The Tormentor (Full Episode) | Dog Impossible

(barking) MATT: This whole house
is fear and violence. If these guys don't do the work, they're probably gonna
get a dog killed. BRYANT: The bulldogs are getting
more and more aggressive towards each other. RIDDHI: Pax bit his forearm. (barking) MATT: This dog is a powder keg. (growling) Easy, please. It's okay. Okay. STEF: Just look at
his whole demeanor. MATT: He is scared and
he doesn't have somebody that's standing up for him. I want him to get in
movement and rhythm with me. You just haven't been
taught social manners. There we go. Good boy. (barking) I'm Matt Beisner, and I work
with aggressive dogs. I promise you
I'm not trying to hurt you. I take the dogs
other people won't touch. You do not want to be a monster. And rehabilitate them with
respect, trust and love.

WOMAN: I cannot believe
how calm he is. MATT: Because I know
there are no bad dogs. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ I'm on my way in to work
with a dog named Pax, P-A-X. Ironically enough, his name
is supposed to mean peace. He has at least one bite. Apparently they can't have
anybody come in the home unless he's on muzzle. My process with dogs usually
begins with a house call. I come into your home, it's about two and a half,
three hours. I just want to sit with you,
listen to you, observe what's happening
with your dog, and then things just
evolve from there. I don't know how dangerous
Pax is really gonna be until I meet him. RIDDHI: We have two dogs,
Pax and Emma, and Pax is the problem child. RAYHAN: Anything can
make him snap. (barking) RIDDHI: I feel
very attached to him. RAYHAN: Starting at three months
we started to see issues, nipping at people. And then at four months
he bit somebody.

After that, there were
other incidents as well. There's always a chance
that he might bite someone. (barking) RIDDHI: It's really,
really dire. We need to get Pax help,
and it needs to be right now. (knocking) (barking) MATT: Hi.
RIDDHI: Hi. How are you? MATT: Matt Beisner.
Who's this one? RAYHAN: This is Emma. MATT: Hi, Emma. Let's just sit down and… (barking) Generally what I'm getting
when I walk into a house, I'm tall, I shave my head,
I wear dark clothes. I know I'm basically
a walking trigger. 90% of aggression in dogs
is fear based. And knowing that,
the question is how do I set this dog up
to feel safe? I'm not gonna hurt you,
and you're not gonna hurt me. Okay? Clearly he's pretty scared, and it looks like he could
be really dangerous. How old was he when you got him? RAYHAN: He was really small.
RIDDHI: One month. RAYHAN: Yeah, one month. MATT: Four weeks old?
RIDDHI: Four weeks old. RAYHAN: Yeah, actually
we found him online, and when we went there,
it was really sketchy.

RIDDHI: His mom was like
pretty emaciated. RAYHAN: We actually didn't
want to take him that early. We wanted to give him at least
two months with his mom. But they were like,
"We need to get rid of him now, and if you don't want him, we're going to give him
to someone else." MATT: You may be the only people
that I've worked with that got a dog
at four weeks old.

If dogs don't get what they need in the first 10 weeks
of development, the brain doesn't wire properly. And that you got him from
a really dicey situation, at the very least neglected, if not actually abused
or watching abuse. It makes sense that
he would display the kind of aggression
that he has. Do you want to get
that muzzle off so you can let me know what
you really think about this? Clearly Pax has some
stunted development that has left him
crippled with fear and left him no skills
to deal with that stress.

Ultimately, that can manifest
in violence and aggression. (barking) Have you had incidents
in the home with him where he's bitten people? RAYHAN: There was one time
with each of us; he bit my arm once
and then with her. RIDDHI: Upper leg. MATT: Uh-huh. Did it puncture? RIDDHI: Yeah. RAYHAN: Unfortunately
there was one time, my friend was telling a story, and he got animated and
put his hands up like this. MATT: Uh-huh. RAYHAN: And Pax just
like lunged. MATT: Was it like a one-two
or did he go? RAYHAN: Yeah, it was a one-two.
It was… MATT: There's the hands thing
you were talking about.

RIDDHI: Right.
RAYHAN: Yeah. MATT: Okay. It can be agonizing for
the owners during a home visit, like I'm just here
setting off their dog, but in reality I'm getting
key information. What are the dog's triggers? What's the threshold for stress? RAYHAN: We feel very stuck
in life and with him. (sighs) I feel bad. It's like he just puts this
like darkness on everything, and it's not his fault. We care about him so much and
we have a very strong feeling that if we give him up, that
he'll probably get put down.

MATT: Yeah. Rayhan's not wrong about this. The majority of the dogs that
get put down in Los Angeles are pits and pit bull mixes, so turning this around for Pax
is a matter of life or death. I want to move to
a different experience for him and that is with me sitting
here, but other than that, I just want to see
what it's like for him.

It gives me a place
to start from. Stay there for a moment. Okay. Give me the long end
of the leash. Thank you. Okay, there it is,
there's the stillness, and now he's,
there goes the ears. Right, he's ready to pop at me. Pax has been barking
and growling at me, but now he's gone
still and silent, which for a lot of dogs
means they're about to attack. He's definitely trying
to work an angle. Hand me that long end of
the leash behind your back. And I promise you
I'm not here to hurt you. Okay, let go. I got it. I don't want to hurt you. I just want to see
what we can do, okay? In order to help defuse
Pax's aggression towards me, I approach him
with a calm energy and a non-threatening manner. Let's sit down. We gotta do this together. Okay? I want him to read my energy
and downshift. There's the stillness that
his pupils are so dilated. Yeah, you want to lunge at me
when I sit down, don't you? But he's still seeing red
and he can't learn when he's in that state
and being edgy.

Yeah, it's too much. He's one of the more dangerous
dogs that I've worked with. Definitely. It's not gonna happen. We're just gonna keep going
through the same thing, and it's gonna create
more stress for him. I'd you to put him back in. (barking) Good boy, Pax. Good boy, Pax. I'll take that. Pax chose to downshift
and lay down. It's small but it's a win, and at this point we need
to keep reinforcing that. I'd be very detached about
how and when he gets affection. You've gotta wait
till he's calm. As long as he stays calm,
you can keep petting him. Neurologically,
I want him to understand that when you are calm
and you stay calm, we will give you all
the affection you can handle, and you are going to reinforce
what he needs most to be able to stand a chance to
go out and change in the world, which is his ability
to calm himself down.

Next steps, we've gotta get
Pax out of the home and into the Zen yard
to socialize with other dogs. And then we can use that
as a bridge to get him back in the home safely interacting
with other people. RIDDHI: We really need
Matt's help. RAYHAN: It's like every day
is another chance that something bad might happen
and we have to put him down.

RIDDHI: That is kind of like our
last resort and our last hope. MATT: Alright, kid,
I'm gonna walk by. (barking)
That a boy. (barking) I want to talk
about the presidents. They are five bulldogs
named after presidents. In the home there is
such regular fighting that the owner has
a fight breakup stick on the couch next to him. The dogs break into a fight and
he pulls the break stick out, breaks it up, puts them back.

This is a regular occurrence, but they're actually
puncturing each other, and the owners have been bit
breaking up the fights. WOMAN: Are they all rescues? MATT: Some rescues,
some come from breeders. I'm gonna do a private session
with them and we will have them coming in. Cool? (barking) BRYANT: Calm down, please. I'm Bryant and this is Justin, and we are the parents
of five bulldogs. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ JUSTIN: The five dogs
are our children, we love their big paws
and their big fur and rolls, and I just love having
these hippos run around and knock you over in the house. The problem now is
as the days go on, the bulldogs are getting
more and more aggressive towards each other. (barking) You think they're okay at times, but then within
a snap of a finger, they lunge towards each other. (barking) BRYANT: We're concerned about
the dogs' safety and our own safety when they are aggressively
going after each other.

But we're also worried about
other people's safety that come to the house. JUSTIN: Right now we don't feel
totally comfortable in our home; we're always tensed up
and stressed and not knowing what's
gonna happen next. Dog room's on the right here. MATT: Okay, cool. Do you have the ones
that are prone to fight? BRYANT: They're separated
in that room. MATT: They're separated? Okay.
BRYANT: Yeah. BRYANT: So I tend to think it's
more Roosevelt who starts it. Eisenhower will back off,
go into a corner, so he then jumps first
and then it starts.

(barking) Truman, the youngest one,
when we adopted him, he was a calm puppy,
very nice and gentle. He's now starting to jump
into those fights. Hey, hey, hey, hey. It gets a little scary. There was one time he bit me because he was right here
and drew blood. MATT: Stability needs
to happen in this home. If these guys don't do the work, they're probably gonna
get a dog killed. Really the issue is between
Roosevelt and Eisenhower, but it creates a madness
amongst the five. BRYANT: All day long is
barking, aggressiveness. MATT: Alright. BRYANT: It takes a toll
on like our personal lives. MATT: That sounds
really stressful. It sounds like Murdock and
Lincoln are innocent bystanders to this dangerous dynamic that's happening with Roosevelt,
Truman and Eisenhower, so I want to look at these
three troublemakers and see what's really
happening here. Alright, we're gonna play
this one at a time.

BRYANT: Okay. MATT: And I want the two of you to ignore the dog
completely, okay? The first step to seeing
what the problem is, is teaching Bryant and Justin
how to detach from their dogs. I start with Roosevelt
since he's getting blamed for a lot of the fighting. Let's bring the tormentor out. Always when I come into the home
I ask the humans to ignore the dogs,
'cause I want to see two things: what does the dog
do with its humans, and what's the dog do
with the stranger.

The right side of the face,
is that… JUSTIN: That's from Eisenhower.
MATT: Yeah. JUSTIN: That's exactly
where they bite. MATT: Thank you, Roosevelt. We'll see you in
a little bit, buddy. Oh, his own, Roosevelt seems
like a typical bulldog, but there's something in his
relationship with his owners and the other dogs that's
driving him to aggression. I'll bring Truman out. Just gotta give us some space.
Come on out, kiddo. Come on. BRYANT: He's the skittish one. MATT: Yeah. Come on, Truman. JUSTIN: He has
a questionable history, whereas we first
brought him home, he wouldn't even
leave his kennel. You could tell he was afraid. MATT: Come on, Truman.
Come on out. You want to see what
we're doing out here? I'm just here to help you.

It sounds like things
are a little bit scary. Let's go see what's out there. Let's go check it out, come on. We're gonna take
a walk together. Here's what we're gonna do. I'm not gonna make you
do anything, but we're gonna see about getting out in this world
together, okay? Come on, let's keep walking. I'll walk with you. I can see you're scared. Oh, my buddy. I can see you're scared. I'm struck by how afraid
Truman is. Truman is crippled with fear; all he wants to do is
get back to his crate. It's kind of heartbreaking. Bulldogs are not aggressive
by nature, but if they're not
socialized as puppies, it's likely they're gonna
become aggressive. His training is gonna be
about getting comfortable and being able to trust
in the world. My next move is
to bring Eisenhower out. Let's go sit down on the couch,
see what happens. Hi. Okay. (barking)
Yeah. BRYANT: Eisen. (barking) MATT: A lot of fear,
these dogs have a lot of fear.

Do you have any concern that
he would lunge at the cameras? JUSTIN: I don't think
immediately. I think… MATT: Tss! Easy, please.
It's okay. JUSTIN: Eisen, no. Eisen, no. JUSTIN: Eisen, no. Eisen, no.
MATT: Okay. MATT: Eisenhower's fear
is pushing him towards the edge of violence. That's the theme of this whole
house, is fear and violence. In a multi-dog household, a secure pack creates
a safe environment. In a home like this,
the sketchy backgrounds of some of these dogs,
combined with insecurity, means there's jockeying
for position.

(barking) Go ahead and get him back. JUSTIN: Come on. MATT: The relationship between
these three dogs is toxic. There are varying degrees of
anxiety and fear in this home, and the fear that
is the strongest is what leads to
the most aggression. JUSTIN: Yeah. MATT: So if we create
more security in the home, then there is less
of a reason to be afraid. BRYANT: Overall I was surprised
to find out how much fear the dogs do have
in causing the fights. MATT: So, there's a few things
I want to see happen in the next month. There's no incident. If you commit to this
30-day, no-incident window, you just plan rotations
so there's no risk. If they're not together,
we don't have a problem. If we just take fighting
off the table, then we change the way
we live with the dogs, they change their behavior.

BRYANT: The hardest thing
for me moving forward is just staying consistent
every day for the next month to help solve the problem. MATT: I definitely would like to
see Eisenhower at the Zen yard. I'd love to see Truman there, it would probably be
mind-blowing for him. JUSTIN: Yeah.
BRYANT: Right. MATT: And to get Roosevelt
in there, too. JUSTIN: Oh, sounds a plan.
MATT: Alright. MATT: These dogs
desperately need supervised dog socialization. If we work to socialize them
at the Zen yard, we can control their environment and then work to repair their damaged relationship. JUSTIN: Great, thanks so much. BRYANT: I appreciate it.
Thanks so much. MATT: Stay with the work.

♪ ♪ I really dig what happens
in the home sessions, but the other part of our work is what we do at the facility,
the Zen yard. You can come on in and
I'll show you the yards. My wife Brooklyn and I started
the Zen Dog about six years ago. The Zen Dog is a company
that believes that there are no bad dogs. (barking) Most of the dogs that
come to the Zen Dog are under socialized, they're
kicked out of other daycares, they've had really awful
backstories or they're just
behaving naughtily. (laughs) I grew up watching
Mister Rogers. Come on, friend. I'm gonna show you the board
with all the advisories of the dogs who are
very, very dangerous. For example, BL5D. Bite level five dog. That means that it's
a multiple puncture, and it's so severe that
it requires hospitalization. Bite level six dog. This dog has killed another dog,
and they all show up here, like the island
of lost children, and bit by bit, we find a way to
help them feel more comfortable and more confident.

When I help the dog that
nobody else wanted to help and that dog changes for life, the payoff is as delicious
as ten puppies running around licking my face. (laughs) (barking) Today Truman, Eisenhower
and Roosevelt are coming into the Zen yard
for boarding and training. Justin and Bryant have not
been able to keep the dogs separate and peaceful, so we've decided to have them
come stay with us for a week so we can work with them
in a controlled environment. JUSTIN: Hey, hey, hey. Calm down. MATT: Coming in with Eisenhower. I'm starting to work
the presidents with my colleague, Stef. She's a super talented
dog trainer. And Caitlyn, our manager,
is providing backup. I want to see Roosevelt and
Eisenhower together first since the owner said that
they're in the middle of most of the fights.

So I want to see for myself what
they do to trigger each other. But I create a safe boundary
between the two, so this doesn't end up
in bloodshed. Roosevelt is not happy
about his brother coming in. Eisenhower is clearly
threatening Roosevelt right now. STEF: Same thing on my end.
Hard stare, arms out. MATT: Yeah. STEF: Just stillness and staring
like, "I'm coming for you." MATT: Yeah.

My sense is that if I let
Eisenhower out right now off-slip, that he would
attack Roosevelt. STEF: Agreed.
MATT: Yeah. MATT: Now we have a new and not
uncommon behavior from Roosevelt which is I'm just gonna lie here
but I'm gonna lie here in a place that actually
forces your hand. STEF: Yeah. I'm gonna lie here
and I'm gonna block the doorway. I'm gonna create
my own boundary. MATT: Yeah. STEF: And he's eyeing him
right now. MATT: Right. STEF: Oh, oh, growling. MATT: Yeah. Here we go. Okay, now the growling's
increasing. Because what's happening
is Roosevelt's not giving. This is real time
what happens in the home. (growling) MATT: There it is.
STEF: Scared me. MATT: Yeah, got me, too. So if we don't have them secure,
they're fighting right now. It was really interesting that
Roosevelt made the first lunge even though Eisenhower
was the aggressor. Even after Roosevelt laid down
essentially saying, "Leave me alone, dude",
Eisenhower wouldn't back down. Roosevelt doesn't want
to initiate a fight. What Roosevelt has discovered
out of necessity is he has to defend himself.

STEF: Mm-hmm. MATT: Alright. Let's do a swap. Next I want to see what
Roosevelt's relationship with Truman is like. Okay, come on out. These two aren't showing
the same type of aggression with one another right now, so it's a chance to get them
a little bit closer together and see what's going on. Let's go for a smell. STEF: It's your brother. MATT: Really? CAITLYN: Butt to butt. MATT: I mean, that's just weird.
That's not natural. Truman's grown up with this dog,
and they have no apparent desire to actually connect
with each other. And Truman keeps
making eye contact and Roosevelt keeps
turning away. What do you think about
going off-leash? STEF: I feel okay about it. MATT: Yeah, I do, too. Shall we?
STEF: Yeah. MATT: So the one thing
for us to watch for is anything that could
become resource guarding. Tss! Easy. Yeah, there's something punky to
me about what's happening here. STEF: With Truman? MATT: Yeah, 'cause there's
a water bowl right there. This is not about you
drinking water, Truman, this is actually about who
is drinking the water bowl that you need to go
drink out of.

And he's walking differently. There's a posturing about it,
right? Boom, boom, boom, boom. STEF: Like you are lingering
a little bit too long, kind of getting
on my nerves, Truman. MATT: Yeah. And Truman–Tss!
Hey, uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh. MATT: There's a posturing
about it, right? Boom, boom, boom, boom. Hey, uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh. STEF: Punky, punky, punky.
MATT: Yeah. MATT: That is how you start
a fight with a dog that fights to defend itself, that doesn't want
to be with you.

Okay? STEF: And then he's cornered
himself, like I don't feel good. This feels
a little too familiar. MATT: Yeah. STEF: Just look at
his whole demeanor. MATT: Yeah. STEF: His ears are back,
his head is low and hunched. MATT: And he's drooling. Right.
STEF: Lots of drool. STEF: And his eyes
are hanging heavy. MATT: He's just like,
this dog just shut him down.

Hi, sweetheart. STEF: And he keeps making
eye contact, though. MATT: Like, "Help me."
CAITLYN: With everybody. MATT: Yeah, "Help me." Yeah. He is scared, and
he doesn't have somebody that's standing up for him. STEF: Yeah.
CAITLYN: Scared. CAITLYN: Makes me actually see
Roosevelt quite different, 'cause I just saw him and
Eisenhower as these big bullies. MATT: And my heart really
hurts for this dog. During the home session,
the owners blame Roosevelt for starting most
of the violence, but he's actually
the victim here. Let's get him out of here
and secure and let's go right
into Eisenhower/Truman. STEF: I got Rosie. MATT: Truman, you can have
the yard, buddy. STEF: Coming out. Come on, Eisenhower. Let's go. So different. MATT: Right, and he doesn't come
over and say hi to his brother. CAITLYN: And Truman's head
is lower. MATT: Yeah. CAITLYN: He has that more
like, I'm afraid, I don't want to be in here. MATT: Now look, Truman…
CAITLYN: Wants to go. MATT: Yeah, okay,
let's pause right there. That's how that looked to me.
Yeah. Truman wants out.

CAITLYN: He just wants
to get out. STEF: And all he wanted
to do is stay in and punk Roosevelt
the whole time. MATT: Right. Truman became a different dog while he was alone
with Eisenhower. He totally shut down
and was overrun with fear. It's clear Eisenhower's on
the top of this social ladder. So we've got the same cycle of
violence happening in the house, because you've got this one
who started it on Roosevelt and Roosevelt began
to have to defend himself. Then you get Truman who says, "Oh, this is how this operates,
we punk Roosevelt." He's learning violence
from Eisenhower for sure.

pexels photo 5749784

It's not just a pecking order,
it's the bitch ladder. But a good parent does
not allow their dogs to have these kinds of
relationships without healing. Moving forward, we need to
socialize these dogs separately. They need to realize that
they can have relationships with other dogs that aren't
built on fear and aggression, but can be healthy and secure. This didn't happen overnight, so it's not gonna get
fixed overnight. We are way further
down the weeds than I thought we were gonna be in terms of their
dog socialization, but it's all workable. So I know there's hope here. (barking) The way we work with dogs
is different in that we don't use any
conventional training methods.

STEF: Coming in with Pax. MATT: We're not using treats,
shock collars, choke chains, prong collars, commands. Everything is designed
for the dog to be able to think for itself, 'cause a dog that
can think for itself is not gonna be reactive. This dog has got
some dangerous issues. He was in blackout aggression
in the home. (barking) In the home visit, we couldn't even get Pax
safely out of the crate. Today he's letting
Stef handle him, so I want to see if Pax
can remain calm while being in the yard
with another dog. Coming out with Mina. Just because Pax lives
with another dog, Emma, doesn't mean that he knows
how to behave with dogs he doesn't know
out in the world. Yeah, he certainly seems intent. What's different about
what we do in the facility is we have dogs
to help us teach, dogs get to be with dogs
that are good role models. If they can be trustworthy, it's fundamental to their
experience in being alive that they get to be a dog
and know what that's like.

STEF: So why don't
we give Pax… MATT: First smell?
STEF: Mm-hmm. MATT: Come here, sugar plum. Smelling another dog is
the equivalent of saying hello. Pax is gonna smell you, okay? STEF: Uh-uh. MATT: I'm not gonna
let you get hurt. I promise. His breathing picks up,
his eyes are bugging out. STEF: Just is rude and pushy.
MATT: Yeah. STEF: And like, I don't really
know what I'm doing either. MATT: Under-socialized. STEF: Come on. MATT: It's interesting that
I got a few eyes there. STEF: Let's go ahead
and get the hose out just in case Pax does
decide to go after you. MATT: A hose is
a great inhibitor. We spray the hose
so that it's near the dog. We just want the dog to know that this is part
of the communication.

He's got eyes on me, I can tell. STEF: He's terrified
of the hose. You bring it out and he almost
shuts down and doesn't recover. And there he goes.
He just saw you go for it. MATT: And now he wants
to get the muzzle off now that he sees me as a threat. STEF: Mm-hmm. MATT: He seems
particularly keyed up. I've got no hose, okay,
I'm sorry you got scared. Didn't mean to scare you. STEF: That's how sensitive
Pax is to his fear triggers. MATT: There's a stiffness
about him that usually precedes an attack.

This dog is a powder keg. There we go,
let's let this happen. Okay? Okay? Okay? Take the leash. STEF: He just goes
right for the face. Right alongside the neck, too. MATT: Shady. STEF: It's so needy
and so desperate. MATT: And creepy. Pax does not know
how to deal with fear. Pax needs to learn
how to calm himself. That's gonna require detachment and appropriate affection
at home and intense socialization
here at the Zen yard. The kid doesn't know
he's not a bad dog. ♪ ♪ MATT: Come on, kiddo.
STEF: Let's go. MATT: Today we're gonna start
socialization work with Truman. We have a surprise party
planned for you. STEF: Let's go, bud. MATT: This is a dog who's afraid
of almost everything, and on top of that he's been
learning some very bad habits from his older brother
Eisenhower about how to interact
with other dogs.

STEF: Phew.
He is just a hot mess. Come on, bud. Good boy. MATT: We're gonna
start him with Huck, one of my favorites and
one of our most secure dogs. I'm surprised that he's
this frightened of Huck. STEF: It's like
a stubbornness and… MATT: Yeah. STEF: He disconnects
immediately. MATT: Good boy. Yeah. STEF: And he goes back
into like his shell. MATT: Good boy, Truman. What's happening here
is I'm not pulling, but when there's a sliver
of release, which I can feel, good boy, Truman,
by not counter pulling, when there's a good boy,
like that. That's it right there. Gorgeous. And so in spite of himself, he
actually had a dog experience. STEF: Mm-hmm. MATT: And if I had
let him dictate it, he would have been
back in the crate, and we would have
written this off and said it's not gonna work.

And not only did he just do it, he did it without us having
to tell him what to do. Let's see if Huck can smell you. I'm just gonna hang
onto you here, and Huck's gonna come over
and smell you, okay? So I don't have any tension
on my hand, there's no tension on the leash. Good boy, Huck. STEF: Good boy, bud. MATT: He's breathing
pretty heavy, but that was Huck and
nothing happened, huh? Now we want to up the ante
a little bit by bringing in Licorice. He's still a secure dog,
but a bit more high energy, so I want to see if Truman
can still stay calm. Come here, kiddo. Do you want to smell Licorice? I'm telling you, I asked him if
he wanted to smell Licorice and he started moving. Okay, there's the lip.

(barking) MATT: Come here, kiddo.
Do you want to smell Licorice? Okay, there's the lip. There is it. Yeah. I saw lip and I felt growl. Licorice was a bit too much
for Truman to handle. Licorice got in his space and gave him a few playful barks
and Truman shut down. Truman's pulling right now, 'cause he doesn't want anything
to do with being Truman. He wants "The Truman Show"
canceled, and he wants to get out of here
and go back to being nothing. STEF: There's just an overall blanket of nerves
and insecurity. MATT: We're gonna continue
intense dog socialization to help Truman feel more
comfortable in his own skin and eventually with
his own brothers. Come on, my love bug. STEF: Coming out. ♪ ♪ (barking) MATT: Every once
in a great while, the Zen Dog will foster a dog;
dogs that have maimed humans, dogs that have
killed other dogs. We commit to getting them
the help that they need so that they can get adopted
and put in a good forever home.

Alright, we're gonna go
meet Lincoln. I say that there are no
bad dogs, 'cause I was that dog. When I started this whole
journey, I was detoxing. (barking) Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi.
Here, I'll take my hat off. (barking) I grew up making
all kinds of choices that put my life and other
people's lives in danger. I was given a second chance, so I look at the dogs as a
reflection of my own experience. (barking) So this is pretty normal
for he and I. The story goes that I look like
somebody that he was adopted and returned by, and apparently
was never the same dog after he was returned. I have a real soft spot
for Lincoln. He's exactly the kind of dog
that's a last chance dog that's been misunderstood and a dog that just needs
an opportunity to learn how to relate with human beings.

You can see his trust in Amy;
immediately he softens. AMY: Hi. Hi. Yeah. MATT: See? You stay there and
I'm gonna step in and let's see what happens. (barking) (growling) It's okay. It's just me. Especially with a dog
this reactive, detachment is the key
to everything we do. If I remain detached
and I don't provoke him, he will learn to
calm himself down. Good boy, Lincoln. You can hear the pause in there. You could see how that made
space for his energy to change. If we change energy, we change
behavior, which is what he did.

There, you see it?
There's the downshift. Drops his head,
the barking changes. The body goes from that
tense state that he's in and now there's a little bit
of movement. There we go, and he's closer. That's the significance of what
happened for Lincoln today; he got to face his fear
and work through it. If he can work
through it with me, he can work through it
with anybody else. Good boy. You big, beautiful,
bowling ball-headed, you're like a big walking
Thanksgiving turkey. ♪ ♪ (phone ringing) RAYHAN: Hello?
MATT: Hey, it's Matt Beisner. MATT: Today, I want
to get a sense for how Pax is progressing. I wanted to meet with the three
of you and do some walking work. STEF: Might say hello. MATT: We've been working with
Pax for the last few days through some intense
socialization training. STEF: You're doing great, Mina. MATT: Since Pax went home,
his owners, Riddhi and Rayhan, have been practicing detachment, making sure they only give Pax
affection when he's calm.

That way, they don't reinforce
his anxiety and aggression. RIDDHI: Good boy, Pax. MATT: I'll be a little bit
further up the path, and I just want to do
one pass by first, because I just want to see
where Pax is at with me, okay? RAYHAN: Okay, sounds good. MATT: Okay, cool. I'm wearing dark clothes
and I do have a hat, so I know I'm already
a walking trigger. So I'm just gonna walk by and we're not gonna pay
each other any attention. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Wow, he's doing
a really nice job. Your leash handling
looks great, by the way. You look calm and clear, and I didn't see a change
in him at all. RIDDHI: No, he just walked by. MATT: Yeah.
RIDDHI: Yeah. MATT: Excellent. So why don't the three
of you start walking? And just pay attention
really to anything, yeah, there he is
shaking off the stress. Anything that you notice, see
there's a little pull in there. MATT: Oh, yeah, to get
the muzzle off, right? RAYHAN: Yeah.
RIDDHI: Yeah.

MATT: Yeah, okay. Well, I know
it's a big ask, Pax, I know I just dropped in
on a walk with you. Let's switch, let's turn around. Rayhan, you take him
and we're gonna walk together. (barking)
RAYHAN: Pax! MATT: So why don't the three
of you start walking? Today I really want to focus
on Pax's triggers. Let's switch, let's turn around. Rayhan, you take him and
we're gonna walk together. As soon as I joined the walk,
Pax is cagey. We're gonna do it anyway, kiddo. I just want to see you
walk with me.

When he encounters stress, he needs to learn to calm
himself instead of lashing out. RIDDHI: You're doing good, Pax,
doing good. MATT: We'll walk together. There we go. That a boy, Pax.
Good boy, Pax. I know. You don't have to like it,
but you're doing great, buddy. This is subtle,
but it's a big moment for Pax. He stayed connected with Rayhan, he kept moving and
he was able to keep his cool. What I saw today was
promising in a lot of ways. It definitely stood out to me that Pax was able to walk by me
without reacting. When he did start to react… (barking)
RAYHAN: Pax! MATT: His reactions
were not as intense. He didn't stay hot
as long as he used to. He actually was able
to let it go, as evidenced by the fact
that after all of that, we end up walking together
and Pax doesn't come at me. Good boy, Pax. Good boy, buddy. We'll talk about
what we can do next. Pax has to continue
coming to the Zen yard for regular dog and
human socialization, otherwise he risks backsliding
into dangerous behavior.

♪ ♪ Coming in with Eisenhower. Eisenhower is the toxic alpha
of this bulldog pack at home, and he deals with the stress by bullying and fighting
like most human bullies. Underneath it all, he's literally drowning
in insecurity and fear. STEF: Oh, buddy. MATT: This dog is brokenhearted
and terrified. STEF: Come on, Nama. MATT: I'm gonna bring in
my delicious dog, Nama. She's secure in her rank, and she's gonna show Eisenhower the kind of dog
that he can become. We're gonna have you meet Nama. You just haven't been
taught social manners, so we're gonna show you
in our own clunky human way what that's like. We're gonna come around this way and let's come right in here
and see what's there. There we go. Good boy. God boy, Eisen. And he looks at me like,
"Is that how I do it?" He smelled it like he'd never
had an opportunity to do that before.
Even this.

I think you're actually gonna
try and throw a little–boom. You see how unassuming, and look it, he checks with Stef
to see if that's okay. STEF: That's great, bud. MATT: Right? You do not
want to be a monster. Smelling Nama's a really
big deal for Eisenhower, and he couldn't have done better
for where he's at. I'm gonna hang on to you
right here, 'cause Nama wants to smell you. Now I want to have Eisenhower
get smelled by Nama, which is gonna require
a lot more trust on his part. There we go. There's the fear. (growling)
Okay, so now we've got growling.

In his experience,
it's actually not safe to have somebody come up
from behind you. We need to keep working
on the social experience for Eisenhower,
help him get to a place where he feels
secure and trusting, and then he's got a shot at
making things work in the home. Coming out with Ike. STEF: Coming in with Pax.
(barking) MATT: Pax has been coming in
for regular day play, and he's making good progress. STEF: Good boy. Hi, bud.
Thanks for sitting down. MATT: Stef has been able
to work with him off-muzzle, which shows how far he's come. Remarkable how different
already in holding with you from where we left off
in the home. Today I'm hoping he'll walk
with me off-muzzle. STEF: Why don't you walk next
to me for a little while? MATT: Okay. Hi, Pax. I see you. I see you see me.

Since Pax trusts Stef, I'm gonna
try and draft off of that energy and hopefully we can transfer
his trust in her to me. No, my friend. Come on.
(clicks tongue) (bark) I'll take it. Yeah. Hi. (clicks tongue)
Let's walk. Up, up, up, let's walk. MATT: That a boy. There we go.
STEF: Good. MATT: There we go.
We're gonna keep moving. I want him to get in
movement and rhythm with me.

Good boy, Pax. I know that the momentum is
gonna help him stay unstuck. There we go, we're gonna
take this corner, too. The momentum of walking
helps dogs move through their
anxiety and fear. That's why movement is such
a big part of our training. STEF: Good boy. MATT: Good boy, Pax. This feels like a big
breakthrough for Pax. It's amazing to me
how far he's come, but his owners
need to understand there is no room for error. STEF: He needs clarity.
He needs direction. MATT: Yeah. STEF: There's no room
for wishy-washy kind of communication. MATT: And he needs a profound
amount of respectful detachment. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ STEF: Oh, good boy.
MATT: Good boy. MATT: Justin is scheduled
to pick up his bulldogs today and take them home. MATT: Thank you.
STEF: That's rude, sir.

MATT: Good for you, Eisenhower. In order to know that
it's safe to do that, they have to pass
one more test here. JUSTIN: Hey, how's it going? CAITLYN: I'm Caitlyn,
Matt's assistant. JUSTIN: I'm Justin. How's it
going? Nice to meet you. CAITLYN: Nice to meet you
in person. MATT: I want Justin to observe
us reintroducing the dogs together for the first time. The only way they can go home is if they can get along
with each other. CAITLYN: I want you to be
as quiet as possible. We want to try to be
as kind of fly on the wall as much as we can. So we'll just peek over
and then…

JUSTIN: Perfect. Let's do it.
I'll follow you. CAITLYN: Cool. MATT: I'm gonna start
with Eisenhower and Truman. STEF: Come on, bubs. MATT: Ah, I got it
right in my mouth. We're now, like we're
spit brothers, you know that? STEF: Come on, nugget. MATT: Bring him in
if you would, please. STEF: Let's go, Truman. Good boy. MATT: Let's go for
a smell and see.

STEF: Okay. I'm gonna go around this way. Oh, that's polite, bud,
that's very polite. MATT: There we go. One, two. MATT: Let's go for
a smell and see. STEF: Okay. MATT: Today we're integrating
bulldog brothers Eisenhower and Truman
for the first time before their owner Justin
takes them home. There we go. One, two. You would think that these dogs
have never done that in the home with each other, like never had
a healthy dog smell interaction. STEF: Mm-hmm.
MATT: Wow. STEF: Good job, Truman. MATT: Come here, my bud. Let's go smell him. Come on. There we go. One, two. There we go. There you go. (laughs) You did it! That a boy. That a boy! Good for you. Come here, come here, love bug. Hi, friend. There you go. STEF: Look at Truman going in. MATT: Good for you, Truman. There you go. Good for you, Eisenhower. They've not actually had
direct interaction. Truman couldn't do it and
Eisenhower couldn't be trusted. There's a lot of stuff in here
that wasn't happening before, that's really positive.

STEF: That's good. MATT: Good boy, Truman.
You did great. Yeah, let's have Roosevelt
come in. STEF: So, Caitlyn,
you want to just step in and I'll grab Rosie. MATT: Yeah. We're gonna have your brother
Roosevelt come out, okay? Okay, let's see
what we got here. Okay. STEF: He is wagging his nub.
MATT: Good for him. STEF: Really sweet. MATT: That's cool,
'cause that's not what we saw last time between those two. Definitely more engaged,
a lot less deferential. STEF: Right.
Want to come in, bud? Alright. MATT: Okay, bring him in. STEF: Come on, Rosie. Yeah! Woo-hoo! Look at you go. Good boy! MATT: Wow. JUSTIN: I was kind of shocked
watching them walk into the pen, I kind of thought that
they were gonna revert back to the bad behaviors, but it was nice to see them
interact properly.

STEF: Good boy! MATT: I feel like I'm watching
a hippo run in the wild for the first time. STEF: You are,
it's 'cause you are. MATT: Look at you.
That's beautiful. STEF: Good job. MATT:
Yes, we can do a walk, too. STEF: I got him. He's not gonna
bother you. I got him. MATT: Come on,
let's go this way. STEF: I got him. MATT: Good boy, Eisenhower. STEF: Truman, come on. We're doing a bulldog show here,
Truman. MATT: Hi, Truman. Let's get past
the fear a little bit. STEF: Good job! There you go. MATT: There we go.
Bulldogs on parade. CAITLYN: Go, go, go! MATT: Bulldogs on parade.
CAITLYN: Woo-hoo! STEF: You did it, bud! Come on.
MATT: Bulldogs on parade. CAITLYN: Good job. Take a break. MATT: Okay, fair enough.
You know he's maxed out. So there's a lot of great things
that Truman's demonstrated. Eisenhower's, you know, smelling
in ways that he hadn't before. Roosevelt seems way more
comfortable in his skin. It's a lot of benchmarks
here for them.

It's small,
it doesn't look like much, but we keep seeing these
openings of possibilities. They're at the beginning of
the end of fighting ever again. JUSTIN: I totally
notice a difference in terms of smelling
the other dogs and not being attached to me,
not growling. I feel great knowing
they'll be able to socialize with other dogs and not act
aggressively towards each other. It's amazing. MATT: You and Bryant gotta keep
doing the work in the home. JUSTIN: Yes. MATT: Just do copious amounts
of dog socialization. He's gotta keep coming with
some kind of regularity.

The good news is that
the recovery works exponentially faster
than the damage does. If Bryant and Justin can stay
committed to this work, it is absolutely possible that
this beautiful bulldog family can have a happy
and safe life together, which is all I want for them. Good boy, Eisenhower. STEF: Hey, how's it going? RAYHAN: Hi. Good. How are you? STEF: Come on out.
You guys ready? Hello, Mr. Pax. Today we're doing
a follow-up session with Pax. It's interesting.
It's a slightly different bark. I immediately noticed
a change in Pax. Coming in with Pax. His bark isn't as aggressive, he's not displaying
as much fear. He's not lunging. So I want to know how things
have been going since Matt came over. RIDDHI: Well, we've been
following a lot of the, like, only acknowledging
and reaffirming his positive behaviors. RAYHAN: Only touching him
when he's calm.

RIDDHI: Good boy, Pax. RAYHAN: That seems
to have changed a lot. MATT: Excellent. RIDDHI: I'm finding he's making
those like right decisions, like laying down,
sitting quicker. STEF: So choosing calm,
self-soothing behaviors more quickly is what
you've been noticing. RIDDHI: Yeah, I would say
like a week and a half ago, I was walking both Pax and Emma, and we saw like three guys
with like five dogs, and then they were like,
"Oh, if you want, like we can do, like,
a little group walk around the whole park." And he got a lot of,
like, you know… RAYHAN: Socializing. RIDDHI: Socializing,
so it was really nice. STEF: I love that.
RIDDHI: Yeah. STEF: I love that so much. MATT: Have you ever had
an experience like that with him before? RAYHAN: No.
RIDDHI: No. STEF: That's awesome. I think
that's like a really big step for Pax and for the both of you
to take with him. MATT: The news on Pax
is really encouraging. This dog was so reactive,
I gotta see this for myself. I want to see him with
Stef's dog, Amala, off-leash. You can take leash off, Rayhan.

It's great that you two
are not engaging, 'cause that's part
of the makeup here. STEF: So this is his response
to Amala, which is to totally ignore. He's like, "I don't want
to mess with this girl," and she leaves him alone,
and this is a comfortable place for them to be, and that's it. MATT: This is all part
of a more mature Pax, a dog that is
not only practicing consistently good
impulse control, but is making decisions
that are about not engaging, about self soothing,
about being deferential. He's not fighting
to get the muzzle off. You don't see tension
in the body, you know, there's not,
the eyes aren't weird. This I've never seen from Pax. STEF: I think it's amazing. I think it's an amazing leap
that he's made. MATT: He's clearly moving
into sustainable change.

That dog came from
a horrific place. It tells me that there's
something inherent in this work that can help even a dog that's been as crippled
and underprivileged as Pax, that he can be safe
in this world, that he's not a bad dog,
and I want that for him. STEF: Really impressed
with the way that you guys have remained detached
this entire time with the ups and downs
this has taken. MATT: Yeah. STEF: I think that you're making
all of this possible for him. MATT: Clearly.
STEF: Yeah. RIDDHI: I'm very proud
of how far Pax has come. Every day he gets better. When I first came
to the Zen Dog, I was at like my wits' end
with him, I was like I'm gonna
have to, like, give him up. I was really, really sad. RAYHAN: The Zen Dog definitely
gave Pax a second chance at a functional, happy life. Captioned by
Side Door Media Services.

You May Also Like