Dog Behaviour Advice - Dog Advice Articles
Dog problem updates, electric collars and the invisible fence
The owners of the Staffi dog that attacks all types of dogs and bitches have submitted their request for a two-hour consultation with David Olley having sent him £80. He too states that he does not allow the use of check chains, slip leads or chain leads. He also requires the dog to wear a muzzle during any remedial training and he may prescribe some calming tablets. The assessment form the owner must complete is quite extensive and covers three sheets. It is important information that will allow David to understand why the dog is doing what it does in order to fulfil some need. Since last week, the dog has had to stay in the kitchen instead of the bedroom and has not fouled the kitchen. As soon as locked in the bedroom it has urinated again. The owner is going to try a child gate so leave the door open and we can see the result next week. If the owner touches the dog, it turns over on its back and shows the submissive stance, which still seems to indicate some fear. The trigger still may the cat or its smell but the evidence is inconclusive at the moment.
I also have a case of two dogs and a bitch where a smaller un-castrated dog appears to wish to attack a new addition to the family of a larger castrated two-year-old dog. The hatred between the two dogs is so bad the owners were advise to keep the dogs apart by a fence. Never do this as it make matters worse. I know it is tempting but they will have to live together eventually. There was a fight but uncertain it was as savage as it appears and may have been more ritualistic. It is very dangerous to use your hands to pull fighting dogs apart. It is also rare for dogfights to result in a death. Water or a very loud noise may distract such fights but are not always on hand when you need them. In the case of the Staffi above the owner prised the dog’s jaws of the leg of the other dog and then bitten for his trouble by the other dog. The owners in this case have used muzzles and this is good. It is not a cure but does reduce the ferocity of the attacks and these will reduce as muzzles effectively remove the bullets. I have a detailed email and a further one to show the smaller dog seems tolerant of most other dogs and just hates the odd one. It is also fine with people. I am reasonable certain the larger dogs only retaliates and though the last dog into the family it is never the less the real leader even though castrated. There is a need to teach the two dogs to tolerate each other by giving titbits as a reward for only showing non-aggressive behaviour. I am certain the smaller dog is a good candidate for the vet to administer a drug that simulates castration for three months. If this does calm the dog, down it may solve the problem and it can then have the operation. It may need some retraining to tolerate the other dog but we will await the decision of the Vet.
I have heard of a small dog that is an ideal companion dog but initially showed aggression to the husband. Good thinking the lady owner would not tolerate such an attitude and gave it to her husband. The dog was then fine. Again, a friend called one day and received the same aggression. Handing the dog over to visitor produced the same excellent response and the friend and dog get on well together. It did seem to want to guard the TV repairs mans tools so he had difficulty using them but probably handing the dog over to him may have helped. The main problem is when people enter the house the dog tries to grip their trouser bottoms. I cannot see the point of this at the moment so I will call as see the dog in action for myself as I am returning to Spain on the 22nd November to also see how some of the other earlier cases are doing and hopefully see some improvements.
I have an email regarding the apparent dominate bitch as not responding to the owner so I will see if she will respond to me. Training her to me is not an answer as the bitch is already aware that I will not tolerate her actions and is reasonable docile but if the owner can see the bitch learn to change her ways for me then she will do the same for the owner.
The dog that wishes to attack all dogs and bitches because it missed out on sociability training with dogs I have heard is responding by the owner finding a friend who has the Aboistop radio controlled collar. This is the same as mine and fired at the correct time does seem to have succeeded to some degree. I will call in to see for myself and I have a plan to try some flooding training.
If you have a phobia like being in lifts you can use a phasing technique by doing a little at a time over a period from just standing in a lift with door open to actually traveling in one. Flooding is to be with someone who you can trust that all will be well and no harm will come to the person and to just get into the lift shut the door and its all over. With the dog, I will introduce the dog to many dogs with it wearing a muzzle. The dog must learn to accept dogs wishing to meet and investigate it and learn it must do the same in return.
How many of you walk your dog and it meets another dog and you watch them sniffing one another’s bottoms and because you think this is dirty habit yank the dogs apart often causing the dogs to act aggressively. The sudden movement makes the dogs feel an attack was about to happen and why there is a show of aggression. This is a standard ritual of dogs greeting one another so do not be offended and do not jerk the lead but encourage your dog to leave instead. It is this ritual greeting that the dog that seems to wish to attack every dog must learn and important he learns this soon. Next time you walk your dogs with others off the leads for playing watch how they greet one another in the same fashion it is just not the human way.
I see there is considerable use of electric collars and of the invisible fence. I can only ask the owners to try them on them selves first. Anything that we use that causes pain to an animal is cruel and simply a form or torture. They may seem to solve a problem but in fact, they simple cover it up keeping the dog in an isolated jail within walls of pain. None of these aids are tangible to a dog in the same way that a dog will chew an electric cable it unable to comprehend in intangible force of electricity. You can comprehend intangible dangers and why you do not stick your fingers in light sockets. As with sheep electric netting this is tangible, so sheep learn to stay away for this tangible item as dogs would. A cable under the ground around a garden and a dog wearing a collar will when attempts to go over the hidden cable will cause the collar to inflict an electric charge. You can comprehend the reality by understanding the science here but the dog never studied any scientific subjects ever. What would it make of such pain out of the blue?
Many years ago John Rogerson and I tried to fix a friends central heating pump where the wires from the capacitor had come free. We tried to replace the wires, charged up the capacitor, and promptly electrocuted similar to spark plug leads on a car. We could not fix the pump but charging up the capacitor and leaving it on tables at the working trail pub brought us load of fun electrocuting competitors. (Shocking conduct)
At the same time as this, the Police were changing over from a pursuit exercise of the Stand off to change to the civilian version of the recall. The stand off was where the criminal finally gives up trying to run away and stand still. The perusing dog should now break and run around the criminal barking with out biting. Unfortunately, most of the Scottish Police dogs often failed this exercise and treated it as attack on a standing man.
The civilian version is where it is dangerous to continue the pursuit and recall the dog allowing the criminal to run away. Are first attempt was to attach a long line to the dogs collar and allow the dog to chase the criminal and at a certain point just before the end of the length of the rope the dog was told to leave and return. Failure was a major jerk on the rope (Painful) the next time the dog would not even attempt the chase attached to anything. We considered an electric collar using the capacitor and a radio-controlled trigger that we could activate just after given the leave command if the dog refused to leave. We did consider the pain element and are believe was that this was a bolt from the blue which the dog could not rationalise as it had no tangibility. Are other objection was that it was cruel and inflicted pain.
Our main objection was that as the dog cannot comprehend intangible items the shock would make the dogs look around to see whom it can blame for the shock. It could be a passing child. Mind you, the long rope achieves a very high degree of pain as well. John eventually used plastic green netting draped over a gap in a hedge. The criminal would run pursued by the dog and he would jump the netting. Just before the dog got to the netting which it could not see the leave command was given and if it failed to respond it hit the netting and bringing the chase to an end without inflicting major pain to the dog. This is still inflicting pain but we needed a quick fix in the need to quickly change all the police dogs to adhere to the new rules.
We can always give reasons as to why we think this is the best way but we should have had more time and gone back to basics to teach it as another exercise. If we have to inflict pain, it is because we failed to find a painless alternative. I hate having to work a dog taught by the enforcement method as it like being used to an automatic car and have to drove one with a gear lever and clutch again.
With the invisible fence if we look at it from the dogs simplistic view. The boy from next door comes home each day as he does and the dog runs up to great him and tries to cross the new trigger wire hidden underground. Bang and electric shock hits the dog in the neck. The dog has no way of understanding intangible items so where did the shock come from. Next day the same happens again until the dog then begins to associate the boy with the pain and to fear the boy’s appearance until as such time it may feel so trapped it would attack the boy even though jumping the cable caused more pain.
If a roaming dog enters the garden, it could chase your dog over the wire and then find itself unable to return afterwards. There is no way the dog can have any comprehension of how this device works so will look for tangible things that it can associate or blame as giving the pain and this could be children. I know farmers have used electric fences to keep livestock within boundaries for many years but though I still think they are a cruel devise that. Livestock can understand them though as they can see the wire or netting and learn to keep clear. The invisible fence cannot be seen nor understood by your dog so I do believe the dogs will because more frightened as time passes.
I can well understand that to our minds, this could seem some solution but it is a simple method of control by inflicting pain and is cruel.
Next week some more updates and why to chose a rescue dog over the choice of a puppy. If you have any questions or queries, please contact me.