Jake is showing some signs of aggression towards other dogs. This is not necessarily new news. In the past, when I say he could be a jerk, it was more that from time to time, he gets cranky and is a little impossible for a short period of time. That always equated to him tormenting Melvin. They’d be laying peacefully, Jake would get up, walk over and try to bite Melvin’s face. Good times! But lately, it’s different. Lately, if he sees another dog he gets riled up and he can’t come back down.
I am not a professional, but as someone who spends a lot of time with Jake, I’m leaning towards this being one or two things. The first is the obvious, a post-Melvin world. I don’t know if that means that Jake has a more difficult time in situations because Melvin is not there to help or that Jake can be more difficult, because Melvin is not there. The other issue working against Jake now is his legs. In these moments when his intensity increases, he can’t always remain upright. And each time he falls over, he gets more frustrated and it feeds the situation.
To be clear, this is Jake with other animals. Dogs that he encounters as well as any animal that dares to land or saunter into our yard. With humans, Jake has become quite the opposite. He is calm, attention loving and has been extra wonderful with the kids in our family. Four legs, intensity. Two legs, love bug.
We have been working with our trainer. Jake has a prey drive that is unlike anything I have seen. I call him Jason Bourne. When his legs were better, and a bunny family lived in our yard, he would hunt them 24/7. When outside, When inside. Those bunnies haunted him. Those bunnies made the mistake of being in our backyard when Jake was off-leash and sadly two of them didn’t make it back out of the yard. Same goes for a bird that never saw Jake coming. And the frogs. Those poor baby frogs. So the trainer has been helping me help him learn to refocus when he goes into hunt mode. And she is the first person I reached out to when I realized that he is now ‘other dog angry’.
Getting another dog is sort of a big deal for me. So in addition to the trainer, we are going to see a behaviorist. Someone who can help us understand the what and why so we can execute on the when and how. I’m super interested in hearing any and all stories of dogs whose personalities changed (for the worse) when they lost a sibling or when a disability started hindering them. You can share in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
For now, the wild beast has taken to his teepee (in his camouflage diapers) to rest up for the next hunt.