Update on Aggression

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too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Sun Aug 19, '12 8:33am PST 
Some of you know that I have been working with Squ'mey and his random dog aggression. I thought I would provide an update on how he's doing.
Some folks subscribe to the "all aggression is fear based" theory. But Squam was definitely not scared..he was cocky, confident, & meaning to follow through on the threats he was making. I started a thread in B&T, long, long ago, asking if there was a different way to deal with it. I was not impressed with much of the advice. Most of it insisted I was reading it wrong, and that it truly was fear.
"Look at that" was useless..he looked at that, fixated on that, & flew over threshold immediately. Sit & treat while the dog passed? Not a hopelaugh out loud
What we did was working in quick direction changes while he was under threshold..total avoidance of his triggers. Rewarding for focus, and maintaing movement.
It has been a long road. But, in the last 2 weeks we have seen amazing results. He has been able to pass within 10 feet of calm, leashed dogs. He has been able to totally ignore fence lungers. And, on Friday, he was able to wait at a crosswalk with another dog with no reaction at all.applauseapplause
He will never be a dog park dog, but that's ok. I am so proud of him (& myself) for sticking with it...for over a year...to get to a point where walks are once again, a pleasant experience.
Our next step will be passing by lungy-yappers...but that is a ways off. I need him to solidify the feeling of success before throwing that at him.
So take heart if you're struggling with a training issue. Things do get better..when you work hard & don't give up.

Do you even- lift?
Barked: Mon Aug 20, '12 3:09pm PST 
Way to go, Squ'mey! blue dog
Czarka, CGC- UJJ

Why walk when- you can run?
Barked: Fri Aug 24, '12 10:16pm PST 
Well done!

BTW, agree that aggression is more complex than just fear.


Work? What's- that?
Barked: Sat Aug 25, '12 3:46am PST 
Alright, awesome!

Much aggression actually is fear-based, but there is plenty that is true aggression as well. I'm sad people weren't willing to give you the benefit of the doubt on that one. And I'm glad things are improving!

I really need to move into town to work with Samson's fear aggression with strangers. I stayed in Niagara Falls for a couple weeks and by the second week I could take him down to the tourist strip with ZERO problems. Even had a stranger come up from behind me and start petting him with NO introduction (I was sitting down on the edge of the sidewalk, at night) and Samson responded just fine. He was great. Helped that it was a woman (he's more leery of men), but still.

He's lost some of that (that was last October, ten months ago now) since that time, which makes me believe I just need it to be a consistent thing. But overall he's quite improved.

Exposure, exposure, exposure really is the only thing that works, the more positive experiences they have, the lesser the undesired reaction becomes. Sometimes it just takes a really long time.

Edited by author Sat Aug 25, '12 3:47am PST


When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Sun Aug 26, '12 9:10pm PST 
Good job Squ'mey. Shows what hard work can do.

Maybe there is hope yet for Shadow.

too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Mon Aug 27, '12 9:40pm PST 
"Exposure, exposure, exposure really is the only thing that works, the more positive experiences they have, the lesser the undesired reaction becomes. Sometimes it just takes a really long time." applause Well said, Samson.
Sabi..it can be so frustrating at times, can't it? The times you just want to say "shuck it!" & cry a few tears. Or question your methods...wonder if you're fighting a case of poor genetics? But our dogs teach us the value of persevering & accepting the challenge.smileKeep at it..there is always hope.
The day he didn't tense up seeing a dog a block away was huge. As was the day he was able to follow a dog from 20 feet away. And when he waited at the light with that dog..that was goldencloud 9
Had a couple of incidents this week, but the intensity was lower..so it is a work in progress.