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First session with behaviourist booked - feeling nervous

(49 Posts)
elmofan Fri 17-Jun-11 19:04:51

I've just found a behaviourist with 40 years experience but I'm still not convinced that she will be able to help sad
Had a very bad day with Oscar today . I rang our vet to see if they would recommend getting Oscar neutered but the receptionist has advised us not too yet the behaviourist has said Oscar needs to be neutered . Tired and confused and upset .
Any advice on what the behaviourist might do would be great thanks .

Happymm Fri 17-Jun-11 19:20:33

Shout out for minimu, she's fab at helping with this stuff(think she's a behaviourist).
Maybe add some more details, age, type of dog and your difficulties.
Sorry can't add more...
Good luck.

BluddyMoFo Fri 17-Jun-11 19:21:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BluddyMoFo Fri 17-Jun-11 19:22:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chickchickchicken Fri 17-Jun-11 19:44:04

not sure why the receptionist would advise not to neuter. ring back tomorrow and ask for the vet to ring you? mine usually does calls before afternoon surgery

chickchickchicken Fri 17-Jun-11 19:45:21

re the behaviourist - could you give more details of the problem? was behaviourist recommended to you?

elmofan Fri 17-Jun-11 19:47:01

Sorry. Oscar is 14 month old springer.
Took him for his usual hour run in the park this morning
but he ran off chasing a female dog & it took me 40 minutes to get him back
under control to get his lead on i was terrified i wouldn't be able to
catch him. Then after finally getting home i left him in the back garden
while i went to the shop just to get bread so gone no more than
25 minutes, got home to find he had pulled ds's school uniform
jumper and trousers off the line and torn them to bits sad And pulled up
all the flowers [ that i only planted yesterday]
The behaviourist has said she will only need one hour session to teach us how
to deal with oscar and tbh i can only afford the one session but can't see all these
problems being sorted in 1 session.

elmofan Fri 17-Jun-11 19:53:25

The receptionist at the vets recommended this behaviourist.
She trains hunter dogs.
I know oscar is still only a baby and being mischievious but
i can't hang out clothes to dry or put them on the radiators inside the house
as he runs off with them.

fruitshootsandheaves Fri 17-Jun-11 22:37:27

I have a Springer too. they do like to pick things up and destroy carry them.
Don't leave him unattended if he will have access to clothes or other stuff.Can you put him in a crate if you need to pop out?
the running off after females would be cured to some extent by neutering but he will probably run off to see other dogs to play still if this has become a habit.
You will need to work really hard on his recall and make yourself more exciting to be with than the other dogs. Maybe invest in a long lead and go back to basics with recall training.
I am lucky as my Springer is ball obsessed but i have just had to go back to basics as he developed a nasty habit of suddenly running home during his walk to play with dh who throws his ball for him more than I do!
Be tough with him and don't let him mouth or play with things that are yours at any time, eg clothes, shoes. If he runs off with anything don't chase him, offer him a treat or swap the item for one of his toys.
Springers are great fun but both the ones i have had have been fairly 'chewy' dogs.
I hope you get the issues sorted and start to enjoy your springer more.

elmofan Fri 17-Jun-11 22:53:34

Thanks fruitshoots

He is normally good at staying close by in the park, he does run
up to say hello to other dogs but today he ran off & ignored me
Walking him on a lead (i've tried lots of different ones) is very hard,
The halti did nothing to slow him down.
Hopefully the behaviourist will be able to teach us how
to deal with Oscar. I do think boredom has a lot to do with
him acting up blush

chickchickchicken Fri 17-Jun-11 23:17:58

i would speak to the vet (no need to go in, can speak over the phone) as at 14 months i dont understand why receptionist would say he cant be neutered unless there is a medical reason not to?

as you can only afford one session with behaviourist and she recommends he is neutered may it be best to get him neutered asap and then see the behaviourist at a future date? perhaps you could ring the behaviourist (for free) and ask her advice on the timing over the phone? then speak to the vet over the phone on monday and then make a decision on best way to proceed?

if you think boredom is the reason he is acting up then you need to increase physical exercise and mental stimulation/training. is that possible? could you get the family to help?

Scuttlebutter Fri 17-Jun-11 23:29:55

A few points.

Please, NEVER ever leave your dog in your garden unattended. This is how dogs get stolen. Stolen dogs can be sold, traded, and as yours is still entire, used for dodgy breeding/puppy farming, or worse, used for dog fighting as bait/practice material.

Second, the receptionist is not there to give out advice - he/she is there to book you in and take your payments. I would be very cautious about taking their advice unless I knew them very well. This is not to say receptionists can't be knowledgeable but just that they are not paid to be - a vet is a highly trained practitioner. I wouldn't expect my GP receptionist to be diagnosing me either.

Thirdly, re the behaviourist. 40 years experience by itself is not necessarily a good thing - it depends very much on what sort of training they use/employ. You should check whether they are registered with the APDT, and also ask them their views on aversive training, and dominance theory. If they spout about dominance theory and pack hierarchy, DON'T use them, and run very fast. Good behaviourists will understand the drivers for dog behaviour, how dogs learn and will talk a lot about positive reinforcement. Personally, I'd be a bit wary of anyone who claimed to be able to sort out all your issues in one 1 hr session.

Fourthly, I'd definitely agree about upping exercise/training regime - he does sound as though he is looking for things to do. grin

Good luck!

elmofan Fri 17-Jun-11 23:53:26


I had a good chat with the behaviourist on the phone but
she isn't cheap ( €135 an hour). She said that she will have oscar
walking perfectly on his lead within 10 minutes of putting his lead on hin shock
Is that possible?
He gets an hour run every morning and an evening drag walk for about 20

Jaynerae Sat 18-Jun-11 00:38:10

My beagle is 15 months old and every single day she will take every opportunity to steal, chew, destroy anything she can get in her mouth. I can't peg washing out if she is in garden, but to be honest I can't leave her in garden unless I am in kitchen and keep checking on her.

Yesterday she ripped wood of the fifth panel of fencing since February this year. We have replaced four panels already and put wire mesh over them so she can't do it to new panels, so she just moves on up the fencing!

I have had to put camping dog stake in lawn and chain her up until fencing can be fixed because hole is big enough for her to escape through. She will lie out there and chew bone for a bit.

I know it's when she is bored she causes trouble, but I can't occupy her every minute. She has 1.5 hours off lead in park every single day, 45 mins in morning and then again in afternoon, sometimes more in afternoon.

I have to put her in crate just to go to the loo!

So i totally understand how you feel!

And I would love to know what others do to keep their dogs occupied. She loves chewing but I can only let her chew bones, pigs ears, rawhide so many times in a day!

Coca Sat 18-Jun-11 09:15:30

elmofan, I would be wary of anyone making those kind of claims. If she thinks she can do it in 10 minutes I would put money on her whipping out a halti/gentle leader type collar or harness. She is also charging a huge amount of money, what happens if she doesn't make you get anything back? I paid £40 for an hour and it was the best thing I have ever done. It was obvious in five minutes that I was causing all the behaviour by the way I behaved around my puppy. But there is so much more work to be done than just identifying the cause of behaviour. good luck though, I hope she helps.

elmofan Sat 18-Jun-11 09:56:09

TBh i laughed when she said "give me 10 minutes with him on lead and he will be walking along side me perfectly" and i asked her did she have a magic wand grin . He has pulled the muscle in my upper right arm so many times that i have to use my left hand to hold him on lead . I told her i don't like the halti as his eyes become bloodshot and she told me she hates the halti herself . There is no way i would let her put a choke chain any where near him . So what's left to use ? She claims its all about the tone of voice to get him to behave , (she is most likely right , we tend to baby him ) . I have an open back door policy for oscar so he can come and go from the house to the garden whenever he feels like it . We have done lots of training classes with him when he was a young puppy and he is a good dog , its just he has a mischievous streak in him at times . The way i see it is if we don't expect miracles, we just might learn how to give commands so that he listens to us and some tips on walking him on his lead instead of him walking us would be great smile .

Jaynerae sad That doesn't sound like any fun for you or your dog .

silentcatastrophe Sat 18-Jun-11 10:32:57

It's not going to help if the behaviour person has the dog walking to heel on the lead and you don't.

YOu need to find a behaviourist who suits YOU. They all come in different guises and have slightly different methods.

Horror dog bolted this morning. He was gone for about 10 mins, then raced back to me so fast I thought he was either going to knock me over or run on. We can't leave him in the garden alone and he cannot yet be trusted off lead.

There are lots of methods people use for making lead walking better. Some people use treats, for the dog to sniff and sniff and sniff before they get to eat it. Some people make it not worthwhile going anywhere while the dog is tugging. I was watching Victoria Stilwell with a bargy dog, and frankly, if the dog is barging you out of the way, who's in charge? I have tried that technique of getting into the dog's space until they retreat and sit and it seems to work. Horror dog is much less likely to crowd the door and race out.

I was recommended getting training IN the house in order. It has helped.

Small alterations to our behaviour can make such a difference to the dog. It's just a matter of understanding what's going on and what changes we can make.

The chewing is normal. Can you use something your pup CAN chew, like a Kong lined with peanut butter? Or a bone?

I'm not sure about the validity of tone of voice. You can shriek at your dog if that's what you do, or you can whisper. If you yell at your dog, it does not mean that you beat him or treat him badly, it just means that that's how you communicate. HOrses for courses.

Dog magazines, like Your Dog have lots of advice from very good people. If you look up the people you will find contacts and professional bodies, and good recommendations.

It's a bugger having an out of control dog. It's hell. I do sympathise.

elmofan Sat 18-Jun-11 11:23:01

Thanks Silentcatastrophe .
She is coming to my house to give us an hour long lesson on how to use our tone of voice to get Oscar to pay attention . I am a bit sceptical tbh .
Fingers crossed it helps .

fruitshootsandheaves Sat 18-Jun-11 13:21:02

My Spaniel walks quite nicely on his lead now. He walks nicer in fact than my collie who always insists on walking right at the end of her lead.
I just kept stopping everytime he pulled, or walking backwards or just turning round and walking in the opposite direction. If I stop now he immediately comes back to heel but I don't insist he walks exactly at heel just on a loose lead.
The stopping / turning round method takes ages to get anywhere but it does work if you are consistent.
My collie immediately walks beautifully if I use a halti on her but no headcollar or any other walking device has worked for either of my Spaniels they just pull into them.
TBH I think to get a dog to walk to heel is much easier than to get them to return to you if they are really interested in other dogs / people (unless of course you have something like a Husky which is bred to pull! grin)

My dogs sound highly obedient from that post but they are not perfect. My Spaniel is actually the least trained of any of the dogs I've had, I've just been very lucky that he loves balls and is not the least bit interested in people or other dog, nothing to do with training it's just his nature.
On the other hand my collie has had a lot of training but will 'eat' other dogs at the slightest opportunity!

IMO It is much easier to train and manage a dog who is toy motivated than one who is more food motivated. Try to get your springer interested in toys and call him back and play with him on his walk. That might make him more interested in coming back when there are other dogs around.

My first Springer was very like yours by the sound of it and to get his attention I used a pheasant wing in an old sock. Sounds disgusting but he loved it and it really worked for training him, He did get through a fair few wings and socks though!

tink123 Sat 18-Jun-11 13:34:58

we have a springer who pulls. We have a lupi harness. It is best thing we brought because it is nowhere nr the neck.

minimu1 Sat 18-Jun-11 13:42:20

I can get dogs walking to heel and behaving very differently from the behaviour the owners have described to me BUT as Scuttle says that really is not very helpful as the owner has to live with the dogs.

I know many behaviourists do one visit and then write up a plan and give it to the owners to work on and usually offer a phone call advice at a later stage.

I don't do that but do the initial visit - write a report and plan of action but then return at least weekly to start with to help make sure that the owner understands the plan. As things progress I increase the time between visits.

(However aggression issues I would deal with differently)

On word of caution many people call themselves behaviourists and have no qualifications but have been trainers for many years and so "promote" themselves to behaviourists! Be prepared if you are not happy with any training methods to speak up and question the behaviourist and also ask for references. If dominance comes into the discussion, or any use of adversives politely ask her not to do it and to leave.

Often trainers are all that is needed to deal with some issues eg lead pulling but if you are being charged a behaviourist rate make sure that you are getting qualified behaviourist advice.

You will have to up the training and you will have to be consistent and patient to see results.

elmofan Sat 18-Jun-11 14:04:20

Thank you all smile

Behaviourist is coming tomorrow at 5.30pm .
Minimu1 thanks for your advice , My gut instinct is that Oscar will be an angel for her as he tends to be calm / nervous around strangers and runs to hide behind my legs for a few seconds before cautiously walking towards people to give a little lick smile
The behaviourist wants me to book him ASAP to be neutered , I'm a bit worried about him undergoing the operation . I want to have it done for health benefits and not as a solution to his behaviour - does that make sense ?

minimu1 Sat 18-Jun-11 14:34:03

Yes perfect sense - I am wary that she advised neutering without seeing Oscar to be honest. I agree you need to neuter for health reasons you make perfect sense to me

elmofan Sat 18-Jun-11 15:22:51

I have decided to make an appointment with my vet for a consultation before the behaviourist comes out to see him (going to phone her now and cancel tomorrows appointment until after i have spoken to my vet ) .
We have noticed his doggy bits looking red and swollen at times so i want to get this checked out as i don't think that's normal .
Oscar is due his booster jab anyway so i'll ask while I'm there .
Thanks again Minimu1 smile

silentcatastrophe Sat 18-Jun-11 18:07:51

If Oscar is cocking his leg, he is grown-up enough to go for the chop. It may or may not affect his behaviour, so health reasons are the way to go! I would be wary of someone who says that they can make the dog do this and that. It's not them who the dog lives with. It's you.

We were recommended a spray collar by a trainer. I was dubious, not knowing enough about them and them being bloody expensive. They can be helpful under certain circumstances, but they are instrumental in causing a lot more problems than they solve.

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