Jump to content

Agression Increasing - Non Grey


Recommended Posts

Barkley was foisted on me 2 years ago. I didn't really want him but my niece had just gotten a divorce, the girl she was moving in with would not let her take her three dogs so she pawned Barkley on me, Jack on my sister and finally arranged to take one dog with her. Barkley came advertised as "25 pounds of pure love".

 

Barkley grew up with the two other dogs but never once was walked or taken to PetSmart so he wasnt very socialized. He also lived with a 13 year old that terrorized him and an owner that drop kicked him across the kitchen. When my niece moved out she left Barkley, Andy and Jack in her abandoned house for over 4 months, stopping by (she said) once a day to feed, water and let them out. Barkley and Andy (brothers) started attacking Jack so he lived in the bathroom. I called Animal Control more than once, but all they ever did was look in the windows. About 4 months after I got Barkley I went to the still abandoned house. The dogs had torn up ever piece of furniture, there was still a torn open 4 month old bag of food in the floor, so combined with the fact every floor in the house was covered an inch with pee and poop made me wonder how often they were checked on. I won't go into the 10 month old contents I cleaned out of the fridge...some of the liquid in bags started out as produce.

 

To say Barkley had SA would be an understatement. It took him about 6 months to realize I was coming home. We spent time working on leash manners and a few simple commands. Then about 6 months ago he started becomming increasingly agressive to other dogs, both on walks and thru the door and window. With positive reinforcement he's become better on not attacking fences with barking dogs behind them but more and more agressive to other dogs face to face. It's like the more comfortable he becomes here the blusterier he gets...except he is still terrified of my male neighbors.

 

I know a little about dogs, but have never had a dog agressive one (or in Barkley's case an alternately scared to death of men and hating other dogs - certain ones in particular). My two yorkies, Poodle and all my greys have been very sweet. I am just not sure what to do with a handful of terrier and don't want every other person that walks a dog on my block to hate me.

 

He obviously needs training. There is a trainer up north that takes agressive dogs into a boarding situation and works with them. I'm just afraid that his being a guy would send Barkley over the edge. I am leaning to a group class with me to get him socialized, but am not sure how to find a good one. It is such a crapshoot. The best training class I ever went to was at Petsmart and the worst was a very expensive greyhound only one.

 

Oddly, inside the house and with fosters that have come through he is just fine, nurturing and licking everyones ears. It is just outside he is such a jerk....

 

BTW - years before taking Barkley I brought her Doxie here and got him placed through Doxie rescue. He was returned once for agression (guess that happens when you're kicked) but finally found a forever home. Before I finally took him he got out and was picked up by the pound so many times I called the director once and said "Laura, about the Doxy on 55th..." She said " Weiner Von Schlong? After 5 tickets they knew him well. Then she started chaining him in the yard on a non swivel chain, got another ticket and asked me to take him. Some people really shouldn't have dogs.

 

I really hate to place Barkley in rescue because he's had such a bad lot in life and really wants to be a good dog, he just doesn't know how and I dont know how to help him. It is just out of my level of experience.

 

Thanks all -

gallery_8149_3261_283.jpg
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure an obedience class will welcome a dog with aggression problems. My Spinner was turned away because of his leash-reactivity. Can you talk with the trainer up north about Barkley's unique needs and see if that trainer has some ideas or recommendations for you closer to home. I agree that a boarding situation might not be ideal for a dog with that kind of history. I hope you can hang on with him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the first thing to consider is whether you're willing and able to put the time and effort into working with Barkley, knowing that his 'issues' may require lifelong management. I realize your post is to ask for help, and you sound fairly committed to him, but your last paragraph makes me wonder... As you've noticed, having 'normal' easy dogs doesn't prepare you for one with aggression and reactivity problems. But we all start somewhere, and you can learn so much more about dog behavior and training from a dog like Barkley than all the other dogs combined.

 

There are a lot of resources out there, and if you can find a good, knowledgeable trainer or behaviorist within a reasonable distance, that will help. My biggest emphasis there would be to make sure you find a professional whose methods are based on positive reinforcement, rewards, and a solid understanding of learning theory. And avoid anyone who relies on confrontational, dominance-based methods. In general, I'm not a fan of "board and train" facilities, as teaching you to work with him is just as, if not more, important than the training itself. Will try to post more later - need to head back to work now.

Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

Ollie (whippet), Gracie (whippet x), & Terra (whippet) + Just Saying + Just Alice

gtsig3.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have a Jilly Bean. The only thing that has worked for me with Jilly Bean is a martingale collar. She came with a prong collar and I can't use those, they just seem cruel so I got her a martingale that basically does the same thing without pain involved. I started walking her and teaching her to look at me, with lots and lots of little treats. I also took the approach that the minute she started pulling on the leash I would turn around and walk in the other direction. We did it so many times I got dizzy. She finally got so fed up that she quit pulling. In the beginning I tried the heel approach but with her I was the one coming out looking like an idiot. Darn terriers are so freaking smart! Any time she complied I treated her. Also if we saw another dog coming I would switch side of the street, make her sit and look at me until the dog had passed, treat and then go on our way. It works great until the day a huge lab comes running up to us with it's owners right behind it telling us he won't hurt us, he's very friendly. I scooped Jilly up and told them I wasn't worried about their dog hurting us I was worried about Jilly hurting their dog!

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't do a boarding training situation. Those are typically trainers with strong handed methods. At least with my leash reactive dog(poodle) any sort of coercive training has always made him worse. Counter conditioning is working well with him so far...the behavioral vet and behavorialist I work with are big fans of BAT training. I actually haven't tried it with him yet as he also chases cars on leash and we've been working on that first but we've made a lot of progress there and while it's crossing over to the dog reactivity as well I'm going to try the BAT stuff next.

 

Here's the website: http://functionalrewards.com/ There's a good yahoo discussion group you can find through that site. Lots of strongly opinionated people but lots of good experience and insight. I've learned a lot by reading it over the past few months....

 

As far as equipment Ive had the best luck with a gentle leader. I've used an easy walk harness as well but he was so reactive I needed a little more control so neither of us got hurt. He's come a really long way and I'm thinking about trying the harness again. A lot equipment wise is dog-dependent...any neck collar stresses mine out so I never walk him in any sort of buckle, martingale, prong etc and he's learned to relax on leash a lot from taking that piece out. It's vital he learns how to relax so you can make forward progress.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest 2dogs4cats

You have a Jilly Bean. The only thing that has worked for me with Jilly Bean is a martingale collar. She came with a prong collar and I can't use those, they just seem cruel so I got her a martingale that basically does the same thing without pain involved. I started walking her and teaching her to look at me, with lots and lots of little treats. I also took the approach that the minute she started pulling on the leash I would turn around and walk in the other direction. We did it so many times I got dizzy. She finally got so fed up that she quit pulling. In the beginning I tried the heel approach but with her I was the one coming out looking like an idiot. Darn terriers are so freaking smart! Any time she complied I treated her. Also if we saw another dog coming I would switch side of the street, make her sit and look at me until the dog had passed, treat and then go on our way. It works great until the day a huge lab comes running up to us with it's owners right behind it telling us he won't hurt us, he's very friendly. I scooped Jilly up and told them I wasn't worried about their dog hurting us I was worried about Jilly hurting their dog!

 

This is good advice. I tried this approach with a maltese that was aggressive/reactive to everything (people, dogs, bikes). He had been couped up in a laundry room his whole life and abused. He caught on very quick, but he was very food motivated. He's much better now (not perfect) and lives with my daughter in TX. She adores him.

 

ETA: I didn't use a martingale though, just a regular collar.

Edited by 2dogs4cats
Link to comment
Share on other sites

sounds like terrier behavior to me. they are lunatics w/ large breeds- outside anyway. willie wonka went to reform school at age 10! yup, that's exactly what the trainer who i worked w/ when he was a pup(had his master's degree in obedience- agility training as well) and i called those reshaping classes. all of his past training went out the window when another dog pounced on him. he went after the dog who pounced on him and cujo came out after that....all of his FEAR showed up.

 

in class we worked on social issues, since his heeling, recall and everything else was beautiful. distractions were used, focusing on me and long sits and downs in class near all of the BIG dogs(that's what he had an issue w/). on walks willie HAD to go into a submissive down position when i felt the slightest rumble from this throat and his focus was brought back to me- look command.

 

i don't know if you have the time or a sensitive trainer w/ tons of experience. but it worked, in the end willie went back to being willie wonka. he did favor greyhounds above all other large dogs and still hated golden retrievers- but kept that terrier mouth shut.

 

i was told by his breeder that he would spend his life challenging me and that one needed a firm hand to successfully live w/ a welsh terrier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds like Barkley has multiple issues, and I'd suggest making a list to clarify and prioritize the problems. This will help you break it down into separate components to work on, and also help set realistic goals.

 

From your initial post, the individual problems I see are:

- separation anxiety (resolved?)

- aggression toward other dogs on walks

- aggression toward other dogs seen through the door/window

- barrier frustration? (attacking fences with dogs behind them)

- aggression toward other dogs face to face (is this just on leash, or also off?)

- fear of men

 

These are all separate issues that need to be addressed individually. Some may be more important to work on first, while other situations can be avoided and may not need immediate attention. Can you block access to the door/windows while inside your house to avoid that trigger? Are walks in locations and at times where you will run into other dogs unavoidable? It also helps to clarify exactly what his aggressive responses in these situations. Does he bark, growl, lunge, snap, or bite? Or (usually) some combination of those or other signs?

 

In these situations, what would you like him to do instead? For example, when coming across other people/dogs on a walk, set a goal of what you want him to do, not just what you don't want him to do (become reactive). A goal of calmly following you away from the other person/dog may be more realistic than staying calm while you stop and talk to your neighbor, or wanting him to be friendly and greet the other dog.

 

How good are you at reading his body language to tell when he starts to show calming signals, when he tenses up, the point right before he gets overwhelmed and loses self control? Is there a distance at which he can tolerate these situations, where you can still get his attention?

 

The training techniques Judy (JillysFullHouse) and greytlucy mentioned are good, and it helps implement those methods if you are very in tune with your dog's subtle body language. The basic points are to 1) avoid situations that trigger his reactivity, 2) reward calm behavior, and 3) gradually desensitize to situations that he needs to learn to cope with because they can't be reasonably avoided long term.

 

If Barkley has been getting worse, has been frequently exposed to situations that trigger his aggression, and is generally high strung and anxious, he may need a prolonged period of downtime for his system to recover from chronic stress. Stress causes physiologic changes within the body, and especially after prolonged stress, it can take several weeks for stress hormones to return to normal. Allowing the dog a period of calm, quiet downtime with no exposure to triggers can often help him start to learn to relax and be more receptive to training. Here's a good article that explains the effects of stress.

 

Regarding specific techniques, it's often a matter of trial-and-error to find what works for you and your dog. There are lots of different ways to use non-aversive, reward-based training methods. The methods Judy used with Jilly are commonly used, effective ones. One thing I've found is that if you have the room to do so, keeping the dog moving in an arc to pass another dog is easier and requires less self-control than asking the dog to sit while the other dog passes.

 

I personally prefer a martingale or body harness instead of a head halter. A head halter like the Gentle Leader may provide more control and leverage, but can be dangerous especially for a small dog (neck injury if the dog lunges). It can also make the dog more uncomfortable by inhibiting their ability to communicate and signal naturally, and suppress behavior rather than teaching the dog to truly relax and cope.

 

Resources that I've found invaluable in working with and understanding a reactive dog are Turid Rugaas's books and DVDs. Here's a website that summarizes her works. The Calming Signals book and DVD help you understand and identify a dog's subtle body language. And her books on Barking and Pulling are both very applicable to reactive behavior.

 

If you're looking to find a local trainer or behaviorist to provide hands-on assistance, don't hesitate to interview candidates and ask to observe them in action by auditing a class or two before making any commitments. Here are a few sites you can search to see if there are any certified trainers or behavior consultants in your area.

 

Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists

 

International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants

 

Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers

 

Best of luck with Barkley, and keep us posted on how things are going!

Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

Ollie (whippet), Gracie (whippet x), & Terra (whippet) + Just Saying + Just Alice

gtsig3.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

your walking barkley w/ your other dogs right??? that most likely stimulates the agressive behavior as well as the external dog triggers. terriers have to be top dog! it's really difficult to focus in on his outburst if other dogs are in tow.

 

this may sound stupid/simple but it works....step on the leash as close to the collar as possible and get him in a down position and keep him there until the other dog is gone. don't let him up until he is totally calm. i never used a head leader on either of my terriers. the horrible looking pinch collar gives them the maternal bite but they do open up really easily, i never used that either. i use either flat buckle collar or a snap choke( a nylon choke collar that snaps on directly under the head, very little pull gives them the message, it's the same size as their neck) and a leather leash(nylon slip right out of your hands when you are making a fast correction). tools are important but it's technique in responding that more important w/ a terrier. you can't day dream for a split second.

 

having lived w/ terriers for 17 years, my scottie was the exact opposite- alpha male who just gave any dog stink eye and they bolted. he never opened his mouth and having a reactive welsh- it's nearly impossible to stay away from stimulants. they sense it a block away-and are pretty obnoxious. i spent way too many cycles in willie's loving life retraining, but i was forewarned by his breeder and she felt that i would do what ever is necessary to keep him in line. w/ terriers you are talking about smart strong headed critters. when ever someone came up to me and said,"oh, i love your dog. i want one just like that, a w/t, right?" i would respond by saying,"do you have the time for 4+ years of obedience training? this dog has his masters+in obedience."

 

but i will say, i could not have achieved all of my work w/o the assistance of knowledgable trainers. i tip my hat to their skills. jjng's resources are most important. your mentor will figure out if you should step on a leash, move away or what ever and train YOU so barkely can overcome his road blocks- at least temporarily. pam, you have done a wonderful thing taking barkley in, he's going thru a typical insecure terrier thing. he can be reformed, it will make YOU a stronger person. keep your head up and give that dog a hug!

 

akc and apdt(but they certify trainers w/ less experience than the akc) both have excellent resources for schools & classes. he needs a group setting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

You have a Jilly Bean...I also took the approach that the minute she started pulling on the leash I would turn around and walk in the other direction. We did it so many times I got dizzy. She finally got so fed up that she quit pulling.

Judy thanks! I can't tell you how far we have progressed using this. He is being walked using a harness, which has worked way better for us than a collar.

gallery_8149_3261_283.jpg
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...