|Barked: Tue Oct 2, '12 6:34am PST |
|At 9 months old he is a teenage hooligan, all dogs go through this, him being extremely anxious, timid and frightened of men will be a lot worse during this period.
99.5% of aggression is fear, I no longer think of this type of behaviour as aggression but as a very frightened dog and have found it a lot easier to deal with. In order to help dogs like this we need to change our own thinking.
As he is an American Cocker Spaniel he will need a lot of exercise both physical and mental, how much exercise does he get? I know from my own Working Cocker/JRT just how much the right exercise helps dogs. I am disabled and couldn’t give her enough physical exercise until I got a mobility scooter, it goes at 4 miles an hour on the flat but it isn’t fast enough for her.
How did you stop him from taking things from your other dog?
You say he has always been good with you taking toys away from him or taking food, is this something you have been doing? If so stop doing this now, all you are doing is increasing his fear of humans and he will eventually bite. The best way to take things off a dog is to manage the problem by doing a swap for something of a higher value to him while you teach him to “Drop” on command. You have to manage this until the “Drop” is nearly 100%.
Why are you punishing him? Why are you saying no and shaking your finer in his face? What would your reaction be if someone did that to you? I know what my reaction would be, I would respond with more aggression, that is normal behaviour for us as well as dogs. NEVER USE AGGRESSION to solve problems, it just escalates the aggression.
Dogs are not humans, they don’t understand words until we teach them, we don’t always understand if someone says “No” to us because it means so many things, no you can’t have a sweet, no you can’t go out to play, no you can’t do this and that, we very unfairly expect dogs to know what we mean when we say “No”.
Please don’t take this post as attacking you, I am not, I am trying to put over as clearly as possible what is happening and how to try and solve this, if you were talking to me what I am saying would be a lot easier. Trying to put into the written word is a lot harder than talking.
##Yesterday he got groomed (the groomer actually came to my house) and he seemed very odd after his grooming. He kept attacking my other dog the way he used to, and when I went to say no to him, he lunged at me, tried to bite me several times & was growling furiously. ##
You said the groomer comes to your house, you are very lucky, were you with your dog and groomer all the time?
How many times has the groomer seen to him? Many dogs find this type of grooming very stressful and our dogs have to learn that it won’t hurt them. A nervous, stressed, frightened dog may show this behaviour after they have been groomed.
You say you have had 4 behaviourists to him, what have they told you to do? This is really important because many cause the problems to escalate. I fostered a lovely dog, Bertie was a Maltese/JRT, his owners adored him and brought him from Australia to the UK were he had to go into quarantine for 6 months. During that 6 months he changed from the loving boy he was into an dog that started to bite. His owners couldn’t cope with him and let him go to a rescue were they used old fashioned methods to try and sort out his behaviour, in stead he got worse and several fosterers ended up going to A & E with the bites.
I was asked to take Bertie as his last chance, if I couldn’t he was going to be pts because he was so bad, so many people were terrified of him. He arrived and the first thing I did was put a house lead on him, this only came off when I was leaving him on his own. With the house lead I had full control over Bertie, if I wanted him to do something I just picked up the house lead and lead him, so much easier for me and Bertie. Many people get hold of the collar to lead a dog but to the dog that is an aggressive act because they get hold of the collar at the back of the neck, with the house lead I never had to get hold of the collar.
Poor Bertie, he had a lump on his ribs which the vet said looked like he had been kicked and not treated, Bertie was terrified of men and would attack their feet if they came into the house. I rehomed him to one of my neighbours who carried on the work I started, he has teeth marks in all his shoes but eventually the attacking his feet stopped. It stopped because Bertie was put behind a gate for his owner to put his shoes on and go outside, when he was outside Bertie didn’t attack his feet, Bertie started to trust his owner and became a very loving boy.
You can turn this little boy round as long as you use positive reinforcement methods only, that does take a lot of work on our part but well worth the effort. Bertie taught me a lot, I was all for positive reinforcement before he arrived but he strengthened my belief in it because previously he had been heeled, prodded and rolled by his fosterers to get him to submit, when he realised that that had stopped he started to trust. The fosterers were working on the advice given to them by various behaviourists who were still in the stone age.
One of my dogs Tilly used to be terrified of men, I live on my own so the only time she sees men is when we are out, when I see her tense up because she has seen a man I stop my scooter and get her to sit, give her a treat then I ask for “Watch me”, each time she looks at my eyes she gets a treat. I do this until the man is far enough away from her. This past week she as trotted past a couple of men without me having to stop, it has been a long time but at last she doesn’t show the fear she used to.
Your dog is lucky to have found you but please only use positive methods on him, dogs are supposed to have the mental capacity of a 2 or 3 year old child so when I go to do something to one of my dogs I ask myself “Would I do this to a 2 or 3 year old child?” If the answer is no, I don’t do it to the dog, if it is yes, then I will do it to the dog, if it is don’t know, I do a lot more thinking.
Like Tilly your dog will never be right but he can improve a lot and become quite a confident dog most of the time like Tilly is.
|my posts | my page | msg me | my family's posts | gift me | become pals|| [notify]|