My next brats evaluation

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Postby mnp13 » October 28th, 2009, 11:13 am

I have a dog coming in next week for an evaluation, here is what I know so far:
I am looking for the appropriate class to enroll my dog (Puma) in. I have a suspicion that she might need to be in the "Brats Class." She is a super sweet dog to me and my husband (we are separated and she lives with him temporarily). She is incredibly skittish around pretty much anyone else and has been since she was born. Ironically enough there was a puppy in the litter after her that turned out exactly the same. She is a year and a half and a bull mastiff mix. She is approx. 85 pounds. She gets along fine with her sister (black lab) but she has a little trouble with other dogs. I know I probably shouldn't have waited so long but I really need help. Like I said she is fine with us but she won't even go near my father in law who is living in the house. The vet highly recommended training and your organization. Please let me know if there is room in the class, I would like to sign her up. She has been spayed and is current on her rabies shot. Thank you.


my response:
I can meet with you at 7:30 next week. Please bring her in on whatever collar you usually use for her. If you normally use a training collar that's fine, but also bring a plain flat buckle collar as well.

Please do not feed her dinner before you come in and bring small soft treats with you such as cut up cheese, hot dogs, or small commercial soft treats.

Do you or have you ever had to muzzle her? Has she ever bitten a person, dog or other animal? Has she tried? Snapped and missed? Grabbed and not broken skin?

You said she is "skittish," what does she do exactly when someone approaches her?

What does she do if your father in law approaches her?

She "has a little trouble with other dogs;" would you please elaborate on that?

I'm just trying to get a feel for what I'm looking at with her. Has she had any training at all? Where, when and with whom?

Of course, now that I've said next Monday, I could also meet with you sometime this week if you are able to come out to the Fairport area between 5 and 6 on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Thanks,

Michelle


her:
Ok I will bring her at 7:30pm next Monday.

The vet made me put a muzzle on her the last time I brought her about a month ago because she snapped at them when they tried to examine her. Basically she tried to get away from them into the corner of the room and when they came towards her she snapped.

She has never bitten anyone or grabbed them.

I can give you an example of skittish. The last time I brought her to my parents house (they have three little dogs) she wouldn't let any of them (my parents or brother) get close to her. She would come up and kind of sniff them but if they tried to pet her she would run away. She did snap at my brother too. She liked him before so I don't understand that. She used to be skittish around men moreso than women but now it is both.

She is getting worse with my father-in-law. At first she would just run away from him to the other side of the room and/or bark. Now my husband said she just worked herself up the other day so much she peed in the house which she never ever does. He's tried to give her treats and let her sniff him and put her at ease like the Vet suggested but she appears to hate him and has since the moment we brought her home. Ace (the black lab) LOVES my father in law and is always around him when he gets home. But Puma wants no part of him.

She gets along fine with all of the dogs at my sister in laws house. My sister in law has Puma's mom and dad and some other puppies. She gets along with my parents little dogs for the most part. Only sometimes she is a little more energetic than they can take because they are older. Like I said my husband has another dog (black lab) and they get along almost all the time. They scuffle once in a while but the rest of the time they play and seem to have a great time. I took her out on a walk with my friends and their dogs and she was really bad and tried to bite them (the other dogs) but then when I brought her to meet with the dogs again at a BBQ the next week, they all played and she was absolutely fine.

It is so strange though. With my husband and me she is like a big baby she kisses us all the time. She goes on long runs with my husband and is so happy to play in the backyard. She is like a different dog.

She has never had any training and I'm hoping that it isn't too late to help her correct her behavior.

I hope I answered your questions thoroughly enough, if there is anything I missed please let me know. Thank you.


My first concern is that Puma lives with her husband, but she will be bringing her in. The rest of my concerns... well, I think the above pretty much spells them out...

Thoughts? Suggestions? I certainly don't think it's "too late" to correct the behavior, but I'm open to help with mapping out a plan for how to do it.
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Postby Wyldmoonwoman » October 28th, 2009, 11:20 am

I have a fear agressive dog and there is hope, but the question that needs to be answered is this woman willing to take on the challenge and and responsibility of managing the dogs environment forever? I have never been able to fully get my Thorne to relax in a strange environment, but then again I am a crappy trainer, and her husband absolutely needs to participate, and you have to bring in her family members and strangers for the training...it's not such a bad thing to leave the dog home when going out...
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Postby TheRedQueen » October 28th, 2009, 11:22 am

This is a big job...a large dog that doesn't like people OR dogs? Sheesh. :nono:

They need to start a better management regime with her, so she's not getting so close to really hurting someone (dog or person). She needs to learn the dogs thresholds first and foremost, and needs to learn when to not push the dog.

I hate to see the part about having the "scary" person (FIL) giving the dog treats...that so doesn't work for a really fearful dog, and it can have an unintended side effect of poisoning the reinforcer (dog stops taking treats because treats are associated with something scary). :rolleyes2:

I think you've got to stop her from thinking about "correcting" the behavior. This is not behavior to "fix" or "correct". This is something that will always have to be monitored and managed. Michelle, you've met Inara...she's come a looong way from where she used to be...but she's not "fixed". In some situations (like flyball), she's much more confident and accepting of strangers, but in others (at home)...she's not as accepting.
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Postby mnp13 » October 28th, 2009, 11:27 am

I just emailed her again:
I've been thinking about this, and I need a little clarification on Puma's living arrangements. Please don't take this as prying, I'm concerned about the effectiveness of any training that we do.

You said in your first email that she is temporarily living with your husband, but from the wording in your emails I am assuming that you will be bringing her to training? Are you planning to have her live with you in the near future? If not, it is very important that your husband be involved with the training as well. The problems that you are describing are definately manageable (I never use the word "fixable") but for changes to work consistency is an absolute must. She can not have one set of rules / standards at your home and one set at your husband's. That can actually make her behavior worse instead of better.

I am still willing to meet with you, as I will likely be able to offer some suggestions at the evaluation, but unless her living situation is stable and/or both of you are involved with the training, I will likely not recommend the class at this time. Do not misunderstand, I DO think I can help Puma, but as a trainer I have to look out for the dogs before I look out for the people.
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Postby DemoDick » October 28th, 2009, 11:52 am

The first thing I would do is direct them to some resources on reading canine body language; she says the dog is fearful, but we shouldn't assume that she's reading the dog correctly. Obviously you'll know more when you get eyes on the dog. The other thing I would advise is that they immediately stop bringing this dog out. His interactions should be limited to his owners and the only trips he should take are to training, at least for now.

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Postby mnp13 » October 28th, 2009, 12:02 pm

Oh I completely understand. She will be living with him at least until early Spring of next year. I am looking for a house and a job in Buffalo so it's taking longer than I had hoped. At this time she has a more stable home with him because he has the house. I have an apartment and roommates so that would not be as comfortable for her. She would have a small fraction of the space she has now. And she would not be able to play as much with Ace. She will be living with me permanently as soon as I have a better living situation.

Jesse (my husband) will be happy to participate in the training as well. He can come on Monday to meet with you too. We want to be consistent with her also because I can imagine as a dog how frustrating it would be to get mixed messages all the time. We really just want her to enjoy life more and not be so scared of everything. So the best way or the most appropriate way we can go about helping her do that is what we will sign up to do. Thank you for taking the time to assess our pup!


They seem to be willing to make the effort at this point. I do find it interesting that the training club was recommended, because there is not a single class that would have taken this dog. I'm not even sure there is another teacher who would have taken him on privately.
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Postby amazincc » October 28th, 2009, 12:13 pm

Wow... a Mick in the making, if someone doesn't intervene and help those people (and Puma) to get a handle on this ASAP.

I'm so glad you're willing to do what you can for them. :)
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Postby Malli » October 28th, 2009, 1:59 pm

yeah lots of dog body language is easily misinterpreted, some gaurding behavior could easily be misunderstood.

I'm glad that you are going to help her, Michelle - you'll give it to her straight and poke her into action (whatever kind of action that may be)

I have to say I don't have a lot of hope if a 1.5 yr old dog is running from a vet's exam(nothing painful there!) and then lunging at them :neutral:
I can only please one person per day. Today is not your day, tomorrow doesn't look good either.
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Postby amazincc » October 28th, 2009, 2:02 pm

Malli wrote:I have to say I don't have a lot of hope if a 1.5 yr old dog is running from a vet's exam(nothing painful there!) and then lunging at them :neutral:



There is ALWAYS hope!!! :wink:
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Postby mnp13 » October 28th, 2009, 2:41 pm

I just got more info from her (I sent an email with a bunch of questions)
No problem! We have a big crate that she sleeps in at night sometimes. It's just a black wire cage, we got it from Walmart. Some nights she just sleeps in the bedroom with my husband (not in the crate). During the day she and Ace hang out in the basement. So she does not spend a lot of time in her crate.

She knows how to sit and shake (with her paw). She does it when she feels like it. Sometimes she will even do it without treats but only when she wants to.

She wears a fabric collar with a plastic clasp. The kind that clicks together and you push on the sides to open it. (like the clasps on a backpack I guess would be the best comparison)

We do have a gentle leader and she is a much better walker with it. (so is Ace actually) I love the gentle leader! Otherwise yes she pulls and very hard and she is very strong so the gentle leader made a world of a difference. She will try to chase after other dogs, squirrels, etc. Not as much people, bicyclists. If she freaks out I make her sit down and put my face in front of her and try to get her to focus on me. She does go on long runs with my husband sometimes though and I am not sure if he has her on the leash the whole time or how she acts then. I'll have to ask. We have just a regular braided reflective leash.

Even if my father in law ignores her she freaks out. She knows exactly when he is coming in the door and will start barking, see him and run away. He will generally be in his room (she calms down then and goes back to her business) or out of the house. He doesn't spend a lot of time wandering around. But if he is in any room near her she knows and she starts pacing.

A couple more things I can think of...my husband has a "dog couch" devoted just to the dogs and Puma takes up the whole thing, she likes to spend time laying there. My father in law just finished building a kennel in the backyard. Sometimes Jesse puts them in there and sometimes he just leaves them out in the backyard. There is an opening to the garage/shed so they can go in there if they feel like it. Ace is not spayed and she is older, she is without a doubt the dominant one, even before Puma was spayed.

If you think of anything else let me know, I'll be happy to answer. Thanks!
Michelle

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Postby TheRedQueen » October 28th, 2009, 2:54 pm

yikes, yikes and more yikes.

Title this one: Recipe for Disaster.

Take one large dog, un-trained, under-socialized, highly reactive.

Then:
Don't teach the dog about her crate.
Do allow her to roam all over the house, plus the basement (add another dog for good times).
Do get in her face when she's being reactive (literally get in her face...because facial bites are also good times).
Do put large dog in a flimsy collar with a plastic buckle.
Do keep the dog outside in the yard, unsupervised (again, another dog is optional...but prefered if you want true disaster).
Don't spay the dogs.

Simmer for a year and a half, then take the results to a trainer ASAP! :doh:
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Postby Marinepits » October 28th, 2009, 2:59 pm

Sounds like this lady is going to need to learn a whole new entirely different way to think about dogs.
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Postby amazincc » October 28th, 2009, 3:03 pm

She does go on long runs with my husband sometimes though and I am not sure if he has her on the leash the whole time or how she acts then.


:shock:

Is this for real, or are you secretly evaluating us to see if we've learned anything on PBT??? :| :wink:
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Postby madremissy » October 28th, 2009, 3:06 pm

Oh Michelle, you need to help her. Remember probably she or the husband has never had the tools or resources to learn what is best for those dogs. Remember I was green as grass and I learned so much from here. Even if it is just he little things. I never thought about a plastic buckle collar. Some things that come second nature to a lot of people, that are the things that some people don't think about until someone points them out and the reasons why it is a bad idea.
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Postby mnp13 » October 28th, 2009, 4:43 pm

I just emailed her and told her that a flat buckle collar is required for the evaluation. I can't do an eval with a halti on the dog, and there is no way that I'm doing anything with a fearful 85 pound dog wearing an adjustable collar with a plastic clip.

She seems to really want to work with the dog, I hope they are both as committed to working on this as she is sounding right now.
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Postby Malli » October 29th, 2009, 4:19 am

what a nightmare, I don't envy you!
I can only please one person per day. Today is not your day, tomorrow doesn't look good either.
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Postby fenella » October 30th, 2009, 5:37 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:yikes, yikes and more yikes.

Title this one: Recipe for Disaster.

Take one large dog, un-trained, under-socialized, highly reactive.

Then:
Don't teach the dog about her crate.
Do allow her to roam all over the house, plus the basement (add another dog for good times).
Do get in her face when she's being reactive (literally get in her face...because facial bites are also good times).
Do put large dog in a flimsy collar with a plastic buckle.
Do keep the dog outside in the yard, unsupervised (again, another dog is optional...but prefered if you want true disaster).
Don't spay the dogs.

Simmer for a year and a half, then take the results to a trainer ASAP! :doh:

:laugh1:
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Postby mnp13 » November 18th, 2009, 12:42 pm

Oh, I forgot to update this!

I did the evaluation on Puma, she's very shy, but I think she'll be ok with some work. They came in, and I did my usual... I took her leash and walked away from them while we talked.

She was rather hesitant but out came the liver treats, I slouched against the wall, and she decided I was ok. We weren't "friends" but at the end of 10 minutes I could touch her.

On Monday we had our first class - we have a JRT/Beagle mix who is completely ADD, howls, and has leash aggression. A Mastiff/Cane Corso who is very shy and skittish with strangers, dog aggressive and not socialized. A Cairn Terrier mix that was rescued 5 months ago, who was fine with other dogs until about 2 months ago, but after a run in with the neighbor's GSD has now decided that every other dog is the enemy. A little Papillion-ish mix that's great with people, bad with dogs.

No dogs the first class, we all just sat and discussed our dogs and what we all expected from the class. We discussed NILIF and marker training. Everyone is starting with marker work this week to get some focus with their dogs, and starting with NILIF at home.
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Postby Malli » November 18th, 2009, 3:09 pm

I'm hopeful!
I can only please one person per day. Today is not your day, tomorrow doesn't look good either.
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Postby mnp13 » December 9th, 2009, 1:45 pm

sooo.... Last week, while working with the Mastiff, I told her to sit, I waited, she didn't, so I said "come on" and we walked a little, then we stopped, I said "sit" and when she did, I clicked and treated. Repeat, repeat. At one point, I waited, and she popped up and grabbed my arm. I was surprised by it, but she didn't do anything more than get slobber on me, so we just continued.

I wasn't sure what the trigger was for her behavior; three weeks ago she had grabbed me as well, but different circumstance.

So this week, I intentionally re-created last week. She did the same thing - when she feels that I am "waiting too long" to give her a treat she decides to get it herself. In hindsight, the first week was for the same thing.

She's a "nice" dog, but has spent the last four years training her owners. They are quite devoted to her, but of course are part of the problem, but really want to work on it. She has learned to get what she wants, and will be compliant, mostly, until she doesn't want to be. In my opinion, she intimidates them to an extent, and she is used to that - she does not intimidate me and so has had some conflict in how to relate to me.

She does receive corrections for some behaviors. No, she was not corrected for any of the above. We had a few "moments" during class when the Papillion mix decided to go after her though; I ended up taking her leash so that I could get her under control. The class got to see me play Jeckle and Hyde, which is always interesting. lol

Thoughts?
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