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Thread: Problems with Bandit

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Kangaroo Island Australia
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    2

    Default Problems with Bandit

    Morning all

    Bandit is a red heeler/ american bulldog cross , we are her 5th home she is 9 months old , this poor dog has been shunted back and forth since she was a tiny pup it seems .

    We have had her about 2 months , and its being rough going , totally hyper , not socilized etc.

    She has now started to settle a little , and respond to training , but now we have a new possibly dangerous wrinkle.

    Anyhow we took the two dogs to the beach yesterday , she doesnt like the car, but we got her settled , and the took them down to the beach . She is absolutly petrified of the sea , she doesnt like a bath either, anyhow aa couple came walking along and she wanted to attack them and normally she is fine with people , I cant understand it , she wanted to attack everyone she saw

    I dont know what to do now its some sort of fear aggression and I have no idea how to deal with it , and we cant keep a dog thats unpredictable .

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    SE QLD
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    Only advice I can give is to try and not put her is situations that you know will up set her and cause her to lash out. Keep up with your training and gain her confidence. Other members will have wayyy better advice I am sure though

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Adelaide
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    12,596

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    Hi Carol

    I've already recommended contacting Mark Singer on this one in your intro thread. .

    You may want to read all the articles on Steve Courtney's site. It is quite common for a dog to go through a (second) fear period around 9 months old and just be scared of everything. And it's really important you don't make things worse by yelling at the dog when it acts aggressively. Stop her from doing any damage but don't scold her.

    You might want to crate train Bandit, that way you can bring a portable kennel (Soft sided fold up crate) to the beach and that can be her safe place to go when things are freaking her out. The following has the puppy development schedule and a bunch of good articles on how to get some control back.
    Dog Behaviour Articles FREE! K9 Pro The K9 Professionals

    I find the best thing to do in this situation is to make sure you are a long way from the distraction (whatever it is that has your dog's attention), ideally far enough that your dog can pay some attention to you, and then just wait for the dog to calm down. Often the dog just needs time to work out for itself that the scary thing isn't so bad after all. And when the dog shows that they've calmed down - praise and party and treats.

    I also like to approach the scary thing - with in the limits of my dog's self control - ie if she's lunging at the end of the lead - we back off but if she can maintain loose lead - we can approach to check it out so she can see and smell for herself - no big deal. We have to do this with anything new and different at the beach, including horses, beach umbrellas, and fitness trainers carrying giant boxing pads 6 at a time - just so wrong - set my dog right off. But when she calmed down we went and had a sniff and a chat with the trainer and I gave her lots of treats.

    You may want to invest in Susan Garrett's book Ruff Love - as it is a very detailed step by step set of instructions on how to build a good relationship with your new rescue dog or puppy. It is like an expanded version of Nothing in Life is Free combined with fun games for you and your dog to play that encourage your dog to trust you and want to do what you say.
    Agility Click - Motivational, Dog and/or Handler books
    on that page is also a book called "Control unleashed" which has a game in it called "Look at that" or LAT - which is another form of training your dog to deal with distractions in a calm way.
    And for bull breed dogs - this book has been recommended by someone who has the nicest bull terrier I've ever met (though none of my tugs are safe with her around).
    When Pigs Fly - Training Success With Impossible Dogs by Jane Killion

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Canberra
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    It sounds like your dog lashes out when he feels stressed and you need to find a way to help him manage that stress.

    I came across the "protocal for relaxation" a while back, which sounds like a training tool that could be very useful for your dog. Just Google it to find out more. I also found the MP3 files so you can put them on your iPod or similar. I haven't tried it but I really liked the principle and I watched some before and after youtube vids which were quite impressive.

    Starting a regime of desensitisation training may also help. It basically means that you start with taking the dog at a safe distance from whatever causes them to be stressed (or over-excited, that's more my dog) and reward them for being calm. Then you go closer and closer while you keep rewarding them profusely for remaining calm. If they start showing signs of stress, you know you have gone to fast and you have to take them further from the source of their anxiety again. I did something similar to this to stop my dog from jumping up on kids (she used to be so over the top) and had great results very fast. I can imagine it would take longer with a fearful and anxious dog, but I think it would still be very effective in the end.

    I am sure others can give you better advice and point you to resources on how to build a dog's confidence. And I hope that with patience and time and the right mindset, you will be amazed at what can be achieved.

    ETA: Posted at the same time as Hyacinth whose advice is much more useful than mine! Hya, why is there no 'like' link on your post?
    Last edited by Beloz; 01-03-2012 at 09:43 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Rural Western Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carol View Post
    Morning all

    Bandit is a red heeler/ american bulldog cross , we are her 5th home she is 9 months old , this poor dog has been shunted back and forth since she was a tiny pup it seems .

    We have had her about 2 months , and its being rough going , totally hyper , not socilized etc.

    She has now started to settle a little , and respond to training , but now we have a new possibly dangerous wrinkle.

    Anyhow we took the two dogs to the beach yesterday , she doesnt like the car, but we got her settled , and the took them down to the beach . She is absolutly petrified of the sea , she doesnt like a bath either, anyhow aa couple came walking along and she wanted to attack them and normally she is fine with people , I cant understand it , she wanted to attack everyone she saw

    I dont know what to do now its some sort of fear aggression and I have no idea how to deal with it , and we cant keep a dog thats unpredictable .
    Hi Carol, there is some good advice in the posts above. I had a red heeler very similar to the dog you describe above.

    What happened at the beach was most likely a culmination of the stress of going in the car combined with her fear of the sea. She was already in overdrive and the appearance of strangers was just too much.

    With this type of dog the only answer is a to deal with issues one at a time always working below her threshold of reactivity.

    Having been in your situation there is no easy way. I would recommend good professional help to get you started. I havd a couple of sessions with a very good trainer well versed in the arts of desensitisation and counter conditioning and being able to read the often subtle signals that my dog was giving off.

    The book Hya rmentioned control unleashed is very usefull but if you are new to this situation you will probably need some help working through it.

    It is alo hard to know with your dog with her previous experiences or her genetic propensity of fear is contributing most to the problem. With my dog it was primarily genetic and was not easy to deal with although it did become manageable.

    It is really important to try and keep these dogs under threshold at all times and gradually work through their issues when they are not reacting. Dogs find it very hard to learn if they are in highly emotional state.

    It is not easy, but it does take hard work, management and consistency.

    The "look at that game" is a technique in Control Unleashed. If the dog is really fearful or worried by something you encourage the dog to look at whatever it is from a distance where it is not reacting and you reward for this. You are slowly counter conditioning the dog - getting it to associate good things with what it fears. It also goes through relaxation techniques and many other things.

    I really sympathise with you as I have been through this myself and came from a position of never having dealt with it before in any other dog. It was tough going but I learnt so much about dogs which was the upside.

    Please do invest in a session or 2 with a recommended dog trainer, there are those out there who are not worth the dollars and those that are excellent.

    My dog responded very well to clicker training which is certainly part of the Control Unleashed program.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 01-03-2012 at 10:38 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Logan, Brisbane QLD
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    You have only had the dog for two months! Give it some time to settle the poor dog is still getting use to being around you and your family let alone being put into situations that it finds fearful tackle each problem one at a time (as everybody has been saying). Our cattle dog had behavioral problems when we first got it (dog aggressive, anxiety, jumping up and nipping, food aggressive) it's been 10 months since we've had him and he has finally settled into a routine, which helps with his over excitement and he has learnt to get use to other dogs. I found it took A LOT of patience but in the end it's all been worth it and we have a wonderful dog out of it DONT GIVE UP!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Brisbane
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    My goodness....5 homes by 9 months old. Thats awful...no wonder Bandit is a bit reactionary.

    Some good advice above....You statement of "we cant have a dog who is unpredictable" makes it look a tad like Bandit may need to get ready for a 6th home (I am not saying you are ready for that, just it reads a little that way). As you are experincing, shunting the dog round probably isnt good for it. Follow some of the advice above, be patient and let Bandit settle in properly.

    When Bandit knows he/she (sorry unsure) is safe and secure, they will start calming down and you can work on all thos eissues but for now keep him/her away from those situations.
    Last edited by Lala; 01-03-2012 at 10:55 AM.

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