Thursday, December 9, 2010

Understanding Dog Aggression Comments

In a previous post I said:
Watching Shaker go from happy well met to hyper-reactive was painful. Soon I noticed him having bad dreams. His eyeballs popped and darted during REM sleep. Low whimpering became pathetic sobs. His feet paddled the air.

It’s interesting to note that the first forty-five minutes of day care Shaker is joyously running with his buds like old times. When the edge of needing the exercise is softened, he begins to look around to as if to see who could do him harm.

Cheryl said: I did find a number of things on canine PTSD, but we’re talking about war, abused or Katrina victims, not a well adjusted puppy who was attacked. Now most of the dogs are spooky, but some articles talked about the aggressive aspect. (Katrina and war dogs PTSD)

In a book Tao of Equus, the author talks about PTSD as a result of how our neurological system protects us from right before that moment of sudden death. She believes what happens in a near death or we think we are situation, but live, that device doesn’t reset to “normal” and the switch is always on. Unconsciously the brain is on guard for the final blow and we’re ready to react. Epona Equestrian Services, founded by author Linda Kohanov, has become an internationally-recognized innovator in the field of Equine Experiential Learning She uses abused horses in her work with dysfunctional non-horse clients.

I was confused going from PTSD to bullying. You are saying it’s part of the PTSD issue, right? (see the whole-dog journal). Is he really doubting his language skills or is the switch “on?” Is this learned response that feels comfortable and he’s afraid to loose? Normal to him could be scary?

“Language skills” was throwing me for a loop. I think it goes deeper. From the above Tao reference, I think he saw death.

Regarding issues of not socializing animals:

Blazing Prairie Stars, provider of equine assisted therapy, newsletter.
Snickers is a new herd member at BPS. She is trying very hard to make new horse friends as she assimilates into the herd, but she has some social skills challenges. Because Snickers did not have much opportunity to play with other horses in a herd, she has very little experience. This is upsetting to Snickers. She has been learning how to read nonverbal cues from her herd mates. She has been learning how to fit in the social order and how to respond to the leader. She has been learning how to approach the other horses appropriately. She has been learning about horse personal space.


I think your treatment plan is brilliant. I think the problem lies in his own insecurity. If he can gain enough confidence back in his own language he should overcome the fear that drives his bullying. I do also think the bullying behavior must be stopped or better yet prevented from happening as described in the first article. Once a behavior gets patterned it is definitely harder to change. You are in a very unique position with your access to other dogs for play groups and your extensive knowledge of their personalities. Definitely not something you could work through at the neighborhood dog park. I am putting a lot more focus on my baby's (Pystol) canine education. I am lucky to have 3 puppies about her age that she plays with frequently, my own girls, and a group of older dogs that are safe for her to interact with (two male huskies, a lab, and a gaggle of border collies) My girls are pretty good at "dog" but Pystol is becoming even better. Although she really knows how to be a pest and seems to know which dogs she can get away with her favorite pesky behavior and which she better just not try it with. She thoroughly enjoys attaching herself to the big dogs chest hair and just holding on. Anyway, I was inspired to invest more effort into this part of her education and am looking forward to seeing how it influences her throughout our journey.


No comments:

Post a Comment