All Wranglers know Wadi Dogs can be the sweetest cuddle monsters around but in an instant panic from some mystery fear. Fear of their own shadow…or yours….or the passing car…or the passing human…or the TV…or any unexpected movement or sound…or the fly that just landed on its backside…or the toy that wasn’t there before…! It is in these moments of fear that we sometimes see our adorable Wadi Dog unexpectedly turn beastly. As dog owners, and lovers, we need to be vigilant in these moments to protect anyone at risk and to ensure our dog is not blamed unduly ortreated unreasonably.
So where does this fear, anxiety and paranoia come from? Our reading shows there are many triggers. One trigger is trauma, especially early trauma, and we know that many of our Wadi Dogs experienced very serious trauma at the hands of abusive people or children in our own communities, police shootings, dog-on-dog aggression in their family packs or by incumbent packs where they were, or their mother was, left abandoned. Enduring extreme temperatures or suffering lack of food or water can also be traumatic. A Wadi Dog’s life is a hard one and it takes a toll on the animal’s immune system, organ health and brain chemistry.Another cause for dog fear is poor breeding. We know that too many of our rescued Wadi Dogs were born of too close genetic relations within their family pack and too many generations away from the happy, domesticated dogs originally abandoned out there. All of these factors make for fragile nervous systems and our beasties’tendency for irrational fear, anxiety and reactivity.
One resource we found extremely helpful is Anders Hallgren’s book Stress, Anxiety and Aggression in Dogs. Looking for answers to help Tyrannosaurus Bess and Bonster Monster, and knowing their risk of exposure to early trauma was low given they had been with us and the Tribe since around 4 weeks old, we focused on improving the health of their nervous systems by ensuring they ate, slept and exercised well and practiced strong obedience skills. Also, we reached out to some on-line resources and found Auntie Julia of Balanced Behaviour (where we read some excellent articles on training, diet and canine behavior) who immediately recommended the VetSpec Team’s Calm & Focused product. Calm & Focused is a canine vitamin supplement which delivers various important B vitamins and other necessary minerals, clay particles (which help clean the gut and calm the animal) and the all important amino acid tryptophan which converts to serotonin in the dog’s brain helping to create a normal, happy and emotionally balanced beastie.
Calm & Focused changed our lives and gave both Tyrannosaurus Bess and Bonster Monster the capacity to think and learn. Yes, they still fight but much less often now. We don’t always get it right but we keep trying and learning to help bring peace to the minds and hearts of our fabulous and beautiful little girls.
Keep on Wrangling!