SUGGS – BOSTON TERRIER
PROBLEM- DOG AGGRESSION AND OCCASIONAL HUMAN AGGRESSION.
SUGG’S owner Claire called me from Bournemouth in desperation about her dogs frightening aggression
towards other dogs. Castration hadn’t helped and this little dog had become a time-bomb on four legs.
In fact you could say he had become an embarrassment to his owners and had often gone, one step beyond!!
(Sorry about the Madness puns).
Off we went to Bournemouth and on assessment it quickly became clear that Suggs was over-nurtured by his owner who told me that he had replaced a previous Boston who had tragically died of a heart problem before he was 2 years old.
Suggs problem appeared to me to be fear-driven and this was exacerbated by Claire’s tendency to pick him up when things went wrong.
Claire told me that as well as dog aggression, Suggs would also sometimes fly at people in a most unpredictable way. Amazingly, almost as soon as Claire had finished telling me this, some
fifteen minutes into the assessment, Suggs flew at me without warning in a most aggressive manner which would have been extremely alarming to a lay-person.
A calm, assertive approach from me saw SUGGS run to Claire for reassurance which I instructed her not to
give him and this particular episode came to an end without further problem, with Suggs returning to a calm, passive demeanour.
Our session then moved outside where we used trusty Tara, one of my Rottweilers as the calm submissive
stooge in order to assess the level of Sugg’s problem.
In one of the worst cases of dog-dog aggression I have seen, Suggs made the most determined and vicious attempt to attack Tara and clearly the only saving grace was that he was less than 10kg in weight so couldn’t drag his handler.
This was an extremely difficult case which required patience and a very calm approach.
Slowly we were able to introduce Suggs to Tara and he would lie down close to her without any attempt at aggression, but the minute any attempt was made to walk both dogs close to each other on their leads, Suggs would become aggressive again.
The session continued in the afternoon and an extremely satisfactory outcome was reached by using classic interupption techniques, so that Suggs then explored the local common with Tara, both off the lead without any sign of aggression whatsoever. Suggs felt fear and aggression whenever restrained by his lead, so the aim was to teach him that dogs mostly were potential friends rather than a potential threat to him.
Suggs was one of the most difficult cases I have seen and myself and Claire his owner, were elated if a little tired at the end of an excellent days work.
“Todays training was fantastic. The patience shown by you and your dog Tara was unbelievable in the face of monstrous behaviour by Suggs and at one stage, I wondered if I was just going to have to accept that I owned a dog which would always have to be kept on a lead, away from other dogs.
The change in him by the end of the day was fantastic and I now feel that I have a real chance to make him into a better dog. I know I have made mistakes with him in the past, but with your help I now have more confidence in the future” Claire.