Fixated Finn

Last night, I took Glimmer to work with Jax and Finn, the two miniature Schnauzers mentioned in this post. I was initially called in to help resolve a barking problem – which has been progressing very well – but on my last visit, I discovered that Finn has some issues with other dogs. I knew Glimmer could help, so I brought her with me to last night’s session. Finn’s response was not at all what I expected. I knew he might be nervous at first – that was how he was at the last session when we encountered another dog – but the actual reality turned out to be much more intense and worrisome.

I spent two hours with Jax and Finn and their people.  The entire time, Finn barked and tried to attack Glimmer. Glimmer did her job exactly the way I knew she would – which was why I brought her – but 5-month-old Finn was unable to respond to her. Jax followed Glimmer’s lead and gave Finn all the right calming signals, but Finn wasn’t having any of it. He was fixated on Glimmer and determined to take her down. He wasn’t interested in trying to make friends with her at all; in fact, twice, he nearly bit her because he managed to get close enough to her to make the attempt.

This clip shows Finn’s state of being after nearly two hours of nearly relentless barking and desperate attempts to attack and kill whatever he could get his teeth on:

NOTE: The video is still processing at the time of posting. Please be patient and check back often.

Finn is a very troubled boy. Jax made friends with Glimmer, and the two of them teamed up to try and help Finn. Oliver and Kaylea were just as surprised by Finn’s behavior as I was, so they tried to follow Glimmer’s and Jax’s lead by standing by and remaining calm while I worked to help Finn. After two hours, Finn was no closer to letting go of his determination to attack Glimmer, nor was he showing any signs of having drained out any excess mental energy. When he couldn’t attack Glimmer, he redirected his attention to the ground and either tried to rip it up, or to attack and eat everything he saw. It was heartbreaking to see a puppy in this state.

While I won’t be bringing Glimmer to the next session with the family, I will be continuing to try to help him. This boy needs to learn to use his nose first, not his eyes. Once he starts learning to do that, I’m hoping his behavior with other dogs will start to improve. It’s going to take a lot of work, time, patience, and consistency, but his humans are committed to helping him, and so am I.

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