Serious Dog Fighting: Questions to Ask if Considering “What Next?”

zucc yum 9-13

Recently I had a discussion with good friends and colleagues about how to handle difficult cases in which two dogs have engaged in extremely serious fights in the home. We found ourselves sorting through what factors need to be considered if re-homing is on the table. This is a common problem brought to behaviorists; I must have seen hundreds of clients who had dogs who did not get along. At all. I don't mean dogs who had minor tiffs, or dogs who were occasionally possessive-aggressive ("My couch! My human!), but dogs who had truly serious issues and were making life at home less than relaxing, if not downright dangerous. Sometimes they had serious, injurious fights, sometimes one dog lived in obvious terror of the other, even though actual fights were rare or non existent, and sometimes Read More

What’s Happening Here? Here is the Answer!

tucker and lily (1)

On Friday I asked you what you thought was going on here, at least as best one could tell from a still photograph. I'm the first to agree it's hard to say much from one brief moment in time, but it's a great exercise nonetheless. It helps us all focus our attention and generate hypothesis about what might happen next. It would be perfectly reasonable to suggest several different scenarios... Here's the story in this case: These two dogs are great friends and play together often. The yellow dog is a 4 yr old GR/Husky cross, Tucker, who has a tendency to nip faces when he plays. The white dog in the red coat is Lily, a 2.5 yr old spayed female Dogo Argentino, owned by Katie MartzĀ  here at McC Publishing. Lily was responding to what appeared to be an inappropriate play action from Read More

A Picture’s Worth a 1,000 Words?

lilytuckerplay

Maybe not a 1,000 in this case, but what words would you put with this photo? What do you think is going on here? I'd love to hear what you all think. I know the dogs, the context and what happened before and after, so after I collect your input I'll let you in on the story. This might be a fun exercise for us to play every once in a while, yes? Let me know if you like the idea. I'll write another post on Monday and describe the dogs, their relationship and what happened immediately after the photo was taken. But before that I'd love to hear how you evaluate what you are seeing. And no fair cheating if you saw this on Facebook last week! It's just such a great photo I couldn't resist putting it out here. So... what's going on here between these two dogs? What are the most likely Read More

Anger & Anger Management

tanangry

CAN DOGS GET ANGRY? Yup, I'm here to say that they can. Do they get angry as often as humans? Nope, and thank heavens for that. If they did, I doubt we'd live with them, given that they have carpet knives in their mouths. Just like people, they vary tremendously in how often they experience or express anger. I've known some dogs who appeared not to have an angry moment their entire lives. More commonly, I've worked with dogs who, on occasion, are clearly frustrated at not getting what they wanted or expected. And rarely, I've worked with a small number of dogs who appeared to live in a state of 'road rage' for weeks, months or years on end. So even though I would never say that anger in dogs is an exact replica of anger in people, both in its frequency and how we experience it, it is a Read More