Our dogs were attacking our baby ducks and no amount of talking, telecommunicating, discipline, or reprimand was solving the problem. I have had a lifetime of dealing with animals, and many called me “Dr. O-Little” (riffing off my last name) or a pet shrink, but in fact I had a lot to learn.Val educated my husband and me, after chatting with our dogs, to the fact that we were not giving them enough to do. I had thought that letting them do what they pleased instead of conforming to my commands or requests for tricks was respecting their autonomy, as their work was to guard the property.
I had not understood that in fact they want to perform, to show off their intelligence and willingness to do what we ask. We also were allowing the alpha male to be disobedient on occasions we didn’t know how to deal with (e.g., not coming when called, on a large property where chasing him down is not feasible).
The guard dog, she also revealed, had severe anxieties about having been abandoned as a puppy (both are rescued animals), and was obsessively “over-mothering” the ducklings to the point of injuring or killing them.
After a few sessions, Val was able to get them –and us—to rethink their (and our) behaviors and approach with great success.
The improvement in their behavior has been significant… and no more dead ducklings! Many thanks for your efforts, Val!