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Intimidated owner regains upper hand on jealous dog
Boomer is a 165-pound 2 year old male neutered Rottweiler who I saw about 2 months ago. He had a 4-month history of becoming physically aggressive toward his female owner when she had male visitors over. His owner, S.O., had initially sought the assistance of a local obedience trainer. But the problem persisted, and the trainer referred S.O. and Boomer to me, knowing that I occasionally travel down to the D.C. area to see cases. During the course of a two and a half hour house call consultation, I was able to determine the root source of the problem through detailed history, observation, and testing of Boomer's aggression problem. Boomer had been primarily attached to S.O.'s husband. The two used to rough-house and spend lots of time together. Within the last 6 months, S.O. and her husband separated. He went overseas and left Boomer with her. I found Boomer to be a very sweet dog. He becomes very excited and enthusiastic when visitors come over, especially men, and he genuinely enjoys the attention he receives. When S.O. attempted to sit down near her visitors, Boomer would stare menacingly at her, his pupils dilated. He would then tense up, lift his lip, growl, snap and drive her away. Needless to say, this type of reaction from a 165-pound Rottweiler can be particularly intimidating, and S.O. was beginning to fear that she would have to live a life of seclusion, unable to have visitors in her home. Everything that S.O. described to me and all I saw indicated that Boomer, very fond of men (dating back to his prior relationship with his former male owner), was becoming highly possessive of the attention and social interaction he was receiving in the presence of visitors. When S.O. would approach, it was being perceived by Boomer as an intrusion and a threat to this most highly valued possession. And so to protect this "possession," whose attention she was competing for, he became aggressive to her. Through a series of exercises designed to provide highly positive social experiences between S.O. and Boomer, and other methods to subtlety reinforce S.O.'s position of dominance over Boomer, in conjunction with a remote training collar whereby she could deliver effective discipline without physically confronting the dog; S.O. has been able to resolve her problem and resume a healthy and enjoyable relationship with her dog. THEN AND NOW Hi Dr. Spiegel, Just a note to say hello and to report that things with "Boomer" are awesome!!! I don't think he's the same dog anymore. Our session together really brought me out of denial, a cycle of denial that nearly ended my relationship with Boomer. I never thought he could be such an obedient dog! I've only had to use the Companion Collar on him 5 times since I saw you, and even those times were when other people were around and he was very excited. I've even had 3 parties and Boomer was an absolute angel!! Your "Nothing in Life is Free" technique has made me realize that I am in control, not my Boomer. I can also take him anywhere with me now and not have to worry about him being a jerk and snarling & snapping at me. Thanks so much for working with us and showing me that I don't have to be afraid of Boomer just because his Daddy is gone now and doesn't train Boomer anymore. As you know my Boomer is the most important thing to me and I am so thankful that you helped me get things into perspective and get a handle on this dog. You may never know how much I appreciate you being there for me, Dr. Spiegel. There is a strong sense of mutual respect in my home now --- I thank you for showing me how to get that. If anything comes up with Boomer, I will definitely give you a call. S.O. Washington, D.C.