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Rescue dog help please!

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by sammmz, Aug 7, 2009.


  1. sammmz

    sammmz PetForums Newbie

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    Hello
    I would be so grateful for any advice as we are getting quite desperate.
    We took on a rescue dog 2 weeks ago, and he was said to have toilet training problems,chewing issues and separation anxiety. That was ok with us as the poor dog had a terrible start to his life (20 months old now).
    We have a cat and he was said to be good with cats and dogs too as he had lived with them.
    He settled down really well and his issues seemed nothing, a lovely temperarment!
    That is until he lunged at and growled at our elderly neighbours placid labrador dog, who came over to sniff him all waggy, while we were out on his lead.
    The garden has turned in to a warzone with him barking and being quite ferocious at this other dog through the fence. We just cannot get his attention as he just loses it!
    Walking on a lead is a nightmare as he pulls and barks with raised hackles at other dogs just trotting past. He seems very aggressive and it is terrible to control him or get his attention. Yesterday he tried to attack our cat in the house.It was really scary as she is so nervous anyway.
    The shelter said to contact a behaviour specialist, as this did not happen there.
    To be honest we just cannot afford it unless it is free, what with all bedding,cage,toys and adoption fee. Could anyone suggest anything that we could try?
    Lisa
     
  2. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    Hi Lisa

    Welcome to the forum and well done for taking on a rescue.

    I have had to deal with fence fighting since I have had my first two rescues, a year and a half. We are due to be moving soon, but it is something I have been unable to deal with. If we were staying in this house, I would have walked both dogs together so that they became friends.

    I would look at getting a behaviourist in ASAP. Look at my profile page to see why I give this advice!!!

    It is still early days, but this is the time when you need to be setting rules and discipline. When your dog does a behaviour out of routine it becomes harder to correct.

    Please get a behaviourist in to help you solve this problem. It will only get worse, unless you know how to deal with it correctly x
     
  3. r_neupert

    r_neupert PetForums Senior

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    I guess i'm in a vaguely similar position - however it's a foster. In the rescues defence, there's only so much they have to go on, and until the dog spends time long term in a new environment, it's real personality/issues won't appear.

    Your adoption fee tends to go towards neutering and a few nights in the kennel - so i wouldn't worry about money lost there - but i do understand you'll probably feel the pinch after that outlay - however you've brought into a long term commitment, you'll need to sort this out asap so you can live a happy life together.

    It's going to take a lot of time and persistance and a few pulled out hairs to get there, but you will... don't worry, and everyone here will give you some advice don't worry :D
     
  4. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    Is your dog insured? If it is, a vet's referral could mean the behaviourist was paid for by the insurance. A lot of rescue dogs come with free insurance for the first few weeks - if this is the case with you, set it going as a proper policy and make use of it!
     
  5. dimkaz

    dimkaz PetForums VIP

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    if i had this suggestion when took on Ellie from the dogs home, i would have a much simpler life!!!
    this is a great suggestion!!!
    :)
    d
     
  6. Colliepoodle

    Colliepoodle PetForums VIP

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    I second this advice ^^^

    It would be irresponsible and pointless to try to give you too much advice over the net. Without seeing the dog it is impossible to say whether we are talking about true aggression, or fear aggression, or barrier frustration...

    What I can say for certain is that it is never a good idea to introduce any dogs to each other onlead - particularly ones that are known to have possible "issues". Even a fairly placid dog is likely to feel somewhat cornered and with nowhere to go, may well tell the other dog to "bog off". Plus, a dog who is onlead is prevented, by the lead, from showing normal doggy body language. A submissive dog will want to lower his body posture, dip his head etc and the lead prevents that, thus making him appear, to the other dog, as if he is more confident than he is.

    Misunderstandings therefore often occur ;)

    Sorry, but you really need a behaviourist. As someone has suggested, it may be worth checking your insurance to see whether it covers this.

    What you can do in the meantime is work on getting your dog to focus on you. Whether you use food, or a toy is dependent on what your dog finds most interesting. There is no point trying it when you are close to other dogs; you must find the point at which your dog can keep focus on you - that may be ten feet away from another dog, or ten yards, or fifty yards - and work on that. Then graaaaaaaaadually get closer and closer.... it isn't going to be a quick fix but getting your dog's attention on you is the vital and first part of any training - and you need to be able to do that before you can start desensitising him to the moggy :)

    PS what breed is he?
     
  7. Myyy

    Myyy PetForums Newbie

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    If you can get a behaviour therapist, that is obviously the best thing. Personal advice from a professional who has seen the situation, and read the language is always preferable.

    However if you can not get it, or can not afford it;

    I've had great success by walking my dog with dogs she didn't like. That's how we introduced our rescue rottie girl to our other rottie girl. If its a strong breed or mix though, be sure to have a secure collar, and a secure leash, so nobody escapes..

    If you feel comfortable doing it. You could start by walking side by side with your neighbour and their dog, but keep space so the dogs do not get too close, but not so far so they do not feel like you're walking together. Take them for a long, brisk walk. Anyway, when the time is ready for an introduction is something you and your neighbour will have to figure out by reading your dogs language. Sometimes you will be able to introduce them off leash after one walk, sometimes they'll need ten walks, and in a few cases they'll unfortunately continue hating each other forever, and will never be able to play or be together off leech, but most likely at least they will tolerate each other on walks.
     
  8. sammmz

    sammmz PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you all so very much for all your valuable advice.
    It has been such a great help to read your replies.
    I really do understand the need for a behaviourist, it was just something I didn't think we would need so soon! He is just so placid with people and is so submissive by rolling over all the time on his back and licking people all the time! When we met him at the centre on several occasions he did not seem to notice other dogs/cats on his lead and he also slept with other dogs in his kennel.
    He is a border collie cross. Unfortunately we do not have any insurance either from the rescue centre or by our own policy. ( Typical! I was planning to take out a policy in a week or so!).
    I will be working through all your really good suggestions, and will try and get some behaviourist help as soon as financially possible as I can see how it will make life easy in the future!
    Just a quick question,am I supposed to get his vaccination certificate/documents from the rescue centre as he has been vaccinated/neutered/chipped etc. I don't have any and I am not sure if I will need it for his booster jab etc at the vets when he goes?

    Thank you all so very much for all your help and support and great advice!
    All best wishes
    Lisa
     
  9. JSR

    JSR PetForums VIP

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    I'm afraid the 'rescue' has sold you down the river!!! If he's displaying this behaviour after only 2 weeks and they are not offering you any support, help or training then they are most definatley not a good rescue! Yes you definatley should have your vaccination certificates and I would be on the phone to them now to get it. You need confirmation that they have indeed done the things they say they have! If he's chipped and you haven't got the documents then you need them to register him to your home, otherwise he'll always be registered to the rescue. I imagine you will have trouble getting insurance without his full documents too?

    Rescues like this give the goods one's a bad name, I'm sorry you've had this trouble but he sounds like a lucky dog because you obviously want the best for him. With a good behaviourist I'm sure you'll sort out his problems soon, it could well just be teething problems while he's finding his feet. Good luck and don't let them fob you off about the documents, he's your dog now so you demand them from them.;)
     
  10. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    Insure him now. Make sure it's a policy that includes behavioural help, and keep quiet about his behaviour around other dogs for the time being. Don't mention it to your vet either. Then when it's been running for a few weeks, talk to the vet and get a referral if you have not got it sorted out in the meantime.

    You should have been given his vaccination and microchipping papers when you got him. Some rescues keep the dog registered with them as regards microchipping - usually ones where you agree that if you can't keep the dog for any reason you will return it to them. Even if this was the case, you should have been given a certificate with the microchip number on. I'm surprised they aren't offering you any follow-up support with him.

    Try the suggestion of walking him alongside your neighbour's dog; it's a good one. Also try to get him out and about around other dogs while keeping at a safe distance from them. When he kicks off, stay calm and distract him with treats (this will work better if he is very hungry so don't feed him for several hours before you try this). Find the distance at which you can get his attention onto you and work to gradually get closer to the other dog. Eventually he should come to associate the presence of other dogs with treats and praise.

    It's possible he might react differently at a training class when surrounded by other dogs - he might feel outnumbered and try not to draw attention to himself. If it doesn't work you can always leave.
     
  11. TabbyRoad

    TabbyRoad Banned

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    Ordinarily I would never agree with advice like that but in the case of a dog who has had a very bad start in life and the fact you are giving him a second chance he so richly deserves, I'd say go for it.

    I know a woman who had PetPlan pay for a behaviourist when her dog was becomign very aggressive with family members after beig an absolute angel for 2 years. She was on the verge of rehoming a much loved pet. petPlan came through for her and after a lot of hard work on everyone's part she has her beautiful placid well balanced dog back.

    Good luck and good on you for giving this dog another chance.
     
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