Dog Behaviour Advice - Dog Advice Articles
Weapons of mass destruction, updates and Winston
I do try to write light heartedly and I know I do spend a lot of time of dealing with dog aggression but that is the aim within the title of all these articles. I must say that the mustard gas used in the collars has nothing to do with the gas used in the First World War. Honest, I do not have any weapons of mass destruction. The compressed air people can use in the collars is simply compressed air that is odourless or with Citrus or Mustard scent added to help obtain the dogs attention. Most humans like the citrus smell and it has the advantage it helps keep the mosquitoes away.
These collars are just a way of saying "Dog I want your attention". There is no pain but maybe a little stress but not as much as shouting "NO" and mortifying your dog. John (Rogerson) was saying that a dog on guard worrying that people were forever trying to gain entrance to their territory must live a life of almost permanent stress. It cannot be happy, as it is unnatural to its own rules.
Just one other point on gas collars is that many English Town Councils have now purchased gas collars to rent or lend to their residence. This is to help reduce the ever-increasing issue of environmental orders. At last, there is help in stopping the problems before they become before the courts.
The item on alternative medicines for pets seems to have created quite some interest. Looking round the Internet I found acupuncture herbal remedies and faith healing. Talking to many vets, they also tell me they too are interested in any method that does help heal people's pets. There are some natural herbal remedies to quieten stressed dogs and for pain relief. I have a question did I know anything about a band called Bioflow which is something that is supposed to help humans and dogs with arthritis. I will obtain two bands to lend out to two dogs that I know might benefit from its use so I will give them a test. One dog has poor hips and the other has badly calcified hips so not actually true arthritis but we will see if there is any benefit. With so many dogs and cats, living here and living longer, arthritic joints are more prevalent.
As to the dog next door, a local thought the dog was away as they had not heard it bark lately. I said "No, look it is there looking over the fence at Winston." The dog does bark at people who walk past but is not barking at nothing. If John is right that guard dogs live stressful lives, did the Reiki therapist take away the stress? Now when it barks Winston and I look out now and normally it is just people walking back from the restaurants. It no longer seems to cry wolf but as to why I can only guess as we do not know how the dog reacted before we moved in.
Most of this week has been owners returning collars after successfully stopping dogs barking and chasing cats. Well the owner of the dog that chased cats says the cats have disappeared so they are not certain of a full cure yet. It could also be the cat's do not like the smell of citronella.
I have just taken a remote collar to an owner whos dog eats other dogs and cats excrement: Yuck. Dogs do obtain some nutrition by this type of eating but most owners like to stop this as soon as possible. If your dog does this, it may pay to just check with your vet that there is no mineral deficiency. Some dogs also love to roll in some of the most obnoxious things they find lying in the road so remote gas collars may just help in your retraining programme.
I think there is a newer version of the remote collar called the Commander. I will see if I can obtain one to test to see if there are any improvements for you. Battery life is a problem with the old ones and a new battery is not only difficult to obtain but expensive as well. I think there is also an alternative manufacturer so I will also purchase one of these to see if it is any better that the Master Plus but I am uncertain if they are obtainable here in Spain.
I have a new version of the Aboistop for the smaller dog and to use it on a dog that barks at small children. This dog is the friend of the TV dog so the owners need to stop this little dog barking so they can finish the TV dog-barking problem.
The dog that was barking all its life on the end of a chain for four years seems to have quietened down considerably. A problem has occurred in that the dog thinks it is loosing face in front of the other two dogs of its perceived place in the hierarchy so has become aggressive and trying to bite the owners.
I have suggested to the owners to go back to the dominancy training vigorously using its mealtime and ignoring the dog what ever it tries to do to retain its position. Certainly, the initial problem now seems under control and a little more time spent on showing the owners are the dominant ones should stop all the aggression.
You may recall the dog that was suppose to be aggressive at a training school when all it was saying was it has painful hips please leave me alone. As the owners had regained control, the dog was no longer the top dog. To regain its position it took to standing in front of the wife when she tried to gain access to the kitchen. The owner just needed to show she was going to go through no matter what and the dog then stepped out of the way and end of the problem. It then had a period of being aggressive at other dogs but a can of compressed air cured that problem.
I see that on one of the web sites they have finally stated that it is inadvisable any one should use an electric collar on an aggressive dog. This small beginning shows us that people are now recognising that aggression begets aggression. An electric collar is a very aggressive method of inducing pain and whilst the dog may conform it is non-the less more aggressive and learnt it too can use aggression.
I also received a request for advice from Romania following a demonstration by my friend who was showing how to train a dog using titbits to translate commands like sit, stand and down. The request was how to teach a dog to bark when people come to the house but not to show aggression. This is easy as all you do is ask each person when they come in to get the dog excited to bark and play with it and offer a titbit and praise. If owners are worried about food poisoning then just let the person entering only give praise and the owner gives the titbit. Eventually when the person enters, they say nothing and the dog will bark looking to the owner for it reward. It is just like training a listening dog as used by those hard of hearing. This is just one small step toward anti-aggression training.
Following on from the EU grant giving to Suzanne Holding, to promote the dog dancing keep fit classes, this I just have to see. I cannot visualise Winston doing press ups pelvic curls or using the Step all to music. Anyway, I have asked if I am entitled to receive a grant for my Romanian work. I expect for me this will only arrive after hell freezes over. It all depends on how big a budget each department is issued with and have they found ways of spending it. I expect you read where a poet received a small fortune as a grant to sail round the world in a yacht to write poems. Sadly, Winston cannot write poetry and I suffer from seasickness.
Being in the kennels for nearly two weeks his heelwork on the lead has deteriorated as I found walking him along the beach above Denia. It is interesting also to see the alternative methods of how people train their dogs. One dog was pulling the owner off her beach mat so she found a book is a good way of training her dog: she hit it on the head with it. Even Winston winced and certain the dog went cross-eyed for a moment.
Winston can swim but as he comes close to me, he panics and starts splashing with his legs trying to keep his head up. I wore a tea shirt to reduce the possibility of scratches but it was not much help. As Winston swam back to the shore, he swam perfectly but he has not yet happy with swimming. We will keep trying on the Sunday mornings until he looses his fears and swims with his friends who both swim perfectly. Maybe I should purchase him a rubber ring or some other floatation device.
I now have to look at some distraction training for Winston as with so many things to look at obeying my commands can become second place. There must have been a circus on the Arenal as Winston found a whole host of smells he just had to savour. Clapping my hands had no effect at all. Walking away showed no improvement either. In the end, I had to go up to him and clip him on his lead. There is no point it trying to make a dog obey a command when distractions have a hold on your dog. The more the dog finds it can disobey the more it learns it can and will do so in the future.
What is distraction training? When you are learning to drive a car you focus on the actual skill of driving the car. Gradually the instructor will then ask you to drive in busier areas with added distractions in order to further your experience and training until you are proficient to take your test. When you start to train your dog you again focus on your dog and you cannot watch out for all the distractions that make training even more difficult. Try teaching your dog heelwork in a park full of loose playful dogs. Initially most owners train their dogs where there are no distractions. This is a way they can teach their dogs to obey each command more easily. When the dogs regularly obey these commands, they then must add minor distractions and teach the dogs to ignore these in the same way. If the handlers are having success they can gradually add increasingly more difficult distractions until the dog obeys you all of the time.
If like in training for the recall you must have constant recalls where your dog conforms to no or low levels of distraction. When you have, 100% recalls at the easy levels then you can start to look for higher levels of distraction and slowly phase these in. Do not rush this and do not become angry. If you find your dog fails to obey then go back to the beginning and build it up again. My dog initially learnt the down and stay by himself. I then moved to stays with groups of dogs and when that worked, we added distractions like the steward walking past the dogs. Finally in one competition whilst in the down and stay the judges steward fired a shotgun. They all stayed much to the relief of the handlers.
If you can learn to assess the level of a distraction as to whether you think your dog will respond to your command then if you feel it probably will not respond then there is no point in giving the command for it to learn to disobey you.
This week Winston has been up and down in lifts and I left him in the car in the car wash so he becomes desensitised to all sorts of strange events. It must be odd to him for the car seeming to move without the actual movement added to this the noise. He was able to see me and he just lay down in the back of the car un-perturbed.
I was trying to recognise Winston's character and I thought he was a bit like the cartoon character Scooby-do. Whilst on our walks a lady came out of her gate, met him, and said, "He is a lovely dog and just like Scooby-do." I rest my case.