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More Aggressive Behavior, Suggestions/Thoughts Welcome!

Bailey_
April 8th, 2009, 02:37 PM
This is the second post I've made about a certain BC that I'm currently working with. (For those of you that don't remember, he was purchased from the local spca and had serious aggression/fear issues to basically everything outside. It was really obvious that in his previous home he had been kept indoors and the old owners had not properly worked with his herding instincts. Over the course of the past few months that I've been working with Max and his owners, he's greatly progressed to the point of his owners trusting him to walk off-leash in busy areas, and no longer focuses his attention on passerby. It's been a long process, but he has made huge leaps and bounds.)

Just recently his owners asked me to come to their home and work with Max because apparently he's showing the same signs of aggression/fear when someone knocks on the door and enters. When they first brought him home, this behavior wasn't *so* bad - just lots of loud barking, whining, being really anxious about the doorbell/knocking. They apparently would just tell him 'enough' and he'd be okay. This behavior has escalated in the past month - to growling, baring teeth, etc - even when the person has been greeted and welcomed into the home. When I asked how they've been handling THAT behavior, they said they would just start getting down on his level and holding him. (I know, not good, but they didn't know what else to do.)
A few weeks ago we had a group lesson near their house and I had been planning on working with Max briefly in his home to assess this behavior, but that night we had been so busy we never really got around to it. After class I went into their house, and I had another client of mine ring the doorbell. Max instantly showed this behavior they had described - the barking, the anxiety, the whining (I didn't see growling) but he was obviously extremley anxious.
I made sure no one physically touched him as I did not want Max to percieve that as a reward for his anxiety, and used simple sound correction to take his mind/focus off of the door. I mentally drew a line on the floor in the front lobby that I did not want Max to cross, and just kept stepping in front of him to establish that he was not to go to the door.
After about 30 seconds, he was sitting, quietly, calmly. I went to the door, opened it, the client came in the house, and Max was fine.

When I left that evening however, the owners could absolutley not get control of Max. As soon as I opened the door, he started to exhibit his herding instinct to keep the pack together - became very anxious again, barking loudly, etc. Unfortunatley I didn't have time to help them work through that moment, (I felt horrible, but I can't stay forever) and told them we'd get together again that week.

Well schedules have been such that Max has only been able to get to my group classes. So when I recieved an email just recently from the owners asking me that we have to soon get together and work on his behavior as he had just nearly bit a visiting neighbor, it really concerned me. This behavior that Max is exhibiting is SO far, and I'm just not seeing his current owners ability to take control - even just feel like they *can* do it, regardless of how much I try to build them up. They're so discouraged at this point by his in-home behavior, that I'm really worried.

Suggestions on this behavior, even reccomendations about anything I can do to help this dog understand his owners are his leaders will be greatly appreciated. I will be meeting with them again this week, and I've asked that the same person who Max almost bit come back to the house. My plan is to just continue to work with sound corrections as it worked last time, and hopefully work long enough with Max and his owners that his owners will get the hang of it. Other than that, I'm at a loss. :shrug:

BenMax
April 8th, 2009, 03:01 PM
Obvious signs that there is a lack of respect with the masters of this dog.

I would increase the line. I train all my dogs (fosters included) to go to their beds away from the door until they are given the command to come forward.

This exercise is fairly fast and easy. Someone knocks at the door. Dog brought to his bed and instructed to stay down (keep long leash on to return to bed so that collar is not touched). This must be repeated as he will buck the command. Usually takes three people (one at the door obviously) one to ensure the dog stays put and another to answer.

I now only have to point and they know to go lie down in respective beds.

Do you understand what I am trying to get at.

luckypenny
April 8th, 2009, 03:07 PM
Has Max and his owners mastered the down/stay command? Rather than blocking his access to the door behind an invisible line, how about having him sitting or lying on a small rug away from the door? And have him "stay" there for a good 5-10 minutes during and after guests have entered the home. When guests leave, they can repeat the sit or down/stay command beginning 5-10 minutes before they walk out the door. I'd recommend a short leash in case he breaks the command (they could just step on it or grab it as he gets up, but no corrections) to avoid him going after the guests.

A believer in positive reinforcement for wanted behavior, I'd recommend a high value treat that he would get at no other time, only for this exercise alone. When guests arrive and he's successfully completed his down/stay, he gets a reward....when they leave and he's successfully completed his down/stay, another yummy reward to reinforce the positive association with people entering and leaving the home.

Until they are able to practice with you, especially if they're not feeling very confident, all they have to do is not allow him access to guests when they enter and when they leave.

luckypenny
April 8th, 2009, 03:09 PM
Took me too long to reply....didn't see your post there BenMax :). Great advice :D.

Bailey_
April 8th, 2009, 03:10 PM
Yes, thanks BenMax.

I agree that giving Max boundaries in this situation is essential. The problem is that the husband travels for work, so the wife is home alone a lot with Max. His behavior is so strongly ingrained at this point, that it IS going to take both the husband and wife constantly to work through this. My concern is that the wife is home so much with her dog, she's the one left to train him - and that's why I think this situation may just continue.

BenMax
April 8th, 2009, 03:11 PM
Took me too long to reply....didn't see your post there BenMax :). Great advice :D.

:highfive: Our minds think alike :)

And may I add that your dogs infact do behave very well when greeted at the door.:thumbs up

luckypenny
April 8th, 2009, 03:14 PM
:highfive: Our minds think alike :)

And may I add that your dogs infact do behave very well when greeted at the door.:thumbs up

You haven't seen Penny when Frenchy crosses the threshhold, she makes a bumbling writhing fool of herself....er Penny, not Frenchy :laughing:.

BenMax
April 8th, 2009, 03:15 PM
Yes, thanks BenMax.

I agree that giving Max boundaries in this situation is essential. The problem is that the husband travels for work, so the wife is home alone a lot with Max. His behavior is so strongly ingrained at this point, that it IS going to take both the husband and wife constantly to work through this. My concern is that the wife is home so much with her dog, she's the one left to train him - and that's why I think this situation may just continue.

In that case she should still do the exercise on her own about having the dog go to his respective place and not leave until he is given the command to approach. The doorbell or knock on the door can also be thrown in once the dog gets to understand that he must stay put until told other wise. It can be done with one person. Just needs to be practiced throughout the day.

I always point to what I want my dogs to do...and they do it without incident. I never had to handle them hard (can't anyways since one weighs slightly more than a rat):laughing:. Fosters follow suit.

So the exercise is for the dog to understand where 'his' spot is and to stay. The 'here' command after a few minutes as LP suggested. Then shorter and longer instances of the command.

Bailey_
April 8th, 2009, 03:20 PM
Has Max and his owners mastered the down/stay command? Rather than blocking his access to the door behind an invisible line, how about having him sitting or lying on a small rug away from the door? And have him "stay" there for a good 5-10 minutes during and after guests have entered the home. When guests leave, they can repeat the sit or down/stay command beginning 5-10 minutes before they walk out the door. I'd recommend a short leash in case he breaks the command (they could just step on it or grab it as he gets up, but no corrections) to avoid him going after the guests.

A believer in positive reinforcement for wanted behavior, I'd recommend a high value treat that he would get at no other time, only for this exercise alone. When guests arrive and he's successfully completed his down/stay, he gets a reward....when they leave and he's successfully completed his down/stay, another yummy reward to reinforce the positive association with people entering and leaving the home.

Until they are able to practice with you, especially if they're not feeling very confident, all they have to do is not allow him access to guests when they enter and when they leave.

Thanks LP. Yes, Max has established the down/stay - and they actually do have a rug that they ask him to stay on. The problem about having him just down/stay on the rug and opening the door, is the fact that his anxiety reaches peek level as SOON as the doorbell is rang. Which means that his mind immediatley enters FREAK OUT ZONE when he hears that noise, and all obedience training goes out the window (which is why I've just used the sound correction to take his focus off of the door and put it back on me, which worked in that short time I was in their home). As his trainer, I personally just don't believe in asking a dog to 'down' when they are so anxious...I just feel that putting them in a submissive position when they're afraid could possibly make the behavior worse, especially in Max's case. Thoughts on that?

I think that's a great idea though to have him stay in that position before the guests leave, and rewarding him afterwards. Unfortunatley Max is absolutley not food motivated, doesn't take a treat at the best of times, which is why they came to me in the first place - treat/clicker trainers had failed Max - but I'll see if he has a good bone or toy that he loves. Good idea.

I also worry that even through training and having the husband and wife ask people to come over and knock on their door - that there will still be those times that people ring the bell and knock on the door, and the wife is home alone and can't handle Max, and things get pushed back again. Any thoughts on this?

Thanks guys!

Bailey_
April 8th, 2009, 03:23 PM
In that case she should still do the exercise on her own about having the dog go to his respective place and not leave until he is given the command to approach. The doorbell or knock on the door can also be thrown in once the dog gets to understand that he must stay put until told other wise. It can be done with one person. Just needs to be practiced throughout the day.

I always point to what I want my dogs to do...and they do it without incident. I never had to handle them hard (can't anyways since one weighs slightly more than a rat):laughing:. Fosters follow suit.

So the exercise is for the dog to understand where 'his' spot is and to stay. The 'here' command after a few minutes as LP suggested. Then shorter and longer instances of the command.

Okay, thanks for answering my last question on my post. So, basically, have the wife work with Max constantly on this stay a few times a day by herself...Makes sense. Though I'll probably have to ensure that she has someone come over to knock on the door for her as well to practice that, as Max easily stays for her in the house - the issue is the doorbell.

BenMax
April 8th, 2009, 03:24 PM
Forcing a dog into down is only frustrating a dog that is already showing signs of defiance. I would keep the leash on the dog...infact, remember when I suggested that when a dog pulls on the leash to stand fast and the dog will come to you eventually....do you think maybe this would work here?

Bailey_
April 8th, 2009, 03:29 PM
Forcing a dog into down is only frustrating a dog that is already showing signs of defiance. I would keep the leash on the dog...infact, remember when I suggested that when a dog pulls on the leash to stand fast and the dog will come to you eventually....do you think maybe this would work here?

Yeah, that's what I think too, which is why I prefer just trying to sound correct his mind out of that state for a few minutes until he's calmer, and then opening the door while still giving him boundaries.

I've been avoiding reccomending putting the dog on a leash for this situation because the owners get really worked up when Max is barking and anxious and I don't want them to start pulling him or allowing their anxiety to travel to the dog through tension. I think too it's just not realistic to expect that a leash will be on him all the time through the day whenever someone could ring the bell, you know? And I like to keep things as 'real' as I can for my clients.

Ahhh, so many things to think about. I really appreciate all the comments you guys, it helps me get my mind in gear for this. :thumbs up

luckypenny
April 8th, 2009, 03:35 PM
Thanks LP. Yes, Max has established the down/stay - and they actually do have a rug that they ask him to stay on. The problem about having him just down/stay on the rug and opening the door, is the fact that his anxiety reaches peek level as SOON as the doorbell is rang. Which means that his mind immediatley enters FREAK OUT ZONE when he hears that noise, and all obedience training goes out the window

Then he hasn't mastered the down/stay command :shrug:. His tolerance to stressors has to be built up by tiny increments.

Can they change their doorbell? It's fairly simple, I've done it myself in the past. They can begin immediatley to have him positively associate the new sound with whatever reward works for him by practicing 10-20-30 times a day. Once he responds 100% to the new sound, they can immediately begin to work on the down/stay-doorbell-reward. This would all have to begin without real ppl walking in the door (all they have to do is ask guests to call before arriving and to not ring the bell). Once again, when he responds as he's expected to, they can alternatelly have ppl come through.

BenMax
April 8th, 2009, 03:43 PM
Yeah, that's what I think too, which is why I prefer just trying to sound correct his mind out of that state for a few minutes until he's calmer, and then opening the door while still giving him boundaries.

I've been avoiding reccomending putting the dog on a leash for this situation because the owners get really worked up when Max is barking and anxious and I don't want them to start pulling him or allowing their anxiety to travel to the dog through tension. I think too it's just not realistic to expect that a leash will be on him all the time through the day whenever someone could ring the bell, you know? And I like to keep things as 'real' as I can for my clients.

Ahhh, so many things to think about. I really appreciate all the comments you guys, it helps me get my mind in gear for this. :thumbs up

I hear you, but the leash is only a tool to maintain control. As LP says it's just a repetition throughout the day. The leash of course does not always stay on, however for this exercise it will facilitate control without touching the collar (which I do not recommend doing when a dog has reached a hightened state of mind).

Actually - if you and her try this - it may work while hubby is away...nothing to loose.

BenMax
April 8th, 2009, 03:47 PM
Wait I just thought of something.

I truly believe the dog needs his own 'spot'. She should encourage the down and stay 100%. She should then just go to the door open it and then close it - ensureing he is still in his spot. Continue throughout the day.

Next days to come when mastered: She 'points' to his spot and he stays. She opens the door herself and rings the bell all the while giving stay signal. Close the dooor. Do the exercise throughout the day.

For now until always - even with people of his home...the dog should never greet anyone at the door until given the command to do so. If I come home and the dogs run to the door, I click my fingers and point....and they will go to their respective areas until I get my things together to take them for their walks.

What do you think of this idea?

BenMax
April 8th, 2009, 03:49 PM
Baily - try getting a hold of Tenderfoot. This person may have some great ideas.

Bailey_
April 8th, 2009, 03:53 PM
Then he hasn't mastered the down/stay command :shrug:. His tolerance to stressors has to be built up by tiny increments.

Can they change their doorbell? It's fairly simple, I've done it myself in the past. They can begin immediatley to have him positively associate the new sound with whatever reward works for him by practicing 10-20-30 times a day. Once he responds 100% to the new sound, they can immediately begin to work on the down/stay-doorbell-reward. This would all have to begin without real ppl walking in the door (all they have to do is ask guests to call before arriving and to not ring the bell). Once again, when he responds as he's expected to, they can alternatelly have ppl come through.

I'm sure they can change the doorbell, which would be an interesting experiment to carry out. Great suggestion!!!
He reacts the same way to anyone knocking though. I've suggested having people call before they come, however the wife said she often has solicitors and random people coming to the door - so those unnaccounted for people are the ones that will affect that excercise. Although now that I think of it, maybe they could just put a sign on the door that says something like, Unless We're Expecting You, Please Go Away? (At least thru the training period.)

Then he hasn't mastered the down/stay command :shrug:. His tolerance to stressors has to be built up by tiny increments.

I didn't say he had it mastered, I said he had established it. He's extremley good at staying and remaining focused at the task at hand - which I credit to his quick learning and willingness to work. This is a dog who used to have serious problems even being put in a sit, so I guess I'm partly biased because I have seen how far he has come. His owners trust him implecitly outside of the house; but again, this is not the case when someone comes to visit at their home.

BenMax, right, I see what you're saying. (Sorry, I thought you meant when someone comes to the door - put the leash on - which I wanted to avoid, because like you said, anxious state of mind.)
I'll def. see what happens at this next lesson and keep you all posted. First thing I want to achieve is a calm 'stay' before opening the door, and redirecting the behavior.
Thanks LP and BenMax. Appreciate it.

Bailey_
April 8th, 2009, 03:54 PM
Wait I just thought of something.

I truly believe the dog needs his own 'spot'. She should encourage the down and stay 100%. She should then just go to the door open it and then close it - ensureing he is still in his spot. Continue throughout the day.

Next days to come when mastered: She 'points' to his spot and he stays. She opens the door herself and rings the bell all the while giving stay signal. Close the dooor. Do the exercise throughout the day.

For now until always - even with people of his home...the dog should never greet anyone at the door until given the command to do so. If I come home and the dogs run to the door, I click my fingers and point....and they will go to their respective areas until I get my things together to take them for their walks.

What do you think of this idea?


AWESOME BenMax!!! I hadn't thought of her ringing the doorbell herself. GREAT idea!

BenMax
April 8th, 2009, 04:02 PM
I am certain that others may have some ideas to offer.

Please keep us updated on how it goes and what worked.

:offtopic: What ever happened to the dog that pulls excessively through the walk? Was it resolved?

Gail P
April 8th, 2009, 04:03 PM
As soon as I opened the door, he started to exhibit his herding instinct to keep the pack together - became very anxious again, barking loudly, etc.

Anxiety and barking are not herding instinct, in fact border collies do not bark when working. What exactly is he doing that you call herding instinct? If you believe there is something going on that is related to breed and instincts, I've suggested it before and I'll suggest it again - go to the people who know the breed and seek more help there. http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.php?act=idx There you will find a wealth of information about border collies, their quirks, their instincts etc., and a whole host of people who really know the minds of these dogs and are willing to help you.


My concern is that the wife is home so much with her dog, she's the one left to train him - and that's why I think this situation may just continue.
:confused: Don't you think think that it makes perfect sense then that she should be the one to train him? If she's the one spending the most time with the dog then she's the one who he really needs to listen to the most, and it sounds like she has the time necessary to put into training. Of course the dog should also respect hubby and learn to listen to him, but I think it's most important to start with the person who has the most daily contact with the dog. I'm home most of the time alone with my eight dogs, and I'm the one who does the most with them. So who do you think they listen to best? My husband, daughter or myself? Give you a hint, it's not dh or dd ;)

BenMax
April 8th, 2009, 04:12 PM
:confused: Don't you think think that it makes perfect sense then that she should be the one to train him? If she's the one spending the most time with the dog then she's the one who he really needs to listen to the most, and it sounds like she has the time necessary to put into training. Of course the dog should also respect hubby and learn to listen to him, but I think it's most important to start with the person who has the most daily contact with the dog. I'm home most of the time alone with my eight dogs, and I'm the one who does the most with them. So who do you think they listen to best? My husband, daughter or myself? Give you a hint, it's not dh or dd ;)

I think that every family is different in the roles and responsibility that they take concerning their pets. I believe that she will be the one that takes a more pro-active roll but maybe that is not what she is after. Strictly from what I can tell is that the family is baffled and are a little confused about how to approach this behaviour and how to correct it. Obviously the best case scenario is that both parties take active parts in helping this dog along -but they must be on the same page.

I as you do not know the dynamics surrounding this family so it would be difficult for us to suggest that she take complete ownership. I think the ideal situation is for both husband and wife participate so that both are masters to the dog..always good practice so that there is no confusion in the mind of the canine. For me - it would be like raising children....she takes the day shift and he the evening and weekend shift.:thumbs up

BenMax
April 8th, 2009, 04:25 PM
[QUOTE=Gail P;766574]Anxiety and barking are not herding instinct, in fact border collies do not bark when working. What exactly is he doing that you call herding instinct? If you believe there is something going on that is related to breed and instincts, I've suggested it before and I'll suggest it again - go to the people who know the breed and seek more help there. http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.php?act=idx There you will find a wealth of information about border collies, their quirks, their instincts etc., and a whole host of people who really know the minds of these dogs and are willing to help you.


QUOTE]

I am sorry to say and do not consider the following as a challenge but I believe that she is here asking for help. And hopefully with your knowledge and experience you can assist with some ideas since you are very close to this breed.

I do believe that she was not lumping in the border collie + instincts + aggression etc.... It may have written as such but not meant in that light.:)

I too am anxiously awaiting your suggestions. The more you learn the more you grow.

Gail P
April 8th, 2009, 04:55 PM
I am sorry to say and do not consider the following as a challenge but I believe that she is here asking for help. And hopefully with your knowledge and experience you can assist with some ideas since you are very close to this breed.

I do believe that she was not lumping in the border collie + instincts + aggression etc.... It may have written as such but not meant in that light.:)

I too am anxiously awaiting your suggestions. The more you learn the more you grow.

It was not me who first referenced "herding instincts". Absolutely nothing against the wonderful members of our board, but very often "herding instincts" and border collies are completely misunderstood. I merely suggested that if in fact she believes a part of the problem to be breed related that she seek the advice of the people who really do understand these kind of dogs. If your dog has a severe eye trauma do you go to your normal vet or are you better to see a veterinary opthamologist? I really don't mean this as any kind of put down to either this board or the members, this is a great place for all kind of information and discussion. I'm simply pointing out that if you have a specific problem you seek out the most expert help you can to fix it. Make sense?

As for other input/suggestions, whether through luck, training or whatever, I've not had to work through any problem behaviours or aggression with my guys and I'm still relatively new to the breed myself. 2 years with border collies, 4 years with a BC mix, (though a lifetime with dogs) so I'm not the expert that is needed here. When I have questions I still go to the people I feel can help me most depending on the situation. If it's related to sheep herding/goose dog work, I seek out my mentor and other BC friends. If it's related to dog sledding I visit the sled dog boards or ask other mushers etc. And of course I love to come here and read (and sometimes respond to) the wide variety of discussions available on this type of board as well. :thumbs up

BenMax
April 8th, 2009, 05:02 PM
It was not me who first referenced "herding instincts". Absolutely nothing against the wonderful members of our board, but very often "herding instincts" and border collies are completely misunderstood. I merely suggested that if in fact she believes a part of the problem to be breed related that she seek the advice of the people who really do understand these kind of dogs. If your dog has a severe eye trauma do you go to your normal vet or are you better to see a veterinary opthamologist? I really don't mean this as any kind of put down to either this board or the members, this is a great place for all kind of information and discussion. I'm simply pointing out that if you have a specific problem you seek out the most expert help you can to fix it. Make sense?

As for other input/suggestions, whether through luck, training or whatever, I've not had to work through any problem behaviours or aggression with my guys and I'm still relatively new to the breed myself. 2 years with border collies, 4 years with a BC mix, (though a lifetime with dogs) so I'm not the expert that is needed here. When I have questions I still go to the people I feel can help me most depending on the situation. If it's related to sheep herding/goose dog work, I seek out my mentor and other BC friends. If it's related to dog sledding I visit the sled dog boards or ask other mushers etc. And of course I love to come here and read (and sometimes respond to) the wide variety of discussions available on this type of board as well. :thumbs up

Understood and makes perfect sense...but she is asking for suggestions and maybe you have something to offer to assist. That is what this forum is about, and if I may add there may be a trainer or behaviouralist or someone with experience that can provide some insight or assistance in this matter right here at Pets. Sometimes (as many times I may add) alot of very brilliant and informative people can help with all types of tips and suggestions or insight that are either breed or non specific breed behaviours or otherwise. Maybe she should just go to a breed specific forum and ask the question but she has confidence in us to maybe assist.:)

Anyways, it's all good. I am certain she will fair very well and hopefully if we cannot help then she will let us know how she conquered this problem.

Bailey_
April 8th, 2009, 06:20 PM
Gail, thanks for your suggestions. To clear up what I said about 'herding instincts': when I first met Max he was displaying the breeds common reaction to herding. He would lunge/nip at anyone who would leave his area (the dog walker when she left the house after dropping him off, me - after a lesson and I would leave to walk to my car, friends of the owners after a walk and everyone went their seperate ways). As I'm sure you know, some border collies have a strong herding instinct, they have that need to keep the pack together and to keep things under control, right from puppyhood.

If this behavior is not worked with or handled at a very young age, it can sometimes get worse, (which you can read about here http://www.bordercollierescue.org/breed_advice/bcr_leaflets/behaviour.html)which has happened in Max's case. He is very anxious when someone in his 'group' (or house) leaves. It's also something that the owners and I have worked with successfully outdoors, but obviously in Max's home this is something that had not been addressed with his owners.

This behavior I was referring to when I left the house that evening was not aggressive in itself, and is an entirely seperate issue from the anxiety that builds from the doorbell or knocking which is what I need help with. I brought it up however because I saw how the owners floundered to even correct this behavior - regardless of the fact that they know how to do so outside of their home. This concerned me, because the anxious behavior Max displays when the doorbell rings or someone knocks on the door is so much more ingrained in him and might be much harder to work through.

Don't you think think that it makes perfect sense then that she should be the one to train him? If she's the one spending the most time with the dog then she's the one who he really needs to listen to the most, and it sounds like she has the time necessary to put into training. Of course the dog should also respect hubby and learn to listen to him, but I think it's most important to start with the person who has the most daily contact with the dog.

I absolutley think that the wife is the one that needs to put the effort into training her dog. However, this is not just HER dog - and my point is that the husband and wife need to be on the same page for the techniques to work at all. She is also extremley quiet and kind-tempered, and don't get me wrong; I think those are wonderful qualities - BUT - she is almost always second guessing her corrections when it comes to Max, and feels bad afterwards; which is why I am a bit concerned that she is left to do the majority of the training by herself. I need to personally work on building her esteem and that's why I mentioned it was a concern to me...A dog can easily translate any emotions we have into weaknesses, and I certainly do not see this BC viewing the wife as a leader - yet.

As for other input/suggestions, whether through luck, training or whatever, I've not had to work through any problem behaviours or aggression with my guys and I'm still relatively new to the breed myself.

Then you are very lucky. Max was brought to the humane society at nine months old because his previous owners claimed the landlord would evict Max and his brother, for 'excessive barking'. By the time my clients adopted Max, he had some extremley serious behavioral issues that had established themselves so deeply that some had turned into forms of fear aggression. For not ever owning a dog before, I think they've done extremley well. As LynneB on this forum can attest (sorry Lynne, hopefully you don't mind me mentioning you!:laughing:) she met Max and had no idea that he was previously aggressive with other dogs and people. (She did tell me she noticed something was a bit off with his behavior as her own dog acted funny around him, but even the fact that Max could be off leash has been huge leaps and bounds for this dog and I'm proud to say that I've been there to help him and his owners work through his progress.)

Bailey_
April 8th, 2009, 06:23 PM
Maybe she should just go to a breed specific forum and ask the question but she has confidence in us to maybe assist.:)

Anyways, it's all good. I am certain she will fair very well and hopefully if we cannot help then she will let us know how she conquered this problem.

Absolutley I find this forum of GREAT help. I have also sought the assistance of a few other owners who own Border Collies and have worked with them for a number of years. I don't find asking questions on this forum to be something that will lead me astray or off track, but rather give me awesome suggestions which I'm so thankful for.

BenMax, I'll keep you posted.

:offtopic: I haven't had a private lesson with the Aussie Shep Bad Recall pup yet as I've been in Edmonton to look at those puppy mill dogs, but as soon as I do I'll let you know what happens. :)

Lynne_B
April 8th, 2009, 09:29 PM
No problem Bailey, it's definitely true, and as I had said in the previous thread, I can understand the frustration of having a dog not view me as alpha, and being unsure of myself. It took a lot of practice, and me realizing that I needed to change my attitude a bit, and to raise the bar of my expectations when it came to my dog and what he's capable of. It also helped to see the improvements that were happening, so I would encourage you to tell her that. Since Max has come so far, it would be sad to see this one thing holding them back. She can do it, she's got my vote, and I'm sure we're all rooting for her success, she just needs to focus on what they've accomplished so far! He did so well at the park too.

Dee-O-Gee
April 8th, 2009, 11:06 PM
Bailey--I have read through this thread and I must COMMEND you for your care, professionalism and love of ALL dogs.

I am not familiar with the BC breed but for you to bring forth your concerns of clients to this forum and obtain so many positive suggestions is what pets.ca is all about. :thumbs up

I wish you all the best of luck with Max and his Masters. :)

Bailey_
April 8th, 2009, 11:07 PM
Thanks Lynne. I will definitely let her know.

and to raise the bar of my expectations when it came to my dog and what he's capable of.

Excellent point!

Bailey_
April 8th, 2009, 11:09 PM
Bailey--I have read through this thread and I must COMMEND you for your care, professionalism and love of ALL dogs.

I am not familiar with the BC breed but for you to bring forth your concerns of clients to this forum and obtain so many positive suggestions is what pets.ca is all about. :thumbs up

I wish you all the best of luck with Max and his Masters. :)

Oh my gosh, KlMccallum, you brought tears to my eyes. THANKYOU. I think we all strive to do our best in every given situation, but it's great to actually *hear* it. :lovestruck:

This forum has given me so many suggestions and opened my eyes to many situations, it's amazing what the internet can do for all of us. :)

Dee-O-Gee
April 8th, 2009, 11:22 PM
You are SO Welcome Bailey :)

I think it's great in what you are doing and can only send posititive :goodvibes::goodvibes:

While I was a client many years ago with our dalmation in obedience class, it's truly amazing how much care and time goes into all the different training techniques.

Getting posititive feedback here from all these fine folks results in a much happier solution. :thumbs up

Blackdog22
April 9th, 2009, 02:12 AM
I do agree that you should seek advice from people who are more experienced with this breed.

Here's a suggestions for helping to establish leadership, it's simple to do and takes a very small amount of time.

Working for each piece of food: At feeding times, have one person give simple commands for a small amount of food. This is not treat training, by any means. Everday the dog has to eat and food is never free, not for most people or animals. It is a matter of survival, not a luxury such as a cookie. It is important at first for one person to do this each time- it's obvious that an alpha is not clearly defined in this situation. In order for any progress to work, this pack needs to sort out it's heirarchy and a leader needs to be clearly presented to the dog. What I often like to include in the "simple command list" is control type commands(if that makes sense). Drop a few kernels in between your feet and instruct the dog to wait, after a short amount of time release the dog and allow them to eat the kernels. If the dog tries to go for the food, quickly cover it with your feet, repeat the command and start again. This entire process usually takes less then 15 minutes, and it is an invaluable lesson to the dog. In the future when things settle down, both people can do this excersise, but for now it is very important that the primary handler of the dog is controlling the resources. Things must be black and white for quite some time.....at least until he finds and understands his place in the pack.

I personally do not have a problem with my dogs barking when the doorbell rings. I think it's only natural that they would alert me to a presence on my territory, they are my pack after all...it's kind of inherent. That being said, they are not nuisance barkers and will listen when told to be quiet, very different situation from this one. Could it be that the dog has a noise sensitivity issue(enviormental weak nerves) and his learned reaction is to defend (fear aggression)? If so, you are going to have to take a different angle on this one. Without seeing the dog and only going by what I have read from previous posts (which is never good to try to form an opinion on), it sounds like that very well could be a possibility.

It could very well be just the sudden sound of the doorbell spiking his adrenaline, then all of a sudden, people walk in. He is stimulated, caught off guard if you will, and reacts by barking and creating a fuss. If it is just the sound, desensitizing would be your best bet....slowly of course.

There are really endless possibilities, I wish you the best of luck figuring it out.

.

Bailey_
April 9th, 2009, 12:23 PM
it's obvious that an alpha is not clearly defined in this situation

Very true. That's a great suggestion for feeding time, I'll let the wife know. She really needs to step it up at home with Max, and that sounds like a great excercise for her.

Could it be that the dog has a noise sensitivity issue(enviormental weak nerves) and his learned reaction is to defend (fear aggression)?

Absolutley - that is a very good way to describe Max. When we first saw him he was extremley scared of pretty much everything; reacted to anything loud by lunging/barking out of control/snapping - reacted to people walking towards him by lunging/snapping, etc. We started working slowly with his environment - exposing him to different things when I felt he was ready to handle them, and has improved so much outside. Obviously this doorbell issue is something I haven't really addressed yet, something the owners haven't worked with, so it's still a big problem and I believe it's gotten worse because they haven't been handling it correctly. (Not their fault.)

If so, you are going to have to take a different angle on this one.

What are your thoughts on this BD? Do you think that desensitizing him to the doorbell/people visiting/establishing boundaries and leadership may not quite work in his case?

Thanks BD.

Lynne_B
April 9th, 2009, 01:09 PM
If you think that he can handle the stress of a desensitization process, I would just ring the doorbell anytime they got near the door, when they're coming into the house (with the dog), when they walk by the front door, etc. Knock on the door randomly when Max is with them and someone is ready to quickly redirect his attention, or give him the command to go to his safe spot. And that means doing it up to 50 times a day, not 5. But that is only if you think he can handle it, as I wouldn't want him to get overloaded and escalate the behaviour further. You can work into it slowly, for example sit with him on the front porch, open the door so he can hear it better, and ring the doorbell, and knows where it's coming from, do the same with knocking on the door. Then work up to sneaking in doorbell rings, then taking him immediately to his spot, no verbal cues or anything, other than maybe go to your crate, go to the mat, whatever they decide to use, and then take him to that spot.

As for the female owner, just make what she has to do as simple as possible, so she reacts as a reflex, without hesitation or being unsure. Desensitize, and take him to his spot, or whatever you decide to do, then repeat. Then she only has to say one or two words, and take him somewhere, then she's free and clear to answer the door. He'll obviously have to be restrained at first to keep in a sit stay, but that'll come in time.

In the meantime you could put a sign on the door that says, "Please be patient and give us a moment to secure our dog before answering, he is in training, and I'm sure you are attached to your fingers :)"

BenMax
April 9th, 2009, 01:20 PM
If you think that he can handle the stress of a desensitization process, I would just ring the doorbell anytime they got near the door, when they're coming into the house (with the dog), when they walk by the front door, etc. Knock on the door randomly when Max is with them and someone is ready to quickly redirect his attention, or give him the command to go to his safe spot. And that means doing it up to 50 times a day, not 5. But that is only if you think he can handle it, as I wouldn't want him to get overloaded and escalate the behaviour further. You can work into it slowly, for example sit with him on the front porch, open the door so he can hear it better, and ring the doorbell, and knows where it's coming from, do the same with knocking on the door. Then work up to sneaking in doorbell rings, then taking him immediately to his spot, no verbal cues or anything, other than maybe go to your crate, go to the mat, whatever they decide to use, and then take him to that spot.

As for the female owner, just make what she has to do as simple as possible, so she reacts as a reflex, without hesitation or being unsure. Desensitize, and take him to his spot, or whatever you decide to do, then repeat. Then she only has to say one or two words, and take him somewhere, then she's free and clear to answer the door. He'll obviously have to be restrained at first to keep in a sit stay, but that'll come in time.

In the meantime you could put a sign on the door that says, "Please be patient and give us a moment to secure our dog before answering, he is in training, and I'm sure you are attached to your fingers :)"

Oh Wow - I like this very much!:thumbs up

Bailey_
April 9th, 2009, 01:49 PM
If you think that he can handle the stress of a desensitization process, I would just ring the doorbell anytime they got near the door, when they're coming into the house (with the dog), when they walk by the front door, etc. Knock on the door randomly when Max is with them and someone is ready to quickly redirect his attention, or give him the command to go to his safe spot. And that means doing it up to 50 times a day, not 5. But that is only if you think he can handle it, as I wouldn't want him to get overloaded and escalate the behaviour further. You can work into it slowly, for example sit with him on the front porch, open the door so he can hear it better, and ring the doorbell, and knows where it's coming from, do the same with knocking on the door. Then work up to sneaking in doorbell rings, then taking him immediately to his spot, no verbal cues or anything, other than maybe go to your crate, go to the mat, whatever they decide to use, and then take him to that spot.

As for the female owner, just make what she has to do as simple as possible, so she reacts as a reflex, without hesitation or being unsure. Desensitize, and take him to his spot, or whatever you decide to do, then repeat. Then she only has to say one or two words, and take him somewhere, then she's free and clear to answer the door. He'll obviously have to be restrained at first to keep in a sit stay, but that'll come in time.

In the meantime you could put a sign on the door that says, "Please be patient and give us a moment to secure our dog before answering, he is in training, and I'm sure you are attached to your fingers :)"

haha, LOVE THIS. I'm going to personally make them that sign. THANKS!

hazelrunpack
April 9th, 2009, 02:37 PM
In the meantime you could put a sign on the door that says, "Please be patient and give us a moment to secure our dog before answering, he is in training, and I'm sure you are attached to your fingers :)"

I think I'd be uncomfortable with the part in red. Once company is in the house, you sure don't want them to act wary or nervous around the dog--they're very sensitive to body language and it might set him back. :shrug: That phrase, imo, might make some people uncomfortable as they come in.

Bailey_
April 9th, 2009, 02:46 PM
Ahh good point. Thx. They def. need a sign though. It may even discourage random people from knocking.

BenMax
April 9th, 2009, 03:11 PM
I like the sign idea very much. It lends an understanding to why the door is not being answered immediately. Maybe losing the fingers part will be appreciated by those who are aware of the situation....but the mailman may get alittle nervous - thus no mail!

Lynne_B
April 9th, 2009, 03:57 PM
Hehe sorry, I thought the smily face was supposed to indicate that it's a joke. Might scare away the sales guys though :) If you want something more appropriate, you could just say

"My dog is in training and is sensitive to doorbells and knocking. Please be patient while I secure him, and I would appreciate it if you did not ring or knock more than once."

Blackdog22
April 9th, 2009, 04:01 PM
WOW IS THAT EVER FRUSTRATING!!!
I wrote a long post....was almost finished typing and guess what happens? A dog toy gets pushed forcefuly down on my keyboard, the page resets and everything was gone!
Dogs.....you gotta' love them. They certainly keep life interesting lol.


I think desensitizing is a great route....as long as he has noise sensitivity to the doorbell and is not reacting to the stimlus of the people present on his property, A good way to find this out is to have the handler step outside with the dog and ring the bell. Analyze the dogs reaction and determine whether it is infact noise sensitivity. If it is noise sensitivity, start to desensitize him as you see fit.

If it is not the doorbell itself that he is reacting to, obviously desensitizing him to it is going to be fruitless, as it is not the cause of the problem.



If it is a case of very poor enviormental nerves, I think you should seek the advice of proffesionals whom are very experienced in rehabilitating dogs with very little confidence. Weak nerves towards the enviorment must be treated very specifically, leadership, boundaries and desensitizing are just not enough, as it is a confidence issue. A matter of fear and reaction to unthreatening stimuli. If this is the case, and you do manage to get him okay with the doorbell, he will likely just transfer the behavior onto something else until you help the root of the problem, his nerves.

I honestly have very very limited experience with dogs whom are weak nerved in the enviormental sense, so I cannot offer any advice of methods to practice with such a dog.


If it's a matter of territory, then I would do heavy NILF and establish a clear leader in the pack. Once he figures out that the house belongs to his owners and not him, it should be somewhat easy to squash this behavior.

Of course, it is up to you to decipher what the true cause of the behavior is...after that is figured out, you will likely have an easier time reaching your goal.

I wish I could be of more help to you, but without seeing the dog it is impossible to give sound advice.

Bailey_
April 9th, 2009, 07:52 PM
I wrote a long post....was almost finished typing and guess what happens? A dog toy gets pushed forcefuly down on my keyboard, the page resets and everything was gone!

:laughing: Oh No! I think that's our dogs way of telling us to get off that silly computer. :laughing: Too cute!

I see what you're saying BD, and thanks for that advice. I think I would have just started working on desensitizing him from the situation; but you're so right - if it's something more emotional for him, getting him used to the doorbell isn't going to get to the root of his issues. And honestly, the more I think about it and his reactions to other stimuli that we've worked with, I do believe that his nerves could seriously be his problem, in which case I will have to seek out someone who has experience handling this sort of dog.

Thanks so much for this particular advice, it's been extremley helpful.

I'm seeing Max for a group lesson this weekend - a private in-home session has yet to be determined, but as soon as I have one with him and the owners I will be updating you all.

hazelrunpack
April 9th, 2009, 09:06 PM
Hehe sorry, I thought the smily face was supposed to indicate that it's a joke. Might scare away the sales guys though :)

I've seen people post stupider signs without a second thought, though :D--like the guy down the block from us in the city with a sign on his fence: Beware Vicious Dog :rolleyes: Talk about asking for a law suit! :p

Bailey_
April 10th, 2009, 11:59 AM
I've seen people post stupider signs without a second thought, though :D--like the guy down the block from us in the city with a sign on his fence: Beware Vicious Dog :rolleyes: Talk about asking for a law suit! :p

Hmmm..not sure why that's a stupid thing to do? A lot of people have dogs that through breeding, past history, they feel the particular dog cannot be trusted with strangers. I think it's more of a friendly warning to those that may come knocking, just to let them know that their dog isn't exactly a version of Marley and Me.

I also know a few people that put signs up like that without ever having a dog...a bit of 'home protection' I suppose. :)

BenMax
April 10th, 2009, 12:07 PM
Actually, if a warning sign is not put up here and a dog that has the potential to protect his territory - bites someone...then there is a lawsuit. It is important to advise anyone of potential danger and if there is tresspassing then one can say in court that there was ample warning. Depends on the judge as to which way he swings. In my opinion it would be irresponsible for someone to not to warn to the public.

angeldogs
April 10th, 2009, 08:42 PM
Same with my city.you must have a sign.i have a metal beware of dog sign on my fence.

hazelrunpack
April 10th, 2009, 11:44 PM
Hmmm..not sure why that's a stupid thing to do? A lot of people have dogs that through breeding, past history, they feel the particular dog cannot be trusted with strangers. I think it's more of a friendly warning to those that may come knocking, just to let them know that their dog isn't exactly a version of Marley and Me.

I also know a few people that put signs up like that without ever having a dog...a bit of 'home protection' I suppose. :)

It was the 'vicious' that could get him into trouble. His dog had never bitten anyone or shown any indication he would--but if the dog should ever bite anyone, the courts would have taken the word "vicious" on the sign as an indication that he already knew he had a dangerous dog and should have taken more steps to safeguard visitors. The penalty would be much worse, too, since a dog with known vicious tendencies is euthed if it bites.

"Beware of Dog" is one thing. "Beware of Vicious Dog" is entirely another. :shrug:

Don't any Canadian laws make the distinction that way?

Bailey_
April 10th, 2009, 11:49 PM
Interesting point, Hazel! I'm not really sure if there are Canadian laws that I know of. Something to think about for sure.

luckypenny
April 12th, 2009, 11:44 PM
Don't know about other provinces, but in Quebec, each municipality has it's own bylaws pertaining to pet ownership. In our town and several neighboring ones, people must have a sign indicating there is a dog(s) on premises...no need for "warning" or "beware" signs. However, if one should own a trained guard dog, or a dog known to be aggressive, there are rules that specify the height and type of fencing (even has to buried 1 foot underground) and more detailed warning signs.