Local dog trainer completes certification to help identify underlying reasons for unexpected aggression
Tori Ganino isn’t afraid to admit assertiveness is her thing.
At least when it comes to dogs. This canine trait of extreme assertiveness – and unwanted aggression – fueled her career and inspired the 35-year-old to pursue her education.
She recently obtained the certification of dynamic canine practitioner.
“My passion is aggression. We need to know what’s going on internally,” she said in an interview on Friday. “This certification is more about helping and spotting behaviors in dogs I see myself applying this to the dogs I work with and my own dog, I just want to keep learning.
Ganino isn’t new to embracing knowledge when it comes to working with dogs, and the canine behavior specialist eagerly added a dynamic canine practitioner to her resume. Ever heard of such a thing? This is because the rigorous four-month course is only available in the UK. Other people signed up for the course, but Ganino said she was the only one in the United States to successfully complete it.
While Dynamic Canine Practitioner might sound like an embellished title, it makes sense as Ganino explains. Suppose your dog Rufus is a bit more surly than usual, and has barked at visitors and – uncharacteristically for Rufus – bit one of them. You might think he’s just a bad boy, however, there could very well be underlying issues at play.
“Dogs are extremely stoic; they hide things so well,” Ganino said at his residence in Elba.
Beneath that quiet strength there may be hip pain, an aching spine or a pulled muscle, she said. By carefully assessing the dog, he will be able to identify likely sources of pain causing and resulting in aggressive behavior. Contrary to popular belief that older dogs are more prone to this occurrence, Ganino said she has seen it more often in younger dogs. They can be working dogs herding animals or training for agility classes, or just mischievous dogs that wreck their little bodies by scampering on slippery floors, she said.
An online dictionary defines dynamics as “a process or system characterized by constant change, activity, or progress; relating to the forces producing motion. Just as humans often do, dogs can overcompensate for injury in one area by overusing the other, Ganino said. This in turn can create a lot of pain and/or discomfort in the dog’s body, she said.
The course taught her to understand what is normal movement for the dog so she can determine what is abnormal movement. This involves taking a history of how the dog moves, what it looked like before becoming more aggressive, and how it behaves now, such as biting, barking, or lunging at people.
Ganino owned and operated the Calling All Dogs daycare center until the terrible Covid-19 hit. It made the difficult decision to close in March 2020, which ended up opening a window.
“It gave me the opportunity to take this intense four-month course,” she said. “I had to present six case studies. There is no similar program in the world.
The program (spelled correctly in England) teaches how to spot potential pain and discomfort in dogs “using specific, measurable and professional techniques from scratch, while giving you in-depth knowledge of the canine body”, the site course website, allaboutthedogtherapy.co.ukStates.
“There are so many great dog training and behavior courses out there that give you the latest up-to-date scientific techniques to make you an expert in your chosen field,” he says. “Although they teach you all the A’s, B’s, C’s, they are ALL missing one essential piece that is key to understanding most problematic dog behaviors.”
Only 14 students are admitted at a time, and they are advised that the course is intensive with a plan for how to use the equipment, perform an assessment and present the results to the client’s veterinarian. That last piece is key to a fully implemented plan, Ganino said. She will perform a two-hour assessment of the struggling dog to assess its activities, movement, walking, running, standing and sitting, and the dog’s general behavior, she said.
The finished product includes a report, video, and recommended course of action that may include prescription medications, X-rays, physiotherapy, and exercises. This will go to the client, the behavior consultant and the veterinarian. The veterinarian will be the one to recommend a more specific route, such as the type of medical tests or prescriptions to be implemented for the treatment of the dog.
“There’s a lot going on with behavior and aggression; it’s not just outside, but there’s a lot going on inside. Unless you’re trained, you don’t see it,” Ganino said. “We can be that team to solve these problems.”
For more information, or to find out if your dog could benefit from Ganino’s expertise, visit callalldogsny.comand click Schedule a Free Consultation.
Photo by Gina Sierra, ginasierra.com