I need some help TFW! Dog question

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by chrisr291, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. chrisr291

    chrisr291 Master of the Unknown

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    Well, as some of you know, I brought a home 2 months ago. I have a TON of space and I always told myself, if I brought a house, I'd adopt a shelter dog.

    So here is my situation.

    I have Sonny, my 4 year old Cockapoo. He is EXTREMELY territorial and he just doesn't get along with most dogs. He has been this way ever since my sister's dog literally tried to kill him as a puppy. So, Sonny isn't receptive to new dogs.....

    Can this be repaired and how should I go about fixing this? I've never cared for a small dog in my life. Growing up, I had Pit Bulls, Mastiffs, and English Bulldogs; we usually had 2-3 dogs at a time, so raising 2 dogs isn't hard for me. They never were dog aggresive because they just looked so intimidating, especially my old Mastiff Vinny. That dog was just amazing... He was like a mini horse lol.

    With Sonny, he goes into Cujo mode around other dogs; I've tried to correct the problem but it's not working.


    So... I won't adopt a dog if Sonny doesn't get along with him. I made a committment to him and I'll keep him safe for his entire life. BUT, I'd like to share my home and life with a shelter dog if possible.

    Any advice?
     
  2. Smashs

    Smashs Internet: Pure Truth Moderator TFW2005 Supporter

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    I'm not sure something like can be corrected. If you've tried socializing him with other dogs, there's not much else that can be done.

    I'd say a training collar, but that may just piss him off more.
     
  3. chrisr291

    chrisr291 Master of the Unknown

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    ^^

    I don't want to give the impression that Sonny is a bad dog. We have such a close bond and I've never loved a dog as much as I love Sonny. He is great around people, kids, cats.... dogs are another story.
     
  4. JazzHunter83

    JazzHunter83 Mrs FatalT

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    You could take him to a specialist dog behaviouralist and see if the behaviour can be corrected or altered. It is possible to adjust the behaviour of dogs suffering from post-traumatic stress (which is sounds like Sonny has).

    I am NOT a dog expert, just a loving owner of a beautiful German Shepherd boy. I would definitely ask around and see what you could do about his behaviour.

    Good luck xxxx

    ETA: I also admire your committment to him. It's a big responsibility to take on a dog and when I see other people (like myself) who take that job seriously, it warms my heart. Dogs (pets in general) come with some many rewards, but they are hard work and sometimes being their owner means we have to make tough decisions and think about what is best for them - and not necessarily what we want.
     
  5. Deceptikitty

    Deceptikitty all about the hasubandos

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    Call Cesar Millan!

    Honestly, it sounds like a dominance/insecurity issue. I'd suggest going to the library or buying dog behavior books from Amazon. When they get that aggressive around other dogs, it's something that will require a lot of work. You can also speak to a trainer at any local pet store or chain.. many will be more than happy to give you advice. The way to handle it is to catch and correct the behavior.. but in the case of a dog going Cujo, that could be dangerous (accidental bites) so if you're determined to get another dog I'd get a trainer's advice/help.

    How is your dog around puppies? Is he aggressive to adult dogs? If you're really looking to rescue, dogs tend to be less aggressive to puppies. Adults tend to have personality conflicts a lot more often.

    Also, I totally understand. I have a corgi, and he's super bad about resource guarding. I'm not planning on getting another dog yet, so I just try to avoid situations with other animals and food with him. He's an awesome dog except for that behavior around other dogs.
     
  6. Matty

    Matty @StayingInTheBox Moderator News Staff

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    It absolutely can be corrected, but just remember you'll have 4 years of "bad" habits to fight against. Your dog is territorial because he feels HE needs to protect his grounds when it should be you who fulfills that responsibility. Believe it or not, but this is considered a dominance issue. When I use to train dogs this was a common issue. It's not really accepted as dominance, but that's basically the gist of it.

    Start out by going back to the beginning of training basics. Set your dog up for success by training him in home where there is little distraction. Control everything. Again, control everything. Make him sit before you give him the "ok" to eat his food, make him sit while you walk through the door first, make him sit while you're watching TV. These are all basic things to help you gain back control. The idea behind this is that you're letting him know he doesn't have to worry about anything; the bigger picture in the long run is that he won't have to worry about defending his territory when a new puppy is in the house.

    There's really a lot of stuff you can do, but it really comes down to training your dog as if he was a puppy. There are plenty of training books at pet stores, my suggestion would be to just read the puppy section. If you want another dog you'll need to change up your habits with him. It's not easy and you WILL be frustrated, but you'll also be more satisfied in the long run if you stick to it.
     
  7. Smashs

    Smashs Internet: Pure Truth Moderator TFW2005 Supporter

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    Oh no, I understand.

    My first pet was a Pit, named Spike. I was around 5 or 6 when we had him. Great dog, nice as could be to everyone/everything. He attacked another dog one day to defend me, and it turned him. He couldn't be around other dogs after that. We had to give him away because it just progressed.

    I guess some dogs just get that streak in them toward other dogs and it can't be broken.


    Have you tried puppies?
     
  8. chrisr291

    chrisr291 Master of the Unknown

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    ^^

    Any advice on which books I should pick up?

    Thanks for the tips guys!
     
  9. Matty

    Matty @StayingInTheBox Moderator News Staff

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    Training collars (I'm talking about the chain collars or "choke chains" as they are mistakenly labeled") have a bad rep because people use them for the entirely wrong reasons. Putting a training collar on a dog will not correct behavior by itself. If you don't know how to use a training collar, don't get it.

    Also, I forget to mention this, I'd avoid treat training with your dog too. I'm a believer in methods that work 100% of the time: you don't always have a treat on you. Look into leash training your dog. I've tried both methods with success, but in my experience leash training a dog with disruptive behavior is the more successful route.
     
  10. Wars

    Wars Regular At Swerve's™

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    Hard to say.

    At his age, such behaviour could be very difficult to correct.

    But at the same time, it's worth a shot. Good luck - You'll need it.
     
  11. chrisr291

    chrisr291 Master of the Unknown

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    As for puppies.... maybe I'm weird but I'd like an "older" dog. I love puppies, don't get me wrong but I'd prefer a 3+ year old dog.
     
  12. Deceptikitty

    Deceptikitty all about the hasubandos

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  13. Smashs

    Smashs Internet: Pure Truth Moderator TFW2005 Supporter

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    I meant a shock collar. Spiked collars and choke chains are horrible because people are idiots. Same with shock collars, really.

    I have an Alaskan Husky. Huskies are notoriously hard to train, due to the dominance issue you mentioned. She really did believe for a long time that she was the 'pack' leader. She also had a problem darting to 'hunt'. Squirrels, cats, gophers, etc, would set her back to pack mode and she would just take off. My wife and I tried for months with no results. Bought a shock collar, it took 3 shocks, total, before she never did it again.

    I haven't put that thing on her in 3 years. Hell, I don't even know where it is. But she is perfectly trained to our voices now.
     
  14. JazzHunter83

    JazzHunter83 Mrs FatalT

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    WHAAAAAAAA? Aren't they illegal? Not trying to attack your right to use one, I just assumed they were considered inhumane and illegal, now?

    I can't imagine using one on my handsome boy, Asterix (German Shepherd). I took him to puppy pre-school and then a dog obedience school. He is a very spolt dog, though. Obedient most of the time, no social problems and charms the pants off everyone he meets :)  So, I guess I am not the best person to discuss training methods for difficult dogs, given that my dog was so easy to train and had no problems I needed to address (besides the usual chewing/potty time issues that all puppies have). He is now 6 years old.
     
  15. Matty

    Matty @StayingInTheBox Moderator News Staff

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    I love Huskies. I would have one if I were still in colder weather. Difficult dogs to train indeed, but damn are they loyal. I have a Bloodhound so I know all about stubbornness. If he gets a smell in his nose he's determined to find it.

    Shock collars are not illegal. To each his own, but I never suggested them. I don't like the methods of shock collars or the spiked chain collars. IMO, it's too much and often they are abused by the owner, that's why I don't like them. Obviously they've been used with success by responsible owners (see above). When I trained I always tried to educate customers on how to properly use chain collars or just regular collars. To this day I still use chain collars properly and have had enormous success with them. I especially enjoy it for my Bloodhound because it allows his loose skin on his neck to hang freely when we're on walks :lol  That's always been my philosophy, but people do use shock collars and other methods. Again, to each their own.
     
  16. Smashs

    Smashs Internet: Pure Truth Moderator TFW2005 Supporter

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    No, but there should be some kind of training, or something, before you're allowed to buy one.

    I've seen people use them to train every little thing.

    I was totally against them before we got our husky. My wife and I each held it to our necks, cranked it up to 10, and zapped one another so we knew how bad it was before we used it.

    I look at it this way: A few zaps to the neck(which, even on the highest setting wasn't that bad), or get hit by a car barreling down the road doing 40mph.
     
  17. JazzHunter83

    JazzHunter83 Mrs FatalT

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    Thanks for the info on shock collars. Again, I wasn't trying to attack your choice to use one, I just always thought they were illegal because I ASSumed they were cruel, so never even looked into them.

    My boy is a German Shepherd and took to puppy pre-school and then obedience training really easily so I never had to explore other tricks or training techniques. He has never run across the road when on walks or done anything more aggressive than a slight bark at another dog. I tell him to walk next to me - "side" and I point which side I want him on. and he never wanders. It's probably his breed or something (I am not expert on dogs, lol - Asterix was a whim because my partner and I literally found him and his brother in a cardboard box abandoned in a park scrawny and with matted fur when they were very, very young). When we separated my ex and I included the dogs in our custody agreement. He keeps Ajax and I keep Asterix. I know very little about particular breed traits.

    Asterix looks very handsome in his red leather collar ;) 

    I am glad you used your shock collar humanely and sensibly PP!
     
  18. TrueNomadSkies

    TrueNomadSkies Airachnid's ratservant

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    Not sure why, but I just thought of people dressing up their dogs like Iron Man, so I laughed.
     
  19. KA

    KA Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like sonny needs a mix tape to mellow him out.
     
  20. koh4711

    koh4711 King of Hearts

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    Where is Sonny usually encountering the other dogs? Is it in or around his own house or yard? Sometimes dogs will be a little more receptive to others in neutral territory. Even if being territorial isn't the base issue, his responses will probably be elevated in a place he considers "his".

    One of the big things to remember is that his association with other dogs is extremely negative, so in order to reverse that association, you'll have to work really hard to associate positive things with other dogs. If he has a favorite treat, use that. The other thing to keep in mind are your own reactions. If Sonny sees you getting upset, he's going to react to that, too. It's tough to do, but you've got to remain calm and in control.

    If you can find a really well regarded trainer or behaviorist in your area, I'd suggest working with them directly. The books are a fantastic resource, but an experienced behaviorist can notice things that you might miss, and be able to diagnose the problem quickly. Another benefit is that a lot of trainers will have a dog or two in their kennel who are "bombproof", and will stay calm no matter how your dog responds. But make sure you do your homework... the field of Applied Animal Behavior is fairly new, so there are lots of people who jump in without any credentials. If you've got a CAAB certified behaviorist in your area, that's the best bet. Here's the CAAB Directory. If you've got a local college in the area with a good biology department, it might not hurt to contact them and see if they have a recommendation. (Sorry if this part is a little long, but there are lots of people who worked in a PetSmart for two weeks as a trainer and try to set up shop, and it drives me insane.)

    I don't think it's impossible to reserve the behavior, because I've seen some remarkable transformations in dogs I've known. But the most important things are, no matter what you do, stay consistent and be patient. It'll probably take a fair amount of time.

    Hope this helps!
     

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