Week One with Joker
When I picked up Joker, last week, he was crated and barking almost uncontrollably. His dominant and territorial nature is evident. This behaviour has effected their daily life; where normal activities have become an overwhelmingly difficult and stressful.
This week, with Joker, has been remarkable. He's made huge strides. I'm always amazed at how quickly dogs can recover balance, but Joker has made a complete turnaround. As you will see in the video, the true stars here are The Pack. I can't begin to tell you how important they have become for Joker.
Socialization is important for any dog but this has not been available to Joker in his short 1 1/2 years. You'll see, at the beach, the pack getting excited and chasing Joker. Instinctually, they are "initiating" him through role-play, mounting and other physical touch.
It's important to understand that what may look like simple play, is actually a ritual. We must maintain leadership and enforce rules, boundaries and limitations. We don't want excitement and ritual behaviour to lead to a dog fight.
Next week, Joker and I (including The Pack) will meet with the owners for a hands on follow up. It's vital that I work slowly with them, as they were a source of Joker's instability and aggressive moments. Empowering them will be key in Joker having a smooth transition when he goes back home and they begin a new relationship. We have some more work ahead of us; challenges that we look forward to exploring.