Fearful and Aggressive Dogs - Memphis, TN | Taming the Wild

Fearful Dogs

Unfortunately, over twenty percent of domestic dogs suffer from persistent, unsupportable fears, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and phobias at levels that are deemed clinically maladaptive. This condition often gives cause to separation anxiety, fear of thunderstorms or loud, man-made noises, tail chasing, and imaginary fly snapping. Without proper treatment, these conditions become more intense as the dog ages, causing the dog to become increasingly fearful and reactive.

Aggressive Dogs

Dog aggression is the number one reason why dogs are re-homed or euthanized in America. Dog attack cases to humans and dogs are the result of competitive aggression (food or object guarding), or non-competitive aggression (threat defense, or territorial). There are many causes of competitive aggression, but typically, it is rooted in bad decision making on the part of the dog owner and a lack of proper training. Non-competitive aggression, however, often finds its beginning in the dog’s genetics which predisposes it, as it matures, to develop an unwarranted fear of humans and dogs outside the family. When this type of dog encounters a perceived threat, it frequently uses aggression, rather than flight, as a defense.

Regardless of which form of aggression used, if your dog thinks it is successful in its use, it will repeat the behavior in the future. Eventually, continued success will make aggression the “go to” behavior for your dog in conflict resolution, making it a danger to your family, friends, strangers, and other dogs.


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How we can help

The good news is, there are proven behavioral adjustment plans and medications, that can help your dog achieve a safe and happy life free of unwarranted fears, obsessive-compulsive disorders, phobias, and perceived threats. However, because dogs often suffer in silence, these conditions require the owner to recognize the behavioral symptoms of each. Most dog owners and professional trainers are not skilled in maladaptive behavioral evaluations, and because of this, treatable conditions can go undetected for the dog’s entire life.

Bryan is an expert, trained at Cornell and Tufts University, in evaluating your dog to determine if it is suffering from a maladaptive condition. If it is, he will accurately diagnose the condition, explain the cause, and recommend the appropriate medication (if necessary) and a behavioral adjustment plan to treat the condition.

For over thirty years, Bryan has teamed with veterinarians and scientists, in developing comprehensive rehabilitation programs that have enabled thousands of dogs to overcome their fears and achieve a quality of life that would not have been possible otherwise.


On May 18, 2016, I walked into Taming the Wild for an evaluation with Lola, my 7-year-old Doberman.  To say I was nervous is an understatement.   Before meeting Bryan, I had tried to take Lola to an obedience class. I wanted to be able to take her to the park or vet without any problems.  I could not understand why Lola was ok when we were by ourselves, but in class was a different story. She would bark at big and little dogs and was aggressive.  The trainer told me that she might never get the commands. 

Then I met Bryan, and all my concerns and fears were gone. He took his time to explain that Lola was not an aggressive dog but a fearful one and that with time, patience and his aggressive/fearful program, Lola would be okay.  

Bryan’s knowledge base, experience, methods, compassion and caring manners are fantastic.  I’m glad I walked in that day and listened to what he said.  I have watched Lola blossom and grow.  Her personality is coming out. People who know her have noticed the changes as well.

Would I do this again? Absolutely!

Kathy and Lola Berrie

What’s a Behavioral Adjustment Plan?

For successful rehabilitation, ‘deactivation’ of established fearful or aggressive responses, while ‘activating’ confident and cooperative responses, must be accomplished. Otherwise, when your dog encounters a known ‘trigger’ of fear or aggression, it will continue to rely upon the undesired behaviors that allowed it to escape or cope with the ‘trigger’ in the past. Behavioral adjustment plans utilize specific training to teach your dog how to manage fears and resolve conflicts with confidence and cooperativeness instead of flight or fight. Regardless, whether medication is necessary or not, these plans are vital to the overall rehabilitation process.

Each behavioral adjustment plan is tailored to your dog’s individual needs and can be accomplished with private lessons or a board and rehab program with Bryan.

Bryan is very knowledgeable, friendly, and charismatic. I brought my dog in for aggression consultation, and we received good advice. He also gave us a card with his personal phone number to send a video of the behaviors my dog was exhibiting at home so he could give further feedback. Very awesome service and well worth the money.

-Josheph Hudson, Millington, tn

How it works

Most people are apprehensive about using medications for treating their dog’s condition because they worry their dog will act sedated or will have to be on drugs for life. On both counts, they are wrong. The only thing that lasts for life are the positive changes Bryan’s behavioral adjustment plans create for your dog.

If medication is a required part of your dog’s rehabilitation, Bryan uses the drug as a short-term facilitator of the behavioral adjustment plan that will transform your dog’s fearful associations to non-fearful associations.

These medications often involve antidepressants that work by raising the threshold of the stimulus that evokes a fearful response from your dog, resulting in your dog becoming less reactive or panicky when confronted with the same trigger(s). Once your dog reaches this state, it will become receptive to the behavior adjustment plan that Bryan will customize for your dog’s individual needs. The behavioral plan will then be implemented and maintained until your dog’s reaction to the trigger(s) is a more normalized response. When this occurs, your dog will be removed from any medication that may have been utilized.


How to get started

1. Bryan will need to meet with you and your dog to evaluate your dog’s current condition. To assist Bryan with your dog’s evaluation, please complete and submit the online assessment form. After we receive the form, we will call you and schedule your initial evaluation appointment.

For your convenience, Bryan can meet with you:

  • At our Taming the Wild East Memphis Facility
  • Online

2. After the initial evaluation, Bryan will design a behavioral adjustment plan for your dog. The plan can be accomplished with:

Cost of Initial Evaluation

  • At our facility or online: $200

A $100 non-refundable deposit is required to schedule the initial evaluation with the balance due at time of appointment. No shows or same day cancellations will be charged the full amount of $200.

Rules & Regulations

Initial evaluations are required for all Behavioral Adjustment Plans and Board and Rehab Programs.

Board and Rehab programs include the training of all behaviors required for your dog to overcome its current condition, boarding, and one private turnover lesson at our facility.

Depending upon the results of the initial evaluation, some dogs may not be eligible for our board and rehab program.

To start this process, Fill out the online assessment.


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