Author Topic: Socializing advice - Please  (Read 3019 times)

Offline jc1231

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Socializing advice - Please
« on: September 06, 2007, 06:14:16 pm »
Could someone advise on some advanced socializing tips for Duke?

Shortly after we rescued Duke (who was raised with a Rottie), he presumedly reached the "the terrible two's". He went from very calm and docile around other dogs to agressive (seemingly fearful).

After several eventful encounters with the unleashed and various escapees, we chose to put Duke in a soft muzzle while on walks.

A vast majority of the time, he responds well to the "leave it" command, no pulling, growling, whining, or barking - except when a Tiny Tracker is involved. Though we haven't experienced a full contact encounter for a while now, his excessive interest in them has not appeared to diminish.

Hints, tips, and suggestions towards resolving the matter would be greatly appreciated. :)

Thanks,
JC



When all forward progress seems to be going in reverse, remember Mom spelled backwards is still Mom.

Jennifer
Mom to 5 kids and 1 big dog :)

Offline jc1231

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Re: Socializing advice - Please
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2007, 07:24:59 pm »
Neutered.  :)
When all forward progress seems to be going in reverse, remember Mom spelled backwards is still Mom.

Jennifer
Mom to 5 kids and 1 big dog :)

Offline sc.trojans

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Re: Socializing advice - Please
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2007, 12:28:37 am »

There would still need to be an awful lot more information understood about Duke, his behavior, and the circumstances when the behavior arises in order for someone to help.

Based on the limited info however, it does not sound like a socializing issue at this point, but rather one that now requires "counter-conditioning".  Socializing by definition is introducing a dog to various stimulus and things to classically condition them.  Once negative behavior has taken hold, then it is a question of counter conditioning that behavior.

It may be that he did not get enough socialization, and efforts there may help. But a dog should never be offered the chance to "practice" their bad behavior. For example, if he is lunging and growling at dogs, he shouldn't be taken out around other dogs and put within the threshold to do this - even in a muzzle....it is a reinforcing behavior so every time he does it and processes it in his brain, it gets further solidified.

Your best route to turn this around and retrain him is to work with a certified CPDT trainer who can give you a good counter conditioning program.  You can look for a trainer in your area by searching at www.apdt.com and look for those with a CPDT certification.

Short of that, you could also read some helpful books and pamphlets if you want to try to go it alone.  The best guidance on the subject is "Feisty Fido" by Patricia McConnell.  If the root of the behavior is fear however, then you should also consider "The Cautious Canine".  Hence why a trainer is critical to getting the diagnosis right (is he fear aggressive, aggressive, or just reactive for example - different approaches potentially).
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Offline jc1231

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Re: Socializing advice - Please
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2007, 05:20:34 pm »
It may be that he did not get enough socialization, and efforts there may help. But a dog should never be offered the chance to "practice" their bad behavior. For example, if he is lunging and growling at dogs, he shouldn't be taken out around other dogs and put within the threshold to do this - even in a muzzle....it is a reinforcing behavior so every time he does it and processes it in his brain, it gets further solidified.

For your own peace of mind, we NEVER put Duke in intentional social settings (i.e. dog parks or beaches). We only take him on walks through the neighborhood. Even then, we take great pains to avoid (i.e. crossing the street) an encounter.

The muzzle is NEVER utilized as a training tool either. It is for safety reasons only! We use the muzzle to prevent a biting, law suit, and euthanization, because owners in our neighborhood do not respect the local leash laws.

My questions stems from my desire to eventually obtain another dog or two (and possibly foster), none of which will happen until Duke's behavior has been corrected.

I do appreciate the starting off point (i.e CPDT trainer and books). Thank you for that.
When all forward progress seems to be going in reverse, remember Mom spelled backwards is still Mom.

Jennifer
Mom to 5 kids and 1 big dog :)