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Thread: Muffy the Mad

  1. #11

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    Good on you for giving her a chance!!! I wish you the best of luck, but it sounds like you dont need it !

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RileyJ View Post
    Sorry the link didn't work for me.

    So - 'The Pawfectionist' you asked for - 'Thoughts?? Ideas??' - fresh out sorry !
    Here it is again... if it works
    IMG_4004.jpg

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xena's Mum View Post
    Good on you for giving her a chance!!! I wish you the best of luck, but it sounds like you dont need it !
    Hi Xena, Thanks

    I'm happy to take any tips. Even as a trainer, I still don't know everything. If you think you do, then you probably still have a lot to learn

  4. #14
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    He didn't move and gave her gentle, yet authoritive, bite (with hand)
    So maybe don't try that again. I find it a lot easier to re-assure a dog (or a horse or any other critter) that is frightened by waiting it out, and then letting the critter approach or not on their own terms. Forcing the issue or trying to rush things, usually makes the fear worse - ie the dog is frightened and Andrew verified her fear ie gave her reason to feel that way, increased it.

    I used to have a horse, when I first took him on, the previous owner said, if he won't go up to the top arena - just belt him with the whip and he'll go. I tried that exactly once. Because we went up to the top arena, and he said "it's really scary up here" and stopped. So I hit him and he went bunta. Erm. I did stay on but it was ugly.

    Next time, he stopped, and I just sat there and waited until he figured out for himself whatever it was he thought was scary (he couldn't see too well), wasn't going to get him (and I wasn't going to get him) so he walked up just fine after a few minutes of waiting. This worked practically every time he stopped and said something was scary. I'd just wait. I'd stop him from nicking off but I'd just wait.

    I think that's what this dog needs. That you give it enough room to figure out for itself that there is nothing to fear.

    Me and my dog do this for a lot of fear aggressive dogs. We meet a lot of BCs like this. Frosty lies down and rolls over, I squat down and pat her tummy. I ask the owner of the scaredy dog to give it loose lead and let it keep its distance for as long as it wants. The loose lead is important, because a tight lead feels like no escape opportunity. So even though it's a risk that the dog will go forward, a scared dog generally will not unless it feels threatened and an upside down dog and low down person are not threatening.

    Most scaredy dogs will come and sniff (loose lead) politely after a few minutes. A few won't - at least not the first day, or the second, but maybe the third day. Some scaredy dogs even do play invite after they've had a sniff. And some freak out again if Frosty rolls up to take them up. But their first impulse is to back off, not attack. I think we've had one exception, and Frosty got snapped at - a warning not a bite, because she tried to say hello too soon and she rolled back over so quick the other dog calmed down immediately.

    We don't do this for dogs that are lunging barking and growling at the end of the lead. We're too close already if that's happening or the dog is just aggressive all the time, not necessarily out of fear.

    There's no point trying to correct or punish a dog that's frightened. That can only make it worse. Ie imagine if you were terrified of some dog that was big and scary, and it nipped you for acting scared? Would you snap out of your "irrational" fear and feel more confident? I think not.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    So maybe don't try that again. I find it a lot easier to re-assure a dog (or a horse or any other critter) that is frightened by waiting it out, and then letting the critter approach or not on their own terms. Forcing the issue or trying to rush things, usually makes the fear worse - ie the dog is frightened and Andrew verified her fear ie gave her reason to feel that way, increased it.

    I used to have a horse, when I first took him on, the previous owner said, if he won't go up to the top arena - just belt him with the whip and he'll go. I tried that exactly once. Because we went up to the top arena, and he said "it's really scary up here" and stopped. So I hit him and he went bunta. Erm. I did stay on but it was ugly.

    Next time, he stopped, and I just sat there and waited until he figured out for himself whatever it was he thought was scary (he couldn't see too well), wasn't going to get him (and I wasn't going to get him) so he walked up just fine after a few minutes of waiting. This worked practically every time he stopped and said something was scary. I'd just wait. I'd stop him from nicking off but I'd just wait.

    I think that's what this dog needs. That you give it enough room to figure out for itself that there is nothing to fear.

    Me and my dog do this for a lot of fear aggressive dogs. We meet a lot of BCs like this. Frosty lies down and rolls over, I squat down and pat her tummy. I ask the owner of the scaredy dog to give it loose lead and let it keep its distance for as long as it wants. The loose lead is important, because a tight lead feels like no escape opportunity. So even though it's a risk that the dog will go forward, a scared dog generally will not unless it feels threatened and an upside down dog and low down person are not threatening.

    Most scaredy dogs will come and sniff (loose lead) politely after a few minutes. A few won't - at least not the first day, or the second, but maybe the third day. Some scaredy dogs even do play invite after they've had a sniff. And some freak out again if Frosty rolls up to take them up. But their first impulse is to back off, not attack. I think we've had one exception, and Frosty got snapped at - a warning not a bite, because she tried to say hello too soon and she rolled back over so quick the other dog calmed down immediately.

    We don't do this for dogs that are lunging barking and growling at the end of the lead. We're too close already if that's happening or the dog is just aggressive all the time, not necessarily out of fear.

    There's no point trying to correct or punish a dog that's frightened. That can only make it worse. Ie imagine if you were terrified of some dog that was big and scary, and it nipped you for acting scared? Would you snap out of your "irrational" fear and feel more confident? I think not.
    While I agree with what you said, I feel that you may have misinterpreted (I incorrectly worded) my meaning of "bite". It was not a bite, but more grabbing her collar to prevent her biting and running away and to show her that growling and biting doesn't make us back off. He also grabbed the back of the collar, as we have been told she bites with growling whenever possible. Both the foster carer and Director had multiple injuries to show us as proof.

    While I feel it is best to wait it out and keep distance to allow her to feel comfortable, there is no possible way to teach a dog that their behaviour is unacceptable without a form of punishment, be it positive or negative (in this case it was a combo of positive punishment/negative reinforcement). If we had backed off, she would have bitten Andrew (my fiance) and got what she wanted by growling and would not have learnt that growling and biting isn't how she gets what she wants. When she calmed down she got what she wanted.

    I know growling is a good thing, as we want her to communicate instead of jumping straight into biting, but she has a history of biting EVERYONE and we need to remove this thought process in her head. Other ideas to remove this process from her head would also be appreciated.

    Obviously this is my particular way of looking at the situation. Hyacinth, I will take your advise on board, as waiting it out is usually my preferred option with less agressive (just tense, growling, with no bite history) dogs.

    I look forward to reading some more thought and ideas
    Last edited by The Pawfectionist; 05-11-2012 at 10:17 PM.

  6. #16
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    I think you sound like you are doing a pretty good job thus far to me. I personally would just have her with me all the time, and just go about my business. Almost ignoring her so that she had to come to me. I would wait until she was comfy with the people and dogs in the house and had started being less fearful before I started working with other people.

    Personally, and this is just me, I wouldn't use any of Men's tactics. I dont think crating and muzzling, and allowing dogs in to watch her while she is trapped for a fearful dog does anything to help that fear. But I am not a pro, its just my personal opinion.

  7. #17
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    I also just wanted to mention that I wouldn't tell one of my clients to hold an aggressive dog's collar, as I don't feel they would be able to read the body language and respond correctly to the dog's behaviour in this way. This is when I advise less risky techniques, such as avoiding confrontation and building more trust first, keeping leads on when in the house and not backing away from a growl, but waiting it out (as Hyacinth also mentioned) before moving on.

  8. #18
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    What if Andrew had held still when she growled and just waited? No direct eye contact or talking or backing off, just hold still and wait?

    If it was me - when she started growling I would have held still (no reward for growling), and when she stopped growling I would have backed off very slowly at that point to reward the fact that she'd calmed down enough to stop growling - look no threat. And maybe tried again later.

    The way I try to train a dog not to do something - is to focus on what I do want it to do and reward that. So if dog is sitting calmly on the couch with a scary stranger nearby, a few treats would be good. If the dog can eat the treats, it's not too stressed out by the presence of the stranger. And food helps make warm fuzzy connections for the dog. If the dog won't eat the treats, the dog is probably still quite stressed.

    But I think I'd start with training the dog to be happy in a crate or on a mat - not the couch where scary people might suddenly sit. And I think I'd avoid trying to pat for quite some time.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    What if Andrew had held still when she growled and just waited? No direct eye contact or talking or backing off, just hold still and wait?

    If it was me - when she started growling I would have held still (no reward for growling), and when she stopped growling I would have backed off very slowly at that point to reward the fact that she'd calmed down enough to stop growling - look no threat. And maybe tried again later.

    The way I try to train a dog not to do something - is to focus on what I do want it to do and reward that. So if dog is sitting calmly on the couch with a scary stranger nearby, a few treats would be good. If the dog can eat the treats, it's not too stressed out by the presence of the stranger. And food helps make warm fuzzy connections for the dog. If the dog won't eat the treats, the dog is probably still quite stressed.

    But I think I'd start with training the dog to be happy in a crate or on a mat - not the couch where scary people might suddenly sit. And I think I'd avoid trying to pat for quite some time.
    I totally agree.

    Just to confirm, it's not THE couch, it's Luke's couch. It's separate from our couch. This couch helps with client's dogs that stay when they are used to sleeping/lying on couches at their homes. Stops them getting on our couch, as he divert them to the other one if they jump on ours. We were told Muffy likes the couch, hence why we invited her up there.

    She's actually fine with pats and even had a belly rub before with Andrew. He obviously didn't freak her out as she was fine with him within seconds of the commotion ending. We did treat work with her earlier and she is responding well.

    I have toyed with the idea of crating her, for her own benefit (safe place to retreat when anxious). Trying to decide if it will be in her best interests for tonight or not...?

  10. #20
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    I think I'd provide her with the crate and maybe not shut the door until I'd been through the full training drill (as per Susan Garrett "crate games" - usually 20 minutes to an hour of opening and closing the door and lots of treats - depending on how fast the dog learns to be calm in the crate). Mind you when I got my puppy, I didn't know about that, and I would just put her in there and go out. And she'd rip anything in there to pieces, and was always too stressed to eat anything in there. It's better now.

    It depends what kind of trouble you think she could get into during the night. If you think she's likely to attack one of the other dogs or seek a human out to attack or if someone has to go to the bathroom during the night - has a go... then crate - ready or not - might be for the best. But if you can play a few games of yummy treats here first, that would be good.

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