Overview Aggression Seminar held at Denver Dog Works
This past weekend Dr. Robert Forto, PhD, canine behaviorist, aggression expert held an aggression seminar. The students in the class quickly learned that human ideals and labeling put dogs into categories that are not necessarily correct once the situation and the behaviors are observed.
For instance, many dogs are labeled as having fear aggression when the fear itself is not being identified and could be that the dog has never been exposed to whatever is making it appear fearful. There are four critical periods that puppies go through and should be exposed to certain social situations at specific times of their young lives to ensure that they mature into well-balanced dogs no matter what their breed or intended use.
Dr. Forto, had quite a few examples of dogs with varying degrees and types of aggression, all of these dogs it was found in their detailed history reports lacked proper socialization and exposure in the first year of life.
One of the dogs, a Visla; a breed which is timid in nature was fearful of the new situation but literally looking her owner right in the eye for direction and when it wasn’t there she would use defensive flight/fight drives to stave off the danger of the unfamiliar situation. Sudden movements, looking too long, even lying by Dr. Forto’s feet and him slightly moving got a reaction from this Visla. After the seminar was finished this dog learned some confidence by Dr. Forto teaching her handler to watch her dog and read her signals, become the leader she is asking you to be in her life.
Another dog who peaked my interest during the seminar was an eight year old Golden Retriever who during the second critical period of his life or 5 months of age, watched his canine mother attack and nearly kill a Jack Russell Terrier who wouldn’t leave them alone. He watched his canine mother attack three other times in the first year of his life. He was also “sheltered” from social situations involving other dogs, people, and places. Dr. Forto had this beautiful Golden Retriever who is undergoing a lengthy board and train to take part in the seminar. The dog reacted differently to male handlers than female handlers, but for the most part reacted in a calm non-aggressive fashion when the handlers remained calm and assertive utilizing his obedience training as a positive foundation and to redirect his energy toward what he viewed as a threat.
I encourage every dog owner, doggie day care staff member, dog park frequenter, dog trainer, or just observers to take this seminar. It is an afternoon that will change your outlook on dog behavior and how we force human emotions onto our dogs inappropriately. For more information visit Denver Dog Works or become fans of theirs on Facebook where they post events all the time.