Dear Done Right Dog Training ,
I have an issue with my dog that urgently needs to be resolved. Please email me back as soon as possible. Thank you.
I would love to help, what problem are you experiencing?
Done Right Dog Training
I was referred to you by a friend who says that you are one of the best trainers in the business. I have a severe problem with my dog. I believe that he is racist. I love him very much, but I live in a neighborhood with many African Americans and he goes crazy every time he sees one of them. He does NOT do this with white people. Only African Americans. He is very tame, but gets vicious around them. I bought him as a two week old puppy, so I don’t think that he was abused by an African American, or anyone else for that matter. He even barks loudly at the television set when I watch sports. Have you witnessed this type of behavior before? I desperately need this problem fixed, because the African Americans in the neighborhood seem to think that I trained him to be this way. I would never do such a thing. Please help me. I love my dog very much, but cannot move from where I live. Thank you so much for your help and I look forward to your email.
I would be glad to help! From what you have described it sounds like your dog lacked proper socialization when he was a little puppy. It saddens me that a breeder would sell a puppy at 2 weeks of age, which is right at the end of the neonatal period. During the Neonatal period, only three senses are working: touch, taste, and smell, and even those aren’t fully developed yet. Vision starts at the end of this period when they also begin to develop their ability to hear. At three weeks, their “sensitive period for socialization” begins. It is during this time period where the puppies are primed for bonding to other animals and individuals, learning that objects, people, and environments are safe, and for learning what the body cues and signals of others mean. It runs from about 3 weeks and 3 months of age and is the most important socialization period in a dog’s life. Many people are not aware of this and do not know the reasons why it is a bad idea to separate a puppy earlier than 8 weeks from it’s litter, it’s not your fault. The breeder you purchased the dog from should have known better as it is their job to socialize the pups and ready them for their future homes.
The ideal would have been for your pup to have built positive associations toward african americans when he was a young pup, but it isn’t too late to teach him, it is just going to take a lot of work and won’t happen over night. What your dog has learned, is that becoming reactive makes these things he perceives as scary to go away.
The goal with training is going to be to form positive conditioned emotional responses towards his triggers while also teaching him a more socially appropriate way to let you know when he is feeling scared or anxious so he no longer feels the need to escalate.
I look forward to speaking with you.
Thanks for expedient reply. You know a lot about the subject. I had never been aware of this problem before. I have to lock him in his cage when I watch Tyler Perry movies and when I bring my African American girlfriend over. He would chew on her purse when she left the room. What if I have a baby with her and he can tell that it is half-black and attacks the baby? I thought that my love for these things would be transferred over to him. Do you think he might be jealous that I pay more attention to the TV and my girlfriend than to him? I do find Tyler Perry movies really funny. I am scared that his racism will be extended towards Mexicans and Japanese people. Where will it end? I don’t know if he can distinguish between the Asian races yet, but I am sure this will occur as he gets older. Imagine that! A dog that does not like Koreans but is nice to Chinese people.
So positive conditioning is the method for retraining them to like black people. Does this mean that he will no longer like white people? What if he learns to love blacks more than he loves his owner, and runs away to live with them? He seems to love Indians, but I assume that this could change as well. He hates Barack Obama, but loves Ron Paul. How crazy is that? I don’t think its politically related. Should I get posters of black people and spank him when he attacks? and treats when he kisses them? He gets sad when my girlfriend and I leave to go out to dinner. Like he knows that we love each other, and believes that inter-racial mixing is morally wrong. He is smart. He might even know that we will be deprogramming his racism, and go along with the training until he gets his chance to attack. Once he has changed, what are the chances that he will go back to being a racist? Once we begin this process, should we hire some African American people for an hour or two to help socialize my dog? Posters and television might not do the trick here, we might need real people. I thank you very much for you help and willingness to share your expertise. I feel that this strategy could work. Thanks.
What I would like to do is a behavior evaluation of your dog. You can have your girlfriend come over as well so that I can see what he does when she is around. We would start doing the conditioning in the house and over time move to different environments with varying amounts of distraction and possible triggers. Once we do the evaluation we can come up with a behavior plan for you to follow. I would advise against using any type of punishment as it is impossible to punish away fear. You have to change the underlying emotion the dog is experiencing before the behavior can change.
I think your ideas are great. I think they can really work. I even started the process already. I tried to walk him to the neighborhood basketball court, assuming he’d focus on on the bouncing ball and not on the African American kids playing. My girlfriend has been coming over more often, but he still gets violent around her. She wants to rename him Donald Sterling, which I don’t find funny. It is not his fault that he is racist. The dog that is. The other guy is totally and voluntarily racist. I also put him in front of the television and pet and fed him, trying to make him happy, while we watched Eddie Murphy’s Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, which has a variety of black characters, all played by Eddie Murphy. You should watch it. It’s funny. And I hired some African American people to come over to my house. I didn’t tell them what it was for but I found them on Craigslist in the personals. This was my first time on the site, and people are really nice there. They sounded like they needed a place to stay, so I told them they could stay for as long as I needed them. One of them has a newborn baby, which will help with training the dog not to attack my child when it is born. Another perk is that when I asked them where they lived, they said they had multiple homes on the east side, so we can introduce the dog to different environments. One of them told me he lived “anywhere” so I’m guessing he has many suggestions on where to take the dog. I am trying to find a black person he might like. Somebody who is good with animals and my dog can bond with. Is this a good strategy before we get the training under way? Thank you for your help with this. You are very knowledgable and I think he will place his trust in you. Thanks.
I apologize if I am being rude, but please do not play games with me. My time is valuable. If you are serious about wanting to help your dog then call me. If not, then the best of luck to you. I do not advise you trying to rehabilitate your dog on your own as you will most likely make him worse.
Done Right Dog Training
I understand that your time is valuable, but I have fixed my dog by feeding him watermelon and fried chicken. And you shouldn’t be so sensitive, its unbecoming. You seem nice and knowledgable but I’ve already rectified the issue. Its also bizarre to anthropomorphize pets as if they have souls. I actually fucking hate dogs. They are the most pathetic creatures in the animal kingdom. Except ones that haul shit. A bark is just a whine bred from weakness. So…fuck off.