Aggressive dog rescue and “rehab”?



silly or high-spirited behavior; mischief.


Dog aggressive? A lot can change in a year when you have the right process in place.

Cypress used to be called Melody, and her intake paperwork included notes from an adopter who was *returning her to the shelter* that said,

“She has one significant behavioral issue —- she is dog aggressive.”

Among that paperwork was also the thorough and accurate report from a behaviorist, who indicated what this dog needed in order to be successful and safe, AND the risks of her choice making if the right, intentional ownership wasn’t in place;

“[Melody] definitely needs a leader more than a friend. Leadership is both trust and respect – 70% trust building with routine, and 30% respect to block/disagree with some of the (inappropriate) coping mechanisms that she has been forming.”

BINGO. By being too much her friend, this dog’s adopter (and the one before her) had contributed to the development of dog AND human aggressive behaviors (Cypress bit the Landlord’s shoe), because her nature, combined with her environment, led to Cypress taking charge of situations in which no clear directions were given, nor roles defined.

By being her leader, we empowered her to make friends. We’ve built her confidence in the clarity of what’s expected and what will be upheld. As a leader, we’ve built trust that we always do what we say we’re going to do (especially follow through on consequences), and we advocate for what she needs – less pressure overall.

Ladies and gentleman, this is the key to MOST – if not all – dogs. It’s a VERY rare canine specimen that can handle your imbalance of too little leadership, and too much friendship, while still maintaining their own core stability.

Very rare indeed.

There’s no magic to these changes, it’s a formula that works 99.9999999% of the time.

Got behavior issues? Here’s our answer:

You’ll have resistance to stopping, that very resistance tells you it’s what you need to do – and you probably need to do it A LOT. You’re listening and looking for your own intuitive knowledge of what it would look like to take even 5% more responsibility for the health and stability of your dog. What needs to come off your “plate”? Who needs to be held accountable? What resources are missing?
2) Take 100% OWNERSHIP of your STUFF:
The most common “stuff” we walk into dog relationships with is IMPULSIVITY (maybe you got the dog at the wrong time, under the wrong circumstances, or with the wrong intentions…), REACTIVITY (you’re defensive of the behavior issue, whether as it pertains to your responsibility or the dog’s…), ENTITLEMENT (you don’t accept boundaries for yourself and/or struggle to share them with others), EMOTIONALITY (insecurity, anxiety, loneliness, fear, and the list goes on… all undermine the credibility of a leader.
3) Ask for HELP tirelessly, from the RIGHT sources, and DO THE WORK:
Not asking and not doing got you HERE, it’s won’t get you THERE. The relationship with your dog is like any other relationship, in that it requires consistent contributions, and if you contaminate it – there’s a long road “back to good.”

Everything else pretty much falls under one of those key bullets, and it comes with time. Fulfilling the dog, clearing and balancing your stuff, seeing and respecting the dog for who they really are and what they really need, this all leads to the deepest and most fulfilling experience of dogs possible.

The kind that changes the whole of your life.

That crazy love that makes those who get it, so deeply affected and changed forever. A bond and understanding which motivates gritty stewards to work harder at everything thereafter after, all because a dog called them up to a higher level of leadership in even the most challenging times of their life.

Cheers to you who see yourself in that journey. ?


Training. Boarding. Adoption.

Place command, a foundation for training a calm and managed dog.


If you’re a dog owner, rescuer, or dog trainer who spends any amount of time with our team, you will be coached on the concept of “place,” otherwise known as your dog’s Off Switch.


Whether you’re working on your own to resolve or improve behavior issues in your dog, or entering into a training program with us, place (a command that instructs the dog to both lay down, stay, and ultimately turn off their brain to the world around them), will be fundamental to your success. As a command, place is a key ingredient in how we change and prevent poor behavior habits, as well as a brilliant tool and strategy for proactively building the impulse control and correct choice making desired in a young/developing dog

The goal with teaching your dog to hold a down/stay, one that specifically emphasizes a calm state of mind, is very similar to that of adopting a habit or practice of meditation in your own life. If you have a daily practice of patterning calmness, focus, and self control (deep breaths, pause, filter the information as FOR YOU), you will develop better responses to the events in your life – especially stressful ones. Without this mindfulness, most people experience anger, fear, anxiety, or reactivity. Through a practice of mindfulness, you can build the ability to call on a feeling, even if you don’t feel it in that moment, and a similar gift is ours to give our dogs.


Having the ability to act with impulse control, can make or break the outcome of

even the most difficult events or experiences for both you, and your dog.


If you start challenging your dog to remain calm and on place, no matter what is happening around them, you build a window of management at the very least, which long term can be built into a literal change in their feelings and perceptions. Place command facilitates a pathway for releasing your dog’s anxiety and insecurity, and building more authentic confidence and connection.

For inherently insecure or nervous dogs especially, knowing that you’re in charge of the situation at all times, that not every matter in their environment is their problem or their business, is one of the most loving messages of advocacy and independence you can share. We give a directive of “place,” that we pattern over time with increasing distraction levels, and show our dogs what to do instead of problematic behaviors such as barking, jumping, growling, or fleeing. 



Place training may seem utterly disconnected from resolving the behavior issue(s) that drive you the most crazy, such as leash reactivity, or territorial behaviors of barking at strangers when they come to your home. Additionally, it may seem counter intuitive to train your dog to “turn off” as a tool to improve socialization with other dogs and people, or their fear of and aversion to certain sounds or experiences.

When we are calm in the face of stress or struggle, however, we can both receive and give feedback more effectively, which in dogs means becoming more approachable, trustworthy, willing, and responsible – opening doors for positive social experiences that begin to override a history of messy encounters. Place training works to improve overall behavior, by building a skill that patterns your dog to have better responses to the events in their life – changing the outcome they create.

How to teach place?


  • Start by patterning place INSIDE your home, controlling the level of challenge and distraction your dog faces as they begin to confront their restless or impulsive feelings head on.


  • Keep your dog ON LEASH to teach this concept, ensuring you can share fair and timely direction about your boundary to remain on place. Having the leash on allows you to calmly and quickly collect and return your dog if they wander off the spot you directed them to remain in. Leashes give DIRECTION to your desired movement, if you’re teaching place with remote collar, but no leash, you will find an increased difficulty in communicating clearly – especially to the less driven or motivated dog.


  • Rewarding your dog with food or excessive praise is unnecessary and often increases arousal or excitement – this is in direct opposition of the goal of cultivating calmness. Instead, the reward is your dog’s ability to share inclusion with you, to self manage, and to feel calm and comfortable because of their increased independence through impulse control. The greatest reward for your dog may not be felt by you or them in the training process, but in the long term improvement in their health and well being thanks to a mental state that is balanced and relaxed. This does NOT mean we never reward our dogs, we absolutely create markers and reinforcements to create clarity and motivation, but many dogs receive these things in excess, and to the detriment of their development.


  • Continually raise the bar, being fair to your dog requires allowing them to graduate a “kindergarten” level of training. INCREASE DIFFICULTY over time, as your dog masters the concept of place and is able to proof their resolve in the house with varying distractions and challenge, take that show on the road and proof it out and about.


Like sleep training a toddler, you can expect to receive pushback and an exploration of the boundaries, confusion, and even complete upset in some cases. If your dog is older, more anxious or entitled, or the relationship you share has a good bit of water under the bridge, they will have more of a “case” for negotiating and complaining about this new concept.

When your dog is on place, they are denied freedom of choice and busy-ness or constant connection to you, so if you experience the aforementioned squirmy stuff or even significant rebellion, you’ll likely be experiencing even more confirmation for the importance of succeeding in this training process.

Most of us have to crawl before we can walk, so starting inside and with low stakes challenges, means you set you and your dog up for success over time, and simultaneously build more trust and respect in your relationship together. Dogs who graduate from our three week board and train program understand the command, concept, and consequences for breaking the command, but they still have varying degrees of reliability and sticktoitiveness. Even with a precision training program on board, there is no replacement for time and practice, and place work increases in value when used consistently over time. 



When fear, nervousness, or anxiety start to take over, place command will be/have built in your dog the ability to look to you for information and direction, something they are NOT currently doing when they engage in reactivity, aggression, or avoidance.


The very same proven tools of energy and mental management that have become pivotal in personal development, work by teaching your subconscious to call on a feeling even though you don’t feel it. This patterning allows you to dissipate stress, anxiety and tension, or better yet, cut them off at the pass before they ever invade your conscience. Even if nothing about the environment or circumstances changes, by teaching our dogs to hold a down stay with duration, we give them the gift of ultimate relaxation and calmness. We are helping them to navigate our crazy world that is often not set up for their success biologically – in even the simplest of ways.


Managing fleas and ticks on dogs, the Hope2K9 Foundation way.

Friends, we know the fears you face when it comes to parasite control for your pets… let alone the cleanliness and convenience arguments, because these pests are in fact nasty to happen upon in your home.

The media tells you fleas and ticks can kill, so you’re a “responsible owner” if you get ahead of the game and “guard against them” through monthly preventatives.

Your vet asks which one you want, and for how many months up front.

Maybe you go topical, because it’s cheaper and seems less toxin if it’s outside the body.


Maybe you choose oral because you hate that residue on your dog’s neck, or you don’t want the kids to touch it accidentally.

You get a coupon for bulk buying, and you’re told not to skip it because “flea season” is actually all year based on their life cycle.

Your dog may not even like to eat it, so you wrap it in a pill pocket (junk food), peanut butter, or cream cheese…

Little do you know, your dog is instinctively avoiding POISON.…

“This is no surprise. Every known insecticide/pesticide chemical has been shown to have severe neurological side-effects.” – Dr. Tamara Hebbler

The #1 principle I think made such a huge difference in my level of empowerment and comfort around choosing NOT to use these chemical “preventatives,” was the fact that FLEAS AND TICKS PREY ON WEAK/SICK HOSTS.

So if you focus on building immunity, and make the body UNattractive to these pests, you can avoid them naturally WITHOUT poisoning your dog.

Diet. It’s begins with diet.

Dogs on an appropriate and balanced diet, just do not have the incidences of parasite infestations like dogs who are malnourished. Remember those “junk yard dogs” on the sappy rescue makeover commercials… they’re sick, not healthy, so they’re infected with all the things, because their body can’t fight the predators naturally.

Just think about it. There so many medications that we give to dogs (and take as humans) to mask the underlying and overall problem in the body. The body is trying to tell us we need to treat a root issue, that something is deficient is almost always at play.

Those medications that allow the problem to fester and grow, also actually cause it to worsen due to the side effects of the chemical insults to the body – over a sustained period of time.

I’m sharing some sources with you in the hopes to invite you to do your research, to think objectively, and to be PROACTIVE as you work to give your precious pups the best possible.

Client after client comes to us wanting their dog to be healthy and strong, and to live as long as possible, and this is one of the most insidious areas of counter-productive care we see. The blind administration of chemicals every 30, 60, 90 days… that have a higher cost to health than you realize. And just simply aren’t necessary.

Don’t be fooled, flea and tick prevention can be done naturally, non toxically, and for a LOT less cost. Chemicals are a shortcut almost always, and the real issue is that we’re often lazy and CHOOSING not to take the right road due to ease and convenience.

Look at what to ADD to your dog’s diet, whether kibble-based or fresh/raw, and start paying attention to your routines for cleaning/arming your dog before and after exposure.

Here are some of my colleagues and mentor’s notes about alternative solutions:

Andrea Partee: fabulous source for natural parasite management, and also a writer for Dogs Naturally Magazine) can be found at…/

Make a spray bottle of diluted essential oils:…/9-flea-repellant-essenti…/

Diatomaceous Earth is AMAZING:…/

Dr. Becker, on fleas and ticks and allergies (including FRESH garlic use, etc):

More on Garlic – FRESH garlic added to the diet is ok!…/

Beneficial Nematodes:


I will continue to add to this list, but I sure hope this helps set some of you on the path of a healthier approach to flea and tick prevention. ??


Responsibility educates.

Hey friend, we have to talk about why you should keep your dog.

(And for those of you who never considered an alternative, perhaps this message runs deeper yet… hang with me.)

I know we always try to say things in a way that will be more comfortable or “supportive,” but screw that. You should keep your dog, because of what you can learn in the process. 

Before there is any confusion – this is not a blame or shame game, it’s a consciousness game.

There are definitely dogs who aren’t right. The ones who just don’t learn “normally,” the ones who are too dangerous regardless of training or management, and some who involve too much risk… they absolutely do exist.

But if your dog is truly a 1% dog, these animals aren’t fair to pass on to someone else, as they continue to present tremendous liability for the next owner. And adopters without connection to the dog’s past behavior, so often lack connection to the severity of their new dog’s current/future behavior risks. This scenario actually increases risk and liability in many cases.

I believe there are situations where a dog and human pair are not in the right dynamic to thrive together; factors of environment, skill, emotional stability, and so on, can all play a part in creating insurmountable struggle.

I believe there are times when re-homing, or even humanely euthanizing a dog, is the better choice. Never popular or desirable, it can be the more fair andresponsible thing to do. 

But this is really about the fact that there are so many times when dogs are given up, surrendered to shelters and rescues, or put to sleep in situations where that outcome wasn’t necessary or ideal at all.

Because responsibility educatesand taking 100% responsibility for yourself, your life, your choices, the consequences of your actions/priorities, and the fallout of your lack of awareness at one time, empowers you to grow beyond the person you were then. It actually gives you more power.

When we “act as if” we are responsible, seeking to understand how we may have caused a circumstance or situation in our lives, we have the best chance of gathering clues and solutions there. Digging in to figure out how you could be causing your dog’s menacing behavior, how you may have failed to fulfill him/her, or the dynamic YOU brought them into that was less than ideal, allows you to recognize where else you may be repeating the same mistakes. 

Imagine what the world would be like if everyone took 100% responsibility for themselves… what might we have then?

If every human was committed to kicking blame, judgement, anger, resentment and passivity to the curb, I think we can be confident we’d have less pain and suffering, less loss, abandonment, fear, instability and so much less of everything that contaminates the experience of life for so many.

Well, lets just start doing that with our dogs, ok? ​​​​​​​
  • Taking responsibility if we sought out the emotional crutch when life was heaping pressure on us and we didn’t know how to deal in a healthier way.
  • Taking responsibility for how we choose our down time, socializing with friends or relaxing in front of the TV – or walking and training our dogs?
  • Taking responsibility for a lack of boundaries and perhaps the failure to say “NO” when we didn’t have time and resources to properly care foranother dog.
  • Taking responsibility for when the stewardship duties were no longer as “fun,” convenient or popular.
  • Taking responsibility for discovering your dog is not who you wanted/expected them to be, that they need different things from you in order to become their best.
  • Taking responsibility for expectations that are unreasonable or unfair.
  • Taking responsibility for our mess, not blaming our dog for causing our emotional imbalance or lack of leadership skills.
  • Taking 100% responsibility for our fear, our helplessness, and our need to step the heck up and do hard things.
If we start there, we can find the answers for fixing what’s broken, for gettingunstuck, for raising our awareness, reducing stress, and we can develop more authentic confidence – through creating SUCCESS for ourselves. 
If we start there, we can find the answers that will educate us and train us to avoid making the same mistakes again. If we don’t do the work of taking 100%responsibility, we can’t get out of the loops that suffocate and weaken us.
Responsibility educatesTake responsibility, and you’ll save a boat load on life’s tuition.

(Want more on this topic? I invite you to jump to this Fix It Friday Episode – particularly, the second half – where I further discussed this live.)


To your training success,


An Inspired Vision for Dog Rescue Fosters and Volunteers.

Hope2K9 Rescue friends,

It is our absolute pleasure to be bringing you and our Home2K9 readers some occasional writings from one of our most treasured clients over at Home2K9 Dog Training; Linda and her pup, Nigel, have been paying it forward in a very big way since learning THE secrets to creating a better relationship, and eliminating unwanted behaviors and unnecessary stress in their lives. Please enjoy Linda’s recount of our recent Rescue Reach Out event at Hope2K9, and some insights into what we’re up to with our commitment to improve the world of rescue as a whole.


Linda had a unique seat at the table last weekend as we began a community mission with other rescue groups, focused on properly seeking out foster families, and providing education and support to them in a revolutionary way. If you’re interested in becoming a foster or volunteer for Hope2K9 Rescue, please email us at, and we’ll be happy to discuss the best fit volunteer involvement for you.







Author: Linda Beard


Hello, Leaders!


For over ten years, I have lived next to a couple who have either owned or fostered numerous dogs.  When they have adopted dogs, the dogs have been “unadoptable” – dogs that were elderly, infirm, or both.  They lovingly opened their doors and their hearts to dogs of their preferred breed, labrador retrievers, and blends of other breeds with labradors.  They never had a dog long term, because the dogs they chose did not have a long life expectancy.  This loving couple endured heartache after heartache, but that did not stop them from wanting to give these dogs the comfort of a loving home in their final years or months.  


Last year, they said goodbye to two dogs with a one-week period, one was elderly and the other had a life-threatening illness. Losing two beloved dogs in such a short period was more heartache than they cared to bear, so it was no surprise  when they told me they were “done with dogs.”


The following month, I was scrolling around on my Facebook feed and noticed a new dog being offered for adoption by Hope2K9 Rescue. This is Cameron Thompsen’s rescue organization, and as Cameron is my dog’s trainer, she and her rescue organization are near and dear to my heart. Bonus:  They’re in my local area.  


This new dog was a Labrador puppy, white, eight months old, full of exuberance and love.  He had a distinct black heart shape on the instep of his left front leg, and his personality sprang from the page.  I decided… I’ll just throw the information out there. The gift is in the giving, right? If they don’t want this dog, that’s fine. But if they never have the opportunity to decide, that’s no bueno.


You’re way ahead of me, I know.  Yes, they liked what they saw. They loved the dog when they met him, and that love was absolutely mutual. Fast forward to today, and that magnificent dog is now my new neighbor – destined to give that wonderful couple many years of dog companionship and shenanigans.  


But what I didn’t count on, what absolutely floored me, was when the wife was asking me what I knew about the dog prior to them making their first phone call to Hope2K9 Rescue.  I mentioned that he was already fully trained, and she said, “Trained? Really? We’ve NEVER had a rescue dog who came to us trained!


The only rescue group I have ever had more than passing knowledge of is Hope2K9 Rescue. My assumption was that, shelter dogs have little to no known history, and you take what you get. Rescue dogs, I assumed, came with training and a full background.  Not so, I have learned.


Many rescue dogs enter into a rescue organization with no more information than where the dog was found, similar to the path many shelter pups take.  They often come saddled with baggage, from owners who meant well but didn’t have a clue (yes, my hand is raised!), as well as owners who were negligent and/or abusive. Some of these dogs are runaways, or born as strays, and it’s up to the rescue to assess the dogs, address immediate medical needs, house the dogs, get them fostered, and re-home them all with the hope that their adoptive home will be their last.


It is an all-consuming, back breaking, heart breaking, mind-numbing, heart fulfilling calling that these amazing souls answer to.


There are far more dogs who need homes, than there are homes for dogs.  Housing, feeding, fostering, physically healing these dogs – is an around-the-clock endeavor.  Full training is not typically offered – it’s time consuming, requires specialized expertise, and is a huge expense to provide, in personnel, equipment, time. Thus my neighbor’s shock and delight upon finding such a lovely adoptable dog with an incredible foundation of training already in place


With these issues in mind, Hope2K9 Rescue offered an open house discussion to local rescue organizations, board members, and fosters recently; with the goal of establishing a network wherein expertise could be shared, and dogs could be trained, greatly increasing the chance that their next home would be their forever home.  


Most exciting to my ears (I crashed the event, and eavesdropped!) was the concept of establishing a standardized manual for fosters. This manual would include a format of “What to do if…”  “Who to call if…”  “If those options don’t bring about a resolution, then you should…”. But they didn’t stop at the idea… they actually set a date, and made a plan to bring this to the community. 


The collective directors discussed how potential fosters would/could be given a training session, so that they would be clear on how to use the manual, so that it would be an automatic response to an unexpected situation with the foster animal. With that manual in hand, the foster can seek answers to health or behavioral concerns any time of the day or night. The foster would be supported, empowered, and more likely to want to foster again and again.  And the rescue organization would ideally only have to respond to calls that truly required their attention.


What a novel solution to both promote foster and volunteer involvement, as well as preserve success and avoid unnecessary struggle within organizations. Struggle that often leads to foster families declining involvement, becoming burned out and/or rescue personnel becoming over burdened by excessive support and problem solving demands.


I’m pleased to report that an event is brewing to accomplish this goal, and we’ll be sharing the impact of it later in February 2018. Follow the Hope2K9 Rescue events page to stay up to date and join their team for this awesome training opportunity, or feel free to pass it on to those you may know who would benefit. I know H2K9 believes, ‘the more the merrier’!


If you are a trainer, is there a local rescue you’d be willing to offer your training expertise? What about even virtually?

If you’re a dog owner, or a dog admirer, would you be willing to foster? Even just one week every two months?

Would you be willing to volunteer at your local rescue?  Walking the dogs, cleaning the kennels, offering snuggles?

Would you be willing to donate to your local reputable rescue group?  Maybe set aside a set amount, every month?  Even a $5 – $10 dollar monthly pledge, multiplied by donations from other people, can have a huge impact.


Search your heart, assess your abilities, and help to make your local Rescue the success it strives to be. There are some amazing groups out there working so diligently to do right by your gifts of time, physical support, and financial backing. I’m thrilled to be able to share one of those examples with all of you in what Hope2K9 Rescue is currently up to. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them if you wish to be involved in any of the above methods of giving and community support, they’d love to have you. 


Linda Beard


Alpha B Columnist

Sustaining Supplies, and YOUR impact on our world of dog rescue.

You guys are amazing. You truly represent all that is GOOD in this world; when caring folks do what they can with what they have, to ease the suffering of others, the positive ripple effect is astonishing. We need ALL of this so desperately in our country right now. Eh hem. And there is literally no gesture too small to keep these trains running.

Kate and I received your latest rescue donation packages last night when we were on our way to grab a late bite to eat after a long day at work. By the way, the new kid isn’t sleeping (send caffeine!), we have dogs we’re VERY ready to see move on to their forever families, and we have shed some tears for dogs we wish we didn’t have to let graduate out of here, because they’re just too dang awesome. So, it’s been quite a week. Anyway, we actually sat chatting for a while about the contrast of receiving your packages, feeling your cheerleading, and doing this work, compared to our prior experiences in service industries – where daily incidents could be recounted of selfishness, rudeness, greed, entitlement and impatience. Those grey clouds just don’t exist in this realm; and while there are definitely clouds, they are not the sort that hover and crush your purpose, they are the sort that only inspire it.

We are so honored to literally *feel* your support and enthusiastic validation of our efforts with every delivery, message, email, and donation. Your solidarity with our mission to rescue, rehab, and rehome needy dogs, as well as to impact dog owners in a way that benefits the whole of their lives, is downright magical and humbling. I told Kate she should really share some of her thoughts and insight around transferring to a career in dog rescue, because she has the advantage of having experienced this most extreme contrast more recently than I have, but we both see it so clearly.

This is important and necessary work, but we cannot do it alone. We take you all with us to every shelter visit, on every adoption meet and greet, during every free community training class, and especially at all hours while cleaning all manor of messes. So THANK YOU. Thank you for taking the time, clicking the links, sharing the posts, placing your orders, grabbing your wallets and digging so deep to send even the most simple of sustaining supplies. Flea meds and quality probiotics… cherished. Can you imagine feeling that way about something like this?? It’s a bloody brilliant way to own your days, and win your life… let me tell you.

Your “love notes” are like manna from heaven, and we send all that love right back to you every chance we get.