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Behaviour experts over here please.

(13 Posts)
D0oinMeCleanin Mon 05-Nov-12 09:34:46

I need help with Devil Dog.

I am stuck.

It's his behaviour in the car. It gt better, a new dog appeared in the car, it became much much worse, resulting in more actual bleeding from me sad

He used to be scared of other dogs, this drove him to be on guard all the time. When in fight, flight or freeze my terrier would pick fight every time <sigh>

With the help of a behaviourist we managed to get this mainly under control. He's now what Jean Donaldson would call a Tarzan dog, he wants to play, he understands that other dogs are fun, he does not yet have all of the necessary social skills to interact safely with all other dogs - he still tries dry humping on occasion and sometimes attempts to greet nose to nose. Again this is improving, he can now run free with a pack of well socialised dogs who are slowly showing him the ropes and every day I see new improvements in his social behavior.

To get him to the place where he runs with the other dogs, we have to put him into a car with them. This did not go well to start with. He was still fearful of being 'trapped' with unknown dogs. He went into fight, flight or freeze. He fought, because I would not let him get to the other dogs, he took his frustrations out on me sad

He never caused any major damage, just minor cuts and bruising, mainly to my hands. We muzzled him. He got clicks and treats for behaving well. This helped him. Still the barking ensued, but this became more excitement than fear, because he now knew the other dogs were no threat and he was going on a really fun walk. The barking is better when he can see out of the window, as the biting stopped, the muzzle came off and he was allowed on to the seat, where he could watch out of the window.

Now we've added a new dog to the pack, an elderly male who howls a lot. Devil Dog has taken the howling to be some kind of personal insult. He bit me and drew blood again because I would not let him kill the new dog. Don't get me wrong, I know he did not want to cause me any more damage than he did. He still showed bite inhibition, which is good. He has some control over himself. If he'd gotten to the new dog I don't think he would have shown any restraint.

Outside of the car he was mainly fine with the new dog, he tried dry humping it, the new dog did not like this and a little scuffle broke out, but was quickly brought under control and Devil Dog did not bother him anymore. This new dog is not the kind of dog who will put up with Devil Dog's lack of manners.

It's just in the car I need help. How can I stop him barking and biting me? Would a DAP collar or spraying the car with DAP help? Clicker training improves the aggression (although never cures it totally) but does little for the barking. We often have new dogs. I don't want to have to go through this each and every time we introduce a new dog.

Cuebill Mon 05-Nov-12 09:52:23

You are not going to like my answer.......sad

You are asking an awful lot of your boy. He is terrified and you are trapping him in a car in a situation he is very unhappy with.

I would remove the trigger (new dogs in car) and work on his confidence before I introduced new dogs into the situation.

<skulks off as Doin does not want to stop fostering dogs>

D0oinMeCleanin Mon 05-Nov-12 10:00:11

Yes. I know that is the answer. I can't remove the new dog, he's my Dad's foster and he adores him. Plus he is grieving for his owner, so is being spoilt rotten. It's also my Dad's car.

I can remove Devil Dog and walk him separately, but he really loves his walks off lead with the other dogs, he just hates the way there, funnily apart from yesterday with Howly Dog, he's always been fine on the way home. It's just on the way there confused

I make sure Devil is sat right be me and make sure he has his own personal space that I don't let the other dogs into.

I wonder if getting him a car harness and having him strapped in the front seat would help? All the other dogs are in the boot apart from Whippy and my pup. The new dog gets in the front, but could come in the back with me.

MrsZoidberg Mon 05-Nov-12 10:13:39

Sorry Doin, can't offer help with the actual issue, but I wanted to add a note of caution re the Dap. Please try him on it in a safe area first, somewhere he can be controlled if necessary - i.e not in the car.

We have our own devil dog, (except we call him Monster grin). We tried him on Rescue Remedy in the early days - it removed ALL inhibitions, and we had a very dangerous dog for a few days until I twigged it was the rescue remedy. Spoke to the behaviourist who had also had a dog who could never have calming stuff - I thought I was going mad until she backed me up on this. I can't remember the full technical explanation she gave me, but it went something along the lines of, as he is so scared of everythng, the RR relaxing him made him feel like he was losing even more control, so he was permanently in fight mode even when there was no threat.

D0oinMeCleanin Mon 05-Nov-12 10:21:46

We tried RR, it made no difference at all on Devil Dog. I gave it to my Dad for Howly Dog, but Howly is not aggressive. We think he just wants to go home sad

His owner went into hospital and never came back sad He'd had him for 12 years. He ended up in the pound, he was there for about 3 months until someone put me onto him and I begged my Dad to take him in.

He cries constantly. He will not let my Dad out of his sight, we let him off lead in a secure field last night and he literally glued himself to my Dad's side. He slept wedged up to the front door last night.

The RR helped him and reduced the howling but he still keeps trying to go home, or we assume that is what he is doing.

I've just had a message from my Dad asking me to come round and walk him out because he is pawing at the front door again and he's already had him out this morning.

MrsZoidberg Mon 05-Nov-12 11:27:05

Oh the poor thing, Your Dad is lovely taking him on. How long has our Dad had him for? Hopefully, once he's been spoilt for a bit, then he'll settle.

D0oinMeCleanin Mon 05-Nov-12 13:11:00

He's only had him 24 hours, so it's early days yet. He is partially blind and they think he might be deaf too. He's also got bad teeth which make him stink! He's getting those seen to this week. Other than that he is lovely.

He's a GSD x with possibly a collie.

pimmsgalore Mon 05-Nov-12 13:38:44

Doin how big is devil dog? (I know he's not massive but how long are his leg) as pimmsdog can't go in the front in his harness as he paws at my hand when I change gear. Although his harness hugs him tight and when we first got him it made him feel much happier in his surroundings so might help devil dog

Is he too big for a booster seat crate thing like these ? if you got him used to it in the house before putting it in the car he might be happier

D0oinMeCleanin Mon 05-Nov-12 14:05:19

He'd fit in that. He's a JRT/Fox Terrier around the size of a Westie.

I think I will give him one more try tonight and then will have to stop the car rides until he can remain calm around the new dog. They walked on a leash together fine just now. I took Howly out for some fresh air and to give my Dad a break from the crying and escape attempts so thought I'd take Devil with me so they can get to know each other better.

Cuebill is right. It's not fair on him, trapping in the car like that, but I've always thought it was worth it, it's only ten minutes there (although would take us an hour to walk, because we'd have to walk a different route, so walking there is not an option) and it gives him two hours off lead, with other dogs, which he loves. I don't have any where within walking distance where he can have as much space, however his behaviour last night was worse than ever sad

He could go off lead at the local park and in the woods, but there's not as much space and I still worry about him upsetting strange dogs with his boisterous behaviour, although his recall is good, I can't stop other dogs approaching him and cannot yet guarantee that he won't try to hump any dog who comes over to him out of excitement, my Dad's dogs cope with this with quick warning snaps and would never actually harm him so I feel safe letting him interact off lead with them.

Any tips on how to build his confidence in the car, without actually putting him in the car? confused

Taking the new dog out really is not option, as I said it's not my car. I'm given a lift as a favour I can't ask the driver and car owner to leave one of his dogs at home so mine feels better grin

D0oinMeCleanin Mon 05-Nov-12 14:24:38

Oddly if we bring other dogs into our house he is always fine with them. He sniffs them, realises he cannot pee on them or eat them and takes himself back off to his bed, he has never shown any fear inside his house, even when we first got him and he was acting aggressively outside, he was fine with dogs inside his house.

He's always had in interest in dogs outside and would struggle to get closer, but when he got closer he would panic and go into attack mode, needless to say we did not let him get close enough to cause damage until he showed calm behavior, once we could get close enough without aggression, this is when the humping started, this is especially bad when dogs run up to him off lead.

On lead he greets calmly enough but can sometimes try and stand his front paws on the strange dogs shoulders, maintaining close eye to eye contact. This is when I end the greeting and take him away to calm down. This is improving massively and now tends to only happen when he meets off lead dogs and he is on lead, when the strange dogs is also very excited or when there are more then one strange dogs trying to greet him at once. I tend to try and avoid meetings like this, but it is not always possible, sometimes people insist on using him to socialise their dogs no matter what I say to them hmm He is always rewarded for greeting calmly and for not humping strange dogs.

RedwingWinter Mon 05-Nov-12 16:38:18

It's lovely of your dad to take in the other dog. I think it's a big ask of the new elderly dog as well as of Devil Dog at the moment. But the older chap hasn't had time to settle in yet, and once he does things might be much better anyway. Also if he always howls in the car you or your dad will be able to work on that separately, hopefully.

It sounds like you need to go back a step and muzzle Devil Dog again temporarily, since there's no way of getting there without all the dogs in the car. Keep doing what you did orginally, and you'll get there just like you did before.

You've made huge progress with him and I'm sure this is just a temporary setback. But I agree with Cuebill too - I think he's telling you he still needs a lot of input from you and isn't ready to share you yet.

D0oinMeCleanin Mon 05-Nov-12 17:12:15

He does have me all to himself in the car, no other dog dare so much as sniff in my direction for fear of upsetting him hmm Even my Dad's dogs who are ten times his size hide behind their boot guard from him.

On the way home everything is calm. He once even let the flying whippet sit in his seat i.e. at my feet, nose right near the treat bag. It's only ever been on the way there, until we introduced Howly Dog and all hell broke loose on the way there and back.

The puppy actually tries to hide behind whippy when the barking starts (whippy is iggy sized, puppy is greyhound sized grin) Howly Dog just howled louder when the barking started. Then puppy started howling. Then Devil Dog barked louder and the Flying Whippet started crying. T'was fun [wibble]

He will be muzzled again tonight and we will see how things go. If it's still too much he will have to be walked alone for the time being and I will work with him in the car and do more walks with Howly Dog. He's fine travelling alone. It's only ever when there are other dogs in the car.

I'm not sure about huge progress. He's just scared the tea man half to death by doing his impression of the world's biggest Rottweiler behind the front door and then answering the door in my arms. The poor tea man looked horrified. I don't think I will be getting anymore lovely coffee and short breads delivered to my door again sad

RedwingWinter Mon 05-Nov-12 20:22:29

It does sound comic in the car. Dooin, you should be saving all these posts and writing a book or something. You have a great way of telling these stories.

The other day when my two both started howling at once it was so loud it wasn't true. I didn't know what was going on until a fire engine went by - the siren was drowned out by their howls. The husky always howls at sirens but this is the first time Dog2 has joined in. So I can imagine all your lot going at once - wouldn't want to have to concentrate on driving with that in the back!

Your poor tea man must have been terrified, and then amused to see the scary dog doing a Scooby Doo impression.

Anyway good luck with the car journeys! I hope it all sorts out.

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