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Taking dog-hating spaniel to Cornwall; any tips?

(10 Posts)
ThunderboltKid Fri 16-Aug-13 19:03:10

Brief background: Spring spaniel developed various behavioural issues last year when I had a baby (have been working with behaviourist etc) and started attacking other dogs (no blood drawn, but has to be pulled off them if she is off lead). She has since gone to live with my in-laws where she is walked with their two dogs in deserted woods and lives in outdoor kennel (she LOVES this arrangement and is a much happier dog). She comes back to us on weekends and we walk her on a lead and she goes mental every time she sees another dog (won't be distracted by anything - not food or toys)

Anyway, we are off to Cornwall for a week and I'm worried about how she is going to deal with so many other dogs in the vicinity; will the exposure do her good or is it just going to be something we have to struggle through?

(In-laws & their dogs are also going so I'm hopeful she might feel a bit safer in a 'pack' with the other dogs (who are elderly lurchers))

Anyone have any advice?

idirdog Fri 16-Aug-13 20:13:10

The exposure will not do her good unless properly managed and she is under threshold.

Are you still seeing the behaviourist and what strategy are you following for her reactivy?

ThunderboltKid Fri 16-Aug-13 20:29:15

Haven't seen the behaviourist since she moved in with in-laws; general advice was to avoid the bad interactions to help her unlearn the aggressive response. If we did see other dogs on a walk it was to change direction/distract with squeaky toys/treats etc. Part of the problem was I couldn't manage doing that with the baby in the sling.

Will have more hands free during Cornwall though. The house we're staying in is in a remote position but there will be lots of other dogs out walking. I'm taking a muzzle just in case, but may just give her a big walk super early when less chance of meeting other dogs.

Do you have any advice on how we can manage her around lots of other dogs? She has excellent recall; though I'd be reluctant to let her off as its quite cliffy (and she is a crazy seagull-chasing spaniel!)

Bowlersarm Fri 16-Aug-13 20:34:17

We have a dog aggressive dog. We've taken the decision to have him neutered which we are hoping will help. Obviously that won't help you though!

I did google 'dog on dog' aggression, and found a few good tips from doing that.

It is so stressful. I feel your pain.

Scuttlebutter Sat 17-Aug-13 00:24:08

It's probably not what you want to hear, but I really wouldn't put her through it. Remember, this is fear based - she is reacting like this because she is badly frightened - to me, that sounds stressful and miserable (and not much fun for you and the rest of the family). I'm petrified of spiders - it wouldn't be much fun for me if you took me to a reptile house which was full of free range tarantulas - certainly wouldn't help me get over my fear.

I'd arrange for a house sitter or a quiet kennel where she can spend a peaceful week. It will also be more peaceful for you and the rest of the family. As the owner of a reactive dog, I can promise you will not be relaxing if your dog is constantly kicking off, especially on walks where you don't know where the pinch points are or when to avoid the peak times.

ThunderboltKid Sat 17-Aug-13 07:11:09

Unfortunately it's a bit late for that as we are already en-route.

I'm planning to offload baby DS onto DH for the week (as much as possible) so I can concentrate on helping fluppers. I have clicker, long lead, toys and a freshly baked box of liver cake. I do know the area quite well so hopefully I'll be able to avoid complete dog overload; I don't mind even if it means getting up at first light (have bought light up collar with me.

My biggest issue is going to be keeping her away from FIL who is of the ''beat it out of her' mentality. He shoots, so is surrounded by spaniels who can be overly cocky & aggressive, rather than one who is fear aggressive. He thinks I'm just soft hmm.

PeanutPatty Sat 17-Aug-13 17:22:14

Get yourself a Yellow Dog Project bandana for the dog to wear. I says I need space on it. Hopefully will warn oncoming dogs and humans not to come hello'ing.

ThunderboltKid Sat 17-Aug-13 23:38:28

Good plan peanut; will try and order one now.

All going amazingly well so far; not quite sure how, but have met two dogs with no incidents. One of them she actually played with!

kchapper5 Thu 22-Aug-13 11:38:53

Liking this thread as we are taking my dog (male LabxGSD) who has on lead aggression to cornwall in a few weeks. off lead he is fine when meeting others but all recall goes and he will cross fields and roads to go and see them.
Sorry to hijack and i hope it continues to go well for you x

ThunderboltKid Tue 27-Aug-13 16:59:44

It actually went really well for us. We walked early or in places that were away from busy dog walking areas so minimised dog to dog contact. She played beautifully with a couple of dogs she was introduced to, and while she did have a go at a couple of other dogs she then relaxed in their company (when we were standing nearby - both dogs on leads).

It was hard work, and I used lots of positive reinforcement (a whole load of liver cake!) and didn't force the situation if I could help it.

Hope your holiday goes well KChapper!

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