Louie has a hard time controlling his temper. It does not matter if he is happy, sad, anxious, nervous, or scared. He will lose it in just about any situation. I can see it start to build with him. He will get a furrowed brow, put his head down and his body will shake. How can I get upset with him for losing it? Looking back on Louie's upbringing it is easy to understand why he has a hard time with his feelings. Yes, feelings. Animals experience them too.
Louie never had the chance to learn how to handle his emotions. Louie did not learn boundaries on what is acceptable and what is not. What we have done for Louie is given him a safe space to go. We call it "time-out". Time-out is not always a bad place to be. Heck, sometimes I wish I could put myself in Time-out. For Louie, time-out is a place for him to gather himself. Louie will sit in time-out until he is ready to come and participate with everyone or if he is really worked up, when I think he is ready. Learning to control anger, outburst and your temper is hard for everyone. Therefore, we should not get overly upset with a child if they throw a temper tantrum. Like a child, Louie has thrown a fair share of these. I am not saying Louie does not get in trouble for his outburst. He does. Especially if someone else is going to get hurt.
I do try and catch any incidents before they happen by watching him. You would almost call me a helicopter parent in a "bad way". I am not the parent hovering over my dog to protect him. I am hovering over him to protect everyone else's dog from his outbursts. Just like a person, you can watch Louie's body language change. Sometimes it might be difficult to find what is triggering your dog, but it is essential to look for it. I personally know my trigger is someone eating my popcorn out of my bag or bowl, especially if they did not ask if I wanted to share it. It might seem small. I know there is more popcorn in the cabinet. The same is with Louie. He definitely does not want to share his bones (there are at least a dozen lying around) or even "special" little baby sized toys. I work hard to let Louie have his private space to enjoy his chosen items. Without anyone taking them from him or him having to share.
Each day is a new experience of "What is going to set Louie off today?" The positive part of the experience and yes, the adventure with him is watching Louie learn how to be part of a family with other dogs around. Louie is a one-of-a-kind pooch for us, and one that is truly loved. Louie is temperamental. A downright Richard to put it nicely, but I couldn't have imagined him any other way. I would not change him for the world.