LC is the first Hungarian Puli I have ever been to. The picture on the left shows how they usually look, but they have had her clipped (on the right) so this is what they really look like under all those ringlets! They feel she seems a lot happier like this.
They had been within half an hour of having four-year-old LC put to sleep for biting the midwife when she called to see the daughter’s new baby a few days ago. This was the first woman she had bitten.
The biting occurances are increasing. Until the midwife it’s always been when men who are standing or walking. It is when they arrive or want to depart. When I stood up to go she suddenly changed from being a really friendly little dog, lying on her back for tummy tickles, to an angry barker. I say angry, because from her body language it just didn’t look in any way like fear.
They also have a Miniature Poodle, Pickle, who LC likes to control. She won’t let her out through the garden door ahead of her and on walks LC has to be in front and if not, she will body slam her or even go for her. They have had a few serious fights because, although Pickle is scared and the one that ends up bleeding, she is now also beginning to stand up for herself.
The common denominator is excitement and stress. Both dogs bark at the slightest thing and LC may go for an over-excited Pickle. When people come into the house, family or friends, LC will redirect her frustration onto Pickle – and a spat may ensue. The humans then will be shouting at them to be quiet and to get down which adds to the mayhem. When I arrived at the house Pickle was barking and jumping up on me and LC, barking also, went for Pickle.
There are a several things to deal with in these dogs’ lives to calm things down drastically. Their diet may be compounding the problem. The first step is to desensitise them to the things that work them up the most – including family walking in and out of the house, picking up keys and having harnesses put on.
Tomorrow is Christmas Day! They are having a large family gathering on Boxing Day.
We had to think up something quickly to protect people and dogs. They have already bought a couple of gates so each dog now has her own ‘zone’ whenever necessary, and the family are working on the logistics of their comings and goings, making sure the dogs are shut in their zones until calm. It is complicated. When someone wants to go out they must first put the dogs in their places. When they want to come in they will use the front door and ring the bell, to give people already in the house time to ‘zone’ the dogs!
The dogs will not be let back together or into company until they have calmed down. This could take time, and shouting at them to be quiet is not allowed!
I know how badly the family want to succeed and to be able to keep their dear dog, and they are dedicated to doing all that is necessary now that they know what that is. Putting to sleep a dear dog is heartbreaking. The ‘zoning’ won’t have to be forever, but is necessary in order to manage the situation while they work on it.