Posts filed under ‘aggression’

Training a Deaf Dog Week Two

Things are going very well in the training of Snow. Truly, whoever adopts her despite her being partially deaf will adopt a great friend. She is very gentle and has a lot of love to give.

Day 8: Today I introduced Snow to my yellow Labrador, Windy.

Let's Play!

Let's Play!

I did muzzle Snow at first just in case. Upon introduction I could tell that there wouldn’t be a problem and so quickly removed the muzzle. Windy who is always good about getting a dog to play. Was able to get Snow to chase her for about 15 minutes and then Snow was off looking for squirrels. I also took her for a walk in the park. She still gets excited when she sees a squirrel and needs to be corrected. The good news is that it takes a little less of a struggle to get her to focus on me and not the squirrel.

Days 9 & 10: Introduced her to Fireball, my Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

Fire & Snow

Fire & Snow

Snow thought that Fireball was neat. In fact she was much more interested in trying to play with Fireball than Windy. Of course Fireball is much smaller and Windy is also the Alpha female in the pack. I did have to correct Snow a few times in the beginning, because she kept trying to put her paw on Fireball’s back. The last thing Snow would need is to try to dominate. Fireball corrected her as well.
Chasing Fireball

Chasing Fireball

From this point on I always let her out with my dogs. It is so nice to see her just run free in my yard. Her obsession with squirrels makes it so that she’ll play for only a few minutes and then stop and look for squirrels. Once she realizes there are no squirrels she will play with my dogs for a few minutes and again stop looking for squirrels.
I am free!

I am free!

Days 11 & 13: Took her to the pet store. She did wonderful. I could see the first time that she went she was nervous. In fact initially it was a struggle to get her to sit. Down forget it. By the second trip she would sit and hold a sit stay.

I am so good

I am so good

Snow was fine with all the dogs that she saw at the store. Of course she gets excited, but one correction, lots of treats and she would pay attention to me. Snow was wonderful with all the people that approached to give her cookies, even little kids. She did try to lung towards pictures of dogs or cats. The lung was not aggressively but more do you want to play. It is actually kind of funny. You could imagine her surprise when I finally let her run up to a picture and it was just a box. It was too cute.

Day14: Took her to one of our obedience classes that was being taught by Cindi Fleishans. Cindi is a great trainer who is also a certified service dog trainer. What can I say, Snow was great.

In class

In class

Of course it took a little to get her to pay attention to me, but in the end did what was asked of her. She even got to say hello to several of the dogs and was good. I have found that she is great with all dogs and really just wants to play.
A new Friend

A new Friend

Once I was at the store and a client asked me about the classes that I hold at Pet Supplies Plus in Royal Oak. They had a little Shih Tzu with them and Snow very calmly stood at my side the whole time I talked to the people. Originally I was concerned with little dogs, because of her prey drive. She is fine.

What can I say? Whoever decides to adopt Snow will end up with a great dog. Her food aggression issues are all but gone. I can pet her, have my hand around her bowl and she is absolutely fine. I have also been able to take rawhide from her as well. She is great with people and wants them to pet her. Accepts other dogs and wants to play. The squirrel and cat issue is still a work in progress and it is best that she doesn’t go to a home with cats. I am also working with getting her to come when she is really distracted, but than for safety reasons. Because of not being able to hear very well, Snow will probably never be off leash other than in a back yard. Once again if you are interested in adopting her please contact me.

December 15, 2011 at 11:12 pm Leave a comment

The Challenges of Training a Deaf Dog

Meet Snow, a sweet Dalmatian mix that unfortunately is deaf.

Snow in the snow

Snow in the snow

Snow has a very interesting story as she spent the past two years of her life in a shelter awaiting her forever home. In an effort to give Snow a chance, she was transferred to another shelter where it was discovered that Snow was going to be a difficult placement. Her time away from people seemed to have caused some behavior concerns.

Snow deserves a home…but this is not an easy task for several reasons.
• Thought to be completely deaf.
• Not that food motivated.
• Huge prey drive and will lung at squirrels, cats rabbits etc. (She actually started barking ferociously just at a picture of a cat.)
• Reactive with other dogs.
• Aloof or detached from humans, because of having lived in a kennel for so long.
• Very distracted

This is where Alternative Canine Training comes in. She needs so much special attention that the staff just didn’t have the time. It was decided that the best thing for her was to go Bonny’s Bootcamp.

I picked her up on Monday and was allowed to see her interact in the environment that she felt most comfortable. When I came into the room she approached with a little caution and after a few pets under the chin was one big wag. She was then off into her world. She was very distracted, but I know some of reasons why. If you can’t hear you are more apt to look around to see what is going on. These were my initial observations:

• A happy dog but also a serious and cautious.
• Very athletic and strong
• Very distracted and disinterested in what we were doing.
• Very curious about everything

So off she went to bootcamp. Upon getting her home I noticed several other things. First I quickly realized that she is only partially deaf. She can certainly hear base. So if I clap my hands I know she can hear it. It seems like higher sounds like a high pitch praise are inaudible to her. As always the first 2 days are just getting to know her and to start teaching her to walk perfectly on a leash.

Going for a Walk

Going for a Walk

Because, I don’t know how many verbal words she can hear; I use more hand signals. So instead of just saying, “Let’s Go” I also slap the side of my leg. I know she can hear the slap.

Snow became very proficient at walking perfectly in the heal position within a day. She would look up at me and for once actually focus. Well until she saw a squirrel. I have seen dogs intent on getting a squirrel.

What you got?

What you got?

Snow becomes possessed. Her brain literally shuts down to anything around her and would do anything to get at that squirrel. I can see she is used to just bullying her way to get what she wants. She is very strong and so will throw her whole body and pull in the direction of the squirrel or do a back flip trying to pull the leash from your hand and lung again towards the squirrel.

To address the squirrel issue is just a simple matter of making sure she understands what the heel position is. Another words as long as her nose stays behind my leg she will be praised. In Snows case that would be an occasional pat on the head or a treat. Once we are near the squirrel and if she tries to leave the heal position. She gets corrected and getting back to the heal position will produce a treat. Of course when she is trying to focus on the squirrel, Snow could care less about the cookie. Normally in this situation I would praise the dog profusely for staying in the heel position. So the process is going to take a little longer. For now I will just walk through the neighborhood, because of all the Oak trees there are plenty of squirrels. By next week, weather permitting I am planning on walking each day in the park.

Now for some control exercises like sit and sit stay. When I made the hand motion to indicate sit she would totally ignore me. Okay she sniffed my hand to see what I had.

What You Got

What You Got

I tried 3 different treats and same results. Each time she would see what I had. She showed an interest by the 4th treat, but rump only slightly went down. So I massaged her down as demonstrated on my DVD “Obedience for Life #1”. She is now doing much better at sit and for the rest of this week we will work on ignoring squirrels and sit stay.

I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with her and I am glad that it has been decided to give her a chance. She really is a nice dog. In fact had to put her in an Irish Wolfhound size crate, because whenever I approach her crate. Her tail wags so profoundly that I was afraid she might beat the tip off. She really wants to be loved, but doesn’t know how. This stems from her being kenneled most of her life. Next week I will start working on home manners and try to introduce her to my dogs. I’ll keep you posted.

December 13, 2011 at 8:10 pm Leave a comment

Adopting a Rescue Dog

 

WE ALL NEED A SECOND CHANCE

I received a phone call from Metro Area Animal Adoption Association asking if I could come out to evaluate a dog named Cupid that had developed some aggressive behaviors. Cupid is a Golden Retriever, Chow & German Shepherd mix and he’s about two years old.

What a Cutie!

He had been adopted once but returned due to aggression. At first I was hesitant to take on Cupid’s case. Upon evaluation, if I got too close to him, he would lunge aggressively at me. So putting on a leash or collar was out of the question. So was trying to get him off the couch! Simple handling of Cupid was nearly impossible for me. But once Julie, who met me at the foster home to help out, put his leash on I grabbed it and went for a walk with Cupid. Immediately I discovered that underneath the aggression was a dog who wanted only to give kisses and to be loved but most of all needed guidance, discipline and strong leadership.
Although I was still hesitant about this case I decided to take Cupid into my home and try to rehabilitate him.

Chance Hanging Out

Chance Hanging Out

Initially there were power struggles, attempts at lunging aggressively at me and some biting. It was touch and go at first but through it all I saw a sweet sole underneath his tough exterior. Each day Cupid would respond better and better. There were fewer power struggles, no lunging, but still some dirty looks!
In the end, Cupid accepted the guidance and direction he was given.

He loved to run in open fields and chasing a Frisbee or tennis balls. However, he won’t bring them back so he still needs some work on the whole fetch thing! Now, almost a month later, Cupid’s aggression has disappeared and throughout all the trials and tribulations of his rehabilitation

Chance is such a Good Boy!

Chance is such a Good Boy!

process I fell in love with him and decided to adopt him to be a part of my pack. He is truly a joy and I am really enjoying his company. To be honest I started taking him everywhere and he loves it.

Think it Fits My Image

Think it Fits My Image

Cupid has also brought back life into my own two dogs who are 12 and 14 yrs old. Usually my dogs never want to socialize with the dogs that come into our house for behavior issues because they are old and arthritic and it’s just too much effort to socialize. But amazingly they did with Cupid.

Polo, Danny & Chance

Polo, Danny & Chance

Cupid has given my two dogs a second chance at living a youthful life and for that I am forever grateful!
Now Cupid’s name has been changed to Chance. As the title of this story suggests, everyone needs a second Chance. So Chance was an appropriate name for a dog that truly has been given a second chance at living his life to the fullest.

December 7, 2011 at 11:13 pm Leave a comment

Biting and Growling Jack Russell Terrier

Mayo is an English Jack Russell. He is 6 months old and has already snapped at 2 people. He often growls when someone goes to pick him up and he might growl if you try to take something away from him. The scary part is that he growls at the 2 little girls that he shares his life with. On the other hand he is adorable.

Mayo showing off the Fall Colors

Mayo showing off the Fall Colors

Loves to play games with the family and is very happy. The good part is that Mayo’s family is awesome. In fact I would hate to see if anyone else had him as I am sure he could be a big problem.

When he was very young around 10 weeks old, they hired me to do a puppy consultation. Mayo or should I say the family were shown how to teach him to walk on a loose leash, sit, sit-stay, down and come. The family really got on board and practiced all exercises. They were also very good at putting in place the suggested structures. Unfortunately, four weeks later I received a call that Mayo was starting to growl, so I went back. Upon arriving I was quite impressed that the family were practicing all the obedience exercises. In that regards he was doing great. The problem arose when one of the little girls went to pick him up. He would growl. So I told them about time out and discussed several other options. I also went over the calming or settle command.

The puppy is now 6 months old and is a little better, but will still occasionally growl. On top of it he tried to bite 2 people and is still struggling with housebreaking. So he went off to Bonny’s bootcamp.

When I went to pick him up, I could see he was very nervous about me being in his house. He would run around playing with his toys, but would always keep one eye on me. To be honest allot of his aggressive behavior is based on fear. Once again when a dog is afraid they will either flee or fight. Jack Russells for the most part don’t flee.

Once I got him home he wanted to attack and bite my dogs. Even my 15 year old Labrador Retriever (Eclipse). So I spent a good half hour acclimating him to my 3 dogs. He finally was okay with them, but still cautious. The funny part is that despite the fact that after several meetings and accepting them. When I let him outside at night in the dark. He once again tried to bite my dogs. Don’t think little kids are the only ones who think that there are boogie men in the closet.

I spent the first 2 days improving his obedience skills. I also worked on teaching him to ring the bell to go outside. The next step was socializing him by taking him places. Our first field trip was to Pet Supplies plus in Royal Oak.

Who is faster a Turtle or a Jack Russell?

Who is faster a Turtle or a Jack Russell?

He did great with the obedience exercises in this distractive environment, but we were also there to socialize him. So I started having everyone give him cookies. The good part is that he would run up to people to take the cookies, but as even one of the staff noted. “That he seemed very nervous.” I kept the visit very short as I didn’t want to stress him out. The next day I took him again to the store and now he felt very comfortable and greeted many people. The next trip was downtown Rochester and once again he was nervous. It wasn’t hard to have people give him cookies as he is so cute. After a while he relaxed and stopped trying to bark at everything that he perceived as fearful. The more I take him around people the more relaxed he gets.

Upon one of the visits to the pet stores we were faced with his aggressive reactions to other dogs. A dog came over to say hello and he tried to attack the dog. So off we went to get him socialized around other dogs. He seems very comfortable being around little dogs his own size as he can try to dominate them. Bigger dogs make him nervous. He is making progress. To be honest in the beginning he wouldn’t even play with my dogs.

Mayo with Coco and Bella a foster dog

Mayo with Coco and Bella a foster dog

His first friend was a more submissive Golden Retriever named Coco. He did try to snap at her first and after corrected quickly warmed up to her. Mayo and Coco now play very nicely together.

I have 2 more days with her. I plan to continue to socialize her and to work on some of her other issues. Such as when she has something in her mouth and you go to take it away from her. She will growl. Housebreaking is another. Yesterday she actually ran to the bell. Rang it and as soon as I took her outside she peed for quite some time. Of course the hardest part is when she goes home, but I have full confidence that his family will follow through

October 2, 2011 at 11:07 am 1 comment

Solving Aggression in a Pit Bull Mix

Buck is an awesome dog. He is a big powerful strong affectionate Pit/Lab mix.

Buck

Buck

The problem he has is that he is very reactive when he is surprised or feels threatened. Another words he will try to bite. Awhile back when he was being showed at an adoption event he lunged at a lady walking by and bit her. So for 3 years Buck has been living in a kennel, until last week when he was sent to Bonny’s Bootcamp.

My first impression of Buck was that he was not the killer that originally I was led to believe. I saw some trust issues and he got a little nervous when I reached for him quickly. The good thing is that even though he turned his head with a very serious look, he didn’t think about acting out. Driving him home was interesting. He would bark aggressively at people jogging, biking, motorcycles or if a car turned from a side street quickly.

Upon arriving at my house he was first allowed to explore his surroundings. The next step was to teach him too walk on a loose leash. I could see that the people at the kennel or someone had taught him the basic commands, but of course he was little stubborn about going in the down position. He had to decide if he really wanted to submit to me or not. After all when a dog does the down for you they are showing that they trust and will submit to you. I find some dogs even if you are using their favorite cookie will have a hard time with the down.

Day 2:
Worked on making sure that he knew he had to stay in the heel position. I also did a little brushing up on his basic obedience skills.

Day 3 & 4:
The rest of the training will be about taking him places. I needed to work on how he reacts to people and things in the real world. So I took him to pet stores and worked on his aggression in the car.

At the Pet Store

At the Pet Store

He did very well on his first visit to the pet store. You could see that he was a little nervous, but the previous training sessions paid off. Buck learned that as long as he paid attention to me and stayed in the heal position or did a sit-stay things were great. He received praise and cookies. Life was good. It was near closing time at the store and when they went around mopping the floor he got nervous and wanted to react. A quick correction and I could walk all around the people mopping the floor.

Our car rides at first were stressful. As I stated earlier he was very reactive and constantly wanted to bark, lung and growl at things outside the car. In the beginning he needed several corrections every time he barked, which for him was every time he saw something new. Another words, “I got corrected for the last person on a bike, but this is someone different. This person doesn’t know that they are supposed to be afraid of me.” The good news is that he hasn’t barked at anyone on the last 2 car trips.

Day 5 & 6:
Time to take him to the city. His first visit to Birmingham went pretty good. You could tell he was a little unsure of his environment. He was fine until a bike went by. I saw the bike before hand and so was ready in case he reacted. I placed him on a sit stay and worked with watch. He did great.

Hanging out in the City

Hanging out in the City

In fact the only time he tried to lung was at a motorcycle. The good news is that once he was corrected he ignored any other motorcycle for the duration of the training session.

Day 7 & 8:
Took him to the city and pet store to interact with people. For safety reasons I put a muzzle on him for this. To be honest I don’t think I needed the muzzle, because he was great with everyone. I can see that he is a little more nervous with men, but he dropped his guard very quickly.

I am a Lovebug

I am a Lovebug

It has been a little hard working him, because of the 100 degree temperatures. I decided to keep him for another 3 days so that I can continue to work with him around things that normally would make him lunged, growling and snapping. I have great hopes for him if he could go to a foster home or better yet a real home. I can only hope that because he is going back to the kennel that he won’t transgress to quickly. I will keep you posted on what happens.

July 27, 2011 at 8:04 pm Leave a comment

Boxer Mix Exhibits Fear Aggression & Dog Aggression

I'm so cute!

I'm so cute!

Lucy, Lucy, Lucy what a shame that you didn’t have a better start in life. Lucy is a 1 year old Boxer Mix that must have missed out on being socialized when she was a puppy. She is very fearful of new situations, noises, people and dogs. Unfortunately, lately she has been acting out on this fear by growling and snapping at people and other dogs.

Let's Play!

Let's Play!

Once she knows you and feels safe, Lucy is a love bug. She will even play very nicely with other dogs that she knows.She is a rescue dog that is currently being saved by Michigan Animal Adoption Network.

Lucy didn’t do very well at the last two pet adoptions. She was growling and lunging at other dogs and even snapped at one of the rescue volunteers. The big question is what to do with her? I had met Lucy several months ago at the kennel that has so graciously donated a place for her to stay. At that time she was about 11 months and just a wild puppy with no manners. I noticed that she was a little fearful, stubborn and just a wild untrained puppy. As stated earlier she is now acting aggressive in certain situations, so I decided to take put her into Bonny’s Bootcamp.

Day 1

Initially I didn’t introduce her to my dogs and simply reworked her obedience skills. Such as walking on a loose leash, Sit- stay etc.. She was a little rusty. That evening I took her to a group class that we hold at Pet Food and More in Clawson.

What a Good Girl!

What a Good Girl!

She did great. I even had my niece work with her. You would have never thought that she was aggressive. I will admit that she did appear to be nervous. Unfortunately, because of her fear and anxiety she developed diarrhea for the next two days. I didn’t take her anywhere, but kept doing little obedience exercises. Even though I really needed to keep taking her to new places, but I didn’t want to create any stress.

Day 2 & 3

Worked on her obedience, took her for a walk around the neighborhood and let her play with my dogs. She had a blast playing with my dogs and both of us enjoyed the long walk.

Day 4

No more diarrhea, so time to go places. I first took her to downtown Rochester and she did well.

Hanging Out in the City.

Hanging Out in the City.

The next stop was at a pet store and this is where Lucy fell apart. There were many people in the store and one of people who gave her treats really got into her face. It was a man and I have discovered that she is more nervous around men. When this person gave her treats, he put his face 2 inches from her and roughly started petting her. This person also had a beard. She got very nervous, stiffened and emitted a low growl. No lung, just a growl. The problem after that her anxiety level was at its max and the next person that tried to give her a treat. Well she growled and then air snapped. There was no point in trying to socialize her anymore today. We went home.

Day 5

In the morning I took her over Karen Biddinger’s house for a little work on doggy socialization with the dogs at Karen’s house. Lucy was first introduced to Kodi, a Caucasian Shepherd. She growled and tried to lung. After two corrections, she calmed down and would take cookies with him there. Next was to introduce her to Karen’s two Pit Bulls. We placed a muzzle on Lucy and introduced her one at a time. Initially she growled and once corrected was okay with them. While muzzled she was also introduced to a wonderful little poodle. Her first response was again to be nervous and to growl. After corrected she kept trying to get the poodle to play with her.

Good Job.

Good Job.

In the evening I took her to a group training class. Lucy did great. Her first response was again fear and when placed near the other dogs she emitted a very low growl. Again she was corrected and by the end of class wanted to play. She was also introduced to many people at Pet Food and More. Again at first she was fearful, but by the end of a half hour she was laying in peoples laps to get petted.

I have 2 more days to work with her and then I will take her on Saturday to the next pet adoption event at the pet store. It is a shame to see a dog so afraid of anything new. The sad part is that Lucy has so much potential. To see her interact with dogs or people that she gets to know is beautiful. Being a foster dog her life is literally on a thread. My concern is what will happen to her after the training, since she doesn’t have a foster home to go to. After the training Lucy will be going back to the kennel and even though it is a great facility. She will not have the opportunity to be continually exposed to new people, places and other dogs. Check out my blog in a couple of days to see how Lucy does at the pet adoption.

January 20, 2011 at 6:58 pm 3 comments

Working on Territorial Aggression and Crate Aggression

Worked on territorial aggression and crate aggression

Continue Reading March 24, 2010 at 7:22 am Leave a comment

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