I promised I would return after interviewing trainers and behaviorists. What a week--and that is an entire discussion in itself--but let me tell you--research and interview just don't buy a class and attend! Interview as if you are hiring an employee.
Fight or Flight Response is complicated but a good and thorough explanation can be found on this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight-or-flight_response
Here is the summary of what we learned: Possibly it will help others who have anxiety issues identity these characteristics in their dog. This is our individual story and the direction we are taking with her after weighing all alternatives after professional observations:
- Fight vs. Flight--another alternative
- Confidence Building
- Giving the dog a confidence building job
Starlit is very passive. Not an aggressive dog at all--even though she has bitten. No, not nip--bitten with damage. Her reactions to those she loves are submissive. Loving, cuddling, Hugging, Wiggling.
She is a peaceful girl. She would rather retreat or run, not attack the strange man's butt in my home. In public she is shy and behaved. She would rather NOT be there. If I were to take a leash off her she would run away, not attack someone. That is her first choice.
What Starlit has learned is that in the home she can not run ( even though a safe place has been offered for her to retreat) so she fights--the ugly man goes away after I bite him! That works. She is confident that this works. UGH Learn/Re-learn the rest of our lives :)
She will be re-enrolled in puppy obiediance class :) After all, she is a puppy--just really really big older baby compared to all the rest who will be attending the class. Kind of like my premature son who weighed 8.5 lbs in the premmie ward we can't look at size and age in development.
She knows commands, has been in class before. She does rather well for her age on stay, sit, down etc. but when stressed she can not handle even the simple tasks. If she can run--she runs. If she can hide under the table--she will go there first. If she has no other option--she bites a butt Nope- she is not aggressive-she is a chicken and no way will she attack from the front.
The purpose of this class is to stress her again gently
. The stress will be that she is in class in public with people and with dogs ( she loves dogs) and other happy people who do not want to hurt her. Simple enough. Slow enough. The puppies of course will be learning new commands. Starlit will be learning confidence in a gentle environment. The trainer and behaviorist will be present all the time to watch and we will re-evaluate the next phase when she completes the first 6 weeks.
With each command she will relearn slowly she can do a command even under stress--thus little by little she will learn to deal with her stresses in a new and more acceptable way. It will take months maybe but all so worth giving this dog an alternative this gentle girl so much wants to know. She does not want to fight or go away. She wants to be with her people-so let's teach her a new way to do what she so much wants to do. How to handle a situation correctly even though there is stress.The next step:
This is far off they would like her to learn a job. She has a great nose. Tracking may be in her future. A confidence building job. Agility was ruled out because she is so clumsy. Cute and clumsy. Hopefully I can post this in the future.P.S. to the trainer who I talked with on Wednesday of last week: You told me I had a toxic dog--I needed to detoxify her first. How the heck do you detoxify a dog? Colonics? WTD? You told me to put her down. You would not even see her. You told me to lock her up then have men throw food at her. Keep her in a cage. Take away all privedges. If I wanted to entertain in my home--take her to a car even in the winter if I got company and leave her there all night or be legally sued. Your class and your training is highly rated.
I have an idea. Let's meet again--Just once. You will legally have to put me down this time. Interview your trainers first! :)