Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Some Help With My Dogs Behaviour

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by BenC, Jun 28, 2009.


  1. BenC

    BenC PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi I was hoping someone could help or offer some advice on my situation.

    I have a 4 year old cross collie lab called Jess I got her from the Dogs Trust in November 2006, Jess is a very good dog most of the time but I think something in her past which I dont know about has effected the way she see's and acts around people and animals.

    Most days Jess will sit at my front room window watching out and as people go by she starts growling and sometimes barking very loud. This I can control shes very obedient until she see's another dog then she goes wild. She'll start to bark then she'll act very agressive towards the other dog with her bark getting louder and her fur sticking up on the back of her neck like shes in and attack state of mind. I always tell her no which she listens to and then I put her out in the passage for 10 minutes or so to 'cool down' but I find myself repeating the process over and over and im not sure what to do?

    The other problem is when we go out for walks to the park shes normally perfectly happy with me playing fetch but as soon as another dog comes into the park its the same thing again with the barking and her being agressive. I have to put her back on the lead and most of the time we end up coming home because she doesnt calm down.

    I have been thinking about taking her to a behaviour class but im not sure if it'll do any good, can anyone offer some advice?

    Thanks
    Ben
     
  2. Pampered pets

    Pampered pets PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Messages:
    863
    Likes Received:
    18
    I cant offer you any advice as i have two dog aggressive dogs (one is people aggressive to) so im interested in any advice you get.

    Its very frustrating though, walks should be relaxing and fun but i have my head on a swivel trying to look all around for dogs, i can only let one of mine off the lead on very large fields where i can see every exiit and have plenty of time to catch mine before the other approaches.

    Will she bite or is it all bark?

    mine will bite sadly.
     
  3. alphadog

    alphadog PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,629
    Likes Received:
    84
    Can you restrict access to the front window with furniture? If not, you should try to discourage any form of noseying out of the window or guarding the property and praise relaxed behaviour when someone (with or without a dog) passes by. That's a good place to start.

    When you are out and about, you could try to anticipate when she is likely to flare up and catch her before it happens.... draw her attention onto you by calling her over with a light hearted tone and keeping her focussed on you (with a treat or clicker) until her 'percieved threat' (the other dog) is out of harms way. Your timing needs to be accurate and she should feel confident in your reassurance that she is safe. You shouldn't mollycoddle her, just keep her attention away from the other dog and focussed on you and your relaxed manner. In the long term, she will start to associate other dogs with rewards, and her brain will tell her that other dogs are good, no matter how close they come ... because dogs equal treats!!

    Really it comes down to being one step ahead and preventing her from reaching fever pitch. If you can catch her early enough and treat her for staying calm (even if this means treating her for every second of calm behaviour) then you are moving in the right direction. It will pay of in the long run, I promise you!
     
  4. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    4,776
    Likes Received:
    163
    Hi Ben. Welcome to the forum and congratulations for taking on a rescue. I laughed as I read your post because I have a collie x lab (Lilly, the one in the photo). She behaves exactly the same way. Lilly and Max are greek rescue dogs, who have had a terrible life and so they have come with nothing but problems! However, we are getting better, but with two of them in a similar mind set, it has been very challenging!!!

    The reason Lilly behaves like this is because, when I first got them, I had no knowledge of how dogs think. I felt sorry for them and I opened my house to them, not restricting access to any rooms. This encouraged territorial behaviour and they felt like it was their job to protect the house i.e looking out of windows to warn of intruders and barking if she hears anybody or anythiing go past. I also did not deal with problems correctly. For examply, Lilly is a very nervous dog. I should have seperated them on walks and dealt with Lilly's nervousness by a course of de-sensitization. Instead I corrected the symptons without dealing with the root cause.

    Now, because I made so many mistakes, the behaviour has become a way of life, even though I believe I have addressed the issues. I also have problems with her in the back garden. Although she is better she still, at times, goes nuts, especially at the neighbours dogs and if she can hear unfamilar noises in the garden.

    She no longer barks and lunges at other dogs, unless they get to close to her and then she warns them off. She is now off the lead and I do not have to worry.

    The reason I tell you all of this, is because you may have made the same mistakes, such as not enough rules and boundries in the house and you also prob did not communicate to her in her language that you are her leader and she has nothing to worry about. This is why the behaviour of barking in the house started.

    Now what can you do....

    I would consider the fact that she is actually a nervous dog and that is why you get this behaviour on walks with other dogs. Mostly this behaviour is a sign of nervous aggression, which is quite self explanatory. You say that you have to come home from walks because she does not calm down. This is not good because the dogs last memory is one of going mental. Where as if you can calm her down after her episode, then she will remember this. A lot of people make the mistakes of dragging their dog away, without showing them how to calm down first.

    Lilly's partner Max, was very dog aggressive, this was borne out of trying to protect Lilly because she was so frightened. I can now have them with other dog (seperately) and they are not a problem. This has only been achieved by exposure to other dogs and working with a behaviourist.

    My advice:
    * Read up on how to become the pack leader, in your dogs eyes. I don't wish to sound condersending, but you may think that because she is obedient, that she see's you as the boss. Training a dog to do what you want does not always mean that they see you as the boss. This may mean you have to restrict access in the house, stop the dog going on beds/sofas etc and loads of other things.
    * Stop her access to the areas in the house which cause her to bark. Close the curtains
    * Consult a behavourist ASAP. You have had her for 3 years now, so it is going to be a challenge to turn her around.

    I use a spray coller for Lilly, to control her barking in the house and garden. It is from Petsafe and cost 100 pounds. It doesn;t work as well on her as Max because her fur is long. However, she is better with it on. But you still need to get to the root cause of why she is behaving this way.

    You can get round this, I never thought I would be able to with my two and although together they are a nightmare on walks, on their own they are fine.

    You need to get some help. What part of the country are you in?

    x
     
  5. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    4,776
    Likes Received:
    163

    Sorry to hear you are also having problems. I never seem to find people when I go out who have problems. You always feel like you are the only ones...

    What have you tried and what are your dogs backgrounds i.e rescue's, litter mates, age, when and how did it first start?
     
  6. fun4fido

    fun4fido PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    524
    Likes Received:
    45
    To be honest this is not a straightforward problem that you will resolve from an online forum. I know everyone will be helpful in giving their suggestions, but what you need is a personalised one-2-one with a qualified canine behaviourist.

    For whatever reason your dog displays a lot of fear aggression around certain triggers. The best thing you can do to help your dog is have a behaviourist work with you one-2-one to take your dog through a behaviour modification program.

    I wouldn't suggest a group class at this stage as you first need to address this behaviour on a personal level which you just won't get in a group class.

    If you seek your vets advice they will be able to refer you to a behaviourist, but you can also find one here:

    The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors

    Make sure you choose a behaviourist using positive methods, the last thing your dog needs is someone telling you to correct her by jerking her leash whenever she reacts to a trigger.

    Hope this helps
     
  7. BenC

    BenC PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi guys thanks for the advice. After speaking with my partner lastnight to prevent Jess from barking at the window and as a quick fix for now we have decided to put up some blinds so she cant see out.

    I think from the information on here what you guys have said and the reading up I have done one-to-one behaviour sessions might be the best place to start I think the sooner the better :)

    @dogpositivetraining - Thanks for the website link I will have a look on there and also speak to my local vets to see what they say.

    @goodvic2- Thanks for your story im glad your hard work paid off and im hoping mine will to. I am based in Leeds.

    I'll let you all know how I get on once we have been for the first class and again thanks for your help :)

    Ben
     
  8. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    4,776
    Likes Received:
    163
    It will pay off Ben, but you need help and you need to get yourself an education, if you have any chance of solving her problems. Best of luck and keep my story in mind when you have a bad day with her :) x
     
  9. BenC

    BenC PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    I spoke to a behaviour specialist lastnight and he said he can offer some help its not going to be cheap or easy but he said he can help. I'm planning on getting a 2 hour session booked in over the next month or so once ive been on it i'll post back up here with the 'plan' he's assigning and let you all know how its going :)
     
  10. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    4,776
    Likes Received:
    163
    You can claim on some insurance if you use certain behaviourists, have you considered it?
     
  11. BenC

    BenC PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    I didnt know that, what kind of insurance?
     
  12. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    4,776
    Likes Received:
    163
    It's a normal pet insurance, but some insure for behavioural and I guess some don;t. You do have to have a referal from the vet, but check your insurance and then see your vet x
     
  13. EmzieAngel

    EmzieAngel PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,530
    Likes Received:
    79
    I'm not sure if that is true for all cases, though you might be right.
    But I've been looking into a behaviourist recently and he said you can claim from insurance, but does not need a referal from my vet.
     
  14. BenC

    BenC PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    I dont have pet insurance anyway so I guess it wont apply to me :)

    I'll get the sessions booked in soon they'll be worth it
     
  15. alphadog

    alphadog PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,629
    Likes Received:
    84
    Good for you Ben, I'm sure you'll start seeing results very soon.

    PS - get some insurance as soon as you can!! (there are lots of threads on here with ins questions, you'll easily find them if you do a search)
     
  16. yohan

    yohan PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm having the same problems too!.. I just can't help our dog from growling and barking at people.. I'm just afraid to stay at home alone, and the dogs might bite at people and I can't help anything..
     
  17. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    4,776
    Likes Received:
    163
    Hi, if you want any advice then you need to give more info x
     
  18. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    4,776
    Likes Received:
    163
    Keep us updated x
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice