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Rescue dog and guinea pigs

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Christy053, Dec 30, 2018.


  1. Christy053

    Christy053 PetForums Newbie

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    4th december we rescued our gorgeous staffy Misty, I have had two homes pigs for 5 years now. When Misty joined us we built a large tall table for the guinea pigs cage to sit on so Misty couldn’t get to them. From day one she is intrigued with the cage but not obsessed, she would sit on the chair in there and watch the cage (although she isn’t tall enough to see in) but her behaviour hasn’t been an issue. Yesterday she somehow managed to jump on the windowsill and was sat on there staring at the pigs, now she knows what’s in the case she is obsessed. She is constantly jumping at the table trying to get on the windowsill, we tried to baracade if off but she is still jumping through everything and worried she will hurt herself. We have tried to lock her out of that room but now she just sits at the doors crying and panting all day. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Chatcat

    Chatcat Guest

    I have had piggies too. I would take them to a totally new place - bedroom? And make out that they have 'gone'. She will probably smell them TBH, but i wouldn't risk any further exposure.
     
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  3. Christy053

    Christy053 PetForums Newbie

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    I sadly don’t have any other room in the house other than our bedroom :(
     
  4. Chatcat

    Chatcat Guest

    So the piggies are in the bedroom now? Just keep the door shut and never let her in there. She'll get bored of it eventually.
     
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  5. Christy053

    Christy053 PetForums Newbie

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    Well they are in the spare room. Well we have tried but she just sits at the door crying and panting and getting very worked up
     
  6. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    I don't know enough about staffies to know what their drives are and how easy it would be to train your dog out of this behaviour.

    But i do have guinea pigs and i would be making sure your cage is very secure and not able to be pulled off the sill.

    I also have a dog that is very interested in my pigs. She is 18 months now, had her from a young pup.

    I did a lot of work with her just on a mat next to the cage (they are in a large 2 storey c&c) so sits, downs and stays.

    Calling her away from the pigs when she was staring in. She had to be on a line for that to start with and pulled away.

    Now she breaks away instantly.
    She is very good and steady now and will watch from a distance calmly.
    The bit left to crack is when they run up the ramp, sometimes she still lunges when they run.

    They aren't bothered by her and poke their noses towards hers. I would never leave her unsupervised at the cage though - this is not friendship!!

    The main nuisance that we have is that i have a fleece blanket lining the floor of the lower level and Tilly persists in trying to scrape it out of the cage - so she can get the poo off it! That is proving the hardest thing to crack.

    She is a brittany which is a hunting breed. I don't know how her prey drive compares to that of a staffy. She is a hunt, point, retrieve dog. She tends to creep up on things like a cat, then point at them. So she doesn't go wildly pawing and jumping at the cage, and never has. But she does have a drive to lunge at them (and kill them) which i have managed to manage well - she isn't obsessed with them.


    Maybe some training like this alongside a very secure cage could work for you?

    My dog is crated when I'm out of the house but when I'm in we are at the stage if i suspect she is pig watching or i hear her scratting at the fleece blanket, i can call her away and her recall is instant.
     
  7. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Hmmm - just been educating myself on staffy prey drive: maybe the best plan is to keep your pigs well out of the way of your dog!!

    I'm sure you could train her to recall away from the closed room with the pigs in though? Surely that has to be a realistic goal?

    Maybe try similar things to what i did next to the cage but outside the closed door? Sitting calmly on a mat outside the door. Doing sits downs stands and waits. And recalling away super fast for great treats.


    And make sure your dog has plenty other stimulating things to take his interest off your pigs.
     
  8. Christy053

    Christy053 PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for your advice! It’s all new to me too, when I lived at my mums house with the guinea pigs and her staffy it was fine she showed no interest in them at all and the cage was on the floor and for four years never went near them so it’s a very different experience with misty. We are struggling because she is so fixated she pays zero attention to us and if we try to drag her away with the collar she growls so don’t know what to do. Luckily the guinea pigs aren’t phased at all and tucking into their dinner as we speak but I worry misty is doing herself damage she hasn’t stopped panting all day! We live in a old house and sadly the door doesn’t click shut so I just tried to tie it shut and she’s ripped the string! Strong pooch!
     
  9. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Is she food motivated? Don't drag her away by her collar. Try something very high value like chopped cooked lambs' liver. It's very cheap to buy and fries up in minutes. See if you can get a good fast recall away using that.

    Then make up a large kong with some small bits of liver frozen into some peanut butter - the fresh liver should attract your dog away and the kong should keep her away at least 15 mins whilst scoffing the kong.

    These frozen raw knuckle bones (nature's menu, buy online) are amazing for keeping dogs occupied for hours. Bit messy in the house when they start to thaw but can be fed in crate, garden or straight from freezer (pop back in freezer when defrosting too much) they won't make too much mess on laminate flooring but on carpet they're not good.
     
  10. Christy053

    Christy053 PetForums Newbie

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    We are going to start some recall training with her for when she is out off lead so will definitely get some liver for that too! Will get some tomorrow and give it a go! Thank you
     
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  11. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Good luck:)
     
  12. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    Tagging @O2.0 as she has experience of prey drive in bull breeds and will probably be able to offer some advice on this.
     
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  13. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    You need to stop her from doing this as she will simply get better and better at getting worked up by the piggies.
    Don't drag her away, put a house line or leash on her, get some yummy, stinky treat, and using both the treat and the leash, lure/move her away from the door and give her something else to do. A chew, a stuffed kong, a walk... anything to take her mind off the piggies.
    Every time get goes to the door, repeat as necessary. It will be time consuming in the beginning but it's a good investment to make.
     
  14. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    I think that's the same as my advice - just said better?!

    It's what i was trying to say anyway!
     
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  15. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Sorry, didn't read all the replies, I got tagged, did a quick "drive-by" of the thread and posted :)
     
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  16. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    No worries! - it did take me 3 posts to convey the info you tidied up in one post and it was nice you posted as i know next to nothing about bull breeds so it was good to see i was on the right track with my replies :)
     
    Sairy likes this.
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