or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Pets › devastation. please please, someone help me with this. AMAZING happy update!!!! #104
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

devastation. please please, someone help me with this. AMAZING happy update!!!! #104 - Page 3

post #41 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by daekini View Post
The thought of being without Thorn for even a month is breaking my heart.
I know you know this already, but this month of him being away could save you some true heartbreak down the road. I so wish I had had a breeder like yours who would have been so dedicated.

Two outcomes:
1- this works and Thorn is able to come back to you
2- this doesn't work as planned and he has to find another placement or remain with his breeder

Remember that either way could mean a happier life for him. A dog placed in a less-than-perfect setting for him can mean a miserable life full of anxiety and distress.

If his breeder can get to the heart of the problem and agrees that he can live with you happily, what a wonderful ending for both of you. If she spends this month evaluating and decides that he would be better suited to a different home, are you prepared for that news? Are you prepared to let him go, knowing it could mean a happy ending for him? It's heartbreaking, I know, I just would caution you against being overly optimistic about what this month away might bring. It sounds like the breeder will definitely give you her honest evaluation of him and expect you to accept it.

I am so pleased to read the story wannabemoms posted regarding her dog Gracie. It's wonderful to see a story about "difficult but doable" correction of dog aggression. That is a hopeful message!

Thank goodness Thorn came from a reputable breeder, and I'm glad to see that others reading this thread are taking away the message of how valuable that can be. If you didn't have that you might be truly stuck, looking at far more dreadful options than a month of doggy boot camp.

Please keep us posted as you make your decisions for Thorn's future! We'll be thinking about you both!
post #42 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpmandee
Thank goodness Thorn came from a reputable breeder, and I'm glad to see that others reading this thread are taking away the message of how valuable that can be. If you didn't have that you might be truly stuck, looking at far more dreadful options than a month of doggy boot camp.
Maybe this thread could become a resource for people who are facing life with an aggressive dog. At least some good might come from all the stress of this experience! Maybe someone who would consider putting their dog down, or re-homing (a liability!) would try to find a way to make it work. It's possible that over time, the dog can get over it. Maybe some would be able to find a way to stick it out. That isn't always a possibility and some people just don't have the resources and support available to make it work - no judgment from me for those who've not been able to make things work out! But maybe one in a million can find a solution. I hope we'll be one of the lucky ones!

I think that if Thorn's staying with someone else means that he wouldn't be at risk for euthanasia due to someone getting bitten, then he and I would have to make that sacrifice. But I'm going to do everything in my power to get him on the right track or keep him in controlled conditions. I know that everyone has to make the decision that's right for their family; we're working through that but for me, I can't imagine our home without him.

A reassuring statement from his breeder - she has never had one of her dogs intentionally bite a family member. Even aggressive ones. ACDs have many issues, but the bond with their family is complete. Sometimes, like in our case, that's what contributes to the aggression. Unfortunately they can unintentionally bite people when they are dog-aggro, which is where management and smart reaction on the part of the handler becomes imperative...
post #43 of 114
I'm so sorry! All I have to add is, dog aggression is not the end of the world...lots of people keep dog aggressive dogs very happily...and you'll be able to adjust, I know it. Every ACD I've ever met in my life (and I've met a lot, because of my horse/cattle ranching background) has been, well, "funny"....they were very much one-family or one-person dogs, and while not totally psycho crazy wanting to kill every dog they met, they were very much only-dog types who didn't care for friends of the canine variety. Your breeder will be able to help you, and while he'll most likely never be a golden at the dog park type of dog, at least you'll know his limits and be able to work with that.
post #44 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by daekini View Post
That said, Thorn will never, ever, be alone with my children. We started this a few weeks ago and it hasn't been a huge inconvenience. When I take a shower, he goes in the gated area. When I come inside to get a drink while the kids are outside with us, he comes too. Etc. Having a reliable muzzle will keep me from having to be so vigilant every second of the day. Do you think I'm overdoing it? I just feel that a dog that has shown aggression should not be trusted, even with those he's shown absolutely no aggression toward.
Well, I don't leave dogs alone with kids. But that said, I don't think that just because a dog wants to bite (category A) that it will have any inclination to bite (category B).

My very-people-aggressive dog was wonderful with my kids. It never crossed my mind that he could ever be aggressive to his 'pack' just because he wanted to bite all strangers.
post #45 of 114
It is my understanding that shock collars should NEVER be used on fighting dogs because the dog thinks the other dog is the one inflicting the shock and therefore attacks more. I would look for another trainer if I were you, or send him to the breeder since it sounds like he/she might have a better plan.

E-collars have an appropriate place, but trying to break up dog fights is the worst use for them.
post #46 of 114
I've only had time to skim and this will be rushed and disjointed...

That trainer who came over and introd. his dog there should be bonked on the head. There is no reason he couldn't have done his evaluation on dog-neutral ground.

Trainers use restraint to build drive/anxiety/tension/aggression in a dog. It makes perfect sense that your dog would be more dog aggressive when restrained.

My 11yo GSD is and always has been male dog aggressive. We walk every day and I rarely put a leash on him anymore. If we see, hear, suspect...the presence of another dog, he is simply not allowed to look away from me at all. Ever. I worked with trusted trainers and now we can walk right by another dog and his focus never shifts from me. I'm very interesting. Seriously, he never knows when I might do something crazy or fun (or correct the living bejeezers out of him with a prong collar - at first). I have his undivided attention. I keep him busy, tired, and guessing. And if he can't make eye contact with the other dog, they're less likely to start all the dominance wars.

Prong collar!!! Try to find a trainer who works with them often.

I never leave my dog alone with my kids. In fact, if I leave the room without the kids, he leaves too. He's gotten the message that those kids are MINE. He's a very serious dog who needs definite rules. That said - he was outside catching snowballs and "making snow angels" with my 4yo last week. My 8mo can attack him and he merely takes it - although he did lick her once.

The breeders' offer sounds great if they'll work with you as well as the dog. Are you going to do it?

-sorry so disjointed.
post #47 of 114
ugh, I hate prong collars. I think they are unnecessary. I am really sorry you are dealing with this, but I do not think it is a permanent situation. I do think you can fix this. You can agility train this dog, he can overcome his aggression, or AT LEAST have it controlled by YOU. Please start training him asap. Just work with him 5 minutes a day. There are many resources out there, books, internet, etc. that can help you train this dog without spending thousands.
If you train him well enough, other dogs will not even be an issue. He needs to focus on you, and listen to your commands.
I am puzzled when you say it took the trainer 20 minutes to get him to sit. Was that in the presence of the other dog? If not, then that seems ridiculous.
The breed you have is very active and intense. He needs focused and consistent training and exercise. I assume you know that since you researched the breed you wanted.
It is a great sign that he is not aggressive with your children. But, please do not let them roll around with him, or stomp on him. Please do not let them play unattended. I thought this was silly at first, but it really is not a good idea to allow children to be with a dog you do not fully trust (yet).
I sincerely hope you do not give up on Thorn. He is already an established, loved member of your family. He deserves all the attention and respect anyone else in your house would get. He needs your time.
Good luck!
post #48 of 114
Thread Starter 
No, Thorn will not be given up -

Thorn is worked with extensively by me. Sorry, but 5 minutes a day just isn't going to cut it. I have access to the resources you've mentioned and have exhausted many of them. I work with Thorn for an hour every day. Every day. No exaggeration. My kids go to school and that's when I work with him. I'll get him totally exhausted and then take him for walks, and still haven't been able to control him.

Here is a video of Thorn "working" at home so you can get an idea of how well he is trained. This is Thorn when he isn't exposed to other dogs:

Thorn behaving himself.

He's clicker trained. I worked as a trainer/handler at a security dog kennel 15 years ago - the methods were not anything I'd incorporate here but I say that just to make it clear that I know dogs and I'm no wilting flower when it comes to tough dogs. I don't think the experience gave me any special skill in training.

I do NOT have the ability to fix this on my own. The most important reason for this is that I don't have access to other dogs and therefore can't work on his most problematic issue. Sure we pass them on our walks, which is how I've been trying to work with Thorn. But I can't continue to walk my dog in the neighborhood because of his aggression.

I'm sorry if I sound defensive but I think you haven't read all the posts in the thread and I'm just trying to sum things up. You're right - I do know this breed, very well. I knew there would be challenges but this is beyond what anyone could ever expect. I don't thing some people realize just how TRAUMATIZING and TERRIFYING it can be to watch the total transformation of their perfect dog into a snarling, snapping, spinning monster.

Thorn will NOT respond to traditional means. During a dog-aggro episode, he will not take treats, he will not look at me, he will even start to bite me before realizing where he is and who I am. It's going to take way more than what I can do to on my own to get him back into shape.

I think immersion into a dog community may be what he needs, but I'm afraid that he will lose some of his bond to me and maybe some of his very good house manners.

Thorn's breeder is 7 hours away so no, she can't work with us both. But she has done this before with success. This is almost our last option. If he doesn't get over his severe dog aggression then we may have no choice but to let her keep him.
post #49 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SequoiasMom View Post
Just work with him 5 minutes a day.
I work with Thorn for about an hour every day, and while there was a period of about 3 months where he didn't get that much training each day, it's been this way almost every day of his life with me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SequoiasMom View Post
I am puzzled when you say it took the trainer 20 minutes to get him to sit. Was that in the presence of the other dog? If not, then that seems ridiculous.
Yes this was in the presence of the other dog. Thorn is perfectly controlled/responsive in the absence of another dog. We weren't in our house during this event, either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SequoiasMom View Post
But, please do not let them roll around with him, or stomp on him. Please do not let them play unattended. I thought this was silly at first, but it really is not a good idea to allow children to be with a dog you do not fully trust (yet).
He's fine with my children but he's never left alone with them

Quote:
Originally Posted by SequoiasMom View Post
I sincerely hope you do not give up on Thorn. He is already an established, loved member of your family. He deserves all the attention and respect anyone else in your house would get. He needs your time.
Good luck!
Got that. I don't treat him like an accessory. He is totally integrated into our family, adored. I realize I sound defensive and I'm sorry. I've been devastated by this and throughout this thread I think that I've made that clear... I'm just bruised by all this and feel hurt that someone could think I'd be so insensitive to what amounts to a member of my family. This is one of the worst things that has ever happened to me. You can't imagine the time, money, resources, researching, molding, training... I've put into him. He isn't "just a dog" to me.
post #50 of 114
Thread Starter 
Gosh, I'm sorry - I know you mean well... I'm just super-sensitive and seem to be throwing myself a pity-party over here.

I know it's hard to read everything in a long thread... I'm sorry!
post #51 of 114
Why would someone let their kids stomp on their dog????
post #52 of 114
Oh no! I hope I wasn't offensive (or making you feel the need to be defensive). I was mostly trying to offer support. I think you're doing all the right things by not giving up and by constantly seeking something that will work.
post #53 of 114
Thread Starter 
thank you, I wasn't upset by your post

what you said about restraint makes perfect sense, btw
post #54 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by SequoiasMom View Post
ugh, I hate prong collars. I think they are unnecessary.
I love prong collars. Just the sound of one truely brings out the happy wiggles in my dog. It sends crystal clear communication (and correction if necessary) to a dog that is muddled and confused by dull signals from a flat collar. Believe me if she thought the prong hurt her, she would cower and hide - like she does when I have to use the foot pad medicine. Maybe you have never owned/trained a dog that truely benefitted from one?

Quote:
My 11yo GSD is and always has been male dog aggressive. We walk every day and I rarely put a leash on him anymore. If we see, hear, suspect...the presence of another dog, he is simply not allowed to look away from me at all. Ever. I worked with trusted trainers and now we can walk right by another dog and his focus never shifts from me. I'm very interesting. Seriously, he never knows when I might do something crazy or fun (or correct the living bejeezers out of him with a prong collar - at first). I have his undivided attention. I keep him busy, tired, and guessing. And if he can't make eye contact with the other dog, they're less likely to start all the dominance wars.
This is what I learned also. My dog is not even agressive, but maybe the other one is? so when we walk past other dogs she is not allowed to look at them. Eye contact is usually the first way a dog tries to control another one, but if that doesn't work then it escalates - easier to just not let it start. I'm the boss after all.


I still think the OP needs a new trainer. First you train the dog with low distraction, in your kitchen for example, then your back yard, then the park on a non-crowded day, then on a busy weekend at the park, etc. you build the distractions. You described him being fine at home and not in the presence of a MAJOR-for-him distraction - was there no in-between levels of distraction?

Also you don't put a dog in an E-collar who has never been in one before, (I assume since you use clicker training usually) and then throw him into fight mode and then try to get him to understand the correction being administered. :

If you want to switch from prong collar training to E-collar training you put both collars on the dog, walk him on leash give commands like usual and use a very low stim electric correction, when necessary so that the dog understands that the new correction happens the same as the old one did - when he doesn't sit, doesn't lay, doesn't obey, doesn't come, etc.

I really just can't believe what you described from the trainer. :

Just curious daekini how much do you know about pack leadership type work? I always recomend Leerburg and I bet a lot of the info on his site would help you establish and maintain pack leadership, evaluate trainers, learn how to use prong collars and E-collars correctly so that you aren't at the mercy of some slime ball trainer who wants to shock the bejeebus out of your dog.
Leerburg is often more "nuts and bolts" training while I recomend http://flyingdogpress.com/ for a lot of nice articles about how your dog thinks and communicates and learns self control. I noticed you now have to register, but the articles are still free once you sign up.
post #55 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by oneKnight View Post
I love prong collars. Just the sound of one truely brings out the happy wiggles in my dog. It sends crystal clear communication (and correction if necessary) to a dog that is muddled and confused by dull signals from a flat collar. Believe me if she thought the prong hurt her, she would cower and hide - like she does when I have to use the foot pad medicine. Maybe you have never owned/trained a dog that truely benefitted from one?
.

My dog does not mind it at all. In fact he probably likes it! i am relaxed when we use it and he gets longer walks. Win/win!

Kathy
post #56 of 114
Okay, I'll preface this by saying I've read the entire thread! I too think that prong collars have their place and I use one on my weim when my DD wants to walk her.

If this were my dog and I was in your situation, he would have been packed and ready for the ride to the breeder's house the moment she offered. While you know the breed, she has the better set up in which to help him. She is being very generous in offering to take him and work with him. Breeder's like that don't come along very often, so take advantage of it!

He will bond with her, but don't let that deter you. You will have a stronger bond with him when you can fully trust him, and him you. After the month is over, plan to go and spend the day with him at her home so that you fully understand how she communicates with him and what he expects.

Good luck and I hope that you can make a decision that is right for your family and Thorn.
post #57 of 114
My two cents:
Return this dog to the breeder if possible. Be certain this dog would not be used for breeding purposes.

You are right to have conflict about it. But it is okay for you to put you, your children, your home, before your dog. To love him, may be to let him go.

It sounds to me like you love your dog enough to do what is best for him.

Tracy
post #58 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomsTXmom View Post
My two cents:
Return this dog to the breeder if possible. Be certain this dog would not be used for breeding purposes.
He's neutered - and this breeder would never breed him since she only breeds the best of the best, as indicated by the multiple titles of her breeding stock. He is a very good example of the breed but was cryptorchid (retained testicle, i.e; not perfect).

The breeder has offered to work with his issues so he can come back into our home after one month. Well, she actually suggested several months, but I'm going to check in at 2 wks and 1 month and hopefully he can come home then. I'm actually having a VERY hard time getting ready to take him. I haven't completely set my mind on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomsTXmom View Post
It sounds to me like you love your dog enough to do what is best for him.
Thank you - the best thing for him is for him to be with his family - me and my kids and dh; unfortunately he may need to be apart from us for a while before that can happen...

Still in shock but taking baby steps... Waiting two more weeks for testosterone levels to drop significantly (takes 6 - 8 weeks post-neuter). Most behaviors don't respond to neutering, fortunately dog aggression is one that occasionally will. Since this behavior is relatively new we want to make sure he's at the bottom of the testosterone pit before working on his... "issues."
post #59 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miasmamma View Post

He will bond with her, but don't let that deter you. You will have a stronger bond with him when you can fully trust him, and him you. After the month is over, plan to go and spend the day with him at her home so that you fully understand how she communicates with him and what he expects.
Were you listening in on the conversation I had with her?

This is almost exactly what she said - that he would bond with her but that this was important as she needed to be his alpha for him to respond appropriately to his immersion in her pack. He really needs intensive socialization.

She said she thinks he'll be delighted to return to the suburbs after living on a farm for a few week and that he'll "re-bond" with me within a short time.
post #60 of 114
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pets
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Pets › devastation. please please, someone help me with this. AMAZING happy update!!!! #104