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Trainer said that his dog will bite other dogs who come up to her??

(40 Posts)
Ermm Sat 04-Nov-17 14:12:24

So - just home from second training class with this trainer. (Pup is 8 months and did puppy school when he was younger and we are back for the next level).

So the trainer was talking about needing to help dogs to control impulse etc when around other dogs and learn to interact properly with other dogs. All very good and sensible important advice. But then his analogy was that if someone comes up to a person and they’re too in their face they’ll punch them and then he used his own terrier as an example. He said that if a dog comes up to my dog and is too in her face she’ll bite them. Which was fair enough.

Hmmmm. I get that a dog should be able to defend itself against another dog and absolutely agree that dogs should be trained to not annoy other dogs - but surely a trainer should train his dog to really only bite as the absolute last resort not just because another dog is annoying them??

Would that raise your eyebrow if a trainer said that??

Shambolical1 Sat 04-Nov-17 14:47:21

I think he probably meant 'eventually'. Dogs (usually - there's always an exception!) pass through visible stages of arousal before they actually 'kick off'.

Some are more touchy than others of course and will react quicker. No dog should have to suffer other dogs up in its face but sadly pretty much every dog does. Many owners insist 'he only wants to play' when their dog has quite the opposite intention. The same people will then say 'he's never done that before!' when the inevitable happens.

It's up to the owner to protect his and other dogs from reacting badly in these situations. Sounds like your trainer needs to communicate better himself!

Floralnomad Sat 04-Nov-17 16:42:24

I reckon he means if they are right in his dogs face and harassing because I have a terrier who is exactly the same . We manage it by only allowing him to mingle with dogs that I know will not annoy him , because he’s been attacked twice ( by a bulldog and a staff) I keep him well away from flat faced dogs because his automatic reaction to them now is heckles up and ready to fight . I will add he has never started a fight but does get stuck in given an oppurtunity .

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 04-Nov-17 17:03:16

Trainers/behaviourists often have ‘cobblers children’ as their dogs. By that I mean they take on dogs who already have a history they do the best they can, but the dog is not perfect. So in this case the may have originally been highly reactive, but now will only snap if another dog gets completely in it’s face.

Ermm Sat 04-Nov-17 18:41:01

Thanks for comments.

The reason why I raised an eyebrow was that the way he said it was very much if another dog does that to my dog my dog will bite (ie not exceptionally) and that’s okay for the dog to do that. (Dont think its a rescue or anything). Presumably according to his analogy he also punches people who come to close to him...

Tbh I’m not really warming to him. He spends a lot of time talking about how much better he is at training dogs than everyone else he knows.

The problem I’m trying to solve at the moment is my massively over friendly puppy who wants to be friends with every dog he sees! He’s got good doggy manners and is submissive etc - but still I know not all dogs like it.

Floralnomad - if we were walking past you any my dog wanted to play with yours what would you want me to do? At the moment I ask the other owner is it okay to play. Is that reasonable? I dont let him off his trainign lead yet, so haven’t worked out what to when that happens....

Greyhorses Sat 04-Nov-17 19:13:13

I think he is trying to say that in a dog language a dog that rushes up to another dog in a rude manor without using proper etiquette it would get told off.
Some owners have no idea that dogs running up to greet eachother is not necessarily a good thing, your dog should be focused on you and not playing with others.

So to be an overfriendly puppy sounds to me like a puppy with no manners not taking signals from other dogs?

I of course allow mine to play on occasion but when out and walking I expect them to ignore other dogs until told otherwise, maybe this is what he meant?

Floralnomad Sat 04-Nov-17 19:40:25

I always tell puppy owners that he doesn’t like them and I expect them to move their dog away / keep it on a lead , even when mine is off lead ( I will grab him originally to give them a chance to get hold of theirs) . My point being my dog will not under any circumstances approach another dog so I don’t see why he needs to be on lead as he’s fine if other people leave him alone . He does have a few doggy friends that we walk with but they all know to ignore him .

Ermm Sat 04-Nov-17 20:03:23

Thanks Greyhorses - do you have a specific command to let them know they can play or do you recall them if you don’t want them to play?

Ermm Sat 04-Nov-17 20:07:04

At the moment Alf doesn’t normally just rush up - he tends to stop when he sees the other dog and sit and then presumably there’s some sort of doggy eying each other up that happens?? Then if he approaches hes very submissive - but he doesnt seem to understand when the other dogs tells him to go away.

We’re working lots on his recall - but its really bad when there’s other dogs.

My dream would be that he only talks to other dogs when I tell him he can!! So recall can;t be the only tool??

missyB1 Sat 04-Nov-17 20:12:34

I assume if a dog Is off lead then they are friendly and well socialised and can cope with another dog approaching. If they cannot cope with other dogs approaching and will turn aggressive then then need to be on a lead as the rest of us are not telepathic!

OP your trainer sounds aggressive to me, perhaps it’s no surprise that his dog is the same.

Greyhorses Sat 04-Nov-17 20:15:27

No I don't have a command Floral I just sort of keep on walking grin

At the moment I have a 6 month old puppy and have been working on focus work and treating when she passes something without looking at it. You have to make you much more fun than the dog. I also do lots of look at dog, look at me then treat type work. I want mine indifferent to other dogs and not to see them as things to play with if I can.

If I do meet someone I generally expect them to sit while I say hello to the person and then will release them to play if appropriate. The younger one can be wiggly so if she is being silly she is not allowed to play until she is calm, if she isn't calm I keep hold of her!

I don't ever allow mine to mix with strange dogs without asking first, mainly as mine are a breed people are scared of and I don't want anyone frightened or my dogs blamed if it did kick off blush

I do let them play with friends dogs or dogs I meet regularly and the rest I recall, heel and then release once passed. If your in the north your welcome to join us grin

Ermm Sat 04-Nov-17 20:26:29

Down South I fear but that would have been good!

The thing is I feel guilty because he LOVES playing with other dogs - makes him so happy. And I think I’m really worried I’ll make him scared of dogs or something and that its mean or something. Logically I understand a well trained dog is a happy dog - and hes got mates he does play dates with. But still. It’s just the two of us and I’m so boring when it’s comes to playing..

Okay I think I might start focussing on treating him for looking at me and not dogs when we walk past.


Ermm Sat 04-Nov-17 20:28:23

Hi missyB1 - yeah I think the trainer might be a bit of a dick.

We’ve had some 1-2-1s with another trainer when Alf was younger and think we’ll go back to him.

I really want to find a structured process to get him well trained though - and actually quite hard to find this. I’m new to doggy ownership and dont have a clue what I’m doing!

Greyhorses Sat 04-Nov-17 20:30:24

He won't care honestly smile

You've got to make it his choice, so there's a dog to play with but mum has chicken/a ball/a silly voice or whatever makes him tick so I would rather follow her. That way he won't become frustrated because he wants to follow you and eventually won't care about it.

There's plenty of opportunities to play if you look for them though. Are there any dog socialisation groups near you that you could join? Failing that you need a second dog as my two play so much together they are played out! grin

Ermm Sat 04-Nov-17 20:36:52

We’re going to start going to puppy agility classes hopefully soon! And he has puppy play dates with this BFF on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

There is a puppy park that we used to go to loads when he was little - but now he just tears off and plays with the other dogs and I think it just gives him bad habits.

I’ve already realised I’m going to have to get him a sibling...He’s a Cavalier King Charles - I was warned when I got him that they’re like chips, you can’t stop at one....I thought that was ridiculous. Now I get it.

He’s only 8 months though so I think I need to get him more trained and settled before we’re ready for another one. And I need to move to a house with a bigger garden and not in the centre of town.....I think he’d love a pal though.

How old was your first when you got your second??

Greyhorses Sat 04-Nov-17 20:46:04

We've always had an older one and a younger one. Current dogs are 6 years and 6 months however the closest gaps we have had have been puppy and 3 years.
I think it also depends on personality, 6year old dog never really played with our last dog who was 2 but plays with this new puppy constantly so he must like her better!

I would consider a second any time from about 2 personally but not much younger than that mainly as once the second comes along they tend to listen to you less blush

Ermm Sat 04-Nov-17 20:55:27

Yep I was thinking about 2. And who knows he might be over other dogs by then (not gonna happen).

He’s doing teenage not listening at the moment - I know and he knows that he has understood what I’ve told him to do....Cavittude. I really cant complain though - only real problem is hes too friendly to other dogs and he scratches my sofa (for which clicker training leave it seems to be working!).

Thanks for your comments!

Floralnomad Sat 04-Nov-17 20:59:20

missy , I always make sure people know to stay away , but why should my dog who will not approach another dog have to stay on a lead because other people can’t keep their dogs from pestering him . He’s fine if someone just has a sniff and moves on but hates it if they bounce in his face or touch him .

SwimmingInTheBlueLagoon Sun 05-Nov-17 00:59:10

He’s a Cavalier King Charles

grin that explains everything! He'll get there. They are an extremely "over friendly" breed. The hardest part of training with my Cav was definitely the over friendliness.

As well as recall, 'wait' (stop where you are right now) and 'close' (stay close but not to heel) will help.

My Cav is now 18months old and gets lots of compliments on how well behaved he is. He is calm around other dogs, will recall even if there's another dog only a few steps in front, will wait anywhere I tell him, stay close and ignore other dogs when we pass them - even when he is off lead. He has the odd day when the excitement is too much and I have to put him back on lead, until he's calmed down a bit. Plus it all goes out of the window when he sees his 'polar bear' friend (actually a gigantic mountain dog but looks like a polar bear). Thankfully polar bear doesn't mind. So still some improvements to make but at least we are nearly there now.

SwimmingInTheBlueLagoon Sun 05-Nov-17 01:22:57

I got a cocker (show type) to go with my Cav. Cav was 16months when cocker came and it's all worked out fine, if anything it seems to have further improved Cavs behaviour around other dogs.

I had intended waiting until spring - early summer next year but the perfect breeder of Cockers had a litter (cocker came house trained, knowing sit command and to sit for you to open a door, as well as being a wonderfully confident, yet easy going, chap, etc - breeder really had done an amazing job raising the pups).

fivecupsoftea Sun 05-Nov-17 07:38:00

Did you say that you keep your dog on a training lead? I think the dogs learn 'manners' around other dogs when they are off lead as the other dogs will put them in their place if they don't want to play with yours. My puppy used to go up to all the dogs in the park, the owners said to me that they were fine with this, and my dog has learnt how to get on with other dogs, which ones want to run around and play with her and which ones don't. If there was a dog that was too much for her I would put her back on her lead, also if I saw a pack of larger dogs. I wonder if your dog is missing out on this learning if she/he is not off lead?

Ermm Sun 05-Nov-17 09:00:49

Oh my god SwimmingInThe BlueLagoon - you’ve just written all my hopes and dreams down on paper!!!! “Wait”, “close” - are these things really possible??

I’d really love to know a bit more on how you achieved this? At the moment I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. Our focus at the moment is on recall - but I dont know how to even train for those other behaviours? That’s what I was hoping to get form our training course but its really not being as helpful as I hoped.

One of my challenges is that I live right in the middle of town and don’t have a car. When he was smaller we used to get taxis to parks a lot (!!) but he hasn’t been well and has been on reduced exercise (probably IBD - whole other story) and I’ve been a bit slack about this now hes better. Guilt. When we are out in bigger spaces I have a mega long training lead - our 1-2-1 trainer said I shouldn’t let him off until his recall is 100% solid because he just runs off with other dogs and has no road sense.

So, I’m going to start making much more of an effort to try to go for a walk in the woods or something most days - hes really good on buses so that’s helpful. On his long lead. Presumably we practice then? Or there’s a smaller local park I can go to.

So I suppose its just what sort of techniques I should be using, how often I need to be training etc???

I do need a kick up the butt about tough love though. I know that ultimately hell be happier if hes really well trained - but THOSE EYES.

He’s so awesome though. Love him so much.


Ermm Sun 05-Nov-17 09:02:38

Oh and your Cocker sounds lovely!

And Alf would be ALL OVER the polar bear. I think in his mind hes about that size anyway.

SwimmingInTheBlueLagoon Sun 05-Nov-17 10:36:46

We did the dogs trust adult dog training course, which definitely helped (and it doesn't matter if you got your dog from a breeder or a rescue). They have training sessions at lots of venues other than their rehoming centres too. Google 'dogs trust dog school' and look for your closest training venue. The way they are set up helps dogs learn to not bother about other dogs being nearby. They also had 3 trainers for a 6 dog class, so lots of 1-1 support available during class.

Definitely don't take away the training lead until you've got mostly there. Cavs are often so over-friendly they would follow someone home or still go up to a dog that will savage them.

The wait command actually started at home. I know when you tell them to sit or lie down, etc they are supposed to do it until you release but I couldn't get my Cav to understand that, so introduced wait command when he was doing that. Then it gradually came that I could say wait from across the room or garden and he'd just stop moving. So then I gradually taught it when out and about where it was quiet. Then gradually built up to doing it with more distractions.

Recall I found he wouldn't respond to an actual whistle (well he would until someone else had used one in the vicinity then it was back to square one) or to just a name call. I make a funny whistle noise myself and tap my hands on my legs, which has worked well from when I first tried it. Initially I let him off the lead in really quiet areas where I could see all around and recalled loads and he got a fuss and treat for coming back and an extra treat for the lead going on, which I often took straight back off (so he didn't associate it with the end of his fun). He has to remain sitting until I say he can go and I have a gesture for that too. Over time I gradually did this with dogs visible but very far away and very gradually built up until he was doing it with other dogs being closer and closer. The rest of his walk was fully on lead until I'd built up to him doing this with other dogs getting close by. For ages I still had to recall and put his lead on to actually pass a dog but over time he just got better and better.

At dogs trust training we also got leave it command working good - "leave it" should always mean a complete 'no don't go near that', "wait" is for 'not yet'. So if there is a dog or person I don't want him to approach at all I say "leave it" and he will. When I'm not sure about a dog I tell him to "wait" and check with owner - if they say it is ok for him to approach, he is told to "say hello", if not then to "leave it".

The close command is still a work in progress but getting pretty good now. I just keep dropping treats near me as I walk and saying close. - I'd say don't work on the close until you've got the other commands pretty much sorted.

I am fortunate to live where there are brilliant walks, so it's not been a problem to find large but quiet areas to practice in, which has helped. He also sees a lot of dogs on the other parts of his walks.

If at any point he stops listening properly he is recalled - so long as he comes back of his own accord he gets treated and released again. If not and I have to grab his harness he goes on short lead until he's walking nicely to heal (so I know his focus is back to listening to me), then he is released again.

Don't despair I seriously thought when my boy turned 1yr I'd never be able to let him off lead with another dog anywhere near him. But he matured a lot and with persistent training and dogs trust dogs school we are pretty much their now (except with polar bear friend).

SwimmingInTheBlueLagoon Sun 05-Nov-17 10:42:05

*pretty much there now

And apologies for my many other typosblush

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