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Worst Dog in the world - Help

whj3857
October 17th, 2004, 05:34 PM
I have a 1 y.o. mix Border Collie/Chow (female, 45 lbs/22kg) that I would consider to be the worst dog in the world. I would like some opinions from people who have given their dogs some type of medication to settle down their dogs. I believe that I need something for my dog before any further training will help.

Let me give you some background before you blame the owner, I know it's easy to say it's never the dog's fault..

I got the dog at 9 weeks of age from a neighbor who was intent on having it euthanized. I wanted to give the dog a second chance. Even at that age, the dog was agressive (growling, biting, snapping, barking, and very dominant). I did several things over the next few weeks. 1. I got the dog spayed & 2. I tried to introduce the dog to other dogs. (Other than our older dog) And this is where it went from bad to worst.

My neighbor had a puppy around the same age, we thought that it would be good socialization for the dogs to play together. My dog cornered the neighbor's dog and then lunged for it's throat. I had to pull my puppy off the neighbor's puppy before serious injury was inflicted. The neighbor's dog had assumed a submissive position and had even began urinating. My dog still attacked it. My dog was about 12 weeks at the time. BTW.. the neighbor's dog was a pit-bull mix... I was concerned that more agression like this would cause the neighbor's dog to become agressive and dangerous. We stopped the "puppy play dates" after the incident.

My dog has also attacked our 9 y.o. shepard husky and drew blood. I had to take my shepard husky to the hospital for treatment. The dogs constantly fight. The shepard husky is always the looser in each encounter. My shepard husky is terrified of the Border Collie. She leaves the room or won't enter the room when the Border Collie is there. Meals and treats are times of severe conflict with my wife and I usually pulling both dogs apart. The Border Collie constantly tries to steal the S.H.'s food/treats. When the Shep Husky doesn't give it up, the Border Collie attacks her. The Border Collie usually wins and then steals the food.

I immediately began home training for sit, down, and stay. The dog obeyed the commands as long as it felt like doing it. When it got bored or didn't want to get trained, it would disobey the training. The dog was trained to obey the commands (somewhat)

At 17 weeks, I enrolled the dog into a PetSmart training program where my dog began to terrorize a rotweiler, a pit bull, and every other dog in the class. My dog tried to bite the trainer. My dog is able to do the commands w/o problems but the agression only continued. The trainer suggested I get a behaviouralist. The class did little to help socialize my dog or make it less agressive.

I hired a behaviouralist/trainer who specialized in dog agression to help train the dog and desensitize it. During the training my dog attacked the trainer and the trainer's desensitization dogs, and tried to bite an assistant. The interesting part was my dog waited until the trainer became more comfortable with the dog and he let his guard down. My dog then attacked when she had the window of opportunity. I guess my dog was tired of being bossed around by someone more dominant that and decided to take charge. (I was watching the training from a distance to insure the trainer was not being overly cruel or mistreating the dog)

I can't get my dog within 25 ft of another dog or person before she goes berzerk. Her crazy behaviour then causes the other dog to get into a defensive mode and all heck breaks loose. I have tried to alpha roll my dog to get control of her and she has enough adrenaline induced strength to break loose from me, I end up with nothing but a handful of fur. Pulling hard on the leash doesn't help, it gets her crazier. Loosening the leash allows her to charge the other dog and passer-by. She won't take "special treats" when she gets into this rage. If I get my hands too close to her mouth I end up getting bit. Nothing calms her down. Even after I drag her away from the area she's still charged up and ready to fight.

I have followed the training and the behaviouralist's recomendations for triying to dominate the dog and socialize her, but it's impossible. When I try to control her she urinates on my clothes, bed, or anything of mine. Usually several hours after I have tried to control her. (Usually when I turn my back or leave the room or I'm watching TV.) She sneaks off, does her thing, and then returns to the place where she was originally. She knows if she gets caught she'll get punished. So she waits for the right moment.

At this point, I'm faced with two directions... The first medicate the dog to a point where she can be safely introduced to other dogs and strangers and hopefully break the agression cycle and accept training.. and the last resort is euthanize the dog because she has gotten more dangerous. As time goes on, she is more agressive.

I believe that this dog is the result of bad breeding and I think that this dog may have sociopathic issues. This story only covers about 10% of the problems I've had in the last year. I haven't touched upon the $1,000's of dollars of destruction (yes.. thousands...not hundeds..) Italian leather furniture... landscaping... clothing... carpeting... walls...

Any ideas....I want to get the dog's behavior in check, but I'm not certain that it is possible to ever get the dog to be a "good dog".

heeler's rock!
October 17th, 2004, 06:23 PM
YIKES!! It sounds like your dog was separated from the mum WAAAAYYYY too early and missed some crucial socialization. Your dog is totally alpha over you and your family, but you already know that. For some dogs, it's really hard to get them on the right track and unfortunately, some dogs have to be PTS because there is absolutely no hope for them to ever become good with other dogs, and if your dog is already showing aggresion towards people, that's going to continue until it gets the chance to bite, and hurt someone.

It sounds like you've tried everything and I'm not sure what good medicating her would be. I've never had to medicate a dog before that's too overbearing, but maybe others on here can help you. I sincerely hope that your dog doesn't have to be PTS, but it may the only solution..... :(

By the way, where are you located?

whj3857
October 17th, 2004, 08:44 PM
I'm in Atlanta GA USA. I saw this website and I liked some of the discussions I read and I figured I would throw my situation out for some feedback..

You have a Border Collie, right? Do you have any issues like this?

Here's an interesting observation...
We have not been able to figure out what triggers the agression. The behaviouralist couldn't determine it either.

Sometimes when a person (w/o a dog) walks by, my dog is calm. Other times, my dog goes berzerk. The other day we went to Walmart and stood outside to get the dog used to people (wearing a muzzle, of course). The dog was fine until one person walked by (did not make eye contact with the dog) and did nothing out of the ordinary. The dog flipped out!! We can't always predict when the dog goes berzerk. In the situations where we think she'll flip out, she's fine. When we think she'll be calm she goes crazy. We don't get the same reaction with the same stimuli. Her behaviour is unpredictable.

Although other dogs are a 100% guarantee for reaction and we use avoidance when possible. When she sees another dog sometimes shes calm for about 5-8 seconds, then goes crazy... Other times she sees a dog and it's an instant reaction...

Maybe I should change my user id to "blacklisted@thedogpark"

Medication may be overbearing, but I need to do something...

LavenderRott
October 17th, 2004, 09:02 PM
Do you know anything at all about the parents of your dog?

whj3857
October 17th, 2004, 09:41 PM
No idea about the parents. I understand it was a friend of my neighbor
whose dog got pregnant. Someone's dog jumped the fence and then
nature took over.

There is a real bad habit in the southern part of the US to not get the dogs
spayed or neutered. As a result there are an over abundance of dogs and
cats. For instance the Ontario SPCA says it's about 50/50 for a dog and
a 10% chance for a cat. Down here the kill rate is about 90%. I figured the dog
wouldn't make it. I didn't ask too many questions I just didn't want the dog
to get euthanized. (And I still don't...)

Lucky Rescue
October 17th, 2004, 09:42 PM
Your dog is unpredictable and human aggressive - very dangerous combination.

If the problem were only aggression towards other dogs, I would tell you to absolutely NOT feed your dogs together, and to NEVER "alpha roll" this dog, unless you want to take a chance on being facially scarred for life.

From everything you have said, I must reluctantly agree with heelers rock, and say the only option may be euthanization.

I think there is something genetically wrong with this dog and she is dangerous. Dogs are sometimes just "born wrong." It may even be neurological. You have done everything you can to help, but unless you want to keep her permanantly locked from people and other animals, which is not much of a life, I have no other suggestions.:(

LavenderRott
October 17th, 2004, 09:51 PM
You are going to have to micromanage this dog, probably for it's whole life. If there are no consistant triggers, then you are going to have one heck of a time desensitizing, refocusing, or any of the other methods usually used to handle dogs with aggression issues.

Please, please, please, keep this dog away from children. Since you and your trainers haven't been able to figure out what sets the dog off, the presence of children would not be a good thing. It is, sadly, a bite waiting to happen.

I completely understand your reluctance to put a perfectly healthy dog to sleep, but think on this for a bit...this dog can not safely go anywhere or do anything. Is that the type of life you would wish upon the dog?

A lot of times, dogs that show this kind of aggression are very fearful. If this dog is so terrified of everything that it feels the need to defend itself so strongly, putting it to sleep will be a kindness.

heeler's rock!
October 17th, 2004, 11:04 PM
I do have a border collie, but have never experienced these kinds of issues. My border also didn't leave her mum until 8 weeks and 3 days old. I suspect yours left way too young, by no fault of your own. I don't even think these issues are breed specific. Not even chows, which you said your dog is crossed with, have that extensive agression when socialized properly. Most chows can be protective, which might be what your dog is doing, but to an extreme. It does sound like it could be neurological.......

I honestly don't know what kind of solutions there may be left for you to try. It sounds like you've done everything possible and my fear now is that the dog will bite someone badly, and be PTS. It's a hard decision but like LavenderRott said, keeping this dog away from people and other dogs for the rest of it's life will not only be challenging for you to ensure, but it's also no life for you or your dog to endure. You don't want to have to worry about your dog every second you're out with it, scared it might get away from you or something. Your dog is very lucky to have you, but it sounds like there's no other solution than having her PTS....I'm really sorry I couldn't be of more help...... :(

sammiec
October 18th, 2004, 09:23 AM
Welcome to the board http://users.pandora.be/eforum/emoticons4u/happy/042.gif.

I am having to go with the majority on this issue. You're a wonderful person for putting this much love and effort into helping this dog. For your safety and the safety of strangers, the best thing is for this dog to be PTS. You can control this by having the dog constantly muzzled and / or in a crate. But this is no way for a dog to live. And delaying euthanization is not improving its quality of life, s-adly enough. You have a heart of gold for doing what you can for this dog. She's been very lucky, but this is a very dangerous combination - unpredictable and aggressive. This dog unfortunately needs to be stopped before it mauls and/or kills your other dog or a person.
I will be thinking about you, your family and your dog.

SSAC
October 18th, 2004, 11:54 AM
I to would have to agree with LR.
Without actually meeting the dog, it's hard to evaluate. But from what you are saying......... :(
Have you spoke to your veterinarian about medications? There is a med called "Clomicalm". It's like a doggie prozac. Like all long term medications, you have to be responsible with it and have blood work done every six mths to 1yr. As it can be harsh on the liver used long term.
I know of a couple of dogs on this drug. It has helped :) , but the dogs didn't sound as aggressive as yours. It might be worth a try when all else has failed, but don't let it lull you into a false sense of security. Still be diligent with your dog around others as PTS might end up still being the only option :(

lilith_rizel
October 18th, 2004, 12:18 PM
I had a border collie/ chow mix before too., we got her at 3 months of age. I believe that the aggression comes more from the chow side. Atleast that is what we were told by one of my mom's friends, who is a breeder, and also by a vet. Our collie/ chow was very aggressive, and mean only if you looked her in the eyes for more than a second or so, and if you did longer, she would bite. We were told that she did that, because she would feel threatened. She bit 2 people, and then we decided that there was no hope for here. We had to put her down. And she was only a year old. Her aggression was just getting worse. "A chow is naturally very territorial and the fact that it was part border collie doesn't help" is what we were told, by 2 people who deal with different breeds of dogs, everyday.

whj3857
October 18th, 2004, 05:13 PM
Just a follow up.. the dog is scheduled to go to the vet this Friday (22nd) so the vet can review the situation. The vet is already familiar with the dog and some of it's erratic behaviour. We are going to see about the medication route, first...

I will ask about Clomicalm and see what the vet recommends.

We don't have kids yet, but we did talk about that scenario with the dog and children.

I'm also sorry to see that another member had the same problem and put their Border Collie/Chow down. It makes me wonder if the mix (Collie/Chow) is just a bad combination ?

Just to clarify, I didn't always do the "alpha roll" on the dog. It was only something I just started as a last resort a couple of weeks ago. I got desperate and had to do something.

I guess we'll make the call on this issue after the vet visit.

But if anyone else has had any experience with any medications that might help, I'd like to hear about it.

Thanks,
Walt

LavenderRott
October 18th, 2004, 05:27 PM
Glad to hear you are talking to the vet about this.

Alpha rolls, while once recommended by training experts, is no longer considered a good method to use with a dominant or aggressive dog. You are taking a dog that is already pumped full of adrenaline and putting it in a position where it feels that it's very life is threatened. Most dogs will defend their lives with teeth flying everywhere!

lilith_rizel
October 18th, 2004, 05:46 PM
Talking to your vet first is the best thing. That is what we did, and the vet said there was no hope for her, if she already bit 2 people, and drew blood both times. Let us know what your vet says. I hope there is still hope for your dog.

lilith_rizel
October 18th, 2004, 07:31 PM
Thought you might want to read the stats on border collies and Chows.


http://www.pets.ca/breedprofiles/a/chowchow/c13.htm
http://www.pets.ca/breedprofiles/a/bordercollie/b13.htm

tenderfoot
October 19th, 2004, 04:15 PM
Drugs can be great for taking the edge off but they don't teach.
She does not have to like other dogs but she does have to have good manners. She will probably never be an angelic Golden Retreiver in temperment, but she can have good manners.
This dog doesn't not respect anyone and will not change until she does. She may be one of the rare ones who was 'born bad', but if you are committed to her then your behavior has to change before hers can. Forgive yourself is you do not feel you are up for the challenge, but if you make the committment know that there is a lot of work to be done. Some changes will come quickly others will take a lot of time.
I would reccommend that she be on the leash attached to an adult as much as you can stand it - even in the house and never off-leash outside. This is not to punish her but to create a natural relationship of leader & follower. Where ever you go she follows - no discussion. You are also there to correct every bad behavior she choses and to reward the good ones. She needs to by busy talking to you so that the other 'distractions' in life become irrelevant.
She needs to start looking to you for permission to do things. Like going through the door - only give her permission when she looks into your eyes.
You need to give her a large vocabulary so that you can communicate with her through out the day. Every time you ask her to do something and she does it there is a chemical release in her brain that naturally makes her more submissive and cooperative. Everytime you ask to do something and she doesn't, then she gets an adrenaline rush that reminds her that she's in charge and makes her more difficult to deal with.
She needs to work for everything in her life, love, play, toys and food. Nothing is free anymore. Like an out of control teenager she gets little time to herself - you are going to be with her helping to choose good behavior.
She is going to take a lot of work and consistency on your part. Dogs are hard wired to challenge for leadership, but the beauty is they are also hard wired to submit to good, consistent leasdership. She needs to love, trust and respect her leader and that comes with fair, consistent effort on your part. Setting boundaries for her is very important. If she wants something she needs to work for it and then be praised for her good choices, but also corrected for her bad ones.
NEVER leave this dog alone with children or other adults - even if the children are yours and they have grown up with her.
Good luck

lilith_rizel
October 19th, 2004, 04:32 PM
What tenderfoot said is true, if you do make that commintment, make sure to carry a pocket full of treats with you at all times. And try to make her sit, before you feed her. Our lab Cano sits and waits until I put his food and water in the crate with him, close the door, and I give him the ok, to eat. I only make him wait about 30 seconds, but he knows that mommy and daddy are boss, and he gets in scolded if he is naughty, and he doesn't like it when I have to tell him that he was a bad boy. He wants me to be happy with him all the time.

heeler's rock!
October 19th, 2004, 05:38 PM
I do agree with some of the points you made here tenderfoot. Dogs do constantly challenge their leaders. The only thing I don't agree with is talking to the dog too much. In wolf packs, there is no talking and no room for negotiation. If a member gets outta line, they are disciplined. By not talking to your dog as much, you are helping her focus on your words better. For instance, if I take my dog to the park and I ask her to sit, and she doesn't, I go over and make her sit. I don't stand there going "Red, sit. Red, sit. Sit Red. Red. Red sit." and so on. The more I repeat my commands, the less seriously she takes them, and the more likely she is to blow me off when I talk to her.

Everything else sounds like what I do to maintain myself in the pack. Only I don't do treat rewards. i reward with praise and by rubbing her chest. Mostly because dogs in the wild don't get treats for good behaviour. I give them treats when I feel liek giving them treats. No special reason, just because. :)

tenderfoot
October 19th, 2004, 06:07 PM
Wow, again I have not made myself clear, I really do need to watch that. By "talking" to the dog I mean communicating a lot - this would be asking the dog to do things frequently throughout the day. We, by no means, promoting chattering on to a dog who just learns to ignore your words. We also say 'just ask once'. But we do not then 'make' the dog do the action, we simply get them to chose the action on their own (by using pressure & release methods) and then praise it. When I speak of rewards I am meaning touch and voice or a toy. We do not believe in force or bribery and I am thrilled to see that we agree on that. I actually think we probably agree on a lot, and have just not chatted enough to find that out.
Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

heeler's rock!
October 19th, 2004, 06:24 PM
Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

You're welcome!! :D

I also think we agree on a lot and just need to chat more. Your website is really cool and very informative! Thanks for coming on board!!! :D

Lucky Rescue
October 19th, 2004, 09:43 PM
Tenderfoot, I certainly respect your knowledge and experience, but personally I feel it's very dangerous to give advice about this problem - a 1 yr old dog showing unpredictable aggression and biting/attacking people - on the net.

Just to recap:

Sometimes when a person (w/o a dog) walks by, my dog is calm. Other times, my dog goes berzerk. The other day we went to Walmart and stood outside to get the dog used to people (wearing a muzzle, of course). The dog was fine until one person walked by (did not make eye contact with the dog) and did nothing out of the ordinary. The dog flipped out!! We can't always predict when the dog goes berzerk.

My dog tried to bite the trainer.

During the training my dog attacked the trainer and the trainer's desensitization dogs, and tried to bite an assistant. The interesting part was my dog waited until the trainer became more comfortable with the dog and he let his guard down. My dog then attacked when she had the window of opportunity

No one but a qualified behaviorist who is personally dealing with this dog should be suggesting ways to handle or correct this, if indeed there ARE any ways to correct this, and from what I've read here, I rather doubt it.:(

Just from what I quoted above, I feel this dog is a danger and a huge liability. JMO.

Shaykeija
October 21st, 2004, 12:11 AM
Lucky..what is an alpha roll? :confused: I have never heard of that term before. Thanks

Writing4Fun
October 21st, 2004, 08:29 AM
I asked that same question here:
http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=8411
Hope this helps. :)

heidiho
October 21st, 2004, 09:23 AM
ALPHA Roll is where you grab muzzle, roll dog on side and you are above him keep his paws down and keep him like that til he or she calms down,someone could explain it better. i did it to my gsd when he was a puppy,pissed him off more...

tenderfoot
October 22nd, 2004, 07:32 PM
I understand - it is hard to give advice on such a serious issue, but I cannot NOT try to help. We have experienced so many dogs that fit this description who have been helped by clear and confident leadership - that is why I have such a hard time giving up on an animal. Many of our clients who have been to other trainers in our area, and come to us as a last resort after being told that they should euthanize their dog for aggression. We have seen tremendous changes in most (not all) of them, so I am inclined to try. But certainly no one should take chat room advice as the sole answer to such a dangerous situation. I would just hope that it would encourage them to find good help before they give up or someone gets hurt. Thanks for the feedback.

whj3857
October 25th, 2004, 11:48 AM
Just an update...

The dog went to the vet and the vet prescribed a small dosage of Paxil (5mg/day) about 1/2 the smallest dosage available on the market. She also reiterated many of the things that were previously mentioned, such as the ability to trust the dog while it is unattended, etc..

The vet also said that when the dog gets crazy, to roll the dog. But the dog also needs to be wearing a muzzle at all times. The dog may turn on us when we try to restrain it so we need to be careful when attempting this type of restraint. (I already have the muzzle on the dog when I do this, in other words just keep doing it to restrain her so she doesn't attack others.)

She also gave us a body harness type of leash that better restrains the dog.

And yes... the dog tried to attack the vet, assistant, and others. When the dog was left alone in an enclosed room it escaped because it figured out how to turn the door knob. It ended up running around the hallway for a while.

Basically, the dog needs to be "broken down" so that we (the owners) can establish dominance over the dog. The dominance over the dog needs to be more on the extreme side than with a normal dog.

The vet, herslef, has owned similarly agressive dogs, and this treatment seemed to help correct the situation with her dogs. The problem is that this will be a constant issue that will last until the dog dies.

We'll see if this works. I'm hoping that this helps take the edge off her behaviour.

lilith_rizel
October 25th, 2004, 11:59 AM
Best of Luck

Lucky Rescue
October 25th, 2004, 12:16 PM
The vet also said that when the dog gets crazy, to roll the dog

Your vet is giving you very bad advice. Is she a certified trainer?

Recommending attacking an aggressive dog is very dangerous.

I truly wish you luck.

We have experienced so many dogs that fit this description who have been helped by clear and confident leadership

I understand this and for the most part I agree. **IF** you know exactly what triggers the aggression and the reasons for it, it can be worked on. However this dog is totally unpredictable as to what will set it off, so I see no way to anticipate or work on this behavior.

tenderfoot
October 25th, 2004, 12:38 PM
I agree with lucky, your vets advice sounds scary.
"Basically, the dog needs to be "broken down" so that we (the owners) can establish dominance over the dog."
I sudder to think of what you would have to do to "break the dog down". This dogs needs to be working 24/7 - he needs to be grateful to you for every bit of food, attention, play and love you have to offer, and when he can't be watched then he needs to be in a safe place. A muzzle might be good to keep the unpredictable behavior at bay, but it still doesn't teach.
This dog may not be 'reachable' and that is your decision - hard as it might be. But until then you need to get your hands on good advice and a great trainer. He should never be off leash and his leash manners need to be impecible. Start in the house and get perfect there, then move to the yard (adrenalin rush) and then out into the neighborhood as he shows he is capable of self control and he is looking to you for the answers. No recess time for this one, until he earns it - and he may only earn it with very controlled parameters.
Like a child who shows anti-social behavior to others in a violent manner, That child is always monitored and is not given any priviledges until he starts to show a change. But we do not beat him or put him in a straight jacket to teach him self-control. We commit to the time it takes to correct his bad choices, control his outbursts and teach him a better way of being.
I wish you the very best.

heeler's rock!
October 25th, 2004, 05:08 PM
I completely agree Elizabeth. Muzzles only hide the issues the dog is having, and not teaching it anything. There could be something common that is triggering the dog's agression that you could be missing. Once that is found out, there are ways to correct it. If there really is nothing that sets her off in particular, this dog is a terrible accident waiting to happen. I truly wish you the best of luck and sincerely hope your dog can be helped..... :o

heidiho
October 25th, 2004, 05:15 PM
I would try medication before i could put my dog to sleep...............

whj3857
October 25th, 2004, 09:27 PM
I know that most of you are thinking in rational terms and you are thinking the the dog's behaviour is within the bounds of normality (for a dog)...
I saw the posts about retraining a child and not putting it in a straight jacket and that muzzels only hide the problem...

Remember this, we're not dealing with a normal dog. This dog behaves erradically. Some of you got this point, others missed it. Today while walking the dog, the dog tried to attack 3 of 4 dogs. The dog it did not attack was a dalmation. Why? I don't know? Why did it go after the other dogs? Why did it not go after the dalmation? Last time I checked, the dalmation is a dog. And my dog didn't chase after any joggers. Usually it does. It's whatever mood the dog is in that day at that moment.

As for the muzzle, ask yourself this question...How would you insure the safety of yourself, other people around you, and the dog itself in this situation. Restrain the animal. I wouldn't want my dog to bite you or your dog when you are out walking. By not taking this precautiuon I am irresponsible.

Tenderfoot - you mentioned that the dog needs to have impecable leash manners. I agree.. But when the dog is whipped up into an irrationation frezy how do you control an animal like that.

But this is how I train/exercise the dog: To exercise the dog, I go into an empty fenced-in field about 10 acres or so. I take the dog off the leash and play with it. The dog obeys the following commands:
sit, come, stay, down, left, right, stop, and go. (Left and right get the dog confused a little). I have no problems as long as no one or nothing is in the field with me. The dog does most everything I command and it gets rewarded with treats for obeying the commands. 75% of the time, the dog obeys the commands I give, off leash. I'd say that's better than most kids. When I call back the dog. The dog stops at my feet and sits; waiting for the next command. (It's the smartest/best dog in the world under these conditions. Does your dog know the difference between left and right? Mine does, sortof.)

However, everything goes out the window when a stimulus occurs. The dog randomly becomes hostile and aggressive. The dog doesn't think... "Hmm maybe I'd better ask for permission." All training goes out the window. It's a very basic reaction. It's pure rage and adrenaline. Trying to control the dog in one of these situations is like trying to stop someone who OD'ed on PCP.

How can you retrain any one or any thing that can't accept training because a fear, phobia, or disorder is causing an overwhelming state of anxiety that overrides the possibility to reteach and retrain? I guess this could also apply to humans and phobias.

Well.. that's why I started this thread.. To find out if anyone has ever medicated their dog or knew of any medication that would reduce the anxiey to allow for retraining. You can't accept new learning if you are emotionally charged up. The dog needs desinsitization more than traditional training.. Remember.. My dog was agressive a 9 weeks.. agression doesn't usually start until 8 months.. (32 weeks). I am dealing with a deep seeded issue that isn't going to be fixed with regular training for regular dogs. I also have a very stong alpha dog to add to the problem.

BTW, the alpha roll (as risky as it is..) is the only thing that allows me to restrain my dog during one of these episodes. I have to put most of my body weight (170 lbs) on the dog to restrain it. It immediately immobilizes the dog and refocuses the dog's attention off the stimulus and breaks it's concentration. The dog is muzzled so I can't easily get bit. It works.. I'm sticking with it. Dog/wolves in packs perform the same maneuver to gain control of other lessor status dogs. The idea of the alpha roll doesn't compute with humans and that is why alot of people don't like it. It's scary and very primal. The dog shows fear and people think that this is bad. Passive submissive (a true Omega) dogs should not be rolled. With Omega dogs, I think it scares the dog and the dog fears it's owner.

But we do the same thing to each other when we are kids...the older sibling flicks the younger sibling in the ear and does the "I'm not touching you!". The older sibling wrestles and pins the younger sibling to the floor and sits on him. The older sibling takes posesstions (toys, food, etc) from the younger sibling, at will. As we get older.. flicking ears turns into a 3 o'clock fight at the bike racks after school. Even older, the 3 o'clock fight turns into a civil lawsuit. We establish dominance and status through other behaviours that do not compute with dogs. Dogs can't comprehend electing leaders. Dogs don't have judical code. Dogs act on a primal level. Anyway... I digress...I still rolling this dog.


As for the breaking down part:
1. The dog is not allowed on the bed, sofa, or furniture.
2. The dog eats after we eat and no people food as a snack. The dog sits and waits until the order is given to eat. Restrain when nesessary to enforce the "wait until released".
3. The dog is crated when we are not in the house.
4. The training routine and exercise levels are increased. A tired dog is a good dog. A good dog = happy owner.
5. Rewards, affection, attention, etc.. are given only when earned.
6. The dog is not allowed to enter/exit a room before me or traverse stairs before me. Breaking this rule causes the dog to return to the origin point, sit and stay until I am at my destination. Then the dog is released.
7. During walks, I force the dog to walk 2 ft behind me. The dog is not permitted to drag me around on walks. (think about who leads whom on your dog walks...Who really is the lead dog.. the one in front..alpha. If your dog is in front, then your dog is the pack leader, not you.)
Eventually,the dog will be allowed to walk next to me as it shows progress. The reward for good walking is walking next to me.
8. The dog is muzzled at all times when outside the house or a "Gentle leader" is used to force the dogs mouth closed when pressure is applied.
9. The dog is not permitted to howl, bark, or make excessive noise to get attention.
10. Desensitization will occur with the use of medication and the exposure to traditional stimuli that have histroically triggered negative reactions. I will be taking the dog to supermarkets, stores, etc.. Then I will begin working on the dog/dog agression.

How many of you practice phases 6 through 9 in the list above? It's a little extreme, but I have to re-establish dominance as the leader. I need to break the dog. The dog cannot be alpha, the dog will have to be forced to the Omega dog position. I have to make it clear that I am alpha, in no uncertain terms. And guess what? It works.. the dog stopped challenging me for food, the bed, and "bum rushing" me on the stairs and through the doorways. As the dog learns respect, the dog will be treated less harshly and more privlidges will be given.

Not one person came up with a suggestion to desensitize the dog while still maintaining control over it. All the suggestions for training work on "normal" dogs. The rules go out the window when dealing with the mentally disturbed.

Look.. I'm not a bad dog owner.. This is not my first dog... I also believe strongly that the dog can be desensitized and retrained without euthanization. The dog is a shining example of Border Collie intellegence. If this dog were both stupid and agressive, I'd have a different opinion.

I will post the results of Paxil on my dog's behaviour as the week progresses. Maybe it'll help someone else's dog from being put down for behaviour problems.

heeler's rock!
October 25th, 2004, 10:39 PM
Hmmm.....okay, I understand what you're saying, and for the record, I also maintain my alpha status with all 3 of my dogs in the same way you are. The only thing you have said that is unlike what I do is medication and a muzzle.

I do "pin" my dogs, not alpha roll them and I find this to work very well, but then again, that's on MY dogs. The only point that was stated here was that your dog is completely unpredictable. If you don't know what causes the agression, how can you fix it? How do you know what to desensitize your dog from? If this has been going on since she was 9 weeks, it's so deep rooted now, it's going to be VERY difficult to fix. If you can do it, great, but we're just saying that muzzles and meds don't teach. I have also worked with some difficult dogs, and it is very hard to correct the behaviour as it is, but meds just make your dog oblivious to the world around it and muzzles just make it more defensive.

I know your dog is not a "normal" dog, but why then spend the time desensitizing when she's probably going to be on a muzzle and meds all her life?

Noone here missed your point at all. We are offering our advice and you can take it for what it's worth. How will you know if she's just behaving because of the meds, or if she's sincere? If you muzzle her everywhere you go, you'll be affraid to take it off incase she bites someone. I understand you're being a responsible owner by muzzling your dog because you know she's unpredictable and she may bite, but why then go through all the work of desensitization if she's just going to be muzzled for the rest of her life? Why not just keep her on the meds and muzzle her till she's passes on?

You are talking to us as if we have no idea what we're talking about, and I don't really appreciate that. I think we all maintain Alpha over our dogs and I can say 100% that I do pretty much everything you've said except muzzles and meds.

I understand your love for this dog, believe me I do, but all we're saying is what what we've learned from our experiences. Take it or leave it. I do wish you luck and hope your dog can be helped. None of us like to see a dog put down for any reason except old age or debilitating diseases. Please let us know how your making out.

tenderfoot
October 26th, 2004, 09:58 AM
Hi again, I am so glad to hear the details of your training with this dog. Your earlier posts left me wondering of your experience. It's sounds like you are making a great effort. To tell you the truth, I would have spoken more about desensitizing the dog, but I wasn't even clear about your/her obedience skills yet.
The way we look at it is she is not ready for college and any distractions are the college level for her. We talk to our clients about getting the dog through each level of school (preschool to college) and not advancing until they are ready. If you find that you are not successful at a certain level - then you went too far too fast and you have to go back a step to where you are successful and move from there. For some dogs this can happen in days for others it could be months - it depends on the person and the dog. College 101 might be seeing a distraction at 100 yards - so you get her good there before you move to 90 yards (college 202). I would also make sure her "leave it" command is awesome. This can be a huge help for the micro-second she sees something she doesn't like.
The reason we don't use treats to train is because the dog is not working for you it is working for treats and it is hard to get to college (off-leash with distractions). I want my dog working for me and our relationship - love, trust and respect. If the guy next to me has better treats than I do then I might loose my dog's attention...if I run out of treats I'm in trouble or if the distraction is better that the treats I have no control. So if I can engage the brain to make better choices out of respect & love for me, then I always have control. We have drills that we do which establish a balanced relationship and get the dog to look to the person before it reacts. The person is then trained to read the dog and to respond appropriately for the moment (energy, distraction, mood etc. of the dog).
Having the dog on the bed, feeding it people food etc. aren't the problem. They are simply symptoms of the relationship. Fix the relationship and the problems will start to fade away.
Now I understand that your dog is the exception. At this point you have to manage her terrible behavior while you are teaching. But I would encourage you to teach not treat, and to exercise her brain more than her body. Mental activity is just as exhausting as physical, and when you exercise her body too much then you are simply conditioning an athlete and she will require more and more exercise.
It sounds like you are doing a great job and I know she is a huge challenge. Please know that we are all trying to help - not put you down. We are acting out of concern for you, your dog and the public who is at risk. There aren't always simple, easy fixes - you have your work cut out for you. I like to think of it as - this dog (should things work out) is going to take you to a whole new level of knowing dogs and give you skills you didn't have before. Best of luck. Please let us know how it is working out. We do care.

sammiec
October 26th, 2004, 10:18 AM
I commend you for giving this dog a chance, you have a big heart. I was actually going to give you those notes that I have quoted below. These are simple and much easier ways to establish dominance with your dog. From day one we taught Briggs that we are the leaders and she is the dog.

1. We make her ask before getting on the furniture. She must do something to get something - she sits and we invite her on the couch - your dog probably shouldn't be allowed to be on the couch for a while.
2. Briggs eats after we eat. This is as simple as you make her bowl of food and you eat a cookie/cracker/chips in front of her before putting their bowl down. She must sit and wait for the OK before going to her food and/or water.
3. Done. Pit Bulls can be destructive when they are alone, for her safety she is in a crate or a room.
4. We play off leash in a park. Before we throw a ball for her she must complete a task - sit, stay, down, paw...
5. Good one, I have failed that! :o
6. This is a fairly easy one. When you come in the door, hold the dog back and enter before them, we get off the elevator I go first...
7. Heal works well for this one. (Does your dog have formal obedience training??)
8. I would opt for the gentle leader - in your case, a muzzle might be best for the time being.... when people come by have the dog in a sit stay and "bribe with treats to keep its concentration on you, the praise like crazy once the stimulus is gone.
9. Don't have that problem, she's not a barker.

My point of out lining your list was just to show how easily these things can be placed into your daily activites - for anyone, not just this case. I would leave a leash on the dog inside, some people have suggested that you "tie" the leash around your waist to ensure that the dog follows you around and realizes that you're in control. While sitting and watching tv, keep the lead on the dog and have it sit and stay beside you. These are some points that I have gotten from my trainer and a book called "Good Owners, Great Dogs" by Brian Killcommons. It's excellent, and for 20 bucks, WORTH IT!!! :thumbs up
I sincrely hope that things work out for you guys! You are a fantastic person for trying. I pray that this behaviour can be controlled...best of luck!



As for the breaking down part:
1. The dog is not allowed on the bed, sofa, or furniture.
2. The dog eats after we eat and no people food as a snack. The dog sits and waits until the order is given to eat. Restrain when nesessary to enforce the "wait until released".
3. The dog is crated when we are not in the house.
4. The training routine and exercise levels are increased. A tired dog is a good dog. A good dog = happy owner.
5. Rewards, affection, attention, etc.. are given only when earned.
6. The dog is not allowed to enter/exit a room before me or traverse stairs before me. Breaking this rule causes the dog to return to the origin point, sit and stay until I am at my destination. Then the dog is released.
7. During walks, I force the dog to walk 2 ft behind me. The dog is not permitted to drag me around on walks. (think about who leads whom on your dog walks...Who really is the lead dog.. the one in front..alpha. If your dog is in front, then your dog is the pack leader, not you.)
Eventually,the dog will be allowed to walk next to me as it shows progress. The reward for good walking is walking next to me.
8. The dog is muzzled at all times when outside the house or a "Gentle leader" is used to force the dogs mouth closed when pressure is applied.
9. The dog is not permitted to howl, bark, or make excessive noise to get attention.
10. Desensitization will occur with the use of medication and the exposure to traditional stimuli that have histroically triggered negative reactions. I will be taking the dog to supermarkets, stores, etc.. Then I will begin working on the dog/dog agression.

Lucky Rescue
October 26th, 2004, 10:27 AM
Remember this, we're not dealing with a normal dog. This dog behaves erradically. Some of you got this point, others missed it.

I do get what you are saying. I did have two other dogs who had specific problems - one was fear aggressive and the other food aggressive. I knew precisely what would trigger the aggression, could anticipate it and so could work on it. They were aggressive at no other time.

Your dog is erratic, unpredictable and unable to control his behavior, which is what makes him so dangerous, IMO.

How can you retrain any one or any thing that can't accept training because a fear, phobia, or disorder is causing an overwhelming state of anxiety that overrides the possibility to reteach and retrain? I guess this could also apply to humans and phobias.

That is a good analogy about the phobias. You might also use the example of someone who is severely bi-polar and not taking meds. I know someone like this. This person is highly intelligent, but is simply and totally unable to control impulses.

I hope the meds will help your dog.

jjgeonerd
October 26th, 2004, 02:45 PM
Based on your description, as hard as it might be, I would have the dog put to sleep. :( In my opinion, aggression towards other animals is manageable...random aggression like you have described towards people is unacceptable.

Remember that that you are responsible for anything that your dog does. If it seriously injurs or even kills someone, you will be charged. In my opinion that isn't a risk worth taking. I was living in San Francisco when a Bull Mastiff attacked and killed it's neighbor. Whatever the reason, motive, circumstances, etc... the owners are now in jail.

Fortunately all of my dogs have been very gentle. :)

doggy lover
November 4th, 2004, 08:14 AM
Wow that is some indepth training you are going to have to do. I think the dog sounds like its gotten some cross-wires somewhere. I have a border collie pup and he is very loving to everyone and other dogs too. I actully worry about him because he wants to meet and play with every dog on the street. You only have to raise your voice to him and he rolls on his back. My last dog got agressive with me a couple of times when he was young, jumping at me and trying to nip me but I would just grab him by the collar and not let go untill he submitted. In his nine + years he never bit me or anyone or other animals. Its is nice to see someone working so hard to save their pet, most other people would have put them in a shelter way before now. I wish you the best of luck, if it doesn't work you know you tried every thing else.

Schwinn
November 4th, 2004, 10:34 AM
I am not an expert, and though I've had or lived with five dogs, I'm not going to say what I would do is the perfect solution or I know the right answer.

That being said, this sounds like a dog with a "bad attitude". You say you don't know what triggers it, but I almost think there isn't really a "trigger", per say, but more of a whim. Think of someone surly and with a bad attitude walking down the street. He has a hate-on for the world, and if you get in his way, or he feels like lashing out, he does. I think that may be the problem here. I also think that, in this case, you do have to dominate the dog. Not break his spirit, but leave no question as to who is the boss. Basically, the role is saying to the dog, (sorry to sound harsh, I'm really not an ogre) "I am in command, and I can and will dominate you". A lot of dogs will roll over and show you thier belly, saying "I trust you and recognise you as alpha". This dog needs to be told that. I know this sounds harsh to others, but is it any less harsh that having it put down? I don't think these means the dog will have a less than happy life, once he accepts your alpha. I just think you need some serious tough-love. You don't hurt the dog, but you do need extreme firmness.

lilith_rizel
November 4th, 2004, 12:05 PM
I give you lots of credit for keeping the dog. I am sure that with lots of training, it will turn out just fine. You basically have to put it through "military boot camp" (basic training), for dogs. My hubby went through basic training over a year ago, and he told me everything that went on. Most meals, they only had 2 or 3 minutes to eat, literally. and they couldn't sleep until they were told to. Everything they did, was on demand of someone else. James couldn't even write me a letter, unless he was given permission to. So I don't think that your training will be to harsh. I don't have a problem with our dog right now, but he can improve on some things. Especially going up the steps before I do. I get up half way, and then he comes charging, trying to get up before I do. So I am going to use some of your training as well.

I do feed Cano after James and I have our meals. He is normally crated while we eat, and then, we put his food and water in the crate with him when it is his turn to eat. This has really help with begging, and stealing food. He was out last night during supper time, and he just laid down and chewed on a toy.

As far as him earning attention, that too hasn't worked for us. He gets too much attention! We are now having problems with him being too attatched to me, and doesn't eat that much, unless I am near by. If I am more that 10 feet away, he won't eat, but a few bites. And if he is out during his feeding time, he will come and sit by me, then go to his dish and look at me, and come right back to where i am.

Once again, I would like to thank you for giving this dog another chance. I wish you the best. Good luck!

CaneCorso81
November 4th, 2004, 12:24 PM
I am curious have you talked to someone from the Schtuzund club in your area? Sometime expert trainer/behavorists are able help you dealing with this kind of problem. I am talking about an expert trainer who spealizes in aggression and able to read the dog's behavior well.
I find this website very informative on dogs behavior, but do not think about buying one of their puppies....:)
http://www.leerburg.com/articles.htm

DogueLover
November 6th, 2004, 01:19 PM
Just wondering what happened with this holy terror?
My sympathy to her owner, you are truly a saint, (please dont take this the wrong way ) a crazy saint but a saint all the same.
My brother and sister in law have had border collies all their lives and they say that if they are not working they will get "crazy"
Border collies were born to work and work hard. Most people that I know that have border collies have them on farms and ranches and they work every day. The ones I know of that are "in town" dogs are either run 3 times a day(yes run not walked) and in some sort of agility training just to keep them calmed down. The border collies I met are incredibly intelligent but remind me of a child with ADD they just cannot stay still.
Hope all goes well for you and this dog but I think I have to agree with most of the others who posted here that this dog is just a bite waiting to happen and the implications on you as the owner are not very appealing.