<sigh> It seems we now have one of "those" dogs :(

(24 Posts)
topbannana Thu 19-Sep-13 19:27:39

A family in turmoil here sad
DH has just got back from walking the dogs (2 working cockers, both boys, 5.5 yrs and 7 mths)
The older one has always had issues having come from a bad home (the puppy that you know you shouldnt buy but do anyway just to get it away) Lately he has started to bowl other dogs over in quite an aggressive manner. Most of his life he has seemed quite unpopular with other dogs, often being popped at by others because his body language is just wrong and he seems to lack the niceties of canine company. It seems like he's finally had enough and has started to pre-empt attacks by bowling in first (today completely unprovoked on two occasions) Thankfully no teeth but his intention is clear. Until quite recently he always kept his distance from other dogs, actively distancing himself from them rather than seeking them out.
DH now refuses to walk him, is upset and mortified and is all for getting rid of him. While I know he's upset and he is being an arse he comes from a farming background where the dog would be shot after the second episode, behaviour like that would simply not be tolerated. The idea of behaviourists, muzzles and other pro active methods is as alien to him as flying to the moon though he is still being an arse We live in a small village and apparently we will now be earmarked as "undesirable to be around" <twat>
So what to do?
Apparently I am in charge of dog walking now. I currently do the bulk of it anyway so no big deal really. I should add that I have never experienced this though I tend to walk early morning when I finish work so rarely meet anyone else.
Behaviourist? The one local to us has a dog whose behaviour is worse than ours so not too hopeful on that score hmm Lead walking is a nightmare though his recall is very good. Apparently other dogs approach him while he's on the lead and he has a go, DH will not acknowledge that in this situation he is not to blame if a dog approaches ours when he is on a lead.
Why has this suddenly escalated and can it be rectified? In all honesty I cannot see DH spending another 7 or 8 years pussyfooting round with a dog he cannot trust (for the record he considers a dog that needs to be kept on a lead around others as the epitome of Hell)
Clearly work needs doing on both DH and DDog, advice about DDog would be appreciated, advice about DH, I guess I know what you will have to say about that already hmm

topbannana Thu 19-Sep-13 20:10:51

He is now refusing to talk about it and says the dog will have to be PTS <double twat>
It's almost as if the puppy has shown him what a flawed character GingerDog actually is sad

idirdog Thu 19-Sep-13 20:43:07

I can't help with DH.

Your dog however is easier to deal with smile

From your dogs point of view I expect he has been giving off body language which the other dogs do not understand, he is then driven to have to do exaggerated behaviour to make the dogs understand him.

A bit like us asking nicely and being ignored and then having to rant and shout to get listened to.

It will take time and I am not sure if your DH is up for this but you need to work with calm well behaved dogs to help your dog out.

Avoid dogs when yours is on a lead - that will require you being quite forceful with some other dog owners and taking different routes to move away from them.

A trained behaviourist can help you tremendously and dogs can become much better and less stressed but you DH would have to be on board.

I would withdraw all favours until your DH agreed to giving it a go.......but then I am no marriage counsellor (obviously!)

Abra1d Thu 19-Sep-13 20:48:09

Honestly, there's an alsatian in our village who's gone for our small dog several times. I don't hold a grudge against the owner--he's very nice. We have a laugh about it and try and get them to get along better.

Perhaps the other owners aren't as bothered as you fear?

topbannana Thu 19-Sep-13 21:16:09

idir I was so hoping you would happen by thanks
abra that would be nice but sadly GingerDog picked the wrong one tonight in the dog of the Official Village Moaner. Apparently the conversation went along the lines of "are you going to slap him or am I?" angry I am mortified to say that DH did the smacking angry angry angry

It's now being compared to when I had a young lurcher PTS for savaging a sheep (ripping her throat rather than playfully nipping her heels) I totally acknowledge that he is shocked and upset but I have seen a side to DH tonight that is not very nice. He's just told me that he doesn't care about the dog (which for the record I don't believe)and that as his dog it's up to him what he does about "it" Poor boy has been shut in his cage all evening while the pup has free reign, I don't quite trust myself to speak anymore sad
Anyway I am off to bed for a couple of hours before work. I will walk them in the morning as usual and see what a fresh day brings.
At the moment I can see the only way round it is for us to swop dogs so DH has my pup and I can work on the boy <pissed off>

idirdog Thu 19-Sep-13 21:32:24

To stand up for your DH a bit, it is very horrendous when you first realise that you do have a reactive dog. You do feel that it is your fault and other dog owners will blame you and can make you feel very uncomfortable. People do assume that it is something that the owners have done or not done and will judge and will always have advice as they will definitely know better. It is embarrassing having a dog lunge bark and go crazy when every other dog is just calmly walking by

Give DH time, a reactive dog usually has a fantastic bond with their owners once the dog realises that you are working to keep his stress levels down.

So for the record some dogs will be reactive and this may be nothing to do with what you have or have not done. The "good" owners are the ones that man up to the challenge, are ready to give a cheery wave and smile to other dog owners whilst turning in the other direction to avoid their dogs.

Thanks for the flowers I usually get bollocked in the dog housesmile

34DD Thu 19-Sep-13 21:44:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Everything idirdog said. My reactive spaniel has driven me to tears many times, but as I get better at understanding him, his stress lowers, and we have less and less reactive incidents. A few months ago, I avoided all dogs when he was on lead, and could only let him off if there were none around. Now, he has some doggy friends, some dogs he will ignore and they ignore him, and he can great small, calm dogs on lead. I had to build up his trust in me that I wouldn't throw him into situations he couldn't cope with. Now that he does trust me, I'm less anxious, he's less anxious, and the vast majority of our walks are hassle free. If my boy is on lead, and an off lead dog runs at him, that's the other owner's problem tbh (he never bites, just makes a lot of noise and jumps up at the other dogs face). Interestingly, my DH is also on a bit of a downer with the spaniel since we got the pup. The pup is a friendly, well bred little thing who gets on well with other dogs. It does highlight the difference between a good start and a bad one sad

topbannana Fri 20-Sep-13 02:48:13

Thanks all, some great advice as usual smile
DH is clearly shocked and upset by these events and will hopefully wake up with a fresh perspective. The dog is actually his and he has been his biggest advocate to date. GingerDog has made it clear over the years that I am a pale imitation in his eyes so I really feel for them both that the trust has been broken, DH because he feels he can no longer trust the dog and the dog as he has received a beating from his master.
In hindsight this stems from us having DHs sons Goldie to stay a couple weekends ago when GingerDog was clearly upset at another dog being in his house. He had an unprovoked pop at him but again with no teeth which I put down to anxiety and having another dog in the house (which I felt was a bad idea but was overridden)
So today is another day and we will see what the morning brings. If nothing else it looks like I will be having an active couple of weeks hmm

moosemama Fri 20-Sep-13 19:54:31

Not sure where you are based, but can highly recommend these people if you want someone who can help your dog re-learn appropriate communication skills.

They were recommended to me by someone I really respect and I've heard some really good things about the work they do. I am planning to take my own pup to them if he develops problems as a result of delayed socialisation to other dogs (vaccination was delayed due to health issues). Fingers crossed I won't need to (he's allowed out for the first time this week) but if he does we will definitely be going there with him, even though it's a really long haul journey for us.

idirdog Fri 20-Sep-13 21:29:59

Penel and Laura at Dog Communications are fantastic. If you are at all interested there is a long waiting list so it is worth booking asap.

topbannana Sat 21-Sep-13 11:33:25

Well it seems the village must have some sort of klaxon now that alerts the gentler folk when we exit the house as, despite my best intentions, I have yet to meet one single dog walker hmm
I spent yesterday reinforcing recall with the aid of liver cake (very successful!) and generally making him feel good about himself. Last walk of the day was to the scene of the crime where he was visibly stressed on the approach. Lots of reassurance and liver cake, no confrontations and he came home happy smile
DH was very upset and after being cornered like a rat we discussed it he has decided that he owes it to the dog to try and work with him. He has just taken both boys out (refused my help) to a distant wood in the pouring rain, presumably in the hope of not meeting anyone. He's refusing to walk him locally but I can suck that up for the time being- just waiting anxiously for their return now!

topbannana Sat 21-Sep-13 11:38:12

And thanks for the recommendation. We are in Dorset so quite a distance from Surrey.
If I can get back to him simply ignoring other dogs again by him being less stressed then that's fine by me as we live quite rurally and have many walks where we don't meet anyone at all.
I looked up a couple behaviourists locally and was quite shocked by what they are charging (though insurance will cover a large part of it) hmm

idirdog Sat 21-Sep-13 19:50:13

I'm glad that things are settling down - it sounds like you are taking the right approach for you all - fingers crossed DH gets a few stress free walks in to build up his confidence as well.

happygolucky0 Sun 22-Sep-13 08:38:34

You mentioned that you have a pup. I wonder if it could be to with the stress of the changes that has made him aggressive if I gave read that right.

stantonherzlinger Sun 22-Sep-13 09:11:18

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Lilcamper Sun 22-Sep-13 10:08:38

If you are anywhere near Poole, I totally recommend Tricks 4 Treats

topbannana Sun 22-Sep-13 20:40:19

Soooo.....
I just got back this evening from the fields behind our house. In the distance I saw the Official Village Moaner with the dog that Jake seems to have taken a personal dislike too. I called him away, he came and I knelt with him (well off the path) while the guy LET HIS DOG APPROACH US hmm
Quite frankly I was so gobsmacked that I could not have stopped the ensuing ruckus if I had tried. First hand it seems that there is lots of snarling, jake pinning down a dog that is 3 times his size and some vague references to my irresponsibility in not having him castrated hmm
If I'm honest I know his behaviour is wrong but I was more surprised by his seemingly unprovoked attack. I am satisfied that no teeth were involved but nonetheless it was a "spirited" attack with no obvious cause. Why????
A semi-polite discussion followed in which I am proud to say I held my own and resisted hysterical shouting or sobbing hmm
I am confident I can recall the dog if I see another coming and that any outburst (to date) has not involved teeth but this is not a situation I want to see continue or heavens forbid, worsen sad
I think a behaviourist is probably the only way to go now?

topbannana Sun 22-Sep-13 20:41:32

lil thank you, I am about 20 miles from Poole so will give them a ring tomorrow and see what they say smile

Definitely speak to a behaviourist and get some tips. Whilst the other guy shouldn't have let his dog approach you, you shouldn't have put your dog in the situation where he had no option but to 'greet' the other dog.

Afraid your walks will change and you'll spend your time scanning the horizon, hastily recalling your dog at the sight of another and walking in directions you don't want to go! (And getting really annoyed with people who say ''its ok, he's very friendly' when their annoying dog is bounding towards you!)

bellasuewow Sun 29-Sep-13 16:47:50

Please respect your neighbours and respect the welfare of other dogs and keep it on a lead until you have the problem sorted, you cannot judge others angry reaction when their little darling is being attacked by your dog, you are in the wrong don't make everyone else pay for it. Bit rich of you to slag the villagers, off for being upset when your unleashed dog goes for them no wonder you are making yourself unpopular perhaps try apologising.

topbannana Mon 30-Sep-13 09:13:54

hmm thanks for the advice bella
I thought I quite clearly mentioned that the dog (in the last instance) was directly approached , while under control and a good distance off the path, by the dog with who there was a problem previously. I imagined the other owner could have exercised his basic recall to keep his dog away but that was not the case.
As for "slagging off the villagers" and not apologising, I am struggling to see where I mentioned either of those things in my posts. Clearly I am a ruder and less considerate dog owner than I had ever realised hmm

topknob Mon 30-Sep-13 09:25:26

Topbannana, I have a GSD who likes some dogs and not others...with this in mind, I call her back every time I see another dog....it's the idiots who still allow their dogs to approach her even though I have hold of her lead and if it is one she doesn't like, she is barking at it. I really don't understand why they allow them to, she could really hurt the other dog and actually my dog is under control on a lead and theirs is the one off lead. Don't feel bad, the village moaner really should be told not to allow his dog to approach others without asking. With this is mind, I do find she likes walks with my friends dogs, one of which she has fallen out with, they seem to be ok if they don't look at each other, could you try that?

tabulahrasa Mon 30-Sep-13 09:33:40

It's not really unprovoked though is it? Undesirable yes and you want to be able to walk him without having to watch for dogs approaching him, but, he's made it perfectly clear that he doesn't want anything to do with this dog and it came over to say hello anyway, he was IMO telling it to get lost because it didn't leave him alone.

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