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.


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Boisterous Golden Retriever Lacks

Alfie tolerates Fynn's exuberant behaviourGoldie Fynn is one year old. He is boisterous and confident. He lives with three-year-old black Labrador, Alfie.

His exuberance has been causing problems. A few weeks ago he bowled his lady owner over and she broke her ankle, so the gentleman has a lot to do just now.

Fynn feels it is his job to control both his humans and Alfie. He finds all sorts of ways to gain their attention and has learnt that if he persists with something annoying for long enough he will always get a reaction of some sort! When he is especially stirred up, like if someone comes to the house or they are released from their leads into an open space, Alfie will redirect his pent up stress and excitement onto poor Alfie, who gets ‘hounded’ and jumped upon. One day Alfie may begin to stand up for himself.

Fynn’s attitude has now spilled out onto walks where other dogs are concerned – when he’s on lead. He’s fine when he’s free, but on lead he reacts with barking and lunging and sounding rather aggressive. This is not helped because his anxious humans, the minute they see a dog and irrespective of whether Fynn reacts or not, they anxiously reel him in and maybe talk to him, believing it to be soothing. All they are doing is conveying their anxiety..’uh-oh, a dog…trouble!’. The previously sociable Alfie now joins in.

Between times Fynn is a wonderful pet. He is adolescent and will grow out of a lot of this so long as he’s given firm and consistent messages about who controls whom and who makes the decisions – whether at home or out on walks, and learns that nothing happens until he is in a calm state. This will take considerable patience and time – his humans just waiting quietly for him to be ready and calm before they walk him, let him in with visitors, feed him, and so on. Fynn will learn!

A month later: “Fynn is now a treat to walk on the lead. I am so pleased. Alfie is also much better”.
I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.

Staffie May Redirect onto Whippet

Staffie Maddie has extremely high stress levels


Over the months the stress both in and between these two 9-year-old dogs has been building up.

Staffie Maddie is almost impossibly noisy, pushy, barking and jumping up when the lady owner has guests – if she is allowed to join them at all – and little Misty, a Terrier Whippet cross, is also very vocal but with more obvious fear. People can’t hear themselves speak. The way they try to calm Maddie is to do as she demands and keep stroking her as she lies beside them. Not only is it giving her a very good reason to behave like this, but also, even while she is being given the attention she’s demanding, she is getting more and more worked up!

When I initially arrived Misty came through alone and she was quiet, relaxed and sniffing. It was only when Maddie rushed in that she, too, started to bark at me. Once little Misty has stopped barking, she watches Maddie. Sometimes she shakes. Maddie intimidates her when she’s like this. See how anxious she looks.

Misty is intimidated by Maddie


Maddie’s stress levels are extreme much of the time. Small things set her off. This is now increasingly being redirected onto Misty and there have been a couple of incidents, one resulting in blood.

Ten days ago I went on a fascinating weekend seminar by Dr. Susan Freidman about behaviour, consequences and reinforcement. It was like she was sitting on my shoulder. The more noise Maddie makes, the more attention she gets – sometimes scolding sometimes petting – but reinforcement either way. The more anxious Misty becomes, the more attention and fussing that earns also.

As soon as the lady comes downstairs in the morning, Maddie starts the day by rushing at the gate separating her from Misty and giving her a loud, warning bark. When she comes in from the garden, she noisily demands her breakfast – which she gets. Quite simply, barking works.

Maddie excelled at dog training classes. This is another example where traditional dog training is largely irrelevant, especially if it doesn’t take into consideration the home dynamics. Commands don’t reduce stress. In fact, ‘silence is golden’. Both dogs get a lot of excercise with lovely long country walks.

Whilst I was there Maddie was learning very quickly that the only attention she got from me was when she was still and quiet. She tried so very hard, bless her. She was distracting herself with a bit of displacement scratching and chewing in her efforts to keep calm while she was beginning to understand what was required. I, too, was learning just what level of gentle attention was enough not to break through that fine line and fired her up again. She is so eager to please and only needs to understand what is required, and then for all the humands to be consistent.

It can be so hard for us humans to break our own old habits.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.

Excitement When People Come to House

Sleeping EBT


Over time I have realised certain patterns in dog behaviour difficulties. For instance, it is more unusual for a dog who walks casually and peacefully on a loose lead to be scared or aggressive towards dogs it meet on walks.

Another is that most dogs with problems relating to stress in the house mostly also have problems out on walks.

Staffie Lyra looks away when I point my phone at her


English Bull Terrier Lenny and Staffie Lyra are exceptions to this – and it applies to both dogs, which points to it being more to do with the owners’ own behaviour than their dogs’, and is testament to their owners’ better guidance skills when outside on walks.

Lyra is extremely agitated, anxious and excited when ‘outsiders’ come into the house, (you can see her looking away when I pointed my phone at her for the photo). Initially she flies all over the place barking, and then she redirects her frustrations and energy onto Lenny, licking, chewing and goading him. He is a much calmer dog but may eventually start on her also.

It took Lyra a long time to settle down when I was there.

It’s the ‘at home’ PG (Protection and Guidance) Leadership that needs attending to. This sort of interaction which is the equivalent of human quarrelling, pushing and shoving needs to be nipped in the bud, not by using scolding or commands but by splitting them as another dog would do. They simply need to learn not to do it, and Lyra needs an acceptable replacement activity on which to unwind. It would be quite bad manners for humans to be carrying on like this when people came to the house!  It may initially mean waiting for quite a while with the dogs in another room before Lyra in particular is sufficiently calm to be brought in. They also need more visitors, ‘guinea pigs’, so people visiting becomes more commonplace.

One month later: “Since your last visit our house is so much calmer, you have given me the skills & confidence to be a good leader/parent to my dogs & they are much happier now as a result of it. Visitors who have come round have ALL commented at how calm Lyla is, in fact my 4 year ‘dog phobic’ niece came on a dog walk with us on Sunday- their was NO barking & they just walked along as normal practically ignoring her.  On the walk we went to town, sat outside a coffee shop & had a drink & biscuits – the dogs remained calm & just sat down quietly…. we then all came into the house where my niece fed the dogs a biscuit each.  The dogs remained calm & did not jump up or bark…VERY IMPRESSED!!
Also even the barking at the window etc has now been controlled by the ‘Thank You’ technique, and the barking when we come home from work is now minimal or non existant. I have been singing your praises to anyone who listens”.
 I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.

Two Very Well Loved Little Jack Russells

George, Jack Russell on the left, is more confident than RubyBoth George and Ruby have come to their new home in the past year. George is confident for the most part but Ruby, who had been found wandering on a dual carriageway, is easily scared.

If it were not for the fact that at times of high arousal George will go for Ruby – nothing too serious as yet – their owners could carry on as they are.

Ruby is easily intimidated if approached directly or when she knows something is required of her – most especially when they want her to go either out into the garden to toilet or for a walk. She needs to be treated sensitively and carefully, without too much in the way of demands made upon her. There are other ways to go about getting her outside happily with a bit of forward planning.

George is King of the Castle! A bit too much homage is going on! He is twelve years old, in very good shape for his age, and it’s hard for them not to dance to his tune!

Some basic rules and boundares along with removing all the decision-making from their shoulders is going to make all the difference to these two little dogs. The episodes of George going for Ruby only happen when the two dogs are stressed or aroused – and only when the owners are about. This is a clue as to where the pressure is coming from, in spite of – or because of – the great love they have for their dogs. Too much is being asked of them, and they need to be allowed a bit more time just to be….dogs.

They are incredibly lucky to have ended up in such a wonderful and caring home and have certainly landed on their four feet!

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.