Jagger’s Aggression (Fear)

Travel Journal – October 28, 2015

We skip ahead in blog time today, which happens to be a laundry day again ūüė¶ ¬†Not my favorite past time it comes way to often, but has to be done. I decided to get it over early in the morning, as it was an overcast and a cooler day so far. In fact, it is turning out to be the coolest day since Jagger and I landed here in Mesa, Arizona.

Traveling Back to Arizona

Traveling Back to Arizona

It’s hard to believe a short three weeks ago we were still on the road, heading southwest from our last two day stop in Missouri.

The final leg of the trip, coming over the mountain pass through Payson and eventually down Highway 87. Arriving in Mesa felt almost like home since we have been traveling to so many new places this past Summer. The Workhorse now has 39,000 miles on it and has pulled the Coach over 12,000 of those miles.

Home for the Winter
Winter Home

Winter Home

The RV Resort where we are now staying, was our¬†starting point for the East Coast Tour. We left from here on May 27th of this year. The site we are staying in is right across from a¬†rather small, but nice “Dog Park”. I chose this spot last May. It’s on the corner of two streets, so I could¬†watch both streets and make sure it’s “all clear”. Yes it’s crazy, but Jagger still has his issues with Dog’s. When I give him the all clear, we run across to the park and play fast before other friends come to visit.

Sad Night

Sad Night

Within the first week here Jagger and I had met almost everyone on our street along with several others staying elsewhere in the park. Either in passing or on the display of his aggression towards their dog(s).

He has definitely gotten better over the last year and a half, but still if a dog barks at him, it sets him off. Last week we were walking down our¬†street and two dogs, one on each side of the street, starting barking at him, “yikes their teaming up on us Jagger”. I could hardly hold him back. He seems worse here, but I think it’s because we are crowded together much closer and almost everyone has a dog … or two.

A couple of days ago I was visiting with one of my neighbors and asked them if they knew of a public dog park nearby. They told me about one only a couple of miles away. It sounded like a nice one that we should check out.

The First Park Visit

Jagger and I visited the park one afternoon and walked around the Park. It’s a nice, very large facility. My intention is to continually work on socializing Jagger, in order to increase¬†his comfort and confidence. I have my doubts however, that he will be able to meet and freely play with other dogs. Later we approached the Dog Park area and started to walk on the outside of the fence.

There were close to ten larger size dogs running around in the park, just on the other side of the fence. Several saw Jagger and came over to say hi. Unfortunately there were one or two that were aggressively barking and displaying aggressive behavior. Jagger went nuts and I was so sad for him. I told him, “this is hopeless Jagger”. It’s not fare to you or me. When I got home I talked with several family members telling them¬†I didn’t know if I could do this anymore, he is too strong and just isn’t getting better fast enough. I was at an unbelievably low place concerning Jagger after all we had come through together. I can’t even explain my feelings of that night here.

Jagger’s Birthday Party
Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

Last Thursday my daughter had Jagger and I over for dinner to celebrate her dog, Jax’s Birthday and also Jagger’s who turned two on the 14th. Besides doggy ice cream she gave Jagger several present’s, one of which was labeled a “Pet Corrector”. I have tried numerous leashes, collars, training, and lots of time. Nothing has worked completely yet for his aggression and fear. So I read a little on the internet, both good and bad about this product. Some claim this is too much of a negative enforcer, but when you’re at the point you can’t socialize your best friend, what are you going to do? Just like the pinch collar, which I swore I would never use, but it turned out to be the only thing that even allowed us to go on walks, I decided to give it a try.

Return to the Park

[one_fourth][/one_fourth]Friday afternoon Jagger and I went back to the public dog park. We start out walking around the  large park grounds, then we approached the fenced dog park with a dozen or so dogs running around. They come to the fence to check us out and some bark. Jagger goes crazy, I then pull out the small can of compressed air juggling it while trying to hold back a 58 pound dog, with a 200 pound pull. I manage to give it one short burst. Out comes pressurized air and a loud sound, Sssshhhh.

What happened next was more than I ever expected or dreamed. Jagger immediately stopped barking, then turned his head and looked me in the eye. He then came by my side and sat. WOW. It’s a miracle. I was so excited. It was such encouragement after struggling these past months with only a little improvement. My hope soared above the clouds. We can do this Jagger. We continued to walk along the fence about twenty feet away all the way to the end, turned around and came back. Probably a football field length. After many treats I said, “that’s it for today Jagger” let’s go home on a positive note.

More to come on how Jagger’s training progresses, hoping for a good outcome of at least tolerance for Jagger.

Until then, Safe travel…Gary

More Photos: Jagger’s Second Year

14 replies

  1. I just saw your post- really nice blog! We have a 4 year old female Aussie, Gracie.‚Ķsame problem. The aggression is fear, which seems odd as Aussies are such fearless herding dogs. I know you’ve researched as much as me on how to help our fur friends.. Don’t scream at me here, but I finally purchased a ‘shock collar’.. I know, I know.. Even my husband wouldn’t stand next to me in the store when it was purchased! NEVER shocked her, only use the ‘vibration’ setting. BTW, it was my Vet’s (who gifted me with Gracie) idea for the collar. We’ve made SO much progress- Gracie knows when she has her collar on, not to bark at people. ???? Remember, Aussies aren’t the Golden Retrievers of the dog world, but so loyal and loving to ‘their’ people. I got long-winded here.. Look forward to seeing more of your adventures!


    • No condemnation from me, I completely understand. When It comes down to either they are part of your adventure or you have to give them up. I say use the tool correctly in a loving way, not in anger.

      Jagger and I have come close to separating twice. I was about ready to give up and send him to my friend in Montana who has 10 acres to run. Mind you, I am with him 24/7 and work with him constantly. My trainer in Montana didn’t believe in anything but soft collars or harnesses. I felt bad when I introduced a choke collar, then a pronged collar when walking on trails or at parks, but it was that or have him drag me down a cliff! I have thought about shock collars. It’s about the only thing I haven’t tried and it’s still not off my mind. I have spent a fortune on collars and harnesses. For now It’s the collars and avoid other dogs.

      On of the alternatives someone shared with my when I was on the road was very sad. One I would never consider or forget.
      I don’t know how they could do this. The man was almost crying.

      Thanks for chiming in on my blog and the nice compliment Lindsay. It makes writing this blog worthwhile, I enjoy comments from my followers. Gary


  2. We have a working (herding) dog like yours and the best thing is if you can find a herding facility or agility training. That’s what they want to do more than play with other dogs! Good luck and safe travels.


    • Hi Andrea, good idea. I checked on one trainer here in Mesa and they wanted way too much money. I need to continue that though, thanks for the reminder.

      Jagger does love to work. The little dog park here where I’m wintering has a few agility obstacles and Jagger enjoys the challenge, it would be nice if I didn’t need to worry about other dogs joining the play, but some here acknowledge Jagger’s needs and give us some space. Also several of my adult children who live nearby, have nice yards and playmates for Jagger that he can play with (and actually gets along with). Thanks for joining the conversation.


  3. Hang in there, it will be worth it in the end. I’ve only had one aggressive dog in my 30 years of having my own. Believe it or not it was a pure bred basset hound from the shelter. We were never able to get rid of his biting problem. Yet in your case it’s a different type of aggression and one that can be treated I believe. It was great to read the “new” training device worked so well.

    Good luck with your training and I hope to keep reading about Jagger’s improvement.


    • Thanks for your encouragement Steve. Good hearing from you, I check-in on your blog almost every post, but I don’t always leave a message. Have you thought any more about taking your dogs on a RV trip? I haven’t seen any post about continued RV shopping.


      • I’ve been thinking about it but currently with good weather and my sports addiction on tv, I wouldn’t leave probably until late November. The plan was to spend the winter in Arizona. Still might happen. Wondering about the effects of El Nino with projected increase rainfall in the SW … do I want to be warm and wet or freezing and dry? Not sure yet.


      • The weather is definitely an issue. Who knows what to expect anymore. I just saw news that six tornado’s touched down in Texas and several RV’s were destroyed. I bypassed Texas earlier this year due to the weather and I am glad I did they have have their share, Looking forward to your continued adventure Steve,


  4. I am so hoping this works for Jagger. He may never want to play with other dogs but that’s okay. As long as he can remain calm and not rip your arm off – that’s a good thing.


  5. That’s the stuff I I use for my aggressive chihuahua. Works great and I don’t see any negativity to using it. All that it does is re-direct his attention. As soon as it does give him a treat. Or to the pinch collar if used correctly. Yay for you and Jagger! Hope it continues to work for you, but please don’t feel bad if Jagger never gets to the point of wanting to play with other dogs. As long as he can walk with you comfortably and contain himself, both of you will be happy campers!


    • Thanks Sharon, It’s nice knowing someone who has tried this product successfully. If this works for him my goal is going to a halter collar that we used early on. I would be happy with a puppy that contained himself on walks.


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