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Antisocial dog, please help!

chocolatecoffee
August 18th, 2004, 02:57 PM
Hey!

Okay, well I got my bichon-shih tzu, Mocha, when she was seven weeks, but then two days later she was in the vet with bladder stones and a bladder infection that was apparently transferred through the umbilical cord at birth. Since I was so paranoid that she would catch something else I didn't let her see other dogs until she had all her vaccinations, but that caused her to not be socialized as early. Since she wasn't exposed to things as early as some other dogs are, and she's extremely antisocial now. She's 2 3/4 now, and whenever she sees another dog (or even somebody who wears a hat or makes sudden movements), she barks like crazy and won't stop! When I'm holding her she struggles and I get scratches all over my arms and neck. The vet said to push her to the ground and say "No bark!" but that doesn't work, the spray bottle doesn't work, and I'm running out of ideas! Treats don't even work because she's so preoccupied with barking (even though she hadn't eaten since lunch and this was at 7:30 in the evening!) and she never listens to me when I tell her to sit (even though at home she obeys without hesitation). I was thinking about a citronella bark collar (I would feel too bad putting an electric one on her), but it says that the dog has to be at least 8 pounds and she's only 7 and full grown so I'm worried about putting it on her. She's an absolute angel otherwise; she's just horrible with things outside of the family!

Well I've finally enrolled her in obedience classes and her first class was yesterday, but she was a huge headache and a nuisance to the class! She was barking the entire time and she even snapped at another dog! Since her tail's wagging the entire time, the trainer said that it was a dominance problem. It might be with other dogs, but I know she doesn't think she's the dominant dog in our "family pack". She'll do what I ask when I ask, if I stare at her eyes she breaks off the stare, she'll move when she's in the way, she gets off of the furniture when I tell her to, I always walk through doors first, etc. Her food is on the ground all of the time, but if it's not she won't eat it, and even then she doesn't even eat it every day (her diet mainly consists of human food, but I make sure she gets the proper nutritional requirements and she's not overweight). When she eats human food though, like if I give her a little piece of cheese for instance, I make her do a trick for it.

Anyways, sorry for the rambling, but do any of you have any suggestions on how I could curb her barking? I mean she looks so cute and harmless so somebody'll come to pet her quickly and she'll bark at them. Walks are a chore now because she barks at everything! Thanks for taking your time to read this!

Lucky Rescue
August 18th, 2004, 04:42 PM
The vet said to push her to the ground and say "No bark!"

I WISH that vets who are NOT qualified to be giving training or behavioral advice would stop doing it! :mad:

This advice is very bad - you never punish or correct a dog for fear aggression, which is what this sounds like. This will make her fear/aggression WORSE. Your dog is afraid, so tries to bluff and keep away what is frightening her.
Look at it this way: if you were afraid of spiders, and every time one was near, someone knocked you to the ground and yelled at you, do you think this would help your fear?

I suggest you find a behaviorist or another trainer who understands this type of problem to help you with this dog. She needs to overcome her fear before she can go to obedience classes.

somechick
August 19th, 2004, 01:25 PM
If she wasn't fed since noon and it is after 7:30.... well i always get cranky when I am hungry.

anyway....
Before the class, take your dog and run her. Play with her and get her good and tired.

Is she properly leash trained? Does she tug and try to run while on the leash? Or is there always slack in the leash? A dog who is properly leash trained does not tug on the leash. Have you tried using a gentle leader for walks? Does she love to go on walks with you? If she does love to go on walks, when you have her out, and she refuses to give you her attention, and she is barking like crazy at other dogs and people, turn right around and go home. It is not enough to simply socialize your dog , you must also teach her how to greet other dogs when confined to a leash. Before he is ready to handle himself completely around other dogs he must learn how to walk without pulling, hold a sit or down/stay close to another dog, and leave it, with a long duration of looking away from the other dog and back at you.

chocolatecoffee
August 20th, 2004, 03:34 PM
Thanks for the replies.

I've looked into fear aggression and it seems to make sense. However, my parents are the ones making the call. I've told them that we should get a trainer that specializes in fear aggression, but the current trainer said that she'd get better (except she thinks that she's aggressive because she thinks she's dominant), so my mom wants to wait until these obedience classes are over, and if they don't help, we'll get another trainer. I'm just concerned that these classes will make her fear worse. Do you think they will? By the way, LuckyRescue, thanks for your input on the vet's suggestion. It makes sense that it's only making her fear worse.

Somechick, my dog always leaves slack on the leash, except when there's another dog. In that case, she lunges forward and goes crazy barking. Even though she listens to my commands most of the time, she usually won't if there's another dog around (when I tell her to sit she refuses). When that dog has been there for a while she'll sit there and watch it, but as soon as it moves at all she goes crazy again. I don't know what to use as motivation because she's too preoccupied to care if I give her attention and to receive food rewards; her top priority is the dog. Yes, she absolutely loves walks, but if I turn around and go right home, will she make the association with going home and barking if we're further than a few minutes away from home? Should I maybe carry her home, or could this be interpreted as a form of a reward? Also, no, I've never used a Gentle Leader, but I'm looking into it now and I'll probably be getting one soon, do you think using one will be beneficial?

Also, just another question, when my family wasn't home and it was my aunt and uncle with their dog (a German Shorthaired Pointer), apparently she didn't bark at all. She didn't play with the dog or anything (she just sat on the sofa), but she didn't bark. However, as soon as we got home, she went crazy barking again. Is that a sign of fear aggression? I mean when she was younger, she never played with dogs or anything, she always kept a ways away, but she would never bark until she got a bit older. Oh, and she likes things that are smaller than her. For instance, we have some rabbits running around our neighbourhood, and we try to rescue as many as we can (somebody lets them run around then butchers them and we've reported it many of times but apparently nobody can do anything because there's no evidence he does but he has sold the meat and everything). When there's one that's bigger than her she barks like crazy and tries to chase them, but whenever we have really small ones she never leaves them alone and is always licking them. Anyways, I guess that was more than one question. Again, thanks for the responses!