Aggressive Case Study Other Dogs
Sienna is a five-month-old Pug that was recently purchased from a breeder. The breeder did not notice any aggression problems, but Sienna is showing aggression to the owner's other dog, Patsy, a three-year-old Pug. The owner was concerned that Patsy would have a problem with an expansion of the four-legged family, but Sienna is the one showing aggression. The owner has videotaped the two dog's interaction when no one was home to determine that Patsy is not provoking Sienna, and has become frightened of the smaller dog. Desperate to stop the aggression, the owner takes Sienna to the veterinarian's office.
While in the waiting room of the veterinarian's office, Sienna repeatedly shows unprovoked aggression towards the other dogs, causing her to be put in a separate room. The veterinarian provides the owner with a referral to a veterinarian behaviorist who specializes in aggression behavior against other dogs. Until the appointment; however, the veterinarian strongly advises the owner muzzle Sienna and keep her separate from Patsy when the two dogs are home alone.
The owner brings Sienna to an appointment with the veterinarian behaviorist the next week. After putting Sienna through several tests, the veterinarian behaviorist determines that Sienna indeed has a problem with aggressive behavior, which seems to be triggered by a territorial attitude. The behaviorist then develops a training plan that will see the owner and Sienna working closely with a local dog training academy that has classes specializing in aggressive behavior against other dogs. Just as the veterinarian suggested, the veterinarian behaviorist strongly urges the owner to keep the Pasty and Sienna separated. In addition to Sienna being aggressive towards Pasty and possibly injuring the older dog, Patsy could develop a fear of Sienna that can translate into the fear of dogs in general.
Sienna and her owner enroll in a special aggression class, where the trainers work closely with the owner so that the owner can take the training practices home. During these sessions, Sienna is kept muzzled to protect hers and the other dogs. These classes combined socialization and beginning obedience. Whenever Sienna displays aggressive or territorial behavior, the owner immediately steps in. Instead of using methods like spraying water or shaking noise makers, the owner is instructed to physically block the dog from the trigger. When Sienna shows aggression over a toy that another dog wants to share, the owner steps in, removes the toy, and blocks Sienna from retrieving the toy. The same goes with food, beds, and any other triggers that may exist.
As the training progresses, the owner is instructed to include obedience commands. The obedience portion is critical, since the owner can issue an immediate command when Sienna is showing aggressive behavior and the dog must comply. Sienna begins to learn the sit and stay commands initially and the commands are practiced when the dog becomes aggressive over the triggers. Also, a leave it command is critical, since one of Sienna's triggers involves toys that she refuses to share.
At the end of the training, Sienna walked away a trained and socialized dog. She no longer shows aggression towards Patsy or another dog, allowing her owner to leave both dogs to roam free when no one is home. Furthermore, since Sienna is no longer dog aggressive, she can enjoy playing with other dogs in the local dog park and no longer needs to wear a muzzle.
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