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Dog Behaviour Advice - Dog Advice Articles

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One very busy week

Following on from my problems last week this week my printer and phone have decided to start working again and so has the cars air-conditioning once the garage put some more gas in it. I have to keep Winston nice and cool. Because of my puncture, I have had to purchase it two nice new tyres so I hope it will be happy now and be good to me.

I also urgently needed to clean the car in order to find the huge cockroach that jumped into it when I was changing the wheel. I found it dead. It seems that after I had swapped the wheels and when I replaced my toolbox in behind my seat, it luckily squashed the offending insect.

Winston loves to go for a walk with me at anytime but he is still very reluctant to get into the car to go anywhere. If I throw a ginger biscuit into the rear, this does help but it is not solving the problem. I must find out what the problem is and if it is my driving.

Following on from the article on cruelty, many people and charitable organisations have sent to me loads of mail about cruelty to animals. I thought that at bullfights they made sure they at least protected the horses properly. Looking at the pictures sent to me this week, I see the bulls can tip them over to gore them and even kill them. This is all in the name of fun and the excuse that it is tradition.

This is far too big a subject for these articles but we now have a project that may be of some help. It is only in its planning phase but there is the potential to help with such a subject and for the other various problems and requests I receive for help that I cannot solve here. I too am only learning. More about this in future issues.

That Bulldog again

It is not that he is being any worse than any other dog but his progress to learning to live in a new house with existing dogs is interesting in the applications of the normal doggy rules. It does not just relate to this dog but to all dogs so writing about this dog should I hope help other people with similar problems.

When ever the Alpha leaders return to the pack it is normal for all the other dogs to come to meet them and following on from being puppies try to lick their jaws as they did in their request for food. This same licking continues into adult life to seek assurance that all is all right and their place in the pecking order remains the same. Wolves dying or new wolves entering the pack are always a time of concern so it is important not to just bring a new dog into a home and expect existing dogs to accept it. Many people think they can get another dog as a friend for their existing dog. It is not quite that easy. It is the same problem for cats as well.

In the wild wolves could die whilst hunting and in regrouping of the pack the pecking order can change for not only day to day but also hour to hour. The regular greeting ritual is their way of regulating and adjusting to their new hierarchy.

I know many people say that their dogs do not show any meeting ritual but they do. Winston always comes up to me and I will occasionally let him lick my face. When we had seven German Shepherds in our family back in the UK whenever we returned and the dogs were away in the fields, they would charge towards us as soon as we called. Though Rolly could run the fastest, he must never run ahead of the leader Shung. There is a certain order for them to arrive to us and it is important for us to greet them in that order.

We may well have stylised the greeting to our own liking now so the dogs do not lick us but it is still there in every new meeting. Notice each morning your dog will look to you and possibly just your smile is sufficient to let your dog know all is right with the world.

Therefore, it is back to the Bulldog and the rule application. The owners had to go back to the UK so the Bulldog went into kennels for three days. On the owners return the dog could not get back into the house fast enough and all successes previously won or lost meant it all had to start all over again.

One other problem was the gas collar does as they sometimes do failed to work so for two days it allowed him to create the usual havoc again without the control.

Kathryn Hollings had asked if I would take her along next time if I went to see this dog again as she too could not understand this growling without aggression trait that this dog has.

Without the collar, the dog was all over her and it was or would be intimidating if she had not been aware its behaviour. I still found it difficult to remain unconcerned when the dog would use the growling to say he wants to do something and objects to my stopping him but trying to use biting as a way of obtaining his wish appears not an option. The language is the same but he is not aggressive and his tail is wagging away.

I did push the dog by playing and using dominating signals to see if there was any sign of aggression but there was nothing. I could drag him off Kathryn with him still growling away without either of us having any worries. I think many other people if sat in Kathryn’s position would have felt intimidated but it is better to teach the dog that this is not the way to great visitors even if he thinks it is.

For some reason the new gas collar would only work intermittently so I left them with mine and took theirs in for a service. Now the owners have the control they need and soon all should be back to some semblance of peace.

It is important when using this type of training or correctional device that owners do use it and not try to threaten to use it as the dog learns it can back off what it was doing and start again as you walk away. If the dog does something wrong you must give a command like come then if it ignores this fire the full blast to distract your dog and for it to obey your command. Discussing the use of it with your dog or finding reasons not to use it do not work. Owners must be consistent and positive.

Dogs that bite

This week I visited a dog that actually does bite people. It is not a big dog and normally very friendly but for some reason it feels if humans are using dominating signals like rubbing its neck the sides of its ears and neck it feels threatened. Face to face and so eye-to-eye contact are aggressive signals so that even feeding a titbit can result in a bite that could and has drawn blood. It needs to learn our use of our hands is not aggressive.

This is one case for this size of dog where I wanted to find out what I had to do to make it bite me. I wore my Kevlar gloves inside some leather gardening gloves and offered him a titbit. Whilst rubbing his head and holding a titbit near his mouth he did first eat but then he bit my fingers, which meant I fired the compressed air. I had to keep doing this for a while so the dog learnt that to bite was now a pointless exercise. Previously it has learnt that in order to make people stop doing what he did not want them to do, biting them certainly worked.

It is now for the owner to use compressed air and with helpful friends wearing very tough gloves to allow the dog to bite so; it learns biting does not stop humans fussing them. The owner firing the compressed air will teach the dog that such behaviour is unacceptable. As time progresses and nothing bad happens to the dog when the humans touch it then this will desensitise the dog of its fears of human’s hands and to learn to become sociable again. With an older dog that has years of learning biting works, then this will take a little time and with patients, it will eventually work.

The owner was worried the dog would bite my uncovered wrists instead of biting my gloves. I was safe here as my hands were between the dog’s teeth and my wrists. If as other people do who rub a dogs head whilst standing in front of the dog then their wrists are right next to and nearest to the dog’s teeth.

Hip Dysplasia again

Last week I had an assessment class for a six-month old German shepherd along with their owner. Once we had met on the land at the back of the Arenal, we set about letting the dog meet Winston. It was not long before they were playing and watching them running together, I became suspicious of the dog’s rear end. Again, there was the classic bunny running with both rear legs together and whilst standing both rear feet pointed outward and the heels were close together. I played with it and it was so very easy to push it over. This is because it would be painful to resist my pushing.

I know what it feels like to have to hear someone’s opinion that all is not well but it turned out the vet had already suspected the problem and was keeping an eye on the dog’s progress.

I asked who the breeder was and hearing the name, I said that this is now the fifth German shepherd puppy I have seen with the disease from the same breeder. This is too much of a coincidence.

Having heard all the other owners telling me of the conversations regarding the possibility of the dog having this chronic disease this time the breeder had asked which vet they were going to use. As soon as they told him the name, he suggested that they should change Vets, as this particular one does not like the points of his breeding.

If producing Hip Dysplasia is one of the points I can well understand the Vets concern.

If you have problems similar to this please do contact me.

Where do you find good breeders?

I do receive many requests for recommending good breeders and where are they. Norma Knocks does go to all the breed shows but still she cannot know all the breeders and which are the best for all of the various breeds. What I can say is there is an organisation called the Instituto para el Control de Calidad sector Mascot and Organization Espanol Criadores de Elite here in Spain. They visit most breeders and if they approve the kennels the breeding and the way that they conduct their business is to a high standard then they will issue them the Certification de Calidad. If you can read Spainsh then the two web sites are and Please do take your time in choosing dog breeders and paying more is better than paying vets bills.

As to helping you find who and where the better breeders are, this again is something we hope to resolve in the future.

The Notice Board for Pet Problems

As I said last week the Notice Board is up and running on my web site. If you have any queries relating to your pets then please ask away. If any of you have solutions from your experience with your pets then please do offer others your help and advice. All the questions and replies will remain on the site so that in the future, if you have a question on a particular problem the answers may already be there for you to read if you use the search programme. Please do use this free service and make Aaron, who is my web designer, happy.


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