The owners readily admit they didn’t do enough to socialise him with other dogs and he barks frantically at them – GO AWAY! I don’t myself see him as aggressive at all. He is scared of them. He has had three incidents when an off lead dog has come too near but no blood has been drawn. He has acted with self-control by doing no more than was necessary to stop the dog’s unwelcome attention which I say is good, not bad. On each occasion he himself had been trapped on a lead held by a panicking human and the dog in question had been off lead on not under control (a much too common story).
Doing what they felt was best, in their ignorance they called in someone from a ‘Home Dog Training’ franchise. I can only speak from evidence of other dogs I have worked with that had been further damaged by this organisation’s bullying tactics. Poor Coco was set up with another dog to fail – deliberately pushed well out of his comfort zone and then she threw water bombs at him! This went on until he was quiet near the dog. He simply shut down.
As one might imagine, this has done nothing at all to make him feel better around other dogs, rather the opposite. I find it amazing that anyone could imagine that punishment can cure fear! It can be no more than a quick temporary fix. The poor gentleman followed this advice just once himself and felt so bad he never did it again thankfully.
Now they will be doing the very opposite – finding Coco’s comfort threshold and instead of pushing him over it and then bombing him with water, they will work on doing nice things like feeding and playing, the ultimate aim being for Coco to see that the presence of another dog brings good things, not bad. As far as is possible he will now be kept at a distance where he feels comfortable, and this gap should gradually reduce in time as he learns to trust his owners.
Understandaby, they are worried about how Coco will react to the new puppy. They have a few weeks to get him used to a few changes at home before the puppy arrives. We looked at the logistics. When puppy comes I shall call again to help them over the transition and to start puppy off on the right foot.