Dog Aggression Towards People – Beautiful Story of Caitlin & Leon
Overprotective dog that bites
Many times a dog-owner relationship becomes off balanced, leading the dog to believe that he is the leader. The owner, due to any number of reasons might accept the status submissively. It is only when this relationship status starts hurting others that the owner realizes it is time to take some action.
Cause and Effect
- Cause: Owners’ inability to project a calm and confident demeanor due to any number of reasons.
- Effect: Dog becomes uncertain, protective and aggressive.
And this is what our story is about today, which shows an off balance relationship between Caitlin and her dog Leon.
Leon shows signs of aggressiveness
Leon has always been a well behaved dog when suddenly his owner Lisa passes away and he is adopted by Lisa’s best friend Caitlin.
Caitlin who is still in mourning takes comfort from Leon’s presence. But little by little, her sadness starts taking an effect on Leon. His behavior changes and he becomes aggressive towards strangers. Why did it happen? This is significant, and we need to take a note of it.
Leon is unable to relate Caitlin’s sadness with an event that occurred a couple of months back (Lisa’s death). He takes it upon himself to help Caitlin. Why does dog’s do that? We definitely need to understand dog psychology here. So, what happens next?
He starts barking, pulling at the leash and behaving aggressively towards all humans and animals. Clearly we are seeing the effect here.
His aggression becomes uncontrolled to the point where he starts biting others.
His first victim was Caitlin’s neighbor. Naturally, that did not go down very well. They called an animal control unit to defuse the situation. Realizing that they have very little time in their hands before Leon is taken away from them, Lisa’s mother Sue calls upon Cesar to help them.
And, this is what happens next, and what you and I can learn from it.
Cesar’s experiment with the pool
Now, have a look at the video and see how easily Cesar achieved balance between Leon and Caitlin’s relationship.
Remember in the video how Leon would pull at the leash and bark at passers-by on the road. Cesar did a little swimming pool exercise and things changed. By the end of the video Caitlin is the one pulling the leash and Leon was coming to her submissively. An entirely opposite scenario to what was taking place before!
It is remarkable how Cesar conducted the entire “experiment” through a set of simple exercise. Cesar brought Leon to Caitlin’s swimming pool. His whole aim he states in the video was to “put Leon in the pool”. By doing so, they helped Leon to overcome his natural fear of water.
Dissipating Leon’s fears and gaining trust
So, what did Cesar do? Cesar puts a leash on Leon and enters the pool first. Ask yourself why? As expected, you can see Caitlin watching all this from the edge of the pool with a worried expression on her face. According to Cesar many dogs are afraid of the pool and feel that they will fall off. And that makes complete sense. Because they do not know that there are steps which they simply need to climb down to enter the pool.
The idea is to lead and show them the way.
Cesar just wants Leon to see those steps and climb down. As Cesar puts it “Leon just needs to take his first step”.
To accomplish this, Cesar pulls Leon by the leash and helps him to step into the pool. Yes, one step at a time. After a little pulling and encouragement from Cesar’s side and a bit of whining from Leon’s side, Cesar succeeds in making Leon put his paws on the first step of the pool. See how the first and significant milestone was achieved. This is important. Because you can apply the same principle with your dog not just in swimming pool, but everywhere you train him.
Change of guard
At this point Cesar asks Caitlin to step inside the pool and finish the rest of the exercise. That’s what I call the golden opportunity for a ‘true bonding’. If you observe closely, Caitlin did pretty well. Didn’t she? She maintained a calm and confident demeanor while following it through. And Cesar guided her all along the way with some useful prompts. How does a calm and assertive energy help? By maintaining a calm pose she was able to communicate to Leon that she is in control now. And, dogs read that very well.
Did you see how easily the dynamics of the relationship changed? Caitlin is no longer a submissive human being who needs protecting by her animal friend. See how Leon’s behavior changed almost instantly. Leon accepted Caitlin as the leader and followed her in the pool. And, this change of role was then visible everywhere. Not just the pool. And, that is remarkable, and we all need to take note as dog owners.
Dog Aggression Towards People – Going forward
A balance was finally achieved which would lead to a happier and a safer relationship between Leon and Caitlin. This would also mean one more chance at life for Leon.
Though the whole exercise seems like a swimming pool training for the dog, it is actually much more than that. Through the simple act of getting the dog come down to the swimming pool, the owner has effectively conveyed her confidence and her ability to deal with any situation.
Her positive energy was projected on the dog making him realize that his owner is strong and capable of providing him much needed leadership. Finally, he becomes less aggressive and he could actually lead a more normal life. Hope you liked this beautiful story, and learned few things that you can apply to your life right away. Thanks for your time and take care.