• Michael D’Abruzzo

    September 2, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Hi Rebecca,

    I’m guessing it is no mystery to you that you are mainly dealing with a genetically based fear aggression. It sounds like you are doing many things right, but as you mentioned, there are bits and pieces to the total plan that are missing.

    We can certainly help you make improvements for Dublin’s sense of well being.

    Just some questions to start you off and help us troubleshoot:

    1. How has Dublin been raised in regards to the exercises recommended in the “pack structure” section? We want to make sure we are communicating to him that we want the position of deciding things such as who is a threat etc… This doesn’t fix your problem in itself but will be a prerequisite if we don’t want to fight against mother nature.

    To give you an example, I sometimes have clients whose dogs act aggressively or worry whenever a guest enters rooms where “their” toys are laying around. When the dogs don’t feel it is their toys to protect – it makes lifting the anxiety of a threat that much easier.

    The same goes for when their is competition for human resting areas, attention of owners, etc.. The less boundaries and the more entitled a dog feels to these types of things the less it makes sense to them when we randomly want to make the dog less worried about these things. Even when a problem with a person has nothing to do with anything resource related, the more we communicate our leadership through relationship, possession, and boundary control the easier it is for them to accept we are in a position to call the shots as to how to treat visitors or the passersby on walks. The fearful dog, as you know, will make poor judgment calls if left to their own initial device.

    This I found to be extremely important before attempting a plan like needed for Dublin’s

    Also, if you can tell us what forms of discipline he has been exposed to and what were the results of? IE shouting, physical with hands, prong collar, gentle leader, etc…

    We will need to guide Dublin gently to the correct behaviors for giving situation. The last thing we ever want is for a dog to have bad experiences with the ones he is supposed to trust most. Harsh treatment by us will be assumed as a possibility with the scary stranger, which we wouldn’t want.

    But, we also need to find what he takes to well without stress when we need to guide him. Gentle discipline does wonders for dogs like him and puts us in a position to have more focused and successful counter-conditioning and desensitizing.