- 8 years ago
- Wedding: December 2009
I have an almost two year old Great Dane, Jasper. I’ve never had any problems with him other than him being hyper. However, he has always been a scaredy-cat. He gets scared of everything…and I’ve never knowingly done anything to cause the fear. He’s just always been a big baby, and I never thought it was a problem.
Fast forward to three weeks ago…Mr. S. tried to take part of a broken dog toy out of his mouth, and he bit Mr. S’s fingers (hard enough to draw blood.). We did research and found a trainer that specializes in aggression, especially fear aggression. We made an appointment.
The week before our appointment, Jasper found a pistachhio shell and was munching on it. I told him to drop it (a phrase he knows well)…he dropped it immediately, but when I went to get it, he lunged at me.
I don’t want to be scared of my dog. I love him to pieces, and would do anything for him. He has never shown any aggression before now. In high school, we had a Lab that viciously attacked my father…the dog jumped up, lunging for my dad’s throat and face. Luckily, my dad threw his arm up and was able to block the attack, but ended up with severe bites on his arm. It was a long time after that before I trusted dogs…I still don’t completely trust Labs (yes, I know, that is prejudice…I shouldn’t judge the breed for one dog, but I can’t help but be wary of them). I can’t go through that again.
We went to our first training session Saturday. I was extremely impressed by the trainer. She got his attention and by the end of a 2 hour lesson, he stood by her side, on a loose leash as a cat came within 4 feet of him. He HATES cats…but he stood there, listened to her and did not take a step or make a noise towards that cat.
She said one of our problems is that I am too nice to him and not assertive enough. He doesn’t know that I mean what I say. She also said we have to build up his confidence, so that we can get rid of his fear and therefore any fear aggression he may develop. She says his acting out at us may be a possessive aggression instead of fear aggression, but that the fear is her first priority.
We are scheduled for weekly classes (at $40 a pop). While that seems reasonable, as newlyweds living on one income right now, we can’t really afford it. But I told Mr. S that Jasper comes first right now…we will eat bread and water if necessary to afford his classes.
Has anyone had any similar problems with their dogs? Were you able to correct the issues and have a normal life?