This is Oscar, a three year old (intact) Rottweiler, one seriously aggressive dog. Oscar was one of the dogs that I rehabilitated in France. When Oscar first came to me direct eye contact would provoke an aggressive response, touching Oscar anywhere would also provoke an aggressive response, in fact Oscar was probably the worst aggression case that I have ever worked with in my entire career. In short, Oscar was destined to be put to sleep. I never give up on a dog and made it my own personal mission to address Oscar’s problems head on.
When he arrived he was muzzled and had no faith what so ever in humans. Initially I set about the task of introducing myself (all be it tentatively) to Oscar, this was not an easy process as you can imagine. However, in time Oscar allowed me to approach him, I then built upon this initial progress and advanced to a point where he would allow me to walk him on the lead. This in itself was a dangerous venture, often finding myself out in the middle of the French countryside alone with Oscar, constantly aware that I have a potentially dangerous animal on the end of the leash. Needless to say there were incidences, probably the one that stands out most in my mind was one beautiful, summer day in the middle of a French pea field when Oscar was enjoying the freedom of being “long-lined”, suddenly Oscar’s front leg became entangled in the line leaving me no choice other than to approach Oscar, lift his leg and try to untangle it, needless to say Oscar did not like this. In fact, he did not like this at all. He immediately lunged at me and in response I managed to grab him by the neck and attempt to hold him at bay, Oscar is a strong, powerful dog and it would be fair to say that it took all of my strength to hold him off and prevent him from seriously biting me. I managed to push Oscar away, however he immediately lunged at me a second time, once again I managed to push him away, and this time as he landed, the lead miraculously became untangled and fell from his leg, upon seeing this I immediately grabbed the line and decided that redirection was my best course of action and with that I promptly proceeded with the walk, encouraging Oscar to join me. Oscar walked away as if nothing had happened, where as I walked away like an “adrenaline soup”.
Needless to say there were a few incidents like this along the way, however 5 months later I was approached by the owner of the canine centre who was somewhat concerned. Oscar was due to visit the vet and obviously the owner was nervous about this aggressive dog. I assured him that Oscar had made great improvement, yes he was still a “job in progress”, but I felt that Oscar was ready for this challenge and so the following day with great trepidation we set about the process of introducing Oscar to the vet, I managed to encourage Oscar into the back of the car with me and I am pleased to say he didn’t let me down; I enjoyed the entire journey sitting on the back seat of the car, Oscar laying next to me with his head on my lap and my arm around him for comfort. He met the vet, received his medical examination without any sign of aggression and even managed the return journey home in the same calm, relaxed state of mind, it was at this point that I knew all of our hard work had finally paid off and that there was indeed hope of a future for Oscar.
Unfortunately, it was shortly after this experience that I had to leave the canine centre and return to the UK, however I left in the knowledge that Oscar was 90% rehabilitated and simply needed his re-education to be completed by the staff at the canine centre. A task that they were more than qualified to achieve. I owe so much to Oscar and will never forget our experiences together in France. Oscar truly is an amazing dog and proves the point that no dog is beyond hope, not even Oscar.