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phantomreptiles

Help...unruly Dog

51 posts in this topic

Roova   

In your original post you said

Things are coming to a head...and I need desperate help, which is why I've posted in this forum rather than behaviour.

I'm asking work to pay out some A/L so I can spend some serious $ for help

Rather than saying you're disappointed in the replies you've received so far maybe you could thank people for taking the time to offer you help or their opinion?

You haven't paid anyone here yet they've still taken the time to think about your problem and offer you help. Its not going to be sunshine and roses answers to fix a big behavioural problem.

What you've read is probably not going to be much different to what a Vet Behaviourist would say to you and you were prepared to pay some serious $ to hear it. You're probably best continuing forward with that plan so you have someone on the ground level with you who can help make changes to her environment and her training moving forward? You can then bounce questions off them there and then.

Edited by Roova

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Frankly I'd be pretty f***ing pissed off if me or my pet were the target of your dog 'taking it to the next level and following through'. If you wait until your dog actually bites someone or something until you take this seriously then I hope you have a damn good lawyer.

For goodness sakes get the dog a muzzle already. Get a decent behavioural trainer. The consequences of not are likely to end in a dead dog and an empty bank account.

Sorry if I offend you it's nothing compared to the offence of not properly managing an aggressive dog

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juice   

just a thought, if you say having her lunge is not a bad thing as you live in a dodgy area, perhaps the muzzle would have the same effect, but at least she is safe from hurting anyone?

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I don't think verbally beating phantom down will do anything but frustrate them and potentially drive them away from this forum and points of advice. (Edit: see above, it aggravates and upsets. pgantom is upset but getting frustrated and upset back at them isn't helping)

I'm sure they're aware of the thin line they're walking on since the risk has been mentioned several times by multiple users. Just mentioning and letting OP think about it and come to terms with it is more beneficial than using the big stick of blunt discourse and repetition (which is not working and making them more defensive. If they leave... Then what? How can we help out? How can we provide learning resources?). We don't flood dogs so try not to flood phantom? ???? Give them some space instead and don't fall into the temptation of getting into a sniping circle.

The risks are this dog would like to bite people or other dogs. If it does it is likely to be euthanised or put on dangerous dog list. It reads to me like phantom is aware of this and would like to focus on preventing it rather than going around in circles on the big giant risk.

Phantom is crossing streets to avoid triggers. That is a good step to take putting space between you! On some cases you may need to do a 180 and just go the other way. Praise and talk as you're crossing the street or doing the 180. Let dog know by following you and not freakyng out they're doing a great job! Even a few seconds of attention while crossing is progress. Habits for both of you will be slow to build.

I can't recall if this has been mentioned before or the size of your dog - but a head halter can help guide and direct your dog. Not only does it give you more control but since they follow their head it helps bring their gaze away from the trigger and on to you so you can praise like they're the coming of Christ. I wouldn't bother with treats for this. Their biggest reward is moving away from the trigger. The under head halters also force the mouth closed with pressure. Not as secure as a muzzle but better than nothing in controlling the mouth. Can even be coupled with a muzzle - check out the muzzle up project. No reason muzzles can't by stylish right?

Using your bins to obscure the view of the mail box is a good idea. Perhaps you can get some cheap fence screening and obscure the whole street from view to calm the dog down. Generally you don't need to have them lunging 24/7 to keep people away. Just their quiet and watchful presence is likely to do that without scaring those who are simply passing by.

I don't know anything about scent work, hopefully Google can show you nearby classes or some videos on doing it at home.

I still think even 1 session with a behaviourist who can help set you up and give you guidance on daily life routines. They can also point out small details of your dogs warning signs so you can act before an explosion. Since it's different for each dog or can be subtle. Like for my dog it is literally just her mouth going closed and the faintest wrinkle on her head. Easy to miss when we are moving or I am worried.

If you go the behaviourist and they assess the dog, ask them about how your new mailman could potentially help out. Throw treats as mailman arrives then stop when mailman goes away type things (with a behaviourists approval, your dog may be too aroused to eat them at first but things like mailman out of view but dog knows he's there and is getting treats etc baby steps to introducing the mailman)

Phantom, giving all this advice as a take it, leave it or think about it. Some methods will work better than others for both you and your dog so you might need to mix and match. Try thing out for a few weeks to get initial bumps out of the way and see how they're tracking.

Praise and reward the dog like anything if he follows you, if he stops barking at someone even a second. It's like getting your foot in that door to be able to let the dog know what behaviour you do want (not lunging not threatening not pulling) then repeat repeat repeat.

Good luck.

Edited by Thistle the dog

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Wow, thank you so much for your tips "Thistle the dog", I'm not asking everyone to spend that much time on me. As you obviously did!

But it's very much appreciated and I've already implemented many of the things you have suggested.

She is walked in correctly fitted halti (with a pinch collar for back up)

I'm doing my upmost with the knowledge I have, hence reaching out for further tips.

I do not disagree with a basket muzzle and have one on order.

I believe mental stimulation would be great for her, hence my asking for tips.

Again I will say the dog is managed appropriately, and everyone and everything is safe.

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Good luck on all that!

Muzzle up project will give good hints and tips on how to get your dog to like the muzzle but a haltie is half way there.

Practice practice and practice! Perhaps you could start a new thread for for finding or starting out in scent detection? Then people will hopefully not get sidetracked by the rest of this thread.

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All I want is for them to see things from the perspective of the person, parent of child or pet that gets bitten 'for the first time' by this dog, or any dog. if anyone has a dog whose owner knows it had the potential to bite thinks waiting for it to actually bite someone something is alright then good luck with that.

No excuse under the sun will appease the victim of such a situation.

If some one comes on here posting that the aggressive lunging dog up the street that they are always wary of finally got loose and attacked them and their dog do you think we'd all be here cooing to the owner of the attacking dog. No one seems to think it will actually happen but it does. No use crying after the fact

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Kavik   

Here are some ideas for reactive dogs.

This you can implement on walks:

https://clickerleash.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/look-at-that-a-counterintuitive-approach-to-dealing-with-reactive-dogs/

And these UK trainers have put out a DVD called 'Naughty but Nice' which is very good. I have the DVD (my dog is not reactive, but very friendly, distracted and easily overexcited, there are tips for that too).

http://absolutedogsblog.com/2015/10/01/naughty-but-nice-you-are-not-alone/

One thing that was surprising, and something to keep in mind with reactive dogs, that they mentioned, was that it takes 72 hours for a dog's arousal levels to come down to baseline levels after a reactive event (eg where they lunge, snarl, act aggressively), which is a long time, and they suggest keeping the dog quiet, calm and if necessary at home (no walks) for that period until they have had a chance for their arousal levels to come down, or they will quickly shoot up and react again.

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mornaw   

Maybe a hand held ultra sonic dog alarm deployed as aggression begins would distract the dog and give control to you as a "shout".

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All I want is for them to see things from the perspective of the person, parent of child or pet that gets bitten 'for the first time' by this dog, or any dog. if anyone has a dog whose owner knows it had the potential to bite thinks waiting for it to actually bite someone something is alright then good luck with that.

No excuse under the sun will appease the victim of such a situation.

If some one comes on here posting that the aggressive lunging dog up the street that they are always wary of finally got loose and attacked them and their dog do you think we'd all be here cooing to the owner of the attacking dog. No one seems to think it will actually happen but it does. No use crying after the fact

I don't think anyone is cooing, but I don't think trying to force a confession that their dog is dangerous is beneficial to helping their progress? All dogs have the potential bite, phantoms is currently higher. I don't think they're disregarding this and a muzzle is on the way. That will help avoid potential bites while they work on helping the dog to be less likely to bite.

Like phantom (sorry to use you as the example and if I'm understanding you wrong) has come here for help. They've given an honest description of the issues and challenges. They've briefly mentioned that euthanasia is off the table unless some specific occurrences happen. They're wary and stressed. I would hazard a guess that they're also a little scared of maybes and what ifs, maybe second guessing and thinking they're a failure of an owner. I don't think they're ignoring or disregarding the risk.

But they've come here for resources and ideas on how to manage and prevent the behaviour. They're trying to manage, reduce and prevent the risk. Which is commendable IMO. The dog might be nuts right now but if phantom is going to put in the time to try and manage it and put this dog through aggression rehab - be it by methods suggested here, behaviourists, training, very little tiny step forwards etc... There's no guarantee this dog is rehabable but phantom won't know that without giving it a try. That's why I think a behaviourist in person would be a great objective resource. A session now and a follow up in 6 months. If some time has passed and there's been no progress or the dog has gotten worse...reevaluate, think about things. The muzzle hasn't even arrived and phantom is still practicing calm walking and learning how to control themselves.

So I think better to help and aid where we can, than drive away (intentionally or not) from one of the resources that can help them.

Ps. I did just remember this. Phantom, when you start using the muzzle don't stop doing your other managing methods or put the dog in situations it will react (where you can). The muzzle Is your "just in case" and not a fix all. You want to avoid giving the dog the chance just like you are right now. You'll find you yourself will also be calmer with the muzzle on which in turns help dog be calmer and gives you more reward opportunities.

Sorry to detract from the rest of the thread, wanted to share how I'm seeing things.

Wishing phantom the best of luck in tiny progress to a calmer dog.

???? <- friendly face to indicate no hard feelings ;) just thoughts. So many people who need help have left because too blunt. How are they? How can we help when they're gone? How will we help them learn and guide to resources?

I do not want a scared and wary phantom walking that dog around. I want a phantom who is learning and trying and getting ideas, advice, help and resources to be training and trying with his dog.

Edited by Thistle the dog

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corvus   

One thing that was surprising, and something to keep in mind with reactive dogs, that they mentioned, was that it takes 72 hours for a dog's arousal levels to come down to baseline levels after a reactive event (eg where they lunge, snarl, act aggressively), which is a long time, and they suggest keeping the dog quiet, calm and if necessary at home (no walks) for that period until they have had a chance for their arousal levels to come down, or they will quickly shoot up and react again.

You know what, this is one of those things that is quickly reaching "it is known" status. I have tried to track down the data that apparently show this and have been unsuccessful. The best I have got is something like Turid Rugaas has some data that shows this, but if she does, it is not peer reviewed or published, so... There are plenty of studies on cortisol recovery after stressful events, and typically the return to baseline is around 30 minutes AFAIK. Maybe if the dog is chronically stressed it takes 72 hours, but not for typical, healthy animals. I run reactive dog classes and if we have a misstep and resultant overt reaction, that is not the end of the class for that dog. We give them a minute to recover, work them again very briefly to reinstate another positive/neutral experience, then give them a break for about 10 minutes and they are generally not more likely to react again after that second rest. For a while I was tracking this in my own reactive dog, who has problems with arousal regulation. He goes up real easy and comes down with difficulty. Even he, though, will recover to typical levels of reactivity after about 10 minutes. My more laid back dog can go from almost hysterical to seems like nothing happened in a matter of about a minute. Now, if he had 3 or 4 episodes like that in an hour, though, that would be different. But, then we're getting a learning effect as well as an arousal effect. Last week on a walk he had unusually close and sudden encounters with 2 cats in the space of about 15 minutes. That is enough to make him a bit toey for the next half hour, but in a very specific way. He's looking for things that run. The other two dogs had no such reaction and they were there for all that cat-related excitement as well. I advise clients with reactive dogs that one big reaction is okay. Take a couple of minutes to recover, make sure the dog has calmed down, look for signs that confirm this like a shake-off, sniffing, rolling, looking for engagement with the owner, then move on. If it happens again, repeat, but call it a day and head home. It's a very loose rule, though.

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Kavik   

I've found with my dog (who is very friendly, but easily overaroused) that it is best to give him at least one relatively 'quiet' walk day where we train and walk in a park with few distractions, in between our 'busy' days which include training at agility clubs, trials or busy parks where there is a lot going on. I found that when I did several 'busy' walk days in a row I had a harder time keeping his attention and a harder time keeping his arousal in a good place.

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Kavik   

I also know that when I've had a run in with another dog (dog rush at/attack mine or when I had Zoe, when she would behave aggressively) it would take me several days to calm down - the few days afterwards I would feel on edge, hypervigilant. So it is quite possible that dogs would be the same.

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mornaw   

Try a Thundershirt? Quote: Lulu also is less likely to jump on visitors, and our walks are a bit less eventful with the Thundershirt. One neighbor even took time to compliment her during a daily walk, saying Lulu seems so much different in her new sweater. Thundershirts also look pretty sporty, similar to vests worn by racing greyhounds. After several rounds in the washing machine, those Velcro strips have not lost their grip.

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DobieMum   

To keep her mind busy, the more tricks you can teach her, the better. These you can do in your own kitchen and you can get tips on how to do them off youtube. It's fun and rewarding for both of you.

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corvus   

I've found with my dog (who is very friendly, but easily overaroused) that it is best to give him at least one relatively 'quiet' walk day where we train and walk in a park with few distractions, in between our 'busy' days which include training at agility clubs, trials or busy parks where there is a lot going on. I found that when I did several 'busy' walk days in a row I had a harder time keeping his attention and a harder time keeping his arousal in a good place.

Maintaining arousal levels that facilitate good performance is entirely different to a 72-hour return to cortisol baseline. When you work a dog in a distracting environment, there's a good chance you are challenging them. If you are frequently working them at the upper limits of their ability to focus, then you won't get the best performances from them, and training sessions themselves will prompt high levels of arousal and possibly conflict. I've been there! Even if they are enjoying themselves, arousal is likely to be a touch too high. I have a video I use in lectures to demonstrate how arousal climbs as more peripheral stimuli appear, or they become more intense. There are a couple of ways to tackle this just with training.

If I had a dog that was taking even the rest of the day to recover from a stressful event, I would be talking to a VB. In fact, I have a dog that was taking a few hours and I talked to a VB. It's maladaptive and a sign of unsuccessful coping. Training can help, but to me it's a medical problem. There are always exceptions. One-off traumatic events can take time to recover from. If it's happening regularly, though, that's a problem, whether caused by repeated trauma or how the animal is recovering physiologically.

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