‘Red Zone’ Dogs


This dog is wearing a prong collar, which is not suitable for ANY dog, particularly a dog showing aggressive behavior.

Positive training does not only work on small dogs with minor obedience issues – it is also by far the most effective way to treat severe anxiety and so called ‘red zone’ aggression cases. (The term ‘red zone’ has become synonymous when describing severely aggressive or reactive dogs.)

On It’s Me or the Dog, her other shows and in private practice, Victoria and other positive trainers around the world successfully rehabilitate big, powerful dogs suffering from severe aggression issues on a regular basis.

But instead of fighting aggression with aggression (a game-plan that usually results in someone eventually getting bitten), a qualified positive trainer is able to truly change the way dogs feel for the rest of their lives using force-free methods – not just the way they are acting at that moment.

In order to effectively manage aggression and anxiety-based issues, you must first understand why the dog is doing what he is doing and then work to address the root cause of the problem, not just suppress the symptoms with punishment.

Too often, compulsion trainers misdiagnose the real cause for dogs’ behavior, meaning they apply forceful dominance-based treatment protocols that are ineffective at best and very dangerous at worst. These methods often appear to 'work' because they do indeed stop the dog’s behavior at that moment, but this success is usually short-lived because the dog’s instincts and reactions are merely being suppressed temporarily – not truly changed.

To put it in human terms, if you keep figuratively punching someone, they will eventually figure out that if they stop doing the thing you do not like, you will stop punching them. They just will not like or respect you very much and they will very likely fear you.

Bottom Line

Just like a human undergoing psychological treatment, there are no shortcuts to changing how one thinks and feels, and it takes time to achieve true success, especially when the problem is a deep rooted, emotional one, such as aggression.

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10 thoughts on “‘Red Zone’ Dogs

  1. riverdivine

    Yes! Thank you for this article. And, I am noting that this 'rabid' German Shepherd has a prong collar around his neck....what a surprise? :/ NOT. These horrific, barbaric, devices need to be outlawed. They already are in Europe... as usual, the US is stuck in the past... People do NOT have a clue what they are doing to their dog when they use them. Its sickening.

  2. Suji53

    Many of my friends love Cesar because he gives the " How to's" to them. Also many have told me if it weren't for Cesar then they wouldn't be exercising the dog. I just heard the comment, " Cesar's advise to exercise the dog turned my overactive and destructive dog into a friendly mushmellow dog." And......because this is so successful, why not go by Cesar's advice to dominate the aggressive dog too? "Dogs need to be trained" So many military folks in the US believe in force and dominance. Cesar is making a come back soon on TV. This article is excellent---- but too bad it doesn't show what to DO for people who are at wits end and give that angry knee jerk response. Too bad we don't reach the people with ( really exciting) impossible dogs with BAT, CAT,LAT and positive polite alternative behaviors. We need to reach the common person.. It is doable.

  3. Cyril Guerno

    (Sorry for my english). I'm very open mind, and I find interesting your approach. Is it possible to have some videos to see how you use this method, so we could see the dog before and after.

  4. A Better Dog

    This article makes a very simple but important point... one that I regularly stress to my clients: Stop focusing solely on the undesirable behaviour your dog is displaying, and start addressing the motivation that is causing the behaviour to be displayed.

    It's like that analogy of the overflowing sink... what would you rather do to deal with the water: Endlessly mop the floor, or perhaps just turn off the tap? 🙂

  5. A Better Dog

    To be fair to Suji53, if you re-read the post you will see that he/she is simply relating comments he/she has heard people make about CM and his methods. If you read the last two sentences of the post, Suji53 is supporting positive-based training. 🙂

  6. Mattie Parsons

    There is no such thing as a "Red Zone Dog", that was made up by another person who passes as a trainer because he doesn't have the knowledge to say what it really is, a very frightened dog trying to survive made to look worse by winding the dogs up before dealing with them. When we have a dog this frightened we have to understand stress and how it affects us as well as our dogs because we are also stressed. I always ask myself "How would I react if I was in this dog's position" before trying to work with the dog, that opens up a lot more understanding and I am able to work differently with my dog. Once we understand we are in a much better position to help our dog.

  7. Mattie Parsons

    Prong collars are not illegal in the UK, I wish they were as I see them used wrong which causes the dog a lot of pain. Even used properly they cause pain but the constant yanking on them puts the dog under a lot of pressure and pain.

  8. lunarlander

    Ugh. Yep. Same with up here in Canada. I was walking my dog on her harness and another lady walked her dog over and we started to chat. She said that she stopped using a harness on her dog because he pulled so hard that it hurt her dog's shoulders and that the prong collar was supposed to be a more 'humane' way to stop the pulling. Oh man... and then she started talking about that certain TV trainer (that i'm sure we all love to hate)... If she wasn't just some stranger she sure would have gotten an ear-full from me.

  9. YesB*tchHunty

    Unfortunately you have television shows and whole industries centered around making money and not on animal welfare. These shows reenforce misinformation for ratings and to keep the money cycle going. Confused people are easily duped into spending (wasting) their money on quick fix resolutions, particularly when attentions spans are only as long as a 30 minute television segment. Add to it, just about anybody can claim "pet behaviorist" status with no oversight. I know this is an unpopular idea but... there should be much stricter rules for pet stewardship ( the idea we own a pet/they are property just reenforces the idea we can treat them however we want) and some basic pet care skills should be required/proven before anyone is allowed to add any sort of pet to their household. I think this will cut down on dogs bred with ill temperaments and increased anxiety issues and behavior problems. Instead we treat pets with zero respect, treat them as if they are disposable when we can't bend them to our will, we treat pets as status symbols, fashion statements and accessories, all the while the pet is usually miserable, untrained and suffering from any number of mental, physical and behavioral issues as a result.

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