Dog Training World Forums Aggression Problems Fear Aggression Fear/Protective Aggression Incident Reply To: Fear/Protective Aggression Incident

  • Cyndi Cross

    February 2, 2022 at 11:23 am

    Hi @pajoafcha
    Thank you so much for your response. 🙂

    I’ve done a great deal of thinking about this incident since it happened – analyzing it – replaying it over and over in my mind – and I’ve come to the conclusion that what I did was the correct thing to do. I allowed Lacey to voice her discomfort with the 2 humans who had come into my parents home and upset the tranquility.

    I kept remembering one of Mike’s lectures in which he said (something about) wanting a dog to growl, because a growl is sometimes the first indication you will get that a bite can/might occur. That message kept running through my mind (along with frantically trying to figure out how I was going to turn this situation around for everyone) during the entire time my SIL was yelling & threatening my dog.

    Equating it to “human” – when I was a child, I was repeatedly chastised for having bad/uncomfortable feelings about certain people with whom I was uncomfortable with, yet forced to be around them. I was even told/taught to “like” them. It taught me to silence & disregard that inner “spidey sense” telling me to remove myself from dangerous situations, and I’ve paid a price for it. As an adult, I’ve had to learn the lessons that I should have learned as a child … Consequently, when my children were little, I taught them that if they ever felt uncomfortable with any person(s), or a situation, that they should let me know, so that I could remove them immediately. Thankfully, both know how to remove themselves from dangerous situations, and both have incredible instincts about people. Both listen to their “spidey senses.”

    In my way of thinking, Lacey is like a child who needs to be allowed to express her feelings. I want to hear her growl, because I might somehow miss her body language (telling me her that she’s stressed). If I miss her body language – and I’ve taught her to not growl when she feels insecure or uncomfortable, then she could potentially end up biting someone – and that won’t be her fault, it will be mine. Mine, because I silenced a very necessary form of communication from/for her.

    I want Lacey to be a chill and friendly dog – and she is (well … she’s a puppy, so she’s still a bit hyper, lol). But, more than that – I want her to be a secure & happy dog. Lacey doesn’t display dominance or dominance aggression – this was the first (and, still, only) time I’ve ever heard her growl at another human. I truly believe that this was simply a case of my girl, feeling my (and my mothers) anxiety about the two people (one in particular) who had just entered a space in which Lacey wasn’t sure they were supposed to be. She was uncertain of what was happening, and probably feeling protective of me and my parents (whom she loves) – and honestly, I think I’m good with that, because I’m interested in doing some personal protection work with her in a couple of years.

    After the incident, I tried explaining “dog” to my brother – who was/is completely uninterested. While he acknowledges that his wife was wrong in the way she behaved; and although he didn’t offer any suggestions on how to accomplish it, he still believes that I was also wrong for not somehow “correcting” Lacey. So, my solution? We will simply make sure that we are never around them again. It’s sad that it has to be this way, but “it is what it is” and it isn’t likely to ever change.

    I hope all of this made sense.

    Thank you again for your input, Pablo. I appreciate that you took the time to read & respond. It’s always good to hear from other trainers, for a different perspective.

    @Allie McCain – thank you for posting Q&A 128 for Mikes discussion/explanation on my post. You rock. 🙂