Dog Aggression Education Classes Sponsored by Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation

people and dogs
Dogs and people gather for a benefit dog walk and obedience class.

Last year while Deb Chebatoris was walking her two schnauzers in their own neighborhood they were suddenly and unexpectedly attacked by a larger, aggressive dog. Both dogs sustained injuries requiring treatment.

While Deb was unhurt she understood that this could have been a tragedy and decided to sponsor classes so that people would know what to do when approached or attacked by an aggressive dog.

“I was very ill-prepared for what happened,” she said. “And I don’t want to see a dog or cat or any pet come to me as the result of an aggressive dog.”

She contacted Penny Layne, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and owner of Aunt Penny’s Pet Sitting, Dog Walking & Dog Training Services to design informative introductory classes. The class will be offered four times during the first quarter of 2013.

Penny’s approach to training dogs has as much—or more—to do with training humans. “It’s all about learning canine body language, or ‘learning to speak “dog” ’, as I call it,” she says. “It’s ‘Human Education for Fur Parents’ because you can’t influence a dog unless you know what the dog is thinking, just like with kids.”

Penny uses only positive and effective training methods to work with dogs as well as people. She has a 20-year background through her work with service dogs, working in a vet hospital and owning a boarding, grooming, training and breeding kennel and then branching into Aunt Penny’s Pet Sitting and Dog Training. Penny is an Advanced Certified Pet Tech, a certified professional dog trainer, a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and member of International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals.

In a case like Deb’s that seemed to “come out of the blue” there would have been warning signals that, with a bit of training, either the aggressive dog’s owner or Deb herself would have known to look for and possibly known what to do to avoid actual physical contact, which is the goal of the introductory classes.

“For instance, with training, a person would notice a particular head turn, or rapid eye blinking in one or both of the dogs,” Penny explained. “If dogs growl, we tell them to stop and we’ve taken away their best and safest means of communication because the bite response is next.”

Unfortunately physical and emotional injuries usually occur and too often dogs considered aggressive are euthanized. Deb’s goal is to avoid these types of euthanasias and receiving the victims of aggressive behavior by giving people tools to reduce or avoid aggression.

Deb’s goal in providing training for people is concurrent with that of Penny’s: “To educate as many people as possible and save dogs’ lives.” To that end, Deb had organized Pet First Aid classes last year as a community service. The Dog Aggression classes are an extension of that educational effort.

Classes are two hours long and will cover:

  • types of aggression
  • signs of aggression
  • predicting aggression through body language
  • how to prepare for a walk
  • what to do if attacked

Penny will also offer some suggestions on how to work with aggressive dogs, but most of the class will focus on dealing with example situations and how to respond.

Classes are scheduled for the following dates:

January 19, 2013, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Bridgeville Public Library

January 29, 2013, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Mt. Lebanon Public Library

February 12, 2013, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Monroeville Public Library

March 27, 2013, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Bethel Park Public Library

Instruction is underwritten by Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation therefore classes are free to those who attend. Space is limited and pre-registration is necessary. To register please call Deb Chebatoris at 412-220-7800. If there is a scheduling change or weather conditions require postponing or cancelling a class, Deb will contact each registered person.

For new classes and updates, please visit To learn more about Penny Layne and her services, please visit

Also, if you have a group or facility and would like to host a class in Dog Aggression or Pet First Aid, please contact Deb.

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Blog the Change



From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

11 thoughts on “Dog Aggression Education Classes Sponsored by Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation

  • Pingback: Save Animals Today » Blog Archive » The Dangers of Dogs on Chains

  • January 17, 2013 at 10:18 am

    absolutely needed – thank you!
    …maybe next in the East End?

    • January 17, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Wendy, if you know of a place that can hold the class, contact Deb–her number is in the article. She’s always looking for places to hold the classes she underwrites and it helps choose if people show an interest.

  • January 16, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Bernadette – Thanks for participating in Blog the Change Day! This subject is just so important. If more people were able to recognized the signs of aggression, they would be able to prevent attacks and save lives. I think it’s wonderful that Deb has taken the initiative to offer these classes to the public at no cost. Thanks for sharing!

    • January 17, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Vicki, I’m so glad this is offered where people can easily access it. I hope it catches on and others hold classes too!

  • January 16, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Boy is this ever a much-needed service — everywhere! Great idea, hope we see it implemented in more places. Dog aggression is a serious, but avoidable, subject.

    Thank you for blogging the change for animals!
    Kim Thomas
    Team BtC4A

    • January 16, 2013 at 6:58 pm

      Kim, Deb and I are hoping it catches on too, and that Aunt Penny’s training style does as well–training humans, imagine that! Thanks for visiting.

  • January 15, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Dog aggression is a vital issue everywhere and is something that affects us all. It’s important for us all to be educated on dog behaviour and bite prevention, even those who don’t live with dogs directly can be hurt if they are not aware of the warning signs. Once a dog bites, at best he is usually either slapped with a bad label that will affect the rest of his life. If this can be prevented, we all win. I would love to take a class like this to educate myself further and am so glad they are available in some communities.

    Thank you very much for spreading the word and participating in Blog the Change for Animals!

    Team BTC

    • January 15, 2013 at 5:12 pm

      Thank you for reading, Christine! Aunt Penny’s idea of educating people about dogs is really comforting to me, and Deb is an innovative problem-solver—last year she began sponsoring pet first aid classes when several pets came to her from accidents that could have been prevented with a little human education. I hope it gives others similar ideas!

    • January 15, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      I think everyone should take these classes–even though I have cats I have friends with dogs and I’m out on trails frequently. I look forward to learning about it!


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