Need Trainer Recommendation Please!
Hi there, new to the board so please forgive me if this is not the right forum.
I have a rescue, rising 3 sheltie X who is generally a wonderful boy. When I got him he was a hollow shell of a dog, and although it took a little while, he has grown comfortable and confident and is now devoted to me. Very much a one person dog. He is good with basic obedience, excellent off leash, gets 2-3 off leash hikes a week and shorter intown onleash walks the rest of time. I try to find a quiet part to toss a ball around sometimes. He eats kibble, but good quality food (I'd love to go raw but don't have the freezer space and can't afford to buy it in small quantity). He is excellent with the resident cat and lives alone with me, a single woman. Good, respectful, playful and fairly submissive among other animals.
HOWEVER he is a daemon on a leash with other dogs around. He barks and carries on like a banshee, lunging, panting, pulling etc. He is better off leash, although still not good. He barks and carries on if introduced off leash, will get in a strange dogs face barking then turn tail and run if the dog move towards him at all. He is also very clingy with me, trying to climb up my leg. I have no doubt he's worse on a leash because he feels trapped and unable to run. Once he has met a dog and gotten over the initial stress and reaction, usually takes about 15min-30min then he is excellent about playing and chasing other dogs, play bows, will bark but its to instigate play, no other signs of aggression, no toy agression, will still perform basic obedience commands with other dog present, will allow me to pat and play with the other dog. He does show some signs of resource guarding of ME with one dog in particular which he took a long time to calm down around. This dog likes to play keep away with the ball while my dog seems to be playing at keeping the other dog away from me. When we visit my mom and her geriatric jack russel he is very respectful of Maverick's space, toys etc and is clearly submissive to him.
I need help socializing him with other dogs. From what I can tell he honestly does not know how to introduce himself and get acquainted with a new dog. His first reaction is to bark, even in close quarters, rather than sniff. I do not expect him to be perfect about meeting dogs on leash but I want to be able to walk him without his craziness when seeing a new dog. The history I have on his is that he was second dog in the home to an older, established dog. Older dog taught the puppy to bark at anything and everything that moved. Dogs were tied outside of a house most of the day, seldom or never walked. My dog was chewing up kids toys when in the house (he almost never chews with me, but loves his toys and treat puzzle balls). Although I was never told that he was attacked, I suspect that he may have been attacked by a large black dog, since these are the hardest type of dog for him to calm down around (and no its not an owner thing, I love what many people call the 'agressive' black dog breeds, it took me a while to even notice a co-relation).
When exposing him to dogs, positive association with treats does not work, he is not food motivated at all unless he is amusing himself indoors with a treat ball. I try to make him 'work' and focus on obedience when another dog is around, but he is immediately focused on the dog and not me, regardless of the distance. As soon as he is aware of the other dog, he pays me no attention, even if the dog is far enough back that he doesn't bark at it. I try positive attention with dogs at a distance but he doesn't even notice. I am trying not to create a negative association by punishing him so right now I pretty much just ignore him as much as possible and keep the leash short enough that I basically drag him past the dog. We do the same thing jogging and biking (with a harness of course).
I'm tired of apologizing to random dog owners for my dog's behaviour! I've tried all of the straight forward approaches that I know of and although he is improving, it is not at a significant rate. I need help but I want to make sure I have a good trainer that understands the needs of adult dogs who have not been socialized as puppies. I have heard of many 'training' schools but they only take puppies! I thought I found a trainer, but he wanted $200 and hour for a 2-3 hour session, which he said was enough to 'fix my dog' so long as I follow through. I do not believe that my dog will be 'fixed' in 3 hours. I am looking for ongoing lessons that help me handle him and a trainer that will work with our changing 'issues' because I am sure that as we work on one problem, other things will surface. I don't begrudge anyone an honest days work, but $200 an hour seems extreme to me.
So I am hoping for recommendations for a trainer, prefer in the Kitchener Waterloo are of SW Ontario but consider neighbouring towns for the right trainer. Please feel free to email me with any trainers to AVOID since posting those names is probably a BB no-no <personal email removed...pls PM the OP>
Can you also comment on what I should be expecting to pay? What would you think is the best format for lessons? Weekly private with the ability for the trainer to bring another dog? Or longer sessions? Should I expect a trainer to have their own facility or should s/he be coming to me? What is normal for trainers outside of puppy classes?
Thanks so much for your input and help.
Last edited by hazelrunpack; May 1st, 2011 at 10:42 PM.
Reason: removed personal email; pls PM the OP with suggestions