This is the story of a puppy.
When this puppy was with his dog mom, his mom would do anything to protect him. His mom was assertive, firm, and fair. She ran a tight ship and provided very clear structure to the puppies.
The mom would not allow other people or dogs to come bother her puppies when they were not ready. She made the puppies feel very safe knowing that they would be fully advocated for at all time.
She would monitor the interaction and correct inappropriate behaviour between the puppies during play. There was a clear structure in place so no one was confused.
Then the puppy left the mom and went home with a human. The human family was so excited because this puppy was so cute.
They spent all their time hugging and coddling this puppy. They could not leave the puppy alone. They invited all their friends and family members over to see the "new puppy". They would allow many strangers and dogs to "say hi" to the puppy constantly.
All the sudden, the puppy's dog mom was no longer there to advocate for this puppy yet her role was not replaced by anyone. Not only that, the puppy is now surrounded by people and animals who would not leave him alone to give him the space he desperately needed so he could feel secure in a new environment.
The puppy was in shock and was confused. He had no one to lean on, no structure to go by. He had no idea how to cope with the stress and there was no guidance.
Instead of taking up the position of being the pup's advocate and filling the void left by his dog mom by offering this puppy much needed guidance, the human chose to act even softer and more unstable by trying to "comfort" this puppy with lots of affection, treats, and soft voices. They hugged him, baby talked to him, bought him lots of cloths, brushed him 290 times a day, and they kept allowing strangers and dogs to approach and greet this puppy because they were told this was "socialization" and would help the puppy to become more confident.
They took the puppy to pet shops to further the "socialization" where the puppy was overwhelmed with lots of people exhibiting very unstable energy with their high pitch voice who could not get their hands off this puppy despite his constant body language pleading to just be left alone. Again, the human did not stop anyone from getting too close too soon as the puppy's dog mom would certainly have.
The puppy was very shocked by how clueless and insensitive his owners were. He was used to having his dog mom keeping everything under control but his humans were not doing that at all!
Where is mom? Who is here to advocate for me?
Then the puppy was taken to dog parks and he was bullied. The human did not seem to notice. Everyone and their dogs were really aroused and excited. It was very overwhelming and no one was there to advocate for this puppy.
The puppy finally had enough so one day when he was on leash, he growled and lunged at these "rude" dogs.
His human freaked out over his growling. They yelled at him and then they hugged him and coddled him. This made the puppy more confused and insecure.
He expected his human to understand why he growled and step up to protect him assertively--as he was sure his mom would; instead, he was punished for asking his leader for help. Not only that, his human was not confident nor calm at all; they looked scared and stressed. How could he trust someone with such unstable and weak energy?
The human was heartbroken. They said, "we love him so much, why isn't he friendly?"
"We have taken so much time to socialize him, we have done all the right things, why is he aggressive?"
"We have been so nice to him, it makes no sense."
They felt guilty, and sorry, and frustrated, and betrayed.
The whole household was filled with what was interpreted by the puppy as, once again, a very soft, unstable, and weak energy. That did nothing to fill the void left by the puppy' mom. The puppy's craving for direction and protection was never even acknowledged.
Now the human stayed away from the puppy because they were scared of his “unpredictable aggression”. The puppy was not taken out so he was even more scared of anything outside of his immediate familiar surrounding.
How can this puppy trust someone so unstable, weak, and insensitive? How could he have confidence when he had no one to trust and count on? How could he be balanced and stable if he was living under constant anxiety and insecurity?
The family felt guilty about locking up the puppy so they decided to take him for a walk.
Once outside, the puppy growled, lunged, and tried to charge at a human walking toward him. The puppy felt that he had no other option. He had to take up the role of his mom and protect himself. He had to get the person away before he came too close into his space like others had done hundreds of times in the past.
The human was petrified. They could not believe it! What happened to our cute little puppy? We loved him so much, why?
He was locked up in his yard for a few months and when he became too big and destructive he was given up to the shelter.
They tried to be honest so they told the shelter the dog was “dog and human aggressive”.
He was very stressed and anxious in the shelter. He just wanted to have his space but he was surrounded by barking unstable dogs and lots of humans coming and going all day long all displaying unstable, chaotic, and emotional energy.
He kept barking and charging at the fence to tell them to back off.
All he ever wanted was just to have someone acting like his mom, someone who would offer him proper guidance and advocacy so he could simply follow and finally relax.
He did not care for all the nice scarves, all the cute leashes and colorful harnesses, all the home cooked treats, all the squeaky toys, all the expensive beds.
He just wanted someone he could trust, like his dog mom.
He had no idea why such a simple need was never met.
He was very frustrated, lost, confused, and stressed.
But it was too late...
He was not a cute puppy anymore.
No one wanted an aggressive dog.
After a few weeks in the shelter, he was put down.