewie, by the end of the session he was learning his place in the family pack and seemed content with his new, less stressful role as family dog and not family protector. Sitting quietly next to Dan, Chewie did not try to hide beneath the dining room table as he had done earlier or retreat into his room off the kitchen. Instead, he waited at the end of his leash for his next cue as the family and Dan outlined the course of action for the next four weeks.
“You have to be consistent and you have to pay attention,” said Dan. “If you are busy and off doing this or doing that, it won’t work. Leave the leash on him while you are home for the next 30 days and if you see behavior you do not want, simply step on the leash or give it a slight tug. He will learn what you want.”
He added every case is different and may need slightly different tactics or approaches, depending on the dog, its reasons for its aggression and the home it is in.
“People want immediate results,” said Dan. “While the owners will see some immediate differences in their pet’s behavior, they will have a strict policy to follow for the next 30 days. The dog loves you more and will pay attention to you more and thinks you are better than sliced bread if you do what you need to do.”
Midway through the season, Chewie’s owner looked at her dog and said she could not believe just
the change in the one day’s session. “He is not the same dog,” she said. “He is almost normal again. I
can’t believe the difference in Chewie.”
For information on Dan Trains Dogs, call (518) 232-8106 or visit his website at www.dantrainsdogs.com
The Glens Falls Post Star newspaper recently published this feature story about Dan Rossignol and Ausdauer Dog Training. The story was written by reporter Amanda Bensen.
Dan appreciated Amanda's interest and bravery as she joined him on a number of challenging training sessions.
There's a thin line between crazy and gifted, and it looks a lot like the scars crisscrossing Dan Rossignol's arms and hands. "I earned each one. Each one gave me a higher alpha status," he explained.
In the same nonchalant voice, thick with the unhurried vowels of northern Maine, he told a tale of climbing into a cage no wider than his shoulders with a massive stray dog that was recently trapped. "Boy, did he give me the three-minute warning," he said, demonstrating the sideways, slit-eyed glare of a dog debating whether to attack. "I had to work quick."
His uncanny self-confidence is based in a simple belief. "I like to think God has given me a gift," he said. "I can get inside most dogs' minds."
Rossignol is a former fast-food executive turned dog trainer who specializes in dealing with biting dogs and other tough canine cases, advertising his formula as "love + persistence = success."
Often, he's the pet-owner's version of "Supernanny," helping humans re-establish authority in households where they have allowed their dogs to rule. "You guys have to put yourselves in the alpha position," he told a recent pair of clients, Richard and Carol Kenny of Lake George. They called Rossignol because their 9-month-old German shepherd, Dugan, wasn't obeying them.
"He's a good dog, but he thinks our hands are chew toys, and he doesn't listen to commands," Richard said. Obedience is especially important to them, he explained, because their last dog survived a fall through the ice by responding to a call to "come." Rossignol began the lesson by walking Dugan around the yard on a short leash, teaching him to heel -- or, as he says it, "fooz," using the German word (spelled "Fuss") for foot.
He later explained that he always uses German commands because the hard consonant endings "penetrate their ears more." "Sitz," he told Dugan, using the word for "sit." Apparently, the German shepherd was an English speaker. Dugan remained standing, his head cocked in curiosity. "I don't say it tough enough? You see me as a wimp?" Rossignol asked the dog, laughing. Then he grew serious and barked out the command again: "SITZ!" Dugan sat.
Later in the lesson, Rossignol recommended putting Dugan in a crate sometimes during his owners' absence or at night. "A crate gives him a place to defuse and really rest," he said, explaining that most dogs are relieved when they're taken out of the "alpha" position in a household.
"It's all about establishing control," he said. "As soon as you do that, the dog's gonna be calmer, because they feel there's someone sharing the responsibility. They don't have to be guarding all the time." Later, the Kennys said Dugan was doing much better. "He's still a puppy, but when we give him the commands, he listens right up," Carol said. "It's not a miracle overnight, it's a work in progress, but it's helped us a lot."
It's impossible not to compare Rossignol -- with his neatly groomed silver hair and mustache, slightly foreign accent and knack for canine impersonation -- to celebrity trainer Cesar Millan, star of cable television's "The Dog Whisperer." Rossignol said he's a fan of the show, and falls asleep watching it some nights. "I like Cesar because he brought sensibility back into dog training," he said. "And when his show came out, my business doubled!"
Four years later, Rossignol was ready to start his own business, Ausdauer Dog Training. He makes house calls all over northeastern New York and western Massachusetts, sometimes bringing the toughest cases back to his home for a few weeks of intensive training. Last month, he traveled farther than usual after a surprising phone call.
"I need you," the female voice said, introducing herself as Katherine Glankler. "I said OK, where do you live?" he remembered. "She said, 'Memphis’." The next few days were like one of the episodes of "The Dog Whisperer" that feature wealthy celebrity clients. Katherine is a successful hotel executive whose husband, Frank, made his fortune as Elvis Presley's lawyer.
Frank and Katherine were in trouble. They had recently taken in a young female Labrador retriever and their older dog -- also a female Lab -- had greeted the newcomer with alarming viciousness. Desperate for help, Katherine turned to a friend she had in South Glens Falls, Phyllis Miyauchi.
Mrs. Miyauchi had recently adopted a dog from a Tennessee rescue program in which Katherine was associated. “After the adoption, Katherine and I stayed in contact, and when she called to tell me about the serious problems she was having with her dogs, I put her in contact with Dan.”
"Can you be here tomorrow?" Katherine asked Rossignol. She bought his plane ticket and sent a driver to pick him up at the airport. He spent the next two days at the Glanklers' home, achieving a fragile peace between the dogs by the end. "The older one was definitely not accepting any competition as the alpha female," he said. "If I had to do it all over again, I'd bring her here, teach her some manners from my dogs. There's only so much you can do in 48 hours."
Katherine eventually decided it would be best to find another home for the younger dog, but sent Dan a letter of praise. "I don't see it as something that didn't work out, but something that ended like it was supposed to," she wrote. "I have never been treated so well in all my life," Rossignol said of his Memphis trip. "They were just beautiful people."
Most of Rossignol's clients aren't wealthy socialites -- sometimes, they can't pay at all. He takes one free case a month from animal shelters, usually "a biter" that would be unadoptable without training. "I am the only trainer in this area who takes biting dogs, but I tell you what, it's worth it," he said. "About 99 percent of them can be turned around."
Sometimes, the problem is as simple as leash-training and can be resolved quickly. Cases like that have more to do with the owner than the pet, Rossignol said. "I'd say about 70 percent of what I train is humans, and 30 percent dogs."
On a recent weekday afternoon, he made a first-time visit to the Hudson Falls home of Angela Fagan, owner of a 2-year-old Staffordshire terrier named Gunner. "He's the best dog I could ever ask for, he's not aggressive at all, but he just doesn't listen to me sometimes," she explained. "But I'm told I baby him, so maybe I'm part of the problem."
Rossignol took Gunner for several walks up and down the street, keeping the dog on his right on a fairly short leash. With every turn, he angled his body toward the dog, showing dominance. Then he coached Fagan as she tried it. "See -- now you're the alpha leader! You hotshot!" he told her. "Don't look at him. Nose up in the air like you own the whole world. Relax, 'cause you're the boss. "After about 20 minutes, Rossignol decided the lesson was over. "Look at him," he said, gesturing at Gunner. "He's had enough. He needs a break."
The next day, Fagan said she was impressed. "When Dan left, I was apprehensive that what he was teaching wasn't going to stick after such a short time," she said. "But I can definitely see a difference today."
There's only one breed that Rossignol said he still hasn't figured out -- chows. "They think more like ..." he paused, his face registering distaste at the next word, "cats."
The Following Article was published in the Saratogian on December 21, 2010
5W: Dan Rossignol
Who are you?
Adirondack dog whisperer, behaviorist and trainer (www.dantrainsdogs.com or 232-8106), and former fast food executive.
When did you begin handling dogs?
I started training under Judy Sherman back in the late 1980s — she worked with Rottweilers.
I was working incredibly long hours while climbing the corporate ladder and my career was very stressful; the pressure was very high and working with the dogs really diffused (it). We related well together.
What did Sherman teach you?
Judy was German and a master trainer; she handled dogs the European way.
I started training with her three days a week. We worked with K9 police dogs. She was tough as nails. She trained in search and rescue, training dogs how to sniff bombs and drugs, and for military programs. I had to learn everything from soup to nuts. My very first day she required me to sanitize 60 dog dishes and clean 30 pens before I even started on the training. I loved learning her techniques and the psychological background of the dogs.
I eventually opened my own kennel for Rottweilers, raising more than 70 dogs. Some were specifically for police work. I developed dogs that were better balanced — there were no hotheads. I raised dogs that serious dog owners could own.
When do you hear from dog owners the most?
I address what the owner needs eliminated from the dog, such as jumping, pulling, excessive barking, phobias such as separation anxiety (which is usually caused by the owner) and biting. I have the biggest impact on biting dogs. I can read a dog and tell if he’s a bully or if he lashes out in fear, or maybe he’s territorial.
Why do owners need training?
Many owners don’t realize how much a dog needs leadership — they are pack animals. Owners have to be as firm as their canine mothers were. When a dog is trained right it knows its place, it respects its owner and the reward is a calm submission and state of mind for the owner and the dog.
Everyone should be a good parent to their dog. When I walk in, the dog feels secure with me — he knows he’s off the hook as I take the lead. This is one of my teaching points — how to make the owner the pack leader. This cements the relationship when the owner leads. If there is a dog bite, an owner can call me immediately. I’ll go directly to the home and start working right away.
— By Lauren Carpenter
The Following is a Press Release posted on the Adirondack Chamber Blog on December 3, 2008
Dogs are people too.
LOCAL DOG TRAINER SAYS HOLIDAY PARTIES CAN BE FRAUGHT WITH CANINE DANGERS
As you plan for your parties,
don't forget to account for your canine party-members.
Holiday gatherings that mix the family dog with a larger than normal number of people in the house can lead to all kinds of problems and dangers for man and beast. Dan Rossignol is a local dog trainer and behaviorist who feels duty bound to spread his advice to party givers and partygoers this time of year. According to Rossignol, “When a family dog is used to normally three or four people around the house, stress levels are sure to go up when there are suddenly two or three times that number of people coming over for a holiday celebration.”
When dogs get stressed out they often act out in ways that may not be very healthy. Rossignol says dog owners who throw parties should take steps to keep their dogs and guests safe. “If you’re going to have 5, 10, 20 or more people over, chances are you will be doing some planning for this occasion. An important part of your planning should include deciding what to do with you dog. I recommend sending your dog for an overnight stay at your favorite kennel. It’s the best way to be certain your dog will stay safe and sound,” said Rossignol, who will be offering a free seminar on improving dog behavior this Saturday in Saratoga Springs.
Crowds of noisy, sometimes tipsy, people will often display inappropriate behaviors, and dogs tend to react in one of two ways; with aggression out of fear or aggression out of a territorial pack leader mentality. “Snarls, growls, nips and bites are not at all uncommon in these situations. The key is to keep the dog removed from this atmosphere,” advises Rossignol. Placing your dog in a comfortable crate at a quiet location in your home, away from the party, is another Rossignol suggestion.
If you attend a party at someone else’s home who happens to have a dog loose at the festivities, Rossignol says you should steer clear of that dog as much as possible. “Don’t bend over the dog. Don’t pet, pick up or roughhouse with the pet. Choose another, quieter time after the party if you wish to show your affection for the animal,” said Rossignol.
Can the typical holiday party actually pose a danger to your dog? Rossignol says, “Yes! Parties usually feature food out on display around the home, from the banquet table in the dining room to the candy dishes filled with chocolate kisses, to partially eaten food plates left around. If your dog gets into this food when you’re not watching, especially things such as chicken wing bones or chocolate, it can prove to be disastrous to your dog.”
Rossignol is the owner of Ausdauer Dog Training, LLC, often marketed under the name DanTrainsDogs.com. He provides solutions for most canine problems, including aggression, biting and nipping, with just ONE visit to the dog’s home. He has been often been favorably compared to TV’s Cesar Millan, “The Dog Whisperer”, by the capital region media.
The Following Article was on the WNYT website on August 25, 2011
Pit bull breed defended after attack on Schenectady woman
MENANDS - "I was struggling for them to get off me and screaming and hollering help, help, help! Somebody help me." Lucas.
That's what Shirleen Lucas told NewsChannel 13 on Wednesday, as she recovered from a vicious pit bull attack. Early Monday, three dogs got out of their gate at a Schenectady home and mauled Lucas as she walked by, biting off part of her ears and ripping her hair, leaving her with nearly 200 stitches...and a hatred of the breed.
"They need to kill off the pit bull race. True. Put em in a zoo or something," Lucas said.
One day later, supporters of pit bulls spoke out. At the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, they said pit bulls have a bad 'rep.' And they're hoping a new Pepsi Refresh grant for $25,000 will turn things around.
"The bulk of the grant is going to go toward training people's pit bulls animals already in the community, we're going to offer free training classes," said Brad Shear, the shelter's executive director.
Training is what Dan Rossignol does day in and day out for his business called "Dan Trains Dogs."He teaches aggressive dogs to be obedient, with tugs on a leash, commands and praise.
"A pit bull that's trained isn't going to decide to attack somebody out of the blue. it's when they're not trained, or obedient to the owner, that's when you have some danger," Rossignol said.
For him, the many bite marks on his own arms, and especially those on children, are a call to action.
"I still don't feel like it's the pit bulls fault it's the owners who don't take charge. Just like no human being is born bad, they become bad through a series of events," he added.
"We're trying to change their reputation and the more pit bulls that are trained in the community, the better that reputation is going to be improved," Shear said.
The owner of the pit bulls that attacked Lucas has been cited for harboring dangerous dogs and for having an unlicensed dog. Two of the dogs have been put down and the third will be euthanized after rabies observation.