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Episode 208 - Twice Bitten


"The case of Stella is all about trust and restoring it, and I’m going to have an uphill battle with whistleblower Tina, who has been bitten by the dog. This will take the power of Mother Nature herself through the assistance of my other animals at the Dog Psychology Center, from a pen full of chickens to Lorenzo the llama — but Tina may take a lot more work than Stella."

 
 

Q&A with Cesar

My dog recently bit my neighbor as well. How do I know if she can be rehabilitated, Cesar?

First, look at the circumstances behind the bite. Did your dog know your neighbor and appear friendly toward her previously, or were they strangers to each other? Did the bite seem intentional, or did it happen accidentally, because of excitement, or because your dog was startled? If you find the cause, you can find the solution. Don’t assume your dog is aggressive or red-zone because of one bite, but do work on whatever caused her to bite. For example, if your dog did not know the neighbor and bit when she approached too quickly, then socialization would be the solution.

I too have a hunting breed dog living in the city. How should I handle his prey drive, Cesar?

There are five phases of prey drive: search, stalk, chase, bite, and eat — although most hunting dogs have had the last part bred out and their goal is to bring back the prey alive, or retrieve already dead prey. If your dog shows strong stalking or chasing tendencies, then agility training would be ideal. If your dog tends to grab or bite things, then you might want to train him using a toy called a “bite tug.” Finally, if you have access to a dog park, playing fetch with a tennis ball is a great outlet for the prey drive.

Cesar said to correct Stella at the right time when she was about to attack the neighbor’s dog. How do I know what the right time is?

Dogs live in the moment, so the right time is the instant the dog decides to attack. Too early, and you’ll confuse her. Too late, and you could make the attack worse. To know the right moment, you’ll need to learn your dog’s body language, and how to watch for tension and movements that indicate the attack is coming. Other signs are raised hackles and ears flat back against the head. If you’re unsure of how to spot the signs, it would be a good idea to consult with a professional trainer, who can show you what to look for.

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TV: "Cesar 911" appears in the U.S.A. on Nat Geo WILD. Check local listings.


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