Friday, December 17, 2010

The Adventures of Doc, the Boston Terrier, III

My friend Ross suggested diet as a contributor to excessive aggression.

I suspect it is possible, but I don't think it would apply in Doc's case. We feed our dogs a home-made mixture: fish, grain, vegetables, and a bit of olive oil. Maybe the fish is mercury-laden. I usually use canned mackerel. It's possible. I've heard of people who eat excessive amounts of sushi can develop hints of mercury poisoning.

There are some good commercial dog foods out there, expensive, but mixed from good quality ingredients. I find it easier to mix my own, and I make enough at a time to last three to five days, storing it in the refrigerator. I do know it has improved our dogs' health greatly, and it has cut down on waste.

My wife and I have watched Doc more closely over the last week or so, and we are now theorizing that his increased territorial drive may relate to our granddaughter who lives with us. She'll soon be eighteen months old, and in the last three months or so, she has changed from a baby to a little person -- talking, more mobile, more demanding, interacting with the dogs more. We think Doc, tender, apprehensive soul that he is, may have gone into protection-overdrive because he senses the little girl needs protection.

It would be an interesting project for an animal behaviorist, I suppose.

I do know when I went to craigslist to look for someone who might need a miniature guard-dog, there was more than one person there attempting to find a home for a dog because the animal wasn't able to tolerate a new human baby.

Of course, this is the reverse -- Doc may feel so conscientious about his territory and the new person in it that he may be overstressed.

For what it is worth, the local craigslist is overwhelmed with pet give-aways, so much so that there was an person from the local shelter saying "Don't bring 'em to us" because the situation was so bad that the majority of dogs the shelter takes in are euthanized.


Jody Ewing said...

Gary, I've been following your story about Doc and can't tell you how bad I feel about your dilemma. Have you had him since he was a pup? If so, it would be so tough to part with him after 5 years, and I really hope you can find a work-around where you can keep him.

Re your neighbor and his rock-throwing; that can't be helping things in any way at all. (It's downright cruel and injurious to Doc's mental health.) What if you asked your neighbor to throw "treats" instead? (You could even buy him a box or bag of them.) Our dogs used to bark at our mail carrier all the time, but now they can't wait to see her; she always brings them Milk-bones if she sees them outside in our fenced-in yard.

Re his fear of the back yard, Victoria from "It's Me or the Dog" had an episode some time back about a dog who'd grown fearful of the back yard, and it had to do with something "bad" the dog associated with the yard. He eventually learned to love the back yard again via a series of short and pleasurable daily exercises (with treats as a reward) that started from the doorway and worked outward to the deck, then to the bottom of the deck's steps, and eventually out into the yard.

They key thing here, though, was having "eliminated" what caused the initial fear. If your neighbor is throwing rocks at Doc over the fence, that needs to be stopped immediately. I just hope someone will have a solution that enables you to keep him. He's a part of your family, and if he hasn't yet tried to bite anyone, I think there's still hope for him. :-)

Bob Sanchez said...

Rock throwing by your neighbor? Is he trying to hit or scare Doc? Jody is right. That has to stop.