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Newbie needs help with socialising 4 year old dog

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by JenTheSnail, Jul 4, 2009.


  1. JenTheSnail

    JenTheSnail PetForums Newbie

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    Hi!

    We have a Jack Russell who turns 4 later on this year. We got her when she was about a year old, we were her 3rd family, and we think the 1st group of people that had her treated her badly.

    We saw an individual pet trainer as she was very aggressive to other dogs, and to visitors. She advised us not to take her out for walks anymore (she would often get scared at numerous things). We followed that advice for a while but she now loves going out, and does get scared/jumpy about certain things, but is a lot better and more confident dog. Unfortunately she is still very aggressive to other dogs, and visitors to the house, and we just don't know how to deal with it, and it makes us very stressed. We can't afford the £70 for an individual visit to train her (and after the last one, we are a little dubious), so thought I would see if anyone could offer any suggestions for what we could do to help her?

    I would appreciate any help you could offer

    Thanks x
     
  2. alphadog

    alphadog PetForums VIP

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    Welcome to the forum and good on you for taking on a dog with problems.

    It sounds like you have already made great progress she can go out for walks now without being jumpy and nervous. You're obviously moving in the right direction by building her confidence and the same will work with her aggression towards other dogs and visitors.

    In practical terms, to increase her confidence when you meet other dogs, you can attract her attention onto you before she gets chance to reach fever pitch. Keep a sharp eye for other dogs and the second you see one playfully call her name - when she looks, immediately offer her a treat. Have another treat ready and use that to hold her attention. If she has a 'watch me' command, this is when you would put it into practice. Continue to hold her focus on you until the other dog has long passed. Praise and walk on.

    Over time you should be able to say 'watch me' and then praise/treat just once after the other dog has passed. Don't rush to get to this stage though because you really want her to feel confident and associate other dogs with lots of other treats (dogs = treats = I like dogs!!) without having to go back to the beginning

    Further on down the line again, you should be able to confidently walk past other dogs, or even stand and have a chat with the owner, and just praise/treat her as you walk on.

    Have you looking into clicker training? That's great for building a dog's confidence x
     
  3. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    Hi. As the owner of 3 rescue dogs, 2 of whom have had similar problems - I sympathise.

    Is the aggression towards people only in the house?

    Where are you in the country?
     
  4. JenTheSnail

    JenTheSnail PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for you responses, sorry about the delay!

    alphadog - we initially tried clicker training but the noise made her jump! We may try again now she is a little calmer, and see if we can get it to work more effectively. She is totally disinterested in treats when she is out on her walks, but I may try again with over the top praise.

    Goodvic2 - I am in Chester. She is only aggresive to people once they are in the house/garden. If she meets people in the street/park she is usually uninterested in them. She will still be unsettled with people that live there (we have been living with my brother for approx 4 months, and she loves him, but will still sometimes growl when he comes into our room).

    How do you train yours? I must say I am impressed with 3, I am struggling with 1!!

    Thanks
     
  5. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    Two of dogs, (one in particular) still cannot be trusted when people come to the house. This is because they are territorial. The reason for this was because when I first got them, I did not do enough to prevent this happening. We are due to move house shortly and I will be able to (hopefully) prevent this happening again. They are fine on the street with people it is just the home. When you allow a behaviour to go on for so long (before I got myself a doggy education), it can become very difficult to change. I have recently crate trained my dogs, so if people come over, I would put at least one of them away.

    With your brother, if he walks into your room, he is better to call the dog to him rather than just "walk in".

    With regards to dog aggression. It has been hard work. Max and Lilly are street dogs from Greece and Lilly is very, very nervous of other dogs. This led to max becoming her protector.

    The way I dealt with it was by walking them seperately and spending time with a friend who is a behaviourist and has 7 dogs. When I first got them, they were very aggressive towards any other dog. Now they can be off the lead (seperately) and with very little problem. They are never going to have great social skills and they never greet other dogs. But they can now be around them, although Lilly is still scared, most of the time she will give them a wide birth.

    Ideally you need to find people who have calm dogs and walk with them. It is a slow, slow process with a nervous dog. But your dog needs to see that not all dogs are a threat.

    If this is not possible at this stage then you need to try to get your dog to ignore other dogs, by distracting him. The less he reacts to other dogs, the quicker he will begin to recover. Probably the reason you were advised not to walk him is because, if you do not control his reactions and he reacts them, then the more he does it, the longer it takes to fix.

    If you lived closer, I would be more than happy to help you x
     
  6. JenTheSnail

    JenTheSnail PetForums Newbie

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    Where abouts in the country are you if you don't mind me asking?

    Do you think that perhaps I should crate train her? She has never been crate trained to my knowledge. Is it too late now?

    Thanks
     
  7. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    I am miles away, South London!

    Crate training is good, because if you do have people over, then you can at least have her in the same room, but in her crate. I bring Max out once everybody is sitting, so he does not feel threatened. But when people want to get up, to leave for example, then I would put him in his crate.

    x

    x
     
  8. JenTheSnail

    JenTheSnail PetForums Newbie

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    Oh well, I am quite often down in Herts but that is still quite a trek!

    I will do some reading on crate training and see how it goes. There are lots of things we want to work on with her, such as jumping up, so I guess we need to prioritise what we want to do 1st, and make some starts.

    Thanks for your help
     
  9. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    If you want any info on what else I've done, please PM me. We have had so many problems (some still ongoing) and managed to solve a lot of them. Good luck x
     
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