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30 June 2002 to 22 oct 2005

His Story  this is told to help others.
This is a subject many people do not what to admit having a problem with their dog, which then is not discussed. So then when we experience it, we do not know how to handle the situation.

This is a difficult story as Yogi had a short life. It all seemed to go wrong while deciding not to go to my regular Dog Class as it was up some steep stairs. It is not good for a bernese to go up and down stair while growing as it can cause damage to the growing joints, and after Berni, well this was not a risk I was prepared to take.  So I decided to attend another in my area. All seemed to go well at the start everyone in the new club saying he was good and nicely growing in to a lovely bernese.

I attended a class and as we walked into the hall another large breed dog seemed to take an instant dislike to Yogi, and stared him out, yogi was about 10 months and an impressionable age for a young bernese. Yogi reacted by being defensive and barked and growled back at this dog. I believe this was the start to his problem behaviour.

This is when I had no idea how to handle a dog that reacted like this to another, I was given so much varying advice to correct his behaviour by many different people. Again I had no idea how to handle him or understand were he was coming from. I followed some of the advice which I think compounded his problem. So I went to another Dog Club which again promised to help with obedience training to sort out his problem, and my lack of knowledge to this type of behaviour.  I persisted to go to the classes even though I became stressed and so did yogi.  It was dreadful and he became more problematic. He didn't like other dogs at all by the time he was 1 1/2 to 2 years and I was attending the class with him muzzled. He was stared out but another small dog this time and because he reacted to this other dogs behaviour, he was labelled the villain, because of his size, and when a large dog reacts in this way people always think it is the noisy dog that is the bad dog!!!!!

It got to a stage were the club asked me to give class a break until he calms down or have him castrated, which should solve the problem!!!!!So I did thinking this was the best thing for all of us as this type of behaviour causes an anxiety within the family.

Now that we had been asked to leave a dog club this still left me with a dog that I could not control outside of the home. My belief is it all stemmed from the first incident of him being stared out and myself not knowing what to do. Then one day I was watching a dog aggression behaviourist that could help with this type of issue , so I searched the internet.

Angela Stockdale from Somerset so the whole family and dogs travelled and got advice and a proper assessment of his behaviour. Yogi's assessment took over 2 hours and with other dogs. I was taught how to read my dogs behaviour and what I could do for him to help resolve the issues.

Angela Stockdale's Report

Yogi's Character

Yogi is a very intelligent and sensitive dog. He is uncertain as to what role he plays within your family. He is emotionally insecure, which is demonstrated in his attempts to control people.
Dogs of this type are often labelled as dominant. however, this could not be further from the truth. when an animal fells insecure, they will try to control everything in their environment. this can include not only people, but also daily routines such as asking to go out to the toilet.
Yogi does not recognise that you are there as his guide and guardian. as far as yogi is concerned, that is absurd! he is not confident that you will be able to deal with a problem situation.
this belief will br reinforced if he is allowed to control the household in any way. therefore it is essential that you recognise any situation that Yogi is trying to control.

Assessment of Yogi's problem.

When yogi meets other dogs he is not thinking. he is reacting to a situation that he perceives as a problem. yogi is naturally an assertive daog and feel the need to convey this to other dogs. this is fine provided he dose so diplomatically.
some dogs are natural born leaders. this is the case with yogi. the need to assert himself is instinctive. he has little control over this.
asserting himself is acceptable provided it is done in a social manner. yogi does not know how to be diplomatic in doing so. he tries to intimidate the other dog rather than earn its respect.
yogi's approach to stan was very offensive but he did respect him when stan made it quite clear that he would not tolerate such rudeness. he was also rude with Meda but respected her very quickly as she made the same point as stan.
yogi was confused by these two dogs as they did not react aggressively towards him but also made it clear that they were not intimidated by him and would not accept any rude behaviour.
By the time yogi met Arthur he was thinking rather than reacting. once he had settled down he began to relate to all ogf them. i am certain as he learns how to communicate politely with other dogs, his aggressive behaviour will diminish.
Generally you have a superb relationship with yogi. I am certain that, with guidance, you'll be able to teach yogi how to behave in a socially acceptable manner.


Now some of the dog classes training did help with his behaviour, as he know some good recall and clicker training. I was able to take him out on holiday and walk him off lead after seeing Angela. This allowed me to have about an extra year with yogi untill the incident with the young child and my mum.  At home unfortunately yogi was in the house when a young son of a friend was going in side, Yogi snapped at the boy then turn on my mum. This was the last time and he was put to sleep. I never wanted him to be remembered as an BAD dog because he was not.
For some reason he just couldn't cope at times.
Since telling people some have said that he may of had a brain tumour which can cause the change in behaviour, as I could see his body language change when he met some people. But we will never know as I never had an autopsy.

While he was alive he taught me so much about dog behaviour and hopefully with that I have a better understanding about all dogs.






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