Wednesday, 06 July, 2005

Charlie is having a tough time

Charlie is having a tough week.  He's been exhibiting some disturbing aggressive behavior lately, especially around other dogs and when meeting people.  On the advice of a friend who had similar problems with her dog, we took Charlie to a "canine behavior specialist."  No, not the doggie shrink, but rather a trainer who specializes in curbing aggressive behavior.  He gave us some reading material that explains canine pack behavior, and some suggestions for changing the way that we treat Charlie:  mostly exerting our role as leader of the pack.  Those techniques have proven surprisingly effective almost immediately.  We will have a few private lessons with the trainer, and then a group class where we should be able to eliminate the dog-aggressive behavior.

These changes have confused the dog, of course, but he's been calmer and seems to be happier.  It's hard to tell with dogs.

As if the behavior modification wasn't bad enough, last night Charlie managed to get a skunk.  Or, more correctly, he got skunked.  I didn't find a skunk carcass in the yard this morning, so I think the skunk got away unharmed.  Not so with Charlie.  He got sprayed full in the face.  It took a couple hours to get the worst of the smell out of him and today we took him to the vet for a thorough cleaning and a shot to alleviate some of the reaction.  The poor dog's snout is raw where he rubbed it on the grass trying to get rid of the skunk spray.

I hope that encounter has taught him not to chase after things that he sees out in the yard.  At minimum, I hope he's learned not to attack the black kitty with the white stripe.