Friday, April 25, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: A chance to do better

By
From page A5 | January 17, 2013 | Leave Comment

For the past few months, Maggie, our 2-and-a-half-year-old Shar Pei-Boxer mix, has been getting really aggressive toward my boyfriend, his mom, his 2-year-old nephew and me.

Lately, she’s been growling at our nephew when he tries to hug her and at our smaller puppy when he’s merely playing with a toy. Last night she jumped on the bed and woke me. When I sat up, she started snarling at me. I took her downstairs to the cage, and she was fine until it came time to actually go into the cage. At that point, she snapped at the smaller dog and then turned toward me and snarled.
Initially, I yelled at her, but then I tried to calm her down by saying in a soothing voice, “Maggie, it’s OK. Maggie, calm down.” I reached in slowly to pet her, and she bit me and drew blood for the third or fourth time now. Until today, I blamed her for acting that way. But I realize now that it is our fault. The “punishment aggression” description covers basically everything we have done to discipline her.
I never knew that my behavior could affect a dog so much. I grew up seeing my parents discipline our dogs that way. Now I have no idea what I can do for her since her aggression is our fault. Do you have any advice? I really, really want to try to fix the situation. But I just can’t keep her around if she is going to snap at our nephew.

There’s a lot to learn from a letter like this.
The letter writer demonstrates the importance of leading by example. She learned from her parents the only methods they knew of disciplining a dog — outdated, uninformed punishing tactics that involve yelling, bullying and possibly worse. Minute by minute, her nephew was learning the same.
Her story illustrates the value of personality testing and training. Getting a feel for a dog’s personality before making him your dog empowers you to select the best fit for you, your family and your lifestyle — and enables you to judge his ability to relate to children, if necessary. Your dog’s personality also determines the necessary method of training and discipline. You don’t train or discipline a shy dog the same way you would a dominant dog. Everything is different, right down to the tone of your voice.
Many dog owners in similar situations never own up to their role. Instead, they deny a problem exists or dance around it with a litany of excuses. The writer of this letter has had a very important breakthrough. She now understands the extent that an owner’s behavior can affect a dog.
Anyone who reads this column regularly knows what’s coming: A 2-year-old cannot live safely under the same roof with a dog like Maggie. The first new household rule should be that Maggie has zero access to the nephew — not even supervised access, because it only takes a second for something to go terribly wrong.
All the adults involved in this situation have an equal and immediate obligation to Maggie to do two things: Enlist the services of a professional trainer and find her a better home. She needs an adults-only home with people who understand the importance of boundaries and consistent training — neither of which has anything to do with punishment. The training they provide starting now will increase Maggie’s chances of finding such a home exponentially.
With the writer’s realization comes a chance to do better — to the benefit of everyone, including the child, the puppy and, hopefully, Maggie.
Woof!
Dog trainer Matthew “Uncle Matty” Margolis is the co-author of 18 books about dogs, a behaviorist, a popular radio and television guest, and the host of the PBS series “WOOF! It’s a Dog’s Life!” Read all of Uncle Matty’s columns at creators.com, and visit him at unclematty.com. Send your questions to dearuncle.gazette@unclematty.com or by mail to Uncle Matty at PO Box 3300, Diamond Springs 95619.
c.2011 Creators.com

Matthew Margolis

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

.

News

Heard over the back fence: Advice offered writers

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

 
Big marijuana find in EDH

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Jury: Sanford guilty of murder

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Initiative seeks roundabout vote

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
Sheriff cracking down on Tahoe pot grows

By Tahoe Tribune | From Page: A3

 
Burn permits required May 1

By Cal Fire | From Page: A7

County backs task force to reduce human trafficking

By Chris Daley | From Page: A13

 
5 years prison for child porn

By News Release | From Page: A14

A victim tells her story

By Chris Daley | From Page: A14

 
.

Opinion

 
Income inequality

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

Billingsley’s Bullets: Marriage makes me laugh

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

What happened to ‘fair and balanced?’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 14 Comments

 
Red tape

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Is Ukraine in Asia, Europe or Latin America?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 20 Comments

 
Vote for Parlin

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

County and ‘Miwoks’ getting together

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Ray Nutting’s donation for DA

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 7 Comments

.

Sports

 
Brown leads Golden Sierra

By Rebecca Reddish | From Page: A9

Cougars 1, Grizzlies 1

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A9

 
Cougars capitalize against Union Mine

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Troy unpends Davis

By Brandon Anicich | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
El Dorado wins tri-meet

By Mike Bush | From Page: A9 | Gallery

D’backs drop the ‘Hammer’

By Mike Bush | From Page: A9

 
El Dorado spikers blank D’backs

By Mike Bush | From Page: A10

Roundup: April 23, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A10

 
On tap

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A10

.

Prospecting

Amazing production brings the curtain down for Pete Miller

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Things to do: April 25, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

Cool Beerwerks is very cool

By Krysten Kellum | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Placerville celebrates Earth Day

By News Release | From Page: B3

Handcar Derby to get pumping

By Folsom Handcar Derby | From Page: B3

 
IT presents a Reader’s Theater of ‘Our Town’

By Imagination Theater | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Enjoy spring with Steiner Road wineries

By Steiner Road Wineries | From Page: B4

 
Art and brew are a perfect pair

By News Release | From Page: B5

Spring cleaning is good

Press Release | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
Pinewood Derby rolls at Kniesel’s

Press Release | From Page: B6

The Sacramento Music Festival celebrates world-class music

By Sacramento Music Festival | From Page: B12

 
Oak Ridge Boys come to TJ’s Corral

By Carson Valley Inn | From Page: B13

Folsom hosts Spring Antique Fair

By Folsom Historic District Association | From Page: B13

 
Viviana Guzman performs at Petroglyphe Gallery

By Petroglyphe Gallery | From Page: B13

Pioneer Jews of the Gold rush

By Folsom History | From Page: B14, 1 Comment

 
Time to join the El Dorado Community Concert Association

By El Dorado Community Concert Association | From Page: B14

.

Essentials

.

Obituaries

Frances Estelle Gilluly Fraulob

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Dorothy L. Irvin

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Jeanine Rae Henderson-Hodges

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Thomas David Ewing

By Contributor | From Page: A2

John Lawrence Olson

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Jack O’Camb

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Wesley M. Nyquist

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

Spring statistics suggest slower sales

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

 
Time to spring outdoors and fix them up

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS7

Nation’s existing home sales remain soft

Press Release | From Page: HS20

 
.

Comics

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A11

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A11

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A11

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A11

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A11

 
Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A11

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A11

 
Horoscope, Friday, April 25, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A12

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A12

 
Horoscope, Sunday, April 27, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A12

Horoscope, Saturday, April 26, 2104

By Contributor | From Page: A12

 
.

Home Source

Spring statistics suggest slower sales

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

Time to spring outdoors and fix them up

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS7

Nation’s existing home sales remain soft

Press Release | From Page: HS20