• Michael D’Abruzzo

    September 1, 2019 at 2:38 am

    Hi Maria,

    Thank you for posting this playlist. Great footage and your home is beautiful btw!

    For sure you are on the right track that Navy has a tendency to redirect when aroused.  So this is part of the problem that must be addressed.

    Although a “lower-level” issue that I see in his body language is a conflict with leadership.  It will be trying to battle mother nature to address a higher-level problem with a lower level issue unaddressed. He seems to be carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders and feels responsible for being the main protector of the family.

    It is normal for dogs in the “dominant” position within a household to show aggression to other dogs and even to humans that interfere or try to lead the charge against a threat to the territory.  You will see this a lot at fence lines when one dog is barking and then it will turn and drive the other dog away to step back behind him/her.

    Many of the bully breeds tend to escalate aggression quicker or falsely anticipate aggression from other dogs, out of necessity for their original tasks to strike first or die, so this can run into problems.  I have known dogs to nearly kill a housemate for this exact trigger at fence lines. For sure Navy isn’t on the extreme end of the spectrum, but is “over-reacting” enough where it is causing a “problem” in your household with the current dynamics.

    My guess is that Navy sees you as a sort of equal (you top female and he the top male) and your boyfriend as a subordinate. The evidence is in the growl toward him for interacting with you and his body language toward him in the video.  It would be natural for him to be more lenient toward you, but not necessarily see you as a leader in a way that would make sense to him.  Ideally you and your boyfriend would need to take a role that he would understand.

    It sounds cliche, but you and your boyfriend would need to be the “top dogs” and Navy clearly a subordinate.  This does not need to involve any heavy-handed approaches at all and for sure will relieve him of much worry.

    I would start with this list:

    1. Get him used to a muzzle. He will need it during scenario training: train to a muzzle
    2. Read the leadership article: leadership
    3. Watch dominance aggression blueprint
    4. Watch fear and protective aggression blueprint
    5. Watch territorial aggression blueprint
    6. Use us for guidance to train Navy in phase 3 “leave-it” and “place” at a minimum.
    7. Set up many scenarios after his foundation is in place, WITH THE MUZZLE ON, where you provide every stimulus you can think of that would normally trigger this behavior and you immediately send him to a “place” command or use the command “leave it” to disengage with an object,dog, or person, of focus until he is cannot be coaxed to do the behavior.
      1. Everything must be practiced when he isn’t all worked up first and he must be rewarded lavishly for succeeding as you slowly make the triggers more stimulating (he should also be doing training sessions where he must remain on a comfortable “place” that is NOT on the couch while you and your boyfriend sit there and watch TV or whatever. If you cant get him to stay there while not much is going on it will be harder to give him something to do when he is fired up).
      2. Ideally, you and your boyfriend should be involved in the training, if not, only expect results when the one one who has been involved in the training is present.
      3. It is likely that you may see a spike in aggression toward you or your boyfriend when you try to control him when he is very fired up. This is normal, that is why you must use the muzzle and stay calm and just follow through (refer to the dominance aggression blueprint).
      4. Be sure to continue with rewards throughout the process and eventually thin out the reward schedule as you see results.
      5. Evaluate the results you are getting and use a management plan to prevent any fights when you may not be prepared.
      6. Keep communicating on THIS thread with questions and make adjustments as necessary.
      7. safety first
      8. Navy isn’t easy case, it may take 2-3 months for a plan to start making a noticeable change. Don’t get frustrated, this can be a bonding experience if done the right way.
      9. ask questions
      10. ask more questions 🙂