My dog Caleb is dog aggressive. He hates other dogs. Actually he is scared of them and over the years that fear has turned to aggression. He thinks if he can attack first, that they can’t hurt him. Walking him is an exercise in avoiding other dogs and praying that every dog we encounter is on a lead or we can get far enough away without incident. I must note here that Caleb has never injured another dog and I intend to keep it that way.
We got Caleb from a rescue organisation when he was 5 months old. He was rescued from the pound at 7 weeks, but wasn’t socialised with other dogs until he came to live with us. He was a very scared little boy, who suffered from severe separation anxiety and was afraid of other people and dogs. Rory had to teach him how to play and that the world wasn’t going to end if the humans left. Caleb was progressing okay until our local off-lead dog park closed down and Caleb was threatened by several off lead dogs. We then did a stupid thing and stopped walking him.
We have gotten Caleb to the point now where he can see a dog in the distance and not raise his hackles, but we will need professional help to get him actually socialising with other dogs.
However, as the title of this post suggests, there is an exception to every rule. Caleb hates all dogs (Rory not included) except for our friend Ford’s dog B. Caleb loves B. B is the only dog who Caleb will not do dominate posturing over or display any aggressive behaviour towards. It helps that B is a submissive female and that Caleb has known B since he came to live with us. But B is not a dog that Caleb sees regularly. It may only be a couple of times a year, yet Caleb’s behaviour with her remains unchanged.
B and Ford came over yesterday and it was so lovely seeing all three dogs race up and down the hallway playing happily. There wasn’t the slightest bit of aggression or anxiety from Caleb even B when growled at him for getting in her face too much. Maybe there is hope for my boy yet. I just have to find a decent dog trainer with experience in dealing with aggressive dogs whose methods I approve of. This is harder than it should be. I think I will call the puppy preschool trainers I worked with at my old job and get a recommendation from them as I hold them and their ability as trainers in high esteem. Alas, they are not professional dog trainers, but I am sure they have friends who are.