After Louise displayed her fierce athletic prowess, I discussed options for fixing the fence with Ernesto, my gardener-cum-handyman.
No option would be cheap, so I decided to wait, as I hoped to train Louise not to aggressively react to Italia.
"It doesn’t matter what you do. Nothing will keep your dog from getting through that fence."
Hmmm… what does that mean?
"You can’t change her nature. It’s in her blood."
I disagreed but Ernesto raised an interesting point: certain behaviors are driven by nature. Though I might be able to manage Tommy’s powerful prey drive, I don’t think I could ever stamp it out so that he doesn’t want to chase and pounce on a squirrel. But are Louise's issues in her nature?
Before Ernesto left, I reminded him to check in with me before going into the backyard on his next visit.
"Of course. Your other dog, he’s okay. But the new one, I have to be careful of her." (He hadn’t yet seen Louise, but formed his opinion based on the Tasmanian devil story.)
He parted with these words, "That dog is like me: dangerous."
A few days later, Ernesto looked surprised when I came into the yard with Louise.
"My neighbor has dogs just like her."
I learned his neighbor lived on El Sereno and Woodbury, which sounded familiar. Hadn’t I just read of a drug bust there?
“An FBI SWAT team detonated flash-bang grenades about 5:30 p.m. Thursday as they forced their way into a home at El Sereno Avenue and Woodbury Road, officials said.” (You can read more here.)
Yep, that was the house with the dogs that looked like Louise. Ernesto and his teenaged son had watched the drama unfold from their front lawn.
I’ve driven by many times, but I haven't seen the dogs. And I haven't detected a hint of recognition from Louise, no whining or cowering in fear, no heightened sense of arousal.
Whatever Louise’s past, she clearly has a defensive posture around any threat, perceived or real, from another dog. Can I train that response out of her?
Jenina came by on Saturday and gave me some tools for counter conditioning. I’ll write more in an upcoming post, but here’s a hint: our session was all about Tommy (well, almost - chewed post compliments of Louise).