Canine Correction

It finally happened.  Lacey pushed Glimmer too far, and Glimmer finally lost patience with her and corrected her.  She didn’t hurt Lacey, but she did make her point. Here’s what happened.

Glimmer was playing with a toy. Lacey kept bullying Glimmer by lunging at her face and barking at her in an effort to force her to drop the toy.  Glimmer growled and barked at her in warning, but Lacey continued to bully her. Then, she lunged at Glimmer’s face and tried to nip at her, and that was it.  Glimmer cuffed Lacey’s side hard enough to make her yelp.

Let me repeat that:  Glimmer did not bite Lacey.  She cuffed her on her side – and only hard enough to make the puppy yelp in surprise.

Lacey has been bullying Glimmer over pretty much everything right from the start.  I have always interceded and redirected Lacey so that Glimmer would not have to correct her. But I realized that at some point, Glimmer would have to be the one to make the correction. Because, sometimes, the only way a dog can learn the correct way to behave is from another dog – especially when efforts to redirect aren’t working and the bad behavior continues.  Having raised her to use means other than biting to get her point across, I knew that even though she had finally had enough, Glimmer would not deliver a bite to the puppy.

I did not correct Glimmer for her action. In my opinion, she had every right to correct Lacey.  However, I did not correct Lacey, either. Because, Glimmer had already done that. There was no need for me to give a second correction.  Had the situation occurred again, then yes, I would have stepped in. But it didn’t, so I let it be.

Many trainers might find my methods rather unorthodox, because I am a firm believer in allowing my dogs to think for themselves and make decisions based on what they’ve learned from me.  The only time this does not apply is if another dog is trying to attack.  In that kind of situation, I get my dog behind me as quickly as possible (for their protection) and I deal with the attacking dog.

Yesterday’s incident was a perfect example of this.  Glimmer had to make a decision because I couldn’t be there at that moment to intercede on her behalf.  Because of how I have raised her, she was able to think for herself and correct Lacey in a way that got the point across without causing harm.

Lacey’s bullying behavior is a result of having been denied the interaction she needed with her siblings and her mother.  Because she was separated too early, she never learned proper social behavior.  So, in an effort to provide her with more interaction, we are enrolling her in puppy education classes, where she will have the opportunity to interact with other puppies and learn the correct behaviors from them. They will also teach her that her bullying behavior is not acceptable. When she realizes what behaviors are good and she begins to practice them, things will improve dramatically between her and Glimmer.

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