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Westie who barks at dogs....

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Gilly and Jess, Mar 22, 2011.


  1. Gilly and Jess

    Gilly and Jess PetForums Senior

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    Request for information for my neighbour now! Sorry, I keep asking heaps of questions.....


    My neighbour has recently taken on a little male Westie, he's friendly with people, but when he comes across another dog she has a right old time calming him down and getting him away from the scene. Tonight, I was coming out of my front door just as she walked past and by lordy did he go nuts! Jess was a little spooked and started jumping around on her lead, but I managed to get her to settle and sit still, the Westie just kept on and on and on barking....

    I suggested to her something that was told to me on here last week, about treating him when they came across other dogs, so he'd associate other dogs with goodies for himself. Is there anything else she can try? I've no idea how old the dog is, but he doesn't look like a pup....I can tell she's reluctant to walk him sometimes the way he goes on. It would be nice if I could offer to mind the dog for her in future to help socialise it with Jess, but I couldn't contemplate it at present....
     
  2. Hayden

    Hayden PetForums Newbie

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    I am guessing you don't know the history of any dog previous training with this dog?

    I think destracting is the best way to go here. As soon as the dog starts to bark or notices another dog get a treat under his nose and start playing with the dog with a ball.

    Same goes when out on a walk and the dog sees another dog. She needs to get a treat under the dogs nose and try and distract the dog.

    She might need to get her body in front of the dog to distract him if it's really bad.

    Good luck with it, and I hope this has been some help
     
  3. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Yes, actually if she begins reward based obedience training it will build her confidence in controlling the dog and help her be patient.

    The difficulty is, the barking at passing dogs on walks is likely self rewarding. By the time the barking starts, her Westie is likely to be very excited and hard to distract "above threshold", he may not be interested in food at that point for instance.

    In past * on barking cases, part of the behavioural cure has included screen off certain windows, to stop the opportunity to watch for things to bark at.

    On meeting other dogs, again managing the excietment of the Westie will be key, places with more space allow for a distant walk past, and calmness to be rewarded.

    It will help, if her friends with dogs can do multiple walk pasts to help her dog get the idea, that other dogs are not a threat and counter program a postive association.

    I happened across these old clips made by Dr Iain Dunbar, which may help, my only concern is that the emphasis on verbal reward & displeasure is not as effective if you've had little time to bond with the dog as a consistent and wise benevolent leader. That's why emphasis is on delicious food rewards, they're easier to get right, more distracting and more reliable :

    Aggression 1 Dont Give Up - Training Dogs with Dunbar
    Aggression 2 Praise the Good - Training Dogs with Dunbar
    Aggression 3 Sit Stay - Training Dogs with Dunbar

    Things I like about these clips :
    o timing, immediately switch to reward when you have wanted behaviour
    o sitting dog to side, loose leash and not too close
    o calm dog handling
    o postive training of a sit-stay which is incompatible with the aggressive lunging

    Note the guy walking the GSD is yanking the dog back, whereas I'd much prefer to lead off to side on diagonal, and passing such a dog with me in the middle, so I can block off any attack, rather than try to control my dog on the end of the leash.

    * I meant forum threads
     
    #3 RobD-BCactive, Mar 23, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  4. Gilly and Jess

    Gilly and Jess PetForums Senior

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    Thanks for those replies. I'll have a look at the videos in a second.

    You're right, I don't know any of the history just yet, I've said I'll call in and discuss it with her. She seems to think he had a bad experience as a puppy but I'm not so sure, I think it's probably more likely the dog hasn't been socialised very well.

    I've just been out on a walk with Jess, and happened across her on the other side of the road. My side of the road there was me with Jess, and another gent with a retriever. My neighbours dog was going his ends on her side, she was attempting to give him a treat as I'd suggested and he wasn't interested, I think his attention was far too far down the stream to even win him over. She described it as a "nightmare" for herself, makes walking hard for her.

    Jess was getting excited at his barking, the retriever was just ignoring him.

    I'll have a look at those videos,and I did offer to take the westie out myself to see if I can do anything with him that might help her, I can then show her what worked for me if I find anything. I'm glad Jess doesn't have this problem, given the fact she was attacked the other week, thankfully it's done no lasting mental damage with her!
     
  5. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    It may help if the Westie can be taken somewhere more open in a car to practice, rather than be walked down the street of "Akita Rampage II".

    I see lots of unsociable small dogs out on lead, generally because they're small they don't cause alarm and the owners have little trouble hanging onto them. It is not inevitable though, one of my dog's pals is a very sociable Cairn terrier. Many of the owners of small dogs, seem to be over protective of their puppies, I guess them needing less open space means they meet fewer pups & dogs to play with, unless the owner finds a puppy play romp, they can start at 11-12 weeks (preferably).

    Sounds like the Retriever could make a good walk companion for your dog :)
     
    #5 RobD-BCactive, Mar 23, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  6. Gilly and Jess

    Gilly and Jess PetForums Senior

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    Absolutely! Sadly the gent just walked past me with the dog and didn't allow them to say hello, so we had to continue on our way.

    I parked Jess outside of my doctors surgery this morning, there was already another dog parked at the "dog park", I thought it may be a problem but it SO wasn't. The other dog just sat and looked at Jess, Jess sat beside her quite happily. In fact once the other dog had gone Jess began to bark, so the other had obviously been good company for her!

    I'd like to help my neighbour with her westie, as I would like to be able to knock and say can I take him for a walk with me and Jess, in order that Jess gets some good doggie time too. She doesn't get much chance to play with other dogs, I find most tend to call their dogs back and walk past when we're out.

    I'll pass on the advice to my neighbour and report back :)
     
  7. Gilly and Jess

    Gilly and Jess PetForums Senior

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    I've discovered from my neighbour that she got Sonny from the Dogs Trust in Darlington, same place as where I got Jess. He was in there with another dog, and seemed quite happy in there.

    He's about 4 years old, and is great in the house and around people, so great that her partner, who didn't actually like dogs, has been won over by him.

    It is just with other dogs that he goes mental for her. She's started going at later at night, which means her daughter can't walk him anymore, to avoid running into people. I was coming back from a walk last night as she was going out, I did a detour round the block to get back to my house in order to prevent him going off the rails......too late, he'd seen us! I do wonder if it's a fear aggression tho, he seems to wrap himself round her ankles and stuff rather than lunging and trying to leg it.

    She knocked at the door when she got back to apologise for my having to detour, I explained I did it voluntarily. She was complaining her hands are getting sore from the lead pulling through her hands when she's trying to control him.

    I've offered to try and do some walk pasts with her, she can sit with Jess whilst I walk Sonny, see if we can find some diversionary tactics for her to try.
     
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