One of the trainers at Found Chicago told me that dogs have three reactions to stressful situations, freeze, flee, or fight. The Missaroo has always chosen fight... until yesterday. As most of you know, I have been working with Miss for three and a half years now. She suffered from terrible separation anxiety and dog aggression on top of her other crazy habits. When I first started working with her on being less aggressive on leash toward other dogs she bit me. I still have the scar on my right arm to prove it. I've had to nail her butt to the ground a couple of times in order to tell her I was the one who was really in charge of the situation. Over the years, she has calmed down quite a lot. She doesn't even snap at me anymore when I try to get between her and another dog, but her choice remained fight.
Now that we have a fenced in yard, I have been able to work with Missy in a new way. There is a neighbor dog who lives behind us who hasn't yet given up barking at Miss the way Rusty did. This dog always starts the barking, but Missy makes sure she gets in the last word. They meet at the fence and go at it. So, I've been working with Missy to stop the barking and climbing on the fence. Success. But I still had to stay right there and hold her back just a tiny bit. So we kept working at it. Every day, every chance I had to be there with her when the other dog barked, I used as a lesson. And then yesterday a miracle happened.... I mean like the clouds parted and a dove might as well have flown down. Missy not only approached the dog without barking, she WALKED AWAY FROM A BARKING DOG! She simply chose to ignore him. AMAZING. Like seriously! I just about died. My mom was like geez it's not that big of deal, but she wasn't there the day Missy turned her head and bit me. Not the time on the leg. Or the time that left the scar on my arm. She wasn't there when I had to force Missy onto the ground and hold her there until she stopped. She wasn't there when I almost gave up. So she didn't understand why Missy simply walking away from a fence made me so overjoyed tears filled my eyes. And more than being happy for my own success, I am happy that Missy can be just as chill as her little brother Mister. Going through life fighting with everyone is no life at all. I'm so happy Missy just improved her own quality of life! I am sure there will be more fights in the future, that this was just another step and not the end of the journey. BUT it was indeed a breakthrough for the Missaroo.