This doesn’t seem to have caused him to bear a grudge against other dogs. He has a lovely gentle nature. I feel someone has loved him sometime in the past.
Baxter is a somewhat camera-shy one-year-old Staffie Mastiff cross and the couple have had him for just under one week. They are fans of Victoria Stilwell (I am one of her UK trainers) and want to start their relationship off on the right foot making sure they are using positive methods similar to Victoria’s.
Underneath a quiet exterior I could read some signs of slight unease – it’s like he’s being careful. In the picture he has crept onto my coat beside me, and his look is saying ‘Should I be here?’. He is sussing out his new home.
He is growing increasingly anxious if the man goes out of the room, particularly if the dog knows he is still about somewhere. He whines the whole time the man is absent. If the couple goes out together and they creep back later to take a look, they find Baxter happily asleep on the sofa. Before this gets any worse the gentleman needs to take measures so that Baxter doesn’t grow too attached, including shutting doors behind him regularly. Instead of the persistent whining when he goes out driving the poor lady mad, she should watch for and acknowledge every time he stops and briefly settles with some sort of positive reinforcement.
By and large he has very few problems. Already, by using the right methods, he’s stopped pulling on lead. He’s fine with other dogs. He is polite around food and very calm for an adolescent dog. He has proved himself something of a Houdini and they need to work hard on his recall if he’s is to run free.
Maybe he will open up a bit more during the next two weeks as he settles in. Other things may surface.
NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Baxter, which is why I don’t go into all exact details here of our plan. Finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog can do more harm than good. One size does not fit all. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dogs (see my Get Help page).