Dog Behaviour Advice - Dog Advice Articles
Behavioural updates, roaming dogs, possessive aggression
Whilst in Spain I am sorry I was unable, to visit everyone I had on my list but I will be back working from Spain later in March and I will try again.
There was considerable interest in the gas collars but they are not the be all and end all to doggy problems. With the dominant bitch long distance, recall was the next order of the day. The owner left the long dragging line attached and had the collar all ready but never needed to use it. The dog recalls without any sign of the previous problems like wandering off but the collar is there if needed. Why is this?
The owner now has far more confidence and positive control over the dog. There are now more positive than the negative tones shown to the dog that resulted from these seemingly incurable problems. There is also more calmness in the owner seeing commands obeyed. Fourteen weeks with only two squirts of gas that stopped her retaliating at the fenced in aggressive dogs needs only reinforcement by word commands.
The owner has taken control of the retraining the dog and obtaining better control. The collars simply help speed up the process.
The next step was the barking at the fence so the owner is now trying the automatic Aboistop for this and left this on while the owner went to work. I understand that a neighbour walked by and the dog did not bark. I will check on the progress here.
The next in line to use this collar is an owner who has a dog that barks at other dogs in the back of the car. Using the fob is not exactly a good idea to use whilst driving so tried the Aboistop and it worked well. This ejects the gas as soon as the dog barks. The owner wants it back urgently to complete the training.
Another owner has a dog that as soon as they return home and open the gate to the garden the dog runs off. This is a common problem and not just from gardens but also from the backs of cars whilst opening the doors. No details yet but will keep you informed.
When owners have, a problem that seems incurable, negative reactions sets in creating a descending spiral to eventual separation. Often owners part with their dogs and find new homes for them because there appears to be a problem and yet it does not always manifest itself with the new owners. This is why Blue Cross do so much back up work now to help solve rescue dogs with problems and why I do hope this is copied throughout Europe. A tax client said to me many years ago “Problems are simply for solving”. This is true, it is the ability to understand the problem and to find alternative approaches that is so important. We do not have one type of pill to solve each problem. We have many ideas of treatments ideally suited to the owner, the dog and the problem.
Roaming is an odd problem as it is inconstant with a dog’s natural rule of socialisation with a human family pack. Roaming is the last thing a dog wants and why using rejection of a dog as a punishment is so effective.
The most common reason for roaming is SEX (sort of universal that one) so if there is a bitch in season then most un-castrated dogs are gone. Castration does not always work but the control by testosterone has gone. I have had some owners say that their dog still mounts other dogs and that even bitches mount other dogs. This is a domination stance so nothing sexual here. I am not even going to try to understand sex with the cushions.
Some dogs just want to check on what dogs have been in its territory and go to do some positive scent marking or just to see a friend down the street and play. Just imaging stuck in the garden all day and how boring that may be but it does depend on each dog. Some like to go hunting or some mental stimulation with other humans. I have seen many dogs on their own on Javea sea front go up to other dog requesting them to play chase me.
My dogs when I let out in our garden on our return could end up two fields away on a walk about but this was a luxury of living in the country. Imagine meeting seven, German shepherds paddling about the streets. A clap of the hands and they were back.
The dog I met was medium sized independent looking and had the presents of a dominant dog to other dogs. Just his body stance was sufficient to send other dogs away. I assessed it and it was happy to show me full submission by lying on its back with its legs and tail curled up. It was a very nice, placid dog but the roaming was the annoying issue for the owner. It was this that creates the spiral that has to be broken if the roaming is to stop. Certainly initially bitches on heat was a problem and this the vet has solved but the dog still goes to see other dogs about two hundred meters away. The dog is no problem and the other dog owners simply fasten the dog to something so the owner can collect him.
A problem will if unresolved breed negativity in us and dogs do not understand human rules of right and wrong. If you enter your house with your dog sat in the middle of total carnage of your house it will be happy to see you until it sees your body stance and then you see what you think is an admission of guilt. I know how you must feel and how it is so infuriating. Please bite your tongue and pretend to be happy and welcome your dog as if nothing had happened then go out side and kick a Roger Mugford Brick. Show anger and your dog thinks this is rejection and will keep well away from you. Only owners can break this spiral, as dogs have no idea what is wrong and why they are receiving rejection.
I came home one day and I was not in a happy mood but not with the dogs. As soon as they saw me, they were gone. Only Lumpy hid round the corner so he could still see me and after a moment looking at this silly sight I had to laugh at myself and say “come on then” and I had seven happy shepherds all over me.
Shouting at your dog as they run off using a negative tone is pointless. You must use your happy “come on Rufus” tone all the time. I have said many times each succeeding failed command eventually sounds like NO. This is why I use handclaps as my Come command. My command using my voice could really reach the bottom; but I learned. How many people have shouted at their dog so many times until you are really angry then your dogs turns up happy and smiling and what have you done; told the dog off. If your dog fails to come to you repeat your happy sounding command of come again. If necessary and safe still saying come, walk or run off in the opposite direction.
For this owner when he collects his dog he must show he is ecstatically and very happy to see his dog fastened up. (I know this is not a human response and fully sympathise with owners but for dog logic, this is great stuff) The dog will then look forward to seeing the owner.
Another point here was feeding dogs in the morning is best left to the evening and make sure they eat it. If it is not gone in five minuets, take the meal away. Make food the key to hunger and human control. If you come home and your dogs runs away because food was left lying around and the dog is not hungry you have a walk on your hands. If you feed your dog on your return, this too reinforces the dog’s pleasure of remaining with you on your happy return.
The third point was the voice and to get rid of all the anger we must try to cover up. The owner liked the idea of using a whistle to signify meal times so if the dog has gone walk about a whistle means the owner is back and happy plus his meal is available. We also must think happy thoughts because as I said the other week words are only part of our communications with dogs and they can still read our hidden anger or fear from our body language. If we think of happy things then this reflects in our body posture. I do know how hard this is to accept and I can give you my personal example.
For many aggression cases I have to use what some people might call “dog whispering”. This is just for me to use the body language that dogs understand in order to communicate with them. I have never met them before so I cannot afford to show any fear but show only dominance with non-aggressive posturing so the dog will come to me to submit to me as a leader. It is then I can work with the dog. Knowing some dog’s history of aggression I have to cover up my apprehension. If as on occasions I have a lot of apprehension and the dog still has shown me friendship with acceptance of my leadership I just have to go off and just let tears flow because success allows all my built up pressure to be released and that I still have all my fingers.
There is still a good response to the article on the various types of aggression and to date most that came to me to check were not a problem. We all must see many aggressive dogs but alas, the owners do not attempt to curtail such action. If owners think of nothing in these circumstances I ask you if you have a dog showing some aggression “Think Child” and consider a scenario your dog could be involved in.
This case was a small dog that had loads of squeaky toys but the most treasured was a small old now squeaker less angel. (I think my dogs had one of those) Do please be careful with squeakers they can end up inside your dog. The dog had the angel on the patio and dropped it to go to the owner when a large crow flew down and took off with it. After this if anyone tries to pick up any of the dogs toys the dog flew at them nipping quite hard. This was not too bad for the owners but when their grandchildren came, they received the same treatment.
I went round and as luck would have it, the grandchildren were there. I asked them to place all the toys on the floor as far apart from one another. As soon as anyone tried to pick up any toy, the little dog charged. I asked the granddad to get a carrier bag and hold it open. Who ever were furthest from the dog should pick up a toy and place it in the bag. As the dog flew forward, it saw the toy disappear into the bag and then had to fly at the next toy picked up and so on until all the toys were in the bag. Then he hung the bag out of the dog’s way. The toys are now effectively the owners not the dogs. The little dog just looked at them and it was a while before the dog started to pester the owner for a toy. We waited ten minuets and then they gave one toy to the dog. The dog must learn that if it wants a toy it must ask. When the dog leaves this toy at any time, someone should pick it up immediately and replace it in the bag without any fuss.
This treatment should only take as long as the time for the dog to stop showing any aggression to anyone touching the toys. To the dog, the logic is it needs humans to pick the toy out of the bag.
Dog problems have taken up most of the space this week so I will write about tracking from the tracklayers point of view next week.
More names for trials coming in so please do add your names if interested so I can map out where everyone is and how you can make contacts.
I do receive many requests for information on training classes up and down the Costa Blanca so if you run one then please send me your details and I can keep a data base of information to pass on.
Dog aggression repression using muzzles and the Halti
Training dogs not to attack other animals.
Tracking from the track layers view
If you have any questions or queries, please contact me. My ID on Yahoo messenger is alannewmanmoore. If you cannot obtain any special doggy items please look at www.companyofanimals.co.uk and I can bring them over for you.