Dexter Update

He did rather well with the behaviourist! Basically, he is working us. He thinks he’s in charge when it comes to some things, so we have to be more consistent about making him work for attention and treats. He has a solid ‘sit’ but is slightly stubborn about going to ‘down,’ though he will do it. He definitely has some Lab in him because while he’s very smart, cause and effect don’t sink in quite as quickly as they would if he were just a beagle/basset mix.

His aggression is fear-based, so while he didn’t growl or nip at the behaviourist (okay, this is feeling silly now, like I’m trying to snob it up) or anyone else, there are things we need to do to make him more secure in his environment and give him his safe-feeling place to retreat to if he’s overwhelmed when we have visitors and when we take him elsewhere.

We get a minimum of five follow-up visits free of charge, so I think this along with a few obedience classes and maybe what they call a “puppy party” will get him (and us) on track. Yay!

It’s also nice to know that he’s nowhere near the worst. When we were preparing to leave the training facility, the next appointment could be heard coming in, barking and growling. The behaviorist eventually said through the closed door, “Coast is clear!” When we came out, she said, “Yeah, you don’t want to meet those dogs.” I don’t know why it feels good to know that things could always be worse; I have much respect for people who adopt and work with very difficult dogs – there’s no way I could ever even consider taking on a large dog that was aggressive by dominance rather than fear. Scary.

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4 thoughts on “Dexter Update

  1. Hooray! I’m glad that Dexter is on his way to becoming the perfect dog. I know it’s not ideal to have to go to a behavoirist, but for some reason, I sometimes think that would be part of the fun of raising a dog. Meeting cool people that really know what they’re doing around your pets…and who aren’t just winging it, like I always feel I am.

  2. Yeah, it definitely helps both us and him to be around knowledgeable dog people. She also said that almost all “secondhand” dogs have some fear aggression issues, so at least we know he’s not a lemon and there are things we can do about it that have been proven to work many times.We should have known that we’re both being a bit too softhearted with him! Time to toughen up.

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