I tend to be quite a puzzle solver when it comes to psychological behavior. I like to figure things out for myself using the least amount of tools and basic theories. When it comes to dealing with Brut in particular, I have found that I have a natural instinct for handling his aggressions with Zappa. It has evolved over the course of time, as I've learned from my mistakes, going from pulling them apart in fights to prevention. I began to learn Brut's signals until gradually over time able I was able to find his warning signs and stop anything before it started. The results have been dramatically and didn't come easy. Neither dog has ever been hurt except for a scratch or two and most of the time they ignore each other.
Handling Brut and Zappa has become part of my being. The trouble is that I can't seem to explain to Daddy how to do it. Brut has taken Daddy on as a possession, since he has started walking Brut. It has caused a slight riff again between Brut and Zappa again. Daddy has a soft heart and I have done most of the serious discipline. I have been watching these interactions, trying to break down to Daddy what Brut is doing and how he needs to react. It is like trying to describe to someone how to breathe. So I broke down, went to the library and tried to find a book that could help.
The selections were not the best, but I thought I had found one that might work. As I read to the main sections I was interested in, aggression between dogs and corrections, to my horror I found this book also believes in negative reinforcement and punishment.
For corrections, they stated using a choke chain or pinch/prong collar. Two things I have never used, as I do not care for either. Another correction is the "Alpha Rollover. I have used this method in order to gain control of a fight. I rarely use it, but I believe it is safe only because it is language the dog understands. Dogs do this to other dogs in establishing dominance. For me, it is a non-violent expression that I won't tolerate this behavior. Some don't believe in it, but it has been effective for me.
The next correction they list is called the "Shake." To my horror I read how to grab the dog by the loose skin on both sides of the jaw, lift the dog off the ground and literally shake some sense into the dog until he gives into submission. Shaking the dog until his neurons are rearranged and the dog is disorient. I shook as I read this. I can not begin to understand how or why you would do this or what the dog actually learns from this let alone how effective it's method would actual be. It was horrifying.
If that wasn't bad enough, there a method called the "Cuff. This is suppose to effective for 'nipping' dogs or if there is no response from the "Shake." This is knocking the bottom jaw in an upward motion with a fist. Are you're jaws dropping yet? And this is in print. And what is it suppose to mean, if the "Shake" doesn't work? If the dog is suppose to be disoriented after a shake, why the hell would you need to cuff the dog too?
There were a few other methods, squirt bottles, hanging (picking dog up by collar until front paws are off the ground), making banging sounds, etc.. All of these methods were mentioned in the dog-dog aggression section. I achieved the same results that they concluded without "Shaking" my dog or cuffing him or any other method that I saw as violent and disturbing. I am still flabbergasted by this reading.
It is like giving permission to be abusive to your dogs and you can still look at this book today. I found it in the library. It still exist somewhere. It was copyrighted in 1950, (first clue), but then was republished in 1995. That I have a very difficult time with. Haven't we come any further than these barbaric methods?
So needless to say, I didn't need to read anymore. I didn't need to read what I had. I ran outside with the dogs to feel the peace of the snow, the mild night, and if I didn't need a pat on the back, I got one. The dogs ran around showing off for me, Zappa and Brut in their respective places as I witnessed the beauty of these creatures that I have had the wonder and awe in partaking of their lives. So many times, I am unsure of what I do, uncertain of the gift I have, but a simple reminder puts everything back in perspective again.
Now, if I can just figure out how to teach my husband...BOL
Current blog look inspired by, dedicated to, and in memory of Brut. The studded star of the 24 Paws of Love.