10 pit bull owners get free classes from Detroit dog trainer

Classes offered after child mauled to death

DETROIT – Emma Hernandez was just playing near her Detroit home when she was mauled to death by dogs over the summer.

READ: Hear from heartbroken family of 9-year-old girl mauled to death by pack of dogs

When dog trainer Steve Liggens, the owner of Motor City K-9 Solutions, heard about the mauling, he decided it was time do something.

He offered free dog training to pit bull owners.

“A lot of you are here because you have a pit bull and nine times out of 10, your pit bull does not like other dogs,” Liggens said.

Several dog owners got a safety lesson before their dog training began.

WATCH: A look inside free dog training offered to Detroit pit bull owners

“You guys are here, because you were responsible enough as dog owners to take advantage of a free class,” Liggens said.

Liggens’ team is ready to work with the 10 dog owners who signed up for the free four week training.

“Yes, yes, yes, Jesus is good," Lisa Lounzie-Hardy said.

Lounzie-Hardy has three pit bulls.

“They don’t like each other, so I’m hoping, with all of this training, that we can get it together and live harmoniously," she said.

She is taking the classes for George, her biggest and newest dog.

“Usually, my protocol for him is to put him in his kennel, double lock the kennel, then I can let the other two out. About two months ago, my girl dog decided she wanted to be impatient, and she got past the child-proof gate, and he got to her, but then the boy pit, the one that she is used to, he attacked him. Both of them attacked him,” Lounzie-Hardy said. “So, I need it, bad. Very bad."

Ashley Johnson simply wants help for her pit bull, Yoda.

“When I first adopted him, he was really, really timid but as he built more confidence, he became more and more reactive, and he’s continued to get more and more worse. He’s got two big ole scars on his back, and he’s got scars on his head and paws, and they either think he was a beat dog or he was just a street dog and got into some scraps,” Johnson said.

“I tried a lot, on my own, with different training and different things. I’m excited to get help from people who know what they’re doing,” Johnson said.

Yoda is learning how to respond to his new collar and the leash training.

It was difficult to get George’s collar on correctly. Liggens let the class start without him, so he could spend one-on-one time George and his owner.

Liggens walked George over and over, eventually heading toward the rest of the group on the Dequindre Cut.

“You got to think about it. If I’m an animal, and I’m on the street and I’ve learned how to fend for myself that way, I don’t understand a whole lot of things so I only go for what I know,” Liggens said.

Attending the class is just the first step. The owners now need to work with their dogs.

“They have seven days of homework so with those seven days, they need to do the things that we worked on every day so when we come back next week we can work on something else,” Liggens said.