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Old July 20th, 2009, 12:58 PM
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Help with Jasper

I am pasting some of my posts here.


I am having a problem with Jasper to the point that family whether adult or child don't come visit us anymore. I don't take Jasper for a walk I let my husband do it because I cannot handle him. He jumps out at people walking by and he's just too strong for me. We have been through training and a behavoirist but it has not helped. I hardly ever go see family because I cannot take Jasper and cannot leave him home because he tears things apart and when he's in his kennel all he does is yelp and bark and somethimes bangs his face on his kennel door and injures himself.

He gets plenty of exercise. Since he has a problem with small dogs we don't go to the park but we go to my sisters farm and let him run and play with her shepherds every morning for about 3 hrs. then he gets playtime in our backyard in the afternoon plus my husband takes him for a 1 1/2 walk at 10:00 pm because there are no kids out. We have the same problem in obedience class because there is a mix of small and big dogs so we did private classes but still dislikes kids and small dogs. We are still in private classes with our 3rd trainer.The humane society told us he had a little problem with kids until he gets to know them. I wasn't to concerned because I don't have kids. When I happened to "meet" someone from another forum that knows Jasper we were able to connect with the previous owner and ask questions. I will try and find the email I got from her and post it.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 01:00 PM
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Here is the email I got from Jasper's previous owner.


We were Jasper's second owner. He was 11 weeks old when we got him, the first owner only had him about 9 days but sent him back to the farm because children and toys did not mix with him.
Jasper has always humped but before he was fixed he would urinate while humping my 2 yr. old girl so the vet said neuturing would stop the urinating but not the humping because the humping is a dominance issue. He used to play with the neighbors dog (a Charles Cavalier) in our backyard but one day he got mad because the other dog had a toy he wanted and attacked him and we ended up paying a $326 vet bill. About 2 weeks after that he dug under the fence and went after the neighbors dog again and tore her ear so there went another $219.00. Please do not leave hin unattended with a small animal. Jasper can not be left alone for more than 30-45 minutes. I took him the the store with me and when I came out he had dug a hole in the seat of my new mini van and my husband said I could not take him anymore. It cost us $986.40 for a new seat. When I left him home he tore my couch cushion to threads, so I started confining him to the kitchen but I came home after being out for about an hour and he had gotten over the gate and killed our 3 month old kitten. The kitten had died of a broken neck and the stomach was tore open. He has always had a problem with being greedy. He would always take toys, and food away from my daughter resulting in her being bit. On Dec. 3/05 my daughter went to pick up her drinking cup off the floor Jasper ran and grabbed her face resulting in 8 stitches across her cheek. One day he is fine with her and the next he is mean with her. He could no longer be trusted around my daughter. We tried obedience but he had issues with other dogs there and the trainer wouldn't allow him back. He offered to do private classes but it would have costs us close to $1000.00 by time we were finished and decided not to. With everything he has done I had enough and we sent him to the humane society. I have never felt more relief in my life since letting him go. It may sound cruel but I can only handle so much. I hope your doing better with him than we did.

Jasper is staying with us. I have no plans of re-homing him or sending him back to the humane society because I am worried that they would put him down because of his history. I don't want that to happen. I pay close attention to him and if need be will be muzzled to protect kids, dogs and himself from being injured. We have kids next door to us and if they are outside we take him out on a leash so he can't get close to the fence because he ends up hurting himself trying to bite through our privacy fence.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 01:02 PM
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The dog at the back is my other dog Duke and the front one is Jasper.They are playing in that pic. They both run and jump on each other all the time and never had an aggressive moment with them. I call them and they come running but when Jasper is focused on a child or small dog Jasper acts like I'm not even there so I have a whistle that I blow and that usually gets his attention. He is fine with big dogs he just doesn't like small dogs or kids. When Jasper sees a small child or small dog his hair goes up, tail tucks under, then the growling and pacing starts I know what the email said about their kitten but we have 2 cats and Jasper has never touched them except give them a very wet lick when walking by but I still keep my eyes and ears open. I have spoken to a retired trainer/behavoirist that is willing to help me but he travels all summer so I have to wait until the end of August.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 01:09 PM
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No worries Cathy1. Can you please post all other pictures as in the last thread. With these photos we may be able to tell you about certain communications that are going on with your dogs. At the least - we can learn more and perhaps give you some insight or tips if you wish.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 01:16 PM
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Old July 20th, 2009, 01:22 PM
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How old was Jasper when you got him, and how old is he now?

A puppy's most impressionable period is from about 8 weeks to 4 months. If in those formidible months, he was taught to associate kids or smaller dogs with bad things, those associations stick. For example, if his first introduction to small children was bad (ie, the kid was allowed to hurt him, but he got punished for complaining kind of thing) then he would've associated children with pain and punishment. If someone beat you everytime a train went by, you'd quickly learn to hate trains - same kind of thing. I would venture to guess that some kind of similar situation happened with smaller dogs - if he got in trouble every time a smaller dog came around, soon he's going to associate small dogs with punishment. I see that the 2nd owner says he got mad at another dog over a toy and attacked it - I would bet there were other factors in there, especially since Jasper then dug a hole to go after the dog again.

What kind of techniques have the trainers used to desensitive or change his perceptions of those situations?
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Old July 20th, 2009, 01:48 PM
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Jasper was 6 months when we got him and will be 4 in September.

The behavorist we had they would takes us to the dog park and just walk outside the fence when there were other dogs there. When the big dogs came over to the fence he was happy and whining but if a small dog would come over he would start panting and growl then the behavorist would walk away with him for a few minutes then go back and try again but if he showed any aggression before he got near the fence he would walk him away from there. After a few weeks of that he did become friends with a young beagle at the park and never had any problems. The behavorist noticed it's the little dogs that want to bark all the time, not necessarily at Jasper but just playing that seem to irritate him. We also went to the behavorist house because he has 8 chi's and he would use them to work with Jasper, using one dog at a time because his dogs are very quiet. Things seemed ok for awhile but now Jasper seems to pick and choose which dogs he likes. Out of 8 chi's he is fine with 3. On a walk we usually meet up with 5-7 small dogs and most of them bark at other dogs. When he was with the previous owner and the neighbors dog barked at him all the time would that cause him to be this way ? (not liking barking dogs)
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Old July 20th, 2009, 02:14 PM
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Hmm. I'm not really convinced that the behaviorist you found went about rehabiliating Jasper the way he needed. Were you able to do much research into this trainers background before you went to his lessons? The reason I say this is because when a trainer is faced with a potentially aggressive dog, the best thing to use is another healthy-minded well socialized obedient dog to help rehabiliate the animal in question. This cannot be achieved initially through dogs at the dog park because these dogs have a different state of mind than that of a dog who is 'working' - ie: on leash, listening & focusing on his owner. A dog with inter-dog aggression will be triggered easily by a dog who is running around, playing, showing excitement which is what naturally happens at dog parks. This is why it surprises me that your trainer went straight to that point with Jasper when clearly he wasn't ready for it, and kept doing this for a few weeks, regardless of whether or not there was a fence between everyone. Did he explain why he wanted to do this at all?

As for Jaspers behavior, it seems like he's showing classic signs of insecurity based aggression, because he has a need to control people or dogs that are displaying too much energy for what Jasper approves of. Usually this aggression is a form of frustration, caused because they feel insecure about the loud/excitement happening around it and don't know how to properly translate it for themselves, thus causing them to react and try to 'stop' it.

It's difficult to tell you what steps to take without properly assessing Jasper, but if you can seek out another behaviorist to help you that would be your best bet, so keep us posted how things go with that retired trainer. Other than that, what are you doing IN the home to help Jasper work through his behavior? You mentioned that people don't come to your house anymore; is this because he barks, lunges, snaps at guests? What has been your reaction to these things happening?
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Old July 20th, 2009, 02:30 PM
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The body language of both dogs are identical. They may appear to be in 'play' mode however they are exercising hierarchy.

The best method to approach this dog is through reinforcing calm behaviour. I do not think this dog will ever be submissive however he must be monitored and corrected when acting out.

Personally, I would not let this play type behaviour to continue as terrible as this may sound. The problem here is that he is not learning anything since the other dog may be more manageable, however he may not have that certain energy which will teach Jasper the correct way to interact. Jasper may be aggitated with the constant struggle of competition. Does this make any sense? Am I reading the pictures wrong? I will continue to talk if I am on the right path. Let me know.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 03:08 PM
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Benmax: Jasper & Duke don't always play like that they usually just chase each other around the shed. That picture was taken during their running around and Duke giving Jasper a bark. Duke usually lays down with his butt up in the air and when Jasper runs over he falls down. I know the pic doesn't look good but it just happened that way. Most of the time they just wander around and pay no attention to each other. Jasper usually paces up & down the fence line with his hair up only on the side of the yard where the kids live. I always distract him with a toy but that only works when the kids are not out. It seems like he is waiting for the kids to come out. Everything you are saying makes sense. If playing like that is a problem I don't have a problem stopping it, I just call Jasper's name and he runs to me. Jasper is really good with Duke, I couldn't ask for anything better. Jasper wants to play usually when Duke wants to sleep, so Duke usually gives him one bark and Jasper goes and plays with his toys. No, I didn't check the behavorist background thoroughly, he was recommended by our vet. I was able to talk to one person who used him and had good results but their dog had different issues. I didn't like the method he used because I could see Jasper getting stressed but I thought he knew better than me. The behavorist also said that Jasper is a fear barker because sometimes when adults approach he will bark and jump back. I asked the previous owner if they ever introduced him to other people or if he was just put in the yard when people were over but they said he was included in everything, which I don't believe. When we have had people over to me he looks scared. He paces and growls and sometimes slobbers, he always stays away from them, but if my guests make any movement at all he starts barking, so I was told by the trainer to tether him to me when people come over and do what I normally do but he gets pretty snappy with me so I just put him in another room. While he is in there he bangs at the door, bites at the trim, digs the floor and yelps. When he is doing that I am lost and don't know what to do. Visitors feel that if they don't come over then we won't have that problem.
I have also given our guests treats to give to Jasper and he will take the treats if they put them on the floor in front of them without barking but once the treats run out he goes back to pacing. Should I continue to let guest give him treats or is this the wrong thing to do ?

The retired behavorist gave me a vhs tape to show what he does. He is 73 and has been doing this for 42yrs, but heard about the problems I was having and said he would help and only wanted travelling expenses (gas). He has met Jasper in our house and saw what he is like with children and small dogs and said he could help after holidays.

Last edited by Cathy1; July 20th, 2009 at 03:21 PM.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 03:30 PM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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Cathy1 - everything you are describing is fear based. The situation with the fence, pacing and children is my #1 concern. Also, the fact that the dog acts out when being removed from a situation is also concerning.

The trainer gave you good advice as to tethering the dog to you...but not this dog. He can actually have divert aggression towards you and you being attached to him can cause injury to you.

There seems to be many issues with Jasper. Does he ever take his aggression or tantrums (for a lack of a better word) out on Duke?

There are people here such as Bendyfoot or Tenderfoot that may have some valuable information to help you. My best advice is to seek a professional behaviouralist. Due to the delicate nature of these behaviours, I personally cannot give you any solutions as doing so sight unseen is very difficult.

You are one heck of a person to help this dog through this. Your dedication is amazing! Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will be able to help you. I wish I could but this one is too complicated for me personally.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 03:37 PM
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Jasper never takes it out on Duke, he has never growled, snapped or has hurt Duke in any way, but when he comes in from outside he will take one of his stuffies and shake the crap out of it. He doesn't show aggression with the cats either, the cats rub all over him and he licks them. They all get along fine which makes it easier to keep him, even with the problems. Though I would never leave them home unsupervised.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
No, I didn't check the behavorist background thoroughly, he was recommended by our vet. I was able to talk to one person who used him and had good results but their dog had different issues. I didn't like the method he used because I could see Jasper getting stressed but I thought he knew better than me. The behavorist also said that Jasper is a fear barker because sometimes when adults approach he will bark and jump back. I asked the previous owner if they ever introduced him to other people or if he was just put in the yard when people were over but they said he was included in everything, which I don't believe.
Okay, I can understand why you'd see the trainer if your vet reccomended them to you. But obviously your instincts on this trainer were right because whether or not they are good at training, is an entirely different matter as to whether or not they can properly rehabiliate a dog like Jasper.

Quote:
me when people come over and do what I normally do but he gets pretty snappy with me so I just put him in another room. While he is in there he bangs at the door, bites at the trim, digs the floor and yelps. When he is doing that I am lost and don't know what to do.
Can you put Jasper in a crate? It's much safer for him when he needs to be seperated from your guests and the rest of the house.
When a dog has an unstable mentality happening, or they aren't previously socialized properly with both people and animals, the minute you seperate them they will naturally have a problem with it. (Thats why puppies are so hard to crate-train and many people give up on it.) Dogs don't like being by themselves, and if Jasper feels like he has to control his environment, he certainly will have a HUGE problem with strangers being in his territory whom he can't watch or interact with.

As far as the treats go, not so sure I agree with that. When Jasper is in an anxious state as your guests arrive, they will essentially be rewarding him for that kind of behavior. I can only see it furthering his behavior, making him even *more* anxious and expectant to people that visit you, instead of showing to Jasper what I think the trainer was aiming for - that people are friendly and that they can provide 'good stimulant'. It's a good theory, except when the dog is in a bad mental state like Jasper.

Like BenMax said, your best bet is to seek a proffesional. You clearly have great instinct about your dog, but having someone who knows what body language to look for will help improve your knowledge on how to handle him.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 06:00 PM
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I have tried the crate but he bangs against with his face and ends up injuring himself. I will definitely stop with the treats. When outside playing in the yard and a visitor comes over he seems to be a little more calm because he will bring a ball for me to throw but I will let our visitor do it and he always brings it back to me instead of the person that threw it but he doesn't act crazy.(no pacing or growling) The retired trainer that will be helping me told me to try teaching him tricks or to keep doing command training (sit, stay,etc) when we are outside to keep his mind off the people next door give treats when he obeys and it seems to work until they make a noise. My husband thinks he is telling them to shut up because the 2 yr. old screams when he doesn't get his way. The trainer has phoned me while on his holidays just to check in too see how things are going. I do tether him too me when no visitors are here and I do that when he decides he wants to be boss and he is usually good for a month or 2 afterwards. The trainer said it's probably better to continue doing that. He doesn't show any aggression when it's just us he just follows me around and whines. Is it a good idea to keep doing that when he wants to be boss? The only place I can take him right now without a problem is the vets. He loves going there and I'm glad for that and he does go to my brothers every other weekend and my brother says he is an angel but he lives in the country with no kids. My brother is a truck driver and is only home every other weekend and can't have a dog so he borrows my dogs. Thank you everybody. I've been trying to do it on my own but after being here I am understanding more about whats been going on.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 06:16 PM
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Getting his mind working when you're outside or inside the house is always good. (Sit,stay,etc.) I like to hide my dogs toys in certain areas of the house, so that way they have to *think* even though we're playing. (It's not just a game of fetch, but rather find.) Anything you can think of to help stimulate Jaspers mind will effectivley help rehabiliate him in the long run.

A dogs brain works towards one goal and usually one focus. (In other words, they can't multi task! ) If you are able to find something Jasper is keen on, and find something that gives you his full attention, keep doing whatever that is. Giving a dog a job is one of the best ways to help them work through their fears. It's not neccessarily about making them 'tired', but rather keeping their mind occupied.
Of course, this all needs to be supported with correct rehabiliation, but you can always start trying to find out what Jasper loves to do and what really gets him going, and make sure he gets to do that 'something' every day. (Sounds like chasing a ball is great for him too.)

Some people probably don't find tethering important or neccessary and it really depends on the trainer and what type of training you are looking for in Jasper. I am ALL for umbillical training with dogs. The reason tethering works so well is because when a person does this inside the house, you're essentially giving the dog boundaries. A lot of people tell me, "Well, I don't need to do that in our home because my dog follows me everywhere anyway," but thats not the point of this excercise. A dog that follows his owner, follows at his own pace and at whatever distance the dog chooses. They also are able to sit and lie down whenever and wherever they want.
When you tether Jasper to you, you're controlling this movement a lot more - and it's a bit of a reality check for a dog like Jasper to realize that Mom is in charge of his movements, regardless of whether or not he's in the home. Which is why he whines - it's a verbal protest to the control you're placing on his movements. And it's not like you're hurting him, but he's dealing with the fact that he is not in control so he verbalizes it.

And I truly, truly believe - from what you've told us here (while I can't be completley sure as I have not seen him) - that Jaspers issues are all about control and insecurity.

I'm sure your new trainer will be quite helpful!! Keep us posted on Jaspers progress. You're doing great!
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Last edited by Bailey_; July 20th, 2009 at 06:22 PM.
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