Hi, My name is Brewster and I’m a Nervous / Fear Aggressive Dog

Dogs Recovering From Fear Aggression

( Brewster, 18 month old- altered- St. Bernard- Entry Date 5-18-2007 )

I thought it would be nice to start introducing you guys to some of our dogs, here at Spirit Animal Sanctuary. Give you a little back ground information about why and how we became their home. And the behaviors that these guys where displaying, that was leading them down a quick path to euthanasia.

The first dog I’d like to introduce to you, is Brewster. Brewster came to us when the largest animal shelter in the Utica, NY area, contacted us about him. It seems that Brewster did relatively well with the staff, once he became accustomed to them. He gave the appearance of a young dog that just needed to get used to our great big world, and all the different exciting and sometimes scary things in it.

A common problem with any large size dog is a lack of socialization. For the first two, three or four months of their lives, most large dogs are well socialized by their owners, while they still are relatively small. The de-socializing process usually begins to take place at about six months of age or a little older, when they  achieve 60 to 70% of their adult size. . That’s when the dog owners, for whatever reason, start becoming nervous with their dog around people.

Obviously for the individual dog owners that feel this way, maybe their approach to the training and / or socializing of the dog was not as good as it could have been. Also on occasion, the dog is friendly and social but because of the owners own uncertainties and fears brought on by the size of the animal. That becomes the determining factor in which  prohibits us from letting the dog meet and greet others( dogs & humans). This was Brewster’s problem.

And how did this problem manifest itself, by Brewster going after the first potential adopter that came to see him. And I don’t have to tell you, that in the dog rescue world that’s a big no-no. So because he’s an absolutely beautiful St. Bernard, they were a little reluctant to put him down. But they also new they couldn’t place him in a home, that’s how we (spirit animal sanctuary) got the call.


It’s not uncommon for us to do a great job socializing our dog, and for us to still feel a little nervous. Additionally, sometimes even after going through the proper socialization process, our dogs can still display varying degrees of nervous behaviors. In either case, we did not do anything wrong.

Now Brewsters living a life, he probably only dreamed about.

Thank You, Spirit Dog

Thank You, Spirit Dog

Bosley & Brewster

Bosley & Brewster

Hey, what's this ?

Hey, what's this ?

Come on guys, this way

Come on guys, this way

We weren't chasing nothen

We weren't chasing nothen

I need some rest for tomorrow

I need my rest for tomorrow

Please help sponsor Brewster, by mailing you donation to ;

Spirit Animal Sanctuary, 2539 East Road, Boonville, NY 13309

Or make any size one time donation by visiting ;


Mention Brewster in the “Special Notes” box.

Thank You, your love for animals is what makes this possible.
Spirit Animal Sanctuary is a registered 501(c)3 Charity
All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

6 Responses

  1. I to had a nervous dog and he tried to nip my grandchild, unfortunately we had to give him up. I wish I had known more about behavior maybe we could of worked with him.

  2. Hello Sonya,

    I’m sure you realize that without me actually seeing this guy exhibit the behavior, I’m kind of limited in telling you what would be the best approach to modifying or eliminating this behavior. Having said that, I have to assume the worst which may not be all that accurate. Read the following post, then get back to me if you have any questions.


    Good Luck

  3. Help needed. We are Great Dane people and realize that all dogs are individuals. We recetnly rescued a St. Bernard who we have dearly fallen in love with. His home manners are fabulous. No aggression toward our Dane or cat. However, when new people come into our home he snarls and lunges at them. Last night a friend of our sons came to spend the night. I saw clearly that the yougn man was doing nothing to aggrivate the dog. The dog lunged at him, I stepped in between so that he would not get bitten and I was bitten instead, which is fine…I would rather it be me. We are not aggressive people, did not strike the dog, I calmly took him to the door and put him outside while I collected myself. He has been with us for a week now. We do not want to return him to the shelter and risk him being put down. We want to help him feel secure, but cannot allow him harm anyone, especially a child or young person. The guilt would be to great to live with. Our Danes never behaved like this. What can we do to rapidly stop this behavior?

  4. That dog looks like a bear. 🙂

  5. Hi Abz & Chels

    Through the editing process of this article, I inadvertently left out two very important sentences.

    (The missing words)

    ….Also on occasion, the dog is friendly and social but because of the owners own uncertainties and fears brought on by the size of the animal. That becomes the determining factor in which prohibits us from letting the dog meet and greet others( dogs & humans).


  6. […] been on my mind. Who has the problem? Chelsea, No…I do. After this exchange I read a piece by Spirit Dog, where he was talking of the rescue of his Saint Bernard Brewster. The paragraph that stood out for […]

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