Moon got himself water-sprayed this morning.
And it worked. All magical like.
The timing here has to be perfect I think, and I nailed it. I have a water bottle from the hardware store; it sprays a stream quite a distance; and so I waited in the hall for the inevitable morning altercation.
Rupert was in the chair.
Moon entered the room. Sat in the middle of the carpet. Took a quick survey of the room, obviously for strategic reasons, and then he lunged.
I was ready.
It only took about two pumps, and I only got his butt a little bit wet. But it was enough to send him running from the room. He didn’t see me do it. I didn’t make a sound while I was doing it. I also tried to look as astonished as he was.
I followed him out to the living room and gave him a hug.
It took about 20 minutes before he felt comfortable going back in there, but he did, and he did not approach Rupert. He just amused himself on the floor with toys.
I’m not a big fan of aggressive discipline. Never ever hit or scream at an animal. All you’ll get is a fearful animal who hates you, so I’d rather use positive reinforcement instead, but there are times when you have to use aversion therapy to get the results you need when all else fails. The water bottle is one option. Others include the can of pennies, the air canister, vibrating pads, and double sided sticky tape. All are passive. None cause physical harm. The idea here is to make the experience as unpleasant as possible so that the behavior self-corrects.
I used sticky tape with Rupert so that he wouldn’t climb and claw the windowsill in the room. It worked. After a few times getting his paw hair stuck to it, he realized that the discomfort wasn’t worth the effort. More to the point: there was no reward in it. This is how wild animals learn. Things that suck can make you dead, so don’t do them.
For Moon, his aggression is satisfying in some small way. Rupert won’t hit him back, so there is no challenge to his behavior. Now there is. If he starts to associate being uncomfortably wet with feelings of aggression, then hopefully, he will make the choice to stop being aggressive. I feel positive at the outcome this first time. My hope is that there won’t be a second or third time.