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Truffle suddenly became territorial? Frustrated? fighting with the neighbour dog.

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  • ihatewetsocks
    replied
    Originally posted by outlaw View Post
    Depending on the progress / outcome of those special sessions / assessments your dog might be able to join a 'normal' starter class relative soon
    Thanks. This is the plan. My trainer does one on one and group classes. The next group class starts in April (I think). At this point I plan to attend that one. If Truffle is not ready (trainer will assess with me at the time) it will be postponed.

    Kalacreek; Yes I believe this will at least be how we start at group training.

    At this point Truffle's training is going well. She now walks on a slack leash around 50% of the time and is still able to be "command controlled" with dogs 100m away. We will continue to work on this all day every day.

    Thanks,
    Pete

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  • Kalacreek
    replied
    When I belonged to a dog club there were a couple of us with dogs with issues and we would work well away from the main classes and keep our dogs under threshold. That was quite a good way of working ones dogs in the vicinity of other dogs that you knew were already under control and were not likely to run at you or your dog. It did get to the point where we were able to join the classes but it took some time.

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  • outlaw
    replied
    Even a 'normal' group trainings class is already a controlled environment (at least in our club) as no dog attends without assessment from the instructors, new starters will carry a red cloth mark at their collar, only the advanced classes are off-leash, and all the learning matter and consequently the setups are matching the obedience level of the class.

    However, the trainings ground (again, at least in our club) offers much more: there are the socializing time before and after the official training where the dogs (the ones that have been cleared to do so) can run freely on the ovals - a very good opportunity to start training a reliable recall by e.g. rewarding the dog when he comes to check in. If some tension built up there are always instructors on the field to step in. Some dog owners with problem dogs just use the training days to walk their dog around the ovals during the official training so their dogs get used to the exciting smell and noise and running dogs.

    And, if something goes wrong: all the members respectively their dogs are insured on the trainings ground.

    The setup I mentioned in my previous post is of course not a 'normal' trainings class / group: all the decoy dogs in the group would be handpicked and the training / distance work would address the specific needs of your dog. Depending on the progress / outcome of those special sessions / assessments your dog might be able to join a 'normal' starter class relative soon; of course, if there would be any issues the particular instructor of the class would be informed about this issue and would take care for specific needs (e.g. greater distance). Those dogs with special needs would also be recognizable for others by a yellow cloth mark they have to carry on their collar.

    I'm aware that not all dog training clubs offer all those options, but there might be something similar in the area where you live.
    Last edited by outlaw; 26-02-2017, 10:05 AM. Reason: added "new starters" wrt red marks

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  • ihatewetsocks
    replied
    Originally posted by outlaw View Post
    That is IMO a pretty normal reaction from a dog that lives her life isolated from other dogs, and it is nothing that can't be fixed with a controlled approach in a controlled environment.
    Exactly right but a group training class is absolutely not the right controlled environment at this point. With all respect you have not witnessed this behaviour with this dog and I have given very little detail in all posts above so only I and my trainer are really qualified to make that call. Whilst I respect your right to your opinion I'm happy with the action being taken at this point. It is absolutely normal for her circumstances which is why I need to slowly increase her threshold before introducing her to 5 or 6 other dogs some potentially with the same or worse self control. I have employed a competent trainer who is walking the two of us through the process.

    I make a living by training humans and work with many clients with anxiety disorders (among others). Throwing someone with anxiety issues into a group of other people where they will more than likely not be comfortable will ALWAYS end in tears. The end game of anxiety is always the fight or flight impulse until the owner of the issue has learned to control it. Obviously whichever path the dog chooses (fight or flight) in a group training class is not going to be pretty. It also will create an environment not conducive to learning for Truffle, me, the other dogs or owners.

    As mentioned earlier we will enroll in group classes and already have socilisation planned during the one on one sessions once a management plan is in place for her anxiety and self control issues.

    Thanks,
    Pete.

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  • outlaw
    replied
    I'm absolutely comfortable if the training is setup in a controlled environment as I described in my previous post.

    The behaviour your dogs shows when seeing another dog (as described in your last post) just indicates that there is some drive left in your dog and that she is keen to investigate other dogs, but unsure at the same time. That is IMO a pretty normal reaction from a dog that lives her life isolated from other dogs, and it is nothing that can't be fixed with a controlled approach in a controlled environment.

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  • ihatewetsocks
    replied
    OK so say for example you were the full forward on a local footy team. On the opposing team the full back had just been released on bail after attacking the full forward on the team he played 2 weeks ago. This man is mentally unstable and has not received any counselling or treatment. Just taken out for a week and put back in. No-one knows what set him off and no-one has done anything to combat this happening again.

    Are you comfortable?

    This is the situation the dogs and other owners are in with Truffle if I take her to a group class now without learning how to manage this.

    The old sink or swim approach is only going to escalate issues.

    As I'm typing this Truffle has spotted a dog walking past through my open front door (screen security door closed and locked). I managed to get a video of her reaction for 15 seconds or so. She started by growling and then started whimpering and pacing back and forth. This is due to her anxiety. As she is over threshold she couldn't have been controlled via command. Once I had taken the video I closed the door and took away the distraction. She has calmed down and is now lying down at my feet.

    In my opinion It is not fair on anyone and will be totally unproductive to everyone if Truffle was in a group class right now.

    Thanks,
    Pete.
    Last edited by ihatewetsocks; 25-02-2017, 06:09 PM.

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  • outlaw
    replied
    wrt getting the reactivity and anxiety under control: nobody can learn to swim without water - some creatures can do it by instinct, but if the instinct doesn't work, there is no way learning it without getting wet.

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  • ihatewetsocks
    replied
    Hi,

    Yes I mentioned it a couple of times earlier. The Maltese was on leash.

    Re long lines. I secure the end to my wrist and hold it with 10m or so slack behind me. That way when she does run I control how quickly she can run and how far. I put more pressure SLOWLY on the rope with my hand (I have always been around and on/in/handling boats and the lines that go with it so my hands are tough and do not burn. re tangling herself in the rope I have never had this issue with her or Bailey.

    Re group classes; I say it is irresponsible due to the level of her reactivity at this point. Once this and her anxiety is under control she will certainly get to group class. At this point a dog 50m away sets her off well over her threshold. It would be very unfair of me to place her and the other dogs in the group in that situation now. There are a couple of training clubs around here and a soccer pitch which is well fenced off. I can let her run on the grass there with the line attached too.

    Thanks,
    Pete.

    Leave a comment:


  • outlaw
    replied
    you didn't answer my question whether the Maltese was on leash or not ? or it was mentioned somewhere and I might have missed it.

    wrt the former life of your dog: that is all speculation - the same symptoms and behaviour are also typical for some de-sexed dogs (especially the fear of storms) - in the meanwhile there are quite some scientific studies out there confirming this. If she is de-sexed, her behaviour could also be a result of this. But it's all speculation and there is no way to find out, so I wouldn't waste my time with those thoughts.

    wrt not taking meat from your hand: that is actually also a normal reaction following her instincts; you as the leader own this meat, or the bone - carrying it in your hand is like another dog with a higher rank would carry it in his mouth, and she just doesn't want to challenge it. Put it on the ground and she recognizes that no one owns it and she goes for it. That's all normal. So why do they take treats from the hand? Because the smaller size allows for repetition, repetition, repetition, and the smaller size might also minimize the likelihood of triggering those instincts.

    wrt long lines: I'm not a friend of such long lines - they allow the dog to accelerate, and once they reach the end of the line the sudden stop can cause severe injuries (for dog and handler). You also have to consider that by doing so you restrict your recall training to a somehow very unique scenario. Plus there is all the tangling, again with the risk of severe injuries (burn marks, ligament injuries when tangled around legs etc.).

    wrt group classes: IMO it is not irresponsible to take her to group classes, however, it depends on how you approach it and on the quality of the instructors. What your dog needs to learn she can only learn in an environment with other dogs, not during lonely nights at the beach! I doubt that even the one on one session at home will achieve real progress. Hence what she needs is a controlled environment with other dogs. The control would be achieved by picking the right area (in our dog trainings club we luckily have 2 fenced big ovals), the right dogs for the group as decoys and buddies, if required leashes and muzzles, and the distances (sooo important to control all the thresholds). Consider, dogs are not so good in generalizing: how often do we hear that dogs are so obedient at home or in the backyard, but the proof is in the pudding. Dogs associate even simplest cues like sit etc. with the environment they have been trained in, so people are again and again surprised that the dog doesn't automatically follow the cue once the environment has changed.

    If there is a dog trainings club in your vicinity, I would talk to the guys and find out what is possible. Good luck.

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  • ihatewetsocks
    replied
    Hi,

    to clarify the first instance Truffle was off leash (again I will state that I never did and never would argue the responsibility point. Truffle was supposed to be inside but ran out under my feet). Truffle's recall is actually reasonably good considering she has only been with us for 3 months. She is 3 years old but came from the AWL as an adoptee (previously a stray).

    In the second instance roles were completely reversed (Truffle on leash very quiet and the other dog was off leash). Truffle did not bite back the 2nd time.

    Truffle is a very anxious and reactive dog and in the first instance was WELL over her threshold; there was zero point trying a recall.

    Truffle wears a thunder shirt when outside and during storms etc and uses adaptil in a diffuser inside the house and a spray on her bandana when out of the house in an attempt to calm her down. There are a LOT of unsocialised dogs in my local area and it is very hard to find a route to walk where she will not be harassed. I have found a route that works at the moment. Time will tell if it stays that way.

    It would be irresponsible of me to take her to group classes at this point in time so I have one on one sessions with a good trainer at home. She has an assistant with a small very un-reactive dog that is used to start the socialisation process.

    The biggest stumbling block at the moment is Truffle's anxiety. This will take a lot longer to get to the bottom of. I shudder to think what her former life was like.

    She won't take meat from my hand (Will happily take treats etc) but no chunks of meat. She is very nervous. My guess is that her former family thought it was a good idea to give her food, take it off her and see how she reacts. I assume when she reacted badly they returned it multiplied.

    Overall she is a very sweet and smart dog who did not get the best start in life but has a good home now. She does not go off leash anymore (I had started taking her to the beach at night when no-one was around and letting her off but I can't justify the risk now that I now she has this struggle. I now still take her but with a long line attached all the time and still at night when there is no-one around. I don't see it as fair to only allow her off leash at home. Obviously I keep a VERY close eye on her at all times and still hold the other end of the long line (Slip knot around my wrist). I give her 20m to run usually but if it's still light and I can see there is no-one else for miles she gets the full 35m.

    Thanks for your comments.
    Pete

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  • outlaw
    replied
    @ the OP: Was the other dog on the leash when the fight started? I see quite often that dogs start a friendly sniff and suddenly they feel the tension in the leash and the behaviour changes to more aggression. This - in most cases - is nothing else than a (of course unwanted) trainings result of leash walking where the owners are not aware that they transfer their fears and worries through the leash to the dog. The end result is that the built up of tension in the leash is nothing else than the cue 'ATTACK', and reinforced over years the dog just does this. Now when 2 dogs met, and they both have friendly intentions and start playing and sniffing, restricted by a leash (requires that one of them is on leash of course) it will be unavoidable that at sometime in this game this cue (tension in leash) is given - and off they go.

    However, your dog was off-leash without a reliable recall, hence the responsibility is solely with you if the other dog was on leash. Your dog might not have started the fight, he might just have taken it on, but off-leash it is clearly your responsibility.

    Wrt the food guarding: that is IMO a total different issue. The instinct of food guarding is still present in all dogs, some show it more, some less. It has not much to do with dominance behaviour: even a low ranking dog will fight off a higher ranked dog if his hunger tells him to do so, and the higher ranked dog - or stronger dog - will happily walk away if he is not hungry. I adopted the following rule for our dog: once the food (whatever it is) is in the bowl it is hers. At the early age I noticed some food guarding (just growling when she thought someone might take her precious bone), but now I can sit beside her and even touch her without any signs of growling while she is eating a bone - she never experienced that she had to guard her precious bones so this behaviour just faded.

    It looks for me that your dog needs a lot of socialization training, but it needs to be with dogs that have the matching energy level and are already very stable (mentally). You shouldn't do this under no circumstances with other dogs that have similar problems. And of course you have to work on the recall if you like to give your dog the freedom to run off leash.
    Last edited by outlaw; 25-02-2017, 11:43 AM. Reason: spelling errors

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  • Hyacinth
    replied
    PS there are few dogs that broadcast "attack me" to all the other dogs at the park...

    When I see one of those - I keep my dog on lead - cos she's only too happy to scare the crap out of an already terrified dog.

    Mostly the dogs are either born nervous, anxious and scared of everything (police dog trainers call it "weak nerved) or they get that way because they've had some honestly bad experiences in being attacked and frightened. A pet dog owner would have to work very hard to make sure a dog like that has all good experiences with other dogs, and build its confidence and trust in the owner to keep it safe.
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 07-02-2017, 06:17 PM.

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  • Hyacinth
    replied
    I don't trust dogs approaching out of their yards unless I know the dogs.

    Most dogs (including mine) think they own their house and the street in front of it and defend it accordingly.

    So if I saw those dogs coming - I'd be trying to get as far away as possible.

    If you don't report and those dogs harm someone - how are you going to feel. But if you don't think they will do any serious harm (they didn't hurt your dog) then maybe don't report. temping to print out the relevant page of the state law tho and stick it in the person's letter box.

    Feral neighborhood indeed. Sigh. There's a few around. When I've lived in areas like that - I try to make friends with as many of my neighbours as possible so I'm part of their tribe and not the enemy... I can gift them my rubbish...

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  • ihatewetsocks
    replied
    Originally posted by RileyJ View Post
    If you believe that other dogs don’t like Truffle – then that is how she will react to your body language.
    Hi,

    Yes I am very careful (well I try to be anyway) with my body language. Truth be told I was very nervous when the dogs approached Truffle because she hasn't actually had any direct contact with any other dogs since the Maltese (Matilda). I really wanted Truffle to say hi and move on but it wasn't to be.

    I do like the analogy there about whether humans like all humans they meet but while I don't like all people I meet I rarely if ever bite them

    At the end of the day All's well that ends well. I've been here in this house for 4 years and never even knew he had dogs (He's been there the whole time and actually come to think of it I've never met him and rarely seen him before) so I don't think it will be a repeat offender. The Mastif though ... he has a serious attitude problem and will continue to be like that. I doubt very much he is registered with the council but if the owners surrender him due to my complaint which they're likely to do I don't think the poor thing will pass the screening for adoption at the pound. That's not fair on him (I live in a low socioeconomic area with a lot of housing trust homes etc. You know the type of area where even your rubbish gets stolen. I had to call the police last week because the neighbour directly opposite me pulled up to his house and started yelling at his passenger about a girl they had just run over - turns out it was a domestic argument gone seriously wrong! Then I have my nappy slinging ferals next door and 2 houses down a house full of hoons who do burn outs out the front of my house all night long despite already having been arrested for it twice). I should really just move house shouldn't I ... After all the work I've done to this place They'd have to kill me first. I tell ya sometimes it feels like I live in a Mexico prison!

    Once Truffle's threshold is high enough I might try Hyacinth's suggestion of kibble in the face. The old turn a foe into a friend situation.

    Pete.

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  • RileyJ
    replied
    Good to read that Truffle’s training is going well ! Keep it up !

    LOL – I bet she loved going to work with you and staying in the caravan park !

    The quick turnaround does work very well - if you are dealing with dogs on lead.

    When you are dealing with off lead dogs that are intending to attack – get Truffle to sit up against a fence or a solid structure, you stand in front of her and do the following:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKmiZYIAnhI

    A little old lady that I used to walk with many years ago - used to take one of these out with her that is in the link below - when she walked her very cheeky little black mini poodle. If anyone questioned her about the lunge whip – she just said she was tired of the birds attacking her and the pup on their walks !
    All the dogs in the neighbourhood where she walked never attacked her little poodle !

    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=w...rse+lunge+whip

    If you believe that other dogs don’t like Truffle – then that is how she will react to your body language.

    My question is – Why does she have to like every dog she comes across ? Do you like every person you come across ?

    As far as reporting problem dogs to the relevant authorities – I don’t muck around anymore. It is time these negligent owners get hit in their back-pocket and pay for their laziness, irresponsibility and stupidity.

    Most times these sorts of people think they are ‘grey people and are under the radar’ of laws.

    So, are those 2 dogs and the Mastiff registered with the local council ?

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