Dog Aggression

I picked up Matthew Duffy's, Dog Training and the Eight Faces of Dog Aggression (Kindle Edition) as we were experiencing mild skirmishes at the front door, which suddenly escalated to violent.  I've been reflecting upon the escalation of these unwelcomed energies between Angel and Daisey.  The notion that I've settled on is similar to what one finds in dog training....the same behavior exhibited by Daisey and benignly checked by Angel has not curbed.  Rather than deferring to Angel, Daisey continues to rush the door.  Given that Angels' previously benign admonitions to not charge the door went unheeded by Daisey, Angel amped up the consequence.

It is the only scenario that makes sense.  But truthfully, I should have stepped in consistently when it was benign, but I didn't pay it any mind.  I'm reaping the consequence of my apathy.  Duffy states, and I do believe it,
Enforcing parameters with a new canine student requires energy, concentration, consistency, and commitment. Deficiency in any of these areas will surely lead to deterioration of a handler’s control. Supervision of behavior, supplying timely genuine
praise, and administering meaningful deterrents can be a substantial drain on a person.

He goes on to say that if you cannot do the above, to put the dog away so that the behavior cannot manifest and go uncorrected.

It is important counsel.  My daughter is a special education teacher.  She has to be consistent and clear with her charges every moment. She would probably make a great dog trainer, too.  When I think of that analogy....of the type of structure that we have to provide our children to ensure that they are safe and grow up with a clear understanding of proper manners/actions, then it is easy to understand that a dog, like a child, will take every inch given to them.  There really is no such thing as a successful casual parent, any more than it is for a successful casual handler (dog owner).

I admit, that I've been casual, and that lax has shown its fruit.  Never too late.  My goal is to practice mindfulness in setting up my interactions with my dogs, curb negative emotions--remind others in my household to do same, and eliminate ambiguity.  I wished I had this training earlier in my adult life.

If you are wrangling with dog aggression issues, Duffy's book is a great resource.  This is not clicker training nor 100% positive training  (indeed who raises a child in an environment where there is only 100% positive training?)  Rather it is explicit, actions have consequences training.  Good actions have good consequences.  Bad actions have bad consequences.  (And no, I'm not talking about whipping either child nor dog).

I think that his book does a marvelous job in reminding us to keep negative emotions out of it.  And to keep the overall relationship positive.  Daisey is a product of bad training (not at my hand).  But I have not really given her any training.  Angel has been sleeping most of the time, but now that she has woken up after 8 months and is in the thick of things....she'll get some training.

I'll post on my progress.

06.25.2015 Update:  I have been managing the dog's spaces.  Angel is always tethered in the house.  She is outside independent of Daisey.  In taking Angel to the vet, I note that she displays what I call 'attentiveness aggression' toward other female dogs, not male dogs.  Daisey is doing marvelously heeding my commands for her to come inside or 'stay' (stay where she is and not charge the door to get through it).  It works for us.  Re-homing Angel and pushing the problem down the road was not an option. 


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