Rambo on the left is a lot more confident than Bronsons. They watch and bark from the windowThere they are, on the left, up on the sofa at the window watching me leave – Bronson and Rambo.

Their young owners have been working hard to train them, but it’s not always easy.  Their dream of happy walks with two lovely, friendly dogs and of polite behaviour with guests to their house just is not working out.[divider type=”white”]

The challenge of siblings

It’s a mix of problems really. Nothing extreme. Rambo is a lot more confident than Bronson and likes to put him in his place – with Bronson only being pushed so far. They may then have a bust up but in no time at all they are the best of friends again. This can be the challenge of siblings.The two Boxers relaxing

Bronson is the nervous one, and this has now escalated into his being scared of approaching people when on walks and reacting to other dogs. They can’t work out how or why it started. One day he simply went for a smaller dog and it has gone downhill since.

Bronson and Rambo’s walks should be more under the control of their humans.  A hyped-up dog, straining on a tight lead with the discomfort of a Halti around his face, is going to be stressed. Meetings and greetings, too, should be under the control of the humans. When they have proved to Bronson by their own behaviour that he can trust them (and it will take time and effort which I know they are more than willing to give), Bronson should relax.[divider type=”white”]

Over-excitable

When friends come to the house the couple has worked hard to train the dogs to stay away on their ‘place’ away from the front door. However, once released they are no less excitable – jumping all over people and maybe mouthing or nipping.

I feel this needs a ‘behavioural’ approach – dealing with the emotion that causes the behaviour – rather than ‘training’. Why do the dogs behave like this? Is it simply because they are so friendly? I think not. If a human were to greet a guest in such an overwhelming manner, it could be down to anxiety.

The dogs need to be removed from the situation until everything has calmed down. Welcoming people is another thing that needs to be under the control of the humans, and the guests need a firm lesson or two on how to behave when the dogs do join them!

When I arrived there was little jumping on me and no nipping. The dogs were relieved of pressure and responsibility. I turned away from the jumping up and asked the owners not to intervene;  I pointed out the lady’s tense and worried body language and she visibly relaxed. There were only calm and confident vibes for the dogs to pick up on.

They are superb dogs, living with a young couple who want to learn how to do the best they can for them; who have always only considered positive methods.

They simply need more strategies – more options, the sort of tricks and solutions I have picked up along the way by helping so many dogs.