It’s coming up on a year since I was bitten by my neighbor’s fear aggressive Bull Mastiff, Brody. Long story short, I was in my own yard when my neighbors’ interloping dog caused a sudden trip to the emergency room.
I live along a busy rural highway and wanted to make sure he returned home safely. I know not to make sudden moves or challenge fear aggressive dogs, and I didn’t. He wasn’t cornered and had a wide-open escape route. I was talking to him in a calm voice telling him to go home. He would run towards me (like a bluff), bark, and then run away. This is his normal behavior, however that night he decided to give me a little nip while he retreated. I felt no pain; the nip didn’t tear my denim pants, therefore I had no idea it was more than a “little nip”. To read more about my dog bite, click here.
This incident introduced me to my neighbor who was very apologetic and promised to have the hole in her fence fixed, to never allow him out unsupervised. She told me she purchased a heavy duty chain to keep her dog in her yard. We learned that she was recently divorced and Brody was her former husband’s dog in which she was trying to establish a routine with. I suggested she contact a dog trainer for some suggestions on how to work with Brody and help him with his aggression. He was never aggressive with her, but she could see the fear in him when someone or something was visiting the home or on the property. She agreed and contacted a reputable trainer recommended to her by her veterinarian.
The trainer suggested first that she exercise Brody daily. Saying that a “tired dog is a good dog” and explained that in order to talk to the dog’s mind, you need to remove energy from the dog’s body. Every morning I would see my neighbor jog past my house with this bear of a dog in tow.
The trainer also recommended that my neighbor have the dog neutered in the hopes that this would keep the wayward pooch from roaming off their property. She hasn’t done this yet as information that she received from her veterinarian contradicts this and could possibly make Brody’s fear aggression worse.
The last thing that the trainer still has her working on is introducing Brody to new people in the safety of his own home by strangers who offer him high value treats. My husband and I have both visited my neighbor and Brody. When we have guests we even offer to have them visit to continue to help her train Brody. At this age, successful socialization is a very slow process. They are still working on this.
Has Brody been in my yard since? Yes. Is his fear-aggression cured? Not sure it can ever be “cured” but I do know that his recall is great! While the bite was pretty nasty (and required stitches), the end result is a positive one. We not only have an amazing friendship with our neighbor now, but she was encouraged to seek the appropriate training for her dog. It’s a win for all of us involved. It’s funny how bad situations can lead to positive ones, if you are willing to put in the time.
About the Author
Amy Dietrich is an aspiring writer, blogger at Woofster.net, and supporter of Schnauzer rescuing.