From Sad Fear Aggressive Dog To Happy Dog

Scared Dogs

Some people have said “I work magic” when it comes to helping troubled dogs, while others have called me “A miracle worker”.  It’s very flattering and yes it does make me feel good. The reality of it is, I am neither a miracle worker nor do I work magic. Through many years of living with and working with many, many dogs I understand what makes them happy and I understand their fears. I have learned to communicate with them on their level, not ours. By using the most basic of all communication forms, emotions. This is the essence of communicating with animals.

What your going to see in the two pictures below, is Bruno. Bruno came to us (spirit animal sanctuary) from a Florida dog rescue, because he suffered from severe nervousness and fear aggression.

Nervous dog before Spirit

Nervous dog before Spirit

This is Bruno dealing with his demons, before spirit animal.


Bruno smiling at Spirit

Bruno smiling at Spirit

This is Bruno, after his doggy exorcism.


Who am I, I’m The Spirit Dog (Alan Papszycki)


Spirit Animal Sanctuary

Spirit Animal Sanctuary

The Spirit Dog

Spirit Animal Sanctuary
2539 East Road
Boonville, New York 13309

© 2011 a.s.papszycki


An Alpha Dog is like John Travolta

Alpha Dog Behavior

For those of you who didn’t see the comedy movie ” Get Shorty ” you’re not going to understand the reference. Sorry about that ! An alpha or dominant dog is EXACTLY like the character John Travolta played “Chili Palmer” in the movie, Get Shorty.  In the movie John Travolta plays a mob guy that is quite, calm, collected, the toughest guy around that doesn’t get excited or reactive to situations around him. He will try to avoid unnecessary confrontations when faced with them, but has no problem handling the problem if he has to.

Aggressive Dominant Dog ?

This is precisely how a alpha dog acts. They don’t growl, bark or act possessed when they are in unfamiliar situations or while meeting unfamiliar people or other dogs. The dogs that are often labeled by some dog trainers as dominant or aggressive. Are usually the nervous to very nervous dogs, that are acting out as big as they can in an attempt to scare away what they are afraid of.

Alpha dogs are calm, alpha dogs are calm, alpha dogs are calm.

The Spirit Dog

© 2011 a.s.papszycki

Visit Spirit Animal Sanctuary on YouTube.

Fear Aggression How to Tell if Your Dog’s Got it

So, how do you tell if a dog is displaying fear aggression when he see’s you because he’s afraid? How does the fear aggressive dog tell you that he’s afraid of you ?

Will the fear aggressive dog, bark ferociously at you ? YES

Will a fear aggressive dog, growl at you ? YES

Will the fear aggressive dog, lunge at you while tied or on a leash ? YES

Will the fear aggressive dog, snap at you ? YES

Will the fear aggressive dog, try to bite you ? YES

Will the fear aggressive dog, act like a maniac in a car ? YES

Will the fear aggressive dog, bark and try to chase you ? YES

Many people believe that a dog that reacts in any of the above mentioned scenarios, is an aggressive, bad or dangerous dog. They would be wrong.

Fear aggressive dogs can also display their nervousness by :

Standing or sitting quietly.

Not looking at you or avoiding your eye contact. ( And NO, this has nothing to do with dominance)

In general a nervous or fear aggressive dog can also display their nervousness by NOT acting aggressively. What you want to look for is stiffness in their body and a closed mouth. That’s the easy stuff to notice, what may be a little more difficult to notice is the fear in their eyes.

The Spirit Dog

© copyright 2010 a.s.papszycki

Fear Aggression, The Socializing of Smokey

This here is Smokey, or Smoke Stacks. Smokey came to Spirit Animal Sanctuary because of severe fear aggression towards people, that made it impossible for the rescue organization to safely adopt him out.

Some day I will shoot a video to show you exactly how I do this stuff. And the stuff I’m talking about is how I relax a nervous dog and gain their trust.

I shot this video the second day Smokey was with us.

And remember kiddies, this is a no flooding zone. Flooding is a training technique used by individuals that know nothing about animal behavior.

The Spirit Dog

Fear Aggression Video, Dog Behavior Modification

Helping a dog get over whatever fears are residing in their mind requires you to get that dog happy. By getting them happy the dog will temporarily forget about his fears and through continued behavior modification of  ‘The happy stuff’ the dog will markedly become more comfortable and happy.

As you can see by the video this is wholly accomplished by you, the human, acting happy. This is by far the best way to overcome fear aggressions or nervousness in dogs.

No treats, no shock collars, no flooding, just you and the dog.

The Spirit Dog

Copyright © 2010 a.s.papszycki

Fear Aggression

Fear Aggression in Dogs, a Quick Reminder

Remember fear aggression can be displayed in two main ways by your dog. Your dog can show fear or uncertainty in a given situation by being very quiet and still or by acting like a complete maniac. The complete maniac dog is routinely misdiagnosed as aggressiveness or dominance.

Often dogs that are displaying fearfulness DO NOT tuck their tail or have their ears pinned back against their head. Their body language will have a certain stiffness to them with their mouth being closed, almost clamped shut. Contrary to a lot of what is taught, their tails can be held high and their ears can be perky.

It’s these dogs and there are many, that display the quiet type of fear aggression that often freaks the dog owner out the most. Depending on the situation a person that is petting this type of nervous Nellie has a real good chance of getting nipped, by the dog.

As I have mentioned before when a person is explaining to a dog trainer or behaviorist what happened, they will often say ” The bite came out of nowhere” or ” The dog bit for no reason”. The problem with petting the quiet type of nervous dog ( the dog that doesn’t growl when they get nervous) is the people are usually not paying attention to the dog while they are touching him. They are having a conversation when they should have been paying attention to the dog.

The Spirit Dog

Copyright © 2009 A.S.Papszycki

Abusing Dogs Does Not Make Them Aggressive

For some reason and I don’t know exactly what it is, people think that former abuse in a dogs life makes them aggressive. Wait a minute that can’t be right, I know precisely the reason people think that, that’s what many experts in the behavior field tend to tell them.

There is not a whole lot of responses a physically abused dog can display, one of the common responses of a dog being abused is that the dog becomes emotionally and physically shot and they live their life in fear. This is brought on by an overbearing asshole that on occasion have probably hit the dog.

The other common response is again an overbearing ass-a-hole that this time is actually afraid of getting bit by the dog. In this scenario because of the individuals fear of the dog, they tend to yell a lot and on occasion have probably hit the dog. The difference being that since you can’t hide your emotions from a dog, the dog eventually learns that by growling back at the shithead he can keep poopy head at a safe distance away from him. Effectively eliminating the chance of being hit again.

A side note to the above paragraph; Even in a loving home that has never abused their dog, the dog can still feel threatened and growl at the people. In some cases this is an obviously imagined fear on the dogs part, but it’s still an all to real fear to them.

In both of the above descriptions, the dogs are clearly showing fear aggression. To understand that this is fear based is of the utmost importance, failure to understand this will result in the wrong behavior modification approach. That would be akin too yelling at a crying child that is afraid of monsters, as apposed to trying to relieve that fear with gentleness, kindness  and understanding.

The Spirit Dog

Copyright © 2009 A.S.Papszycki
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