We have been talking mostly about pit bulls, after all one of my main driving forces in animal advocacy is to see BSL abolished. I can honestly say I think that is a goal we all share. However, you have heard me speak about my Dachshund Yoda and his tendency toward aggression. I thought I would elaborate on that today in the hopes of making you all understand that breed has nothing to do with aggressive tendencies.
Yoda has been with us approximately five months now. He came to us from a high kill shelter in Northern California by way of a woman in Toronto, Ontario, Canada who saw the little dog on Facebook and could not bear the thought that he might run out of time before he was adopted. Yoda’s family had dropped him off at the shelter claiming he was too aggressive. This might have been a death sentence for the nine year old Dachshund, but he was saved in the nick of time.
Problem was once he arrived at his new home in Toronto he began to display behavior problems that his rescuer could not deal with. That is when he came to me. For years I have been known for my work with difficult rescues. It has usually brought me bully breeds, or large breed dogs with no training, this was the first time I would deal with aggression in a small breed dog. Yoda is large dog aggressive.
Yoda has settled into the daily routine without much of a fuss. He gets along well with the other small dogs, but we are still working on issues stemming from his fear of large breed dogs. Personally I think when it comes to big dogs, Yoda takes “stupid pills!” He does not seem to register the fact that to a dog the size of our Phoenix he might just look like lunch! Luckily Phoenix and Yoda seem to understand each other well enough to get along. I just know that Phoenix is the only large breed dog in the house that does not kick off Yoda’s fear aggression. Hell, he is the only large breed dog Yoda has met that he doesn’t try to assassinate the second he sees him!
Something happens in Yoda’s brain when he meets up with a large breed dog, and all hell breaks loose. He becomes a barking snarling crazed version of his normally sweet self. He is a Dachshund possessed when he sees a strange large breed dog. I mean seriously possessed, “call a priest” possessed! Everyone around him thinks he has suddenly gone insane, and people will back away thinking he has lost his mind!
In every other way this little dog is perfect! He is sweet natured, cuddly, and has even managed to learn that the house is not a place to potty, but we still can not convince him that large breed dogs were not sent out by the CIA to wipe him off the face of the planet! To top it all off he believes he can take on any large breed dog and be the conquering hero, or at least that is what he WANTS you to think!
Other people might find this behavior amusing, it isn’t! It is in fact, dangerous behavior for a dog of this size. Yoda WILL attack the ankles of bigger dogs. His way of attempting to make them “go away”, however, this behavior could be detrimental to his health depending on the reaction of the large breed dog in question. His pack brothers and sisters have grown up working with dogs like Yoda, so their tolerance level for this behavior is a little higher than that of the average dog on the street. They have been taught to correct this behavior instead of react to it. However, the average dog on the street is not trained in this manner and that is why Yoda’s behavior is dangerous, to himself.
Yoda’s problem is one of the reasons it is so important to socialize pets properly. Had Yoda been properly socialized with other animals at a younger age he would not have this problem. Because he is nine years old this problem will take much longer to correct. We are working towards it, and we are making some progress but we have a long way to go.
I guess in conclusion to today’s rambling post, what I am trying to say here is that social situations will be much easier for your dog, small breed or otherwise, if you socialize your pet properly. Like us, pets need the friendship and play time with other animals. Many people react to their small dogs fear of other animals by avoiding them. This is the worst thing you can do! Yet it is the reaction of most dog owners because they have no clue how to correct their small breed dogs aggression towards other animals. Because they are small breed dog owners they do not think that training methods used to correct this behavior are meant for small dogs. In fact far too many small breed dog owners treat their dogs like dolls and not like dogs at all. As a result their dogs don’t know they are dogs! I tell Yoda all the time “YES Yoda! You ARE a Dog!” he begs to differ!
Socialize your dogs people! Life for you and for them will be much easier if they can get along with the dogs they meet on their travels!
Until next time remember, ANY dog can be a red zone dog, BREED has absolutely nothing to do with it!
Peace, Love, & Freedom for Pit Bulls