PROBLEM – SEVERE AGGRESSION TO RAMBO, THE OTHER
James rang me for help with the families two rescue Boxers, Ruby 20 months and Rambo 16 months.
Following the death of their old Boxer Chester, the family had waited a period of almost 6
months before deciding to attend a local rescue centre
to re-home another Boxer.
Having met and fallen in love with Rambo, they also became aware of Ruby who had literally just been brought in and they decided to take her as well.
All went well for a while and both dogs got on famously. The family were aware that Ruby had a bit of a history of aggression towards other dogs which they were working on when out on their walks.
Ruby and Rambo played well together and things were going well. Ruby had a phantom pregnancy shortly
afterwards and was subsequently speyed. On veterinary advice, Ruby and Rambo were kept separate for a couple of weeks after the operation to minimise any post op issues with rough play etc.
Their reintroduction after two weeks was the start of very big problems!
Ruby had changed into a dominant, highly territorial bitch who would fly at Rambo in a total rage
whenever they were close to certain family members.
Initially Rambo had been submissive and would walk away, but as time went on he would meet aggression with aggression and I was called in to help.
On attending the family home, it was apparent that most of this aggression occurred within the home or very close to it and I agreed with the vets verdict that hormonal changes following Ruby’s operation
were a major factor, together with the somewhat over-nurturing, loving approach of James’s mum Trudi.
Where I wasn’t totally in agreement with the vet, was the view that the behaviour would probably subside. Possibly it would, but more likely in my view, was the chance that the behaviour would become habitual and would escalate. Interestingly, the dogs would spend their sleeping and quiet time together in a separate area of the home, together with toys etc, without any problems whatsoever – a highly significant clue to the source of their issues.
I observed the dogs together and witnessed a quite horrendous spectacle of them flying into a rage with each other in the lounge. They rampaged across furniture and it was quite clear that in separating them,
it was only a matter of time before a family member would be severely bitten. They were literally like two wild animals and James advised me that this had occurred at least thirty times!
This was serious stuff, certainly not just two Boxers boxing and required very strict measures if we were to have a chance of restoring some order to their lives. If not, one of them would surely have to return to rescue.
All family members were given very clear guidelines on their interaction with both dogs. All affection,
rewards, toys and treats were withdrawn unless earned and an aversion therapy for the aggressive behaviour was demonstrated with immediate effects. By the end of the session, both dogs were relaxing in the same room as most of the family without a hint of aggression.
This will be a fairly long and potentially hazardous road to recovery, but with the consistent approach of all family members, I feel confident that a positive long-term outcome will be achieved.
On a cautionary note – I truly admire the benevolent approach of all dog owners who decide to go to a rescue kennels to acquire a dog, rather than buying a new puppy. There are so many dogs needing a good home. However, the acquisition of two rescue dogs at the same time is fraught with potential pitfalls, particularly where little is known about their history and I urge any of you reading this case study to
tread with extreme caution before doing what this family did, out of their caring, considerate desire to give two unfortunate dogs a new home.
"After just one day, there are definite signs of improvement in Ruby.
Both dogs were in the lounge last night without any incident whatsoever and are currently playing in the garden together. James has used the (aversion technique) you showed us and it has certainly worked so far, the dogs just went to sleep! They have also been prevented from getting on the furniture and now the simple use of the verbal warning sound, keeps them off.
We are really looking forward to your next visit."
Trudi and her family have since reported that there has been no further problem behaviour between Ruby and Rambo, a pretty remarkable result bearing in mind their fighting was previously an almost daily occurrence. Work is now being carried out on their general socialising and obedience away from
These two dogs are well on their way to full rehabilitation.
"Since your first visit, we have not had a single incident of the fighting from Ruby and Rambo. The techniques you taught us have ensured a total change in the way they are towards each other, which makes things much more relaxed. Thankyou so much."