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The Taming of The Two Terrors! - A training diary.

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by Pupcakes, Nov 9, 2012.


  1. Pupcakes

    Pupcakes Lady of The Terrors.

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    Good morning everyone!

    Right I have been meaning to do this for ages, but dont have much time to myself (as usual) so whilst I have a bit of time, I thought Id finally start The Terrors training thread! *tah-dah!*

    In light of recent posts/threads I thought it would be a nice idea to start this up for others who own reactive/nervous/aggressive dogs to post up their own day-to-day experiences, walks, ups and downs!

    I'm trying to keep this brief (but as I'm sure you all know, I never do "brief" threads/posts!)

    So in a nutshell...

    As most of you know I own Dottie and Charlie 2 Jack Russell Terrors.

    Low down on each.

    Dottie:
    Spayed, 3 yo, bitch.
    Brought from a BYB by another lady who "couldnt leave her in those conditions", then bought by my sister who, soon lost interest, taken on by me when I moved back home.

    Reactive around other dogs, especially on lead. Very stiff meeting new dogs, doesnt like having her rear sniffed by other dogs and will sit and look away to avoid this, if the dog doesnt leave her alone she air snaps.

    Would rather one very quick sniff then wants to be left alone. Barks at strangers and children. She can be around children fine, once shes calm and distracted.


    Chaaaaaaaaaaaarlie...
    Neutered 2 yo dog
    Brought from a BYB by myself, did everything I could to ensure he didnt turn out like Dottie. Once he hit one he started growling and snapping at male dogs.

    Doesnt like males in general and is okay with most bitches. Although some dogs are the exception, like the big, entire male Lab he played with.

    Has a stupidly high prey drive and if allowed will chase and nip/bite joggers, cyclists, even me when I start running. Resource gaurder too, be it me or food.

    He likes children and generally most people when they give him fuss.

    Both dogs are currently walked together as when I walked them seperatley (an hour each) I was getting physically run down as I had work straight after. Charlie on a flexi with other dogs about and Dottie off lead with a ball to play with so she stays close to me and focused.

    Had an incident last week where Dottie air snapped at a dog and wouldnt stop snapping, I think it was over a ball but couldnt be sure (big DUH! moment for me, I know) I apologised lots but the owner was very sweet and friendly and I was so mad at myself for not being more vigilant.

    My confidence crashed back to the bottom and I didnt feel like walking them any more. Ofcourse I still do but now I am questioning my own handling skills, although despite this, I walked them through popular woodlands and parks with no troubles, so I must have been doing something right.

    This for me was a moment where I thought, do I really want us to have another 13 years of stressful, on edge walks or shall we knuckle down once and for all? Theyre only young (and so am I!) and I want our time together to be full of fun and adventures, not constantly looking over our shoulders and being on edge.

    I have just composed an email that I am going to send out to ADPT trainers in my area to see if any are willing to take on me and The Terrors.

    Ive started training then got disheartened and stopped so many times over the years. These dogs are so clever! I just need the confidence to keep persevering. I wouldnt say Im not training at the moment, but it is more of a management situation currently.

    I have contacted trainers in the past, one who used the Pack Leader theory and told me all their problems were dominance issues, the second who I contacted several times was brilliant. Right up my street, the only issue I had with them was keeping in contact. I would email/message but didnt get any replies back and felt on my own again.

    In my message I have mentioned wanting to keep in regular contact and to meet up say once a month to keep things in check and track progress.

    I myself am currently studying a ThinkDog course, I have had the privilege of meeting and working with Sarah Whitehead, have tons of great books on dogs (havent got round to reading them all yet!) and of course come on here which is by far the best form of support I have! But sometimes I feel clueless and very alone.

    As those of you with DR/DA dogs know, it can be very isolating. Walking at unsociable times, in lonely places, seeing big groups of dogs down the park playing and thinking "What is so wrong with my dog that they cant do that?" its very emotional. Oh the tears I have cried! People slate you, look down their noses at you, bitch about you...I have had all that!

    I am VERY lucky that where I work has a huge woodland, complete with pond and paths that no-one uses bar me, so I can drive my dogs there where they can just be dogs. I dont walk down my local park any more which is JUST outside my front door, too many judgemental people.

    I hope this thread can also help others without DA/DR dogs, know what its like for people who own unsocial dogs how it feels and how we dont allow or encourage this behaviour but its something we have to work with and deal with everyday.

    Please everyone feel free to add your own stories/experiences/diary entries/questions/comments/compliments (I like those!)/photos/rants ANYTHING!

    I really would love this thread to become a big group of supportive like minded people who can laugh and cry together.

    Just about to take The Terrors out for their morning walk now with my sister.

    See you on the other side! Get typing!

    xxx

    P.S excuse any typos or ramblings that don't make sense! :D
     
    Sarah+Hammies likes this.
  2. AmberNero

    AmberNero PetForums VIP

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    Aww, lovely thread idea, and you are so aware of all that your two need, you are a good owner and a lovely person :) I'll be reading with ots of interest!

    At the moment my three all have different bits and bobs need working on, but Ambam is the one who has come the furthest and has the furthest to go- she is nervy and reactive, better offlead than on- so I need to reinforce that she is safe with me on lead as at the moment she clearly feels safer being able to 'escape' off lead- i.e. create her own 'safe' distance bubble from whichever dog/person is unnerving her.
     
  3. Freddie and frank

    Freddie and frank PetForums VIP

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    A huge well done to you for all you're doing.
    Hope you can find a good trainer that you're happy with. It does help doesn't it.
    I'm not in the same situation as you but I've had issues with frank over the years and at times I've cried, been so frustrated, and totally isolated everyone cause he was my problem and I wanted to sort him out. Been through lots of training classes and spent lots on one to one's with him. Done the walking at strange times so not to bump into any other dogs etc. Finally getting there with him and I'm more relaxed with him.
    I wish you all the best with the terrors :001_wub: and will look forward to the updates.
     
  4. GingerRogers

    GingerRogers PetForums VIP

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    My post to follow :yikes:
     
  5. GingerRogers

    GingerRogers PetForums VIP

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    I will join in if that’s ok (with a long and repetive post mostly taken from the’ What are you Working On Thread’) Actually quite pleased at the amount of changes I had to make to the text in only a week :D.

    Ginge
    Bought at 5 wks old from travellers/gypsy’s, lived on a farm with little structure to her life, morning run in the field with the farm collies and gundogs then left for an hour or two to run about on her own and torment the dogs. Crated all day, shipped about to relatives when owner was working away, no training, no structure, no rules and no boundaries. Owner loved her but he couldn’t give her a stable home.

    Us
    We took her on at the end of August, now about 14 months, when he asked us to, knowing we were thinking about getting a new dog having lost our old boy rescue staff x aged 16 yrs in April.

    Believe me we thought long and hard, whether we should take her, and on whether we actually wanted another dog just yet. We knew she would need a lot of work and had never been on a lead for any length of time, but still, naively, thought we were getting a feisty confident dog.

    I have to confess that although we knew she would not have experienced anything outside the farm, we didn’t take on board the effect that could have on her because of her apparent confidence. Hands up we knew far less about dogs than we thought and we totally messed up her first days with us, which has left us with a very nervy, agitated, and unsure dog :(:(.

    Apart from thinking he knew best and telling me I must let her off lead even though she had limited recall and convincing me to take her out and overload her on her first day with us, my OH stood back so she would bond with me, the old boy was more his dog and he wanted our relationship to be different which was nice but far too stressful for me and hence her, we nearly divorced (giving up smoking contributed to that ;)).

    Ginge became super hyped every time she left the house.

    Inside she is extremely friendly but mostly sleeps or cuddles, (a throw back to being crated all day perhaps)

    She is learning treats are good and engaging her in a game is getting easier but still takes an awful lot of energy and imagination.

    She mostly wants to play with dogs as that is what she has been used to, unstructured introduction and play. If she can’t as she is always on lead, or, if the other dog is not interested for whatever reason, she barks, and lunges, and squeals. It ramps up into a frenzy when she can nip onto near things, usually me, or she will bark at any other dog we might be or transfer it onto passing cars (which are also scary to her in their own right). Nothing would distract her at the time.

    We started general obedience training classes to try and get some help and she gradually stopped reacting to the other dogs there until we did an agility and play, lesson, she got over excited again and then when we moved up a class it was all new dogs, same place though, both times absolute frenzy of frustration gnawing on things nearby even if its my foot or leg. She actually came top of the class in the initial lessons so she is keen to learn and picks things up quickly 'when she wants to' (if that sounds familiar read Pigs Might Fly by Jane Killion ;))

    The general consensus from the trainers is she is friendly, but nervous and over excited.

    Doing much reading and research my current conclusion is that she has no idea how to behave as dogs & humans have never taught her (surely leaving her mother too young contributes to this ??), plus when she came to us she was just exposed to too much too soon, totally our fault which has ramped up her stress levels to a point where she can’t learn or control her reactions. She wants to play but when she does it is very boisterous and ‘get in there first’, (like she was 5 weeks old playing with a 14 month collie) she has no idea how to behave on lead or to watch other dogs behaviour.

    She has recently been restricted to on lead walks only with the long line where appropriate since I realised she could get herself in real trouble (rabbit holes :eek:) and stood up to hubby thinking he knows best.

    I have had an amazing amount of support on here and especially from those on the ‘What are you working on’ thread but perhaps its time to move my trials to here, as you say perhaps it might help others.

    Following advice and research:

    I have been giving her Nupafeed for nearly a fortnight which, simply put, is meant to balance out the calcium/magnesium levels which spiral out of control when stressed hence help keep a dog in a calmer state.

    Over the last week we have also been ‘trying’ to keep walks calm, which meant only short walks for a couple of days and lots of stimulation at home, feeding in interesting ways and indoor exercise (she has also started a few holes off in the garden which she patrols on a daily basis).

    We have brought the longer walks back in but at quieter times of day, guess bonfire week was not the ideal time to start a calming programme, but am doing all I can to avoid dogs and cars etc to the point that I will cut a walk short even to only 5 mins if we can’t avoid them rather than carry on and just ramp things up more.

    Have really enjoyed reading ‘Scaredy Dog’ by Ali Brown which explains the stress situation well and gives ways of helping dogs cope, need to read it again to get my head round these completely to be able to practice them properly but have introduced a few ideas, and also ‘On talking terms with Dogs’ Turid Rugaas which every dog owner should be made to read and then we would have less of the ‘Its ok he’s friendly’ brigade!!!

    We have booked in to see a behaviourist on Tuesday, which I am really looking forward to. I feel I need some structured guidance and support rather than the haphazard methods I am trying to incorporate.

    Progress:
    OH is much more ‘on board’ now with helping me out however he still thinks I am totally obsessed and neurotic :eek:. He is more of a player and still doesn’t really do any useful ‘training’, apparently, she is perfect when out with him but he hasn’t got into any situations or asked anything of her. Actually reading that last bit tells me something - perhaps I need to stop expecting so much and let her settle, thing is I don’t want her behaviour to escalate hence the behaviourist and we might need to knock training classes on the head for a bit. I will see what she says on Tuesday

    We have been getting much more ‘focus’, one of the techniques people keep suggesting is using a watch me command, which I understand in principle but when she loses any focus at all it just doesn’t work, we still don’t quite have it but it is improving. Instead of standing there for 5 mins getting increasingly frustrated when I have asked for a behaviour and get nothing, I now get something within seconds, 8/10 times. :D

    There have been a couple of occasions where we have been unable to avoid a confrontation and her reactions following that have been much, much calmer. (Dog in a garden we pass who barks at passers by, after that she unavoidably met another dog we know very calmly and sat for a treat from her owner’s foster child) (Sunday we had to pass a big equally lunging yellow lab, one bark and we carried on) (This morning I diverted, quite a way, into the field off the path and let a dog pass, and got focus and no reaction) :D:D

    Phew think thats me for now thanks for letting me get it off my chest again :)
     
  6. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

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    Great idea :)

    And I just want to say, Pupcakes... never feel alone, we are all only on the other side of the screen :D So whether you want to have a wee rant or a bit of a boast about how well a walk went, or even just a few tips, type away! We are here to listen :D


    Also, I think you should defo inclued some pics of the two terrors :)
     
    Pupcakes likes this.
  7. Pupcakes

    Pupcakes Lady of The Terrors.

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    Thank you all so much!

    Reading and replying as we speak!

    xxx
     
  8. Sarah+Hammies

    Sarah+Hammies PetForums VIP

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    Great thread idea! :)

    My Dibley is very reactive. We took him on at 5 months he had no early socialisation what so ever and he doesn't know how to react when he meets other dogs or people. :( Unfortunately our immediate next door neighbours JRT is also very reactive and often comes charging into my garden :mad: barking his head off, snarling and growling. It doesn't help matters but I am working on Dibley.

    He is a lovely boy, he's great with kids he knows and loves playing games, he is very food orientated.

    He gets very over excited when he meets other people and dogs in the street and at home and barks his head off so he comes across as aggressive to others but he isn't he is just excited and unsure of how to channel his excitement.

    I have been doing lots with him since I have had him, I have a huge bowl of his kibble by the front door and had my friends and family come visit me everyday so he now greets visitors at my house with anticipation of being rewarded for sitting nicely and waiting for our visitors to say hello. This is still a work in progress but is something I feel very proud of achieving :)

    Next we moved onto finding his reactivity threshold, I have figured out that he starts to get excited about 10 metres away from people/dogs and the barking starts about 2 metres away so I have been taking a clicker and kibble out everywhere with me and standing at the 10 metre point from someone who I roped into help me :D We most definitely are a work in progress.

    It is easy to feel like a failure at times but for all those down days when I feel like I am letting him down I have some good days when I feel that we have achieved something and it's the good times that I try to keep in my mind. :)
     
  9. Pupcakes

    Pupcakes Lady of The Terrors.

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    Aaaaaw thank you so much :eek: Thats so kind of you to say! I hope you get some laughs from it too! I always feel because theyre not off lead like "normal" dogs that Ive let them down big time and that I'm a bad owner, it is a bad feeling that sticks with me even though I always go above and beyond to ensure they have good walks, better walks than most of the dogs down our local park!

    Aaaaaw, Ambam sounds like Dottie. I need to teach something similar that on the lead is okay, but I find it so hard when dogs charge over and come right in her face, I tense up and try and pull her back which makes things worse! Does Ambam bark before trying to escape? I find Dottie tries to "see" the threat off first then goes away.

    Thank you very much Freddie and Frank :) The bit highlighted is definitely me! I hope to be in your position one day not too far away! I just need to relax and be more confident, so much easier said than done! Haha! Thank you very much, I hope this thread, if anything, can make us all chuckle! :eek:



    Aaaaaw thank you kindly PG! That means a lot to me, I really would have gone mad a long time ago if it wasnt for PFs, there are some fantastic, supportive people on here (including yourself) and it makes sharing all my issues with The Terrors, lighten the load and smile when people respond back with advice and kind words.

    I took some photos today actually! I shall upload just for you!

    xxx
     
  10. MirandaA1

    MirandaA1 PetForums Member

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    This is a great idea for a thread, and I'm looking forward to reading and learning - I have some similar issues with Fly (Manchester x Patterdale, nearly 4), and different issues with her daughter, Scout (mainly Patterdale, 8 months). Scout came home to us when she was 7 months, needing quite a bit of work, but she is adjusting and learning well; she still has a lot to learn, though.

    The thing I find hardest is managing the training of two dogs - moving to another room with one dog, or taking one out at a time ... sometimes we are working on the same thing with both dogs, so that can make it easier, at least in the kitchen! I've just spent two short sessions doing impulse control with Scout - "leave it". I think she gets it ... at least in the sitting room, she did.

    Anyway, good luck, and I can't wait to read about how you get on, and to learning more stuff to help me with Fly and Scout.
     
  11. Goldstar

    Goldstar PetForums VIP

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    Great idea :)

    I love hearing about your 2 little terrors and know how hard you work on their training. You should be very proud :)

    From a young age Lucky has been very sociable, unfortunately she did start to get very nervous around other dogs a few weeks ago. It stemmed from a few bad encounters I believe. Nothing overly serious but enough to knock her confidence and bring out a nervousness I didn't realise existed in her.
    I have been encouraging her to interact with the dogs I know are laid back and friendly and this has helped quite a lot. She does enjoy a run about with them and is most comfortable offlead.
    She still stiffens up when meeting new dogs, doesn't like her rear being sniffed and occasionally air snaps if she's onlead and an offlead dog harasses her but she is gaining confidence every day.

    Will read everyone else's updates as well as add my own, will be nice to get some understanding support.
     
    #11 Goldstar, Nov 9, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2012
  12. GingerRogers

    GingerRogers PetForums VIP

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    Pupcakes, Nupafeed Stressless is a supplement, Dogless used it successfully with Kilo, and it seems lots of people use it for show dogs (and horses which must be horrifically expensive :eek:) but there are lots of others out there some which work for others and some which don't, I chose this to start with as it isn't a sedative and works with the bodies natural process so it isn't changing anything if get what I mean - I don't really know if its working though :eek:, she is calmer and calms down quicker, but whether thats the new regime or the nupafeed I don't know :confused: I will keep using it until it nearly runs out then stop and see what happens although I hope by then we might have a plan to work to. I guess with her I am hoping we can find a solution as I am fairly sure it is her early socialisation or lack of mixed with our complete failure to integrate her in normal life properly that is the problem and with a bit of re-education we can work it out.

    Nupafeed Superior Supplements for Dogs

    As to whether the new regime has helped tire her out, well no but it has given her enough exercise, she could still go on forever and she has always slept the day away inside, we are getting a bit more of an equilibrium, I think my idea is to make outside less interesting and inside (therefore us) more so.

    Pigs fly is a great book but Scaredy dog is definitely worth a read if you already have it and recognise any of Ginge in your Dottie, it helped me understand her better.

    Don't worry I will definitely be back on Tuesday (good :D or bad news :cryin:)
     
  13. AmberNero

    AmberNero PetForums VIP

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    Nice reply, very kind of you to tackle all our replies!

    AmbamBanderBear will bark when she sees other dogs if they are playing- she used to bark at any dog she saw but we've worked on that with success - I can stop her before she starts barking if I'm vigilant, and she isn't a constant barker. She doesn't know if she wants to play or flee :rolleyes:

    Does Dottie flicker through emotions at a million miles an hour? You can really see it happening to Ambs sometimes.
     
  14. Dogless

    Dogless PetForums VIP

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    Great thread; I wish you the very best of luck and will follow with interest.

    As GR said I can highly recommend the Nupafeed Stress-Less - PM me if you want to chat about it xx.
     
  15. Pupcakes

    Pupcakes Lady of The Terrors.

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    Sorry Sarah!

    Computer didnt show me your reply til now! Replying to new posts!

    xxx
     
  16. Pupcakes

    Pupcakes Lady of The Terrors.

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    Thank you very much Dogless! And that would be brilliant thanks!

    xxx
     
  17. Pupcakes

    Pupcakes Lady of The Terrors.

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    Reading all replies now :)

    xxx
     
  18. Pupcakes

    Pupcakes Lady of The Terrors.

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    Hey guys,

    Gotta walk The Terrors themselves now then I am out for the evening.

    But please keep adding your stories, opinions, experiences, dog tales on here.

    I will read through them all on my phone (at work :D) and reply on my PC when I get home.

    Thanks for sharing all your experiences so far.

    I will reply to everyone next time I'm on!:)

    xxx
     
  19. Pupcakes

    Pupcakes Lady of The Terrors.

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    I'm meant to be getting ready to go out but thought I would post on here first. Just come back in from the evening pavement walk and all was going well, barked at another Jack on the lead but nothing too bad.

    I was just heading home when I see a girl I knows dad walking up the pavement with his Jack, so I cross the road and go onto the grassy side to put some space between us. I see the guy and smile "Evening" to be polite, he just says "Alright", DnC are straining at their leads, lunging forward, barking, I can see he wants to keep walking as they all start barking then. I am JUST turning on my heel when Charlie comes free from his lead, I hear a PING! then he shoots across the main road to get to this dog!

    He stands next to him, rather stiff (no handbags may I add) and keeps circling round him, trying to suss him out, but didnt start, but was obviously very tense and not being very polite. The man picks up his dog and I run across trying to grab Charlie, hes jumping up trying to see the dog in the mans arms. The man is trying to calm his dog down and say "Its okay, its okay" I get Charlie and apologise over and over, saying effing lead.

    I get him back on the lead and realise the lead hadnt broke but I had clipped him onto his name tags little circle, not the main one on his harness, so all the straining he did, finally made it snap open when he saw the dog.

    The man walked off and said I'm walking this way now, I said sorry again, I cant imagine any harm was done as if Charlies going to kick off, he does it in a flash, he just kept circling him and moving quickly around him. Hes met this dog previously and has been fine with him (we often see each other on pavement walks).

    I then just started crying (and am fighting back tears very hard now and not working) I couldnt effing believe it, why me?! What have I done so wrong that things always have to mess up with me, I am SO mad at myself that I clipped it on his name tag, not harness :mad: Plus Charlie could have been killed by a car or bus :(

    I do just feel like jacking it all in, I know I wont because I love my dogs too much, but just when my confidence is already at rock bottom, this happens and I cant feel any lower.

    I didnt think dog walks were all about apologising for everything your dog does :(

    Trying to pull myself together now and stop crying before some sees me :eek:

    Gonna message his daughter (an old school friend on FB) and tell her to apologise to her dad again for me.

    *sigh* :(
     
  20. Goldstar

    Goldstar PetForums VIP

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    Try not to let it get you down. Clipping the lead on the tags was just a simple mistake.

    Nothing really bad happened, Charlie could have acted worse :)

    Don't let this affect your confidence, I'm sure tomorrows walk will be better.

    Sending hugs
     
    #20 Goldstar, Nov 9, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2012
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