German Shepherd with Lack of Confidence and fear aggression!
An interesting situation happened yesterday while I was working with a clients GSD (German Shepherd Dog) in a public space, that Is worthy of a mention. The dog I was working has fear aggression issues to the point it becomes highly agitated around dogs in general. Through good solid obedience we have achieved a foundation of calm confidence in the dog in certain environments, due to it now trusting me that I wont let it get it hurt while in that environment. Of course we have a way to go. With these particular cases it is of paramount importance that the dog does remain unharmed as it develops it depth of confidence.
However not the point of the story………..
As I was working this dog, I happened to be outside a public dog park that had a number of Golden Retrievers running and playing inside. I use dog parks, on occasion, as a source of stimulus for the dogs I am training because it is a controlled stimulus. I know where the dogs are and I know they cannot get to me in most cases, of course I am ever vigilant as I do this to ensure as I stated above, my dog does not get hurt or even over stimulated.
Anyway I had been doing basic obedience; heel work, drop stay, recalls etc. and he was doing great. I pushed a little closer to the dog park, to find my critical stimulus distance, when all hell broke loose.
The Golden Retrievers had formed a small gang and were barking aggressively, in unison at the fence at my client’s dog.One of the owners actually yelled at me to remove my dog so hers could calm down. Obviously I didn’t as it was a fantastic learning opportunity for both the dog I was training and the owners of the unruly Golden Retrievers. None of the dogs in the dog park were getting hurt so I let it play out. The dogs became uncontrolled, dodging their owners so they could get to the fence and bark at the dog I was training. Eventually order was restored but it is a good example of 1. not judging a dog by its breed or looks or apparent demeanour as only a few minutes earlier they were playing happily amongst themselves and 2. Even though your dog can be happy and controlled in a familiar environment that doesn’t automatically translate to a different situation where a new dog is introduced or the if the environment changes.
I know that with gradual inclusion and socialisation to each other, the dogs, and maybe the owners, would all get on, but right at that point it was a mess inside that dog park and the owners had completely lost control.