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Amber has started going after strange dogs!

JanM
September 9th, 2007, 12:06 PM
She has done this 4 times now and I am clueless as to why. Could it be a phase she is going through? She just turned 2 yrs... I contacted a dog behaviourist that I've worked with before and his opinion is, the first time it happened it was because she just reacted badly to the new dog but since then it's probably something I'm doing to cue her. The only thing I can think of is that now, whenever a strange dog comes along, I am fearful she will do it again - and she picks up on that - and does it!

Anyway, Tuesday we are having a session with the dog behaviourist where he will work with us to correct whatever is happening - so please wish us luck!

mummummum
September 9th, 2007, 08:29 PM
You have my best wishes !

I know that I have to consciously relax myself, my breathing, my arm when I am out with Bridie and the other two. Hopefully once the trainer eyeballs the both of you in action, s/he will teach you some self-awareness do's and don'ts and retraining techniques.

Bridie became hyper-vigilant and protective of Ceili, me and to some extent now Declan after she and Ceili were charged at / attacked a number of times. Sadly, I don't think she will ever return to her I-Love-Everybody self but at least we have some control methods now. Hopefully Amber is entirely retrainable!

JanM
September 9th, 2007, 08:48 PM
Thank you mx3... this is a very upsetting situation for me so I'm going to be working pretty darn hard to reverse her behaviour!

I'll sure let you know what we discover on Tuesday..

TMac
September 9th, 2007, 10:41 PM
Is Amber a bigger breed? I found my golden went through a terrible time like this when he turned 2...teenagers!!!!!!! :eek:

The behaviourist could be right that the first time might have been a fluke, but now you're tensing the leash because you're afraid of what she might do and she senses it. This is totally what happened to us and I was the one tensing up and giving Toby the message that I was worried and thus there must be something about this dog that is bad so he should react.

Its a really hard situation to rectify and we still work on it to this day, but hopefully your behaviourist can show you some specific tips to deal with it (e.g. turn in all directions to loosen the leash, have your dog sit and wait at a distance when another comes by, more socialization in a controlled environment, etc etc).

Good luck and let us know how it goes! I'd love to hear if what you're told is similar to what our trainer has told us. :thumbs up

hazelrunpack
September 9th, 2007, 11:27 PM
I hope the trainer is able to pinpoint the problem for you, Jan. :grouphug: Amazing how much body language dogs pick up on, isn't it?

:fingerscr for luck! Also :goodvibes: coming your (and Amber's) way!

Ford Girl
September 10th, 2007, 01:02 PM
I am in this same situation, Dazy does this to puppies and other strange dogs, she gaurds us for no reason....she did it once, it scared me, now she can tell I am stressed out....keep us posted, I may have to do that same as you, as in talking to a behavioralist. Good luck!!!

JanM
September 10th, 2007, 01:50 PM
Is Amber a bigger breed? I found my golden went through a terrible time like this when he turned 2...teenagers!!!!!!! :eek:

The behaviourist could be right that the first time might have been a fluke, but now you're tensing the leash because you're afraid of what she might do and she senses it. This is totally what happened to us and I was the one tensing up and giving Toby the message that I was worried and thus there must be something about this dog that is bad so he should react.




OMG - Amber is a female golden who just turned 2 in June! Could it be that it's a passing teenager phase???????????

I will post a follow-up after our session tomorrow..

JanM
September 10th, 2007, 01:51 PM
I am in this same situation, Dazy does this to puppies and other strange dogs, she gaurds us for no reason....she did it once, it scared me, now she can tell I am stressed out....keep us posted, I may have to do that same as you, as in talking to a behavioralist. Good luck!!!

That's one of the wonderful things about this board - you quickly learn that you aren't alone!

TeriM
September 10th, 2007, 03:06 PM
Arghhhhh :wall::wall::wall:.

I just typed out a long post in answer to this and I lost it :yell:.

TeriM
September 10th, 2007, 03:20 PM
We have also had this issue recently :frustrated:. Riley is approx 16 months.

We recently went on a two week camping holiday and Riley was more then a little out of control. To begin with as he was tied in our campsite or while in the car he would go nuts leaping and snarling at any dog walking nearby. We handled that mostly with the squirt bottle (hates to be squirted!) and by the end of the trip he was behaving quite well and calmly watching any dog walk by (YEAH!). The squirt bottle allows me to break his focus and then I am able to issue an obedience command :thumbs up.

The leaping and snarling also translated to our walks on leash. I did break down and purchase a prong collar (eek!) as he was just to strong (88 lbs at last weigh in) and seems to go into a zone where he is super focused. Using a combination of the squirt bottle and the prong (as well as working some of our basic obedience commands a lot more) seemed to give us back the upper hand a bit. I was eventually able to force him to sit quietly when we met another dog and over a few days managed to progress to having him sit and then using the “go say hi” command with willing, friendly dogs. I was quite pleased with his progression. I think hopefully that we have acted quickly enough to handle the situation before it progressed into a learned behaviour :fingerscr.

Before anyone goes nuts on me about the prong collar I have tried all sorts of body harnesses and he absolutely freaks out with any form of head collar (halti, newtrix etc) on. He would run and hide whenever I picked up the body or head harness even though he loves to go for a walk. He has no such issues at all with the prong and willingly comes to me to have it put on :thumbs up.

He has zero aggression while off leash.

When we returned home he did have one minor episode while at our vets (and there was about 6 dogs who rushed him) but we handled that well I thought and was able to get him to sit quietly. Since then we have met quite a few dogs while on leash and he has been very good. I do insist that he sits quietly before he is able to greet the other dog. I have found that if you ask the other dog owners to help you work the situation that they are really great. I did email our trainer about the situation and her response was as follows: And regarding Riley's behavior...he is more than social...he can't get any more social than he is, he is just being a jerk. And he is growing into an adult male now with all the protective, big dog attitude that goes along with that. We are actually having a private lesson today to review the situation (and to monitor how hubby and I handle things) and also to make sure I am using the collar correctly.

TMac
September 10th, 2007, 06:02 PM
OMG - Amber is a female golden who just turned 2 in June! Could it be that it's a passing teenager phase???????????

I will post a follow-up after our session tomorrow..

I think there is something to the age thing...just seems like the training and good manners you thought they had before just goes out the window and you have to start all over again! My friend also has a golden that went nutso on her at age 2. He improved wonderfully after age 3. (What's with these goldens, eh!!!) :wall:

The good news is with lots of good training through these trying teenage year(s) they often DO improve!!! So hang in there! I know its tough to handle (sometimes physically and emotionally) for us humans but there is light at the end of the tunnel. We still have to keep on top of things with Toby but at age 3 he REALLY settled down and started showing tons of improvement!

Good luck and hope you get lots of great advice from the behaviourist! :grouphug:

JanM
September 10th, 2007, 06:49 PM
TeriM - sure sounds like you've done a lot of good work with your puppy - that just goes to show that it does pay in the long run!

Thanks for sharing - it's always good to hear how others have handled similar situations..

JanM
September 11th, 2007, 08:53 PM
Well, we had our session with the dog behaviourist and, as I thought, I've been letting Amber get away with, albeit small (to me) things, they have added up to her thinking she is the queen.. I have let her lean against me when she sits and he says that is one small part of her showing that she is boss. I think a big one is that, Bobby is always up last and when he comes to me to say good morning, Amber spends a lot of energy trying to keep him away. I haven't stopped it because Bobby just keeps going around her and eventually gets to me but this, too, is letting Amber think she could or should keep dogs away from me. The dog behaviourist was pretty sure that Amber is doing her aggressive behaviour to keep other dogs away from me.

Amber will be back on a long leash starting tomorrow morning when she tries to keep Bobby from coming to me. Whenever she butts in when Bobby is getting attention - from me or anyone else - she will be corrected and made to wait her turn. The long leash will be on whenever we are out in public off-leash places for the same reason - and I will correct her whenever an unacceptable behaviour is shown. I am also supposed to find a spot in the house that I can send Amber to when her behaviour isn't acceptable so I'll start on that tomorrow too. This is going to be an interesting time!

So, it's back to basics for us. The dog behavourist was pretty sure that it would only take a couple of days to correct her - he knows both of us so I'm sure hoping he's right!

Interestingly, we had a dog with us that Amber has shown dominant behaviour to in the past and sure enough, she tried it again. She was corrected but she did it again. As soon as the leash went on without being held - she sat beside me as good as gold. The other dog came up to me - no problem, it sniffed at her bone - no problem.

It's going to take some work but it will be worth it in the long run. Tomorrow it's back to school for Amber and I!

mummummum
September 11th, 2007, 08:59 PM
Sounds like you've made great progress already! What does the correction entail Jan ?

JanM
September 11th, 2007, 09:44 PM
Sounds like you've made great progress already! What does the correction entail Jan ?

The correction is to first verbally ask her to stop or to step on the leash and force her to stop - depending on the situation.

In the house I will show her "go to your blanket" then, when she knows that action and will do it, when she shows unacceptable behaviour like blocking Bobby from coming to me, I will ask her to go to the blanket. If she doesn't, I'll use the leash to take her to the blanket.

Out in the off-leash areas, I will use a verbal command for her to stop what she is doing - if that doesn't work, I'll step on or take hold of the leash and force her to stop and do something else - like come to me or lie down or sit or whatever. If possible, I am to try to get between the two dogs and admonish her - while she is exhibiting her bad behaviour... that should prove interesting :D

I tried to get a lunge line (for horses) today for Amber - the length of it would be good when outdoors but the store didn't have any. Hopefully they will get some in tomorrow so I'll be back to check. I'm using a home-made one right now for in the house - a clip on the end of some yellow clothesline-type stuff but it isn't long enough for outdoors. Tomorrow morning I'll use two leashes tied together - just until I can get a really good long leash..

mummummum
September 11th, 2007, 09:53 PM
Interesting! I guess Amber has "Stay" downpat if you can use "Go to your blanket". Bridie is great at holding a "stay" asl long as there is food involved and there aren't any balls or frisbees whizzing by :D :rolleyes: