Training 14 Pit Bulls in 14 Days for U.S. Veterans

Training 14 Pit Bulls in 14 Days for U.S. Veterans

14 DDV is:

1 Dog Man

14 Dogs

14 Veterans

The dog man is dog trainer Toriano Sanzone.

The 14 dogs - all Pit Bull-types would likely have been euthanized

The 14 veterans say they can use a dog in their lives (some dogs may be service dogs), and have limited finances. No matter - Sanzone trains the dogs in 14 days and then GIVES the dogs to these deserving veterans, heroes. Each of these dogs will pass their AKC Canine Good Citizen's Test.

This is terrific - there's no downside - Sanzone is a hero to saving and training the dogs, and giving them to heroes. The dogs....well, they're heroes for surviving. The idea is brilliant.

I spoke to Sanzone about it in a recent WGN Radio Petcast.

With Jenniffer Wiegel in studio at WGN Radio, I will be broadcasting from the site of 14 DDV, Good News Community Church, 3749 West Huron Chicago,  Saturday morning (July 14), 10:30 AM CDT. Alderman Walter Burnett will be there and so will Secretary of State Jesse White with other local dignitaries. But the stars of the show, the dogs matched with U.S. Veterans. What a great program!


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    yeah, there is a downside; the training methods. I'm disappointed in you Steve.

  • I am disappointed in you - who are you?
    you didn't sign your name....

    Be specific - I am very concerned - and expressed that and Toriano assured I wrong to believe him? Come on out and judge for yourself....I will concede his rep isn't the best - but he assures me - at least today - he doesn't use aversive methods. Do you have proof that is otherwise?

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    In reply to Steve Dale:

    Steve go look at his videos. I had hoped you would have done that before endorsing him. He is NOT a R+ trainer by any stretch.

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    In reply to KW731:

    BTW he has posted videos of him training these specific dogs and it is horrible P+ training.

  • In reply to KW731:

    I'm not jumping up and down about Toriano's methods, and feel a bit 'used.' Having said that, I'm not sure he's abusing dogs either....should he do better, yes. Maybe you and others can reach out to discern if he's open to having a conversation.

  • In reply to Steve Dale:

    Steve why dont you ask the person who sent their dog for bootcamp and they claim it came back with a collapsed trachea and very skinny.

    A lady I know told me Toriano got attacked by his own dog. She told me she sent her dog for training and it was terrified of him when she went to get her dog.

    All I know is his training class sucked and he cant train a dog. At least it was cheap. And you cant train to a high level with all positive methods anyway, but he still sucks because the dogs looked beaten down and weren't doing any of the obedience right. One guy in class had to literally drag his dog it was so "well trained" huh after multiple classes.

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    The first clue was that you cannot fully train a dog for service work in 14 days. If it was possible to create a well balanced, thoroughly socialized, reliable dog in that short of a time, don't you think that all the other service organizations (the reputatable ones) would already be doing that?

    Secondly, you couldn't have looked very hard at this organization. The home page clearly states that they use compulsion, and listed both a choker collar and training collar (which appears to be a prong) on their "theories" page. The video on the page, for a demo that was performed for the grand opening of one of his facilities, VERY CLEARLY shows the dog being repeatedly corrected, WHILE ON A PRONG COLLAR. That IS aversive training. There are any number of true positive trainers in the Chicago area that can get the same behavior without hurting the dog. I am very disappointed that this person was spotlighted and that people were encouraged to donate to or otherwise support him in any way.

    I hope you will give a retraction and offer truly positive trainers an opportunity to show how you can quickly and reliably gain the same results WITHOUT harming the dog by inflicting pain upon them.

  • In reply to Hope Schmeling:

    Get a clue. My cousin has a certified service dog, a black lab, the best trained dog I've ever seen and he is on a PRONG COLLAR. It was trained for him because he has MS and is in a wheelchair a lot. This dog does everything under the sun, does all the work perfectly, and he is trained so well because it was balanced training and not all positive which reality is does not work.

    Oh yeah it took over a year for him to get the dog thats how long the training is. You can't make a service dog in a few weeks. And they do not use Pit Bulls as service dogs. Even though I love Pits and they can be great, they are still bred for dog fighting in their background and they are not meant to be service dogs. I have only seen Labs, Golden Retriever, and once a Sheepdog.

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    In reply to Andy:

    Uh, Andy, yes they do use pit bulls as service dogs. I don't know where you are getting your information, but there are many pit bulls acting as service dogs. There are many breeds of dogs acting as service dogs. They are just not as prevalent as Labs and goldens. In fact, I recently met a purebred pit bull at a doggie event that is a seizure alert dog for a young girl. There are lawsuits in a few places over the banning of pit bulls who act as service dogs and the Federal Government has stated ANY dog can be certified as a service dog.

    Please check your facts before misstating yourself.

  • In reply to Jennifer Brighton:

    Oh you saw a pit bull service dog once. I bet you it was not from an actual service dog school. Seizure alerts are not taught. Im sure you can find anything that is strange, I have seen a Lab doing protection training for schutzhund (and a jack rusell too), does that mean Labs make good schutzhund or police dogs? Just because one person does it does not make it right or common.

    There are reasons the seeing eye dog schools have their own breeding programs, look it up, they do not use pit bulls.

    Pits are better as house pets or possibly for some protection training not service dogs. When I saw Sanzone at his training school it was on the north side of Chicago and they did protection. There were several pit bulls that did protection. They can do a lot of things, but will very rarely be service dogs. Now days theres also people clamining their dog is a service dog because they have anxiety or lie about having epilepsy just to bring their dog places, its crazy.

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    In reply to Andy:

    Andy, Labs are used as military dogs because they are so tough. I didn't say pit bulls were the prevalent choice for service dogs. However, you said no pit bulls were service dogs. That is untrue. And you are wrong--seizure alert dogs are trained. Google it. It can take up to 14 months of training.

    There are many certified service dogs of different breeds. Just depends on what the dog is used for. I don't wish to argue with you, but you do not seem to be familiar with the many uses for service dogs.

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    In reply to Andy:

    There are a lot of pitties doing both service work and therapy work, as well as excelling in many areas of sports. Nature vs nurture. My mom has a wonderful pittie that is currently working on her therapy dog registration and also just started competing in rally and obedience. She's also training in nosework. My dad has a pittie that is very dog and people reactive but using BAT (a positive desensitizing method) has been making great strides.

    Guide Dogs and Canine Companions use certain breeds and have their own breeding program for predictability. A lot of money is invested into these dogs - they want to up the odds of getting genetically healthy, stable dogs. Also the guide dogs in MI where my friends work use positive methods.

  • Of course, you can't training a service dog in 14 days. But you can work with a dog, a likely (if that is what you are committed to) motivate the dog to pass the GCG....with a goal of creating a service dog.

    I am not a fan of prong collars - and I am aware of how dogs can be trained reliably. You or others have said I have endorsed his training....I never said that, or implied....I do like the idea that he in the inner city, working with dogs destined for euthanasia, supporting Pit Bull type dogs....

    I can't be in a place where I argue positive training - I've been a supporter for a very long, long time - before it was sexy to be.

    But at least he is there - is he me? No....he is doing something for the community, I think so.

  • In reply to Steve Dale:

    Steve Im curious can you post some videos of your dog training? A simple off leash obedience routine, preferably around distractions but even in a quiet area. Heeling patterns, sits downs stand, long stays, come, some distance commands..... Does your dog have any obedience titles?

    I wonder about the precision of your training, you want all positive treatment, so Id like to see how well trained the dog is so it can be proven, as many people do not think it can work reliably.

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    From your post: "This is terrific - there's no downside - Sanzone is a hero to saving and training the dogs"

    As I said before, there IS a downside. The methods he is using are not benign. Look at the dogs in the video. They are experiencing the 'downside'. Calling him a 'hero' sure sounds to me like an endorsement of what he is doing.

    The idea, in theory, is a good one. The implementation is a very bad one.

    As for a conversation, I think the trainers in closer proximity to him have an opinion on that, and I will let them speak to that.

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    Happy to see good news about my beloved pittie breed instead of the same ole same ole! Thank you for a post on this awesome breed!

  • This stuff is so stupid because of the guy doing it. I woulnd't let him within 10 feet of my dog! I own a Pit Bull. A WELL TRAINED Pit Bull that has had a lot of good training, and no it was not ALL positive methods because ALL positive with no consequence does NOT WORK. Those people with head harnesses and halters on with their dogs eating treats constantly to do anything are never trained. This positive thing like petsmart it is not reliable.

    You want to see good training look up some of the well known very successful trainers and they are never all positive, look up Michael Ellis or Ivan Balabanov they are world competitors the best dog trainers in the world. There are videos online, go watch those instead of Torianos videos, I wouldn't bother I have seen him train. Theres better trainers who have much better trained dogs than any clicker only trainer! Ive never seen a clicker trainer competing at a worldwide level in the top tier of all the world, come on that stuff is a joke. They have training schools and hundreds of trophies plus training aggressive dogs, they are not fools who think its all food and clickers, it's good teaching, praise, prong collars, corrections, clickers, food, electronic collars and technique to get a REAL trained dog. They dont get to wear that stuff in competitions by the way. Especially with high energy strong dogs like Pits you need to be giving consequences and getting them under control, enugh idiots end up with Pits that are untrained, or only treat trained and babied with no real rules or understanding of RULES, like don't be aggressive or you're gonna pay for it, my past dog had to learn that and his dog aggression was GONE after about 6 months of good training. Anyone else would have put him to sleep for the dog aggression, but all he needed was to be corrected for the bad behaviors. Many Pits especially rescues are aggressive or too wild from doing petsmart style training with only treats and no punishmemnt when needed. I also like a lot of things from Cesar Millan and his show on behavior problems. So I am not one of those nuts who thinks positive is the only way to train. Even so I think Toriano is a moron and a crappy trainer whos way TOO harsh, and yep I have been to his training classes. It was too harsh for me I don't want my dog EVER looking BEATEN DOWN. He has the classes on Groupon all the time. Hes advertises ALOT.

    Toriano Sanzone a joke. He could not train a dog in 14-HUNDRED days. His claim to fame is robotic yanking motions and forcing his dog to balance on a rail, oh wow real impressive, his own dog was aggressive to dogs too. He also makes dogs stand on pots, stools, and there's a video that was being shown online of him choking his dog onto a paint can. I went to his group classes and it sucked. He sucks. All he can do is TALK ALOT yank dogs around and force them into standing on stools. They all look beaten down and their training sucks. He isn't esperienced either. He learned how to "train" dogs from Jim Morgan Canine Academy, hes nuts look up his reviews, or ask around about him...

    Yep it's another PR stunt, the guy is all marketing that is his main thing, hes a marketing person not considered a trainer.

    Maybe he should try a new career like a rapper or reality show star or something.

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    In reply to Andy:

    I own two rescued pit bull mixes, one of which is a registered therapy dog thru Pet Partners/Delta Society. Your understanding of pit bulls seems a bit skewed to me. I have never had to resort to forceful measures with my dogs. Your comments do not jive with the pit bulls I know who attend dog daycare, nose work classes, compete in agility, flyball, etc. Haven't you heard of Wallace the Pit Bull?

    So you are saying Karen Pryor, Patricia McConnell, Sophia Yin, Ian Dunbar and Victoria Stilwell are not effective trainers? I would beg to differ with you. If you are a fan of Cesar, then that explains it. He's known for flooding dogs into fearful obedience where they essentially shut down. If that's considered "training," I don't want any part of it. I've watched his methods, including choking a husky until it almost passed out from lack of oxygen and getting the crap bitten out of his hand while "showing dominance" to the owners over a small fearful dog that didn't want to be clipped with electric clippers. I'll stick with my positive training methods, thank you very much.

  • In reply to Jennifer Brighton:

    Yeah, mixes. You don't even know what your dogs are, and not all dogs with Pit in them will be the same. Go to the bad neighborhoods and see the Pits and you'll see they are not all nice and they can be bred and raised to be very mean. They don't put Collies in their yard and try to make them mean, they pick Pits because they are tough and can scare people and can bite very hard if needed.

    Pit bulls can be dog aggressive because they are bred for dog fighting. that's why they're called pit bulls! The purebred pits its common to see dog aggression, maybe not with the mixes. Pits are not usually the dogs that go to daycare, but I'm sure that some do, I dont use daycare because I actually exercise my dogs myself. You know what even the ones that will tear up another dog can be very sweet towards humans. They can be the most loving dogs ever but if they are from fighting lines you cant trust them alone with other dogs. One of mine was very dog aggressive but it was fixed through training, 6 months of good training and consequences and praise, and not your all treat and clicker training, that would never work for a dog like that with the kind of drive to get at other dogs and fight them. Another Pit I had was good with dogs, so Im not saying they are all the same, but read some history they do fight dogs. Read some pedigrees and they include how many wins a dog has had and its in fighting, that is their history and it's sad but it still goes on today secretly but was more popular many years ago.

    those names, I guess you think that being a doctor or having a tv show makes someones advice great. let's see videos of off leash obedience around distraction and lets see titles in high level competitions and we'll talk. Cesar doesnt do a lot of training he says that on his show, but he works with the tougher dogs and I have never seen anything like those dogs who will attack you in the shows for the positive trainers because they probably can't handle them. I know he has helped some people a lot.

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    In reply to Andy:

    That's ironic because I have friends with purebred pit bull terriers (yes, the 45 - 60 lb. variety) that were trained awesomely with reward based methods. Maybe you should explore it with your dog(s). Why use force if you don't have to?

    As far as trusting Dr. Dunbar and his associates, I'm basing my comments on personal experience. I attended a seminar with Dr. Yin, use Dr. Dunbar's training methods, have books and training videos of Patricia McConnell & Karen Pryor, and my trainer is a CPDT who trained under Jean Donaldson.

    And having a degree does count for something along with experience. Personally, I'd sure rather go to an MD for my health than someone who holds himself out as an expert but has never attended medical school or has no degree.

    Many geneticists say that genetics and what a dog is bred for is but a drop in the bucket of the dog's personality. There are so many more factors that frame our dogs' characters. Just like humans. We all have traits and we need to be aware of those traits, but it is not a given that a pit bull will be dog aggressive or a Lab will swim. Just ask my brother who has always had Labs for hunting and one of his two Labs now won't even get in the water.

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    In reply to Andy:

    Andy, there is no such thing as purely positive training. However, positive oriented trainers use consequences that are not physically painful for the dog. You want work ranked, titled clicker trainers? Look at Susan Garrett or many of the top agility trainers. Denise Fenzi has a clicker trained AKC OTCh Sch3 dog. I know of a couple other clicker trained OTCh dogs. Most of the nationally and world renowed freestyle dogs are clicker trained. My Novice A dog was fearful and dog reactive (also unilaterally deaf, epileptic, with spondylosis), but thanks to clicker training earned 40 titles and had about a dozen more not finished due to health issues. I have other clicker trained dogs with titles as well, including my two newest who earned their first titles at just 7-8 months old. It's very possible to use the methods to create reliable dogs, but like any method they must be used consistently with clear criteria. Bad training is just bad training. I will agree with you that Sanzone is flat out bad training.

  • I met Toriano Sanzone at a dog show. He's a dog trainer as much as any of the other "big name" trainers are. I don't think what he's doing is a "PR" stunt, as one of the commenters said. My $0.02 to all of the people who are saying negative things about his dog training program for veterans : take a look at what YOU are doing for your community. Sanzone is out there promoting his training business, sure, but he is also ACTIVELY contributing his time and making a huge difference in a positive way.

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    Personally I wouldn't want a dog that was "trained" in 14 days. I don't believe it possible to get a reliable dog in 14 days.....and the training methods to attempt do so would not be in the best interest of the dog or new owner IMO.

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    I am going to speak from personal experience and ACTUALLY being a part of this program. It was a good friend and former Army Ranger that started this amazing program, to bring some form of help to the community of veterans that are currently struggling with PTSD, TBI, Depression, etc.. I was excited and eager to be a part and help. I drove over 10 hours on my own dime to Chicago to sleep in a parking lot in a run down church in the inner city of one of the worst parts of Chicago.... Much like being in a warzone again. However, this was the least of my concerns. I was able to see the absolute passion for this program and helping people in the eyes of my Ranger buddy and man that started this program. The desire to be there on site everyday, working and helping everyday making sure that the operation was going without a hitch!!
    This is not what I saw from Toriano (wolf keeper) sanzone... I saw nothing but a guy on his cell phone, computer, and in his vehicle as he was driving away. I witnessed a guy that wanted NOTHING to do with helping veterans or training dogs. In a 4 day period, I saw this joke of a trainer stuff a Doberman in a kennel and leave him in the back of his truck (enclosed on 100+ temp days) who was covered in feces, urine and left with no food or water. All while he would sit and "tweet his peeps" as he would say. I was given a dog and said that he would be fully trained and able to be around my 3 year old daughter. I worked with this dog with the help of another trainer that was there (not in any way affiliated with Toriano) The DAY BEFORE these dogs were to be "fully trained" I saw the dog that I was to take home, turn and bite a man in the face causing some fairly serious injuries... Needless to say, this "fully trained" dog would NOT be coming in to my home.
    I am in no way a dog trainer, but I can say that this guy is NOTHING but Hollywood. He had no desire to help, and worst of all turned out to be a criminal... In more ways then one!!!
    After 4 days of watching the man that put this together, stress and break his back to make sure this program thrives. I had no choice but to pack up and drive back 10+ hours.
    I will say without a doubt that Toriano Sanzone is nothing but a crook, liar, and ONLY there to further his personal image. Everything he can post about helping veterans is a lie. Not only that, he left his training to a couple of 14-15 year olds.... I wouldn’t trust this guy to train porcelain dog to sit!!!!!!!

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