Sometimes I’m afraid to share Tango’s story. I often feel the need to defend him even when there is no judgement. It’s a preemptive measure on my part. But more often than not his story is received with love, understanding, and support. Tango is a reactive dog. He has fear aggression, food aggression, and other various behavioral issues. Years ago he bit my nephew when he tried to hug him. He perceived it as a hostile action, as most dogs do. Dogs do not like to be hugged but they tolerate it. A dog with fear aggression will not. He has also reacted aggressively towards other dogs when in stressful situations or when he’s being resource protective of me. The basket muzzle is great for a dog with aggression issues. He can still drink, receive treats, pant, bark, etc., but he can’t bite. If we are going to be in a situation where I feel Tango might not do well he wears his muzzle. It protects others as well as him. This is not a solution. It does not fix the problem. He does not live in this muzzle. It is used in very specific settings.
Tango is not a bad dog. He is not mean. He is sweet and loving despite having these issues. His fear aggression does not define him but it is a part of who he is as a dog. We have worked with great professional pet dog trainers and an amazing animal behaviorist since he was a puppy. Keeping Tango busy and working is key. For example, when it’s time to clean he puts away his toys, carries various objects for me, picks up trash and so on. When we are in public we focus on a mix of obedience commands and distraction techniques. Tango is 9 years old this year and his training will never end. He will always be a work in progress. He is and always will be lots and lots of work. He is and always will be worth it. He is an awesome dog. He is funny, smart, lovable, motivated, eager to learn, and the best cuddler. He has taught me far more than I will ever be able to teach him. Not every person is equipped to handle a dog like Tango. But everyone should know that no matter what the issue or how hard it is, there are resources and people out there that can help you. Our four-legged family members deserve the very best we can give them!