||In the video below, "Jake", a German
Shepherd - Border Collie mixed breed dog, is seen trained in a public, city park
as well as in and around a local department store. Although the
images may seem mild and even boring, that's what we want to see in a dog during
his rehabilitation. Jake's owner was highly concerned that she would not
even be able to bring Jake to training because she was certain he would bite us.
She stated that he would bite anyone who came to her home if he were given the
chance. She described that he lunged at and aggressed towards people, even
when they were walking across the street when she was out exercising Jake.
Jake did arrive in a very unbalanced state of
mind. He was incredibly fearful. He growled at us and showed his
teeth. He was disturbed when we touched him; turning to potentially snap
at our hands. Jake's aggression was fear based (as it is in most dogs).
Jake needed to experience calm, relaxed leadership. Most of the time, dogs
reflect their human's level of composure. So, if their human becomes
fearful of a situation, so does the dog. If the dog feels that his human
isn't playing the role of competent leader, he will often try to assume the
role, himself. But, the dog will fail miserably because he has been
stripped of the genetic code that allows any wolf to become an Alpha if the
leader dies or becomes injured.
When dog was developed from wolf, we enhanced
their subordination to leadership through heavy, artificial selection for traits
that would turn them into beasts of burden; willing to do work like retrieving,
hunting and herding for us. At the same time, we attempted to reduce and
finally eliminate the wolf genes that allowed dog to become a competent leader
in the absence of sound and fair leadership. We did not want them to take
over our household when we showed weakness. So, a dog like Jake was left
aching for leadership when he didn't believe his human would take on the
important role of assessing threats in the environment. In response
(because all dogs need, not just want leadership) Jake assumed the role, but did
a very poor job. Being ill equipped to make such decisions, he resorted to
the "bite first ask questions later" strategy and warded off threats (like
people walking by) by lunging, barking and snarling at them.
During his training at DarnFar, Jake learned to
submit to the comfort of fair and competent leadership. In this video you
will see a very calm and relaxed and appropriately curious-about-the-world dog.
Watch his body language. He is composed. His tail set is
appropriately relaxed and he shows submission but not fear for his handler's
control. This is an example of a dog in the middle of training, so you
will see the handler assist Jake at times, with touches to the body. The
touches are also used to remind him that we are in control. You will see
demands placed on him to wait at a doorway. This sort of high standard for
behavior makes a dog like Jake feel comfortable with his leadership because dogs
believe that better leaders are more exacting in their expectations of their