Last week a friend of mine asked me for some help in dealing with a pair of German Shepherds that were adopted to a very nice lady living in Santa Barbara. The best part of the story is that after these two a father and daughter had sat in the shelter for almost a year, they were adopted from a youtube video inspired by our Shelter Angel Video Program.
Well, it seems as though the girl, Lilly had a little bit of a biting issue. Some trainers had worked with her, but the lady was still a little pensive about how to handle Lilly. I offered to ride up with my friend and pay a visit.
This was a classic example of fear based aggression which is oftentimes mis-diagnosed as dominance. This is a very bad mistake and can be impossible to fix if not properly handled. Trainers who approach all situations with a blanket approach are the culprits of messing up more dogs than anything. I’ve seen motivational based trainers mess up dogs with serious dominance issues and correction based trainers mess up dogs with fear based aggression. I was happy to step in in place of a trainer who might screw this girl up any more.
I could see immediately that Lilly was very insecure without her dad Romi around. So I taught the owner how to build up Lilly’s confidence and work from there. I will post an article over at www.blackbeltdogtraining.com in the next week on how to deal with fear based aggression in dogs.
The most important thing I would like to stress here is that it is crucial in dealing with a dog with aggression to determine the cause of it before you try to solve it. A good trainer / behaviorist will cost a bit more, but will solve the problem in a manner that is fair to the dog and it will work. I received an email that the owner already better understands how to deal with Lilly’s personality and is doing the homework to get her on her way.