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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks just come back from a meeting with the owners of the DA staffie I walk and wanted to let those who generously offered advice know how we got on.

http://www.petforums.co.uk/dog-chat/270467-da-staff.html

Not good.:(

As predicted, the female owner was fine and really listened. The male owner just talked over me.:mad:

I voiced my concerns about compounding his aggression issues and she agreed and is also worried they may be adding to it also rather than resolving the behavior. She explained how they use positive reinforcement (treats) and I agreed that this course of action is in my opinion the right way to go about it. He on the other hand thinks it's NOT working and is now going to resort to negative reinforcement - choke collar, spray collar, being stricter and punishment. He thinks the problem with the dog is that he's spoilt.

I tried to explain (not easy when someone is refusing to listen and continues talking over you :mad:) that a spray collar will only amp up his aggression and will worsen the behavior. :( I told them I don't think it will work/will possibly exacerbate the behavior. And was informed they're still going ahead with it.

The staff itself, as I explained to them is not showing behavioral aggression and that it's situational. He doesn't trust other dogs because of being attacked previously so he's pre-empting any meet with a new dog and chasing it off as a defense mechanism if it gets into his personal space because he's worried it will attack him.

The other issue is he's a terrible resource guarder and refuses to drop the ball because he thinks someone else will steal it. The male owner informed me that I have to be firmer with him when telling him to drop it and he always drops it for him. :eek: I tried explaining that the difference between him and me is that I have other dogs with me and if the dog is worried that another dog is going to steal it on him then of course he's not going to drop it for me.

So, i informed them that I will be walking him on his own from now on, muzzled and on-lead. Male owner did get slightly annoyed and to paraphrase 'that's not going to help him if he can't socialize with other dogs?'.:mad:

So there we have it, I'm being used as not only an exercise tool for the dog but a problem solver also. Least now I know now for definite what he was hoping for- some stranger to come, take their problem dog and fix him. Apparently when they rehomed the dog, their dog walker at the time worked miracles on him and did all his training. Got him to walk to heel (with a choke collar I might add) and all the basics. I told them I think it would be best if they hired a professional, accredited trainer to do one-on-one with them and he said he tried google and couldn't find anyone. The spray collar is the last resort and he won't wear muzzles for them. Told them I use a muzzle on him and he happily accepts it? Think he doesn't want to walk the dog in public wearing one because of what people will think? But it's ok for me to?:crazy:

He informed me he's just going to have to be stricter and break the dog down. When he said that I nearly lost the plot! I remained calm however and asked him 'you want to wipe away any confidence the already stressed, anxious and unhappy dog has?' And he said, no possibly the wrong choice of phrase. Just that he wants the dog to realise who's boss blah blah blah.

The whole meeting was very civilized and I didn't lose my temper, obviously not going to tell them how to train their dog but at the same time I was kind of hoping they might take on board what I was saying.

I think this dog is just going to get worse with DIY behavior modification.

I tried. Not quite sure what to do now though. I'm fond of the dog and want to see him happy but if his behavior worsens then I really don't want to be around to see it/deal with it.

What would you do?:(
 

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Oh dear. It sounds like you definitely did the best thing. I might be tempted to get a business card from a good trainer/behaviourist and give it to the wife seeing as she seems a lot more on board with good, positive methods.
 

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Totally up to you of course, and I think it's worth trying for a bit longer, but..........

I was offered a job where the dog is left in a crate for 9 hours and they expected me to exercise for an hour and then lock it away again.
I couldn't do it, I'd cry every day.
I do this job for the joy it gives not to pander to stupid owners. :(

Sounds as if you still have a chance to make a difference to this dog, but if it makes you unhappy at all, then walk away
 

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The worst thing here is that Mr Know it All is going to make the dog's aggression far worse, and then they will return him to rescue because the dog obviously had something wrong with it. I would like to see this owner put in kennels myself. I'm afraid if you can't get through to them and these two different approaches are going to confuse the poor dog, I would be inclined to walk away.

You will only upset yourself otherwise.
 

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Honestly I think I would refuse to walk him anymore. :(

With the way they are going they are going to make the poor boy's issues much worse and you are going to be in the firing line. You're responsible for him and walking a known aggressive dog may not be covered by your insurance.

As harsh as it is and as much as it would be terrible for the poor boy I think you might have to look at how you and your business might be negatively impacted.

I would also do what Phoolf suggested and try to steer the wife at least to a reputable trainer/behaviourist.
 

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What a rubbish situation :(

I think I'd be inclined to try and get some details of local trainers or training classes but if he still shows no interest in trying them then at that point I'd walk away.

However much you could be able to help the dog while he was with you, nothing is really going to change unless the owners do.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys - I recommended a dog trainer that I know but I get the impression it's fallen on deaf, male ears. The wife won't stand up to him - she actually texted me just now to apologize for his behavior and said he can be quite rude and blunt because he's South African and that's how they are. I know what type of guy he is and it's nothing to do with his heritage:mad: He's not going to listen to her or anybody else and will do what he thinks is best.

I told him this behavior, as it only started because of an attack, could be reversed with proper training in place. He informed me that the woman who runs these 'staffy socialization classes' they go to said that's just how he is and there's nothing they can do about it. :eek:

The dog kicks off whenever there's a new dog attending the class and tbh, if I was a member of that class I wouldn't be happy with an aggressive dog there. This 'trainer' really should have asked them to leave by now as I can only imagine how disruptive the DA staff is and by the owners' own admission, upsets the other dogs in attendance.

The blind leading the blind, eh?:rolleyes:

I'm torn - really want to help but if they can't help themselves, then my efforts will be wasted. The dog is the only one who will suffer in the long run and it will break my heart to see. Thought just occurred to me- if he asks me to walk that dog using a choke collar to continue his 'training', I'm going to tell him only if he wears it first and then walk away.:mad:
 

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Can I be blunt?

And I say this to be kind:

This is not your dog and his training is down to his owners. Yes, you are probably right and you have tried your best to convince the owners not to do the wrong thing.

Now you have to take a big step back.

If they will book you for solo walks - great. If not, move on and wish them well - they may in fact come back to you in the future when they realise you were right.

But there's no point in stressing this much over a dog that is not yours and over whom you have no control.
 
G

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Can I be blunt?

And I say this to be kind:

This is not your dog and his training is down to his owners. Yes, you are probably right and you have tried your best to convince the owners not to do the wrong thing.

Now you have to take a big step back.

If they will book you for solo walks - great. If not, move on and wish them well - they may in fact come back to you in the future when they realise you were right.

But there's no point in stressing this much over a dog that is not yours and over whom you have no control.
Thanks for your bluntness :D

I can't help it. It's just how I am. Hate seeing animals in distress.

Used to volunteer at my local SSPCA and really enjoyed it but had to give it up because I found it so distressing, especially when I found out that most of the dogs weren't being walked on a daily basis. :(

And quit vet nursing because was heartbreaking working in an industry which i naively thought was focused 100% on animal care and not on profit margins.:(
 

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Thanks for your bluntness :D

I can't help it. It's just how I am. Hate seeing animals in distress.

Used to volunteer at my local SSPCA and really enjoyed it but had to give it up because I found it so distressing, especially when I found out that most of the dogs weren't being walked on a daily basis. :(

And quit vet nursing because was heartbreaking working in an industry which i naively thought was focused 100% on animal care and not on profit margins.:(
I'm the same but I'm afraid you need to direct that compassion towards the other dogs that you walk - all of whom are being placed at risk.

When your focus and energy are on the DA Staff, there is much less for those other dogs. Thus THEY are being put at risk.

It simply does not seem fair to me to put the needs of this one dog, above the needs of the other dogs in the group.

I would offer solo walks and if that's no good for these owners, so be it. Otherwise I'm afraid it's an accident waiting to happen.

You are running a business and you have to *be* business-like :) That means protecting ALL of your canine clients.
 
G

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm the same but I'm afraid you need to direct that compassion towards the other dogs that you walk - all of whom are being placed at risk.

When your focus and energy are on the DA Staff, there is much less for those other dogs. Thus THEY are being put at risk.

It simply does not seem fair to me to put the needs of this one dog, above the needs of the other dogs in the group.

I would offer solo walks and if that's no good for these owners, so be it. Otherwise I'm afraid it's an accident waiting to happen.

You are running a business and you have to *be* business-like :) That means protecting ALL of your canine clients.
I'm solo walking him as of tomorrow. Will be his first walk with me this week. They seem happy enough with that but were disappointed he won't be socialized on our walks anymore. Tough cookie! Am waiting for the 'instructions' on how to use this spray collar.......I just know he'll ask me to use it on him even though I've made my feelings on this very clear! And then it WILL be the final chat.
 

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He on the other hand thinks it's NOT working and is now going to resort to negative reinforcement - choke collar, spray collar, being stricter and punishment. He thinks the problem with the dog is that he's spoilt.

This is not negative reinforcement, it is positive punishment

The staff itself, as I explained to them is not showing behavioral aggression and that it's situational. He doesn't trust other dogs because of being attacked previously so he's pre-empting any meet with a new dog and chasing it off as a defense mechanism if it gets into his personal space because he's worried it will attack him.

So this is not behavioural aggression? Pray tell, what is it?

The other issue is he's a terrible resource guarder and refuses to drop the ball because he thinks someone else will steal it. The male owner informed me that I have to be firmer with him when telling him to drop it and he always drops it for him. :eek: I tried explaining that the difference between him and me is that I have other dogs with me and if the dog is worried that another dog is going to steal it on him then of course he's not going to drop it for me.

So, i informed them that I will be walking him on his own from now on, muzzled and on-lead. Male owner did get slightly annoyed and to paraphrase 'that's not going to help him if he can't socialize with other dogs?'.:mad:

So there we have it, I'm being used as not only an exercise tool for the dog but a problem solver also. Least now I know now for definite what he was hoping for- some stranger to come, take their problem dog and fix him. Apparently when they rehomed the dog, their dog walker at the time worked miracles on him and did all his training. Got him to walk to heel (with a choke collar I might add) and all the basics. I told them I think it would be best if they hired a professional, accredited trainer to do one-on-one with them and he said he tried google and couldn't find anyone. The spray collar is the last resort and he won't wear muzzles for them. Told them I use a muzzle on him and he happily accepts it? Think he doesn't want to walk the dog in public wearing one because of what people will think? But it's ok for me to?:crazy:

He informed me he's just going to have to be stricter and break the dog down. When he said that I nearly lost the plot! I remained calm however and asked him 'you want to wipe away any confidence the already stressed, anxious and unhappy dog has?' And he said, no possibly the wrong choice of phrase. Just that he wants the dog to realise who's boss blah blah blah.

The whole meeting was very civilized and I didn't lose my temper, obviously not going to tell them how to train their dog but at the same time I was kind of hoping they might take on board what I was saying.

I think it is very wise that you are not giving advice on how to train their dog bearing in mind that you do not appear to have the relevant skills, knowledge, ability, training or experience in this area.

I think this dog is just going to get worse with DIY behavior modification.

I tried. Not quite sure what to do now though. I'm fond of the dog and want to see him happy but if his behavior worsens then I really don't want to be around to see it/deal with it.

What would you do?:(
I think you need to remember a tenet of all professions. Know your limitations and do not try to fix things that are beyond your capability. ;)
 

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Thanks guys - I recommended a dog trainer that I know but I get the impression it's fallen on deaf, male ears. The wife won't stand up to him - she actually texted me just now to apologize for his behavior and said he can be quite rude and blunt because he's South African and that's how they are. I know what type of guy he is and it's nothing to do with his heritage:mad: He's not going to listen to her or anybody else and will do what he thinks is best.

I told him this behavior, as it only started because of an attack, could be reversed with proper training in place. He informed me that the woman who runs these 'staffy socialization classes' they go to said that's just how he is and there's nothing they can do about it. :eek:

The dog kicks off whenever there's a new dog attending the class and tbh, if I was a member of that class I wouldn't be happy with an aggressive dog there. This 'trainer' really should have asked them to leave by now as I can only imagine how disruptive the DA staff is and by the owners' own admission, upsets the other dogs in attendance.

The blind leading the blind, eh?:rolleyes:

I'm torn - really want to help but if they can't help themselves, then my efforts will be wasted. The dog is the only one who will suffer in the long run and it will break my heart to see. Thought just occurred to me- if he asks me to walk that dog using a choke collar to continue his 'training', I'm going to tell him only if he wears it first and then walk away.:mad:
Never a truer word was spoken (re the emboldened text). You are a dog walker, not a trainer or a behaviourist. Remember, if, as a result of your input a dog or human is injured, you could be sued, because you do not meet the legal definition of competency. If you have professional indemnity insurance, this would not pay up if you have given advice outside your realm of expertise or remit
 
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