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My Personal Experience With Fear Aggression (Chapter 6)

Posted by Heidi Caccamise on

I found it, I checked it out and I dismissed it.

No disarming for Frisbee.

As I said, back to the drawing board...but what exactly does that mean?

For us it just meant being careful, being more forceful with my family about what role we all needed to play to save Frisbee and that I couldn't do it alone.

Some time went by and everything was good.  Until it wasn't.

My oldest daughter was moving out and she was loading her car.  She left the front door open and the iron, dead bolt gate (auto close and on a lock timer) open while she loaded her car.  I wasn't home at the time.

What she didn't do is secure Frisbee somewhere, anywhere.  

As it turns out he was sitting by the gate entrance watching her load her trunk.  Actually being a good boy but had not business being in the front yard with an open gate.

So much for that help from my family to more diligent with Frisbee.

Unfortunately, my neighbor came walking through the cul-de-sac towards her house which also seemed to be towards the back of my daughter as she loaded her trunk. 

Our neighbor lady had been doing some gardening so was wearing a big floppy hat and gardening gloves.  I guess this could look pretty ominous to a fearful dog.

We aren't sure if Frisbee felt he was protecting our daughter or if is just another one of those unexplainable, unpredictable behaviors from him.

He shot out of the gate opening and went straight for our neighbor growling and barking. Our daughter screamed at him as was able to stop him.  This is why the recall and leave it commands are important.  You need to be able to stop your dog in his/her tracks if about to do something they shouldn't be doing. 

I don't think our daughter used the command as it's taught but whatever she did worked. 

Once again my heart raced and my stress level rose.  In fact, we have exterior cameras on our house and were able to watch this happen.  I was shocked at how fast Frisbee bolted out of the gate once he decided he needed to do so.  It certainly did look like he was protecting our daughter from the scary person in the big hat and gloves but how do we know what a dog is really thinking.

We don't...which is why this is so difficult.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention.  While seeing the behavior specialist he asked me to contact the rescue gal one more time and demand any and all information about Frisbee before we adopted him.  I actually thought I had done that already but figured I would try once again.

And to my surprise, I was told even more.  Apparently, this man who took Frisbee at 4 months and returned him was told by their vet that Frisbee was territorial and had an intense stare.  Coincidentally, when we were at the behavior specialists office for 5 years and he had treats on his desk, Frisbee laid on the ground with his head up for probably 2 straight hours at least just staring at the behavior specialist.  He mentioned his intense stare at the time too and said he didn't know if Frisbee was so hyper treat motivated or if he was just not willing to take his eyes of him.

I think it was the treats because I know Frisbee will do anything for a treat.

Back to his early months...

So, I got a little more information about Frisbee's experience with the other guy which probably just shed a little light on what we were experiencing.  I also found out the they were able to reach one of his siblings adoptive families and they were not having any issues with their dog.  Interesting.  Back to blaming myself.

Back to blaming myself.

And I learned that Frisbee and his two siblings were dumped at Animal Control as young puppies.  Second Chance Dog Rescue tried to pull them but Frisbee and one sibling had to stay in quarantine because they had parvo.  I can only ascertain from this information that Frisbee had little and probably NO socialization the first 3 to 4 months of his life.

Anyone who owns a dog knows this is not good.  

And even while he was with the gal from Second Chance, she worked so I don't believe he had the proper socialization there either.  This means for the majority of the first 6 months of his life he was not properly socialized or socialized at all.

Add to that his breed mix of Shepherd, American Staffordshire Terrier (the docile breed of pitbulls) and Chow and Mastiff.  Basically, what some would call a genetic nightmare.  We had a DNA test done on him early on because we couldn't figure out what kind of dog he was and just wanted to know.

Who knows how accurate those tests are but his physical characteristics seem to support the DNA test. 

The reason I wanted to share his DNA and breed mixture is I want to stress how important it is to not only know what breed of dog you have but also know about that breed.  If you have a dog who's breed is known to be more aggressive (right or wrong, judged fairly or not) I strongly suggest you do some training with your dog.  

As I said earlier, never say never because it's only never until it's not.

If I could do it all over again, I would have eased into all his outings and I would have hired a trainer or taken him to some type of group training classes immediately.

But since I can't do it over, I hope I can help someone else avoid what we've been through, what our poor dog has been through and what we continue to go through. 

Now with this latest incident I was being pressured by my family to put Frisbee to sleep.  I was told if I don't and something happens then the fault will be all mine.  This became too much of a burden for me to carry alone and I reluctantly agreed to have him euthanized.

But....

Stay tuned for what happens next...

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