I have lurked here for a long time and I finally decided to post. I have three labs, a male, who is 13 yrs, a female who is 12 yrs, and a male who is 3 yrs. I am having problems with my three year old male,Wrigley, who has become increasingly reactive to any new situation.It could be a dog,garbage can,snow man, child on a skateboard;anything that he would encounter on a walk. He even cries when we pass houses where dogs live but are nowhere to be seen.
After much reading and talking to my vet,I have an appointment with a vet behavior specialist next month. Has anyone ever gone to one? If so,how did it work out?
Any one ever work with a fear aggressive dog?
Thanks for all responses!
I've never seen an animal behaviorist, veterinary, or otherwise.
I was invited to and did go to a 3-4 hour presentation by one, Dr. Karen Overall, to the faculty and vet students at Kansas State's CollVetMed, and I have read the book of another, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, on his experiences as well as read several articles by him.
There are three broad groups of animal behaviorists --
-- there is a society (American College of Veterinary Behaviorists) which lists members; all these people have DVMs.
-- there is a society (Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists) which lists members with special training beyond their advanced degrees in non-vetmedical areas; Dr. Patricia McConnell & Dr. John Wright ("The Dog Who Would Be King") are both members. Their advanced degrees tend to be in psychology or in ethology (animal behavior).
-- there are also a variety of groups with less strict credentials and training; some of these may be helpful, some may be quacks.
Behaviorists who are DVMs have a high tendency to utilize the use of meds along with a lower emphasis on the use of psychological or behavioral interventions.
Behaviorists who are PhDs have a high tendency to emphasize behavioral interventions with a lower tendency to advocate the adjunctive use of meds (prescribed by a vet).
Since I'm a retired psychologist who referred some of my clients to psychiatrist colleagues for medication when indicated, my completely non-biased preference ;D ;D ;D is to go with the non-vet PhD behaviorist when a good one is available.
You can see and compare the difference in approaches by reading Wright's book "Dog.....King" and Dodman's "The Dog Who Loved Too Much"
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
I went when we had Ernie. It did not help in our situation but the person we were seeing spent 1/2 his time in our state and 1/2 his time in a neighboring state. It was very difficult to get ahold of him when we were having a problem that needed immediate attention. The tools/advice he gave us were no different than what any regular vet/trainer had told us he just charged quadruple the price.
Good luck with your quest. I'm sure there are some experienced , helpful people out there - good luck finding them. Unless you happen to live in a place where one is close enough to work with, you might have trouble finding a qualified person. I am having some trouble with Emilu, and have found the books "Click to Calm" (helpful even if you don't use clicker training), and "Control Unleashed" to be very helpful, and have good information that helps explain what is going on with you dog, what YOU can do to help your dog, why some traditional methods can be very harmful. etc. Good luck.