A Water-Obsessed Labrador and Leg-Chomping Chihuahua
Season 2 | Episode 1 | Brady, Bandit and Hootie
The new season of Dog Whisperer starts with a splash as we follow the progress of a water-obsessed Labrador. Plus, Cesar has his hands full with a pooch with performance anxiety and a leg chomping Chihuahua. It's a season premiere you can really sink your teeth into.
You may wonder why some dogs are very comfortable around adults, but exhibit aggressive behavior towards kids. The truth is that many dogs perceive children differently from the way they see adults. They move differently, walk differently, smell differently, and sound differently. It’s in their nature to react to any energy that, to them, seems unbalanced or unstable.
The reality is that most parents don’t teach their children the correct way to act around dogs. We teach our kids that it’s okay to get excited when they see a dog. Children often run to the dog and look him square in the eye, invading its physical space before the dog is ready. Remember, in their natural world, animals attack instability, and excitement can be perceived by a dog as instability.
I often bring my sons Andre, 11, and Calvin, 7, on the job with me when dealing with a child-aggressive dog. Mind you, I’d never, ever put my kids in even a remotely dangerous situation. Any dog allowed near my boys has to be under my control. Growing up around my pack, my boys know that it’s vital to always project calm, assertive energy when they are around animals. That’s why Andre and Calvin are such assets to our family business! They also turned out to be valuable assistants when I dealt with Hootie, the kid-phobic agility dog.
Do “mean” and “vicious” dog breeds exist?
Let’s get one thing straight. There is no such thing as a “vicious” dog breed. The truth is that ANY breed of dog, big or small, can develop aggression. Aggression is a symptom of an unsatisfied dog; a dog whose life is not being fulfilled. Some breeds, including “pit bulls,” Rottweilers, and German shepherds, are more powerful than other breeds, so if they become aggressive, they can almost always do much more damage. Smaller dogs, like Chihuahuas, can often be defensive when fearful or nervous – you’d be a little surly too if you were constantly being treated like a purse! But when dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds are treated and cared for properly, they have the potential to be calm and balanced pets.
You may remember “Nu Nu,” from the first season of Dog Whisperer. He was very human-aggressive, so much so that my producers dubbed him the “Demon Chihuahua.” This episode I’ll introduce you to Bandit, or “Nu Nu, II,” as my crew called him. I’ve met a lot of “demon” Chihuahuas in my career; in fact, Coco, the Chihuahua in my pack, was once one of them. Like Nu Nu and Bandit, Coco was very human-aggressive and much of her hostility was directed towards kids. Now rehabilitated, Coco not only helps with the rehabilitation of other unstable dogs, she is one of my family’s most trusted family pets – and the special dog of my youngest son, Calvin.
Brady the “Pool Dog” reminds me of so many obsessive cases I’ve handled. His behavior probably seemed funny or cute when it first appeared, but as silly as it may have looked, for Brady and other obsessive dogs, the situation wasn’t funny at all. Dogs who become obsessive are usually frustrated and bored, then one day they find something that attracts them, leading them to download all that pent-up energy into that one object or activity. Wham! Suddenly, it’s all they can think about. It becomes a very unhealthy way to release tension, sort of like negative human addictions like drugs, alcohol, food, or gambling.
A dog can become obsessive over practically anything–a Frisbee, chasing a skateboard or the cat, chewing a stuffed toy or your best Manolo Blahniks–even your dentures! The most dangerous thing about obsessive behavior is that his mind doesn’t recognize limits. An obsessive dog will pursue his fixation regardless of pain, hunger, or other dangerous signals. So, if your dog’s charming little habit is beginning to get out of control, consult a professional. It may look funny, but trust me; your dog isn’t having fun.