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Thread: Unusual Behaviour Help!!

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Unusual Behaviour Help!!

    Hi, I recently rescued a small terrier from the pound with huge behavioural problems, most of which we have ironed out with strong Alpha dog leadership, however he still has bad visitor agression. I have had the behavioural therapist out to him and I follow her instructions practicing each week with a quiet friend of mine. It has been going well, this week he took 2 treats of her and actually came to her for a pat, BUT when she went to move away he went for her, why does he do this when a person moves away, I could understand it if he went for someone while they were facing him and making eye contact but why when they go to walk away? The tone of his bark changed to the more dangerous one, and he jumped up and mouthed her HE DID NOT bite, just mouthed, but after such a good morning it was very disappointing. When he first came to us, he used to do this with my dad, bark and wag his tail at same time ( trainer said he is a very confused little dog) so dad would let him sniff his hand and stroke him, as if to say, hey its only me calm down, then Scrappy would go for him WHEN HE WENT TO MOVE AWAY, he doesnt do it with dad now, but still does with my visitor, anyone understand why he does it when the person moves away???........

  2. #2
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    What has your behavioural therapist instructed you to do? Please don't tell me you crate the dog when this happens.

    This is pure fear aggression, not dominance aggression or anything to do with your leader/Alpha position IMO.

  3. #3
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    Unhappy Re scrappy:

    To be honest my therapist hasnt told me what to do in this situation, as Scrappy has only ever done it with family members before, and this is visitor practice and the visitor practice has been on the lead for 3 months and this was his first try off the lead, obviously its back on the lead again, as he is nowhere near feeling secure enough. This one time I did pick him up and put him in his crate simply because I did not know what else to do, in future, what should I do..... Desperate to do the right thing by this little terrier, and definitely not wanting to make him any worse in any way, so please advise me .

  4. #4
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    Wink PS

    PS What can I do to make him feel less fearful, as this is fear aggression, perhaps have him back on the lead with this one visitor, he is very lucky in some ways, my friend is very softly spoken and slow moving and is an absolute gem, most people would not be kind enough to put up with a terrier barking non stop at them, and then mouthing ...........

  5. #5
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    My mother had an aggressive terrier with all bar family. He was just segregated to her room with his bed, food/water etc. Worked well for 16 years. She had lots of visitors. Dog was happy to as it became normal for him. He just slept, stopped barking when put in there.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  6. #6
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    I would continue with having him on lead. Short lead, by the way. Do not allow him to be able to actually reach the visitor at the end of the leash. That way if he lunges, mouths, bites he can't quite get to them, if you understand what I mean.

    You must be very forceful here, but at the same time do NOT yell, do NOT shout, do NOT raise your voice in any way of hostility or acute aggression yourself. Be calm, collected, but be firm and do not brook "no" for an answer from your dog.

    Be ready with the leash for your dog. As soon as you know a visitor is preparing to leave (or often all they have to do is move a step) command your dog to sit. Make sure he follows through and obeys your command.
    Now of ocurse he won't. he'll more than likely jump up from the sit position and try to have a go at the person "leaving." Give him a VERY FIRM "No" - control him with the lead, and command him to sit again. When he is sitting again, give him praise "good boy" or a treat.
    You are trying to show him that the first behaviour is NOT ACCEPTABLE. The second behaviour is what you want from him, so show him that.

    BTW, I wouldn't just be doing this on the odd occasion someone comes to your place. I would be setting your dog up and organise ppl on a constant basis. That way you are in control, you know what's going to happen.

    You must show your dog that you are the boss. You are the protector. You do not need him to fulfill that role, and most importantly, YOU need to show him that as he is NOT the boss, he has nothing to fear from any person.

    I apologise for the long-winded reply. It is so very hard to explain things like this with words on a forum.

  7. #7
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    Some kinds of "Alpha dog" training can actually make a fearful dog worse. I don't know what you've been doing and I don't know how your dog handles it, so I don't know whether anything you're doing is helping or making things worse.

    The Alpha Fallacy | Dog Star Daily

    I don't know what your behaviourist has suggested either. While getting help in your situation is brilliant idea, some helpers are more helpful than others, so if your first choice is not helping after a few months, or things are worse after a week, you might want consider another behaviourist. I'd start by asking your vet for recommendations.

    As for the attacking as person moves away - is the chase instinct, I think. My dog has to resist an breed impulse to chase anything moving away from her, especially if it's moving fast. She's a cattle dog cross.

    But you will need to correct your dog, or give it something else to do to stop this. It should not be allowed with your children or anyone else either. Because you know it is likely to happen, tell your dog to sit, block your dog's view of the person leaving by standing between and with your back to the visitor/child. Tell the person to leave and do your best to distract your dog with treats and tell it good dog for every minute it stays with its attention on you and its butt on the ground.

    And then you need to practice the visitor arriving/leaving routine as per your trainer or our advice or whatever your gut tells you is good - but be consistent. But you need to do it for five minutes about three times a day. And once your dog is comfortable with one set of people you might need to start introducing new people. And you need to prevent your dog from approaching them until it shows signs that it is relaxed in their company and not like it wants to attack. If your visitor needs to stay, it may be best to put the dog in another room where it cannot see the visitor for the duration. It is best not to let the dog get any idea that its actions (barking and attacking) repelled the visitor. Ie take the dog out the room and have the visitor leave when the dog is out.

    Actually this is a Victoria Stillwell technique. Visitor comes in and sits down while dog is out. Dog is brought in. Dog gets aggressive - dog is removed. Wait until dog is calm outside then dog brought back in, repeat... Dog only gets to stay if dog behaves calmly... Dog goes out and visitor leaves when dog is outside where it can't see the visitor leave (for initial training until dog is really calm from the start). You need several people to do this. Ie dog owner/handler, visitor, and other dog owner/handler to sit with visitor and be calm. When dog can enter and remain in the room calmly - then try having the visitor enter and leave while the dog is there (and restrained).

    Turid Rugass wrote the book on calming dogs, there might be some advice in her Q/A that will help you.
    Questions & Ansvers from Turid Rugaas

    Also this is an article on how to choose a dog tranier (by a dog trainer)
    How to Choose a Dog Trainer

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