What do you guys think?

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Postby plebayo » October 27th, 2011, 10:38 pm

I'm curious on your guys' take on a situation with Seppel. I want to be sure the situation doesn't worsen, but I'm being told one thing and I believe another.
----

Seppel has gone to work with me for four days now. He's only been here since Saturday. The first day he did well but was a little whiny now and then. Yesterday he was even better but someone was letting their stupid little yappy dog bark in the lobby. Our clinic has poor sound control and Sepp started barking from upstairs where his kennel is. I heard a couple barks and then a really loud angry bark. I went upstairs and one of the doctors had told him to be quiet and he supposedly lunged and barked at the guy. I told him to lay down[which he did], then took him out because I wanted to make sure he wasn't going to have it out for this doctor. The doctor said I was "rewarding" his behavior [even though by the time I got up there the barking and moment were waaaay over]. I wanted the doctor to talk to him/pet him but he just ignored him but Sepp went up to him tail wagging and wasn't weird at all. I put him back into his kennel and he settled in no problem.

Today this doctor had me follow him up the stairs and peer around the corner. He was standing partially cocked over the kennel, I'm not sure what he said to Sepp, maybe he told him to sit - I honestly don't remember and Sepp was staring him down and looking tense, he may have been growling but I couldn't hear it. I came up around the corner and told him "No" and to "lay down" to which his body language totally changed. I realize this behavior isn't good, but MY take on it is that he is insecure about this guy [who mind you is 6'2"] because he doesn't know him, he can't run away from him because he's in his kennel, and this doctor was partially standing over him which can be threatening. Oh and by the way, he's only been to the clinic for 4 days!

I told the doctor I just think he needs to settle in, get comfortable with everyone, that I think he's insecure and he told me that because he was trying to make eye contact with him [Sepp was, the doctor did not stare him down - according to his story] that he isn't insecure.

I'm not trying to make excuses. When I popped up from around the corner the doctor walked away from the cage [thusly not standing over him anymore] AND I was there, Sepp's attitude totally changed. He hasn't done this to anyone else, there's a doctor sitting at a desk right next to him working throughout the day and he hasn't been nasty with her. With me he's totally squishy/submissive, he'll roll on his back and let me rub his belly, when I ask him to do things he gets all squinty. He's confident in people, in the sense that he's out going and wants to meet everyone, but he always differs back to me, especially on the first meet. He goes to them and comes back to me. He's just getting to the point where he's more comfortable with everyone and will stand to be petted without coming immediately back to me.

Do you guys think he's being legitimately naughty? Is there something I should be doing? My thought was just to have this doctor give him the occasional treat in and out of the kennel so he gets more comfortable around him. :|
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Postby Malli » October 28th, 2011, 1:22 am

He *sounds* a bit insecure, so I would go the route you're thinking, via reward based training. If you can get the Doctor to give him treats through the kennel bars and NOT make eye contact as a start.

My perception is - fear based behavior or not, its a percieved threat, so initially the percieved threat should be the least bit threatening possible - so sideways body language, no eye contact, no interaction, just good things.

I'd have him meet n' greet as many people as possible for a sit and a treat as well...

I'm just going through this right now with the puppy - the socializing, not that particular behavior - so its been forefront in my mind lately.
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Postby plebayo » October 28th, 2011, 1:39 am

Malli wrote:He *sounds* a bit insecure, so I would go the route you're thinking, via reward based training. If you can get the Doctor to give him treats through the kennel bars and NOT make eye contact as a start.

My perception is - fear based behavior or not, its a percieved threat, so initially the percieved threat should be the least bit threatening possible - so sideways body language, no eye contact, no interaction, just good things.

I'd have him meet n' greet as many people as possible for a sit and a treat as well...

I'm just going through this right now with the puppy - the socializing, not that particular behavior - so its been forefront in my mind lately.


Thanks for the reply. He's been SUPER friendly towards everyone we've met, there's been lots of cookies and sitting, shaking, and speaking. He even likes this doctor outside of the kennel and has seen him sitting and standing and greeted him happily in either position. I feel like for a dog who has completely had his world turned upside down and then some, he's doing great. I just want to make sure I'm not wearing rose colored glasses and ignoring something major.
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Postby mnp13 » October 28th, 2011, 2:26 am

I think:

1. You've only had him four days. He shouldn't be going to work with you.

2. That person has no business bothering him in his crate. You don't just "go say hi" to a dog you don't know through a crate door, a lot comes into play - barrier frustration, territorial, and being cornered.

3. If there is some "rule" that dogs must be friendly in their crates at your work, and/or this person knows that little about dog behavior and will continue acting that way, don't bring him back.
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Postby Malli » October 28th, 2011, 3:17 am

I think it could *turn* into something major, but if you stay on top of it, it could easily melt away as well...

I talked with my manager, who is also into dog training, and he thinks that you will have trouble getting the doctor to cooperate, and I agree. Maybe best to ask everyone to simply ignore him when he's in the kennel.

We think, ideally if Sepp was not in a totally "new world" and you could get the doctor to do as you asked specifically, then the first scenario I mentioned would be the way to go.

But the probability of the doctor not listening, along with the fact that poor sepp is completely new to everything, not a really great combination.

I think it sounds like you are doing really well with him :) just get the asshat of a doctor to leave him alone!
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Postby TheRedQueen » October 28th, 2011, 7:38 am

mnp13 wrote:I think:

1. You've only had him four days. He shouldn't be going to work with you.

2. That person has no business bothering him in his crate. You don't just "go say hi" to a dog you don't know through a crate door, a lot comes into play - barrier frustration, territorial, and being cornered.

3. If there is some "rule" that dogs must be friendly in their crates at your work, and/or this person knows that little about dog behavior and will continue acting that way, don't bring him back.


This is exactly what I was going to say.

Regardless of the basis of his behavior, if you can't get full compliance from the staff, this behavior won't get better. :| It doesn't matter if he's insecure, naughty, being a jerk, being HA, being fearful, whatever, whatever...if you're not there to work with him...things are going to happen that may not be ideal. If this guy already has preconcieved notions of Sepp, it's going to be that much harder to get compliance.
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Postby plebayo » October 28th, 2011, 9:25 am

Going to work is a part of his new life. Sometimes we don't get out for lunch, or we don't get out in a timely manner, if he's there with me I can grab him, let him go out to pee, and take him for a good walk depending on time. Work is a part of his new life routine. If he became unstable there I would obviously figure something out, but he's been doing just fine other than the one issue.

There's no rule about dogs behaving. This vet is just making me feel like he's being bad, and I don't think he is. In truth Seppel hasn't been "bad", except for barking at this guy when he told him to quit barking.
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Postby mnp13 » October 28th, 2011, 9:43 am

There's no rule about dogs behaving. This vet is just making me feel like he's being bad, and I don't think he is. In truth Seppel hasn't been "bad", except for barking at this guy when he told him to quit barking.

It doesn't sound like that's what that person thinks, or he wouldn't have been standing over the crate telling Sepp what to do. If he continues to antagonize Sepp (and from your description, that's exactly what I would call it) then it is very possible that crate aggression will develop. There is one reason that someone should approach the crate and that is to let him out of it. If he is barking or otherwise misbehaving, then they need to get you and have you deal with it.

Last year at the DSO, one of the decoys asked me to go get his dog out of the car. The dog had never met me. Did I walk up to the car and stare into the window? No, of course not, that would have made the dog flip out at me and set me up for something unpleasant. I walked up to the car, opened the door, hooked the leash up and that was that - no issue.

Some dogs couldn't care less about a person walking up to their crate, but some do, and neither reaction is improper/incorrect. It's one thing when they flip out because someone is walking by, I do think that should be dealt with; but someone standing there and staring at them? Not ok.

Going to work is a part of his new life.

And that's fine in theory. My point is, you barely know him. You don't really know him yet, and we know very little about his life before you got him, so don't have a basis to understand why he is behaving the way that he is. That will change, of course, but right now I'm concerned that you are setting both of you up for failure.
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Postby TheRedQueen » October 28th, 2011, 9:52 am

mnp13 wrote:
Going to work is a part of his new life.

And that's fine in theory. My point is, you barely know him. You don't really know him yet, and we know very little about his life before you got him, so don't have a basis to understand why he is behaving the way that he is. That will change, of course, but right now I'm concerned that you are setting both of you up for failure.


Right.

Part of my dogs lives is going to work with me too...but it's not always something they enjoy or can do. Sawyer is too much of a butthead, and growls/snaps at other dogs and won't play...so he can't go with me when I'm out. :|

That said...my other dogs are all able to go with me and help me with my business...they are playmates for other dogs, they're walking buddies for other dogs, and they're my helpers in DA training cases.

BUT...I chose each of them based on personality and temperament so they *can* do these things. And they go very, very slowly into their new roles.
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Postby Tubular Toby » October 28th, 2011, 10:51 am

I think this is extremely well written.

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=29970

I agree that for now, he shouldn't be at work with strange men looming over his crate. His life has been completely turned upside down. He'd probably feel safer in a crate back at home without all of the barking/strange people until he begins to get adjusted.
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Postby mnp13 » October 28th, 2011, 12:11 pm

Remember, Christine had him from when he was a puppy. We can only make educated guesses, but from what I know, he was not around a ton of strangers, and not around a lot of commotion on an ongoing basis.

Do I think he will adjust? Yes, I do. However, if something goes wrong you'll have a really big project on your hands. And that can simply be bad habits (barking etc) forming in the crate to crate aggression. (just picking something off the top of my head)
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Postby BigDogBuford » October 28th, 2011, 2:38 pm

Personally, I would have done at least a two week crate shut down for him. He's been through a *terrible* amount of stress and I think you're just adding to it at this point.
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Postby DemoDick » October 28th, 2011, 7:36 pm

Keep in mind that there is no way to win an argument with a doctor, and doubly so in a doctor's office. If you keep bringing him in to work, the odds are something very bad will happen.

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Postby TheRedQueen » October 28th, 2011, 10:01 pm

DemoDick wrote:Keep in mind that there is no way to win an argument with a doctor, and doubly so in a doctor's office. If you keep bringing him in to work, the odds are something very bad will happen.

Demo Dick


Dude...all of you men think alike...this was basically what John's comment was... 8)
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby DemoDick » October 28th, 2011, 10:07 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:
DemoDick wrote:Keep in mind that there is no way to win an argument with a doctor, and doubly so in a doctor's office. If you keep bringing him in to work, the odds are something very bad will happen.

Demo Dick


Dude...all of you men think alike...this was basically what John's comment was... 8)


The only way to get a doctor to admit he was wrong about something is to beat the living crap out of him, and even then he won't mean it.

Demo Dick
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Postby DemoDick » October 29th, 2011, 2:26 am

BigDogBuford wrote:Personally, I would have done at least a two week crate shut down for him. He's been through a *terrible* amount of stress and I think you're just adding to it at this point.


This is the best advice posted so far. Gotta hit that "reset" button and slowly start reintroducing things the right way in the new environment.

Demo Dick
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Postby plebayo » October 29th, 2011, 3:39 pm

Problem solved. Thanks for the replies.
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Postby DemoDick » October 29th, 2011, 5:20 pm

plebayo wrote:Problem solved. Thanks for the replies.


Great! What did you end up doing?

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Postby TheRedQueen » October 29th, 2011, 8:56 pm

Suzanne...we feel partly like he's "our" dog too, since we've all been involved with him and Christine for so long...so please don't post and run. We're just trying to help...since you asked for help...don't get upset and run off.
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Postby plebayo » October 30th, 2011, 12:06 am

It's actually really hard not to be upset when, because I am doing things differently than you would choose to you tell me it's wrong. And I understand you all have dog experience, but so do I. I've researched Christine's posts, going through sections at a time. Unfortunately I cannot gauge how many things are truth or embellishments but he has actually displayed several behaviors that she has discussed on this very board.

I realize I barely know this dog, but he's here, physically here, and I know what he's like right now. I know only a few of you have actually met him, so in reality you guys don't really know him either. I would not put him into a situation that would blow his mind. He has taken everything in stride. This dog was loved immensely by his owner, he had a GOOD life. He has gone through some really bad changes in the past month and a half, but he is not a broken dog by any means.

I've been trying to keep things very routine for him. We walk the same route, our morning wake up is the same everyday, if I felt that he could not handle going to work with me, I would have left him at home. I understand I asked for your opinions, and you gave them. But I guess I was mostly trying to make sure this particular situation did not sound like he was trying to be a tool bag. Especially since the doctor seems to think that is what he's doing. I just wasn't prepared for the response that I got, that's for sure.
---

As far as to how I have taken care of it. I talked to the doctor, I don't think he realized how he made me feel by the comments he was making. We sat down and talked about it and he agreed to do things my way. Whether he agrees with me or not, he's willing to do it. Seppel holds no grudges, willingly took treats inside and outside of his kennel and was just a big wiggle butt towards the guy. He's not going to mess with him, I told him if he is being noisy I'll take care of it etc. I informed the staff that is on today that he potentially has some cage protectiveness and that he's still settling in and if they want to squish him/give him cookies they can do so when I have him out during the day. I also put a sign on his cage telling everyone he is protective [aggressive just seems a little extreme] and to ignore him if he tries to engage them in passing. Obviously time will tell if the behavior gets worse or gets better as the days pass. So I guess I can't really say "problem solved" but I can say we're on our way.
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