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Thread: In Need of Dog Trainer Please

  1. #1
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    Exclamation In Need of Dog Trainer Please

    It's been a long time since I've posted even though I do lurk : P

    Unfortunately I have a problem. Loeka is now 9 months and seems to have become a crazy adolescent. I don't know if I'm doing things right and would like some advice. In fact, I'm looking for a dog trainer if anyone knows of one in the Brisbane area?

    The most important and worrying thing is that he seems to have become super aggressive to certain dogs in the dogpark. He will drop the ball/frisbee, run at them full speed and start barking at them and snapping at them. If the dog runs, he will run after them. If they snap back, he will NOT back down. As far as I know, he has never touched another dog but it's gotten very close.

    I have a few things I do. If it's without warning and the other dog seems to not put up with it, I grab him by the collar and push him to the floor and growl LEAVE IT and I leave the dog park. Party time is definitely over. He DEFINITELY knows he cannot get away with it so I don't understand why he even tries.

    The thing is, it's certain dogs - it seems to be dogs that are timid dogs that are bullied by other dogs as well. I wonder if they are sending out some signal that really sets him off. Or he will go for dogs that bully other dogs.

    I'm not sure what else I can do. I don't want to stop going to dog parks because it seems to me I need to keep up socialization if anything else. And I go to dog obedience once a week and train every other day.

    I'm thinking of calling a dog trainer and having them see him in action when one of the "problem" dogs walk by. Any other advice would be much appreciated as well because he's getting super frustrating and I don't want it to escalate.

  2. #2
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    I think you're doing the right thing by bringing in a trainer.

    I don't normally treat aggression with further aggression, I think it can all get tangled up with the emotions directed at the other dog unless your timing is impeccable.

    I know this is really difficult but remove him from the triggers, so if the type of dog that gets him going is in the park I wouldn't enter, if the type of dog that gets him going enters the park leave. The more times he gets away with throwing his weight around the more ingrained the behaviour becomes.

    I do believe that some dogs go thru a really horrible adolescent stage and a trainer seeing it first hand is probably your best bet.

    I personally hate it when people bring a ball or dog toy into the dog park, it can create problems - dogs chasing the dog chasing the ball, steeling of the ball by other dogs, prey drive is in full hype etc.

    Is he de-sexed.
    Last edited by mouseandchicken; 06-17-2010 at 04:56 PM.

  3. #3
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    have you tried keeping him on lead at the dog park? it would give you more control and you would be able to distract him before he gets to the point of rushing and snapping at another dog.

    the best idea is keep him on lead and walk him around the dogs that set him off, punishing (meaning using leave it or tugs on the lead or whatever to distract him) him when he looks like he will react and rewarding with praise and treats when he walks by with just a look or no reaction at all

    at no time would i let the dog off lead because at the moment he sounds too unpredictable
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." - Edward Hoagland

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies!

    Quote Originally Posted by mouseandchicken View Post
    I think you're doing the right thing by bringing in a trainer.

    I don't normally treat aggression with further aggression, I think it can all get tangled up with the emotions directed at the other dog unless your timing is impeccable.

    I know this is really difficult but remove him from the triggers, so if the type of dog that gets him going is in the park I wouldn't enter, if the type of dog that gets him going enters the park leave. The more times he gets away with throwing his weight around the more ingrained the behaviour becomes.

    I do believe that some dogs go thru a really horrible adolescent stage and a trainer seeing it first hand is probably your best bet.

    I personally hate it when people bring a ball or dog toy into the dog park, it can create problems - dogs chasing the dog chasing the ball, steeling of the ball by other dogs, prey drive is in full hype etc.

    Is he de-sexed.
    He is definitely desexed - he's from the RSPCA so we got him that way : P

    I know what you mean - I worry about Loeka mistaking my anger to be at the other dog and hence enforcing what he does. So I've been trying to curb my anger but it's so frustrating to have your dog go for another dog.

    You have good advice. I am actually in two minds about dog parks but at the end of the day, it's overall a good experience and fortunately dog park is not his only source of socialization and exercise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaz Tarja View Post
    have you tried keeping him on lead at the dog park? it would give you more control and you would be able to distract him before he gets to the point of rushing and snapping at another dog.

    the best idea is keep him on lead and walk him around the dogs that set him off, punishing (meaning using leave it or tugs on the lead or whatever to distract him) him when he looks like he will react and rewarding with praise and treats when he walks by with just a look or no reaction at all

    at no time would i let the dog off lead because at the moment he sounds too unpredictable
    Good advice but I've tried it and it didn't work. It just made him more enraged AND other dogs would go for him. But perhaps a super long leash could work but then I'd worry about getting tangled. I don't know. I'm sleepy but it seems like a good idea.

    I know this sounds all "but my kid NEVER does this kind of thing!" but it's true, he was truly a great, obedient dog before he started this literally four weeks ago. I wonder if anybody else has adolescent horror stories.

  5. #5
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    QLDers on DOL always recommend Jane Harper. She won the MDBA award this year.

  6. #6
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    I would avoid growling and restraining your dog. That is aggression. And like a previous poster said, your timing needs to be impeccable to get this right.
    The trainer sounds a good idea.
    If you live near Mitchelton, then there is a good club, uses clicker training, on Mitchelton pony club on sunday mornings. Or did, about a yr ago. Should still be going. They also do doggie day car, i think its K9 or 4 paws, cant remember now.
    Dogs do go through teens. So expect teen behaviour. If this were some acne'd 15 yr old boy, you'd expect him to start fighting. Your dog is the same, without the whiteheads.
    What you are doing by restraining him and growling at him, is giving him a hiding. Punishment is the least effective form of training, as the timing is usually very awry and so you punish the wrong behaviour, and reward the wrong behaviour.
    I would get him into social situations, starving coz you've not fed him, and have a handful of treats, for sitting still and not being a plonker, whist the fluff ball 'prey' runs around free. Repeat, repeat, repeat repeat and then repeat some more.
    teenage: crap in your kids, crap in your dogs!

  7. #7
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    Thanks for recommending Jane Harper. I've contacted her and she's coming on Thursday to check it out!

    Quote Originally Posted by bernie View Post
    I would avoid growling and restraining your dog. That is aggression. And like a previous poster said, your timing needs to be impeccable to get this right.
    The trainer sounds a good idea.
    If you live near Mitchelton, then there is a good club, uses clicker training, on Mitchelton pony club on sunday mornings. Or did, about a yr ago. Should still be going. They also do doggie day car, i think its K9 or 4 paws, cant remember now.
    Dogs do go through teens. So expect teen behaviour. If this were some acne'd 15 yr old boy, you'd expect him to start fighting. Your dog is the same, without the whiteheads.
    What you are doing by restraining him and growling at him, is giving him a hiding. Punishment is the least effective form of training, as the timing is usually very awry and so you punish the wrong behaviour, and reward the wrong behaviour.
    I would get him into social situations, starving coz you've not fed him, and have a handful of treats, for sitting still and not being a plonker, whist the fluff ball 'prey' runs around free. Repeat, repeat, repeat repeat and then repeat some more.
    teenage: crap in your kids, crap in your dogs!
    It's really tough not to get aggressive back at an aggressive dog but I know you're right.

    I've been a sub teacher at a middle/high school - worse job ever. Human teenagers are probably more annoying that dog teenagers ; ) But then again, I was a rough teen too so perhaps this is karma!

    I'm looking forward to seeing what happens on Thursday!

  8. #8
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    I wish you luck with your situation. I'd be interested to know how you go with the trainer.

    I had a behaviourist come to assess my dogs aggression a while ago. Frustratingly enough, (probably shouldn't have been surprised) the dog was on her best behaviour while he was here. Novel stimulus perhaps?

    Anyway, I wish you luck.

  9. #9
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    Ok. So it has a been a long few weeks since my post. Jane Harper came to assess Loeka last Thursday. It was a great experience and she is truly lovely. She had a long list of questions and she accompanied us to the dog park to see him in action. He was great until he chased another dog and had was very barky with him. It's good though because she got to see why we called her! She later sent us a very detailed and informative program to follow with him. It's very strict and my partner hates it but I know it will work. And besides, it's not up to him hahahahaha...

    So, Loeka has dominant tendencies BUT it's not aggression per se. It's a combination of weak leadership which is leaving him confused and not confident AND his normal dominance. The solution? Working to get our relationship stronger and improving my leadership! We're going back to square one! Eek. It's gonna be a long road and he's already tried to nip me in the butt because I ignored him for 15 minutes when I came home.

    Most of it isn't new - focus; consistency; basic leadership roles. But it's amazing how much you forget and how you forge these daily routines with a dog and you start forgetting to do training because "he already learnt it" and all of that. But it DOES matter. Especially with stupidly clever kelpies : P

    Now the problem is my partner who dislikes the rigidness and the strictness of the program : ( SIGH

    By the way, I will meet with Jane again in a few weeks so it's great to have that face to face follow up!

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