Dog behaviour help

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  1. Tinytootz

    Tinytootz Mini crazy cat lady

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    Hey. I know there are a lot of animal lovers on here, and I'm hoping for some advice :(

    As some of you are aware, I've recently taken in a rescue dog, Hugo. He has been with us for 4 weeks now, and the first 3 were lovely. I then took him to be castrated, and everything has gone downhill :cry:

    He has now become very aggressive towards random people, and I'm at my wits end. When he is on his lead, there are some people he will walk past fine, and others (mainly men) who he violently barks at. He doesn't start with a growl, just goes straight into a bark. We think it is down to being frightened of people, but it's just so random.

    I got a dreadful fright today when I took him out. I had just got out the gate onto the pavement, so was still in the process of finding pockets for keys, poo bags, mp3 player, balls, treats, the works, and the postman was down the street. Hugo slipped the lead out my hand and bolted towards him barking. Thankfully the postman must be used to dogs, as he turned his back and froze, whilst I legged it after the dog, grabbed him and apologised. It's not the barking that bothers me as such, as yeah, dogs bark. It's the threat that if someone tries to pet him before I get a chance to tell them not to, he might bite.

    I've spoken to a behaviourist, but I simply cannot afford it at the moment. I've trawled the web, and there are lots of helpful sites, but many mention you should distract him before he barks. But he either doesn't bark at the person, or he does it instantly before I can try and distract him. I live in the town centre, so stopping him before each person walks past then rewarding him simply isn't practical, I can walk past 30+ people before we get to the park. Needless to say, off the lead he is totally fine. He even turned on my brother the other day, and when I picked up Hugo to take him from the rescue centre, he sat in the back WITH my brother, so he knows him.

    OH thought it was because he was trying to protect me, but that doesn't seem to be the case, as it doesn't matter who has him out, he still does it. I know Hugo has my OH at the top of the pack and I'm not so high up, but I don't think that is why he is doing it. It was awful at the vets - I had to muzzle him twice as he was hissing, spitting and snapping at the vet, teeth bared, the works. And then he gets so wound up that he is bucking on his lead the whole way home. And I feel awful telling him off as he is frightened, but his behaviour is naughty.

    He is such an obedient dog. Comes to his name, sits, lies down, doesn't run off. But his behaviour scares me, and I don't want to have to muzzle him, as he LOVES to chase his ball so much.

    I'm worried as you hear so many scary stories of dogs turning on their owners, and my mum has kindly told me a few of her own!

    I don't know what I'm after really. Any advice I guess, or any practical ways to help him out. I feel like a total failure.
    :wave_cry:
     
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  3. tara40

    tara40 Loves Norman Reedus

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    Can you contact the rescue centre that you got him. I got my dog from Foal Farm and they are always on the end of the phone if i need help.
     
  4. Mrs.S.

    Mrs.S. Gold Member

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    Yeah I'd suggest contacting the rescue centre.

    Also, do you have pet insurance? If you've got a good policy, it might cover for behavioural therapy/advice so might be worth checking that.

    Sorry to hear you're having a tough time with him, absorb all the advice you can and you'll get there eventually.

    Also, do you know why he was at the re homing centre? That might explain some things? X

    Sent from Laura's iPhone using MiniMins
     
  5. Tinytootz

    Tinytootz Mini crazy cat lady

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    I will call the rescue centre tomorrow. The only history I had on him was that he had come from a home, rather than a stray, and that it was due to his owners moving. He is apparently ok with cats, dogs, children and cars, which so far is true.
     
  6. hexe

    hexe Full Member

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    It sounds like he is either protecting his "pack", or he feels frightened or intimidated by these people/situations.
    I agree with the previous posters, that your first point of call should be the Rescue Centre. Have u tried Bach Flower Remedies on him? Never tried it on my dogs, but a friend of mine swears by it. Her dog used to go mental at the slightest outside noise, the BF "rescue drops" sorted, or influenced sorting, the problem.
    Good luck.
    Jill x
     
  7. fillymum

    fillymum synful soul

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    You say he has just been castrated and the problems started from then.

    It sounds to me as if it could be hormonal. He is perhaps confused by what is going on in his body.

    Could you ask your vet if it is possible it could be this?

    It sounds like a long shot but as nothing else seems to have happened to rigger it off it is worth asking.

    Good luck with him.
     
  8. Tinytootz

    Tinytootz Mini crazy cat lady

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    Thankfully, Hugo seems to have lost some of his aggression when on the lead. Perhaps more to do with me actively avoiding walking by people, but it seems to be doing the trick.

    His latest issue (why can't it be simple!) is destroying things! He has never done this before, but so far he has ate my OH's slippers, and last night, ate his new trainers. He is also destroying other things like bits of paper which are about, but I'm not so worried about that. I've read up online that it might be boredom or separation anxiety, and it could be either! He destroyed the slippers and trainers when we were in bed, and when I was just in the shower, I got out to discover he had chewed up a chopstick and spread it round the house.

    He gets lots of fuss during the day, and has loads of chew toys around. Well, the ones which have survived! He did have bones, but it seems these give him an upset stomach, so we have had to limit them. Considering he was so well behaved a few weeks ago, I don't get it. I have to go out this afternoon, and I'm worried I will come back to a trashed house. I've just given him some kinda muscle dog treat thing to chew on, but he found a cinema ticket from lord knows where and chewed that!

    OH thinks he is destroying his things in a 'when the cats away' mentality, and thinks its unlikely he will touch my shoes or things, as I am not the pack leader. Took him for a walk this morning (Hugo, not OH!), but he still resorted to chewing a chopstick when we got back!

    We've also had to start taking his water off him when we go to bed, as he has also decided that peeing by the back door is a smashing idea. Considering we usually go to bed at 9pm at the earliest, and are up at 6am every day, he doesn't have to hold it for a stupid amount of time.

    Part of me wonders if it is because we don't let him in the bedroom anymore, but that happened about 3 weeks ago, this is only in the last week. I don't really want to let him back up again, as he spends a lot of the night wandering about the room, often starts barking at stupid o'clock, and constantly tries to get on the bed.

    Help....
     
  9. JackieN

    JackieN Gold Member

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    I would definately ask the rescue centre for help/ see if they have a behaviourist that uses positive methods.

    Another place to get fantastic advise and help is a site called dog pages, look under forums and there is a behaviour section that a few good behaviourists often reply on

    I have a collie x that is scared of people, and some dogs, shes genetically nervous. We avoid alot of people but when we can;t avoid them I have a pocket full of tiny tiny treats and as the person is approaching I start to give her them once passed I stop. ie giving her a positive association of people. I ask people to ignore her as shes frightened etc. Shes slowly getting better and better but shes certainly quirky and its hard work but can be done and they can gradually be helped
     
  10. Qua Sae

    Qua Sae Full Member

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    How old is Hugo? I saw you only just had him castrated, so I'm going to guess he's under a year old? Puppies are like children in the way that they chew things because their teeth hurt & they act up because of hormones.

    I don't really have anything new to offer here, speak to your Vet if this occurred after being castrated - I'd try to speak to him/her without Hugo first though & then take him down later if they feel they need to see him for an exam.
    Give the rescue centre a call & see what they suggest, we've never had to call the RSPCA with any problems with Sox (our rescue dog) but they've always been very helpful & willing to take calls if we did need them.

    I'm not a huge fan of crating, but I would recommend that you crate train him for a while. It will give him some security & will stop him from chewing everything in sight. The last thing you want is to come home or get up one morning & he's chewed through some wires or eaten his weight in something dangerous!

    This might be a long shot, but could you spray some bitter apple on a couple of your OH's items? Hugo might be less inclined to chew them if they taste foul. Lol. We used it on our bunnies when they were castrated & it did the trick. Didn't really smell either. You can get it from your Vets, Pets at Home or even Wilkinsons I think :)
     
  11. Shirleen

    Shirleen Gold Member

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    Imagine a teenager with nothing to do, lots of freedom and ways to ensure attention when Dad gets home...this is your doggy!
    He probably get lots of attention but dogs don't live in a linear way, they are all about the moment.
    If you don't fancy crating him then at least restrict him to one room. He'll feel more secure and less stimulated. The more rooms and places he has to explore the more stimulated he may get. Does that make sense?
    Also although bones make him icky how about Cows ears? (cheaper than pigs and my sisters Dobermanns take their time over them).
     
  12. Qua Sae

    Qua Sae Full Member

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    You could encourage him to play with a kong. You just put some doggy paste in there & it could keep him entertained for hours!

    Pets at Home recommend Anti Chew Spray to deter from chewing :)
     
  13. cherry-pie

    cherry-pie Trying again in 2012

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    Oh bless him, and well done to you for being so patient with him! I wonder if he is finding his feet now he's settled with you, working out his place in the house and having confusing hormonal rushes following the neutering?
    My now eldest girl was a little like this at around 9 months after she was spayed. She became a little neurotic for a while, barking in the house, pulling up the carpet and testing my patience! However, consistent firm responses when I caught her and complete ignoral when I didn't did seem to help alot, as did restricting her to the kitchen for a while with lots of stimulating doggy toys - a kong, a cube thing that you have to knock about the open the chambers inside to release the food(for a while it felt like all her meals were served via some obscure challenge toy!!!)

    I hope that your vet and the rescue centre can offer you some help and that Hugo is soon confident enough to know that this home is for life and he get more attention when hes good than bad! Good luck xxx
     
  14. Tinytootz

    Tinytootz Mini crazy cat lady

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    Thanks guys :)

    Last night he chewed another one of OH's trainers. We left his old ones downstairs with the dogs, and made sure Hugo had lots of toys and chews, but he still opted for his trainers, totally bypassed mine, which were right next to his. I don't think we have a serial chewer on our hands, just a bit of a naughty dog at the min. Have got some anti chew stuff which we are going to try on the non-chewed old trainer tonight!

    Hugo is just over 12 months we think. I wouldn't have been so bothered about having him castrated really, but he was humping everything in sight, including visitors so it had to be done.

    I'm not against crating, but I would rather avoid it, unless he gets a lot worse. Unfortunately, the way the house is set up, its quite difficult for him to be sectioned off, as that would mean the cat would also have to be sectioned off, and their relationship is still a wee bit rocky at times, the cat having the upper hand, of course :D

    At the minute he has a cows ear (which stinks!), a raw hide chew, a couple of stuffed bone things (half eaten), some muscle stuff which is really gross, a knotted toy, several balls, a bone shaped rubber thing with a bell in it, and whatever else he finds! I'm hoping it is a random phase with trainers and slippers to do with OH, as everything of mine is still untouched. And I left him yesterday for about 6 hours, and nothing was touched. It seems to be when we go to bed that the chaos happens. We even got some peach bubble stuff to try and tire him out, but its made a right mess of his coat!

    Oh well, we shall see what tomorrow brings!
     
  15. fillymum

    fillymum synful soul

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    It would be a good idea to put your trainers etc where Hugo can not get them. With our 2 big boys we had to keep our shoes on top of the wardrobe.

    Good luck with he anti-chew product. As a matter of interest what is it and can it be used on fabrics as our 8 year old Jack Russell is chewing my beautiful arm chairs eeeeeeeeekk !!!!!
     
  16. Tinytootz

    Tinytootz Mini crazy cat lady

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    OH works in a pet shop, so its whatever he bring home :D but they are usually ok on fabrics, or as suggested by Gemmy, lemon or apple water works too.

    To try and work out what his trigger is (boredom, trainers in general, the smell of OH trainers), we are leaving the solo old trainer downstairs tonight, but sprayed, and a couple of my old trainers, not sprayed. The rest will have to reside upstairs, right pain being in a 3 storey house!

    Bless, he is currently after attention, by doing the "I've got a poorly eye mummy, look" routine. You wouldn't think he has just been taken out and exercised to the point that he was lying down!
     
  17. Tinytootz

    Tinytootz Mini crazy cat lady

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    I lie, there's some in the cupboard. Bob Martin Puppy Chew Stop. It says you can use on fabrics, but test on a small area first. It's a bitter tasting one.
     
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  19. JackieN

    JackieN Gold Member

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    Carla chewed. She still would chew shoes, trainers if left where she can get them which with 5 in the house happens. She chewed my daughters school shoes last week. Carla is now 2. Shes always loved shoes. I tend to know when she has one as she runs up the garden with it out of my sight. I am currently decluttering to remove them from her reach. I have a stair gate to the hall now so that the kids can leave their shoes in the hall safely (only works if they shut said stair gate lol)

    I think hes still feeling his feet, settling in, etc. Hes obviously been through alot in the last few months bless him and they suddenly get a little naughty as they settle. Test the boundaries. Abit like teenagers. I treat Carla as I would one of the kids (I have 2 teenage boys and a 7 year old) firm, fair and consistant. Most of the time this works.

    With the nerves it could be genetic like Carla, but hopefully its something that happened before he came to you that gave him this fear. Then by working with him with treats and lots of praise and giving enough distance (ie non reactive distance) between him and what scares him will gradually show him people are not scarey etc etc. This does work Carla is proof but it can take a little while, its giving them a positive association about what scares them.

    Someone once explained it to me that its abit like my fear of spiders. Totally unfounded, ie they are more scared of me, but that doesn't stop my heart racing, etc etc when I see one. The commonsense side of me goes out of the window when I see one. They then said if everytime a spider approached or I caught sight of one I was handed £50 it would gradually chance my perception of that said spider, I would soon be looking for them to get my reward. I use this method with Carla all the time with high value teeny treats. Only saved for times when a scarey monster (human) is approaching us. I no longer need the treats with her as we've built up trust, she trusts me to save her from the monster and ensure said monster does not decide to stroke her :D
     
  20. Tinytootz

    Tinytootz Mini crazy cat lady

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    :) Thank you for your reply. It makes me think that it is a case of me worrying too much. He is much calmer around strangers when on the lead now, the odd growl which I quickly correct.

    I guess its like my cat, Dude. He loves boxes and receipts, so I know if I need a receipt to be kept, I keep them away from the cat. So if Hugos chewing fetish is shoes, then we need to keep them away. He is also OBSESSED with my PJ Tips monkey, and I mean scary obsessed, so said money has to live on the wardrobe now.

    I have peeps coming round Saturday night, so they have all been warned, and will be swiftly handed treats on their arrival for Hugo.

    I think the shoe chewing thing kinda frightened me more. I have an overly active imagination, so of course in my head shoe chewing turned into sofa chewing, TV chewing, cat chewing and people chewing in a matter of minutes!

    I like the spider anecdote. I don't have a strong fear of anything really, but I totally get where you are coming from!
     
  21. JackieN

    JackieN Gold Member

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    shoe chewing - if you see Hugo chewing, say uh uh and redirect his chew to something you would like him to chew, a toy , a chew etc, so that you are telling him 'no you can't chew that but here you go chew this' :D

    It really depends how deep this fear is of Hugos re people. If he is terrified then it would be better to keep him out the way or introduce him very slowly. A terrified dog will still try to take a treat off someone he is scared of but then he is putting himself in a situation he cannot cope with. (I am not preaching or being funny honest just trying to explain it the best I can as I have lived with a scaredy dog now for 2 years) :)

    I made that mistake with Carla which made her worse, each movement of the hand would make her bark at them or growl.

    I wouldn't correct him for growling as a growl is a warning, hes talking to you, telling you he feels uncomfortable, so that in itself is very very important. What I would do if he growls would be to say 'hey its okay its fine they are not going to eat you' ie you are calmly talking to Hugo and at the same time without talking to the other person telling them your dog is not nasty hes scared. I tried all sorts with carla and quickly learnt there isn't much time so remove her from the situation quickly at the same time telling the person my dog is a wus.!

    Also with a few small treats ready you get Hugo's attention as the person is approaching in the distance, 'good boy hugo, treat, theres a good boy , treat' etc etc, as soon as they pass lots of fuss, no more treats and walk on. I promise this works, but if you ever have a problem just put some distance between you very quickly even if it means crossing the road, standing to one side, or going back the way you came. We still have some odd walks now where I have to cross several times, or go back the way I came, I don't doubt I am considered the mad dog woman but its what builds up the trust between you and your dog :) I hope I've helped a little and I hope I've not come across all school marmish as I promise thats not me.

    jackie
    x
     
  22. Zest for Life

    Zest for Life Gold Member

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    He is a dog, confused where he fits in the pack. He needs to know it's bottom!
    If your dog is bottom of pack he will not need to be aggressive to men, as that's pack leaders job to protect and warn of dangers. He needs to be shut away when alone with a stuffed kong and toys. You need to feed him last never before you eat. Walk through doors first. If he is in your way make him move, dont treat him like a human, he will not understand, it's not kind it's just confusing. There is a book called 'why does my dog' can't remember who by but google it. Order it today the best dog behaviour book I've read. So good.
     
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