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Will be traveling - worried about boarding a slightly aggressive dog

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by zoomies_zoomies, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. zoomies_zoomies

    zoomies_zoomies PetForums Newbie

    Mar 12, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Hello all! I'm new and I have a question/concern.

    About a year ago I rescued a yorkie/cairn terrier mix, Murphy. The first day I saw him at the shelter he was barking like crazy at the other dogs but I wasn't concerned because all of the dogs were barking. He is such a character and he loves every human he meets, even small children. The day I brought him home I immediately introduced him to my other dog, Louie the 10 year old yorkie. They hit it off with no problems even though I didn't 'properly' introduce them. Bear in mind they are almost the same size with Murphy being a little taller. Murphy is also 9 pounds. Louie has never socialized with other dogs but he did ok with Murphy (very surprising).

    Flash forward to a couple weeks later. I was out walking Murphy when a neighbor is out with their English Mastiff puppy who was bigger than Murphy but at that time it wasn't much. Hesitantly we walked past and the kids were messing with their puppy on the grass when they wanted to see Murphy. I pulled Murphy in closer to me and went over to them. I was nervous as this was the first time Murphy and I had encountered a new dog together. The dogs sniffed and Murphy suddenly started barking and snapping at the pup. Quickly, we went our way. After that day I noticed more aggression to other dogs, mainly bigger ones. He has never bitten another dog (thankfully) but it is very stressful and embarrassing when we come across another dog on our walks. Murphy goes crazy when he sees the other dog across the street or in a yard but now the size doesn't matter. Most the dogs in my area are large and we have to avoid them constantly. My yard is also surrounded by multiple dogs on all but one side of the fence (it is a wooden fence so the dogs cannot see each other). Sometimes Murphy creates havoc when he is close to it, but mostly he joins in on the barking and pouncing against the fence.

    Now to my concern. I will be gone for about 7 days in late April. I will have to board both Murphy and Louie for two nights and three days. I am very concerned for Murphy. He has gotten better with not going crazy at the sight of another dog. I have been saying "leave it" as soon as a dog comes into view and it seems to stop him from barking and pulling on his leash. I know it could be a dangerous sitiuation if Murphy is let loose with other dogs. I'm planning on having both my dogs stay together in the same kennel but when they are let out in the yard I don't know what Murphy could do. I am afraid of him charging a dog and bitting it, or making another dog bite him.

    I have a friend with a large lab who is willing to start working with me on socializing Murphy. I have read loads of different tips and tricks to socializing aggressive dogs but I need more suggestions. Hiring a trainer costs a lot of money and I don't know if that's the best solution. Also, I don't feel like Murphy is extremely aggressive and requires a trainer. He has responded more and more to the "leave it" command and sometimes I don't have to say it at all. He has met two other small dogs and he has had no problem, but that was months ago. I think he is afraid of any dog that is even slightly bigger than him which is why I thought working with my friend's dog would be good. I just want him to know that he doesn't have to be afraid of bigger dogs, and I don't want him to lash out at any other dog in the kennel.

    Is this the right approach? I don't know anyone else who has small dogs, everyone in my area has very large dogs. It would ease my mind while I'm away to know that Murphy won't attack a dog while he's in the kennel.
  2. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Jan 5, 2013
    Likes Received:
    If he has to go into kennels I would ask if screens could be put up so he can't see other dogs and I would also insist they do not socialise with any other dogs but are walked/yarded entirely on their own.

    Have you thought of a home boarder who might take only your dogs that week or a home sitter? Would your friend be willing to look after them?

    As for "socialising" him he needs to be kept far enough away from other dogs so that he is able to relax and not react. Then he can be rewarded. Very slowly that distance can be reduced. However, it will be a slow process.

    You need to avoid flooding him with other dogs as that will make him more anxious.

    Look at positively.com for some tips.

    I'm not sure he will be sufficiently "reprogrammed" to not find kennels in April extremely stressful though.
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