Advice regarding my rescue dog and experience with dog trainers please(13 Posts)
Hi All, Sorry if this is long
I have a 2 1/2 year old Border Terrier cross. She previously belonged to my mums neighbour, he was frequently in hospital and it meant my mum was going in to feed her but she was alone most of the time barking continuously. She was beaten by her owner very badly, he was an unwell man who has no voice box due to cancer meaning my dog never understood words but only that violence meant she had done wrong. I took her to an emergency vet when she was six months old as he hadnt vaccinated her and she had got Parvo. It all came to a stop when my mum found him beating my dog in the front garden and my mum took the dog from him.
I have house trained her, got her used to words and moved on to rewarding good behaviour instead of punishing her for bad. I dont allow her to live as though she is in her previous life so if I see her scared of me for no apparent reason I will ignore that behaviour. She was perfectly good up until July when she 'out of the blue' attacked another dog on the beach, the dog growled at her and it set off something but after being hit repeatedly by the other dogs owner it was broken up and she has never been off of her lead again.
At home she barks continuously at the door when it knocks, she gets so excited when people come in that she tries to jump at them and wont give in until they give her attention, she barks at people with hoods and dogs from the window and its relentless. Every little noise (bangs in general) set her off to shake for at least 2 hours and on advice from vet I generally ignore her fear but try to introduce her ball. She is ball obsessed but during this time of fear she is not interested. Sometimes she will just cower at my feet and follow me round the house for hours. She will also run out of the back gate, or out of the front door if she see's something and although she will cry at the gate to come back, she will all of a sudden behave as though she doesn't know me and off she goes. I have tried everything imaginable.
I spoke to a dog trainer today who assured me he can get her sorted. £80 for 10 sessions. There are Foundation, Bronze, Silver and Gold classes
He suggested we start from foundation and work from there, please would you tell me if dog training sessions helped your dog? I would really appreciate hearing something positive because I am very worried for my dog's mental health at this stage.
I think you need a behaviourist first as opposed to normal dog training sessions. I would imagine the £80 is just for the foundation course. I do the Kennel Club Good Citizens and that comes in bronze, silver and gold so that might be what he is talking about but it is just basic dog training. It goes though all the things that dogs should know, basic obedience and good manners. From the sound of it your poor dog has problems and would need specific behavioural help. The dog trainer might be able to recommend someone but don't let him fob you off with just going to his training classes, I think you need a bit more help to start with. Good luck with it, sounds hard but you're doing wonders for this poor little dog. She is lucky to have you.
She's so lucky to have ended up with you, and it must be so stressful dealing with so many unwanted behaviours. Hope you have a vast amount of chocolate on standby at all times!
I hope a behaviourist can help as well. In the meantime / while that work is going on, I wonder whether a thundercoat (or is it jacket?), no its SHIRT www.thundershirt.co.uk, and / or a Dog Appeasing Pheromone collar or diffuser might help. I think either can be hit or miss, working well for some dogs and doing nothing for others, but there is definitely some evidence for the DAP having an effect where it does! www.adaptil.com/uk
I wonder if the guy banged on surfaces to get her attention because of the no voice issue... and probably followed it with physical punishment if it didn't have the effect he wanted.
I would also suggest a behaviourist who could observe your dog and could then tell you if she was a suitable candidate for classes. If she is a generally very fearful dog then classes could be very difficult for her (and you)
I tried a thundershirt for one month and it did nothing for her at all. Also tried Adaptil, a plug in for the wall thing, calm eze tablets ( nothing ) . She had to have Diazepam over the worst part of fireworks. The door went 30 times from 5pm - 11pm and it pushed her over the edge. The guy I spoke to today also offers one to one but is a police dog trainer and we spent 20 minutes chatting about everything about her. He said he feels confident with her but bringing her is the only way we will know how it will go. Just wanted to know I'm doing the right thing as hate watching her like this day in and day out, started to think to myself that her quality of life is pretty miserable seeing as she spends most of the day shaking. She looks absolutely miserable and I just wish I could of had her from day one!
Each course he offers is £80 so essentially I'd pay four times that if I felt it was working.
I have used two police dog trainers - actually , one I think was a handler - he didn't use positive methods, so I stopped working with him.
The second only uses positive methods......
Anyway I think because of your dogs history I would be wanting to go and observe a class before taking her and make sure there is no negative punishments/ like water spray etc
Going to observe a class is an excellent idea.
An ex police dog trainer local to me told my friend to use a choke chain on her St Bernard pup.......
We have a dog who's bark was beaten out of him. He's been with us for nearly 3 years and has changed massively. This year, he leapt for joy when we went on holiday. He is becoming much more confident around dogs and people and has put on a good amount of weight. Over the years I have worked with many trainers and behaviourists. Another dog we had was probably brought up on a puppy farm. For the first 6 months of him living with us, we really wondered who had come to share our home. He turned out to be the most fabulous dog. A very special animal. It takes time and it sounds as though you have the basics covered. It took me ages and ages to find help with a dog who bolted again and again and again. It was a misery going out with him, and really no amount of chicken or sausages would bring him back. It really depends on you as an owner and the temperament of the dog as to the behaviourist you find helpful. I'm sure you will find a way.
I understand if you don't want to but if you pm me the trainers name and area I could advise if he is ok for your dogs issues. (I think he probably is not)
Ex police handlers are generally old school and their training methods will destroy your dog.
The best thing i've done for our rescue ( v mistreated) dog was to get a behaviourist in. Best money i've ever spent. She spent a couple of sessions with me and rest of household. I think without it he would have been pts as he was aggressive ( fear) mainly with kids.
We also did the dog training seperately. I can hand on heart say we have been so lucky to have him in our lives, wonderful pet!
I'd agree with previous posters, in that you need to see a behaviourist who'll work out a plan before you can consider training. The fact this guy wants you to go to training classes knowing her issues is very worrying. To get a good behaviourist, go to the APBC website - they are all professionally trained and only use positive methods with good science behind them.
In the longer term, training will help with lots of these issues, and you'll really enjoy working together. Good luck.
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