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Caitlin888

HELP!

14 posts in this topic

Hey everyone, so my  two and a half year old poodle cross cavalier isnt good at socialising with other dogs. After puppy school his interaction with other dogs was limited because we dont take him to the dog park due to other larger dogs being to rough with him. Recently I have started walking him with a neighbour of ours who has a little poodle. Unfortunately my dog doesnt get along great and he snaps/growls when the other dog gets close. This isnt really an issue while walking but when we stop just to chat and let the dogs interact thats when he starts growling. Also recently an extended family member got a puppy and we wanted them to build a strong bond since we might look after their dog occasionally while they are away but when they first met he growled while they were like 10m away from each other so we didnt get the opportunity for them to actually introduce themselves to each other. ANY TIPS PLEASE? I really want him to get used to being around other dogs!

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You need to see a behaviourist and get some assistance with this. If you let us know which town/city you are in people can recommend good professionals in your area. 

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Snook   

I agree with WoofnHoof. I've been through this with my dog and we needed help from a behaviourist. It takes time and patience to do the counter conditioning and desensitisation work that's needed to change your dog's emotional response to other dogs. You really need someone to assess him properly and assist you with a training and behaviour modification program. In the meantime, please try to avoid exposing your dog to situations where he reacts in the ways you've described, as it's allowing him to practice and reinforce those behaviours, which makes it harder to undo them, and is also causing your dog unnecessary stress. 

 

There are a lot of knowledgeable people on here who can point you in the right direction if you let us know roughly where you are. 

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Thanks for the replies, if you have any suggestions for behaviourists in sydney that would be good. Also you said you got help from a behaviourist for your dog I know different methods will work for different situations but what was the process/approach for training your dog that was recommended by your behaviourist?

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It's sad that the intervention of a professional is required.  Dogs are naturally social animals.  I wish they could be left to wander and mingle as they could in the old days.  

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Uh. Wasn’t much better back then really. I’ve got a very interesting book that is basically dog records over time. People have been struggling with roaming dogs and poor interactions since the 12th century. As well as aggressive dogs, the fashion of walking sticks to beat them off with, poop pick up, late night barking especially in town/city locations.  In a way not much has changed when compared like that but I like to think the advent of the internet will help raise awareness :)  Much more visible records across time. 

 

The book is “Our Dogs Our Selves”. It’s overpriced so very overpriced but very interesting. 

 

I would suggest a Vet check too, make sure there’s no sore vulnerabilities your dog might be defending from dog interactions for fear of pain. Sore hips or the like. 

 

Both my dogs went through similar after being attacked. One warmed right back up to dogs the other prefers her small circle of friends. They also both went variations of the BAT2.0 method. We were under guidance. 

 

You might want to get the book “calming signals” and BAT2.0 as they go into detail on body language so you can give your dog the required space before they start growling :)  and what to do if they do growl 

Edited by Two Best Dogs!

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I think a  Poodle x Cavalier  would be a happy little soul,   did he get badly hurt by another dog?

 

When a family puppy is visiting have yummy treats for your dog when he is calm & sitting,   hope they are friends soon

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Snook   
12 hours ago, Caitlin888 said:

Thanks for the replies, if you have any suggestions for behaviourists in sydney that would be good. Also you said you got help from a behaviourist for your dog I know different methods will work for different situations but what was the process/approach for training your dog that was recommended by your behaviourist?

I'm afraid I don't know who to recommend in Sydney but I'm sure someone from that area will be able to help. 

 

With my dog we did a combination of things. A big part of it was a process called Look At That (LAT), where you mark and reward your dog for looking calmly at another dog. It sounds simple but the idea is that you're teaching your dog that other dogs mean rewards and positive things and over time, instead of being fearful or reactive, your dog starts to welcome seeing other dogs. Timing and learning about threshold distance are critical to it though and you need to start at a distance where your dog isn't bothered by the presence of another dog, and only decrease that distance at a rate your dog is comfortable with, which also means learning about dog behaviour and stress signals. The hands on assistance from a good behaviourist/trainer makes this a awful lot easier than trying to learn it from books or videos. I did a lot of reading but it didn't all click in to place until I had help. 

 

We also did some Behaviour Adjustment Training (BAT), which involved rewarding my dog for calm behaviour when he saw a dog by increasing the distance from the dog, rather than rewarding with treats. This also has a lot to do with timing, reading your dog, and keeping them under threshold. 

 

We did work on impulse control with things like playing tug and then having to stop and immediately calm down before resuming the game again, teaching him to go to his mat/bed and relax, and he's a bit food crazy so doing reinforcement of the "leave it" command with food (starting with it in my hand so I could prevent access if needed and building up to having high value food scattered on the ground in front of him) made him practice impulse control. 

 

I also taught my dog to do an emergency u turn to help us get away from dogs when I couldn't control the distance of the other dog and to prevent my dog going over threshold when out on walks. I used the command "let's go" to indicate that we needed to spin around and run in the opposite direction. Teaching it as a game with no dogs around and making it fun and giving a reward for it meant that he wouldn't get stressed if I saw a dog coming unexpectedly and needed to get him moving quickly away from the dog. This is part of not giving your dog opportunities to practice reactive behaviour when you're trying to eliminate that behaviour. 

 

Although all of this may seem overwhelming, once you get help and and learn how to do it, it starts to become second nature and you'll find you start doing it automatically in a lot of situations. I don't think I could have done it without help though, simply because you don't know what you don't know and even when you do realise you don't know things and need to learn, it's hard to work out things like timing, thresholds, and subtle body language on your own if you've never had to do it before. 

 

The Calming Signals and BAT books that Two Best Dogs recommenced are very good. 

 

A vet check up just to rule out pain or a medical issue is also a good idea. 

 

Edited by Snook
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Snook that all sounds like a good plan for the little dog,  I hope he gets a bit happier soon

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juice   

Steve from K9 Pro is in Sydney, Richmond way.

He isn't cheap and you have to wait to get an appointment, but he is the only one i would go to.

 

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Panto   

Have you used a trainer yet? There's been several recommendations made in past threads where you've requested a good trainer. What are you looking for in a good trainer or behaviourist? Have you worked on the other issues that you have previously identified, have they been rectified? Each of these could be feeding into and snowballing into all this undersirable behaviour and will continue on this path if nothing changes. 

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Panto   
On 5/10/2019 at 7:34 AM, juice said:

Steve from K9 Pro is in Sydney, Richmond way.

He isn't cheap and you have to wait to get an appointment, but he is the only one i would go to.

 

Couldn't agree more. I was with a couple of dog owners the other day, who were at their wits end. Steve was able to help, and the owners walked out confident with how to proceed. 

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Dogsfevr   
On 09/05/2019 at 5:09 AM, sandgrubber said:

It's sad that the intervention of a professional is required.  Dogs are naturally social animals.  I wish they could be left to wander and mingle as they could in the old days.  

Actually I totally disagree .

Its a human thing that people say dogs are social animals and the good old days was no different .

Breeds and individuals are not a one box ticks all .

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asal   
On 15/05/2019 at 6:19 PM, Dogsfevr said:

Actually I totally disagree .

Its a human thing that people say dogs are social animals and the good old days was no different .

Breeds and individuals are not a one box ticks all .

I remember well the "good ole days" when no one kept their dog in and packs roamed the streets.

 

a percentage were hit by cars, a percentage died when the dominate dog in the group that day decided to take on another and the pack would pile in and tear the one losing to pieces. 

 

they weren't the good old days for many dogs 

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