I have a 6 year old Rottweiler named Karma and an 8 month old Rottweiler named Maxx. I want to share with you the problem I had and then the successful ending.
Well, it all started a few years ago when I noticed Karma had some serious dog aggression issues while walking her around the neighborhood. It made walking her a nightmare because every time she saw another dog, it did not matter on the size of the dog, she would go absolutely ballistic.
It seemed to progress over the years and then escalated into fighting with my mother’s female dog in our home. A few years had passed and my mother’s female passed away and then her male dog passed away and it seemed like Karma had some depression since she was close with my mother’s male dog.
I had talked to Steve Wood from A Better Dog for some help with Karma in regards to some of the bad habits she had picked up over the years and the aggression she had shown on our walks and I was hoping to give her a refresher on basic obedience. It had been so long since I had her in obedience class that I had forgotten the basics myself and I knew nothing about pack structure and how to be a great pack leader.
Then we had the idea to get a puppy so Karma would have a friend to play with and snap her out of this depression. We went looking for a puppy and we found, or I should say, that’s when Maxx found us. He was a 10 1/2 week old male Rottweiler and he was perfect for us! We brought Maxx home and Karma was not crazy about him for the first day and then suddenly they were best friends and they played day and night together.
I called Steve from A Better Dog back and told him the news. A few days later we had our first session together and everything went very well. Steve went over the house rules and how pack structure works and things I can do to be a good pack leader. I have to admit I was not a good pack leader at all, and after hearing what I should be doing I was wondering how I was going to make so many changes. From the looks of it I had my work cut out for me, but I was committed and determined to be a great pack leader.
We had started Maxx on puppy training and Karma had a session on the leash and a session with the basic commands – What a difference after just the first session! On our next session, which was about a week later, we worked both Karma and Maxx that day and things were going great when all of a sudden Karma had an aggression trigger and attacked Maxx. Steve and I tried to snap Karma out of that aggression zone but she just wanted to hurt Maxx. I was very concerned at this point! Steve, my Mother and I sat down and talked about my options – even though I did not like any of them we decided to re-home Karma with my brother. I was devastated and Karma was very discombobulated for about 2 weeks, but then she started to acclimate in her new home. Steve suggested crate training for Karma to give her a little security and confidence, also to help me with pack leadership. I had never crate trained before, so this was new for me too. Karma did great with the crate!
I worked Karma at my brother’s house consistently and worked Maxx at my home and I slowly re-introduced the two of them together after about 4 months of separation. By this time Maxx had exceeded Karma’s height and weight and his hormones and scent were different from when they were first together, so I felt this would be a good time to start the re-introduction process.
I started slowly with putting both the two crates side by side and alternating each of the dogs in the crate for an hour for just a few days at a time every 2 or 3 weeks. I really kept tough and consistent with the house rules; one of the hardest habits for me to brake was no sleeping in bed with me. I did this re-introduction for 2 months and just kept consistent and worked the rules and did all the commands and after 6 months of separation I was able to get Maxx and Karma together again successfully! I still have to make sure I watch them when they play and stop any over-excited behavior or any rough play. Karma now respects me and responds to my voice. I became a successful pack leader and all the hard work has paid off! The best advice I can give to anyone who is put in the same position as I was is hire someone good to give you quality guidance. Words can not describe how happy I am! I could not have done this without the guidance and help from Steve at A Better Dog. Thank you again Steve – we did it!!!!!”
Nicole, Karma & Maxx .. Scottsdale, Arizona
A Little Back Story On Nicole, Karma and Maxx…
During our initial telephone conversation, Nicole outlined the troubles that she was having with her Rottweiler, Karma. Dog aggression, basic obedience and leash manners were the key areas that Nicole wanted to address.
Prior to our first visit, Nicole threw us a curveball. She had met and fallen in love with a Rottweiler puppy that she had named Maxx. If she had named him, that must have meant that she bought him. Flags went up all over the office, sirens went off and the red light over the door started flashing – she had a rotty with dog aggression issues and now she had adopted a second rotty. O.K…no problem Nicole…we’re at defcon 1 people!
The day of our scheduled appointment came and I showed up at Nicole’s door. I rang the bell and a wisp of a girl answered. She was five foot nothing, very petite and very nice. Behind her was a 100 pound female rottweiler and a male rottweiler puppy that was going to be even bigger than the female. My initial, naive, typical male reaction was to look for the guy in the house who was going to help this little girl with these big dogs. Nicole was going to show me that I was a silly man.
Dog aggression can be a dangerous, tricky behavior to handle. There are many experts and professionals out there (including myself) who will tell you that you may never be able to fix the problem and the best you can hope for is to try to manage it.
I had no idea, walking into that house that day, that Nicole would prove all of us wrong.
The first session went well. The dogs were attentive and Nicole soaked the information up like a sponge soaking up a puddle of urine. The dogs worked well and we had no incidents. We had no idea what was coming in the second session.
When the trigger happened, we were all taken off-guard. Karma had been working obedience exercises and Maxx had been hanging out in the background. Everything had been going very well up to that point, but when Karma aggressed, she was going in for the kill.
We separated the dogs and Nicole’s mother joined us at the kitchen table for a serious heart-to-heart with Nicole. I can still remember exchanging concerned glances with Nicole’s mother as Nicole voiced her hopes for the dogs’ future. “We can rebuild them, make them better…stronger…faster…”
Nicole proved to be the wisest of all of us at the table that day. She knew the effort that she was willing to dedicate to these two dogs that she loved so dearly. They were her friends and she was going to help them.
Nicole and I worked together a lot over the next few months. She took the instruction and advice and implemented every piece of it. She worked her dogs consistently and elevated herself into the pack leader role. She took control of what looked like a really bad situation and made it work.
Maxx and Karma are back together now, living in the same house. They play together, eat together and share Nicole’s attention and affection without any signs of aggression. Nicole has learned how to get ahead of Karma’s triggers and she has shown her dogs that she is the pack leader in her home.
We decided to give Nicole, Karma and Maxx their own page on our site because their success can be an inspiration to every dog owner who is experiencing a similar situation. We are so incredibly proud of Nicole and the effort that she has put in with her dogs. She deserves all of the wonderful results that she is now seeing from Karma and Maxx.
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