Dog Bite. No Warning. Re-homed Dachshund

dog bite with no warning

Millie

I wonder who would ever say that a dog bite could have been a good thing! This time it may have been so.

The elderly couple have had two-year-old Millie for just a couple of weeks. They wanted company for Wirehaired Pip, age four; the two dogs get on famously.

Very rarely would a dog bite with no warning at all. Usually there will be a subtle signal at least – if you know what you are looking for. Not so with Dachshund Millie.

This is what happened.

They had her in another room with Pip until I had settled at the kitchen table.

The dogs were let out

Pip

Millie made no noise. She rushed into the kitchen. Without even stopping to look or sniff who I was, she flew up at my arm and bit me.  Because the elderly couple couldn’t catch her quickly enough, she attempted another couple of quick bites to my legs.

I always wear tough clothes just in case, so my legs were protected. It’s too hot however to wear a thick top. Just a bruise and a nick on my upper arm. Entirely my own fault because I was there on account of Millie having bitten the daughter who had walked in the door. The lady had been standing, looking down at the new rescue dog.

That won’t have been a dog bite without any warning – there would have been signs if you knew what to look for.

Usually if a person is sitting and already in the room and ignoring the dog, it’s a lot easier on the dog. I took what I thought was a calculated but very low risk.

A dog bite a good thing?

In a way it’s a good thing it happened! Someone else would undoubtedly very soon have been bitten who probably wouldn’t know how to react. It could have been the grandson. Now at least we know exactly what were are dealing with.

She now sat on the lady’s lap, lead on and her harness held tightly. She reacted aggressively when I moved and would certainly have bitten me again if she could. Meanwhile the lady was trying to pacify her which I feel could be perceived by Millie as anxious rather than calming. She would be transmitting her own feelings to the dog.

I’m pretty sure Millie is being increasingly protective and territorial. Possibly this is partly genetic – maybe her mother or father had been the same. Apparently she had previously lived in the middle of a confrontational relationship that had broken down and there may have been some violence.

I took refuge on the kitchen table

That was a first! They had shut Millie out of the room for a while with something to chew and wanted to let her back in. They had removed the lead.

Not quite sure that she wouldn’t wriggle through the gap in the door before they could catch her and fly at me again, I took refuge on the table!

Insecurity

Becoming increasingly protective suggests fear of losing something. Unsurprising, as in her short life she’s had four living situations already. She has lived with the original couple before they split, then with the lady alone, then in rescue and now with my clients.

She’s a lot more protective of the lady than the man as a little experiment demonstrated. He took the dog and I moved about and she didn’t react at all.

It looks very likely that with each day she’s with them this guarding and protecting will intensify, unwittingly encouraged by the lady. Instead of encouraging dependence, they should consciously break some of the ties that are growing. She won’t let the lady out of her sight, for instance. Everything possible needs to be done now, before any more time goes by, to stop her increasingly feeling she must guard her new humans. The same applies for her new territory.

A muzzle and a gate

There is little they can do about the actual biting itself, apart from management. They will physically prevent anyone receiving a dog bite by muzzling her. This they will introduce gradually. They will also put a gate in the kitchen doorway. This way anyone coming into their house will be safe.

Any biting, particularly a dog bite without time to see any warning, needs to be dealt with at source. We need to deal with the state of mind that causes her to do it. She was certainly not scared of me. She had very confident body language.

The outcome

They still don’t really know what they have got with Millie. Things tend to surface over a period of weeks as the new dog settles in.

The very worst scenario is that she will continue to be affectionate with the couple in her lovely new home and a great playmate for Pip. When people including family and grandchild are about she is either muzzled or behind a gate. She would be muzzled when out also.

The best scenario is that, with work on their part, she can let people into their house. That they could walk past people when out – though they may not be able to invade her space.

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’. Listening to ‘other people’ or finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog can do more harm than good. it’s obvious professional help is needed in a case like this of a dog bite with no warning. Click here for help.

Reading the Dog Correctly. Responding Appropriately.

Reading the dog correctly is a skillReading the dog incorrectly can cause us to do the very opposite of what is needed.

Angus is a gorgeous miniature wire haired dachshund. He greeted me in a very friendly fashion and sniffed me (getting information about my own four dogs I’m sure).

He then rolled over onto his back, still looking very friendly, tail wagging.

His young owner said he wanted a tummy rub.

I wasn’t so sure. This needs to be taken in context and I am an unfamiliar person to him. There is a good chance it was a gesture of appeasement.

I didn’t touch him but just talked to him.

It’s easy to jump to conclusions when your dog does something like rolling onto his back.

As I found out more about Angus I feel I made the right decision. When he was a bit younger – he’s now seventeen months – he would do this with anyone new and may pee at the same time. He still may do so if greeted too excitedly even by someone he knows.

This would indicate too much pressure of some sort. Stress.

Reading the dog incorrectly can lead to other misunderstandings.

Angus may shake before going out on a walk. They assume it’s fear and possibly it is. It may also be in anticipation or a mix of the two. Walks may well be a bit daunting to Angus, particularly if he’s already slightly stressed.

They may encounter people who, because he’s so extremely cute, will want to touch him. He rolls over. For a belly rub? Surely not. He doesn’t even know them.

He is wary of many other dogs and his young owner has taken advice. She has worked very hard. She has been using a recognised system that works really well if the environment can be properly controlled. On normal walks however where dogs may just appear, it’s meant she’s not responding soon enough.

Some days Angus may just want to sniff and mark to the exclusion of all else. The lady will have trouble persuading him to move on and it worries her that if they don’t cover sufficient ground he won’t get enough exercise.

His walks will now be a bit different. They will be ‘Angus’ walks. 

Could the constant marking be some sort of displacement activity?

Is he avoiding facing possible encounters by doing something safe that he can control and that fully occupies him?

Reading the dog, in this instance, as attempting to avoid trouble rather than trying to mark territory will determine the appropriate course of action.

His walks usually take half an hour. Now they won’t have a set destination. If Angus wants to sniff, he can sniff all he likes. The lady will only move on when and if he relaxes from marking and sniffing. At present she lures him forward with food in front of his nose which means he stops to eat. Now she will drop bits of food on the ground in front of him as he goes to encourage forward movement, not stopping.

Then, instead of carrying on walking, she can stop him and invite him to sniff and mark again. No pressure. Understanding why he could be doing it will give her an insight into what needs to be done to avoid him feeling anxious.

She will now make sure anyone they meet hangs back and invites Angus over. If he doesn’t go to them, then he’s not to be touched.

I tried this as I was leaving. When, standing, I invited him to me he hung back – and he knew I had food too. Instead of moving over him to touch him which would undoubtedly have made him roll onto his back, I backed off. It looks like for all his friendliness he’s slightly intimidated by people when they are standing up which is understandable. He’s tiny.

Reading the dog correctly influences the appropriate response.

When in doubt, the best thing with Angus is to do nothing.

If I’m wrong about his reason for rolling onto his back, it’s better to do nothing than tickle when it’s not what he’s asking for.

If I’m wrong about the marking and sniffing being largely a displacement behaviour, it’s better to do nothing and leave him to get on with it if he likes it.

A couple of months later: I think he may just be beginning to trust me! Yesterday a man came towards us which we have met before. Angus moved forwards towards the man and then changed his mind and walked back towards me and sat next to me. It sort of felt like he was coming back to me for reassurance. As long as the dog is the same distance as being across the road Angus is quite happy. We have seen a few very unhappy dogs across the road who have quite angrily barked at us! And fortunately because Angus is happy at that distance he was not at all bothered. I think this process has probably been more about me having more realistic expectations.

Continual Barking

Daschund that barks a lotIt was quite hard to take a photo of six-year-old Daschund Chippy due to his continual barking. He was seldom still enough!

This little dog is on high alert all the time and extremely vocal.

He barks at every sound he hears and at anything passing the window. One of their other two dogs, both Labradors, may give one woof and this results in another long barking session from Chippy.

He barks for attention too – just stands looking at someone and barks until they react.

When he anticipates anything is about to happen, he will bark with excitement.

When visitors come to the house, move about or get up to go, it will be continual barking. There is nothing aggressive about it nor does he seem fearful – just excited. When he calms down sufficiently he enjoys a little bit of fuss.

General stress levels of all three dogs needs reducing by any means possible. The whole atmosphere is so highly charged that Chippy in particular is like a little volcano permanently on the point of erupting.

He needs more in the way of healthy stimulation which is hard because he is already permanently over-stimulated and the smallest thing sets him off. One thing that could do him good would be more walks, but he seems reluctant to leave the house. Once he is out of the vicinity of his home territory, however, he quietens down and relaxes, enjoying a wander and a sniff – perfect for him.

We need to deal with each thing separately – dealing with the reason for the barking rather than the noise itself. Shouting certainly never works in the long term.

Territorial or alarm barking needs to be dealt with by removing as much opportunity as possible, blocking the dogs’ view out of the window for example. Then he needs helping out. Whose responsibility is it to protect the house?

The dogs can learn that they don’t get any of the things they want while they are barking, whether it’s their food, being let out of the crate, attention, going out for their walk and so on. His family can practise the art of ‘patiently waiting’ body language so the dogs can work out for themselves what works!

Routine is a good thing in many ways, but it can end with ‘the tail wagging the dog’. The dog ‘knows what comes next’ and gets excited and starts to bark – no doubt then believing that his barking has caused what he wants to happen. Some things may need to be done in a different order and at different times.

Most important however is to focus on increasing quiet rather than decreasing barking. What they DO want rather than want they DON’T want. This is hard. Quiet needs to be rewarding.

Almost as soon as I arrived I was clicking and dropping food for Chippy as soon as the barking paused. Soon he had learnt that if he barked and then stopped he got food. Clever little dog! He was so focused that at least now he was ignoring people walking past the window. I gradually waited for longer until we had quiet for a minute.

Each day they will have fifty bits of his kibble in a cup on the table. He can earn them for being quiet or settling down.

His family must also make sure he gets plenty of good attention with various calming activities, initiated by themselves, when he’s quiet. It’s too easy to let quiet sleeping dogs lie in thankfulness when they are not being demanding.

Things are sure to get worse before they get better. Up until now barking has always worked. It has got Chippy out of the crate, it’s got him his food, it’s got him attention. It has driven away people walking past his house. What happens when it no longer works? Will he just stop and give up without a fight? I think not! In frustration he will doubtless redouble his efforts for a while.

They need to hold their heads. If one person gives in it will tell Chippy that, if he tries hard enough, his barking still works.

 

Miniature Daschunds Barking

Very excitable miniature daschunds are extreme barkers

Blaze and Rolo

Butter wouldn’t melt!

I didn’t take this beautiful photo – at no stage were the little dogs either still or quiet enough.

Blaze and Rolo, three-year-old Miniature Daschund brothers, are very excitable and extreme barkers. In order to get them to stop even briefly when people visit they have had water sprayed at them, they have been shouted at, they have had a bottle of stones shaken at them and noisy compressed-air ‘corrector’ spray to frighten them out of it. Incessant barking can really drive one crazy.

These ‘solutions’ may work in the moment but they do nothing at all to ease the real problem apart from making it worse.

The tiniest thing starts them off. Blaze (in front) is probably the instigator, but they charge about in manic barking tandem!

To deal with any behaviour we need to deal the emotion that is creating it. In cases where barking is such an automatic reflex it’s also become a habit. The more they have practised barking, the better they have got at it. Automatic barking can be a difficult habit to break.

The times that worry the family the most are when someone comes to the house (whether familiar or unfamiliar) – and when their grandchildren visit. Blaze may accompany the barking with little nips. He is also obsessed with nappies!

Normally when someone arrives the dogs are put into the garden – or if they do join them it will be hectic. There was the spray water bottle on the side at the ready. I asked for everyone to ignore them. As I usually do, I wanted to see what happened without human interference. We could hardly speak and I had hoped we would be able to sit it out, but after about ten minutes they were still standing close in front of me as I sat on the pouffe – barking, barking, barking at me.

The lady took them out of the room and put them into their crate.  They still barked. We got on with the consultation.

Eventually they were quiet so I asked the lady to let them in again. This time we had tiny bits of cheese prepared and fortunately both dogs are very food orientated.

They came charging back into the room, barking.

I held bits of cheese out to them. They couldn’t bark and eat at the same time – but they could still bark between bits of cheese!  They also snatched the food, so I taught them a bit of inhibition and manners which meant they had to be quiet and back off for a moment before I opened my hand with the cheese – a few moments of blessed silence.

Soon we were at the stage when as soon as they started to bark again the lady called them back out of the room. They were reasonably willing because of the food reward – something they don’t usually get. After they joined us for about the fifth time the barking was minimal and the lady herself was doing the feeding. Progress.

These little dogs will be associating people coming to the house with panic and scolding. Blaze was even driven to bite a friend who insisted on picking him up against instructions. The aim now is for the dogs to begin to associate people with good stuff – food.

When the grandchildren visit the dogs will either be the other side of a gate or brought in on leads and taught not to nip fingers and jump on them using positive methods. Currently they have never been taught what IS wanted of them – only punished for what is NOT wanted.

The underlying problem of extreme excitement and stress has to be dealt with. This won’t be easy.  No more rough play from the teenage members of the family which is encouraging the mouthing and nipping.

Being so hyped up is not good for the dogs any more than it would be good for us, and not only causes problems for the family but also for friends, the neighbours and on walks.

From now on the motto should be ‘good things come to quiet dogs’. Food won’t go down until they are quiet. They won’t step out of the front door until they are quiet. They won’t be let out of their crate until they are quiet, they won’t be greeted until they are quiet, and so on.

If the people themselves are quiet, calm and consistent these adorable little dogs should eventually get the message.

About four weeks later: ‘The boys are definitely showing signs of improvement in several ways, they are a lot quieter, calmer and are not trying to be top dog with each other as much as they used to. I’m so pleased with the help you have given us so far and have recommended you to other people. Its so nice to enjoy the boys again rather than telling them off for all the noise they make. ‘

NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Blaze and Rolo, 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 dogs 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).

He Can’t Be Left Alone

Long-haired Daschund can't be left alone for one minute Rescue Daschund can only relax when the lady is there and is over-attached to her alreadyLittle Long-Haired Daschund Rodney goes into a state of panic when he’s left alone even for a couple of minutes.

Many people have seen the excellent Channel 4 programme proving just how many more dogs suffer when left alone than we realise. Here is the link if you missed it.

Separation distress can be a dreadful thing for a dog, and rehabilitation is usually a very slow, gradual process.

Rodney has been in his new home now for a month. He had lived previously with an elderly lady who died, and one can image that he spent most of the time on her lap or bed. There was another dog also, so he would never have been absolutely alone.

Rodney is now becoming very attached to his new owners, so much so that if he’s dog-sat by neighbours or family he may still cry intermittently.

The more he is cuddled and carried about, the longer they never shut doors on him even briefly, the more attached I fear he will get. You can see from his photo that he is totally irresistible!

His two main issues are the separation distress and fear of going out on walks – possibly because he’s also wary of other dogs. He runs away when the lead comes out. At present they are more or less forcing him to go and to walk, but now we have a plan in place for them to do the very opposite.

We also have a detailed plan in place for working gradually on his panic when left. The gentleman had an excellent idea – he is going to set up a spreadsheet and tick off each tiny increment as it is achieved.

As time goes by I would expect Rodney to relax and become more carefree and even playful – just as two-year-old dog living with wonderful people should be.

NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Rodney, 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).

Very Protective Dog

Daschund Max is on guard dutyUnfortunately Max has recently bitten several people including two young children and two postmen.

Max, age two, was found as a stray and they understandably absolutely adore their little dog.

A few months ago they moved house to a busier street, and now Max is doing a lot more barking. He is getting a lot more worked up. He has taken it upon himself to be on guard duty big time. Any noise sends him flying around the house barking. He barks at passers by when out in the garden. Two different postmen were bitten when they entered ‘Max’s’ garden and put out a hand towards him – but outside his own territory one of these same men is like his best friend. At home he is an extremely protective dog. Outside his own house and garden he is a different dog, and very friendly with other dogs too.

Not only is Max becoming increasingly protective of the house, he is very protective of the lady and most of his growling and biting has happened in her presence. When I sat down Max stood facing me on the lady’s lap, barking while she ‘comforted’ him. I asked her to put him straight on the floor. She should be nice to him when he’s quiet and pop him on the floor when he barks.

Max also growls at the gentleman when he’s on the lady’s lap. He growls at them in their own bed at night – pMax is the centre of the lady's universearticularly at the man. I have nothing against dogs sleeping with people if that is what the people really like, but certainly not if the dog is taking posession of the bed and growling if they dare move!

The lady in particular behaves like Max is the centre of her universe.  She touches him and attends to him constantly. The moment she gets home from work, after a rapturous welcome, although he has had the company of the gentleman for most of the day, she is cuddling and playing with him for an hour before doing anything else. They are doing his bidding all evening until he settles.  All this adoration can, in my mind, be quite hard for a dog. As time goes by Max is increasingly taking on the role of protector and decision-maker.  This is a big burden for a dog and one that should be shouldered by his humans.

Gradually Max’s stress levels should reduce as the barking gets less because the people will now deal with it appropriately. They are dedicated to helping him. As a more relaxed dog he should be more tolerant  – though all people should respect his dislike of outstretched hands and his people must take responsibility for this, even using a soft muzzle when children visit so that everyone can relax. The rule must always be Safety First.

NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Max, 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 – particularly where issues involved aggression of any kind. 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).

 

Highly Stressed Dachshunds. Two Little Dachshund Firecrackers

Lying down at last

Alfie

Highly Stressed Dachshunds

Alfie

Here they are – lying down at last! Miniature Daschund Alfie on the left and Eddie on the right. Both around four years old.

Highly stressed Dachshunds

Barking, excitement, peeing indoors, nipping, jumping up, easily spooked, scared of people……it’s a long list all coming back to one thing – stress.

Alfie was very scared of me, barking and hanging back, but eventually I could walk about, give him treats and even tickle him under the chin.

Eddie constantly jumped at me and barked and tried to get attention – becoming increasingly nippy until we put a lead on him. It’s surprising how high he can leap on his little short legs! They see this behaviour with callers as happy friendliness, but I don’t agree. Looking at the body language and behaviour, I saw a brave and anxious little dog.

Both highly stressed Dachshunds live on the edge – ready to explode, like little firecrackers and only settle for quiet cuddles when all is calm in the evening.

Too much of everything

The teenage son, who adores them, misguidedly teases and winds them up. They go mental at barking on TV and computer games which makes people laugh. It’s not really funny though. It is distressing for the dogs.

Play is too exciting with too much chasing and tugging for a dog that already grabs and nips. Tug-of-war is only a good game when done properly because it teaches letting go rather than grabbing, and it also teaches very careful control of teeth.

The actual reason I was called is that the two little dogs both constantly pee in the house – all over the place. I see this as a symptom of stress as much as an issue in itself. The door to the garden is always open but it makes no difference. It’s an old building with nooks and crannies and the dogs simply have too much freedom.

The people need to go back and do as they should have done originally when the dogs were puppies, restricting them to a really small area unless with them in the room where they can be watched for prowling, sniffing and disappearing behind things. I have given various strategies and ideas which, with time and patience along with working on the general stress and over-excitement should do the trick. One symptom of stress is excessive drinking – which of course will lead to more peeing.

Self control

I believe these highly stressed Dachshunds should be taught a bit of self-control by way of learning to wait calmly for things. They should get fuss and fun when calm, not when hyper and demanding. This self-control will eventually extend to the toileting as well. After about four years it is an entrenched habit, so it won’t be quick.

Everything must be done to calm these two dear little dogs down as much as possible. The highly stressed Dachshunds will be a lot happier for it – and so will their family.

A Growl Tells Us About Stress

Daschund having a cuddle

Schnitzel

Wirehaired Daschund

Schnitzel

Two lovely-natured and much-loved little Wire haired Daschunds (doesn’t the picture on the left tell a story!). Both are eighteen months of age but not brothers. They are competitive teenagers.

Schnitzel is a confident little dog – not needy at all. He loves a cuddle but is also happy to be alone. He is very happy with the very busy family life, all the friends and children who are in and out of the house. When he’s had enough he simply takes himself off. His way of showing attitude is by marking in the dogs’ beds and crate, sometimes staring his owners in the face as he does so!  This is MY space! There is competition between the dogs as to which is the greatest.

Little Noodle is a more highly strung. Things sometimes get a bit too much for him and the stress may build up until he’s had enough – enough of excitement, children and being pulled around. He has tried warning with gently growling but has been either scolded or ignored and he has now gone on to snapping the air and found this did the trick – the child quickly left him alone so he no doubt will do this again. He did, once, snap at their four-year-old’s face, marking it.  It can be hard teaching a child that grabbing or hugging dogs, or putting their face right into the dog’s, is something most dogs would not enjoy. The nearest a dog would know of a hug would be humping, and that could be an unwelcome and dominant action by the humper.

Just because the dogs are small and seriously cute, they are still dogs. Whilst they may love fuss, they can have a lot to put up with. A child might pick one up – because she can. Then the child may well be given a warning growl and if the growl is ignored – an air snap. Dogs can’t talk. It’s perfectly reasonable. If these little dogs had been born German Shepherds or Labradors they would have been treated very differently from the start.

What is now needed is a little understanding of Noodle’s personality and that sometimes he has simply ‘had enough’. He also can be defiant – he is a teenager after all. People need to watch for the signs and give him space. If confrontation is avoided he will learn to willingly cooperate if rewards are used. A reward is only like saying ‘Thank You’ after all. Both dogs need a safe haven away from young children when things get a bit too noisy.

The rule must be, for children in particular, ‘don’t pick the dogs up’! They are wonderful friendly little dogs, good with all people and other dogs. Absolute treasures in fact. It is important that children are not allowed to take advantage of their good nature.

Dear Little Wirehaired Daschund, Wary of Young Child

Wirehaired Daschund isn't happy when the child is nearNot a good photo as he merged with the background and the flash gave him eyes like flashlights!

Matty is a lovely friendly little dog, six years of age. He was with the breeder for the first three years of his life and came to my clients not well socialised at all.

They have worked very hard and with great success at habituating him to  real life, people, traffic and other dogs, and he is now a pleasure to walk – with the odd lapse when he sees a dog that for some reason he doesn’t like.

Recently a new child joined the family – a three year old boy, Sammy. However, Matty isn’t happy with him. There have been two mishaps. One when Matty suddenly leaped across the room, barking fiercely at the child and was fortunately intercepted by the lady, and another occasion where he grabbed his shorts. The lady, already nervous, is now on tenterhooks. In addition, there is a new baby due in a few months’ time.

The main ongoing problem has been that Matty is very reactive to all noises, on guard duty at the front door and charging around barking. He can wind himself up into a frenzy. The gentleman who works from home is finding it very hard, especially when he is talking on the phone to a customer and Matty is barking frantically in the background. Understandably Matty is shouted at which may stop him temporarily but doesn’t help him at all long term. All this barking will be raising his general stress levels, leaving him less tolerant of little boys and other dogs.

If the child is always kept away from Matty he will never learn that he’s harmless. In the same way that they have patiently socialised Matty by habituating him to real life, traffic, the town and so on, they need to do the same thing with the child – but making sure the environment is completely safe for both of them – in the same room but unable to actually make contact. Everyone must be relaxed and not fussing or on edge else Matty will pick up on it, and calm behaviour from Matty can be rewarded with food. It can be a slow process.

Matty’s humans need to take charge of the ‘perceived danger’ and barking, and help him out. A calmer dog will be much better able to cope with an active little boy.

A Christmas email, nearly three months later: “Just to let you know that we had the family here on Christmas day, my son, his partner, Sammy and the baby! All your advice has come to fruition and the pen definitely helped Matty and Sunny adjust and adapt to each other.  Matty was so good with Sammy and they more or less ignored each other all day!!!We cant thank you enough for your help and advice, it definitely would never have happened without it. Your help is priceless…and so very much appreciated! We cant thank you enough….”
 I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog. Please just check the map and contact me.
 

Bangers and Mash, Daschunds

Miniature daschund having his tummy tickled

Mash

Yesterday evening I went to visit Bangers and Mash (don’t you love it!), brother Miniature Dachshunds age 15 months.

Mash on the left having his tummy tickled (not by me – I never got that close) is the more nervous and noisy one of the pair and despite being considerably smaller than Bangers, he controls him. He prevents him walking where he wants to go with just a stare. He will walk the long way around to avoid a doorway Mash is occupying. Mash bullies Bangers and takes all toys off him to hoard for himself.They play beautifully but occasionally, when particularly stressed by something, they have a full blown fight, with a lot of noise, sounding and looking vicious but fortunately no damage has yet been done.

Bangers is the larger of the two miniature daschunds

Bangers

The other things that cause concern is how they behave when people come to the house, and when they go out on walks. Mash instigates. When people come to the door, the two barking dogs are blocking the doorway making it hard to open, Mash almost goes for ankles in his frenzy, and sometimes they redirect their frustrations and excitement onto one another. When they seem settled they may fire up again if the person walks about.

On walks they lunge and may go hysterical when approaching people and dogs, and again may redirect onto one another if walked together.

I suspect if these little dogs had their time again, and if from the start the humans had done things differently, things would not be like this. I am convinced that in the first crucial eleven weeks when they were still with the breeder, they will not have experienced sufficient handling, different people and environments, other dogs and so on. Their owners, not knowing the importance of early varied and positive experiences, sheltered them further during the next really important weeks, with a lovely large garden to play in. Then, to ‘socialisie’ them they went to puppy classes with Bangers going ballistic at other dogs and Mash shut down and shaking. They persisted in the common belief that it would break down their fears. In my experience it does the very opposite. So this is where we are at.

Reinforcing only calm behaviour with attention, rather than reacting to noisy or anxious behaviour, is the way to start. They have plenty of visitors to practise on, so if this is handled right, over time, the dogs should become more chilled. The same goes for encountering people or dogs on walks. Pressing ahead and forcing them into situations is the same sort of thing as the puppy classes. If this sort of thing worked, then it would have done so by now. So, things need to be done completely differently. In time the two little brothers will be walked together again, nicely, not particularly reacting to other dogs and, being in a calmer state, not needing to redirect anything onto one another.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog. Please just check the map and contact me.