Nervous Girl

This morning I arrived at the office and removed my coat and scarf to find another scarf underneath. I have absolutely no memory of putting on that first scarf.

I am running on fumes today.

But I’m not the nervous one, as the title of this entry might imply.

I messaged with a dog trainer Harlow and I worked with a few weeks ago. The other night, Harlow lunged at a neighbor, in an unfriendly way, when I stopped to talk with him for a bit. Perfectly friendly chat, but she didn’t care for it.

I shot an email to the trainer, letting her know that this, along with a few other incidences over the years – nipping a coworker once when Harlow came to the office to visit, nipping at the electrician – has resulted in me not trusting her. I’d like to figure out what’s causing her aggression and correct the issue.

I found her response interesting, “What you are describing is not aggression, it is fear and anxiety.  Aggressive dogs bite with intent and they cause real damage.  What you need to do is lower Harlow’s overall stress level and then work on controlled greetings with lots of desensitization.  I think it would be a good idea for her to maybe get on vet prescribed meds for a while to help lower this so that the training works faster…Approaching people or having people approach her right now is way too much for her.  She needs distance.  Once she is on meds for a few weeks to have them help her lower the threshold, then we can meet to go over the counter conditioning drills to give her the confidence she needs around strangers, and to teach them too you so you can practice.  Again, this is not dominating behavior, it is low confidence and fear.  Dominating dogs do not lunge or nip people.  It is a defense mechanism and it works, and she will continue to feel this way, until we can change her approach.  Maura”

So, it sounds like my dog has a self-esteem problem. I emailed Maura back and asked her what I could be doing at home in the meantime. I told her I do raise my voice a lot (and I always have) because she doesn’t seem to listen to me unless I do. “Try not to raise your voice,” she responded, “Let your actions speak louder. Keep your voice out of training as much as possible.”

This will be an interesting challenge I’m afraid. Maybe I need a bark collar!


(click to enlarge)

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