Posts filed under ‘Socializing a Dog’

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

Housebreaking a little Tea Cup Yorkshire Terrier

I am so Handsome

I am so Handsome!

Meet Pixel a very small 9 month old Tea Cup Yorkie. He is so sweet and would be perfectly content sitting in a person’s lap all day. I could just imagine taking him in a purse while I went shopping in downtown Rochester or Birmingham. It is hard to resist carrying him and I am pretty sure that he spends a lot of his time being held. This is one of the reason for some of Pixel’s problems. As I stated earlier when you leave him alone in the kitchen and he isn’t with you. He gets upset and pees. By peeing on the floor he figures his scent will bring you back to him. Sometimes dogs will pee when you aren’t in the room, because when they accidentally peed in front of you, they were corrected. So they either pee in a different room or when you are not in the room. Since you said he could have peed outside, you bring him in, leave the room and he pees. I would say it has to do more with the fear of abandonment.

So the plan for little Pixel’s rehabilitation is a threefold process.

1.     Build up his confidence by giving him structure and teach him some obedience exercises. This way he will fell secure when left alone.

I am sittin

2.     Teach him to ring a bell to inform you of his having to go potty.

3.     Socialize him using the obedience exercises, so that he is more assured of himself.

Pixels Training Program:

Pixel is very timid. Everything new for him is going to be fearful, so the training has to be slow and introduced in a positive way. This includes teaching him to ring the bell. If we just start ringing the bell the sound would probably scare him. For 2 days I had to lay the bell on the floor and let him get comfortable playing with the bell. After 2 days, I then hung the bell on the door and taught him to ring the bell.  It took 2 more days of constantly putting peanut butter on the bell for him to ring it. The good news is that with encouragement. He would ring the bell every time he was taken outside.

Day 1

I have to be real careful with a dog as small as Pixel. They can injure themselves very easily and if stressed, tend to get diarrhea right away.  We had our first session on introducing the bells and a worked on sit and sit stay. You must have taught him sit, but he didn’t seem to know stay.

Day 2 & 3

After one day of Pixel being at my house it was time to start training. We worked on him walking on a loose leash, sit stay and down. For loose leash walking he wouldn’t lunge ahead. In fact as is common with a lot of little dogs he would just lay down. I used the harness that you gave me and within a short period of time he was walking very well. We struggled a little with down. He would go down or least it looked like he was down. His front legs would be down and his rump would be on the ground, but his belly would be up in the air. He wasn’t really lying down. The bells also went from the floor to the door and we kept working with him touching the bell.

Day 4 & 5

He walked on a loose leash, would sit and hold a sit-stay at my house, so it was time to start socializing him. I took him to several pet stores and he did great.

Hanging out at the Pet Store

Hanging out at the Pet Store

At first he was a little over whelmed and would shake. Within 15 minutes and many people giving him treats. He actually started to go up to people. He was so cute walking through the store strutting his stuff. I don’t think there was one person in the store who didn’t try to pet him.

Pixel still has had no accidents in the house. He goes potty and poop outside almost immediately.  He still needs to be told to ring the bell in order to go outside. Nine out of ten times when told he would ring the bell. He was starting to get it.

Day 6 & 7

Still working with all obedience exercises and socializing him. The good news is this morning while he was playing. He rang the bell and when I took him outside he instantly went potty. I know it still is going to take some time for him to really figure out the bell. In fact the average is 2 to 3 weeks. Sometimes when he tries to ring the bell he barely touches it and the bell doesn’t make any sound. I also want to continue working on socializing him. The biggest challenge will be when he comes home and everyone wants to constantly carry him everywhere.

Can we go shopping

Can we go shopping!

Even I have this huge urge to take him in a purse and go shopping at Somerset Mall in Troy. Of course this won’t help him learn to walk on his own four paws.

April 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm Leave a comment

Casey Is On Her Way To Become A Seizure Response Dog


Casey is destined to serve a special duty to her owner and that is to inform him of an impeding seizure.  In reality Service dogs are born with a certain temperament and personality. But her owners love her and are willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. Casey is 10 months old and is all puppy.

Can we Play?

Can we Play?

She is quite active, but has more of a nervous hyper temperament and gets startled easily. She is very manipulative and knows how to get what she wants. One of the games that Casey likes to play is to race around the yard and do a full nelson on the owner’s poor Mom. She jumps on guests and sometimes when you try to make her do something she will roll on her belly as she kicks out her feet in all different directions. Oh and I almost forgot about getting car sick. Which can be a problem if she is supposed to travel with her owner all the time.

 

The actual training to be a seizure response dog will be done by a certified Service Dog Trainer provided she passes the initial evaluation. A seizure response dog requires special training and has to have the right personality. There have been many cases where a dog has actually bitten the person having a seizure.

 

The major reasons that Casey went to bootcamp is to address the jumping, nervous hyper behavior and to socialize her so that she isn’t so fearful about her surroundings.  Even when she sits still it seems like her head and eyes are swinging back and forth and her eyes show how nervous she is.

 

The first few training sessions were just for brushing up on her obedience. I worked on walking on a loose leash, sit, sit-stay, down & come. By the afternoon of the second day she was working at a level that would allow me to start taking her places.

See How Good I Can Be.

See How Good I Can Be.

Now working on the jumping is 24/7. Every time she got out of the crate, running around outside and even a little in the house, she was ready to jump and I was ready to correct. The good news is that her jumping is getting less and less frequent. Once again her jumping is a way to control the situation. If she doesn’t like what you are doing she jumps, if she doesn’t want to do an exercise she jumps and if she is overly excited she jumps.

 

After the first two days it was time to start socializing her. Shyness can be expressed several different ways. The most common is that a dog will tuck their tail under their legs with ears down and not make any eye contact. They may try to move away when someone approaches. Another way is a dog that really wants to say HI, but is afraid or not sure of how to act. Their tail may wag, but as soon as someone goes to pet them. The dog will turn into a mop. They will suddenly flop down, wiggle all over the place and perhaps submissive urinate. The head will toss back and forth and try to avoid eye contact. This was Casey’s style. So it was essential that she be socialized in a controlled setting.

 

Our first trips were to different pet stores. The environment at a pet store will have lots of distractions, but will also be quieter and not as many people. The good news is that by the end of the visit to the second store, she was calming down and not so nervous. The next phase was to take her to the city. I took her to  Royal Oak and Birmingham.

Casey in Royal Oak

Casey in Royal Oak

These would be short jaunts in the car which will let her get used to driving in a car. There was only one time that she got sick and that was actually the second time I took her anywhere. I am glad to say that I am seeing an improvement each time we go.  Today my plan is to take her to Rochester. The drive will be the longest she went on and it is my hope that she doesn’t get sick. She is improving each day and I have high hopes that she will be fine.

 

 

 

November 9, 2010 at 2:15 pm Leave a comment

Jade makes a homerun in downtown Royal Oak

Jade is a beautiful 5 month old yellow Labrador Retriever who is owned by Carlos Guillen of the Detroit Tigers. Jade is your typical Labrador puppy full of energy, gets distracted easily and just wants to play. She is very mouthy, will jump and counter surf, but on the good side she is very sensitive. Another problem is that she is a little cautious of new things. Jade is a prime example of why it is so important to socialize your young puppies.

Just Hanging Out

Just Hanging Out

She has been in boot camp for four days now and besides training. I am working on socializing and desensitizing her to people, places, things and noises. She is also very cautious of new dogs and it will be very important to expose her to many nice dogs.

The training has been going well. She does an excellent sit-stay,

Jade in Royal Oak

Jade in Royal Oak

walks well on a leash with mild distractions, and does down, but struggles with down-stay. Don’t worry, by the time she goes home she will have a much better handle on the down-stay. Today was her first big trip to the city. We went to downtown Royal Oak to work around the people. She did great.  I thought she might be nervous, because the first time I took her to the pet store “Pet Food & More.” She was a little nervous, but after about 10 minutes she acted like she owned the store. This is normal for cautious dogs, so I figured that she would do the same thing in Royal Oak. Not at all, as soon as she jumped out of the vehicle her tail was wagging and she showed no signs of apprehension. In fact initially she was very distracted and wanted to investigate everything and say hello to everybody she saw. Within a few minutes I was able to get her focusing and start working on her obedience. She walked perfectly past people.

Can We Walk to Tiger Stadium

Can We Walk to Tiger Stadium

Okay her tail was wagging so hard that her body was twisting back and forth, but she stayed by my side. If I placed her in a sit-stay she would hold that position even if people walked past. I am also glad to say that she had the opportunity to be a therapy dog. There was a lady in a wheelchair and she greeted the lady making her smile. Tomorrow we will go to downtown Birmingham and work her amongst these busy city streets. I’ll keep you posted.

September 22, 2010 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment


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