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Old 12-28-2012, 11:20 AM
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meepitsmeagan meepitsmeagan is offline
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Default Fear Aggression.

So, I contacted the rescue that we got Rider from with this:

"Hey Joan. I'm in need of some advice, as I am lost as to where to go next. We've had a few minor instances with Rider with fear aggression. Just a few things here and there that concerned me, however I knew the triggers and was just slowly building up confidence and staying under his threshold. The past week or so, though, his triggers have been quite off the mark and I'm having a hard time predicting when he is going to go into that mode.
For example, on Christmas Eve, he turned into a completely different dog for about 5 minutes, snarling, the hair on his back was raised completely down his spine; completely in aggressive, I'm going to bite you mode. The trigger? Josh came up the stairs with a Christmas hat with Reindeer antlers. After he smelled Josh, he went right back to his happy little bunny but self.
I'm just afraid that something is going to happen and set him off and he is going to bite someone. Do you know if Alex had any issues with this before? I realize it may just be from being uprooted so many times in the past few months, but honestly, since we have moved to MI, he's only left our house a handful of times as I didn't want to overstimulate him.
Do you have any recommendations? I love him to death, and really want to help him."

I thought I would get input from you guys as well. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Cookies if you read the whole thing!
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:43 AM
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That wouldn't concern me very much, he was worried and he didn't rush in to bite and he recovered quickly. I would not avoid taking him out but I would enroll him in a good positive reinforcement growl/reactive class and read CU and Click to Calm.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:14 PM
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I so agree with Ado!

Confidence building is the key, and setting a foundation out of things he can succeed at, starting easy and adding, goes miles toward alleviating fear aggression.

I went through this with Shiva (thanks to Charley ), and building her confidence made her about as bomb-proof as it gets You guys can do this.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:19 PM
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Agreed with both of the above. He bounced back great and restrained himself from an actual bite. Just help him learn how to react more appropriately, it's totally doable.

If one of my friends punk'd me with a scary costume I'd probably scream and have my hackles up for a few minutes, too.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
For example, on Christmas Eve, he turned into a completely different dog for about 5 minutes, snarling, the hair on his back was raised completely down his spine; completely in aggressive, I'm going to bite you mode. The trigger? Josh came up the stairs with a Christmas hat with Reindeer antlers. After he smelled Josh, he went right back to his happy little bunny but self.
Mu had a similar reaction (only it wasn't so much "I'm going to bite you" as "OMG you're freaking me out") to my FIL in a camo Santa hat. Which was made worse by him yelling at her to come closer to him and to stop barking.

Even though Mu has gotten 100 times better with guys in hats I've never specifically desensitized her to camo Santa hats - and I'd guess you've never desensitized Rider to Christmas hats with reindeer antlers. In this situation it doesn't sound like an inappropriate reaction to me. He didn't go for the bite and he calmed down fairly quick. I'd just keep working on confidence building - once Mu realized that I was working her around hats and they were objects which produced food and not objects to be terrified of we made a lot of progress. Same with sunglasses.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:35 PM
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Ever have anyone startle you and get your heart racing only to realize it wasn't dangerous and just out of the ordinary?

I wouldn't worry!
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:35 PM
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Cool! Thanks guys. I will definitely snag CU and Click to Calm. I've just started IYC with him, and I'm hoping that will help a little. Do they have a book for IYC? Or is it like a DVD or something? I've been going based off youtube videos and explanations, but I tend to get a better grasp with a book or DVD.

Ado- it's not that I'm avoiding taking him out, necessarily. It's just he has been moved around so much in the past 6 months, from going from shelter in Idaho, to foster home in Montana, and three months later to Wyoming, then to CO, then a month later to MI, I'm just kind of giving him a breather. This past week we went on a few short socialization trips, so I'm working on easing him back into it. In February, we are signed up for Intro to Nosework.

Sass- that is a good metaphor. I'd freak too. I didn't even think of it that way. Funny how just a hat can change the look so much that it would do that though.
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