Dominance fallout – aggression, fear or both.

dominance not workingI’m starting Johnny’s story with a little rant on dominance from my soap box.

As a force-free, modern trainer/behaviourist I don’t need to dominate a dog to get compliance.

I won’t say that dominance – being very firm and overpowering – doesn’t work. It can and it does. Sometimes.

In the old days I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know better and that is what I did until I learnt how inefficient it was. I have been there. I know what I’m talking about. Being kind and allowing the dog choices does not mean being permissive. I apply rules also. I don’t use force.

Many people still believe that being what they erroneously think is ‘being the Alpha’ is the right way to train and control their dog. It’s not helped by certain TV trainers who make a lot of money using old-fashioned techniques that look like quick fixes.

Unsuitable for ‘Alphadom’

Few dog owners psychologically would make effective ‘Alphas’ anyway. Continue reading…

Redirecting Onto His Brother

Redirecting onto Lincoln is how Lucas deals with arousal.

Lucas and Lincoln. Calm.

When someone new comes to the door, the two Dalmatians are shut away behind a gate and will be barking loudly as the person enters the house.

Lincoln is barking with excitement. Lucas’ excitement quickly spills over into redirecting onto poor Lincoln, attacking him.

I witnessed this for myself.

Fortunately Lincoln is very easygoing and has not retaliated – yet.

They settled quickly and were both fine when let out to greet me.

Things weren’t so good a few days ago when someone they didn’t know came to the house. While the dogs were still barking she put her hand over the gate. A mistake.

Bite!

Continue reading…

Good home. Only on a sheep farm could be better.

As I left, they asked me whether I felt they were a good home for their young Welsh Sheepdog, Taffy.

Taffy has found a good homeI can’t think of a better place for the recently adopted dog – apart from living with a sheep farmer maybe. She is very lucky to be re-homed by the conscientious and caring young couple who are doing their best to understand her needs.

Taffy has landed on her feet in a very good home.

From the couple’s own point of view, however, there is a downside. The reality of what they had done soon kicked in. Instead of having a dog they can take everywhere with them, they have lost their freedom. Taffy’s restrictions have overtaken their lives. Continue reading…

Insufficiently motivated. Why not work for his food?

I’ve just visited Jake, a delightful, friendly and clever young Cockerpoo. A real character.

What cheerful Jake lacks is self-control. They have given him basic training, but self-control is not about people controlling him or doing tricks. He’s simply not sufficiently motivated.

not motivated to be goodHe eats well, so taking food from his daily quota will do.

The clever dog needs a lot of stimulation in order to receive the fulfilment his breed needs. Working Cocker mixed with Poodle. He generates his own attention and fun with his excited behaviour and demand barking. Continue reading…

Can they keep him? They are walking on eggshells

Can they keep him?

Can they keep him?They had decided to take Merlin back to the rescue, but then decided to try for a bit longer. The gentleman called me.

They have had Rottie mix Merlin for about ten days. Before fetching him from the rescue the gentleman had visited him eight times. He wanted to get it right.

They had told him Merlin had shown aggression in the past and that they wouldn’t let him near other dogs. They said he was hand-sensitive around his head.

He had been in the kennels for six months, with just a week out with people who then sent him back.

Despite this, the family felt they would like to take him on and to work with him. Can they keep him? Continue reading…

Guards his food bowl. Resource guarding items.

Hunter guards his food and he guards his food bowl.

(Too often when someone calls me about a problem with their Cocker Spaniel, it’s to do with resource guarding).

guards his food bowlThe thirteen-month-old Working Cocker’s resource guarding problems are almost certainly genetic, possibly made worse by all the sibling puppies competing over the same bowl of food (I’m only guessing).

At nine weeks old he was growling at anyone who came too close while he ate. The lady worked at this and all was okay for a while.

Over the past few weeks Hunter’s resource guarding problems have been getting worse.

She reached down to retrieve something from him…

Continue reading…

Bully behaviour. New Dog is Finding her Feet

A week ago, their new rescue dog began to bully their other dog.

Cookie

Six-year-old Cookie is a cute and somewhat nervous, anxious little terrier. Rudi, a Wirehaired Terrier, joined them six weeks ago.

It began with the calmer and more confident Rudi eyeballing Cookie.

Next, one of the young daughters was fussing both dogs and suddenly Rudi went for Cookie.

The next occasion was triggered by someone dropping and smashing a food bowl. Things then came to a head with a fight over a bone.

Continue reading…

Alarm Barking. They Worry he May Bite

Barney barks with alarm at any sound he hears that could mean someone is approaching the house. It can be a car or footsteps on the gravel.

If outside in the garden, he barks with alarm as someone he doesn’t know approaches the gate. As deliveries or the postman let themselves into the garden, he may sound more fierce.

They are worried he may one day bite.

Continue reading…

Now the two female Pugs fight. Were best of friends

Now the two dogs fight.

Bo

Cherry has lived with Bo and the family for nearly a year and all was well until a few weeks ago. The two four-year-old Pugs played together and slept together.

They noticed little hints of unrest shortly before the day Cherry went for Bo.

Food was involved. A friend’s dog, Skye, was with them.

Soon after this it happened again only this time the fight didn’t involve food.

The family now had to watch the dogs closely to prevent further fights breaking out.

Then disaster struck.

Continue reading…