Luna, a Golden Retriever, showed severe signs of food aggression at the very early age of 9 weeks. She would hover over any resource that she came upon and snapped at anyone who came near. The children were especially vulnerable and Luna would easily take advantage of them. These types of dogs are often abandoned and sent to a rescue where often times they are euthanized. This family, however, took on the challenge to rehabilitate her.
The reason Luna was food aggressive was she feared for her life. She felt that if she didn't guard her food then she could die from starvation. This was not the product of any sort of abuse. She had a strong genetic predisposition for this behavior. It had simply developed from deficient parenting boundaries in her relationships with people.
As a response, the family was taught about the three dimensions of dog behavior -- physical, intellectual, and emotional. They learned that Luna had used three different dimensions of manipulation to control the family. And many of the manipulations she used were beyond the family's conscious awareness. Yes, at the age of 9 weeks she was already a master manipulator.
In particular, Luna had found that emotional manipulation (intimidation) was the most effective means to control people.
Therefore, the family learned to counter all of Luna's manipulations by using their own parental boundary-setting. They did this by becoming the executive decision-makers in the home -- something that every child and dog must have. They set out to consistently counter every manipulation Luna threw at them. As such, they countered every decision she made. They have gone months without a single snapping incident and the family is thrilled. Now Luna is now a well-adjusted teenager.
Yes, Luna is smiling in this photo. That glimmer in her eyes is real self-esteem. No treats were ever used -- only praise as a motivator. Because of this family's commitment, Luna's future is no longer in question. ~Aaron
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