What else can I do to quash this behaviour?

(18 Posts)
mckenzie Thu 10-Jan-19 21:13:47

DDog is a 4 year old Tibetan terrier who we’ve had since a puppy. He is reactionary to male dogs who have not been neutured. He has never bitten one but has growled and shown teeth etc so I decided to introduce a muzzle
The difference in his behaviour has been quite amazing. Dogs that we’ve met before and he has reacted to he now glances at, maybe gives a filthy look and then moves on.
It’s been suggested that the difference is in me as I’m more relaxed knowing he is muzzled and cannot bite and he then senses my relaxed state and so doesn’t react.
Is there any training that I can I do to try and change his behaviour for good so that he doesn’t have to be muzzled for life?

OP’s posts: |
AvocadosBeforeMortgages Thu 10-Jan-19 22:50:44

There's nothing wrong with being muzzled for life; it keeps everyone safe in such situations, and it's clearly working well for you both.

If you want to move towards a situation where he's more reliable, you'd need to contact an APBC or CCAB accredited behaviourist for some help with it. Your dog is, however, doing fantastically well with the muzzle on. It's entirely possible that it's making you more relaxed as (being a fellow tricky dog owner) I know it's easy to tense up when you see something your dog has a tendency to react to.

Doggydoggydoggy Fri 11-Jan-19 01:02:17

I don’t know what to suggest to help you but I would suggest that you look into a way of being able to get rid of the muzzle in the long term.

I am not familiar with a Tibetan terrier but I can tell you I have a collie so fair size who is muzzled and public opinion of her is grim.

Prior to muzzling her I very rarely had anyone look frightened of her.

supergrains Fri 11-Jan-19 01:02:46

I would just enjoy it, and keep the muzzle on for a while to help the good behaviour become a habit.

mckenzie Fri 11-Jan-19 08:33:22

Thank you for the replies.
I feel your pain doggydoggydoggy. It does upset me the way people look at my dog now but I appreciate that that’s nobody‘s fault but ours. I’m not sure what I did wrong with him as a puppy to make him respond the way he does; I was pretty anal with all the puppy classes, kennel club Good Citizen, lead walk and recall training etc. Perhaps I’ve just been unlucky.
I do hope that over time his behaviour will change as I really don’t like the thought of him being muscle for the rest of his life. I think that I can see a difference in his personality when the muscle goes on. sad

OP’s posts: |
Detoxpup Fri 11-Jan-19 09:25:48

Who gives a tosh what people think if your dog is happy - let him wear the muzzle

BiteyShark Fri 11-Jan-19 09:29:11

I see quite a few dogs muzzled and it doesn't seem to bother them. If he's better and happier and you are happier then I wouldn't worry about what others think.

Yes there will always be those owners who are judgmental but equally dogs are muzzled now for numerous reasons including stopping them eating every bit of junk on the floor.


Doggydoggydoggy Fri 11-Jan-19 09:53:21

I completely agree mckenzie.
My dog is reactive due to other dogs repeatedly being mean to her but like you I did everything ‘right’ and took great care to massively socialise and train her.

And yes, I also see a difference in her personality when the muzzle goes on.

Doggydoggydoggy Fri 11-Jan-19 09:54:07

I really hope that over time it will be fixed for you xx

Detoxpup Fri 11-Jan-19 10:18:29

I am confused you say he reacts less when the muzzle is put on - so that is good?

then you say you see a change in his behaviour - is this another change to the being less reactive?

The only way to improve his reaction to dogs is to change his behaviour and this will take time through a personalised behaviour modification programme which you would need to get from a qualified behaviourist

Doggydoggydoggy Fri 11-Jan-19 10:25:08

I am no behaviourist, but my amateur guess is the dog is less aggressive with the muzzle on because he feels upset and vulnerable and has lost confidence.

Without the muzzle he has the confidence to make contact, now he doesn’t he opts to sulk away instead.

Very different to true ‘rehabilitation’ where the dog is relaxed and happy and not reacting.

Doggydoggydoggy Fri 11-Jan-19 10:29:05

I would say that my dog also is much less aggressive with the muzzle on.

However, she does seem happier and more relaxed overall with other dogs, playing etc so I think for her, it is partly down to new training but like mckenzie I do also notice a change when I put her muzzle on (I only put it on when I am about to let her off leash) and I do think that part of the reason my dog doesn’t aggress at other dogs anymore is due to the fact that she feels vulnerable with the muzzle on and doesn’t have the confidence to threaten anymore.

Detoxpup Fri 11-Jan-19 11:24:38

A vunerable dog will always be more aggressive

TropicPlunder Fri 11-Jan-19 11:34:54

There's a 'reactive dogs uk' Facebook page which has a lot of info and advice. Could check that out if you haven't already! Also a good place to chat to people who are facing the same issues

Doggydoggydoggy Fri 11-Jan-19 11:48:40

How do you know that for sure detoxpup ?

How do you know for sure that the unmuzzled dog doesn’t snarl or nip because it believes that to be a quick way of fixing the situation and is confident of its ability to defend itself should the need arise?

And how do you know the same dog when muzzled opts not to snarl or nip with the muzzle on because it recognises that if the other dog takes offence it has no way of defending itself?

You don’t. None of us do.

We are all guessing.
Even the professionals really as scientific knowledge and research moves on, things that we thought were true with 100% certainty later can and sometimes are disproven.

No one knows for sure without asking the dog, which we obviously can’t do.

Detoxpup Fri 11-Jan-19 19:34:05

We are all guessing. Umm guessing?

Studying body language will tell us most of what we need to know tbh

Whoseranium Fri 11-Jan-19 20:40:42

Another vote for Reactive Dogs UK, it's a fabulous and very supportive group for owners of reactive dogs.

Doggydoggydoggy Sat 12-Jan-19 08:18:06

The point I am trying to make, is that research and science and understanding evolves all the time.

So what we believe to be true now, we may or not believe to be true in 10, 15 years time.

For example, it used to be widely believed that the play bow was a universal friendly signal that implied nothing but friendly intentions and desire to socialise.
But some behaviourists now believe that in fact the play bow is a sign of mild anxiety and is exhibited as a non confrontational way of gaining space.

In time, opinions can change.
We can recognise that we may or may not have got it wrong.

I have studied body language intensely and all the different training methods available (as reactive dog owners tend to)

I desperately hope that mckenzie and all the other owners of reactive dogs can get the help they need to ‘fix’ their dog, I am just making the point that because none of us can talk to our dogs we don’t actually 100% know that what are we suggesting is the absolute truth, just that it appears to be based on the evidence we have right now.

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