Attacked Three Times by Other Male Dogs. Walks Spoiled

Dogs have attacked Coco. Three times.

Off-lead, out of control dogs can cause so much damage. The actions of people who risk letting their own reactive dog run freely up to another dog can completely spoil the future walks of both the dog it attacked and his owners.

The young lady did everything possible to give her beautiful Shiba Inu, now eighteen months old, the perfect start in life.  She chose Coco so carefully from a good breeder and socialised him brilliantly to people, other dogs, noise etc. They lived in a flat in London and took him everywhere with them, habituating him well to daily life.

She really couldn’t have done more.

Attacked three times.

In giving him the opportunity to play and get to know other dogs, like all of us she took the risk of his encountering ‘the wrong’ dogs. On three separate occasions another dog attacked Coco. It seems they were males each time. Continue reading…

No More Worries on Walks

Just over two months ago I visited  two gorgeous Shiba Inus, Shoko and Azuki (http://www.dogidog.co.uk/?p=15394)

Amongst other problems Azuki was very fearful when out on walks – of loud traffic, anything unusual and most particularly of approaching people. He would lunge and bark. His humans were not enjoying ShibaInuswalks.

We developed a plan that combined management, training and behaviour work – most particularly with Azuki out on walks, working with him by himself.

Life now is a lot easier. I received this email today: “I actually enjoy walking the dogs now! The baby gate has made a big difference, it’s so much calmer in our house. Energy and excitement levels stay much more steady! Much less jumping up happening too – which is great. Because I’m not concerned about them knocking over my nephew like I was before they can interact a bit more which helps them learn more about kids too”.

Shiba Inu Barks at People When Out

Shiba Inus' owners have put a lot of time into training them but there are a few things that make them reactive stillI have only previously been to four Shiba Inus in all my time doing this. Here we have female Shoko age 2 and male Azuki, 18 months. Shibas can be a challenge and are noted for being somewhat aloof, not easy to trust off lead and not too good with other dogs. These two are an absolute pleasure because their people have put so much effort into their training.

I find it very interesting how many dogs that live in London are proofed against noise and traffic. These two go to work daily with the lady which involves a walk by busy streets, a trip through a park and then a bus journey. Both dogs are excellent off lead and never run off. They are fine with other dogs.

The problem is that Azuki, who can cope with crowds and sirens and traffic, is scared of lone people – though fine when they come into his house. He is absolutely fine in moving crowds, but it is when a person is standing still at a bus stop, or may look like he or she is lurking or if a single person is approaching head on from a distance that he spooks. He will bark fiercely. He also reacts aggressively if someone suddenly appears out of a doorway or around a corner, or if for some reason they look ‘different’, and this despite his being a London dog used to all sorts of cultural differences and garments. Like many dogs, he is worse with men and in the dark.

If you think about it, we ourselves might feel the same if somehow we were trapped and feeling vulnerable. If we see a single person standing still it could be intimidating, particularly if they are staring at us or wearing something that prevents us from seeing them properly.  If I were walking alone down the road in the dark and a lone man was walking towards me, I would be very aware of him – in a way I wouldn’t if the street was full of people.  I would feel even worse if I were shackled (like, in effect, a dog is on lead). We also would be alarmed if all was quiet and suddenly someone appeared round a corner, particularly if we were unable to run. With lots of people moving about we feel invisible.

I’m sure the main cause of Azuki’s unease is because, necessarily, he’s trapped on lead. The person holding the other end of the lead isn’t behaving in a way that gives him confidence. In fact she herself admitted she was mirroring his own tension and so she reacts inappropriately and is in fact feeding anxiety down the lead. The result is that he barks at people.

People often need to work on themselves before they can work on the dog. She will behave more confidently and work on being much more relevant to him when out. The two owners will take the dogs to work with them separately so they can work on Azuki alone.  She can keep his attention on her. Fortunately he is very food orientated and while his eyes are looking into her own or while he’s sniffing the path for bits of dropped chicken he won’t be barking at an approaching person!

Two Shiba Inus

ShibaInusWhat beautiful dogs. This is the first time, out of literally thousands of dogs over time, that I have ever been to a Shiba Inu. They look like little foxes.  Shiba Inu is Japanese for Little Dog.

Zoe and Harvey are very good little dogs. They both go to work with their male owner most days, spending time both in the van and the office, and they cause no trouble at all. They are very well cared for in every way. They should be having a lovely life.

I was called out because they feel Harvey is withdrawn and miserable. They naturally have tried to jolly him along, by lifting him up and trying to get him excited for example, and the gentleman in particular gives him a lot of attention – responding to all Harvey’s demands. Harvey can be quite needy.

I didn’t see a miserable dog. I saw a dog that is quietly in charge, and with that sort of responsibility he is serious-minded, a little aloof and not playful. Also a little scared.

I see a little dog who, when relieved of his responsibilities, should relax and become more playful and less withdrawn. Making their own decisions around the things that are important in life can be scary for a dog, and it is the same old thing – a question of leadership/dog parenting.

It is even more confusing for a dog when the owner will be fussing and cuddling him on demand, allowing him to walk all over him quite literally, but then is also a little harsh with discipline. Domination techniques like pinning down can result in problems including shutting down and even retaliation. People are unfortunately persuaded to use these methods by TV programmes.

If you have a dog that seems ‘shut down’, withdrawn or sad and if you live in my area, I can help you.