My daughters 9 year old staffie bordercollie cross will attack any dog he doesn't know but is fine with people and dogs he does know. Is it too late to train him out of this. He can never be let off a lead and has to wear a muzzle when out in case another dog approaches him and he snaps at it.
Type of Animal: Staffie bordercollie cross
Name of Dog: Tyson
Keeping him on a lead and muzzling him as too risky to try to have him off lead. He is very obedient and comes when called but once if sees another dog if is off and its too late to get his attention. If is a lovely dog,very affectionate and lovely with kids and dogs he knows.
Is Tyson neutered?Has Tyson gone to any obedience classes?How much exercise does he get?Do you use a traditional leash and collar or have you tried a Gentle Leader/Halti?
Yes Tyson has been neutered. He has not been to obedience classes but they have trained him and he is a very obedient, lovely dog. He has a nomal lead and collar and walks well on a lead until he sees another dog and then he is difficult to hold. They have tried a gentle leader but it frustrates him and he just keeps trying to pull it off with his paws and it is harder to hold him if another dogs bones near him. He doesn't get a lot of exercise as my daughter is too afraid to take him out. I take him once a week when I visit as have found a park where there are usually no other dogs and I can let him off the lead to run and chase balls, but I have to keep a close watch out in aaRd another dog comes
Thanks for answering my questions.
With all due respect, Tyson is not a 'very obedient' dog. He is an unsocialized dog who has become aggressive towards other dogs because he didn't get the proper socialization when he was young. Pitbull and other 'bully' breeds need to be highly socialized as pups specifically for this reason. I'm sure your daughter did what she thought was right with Tyson, but this is a guy who definitely needs some training.
It absolutely sounds like you have the perfect example of a terrier on your hands. This breed of dog, possibly more than any other breed, is infamous for their energy, hyperactivity and habit of getting themselves into trouble. The problem lies in the fact that your daughter's dog doesn't get enough exercise (tired dogs don't get into as much trouble as others) and hasn't been socialized with other dogs. Although it will be a great deal of work, Tyson's behavior CAN be changed.
The first thing you're going to need to do with Tyson is get him on a strict regimen of exercise. I understand that your daughter has a busy life and things to do, and is worried about taking Tyson out, but terriers NEED to be exercised every single day, and I'm talking more than a quick walk around the block. A high energy dog like yours needs a couple miles a day to drain his energy and keep him from getting into trouble because he's too wound up. If your daughter is unable to walk him herself she may want to consider hiring a pet walker. In my neighborhood, I live close enough to the colleges that I put up fliers at the schools and hired some of the track runners to take my dogs for a run on the days I can't. I pay them $10-$15 bucks a day, and it really, REALLY works. The dogs get the exercise they crave, and the students get a couple bucks in their pockets for doing something they would have done anyway (the running). Several of my runners say that they feel safer running some of the woodsy trails around here because the dogs 'look' scary enough to ward off anybody who might bother them (luckily the strangers don't know that my dogs are all big marshmallows!!). Additionally, I know Tyson doesn't like the Gentle Leader, but he must be walked with it. I guarantee that he will eventually get used to it, and it will make him easier to control in the walking. The general rule of thumb is that if you control the head, you control the dog, so putting the leader on and leaving it on during the walk, regardless of how much of a temper tantrum he throws is key. When he starts pawing at the Leader, simply give the leash a tug, say "Leave it!" and continue walking, even if it means you have to pull him along for a minute or so. Physics tells us that the dog can't paw at his face and walk at the same time...if you keep him moving forward, he'll have no choice but to leave the Gentle Leader alone.
Secondly, you might want to consider clicker training your dog. This involves buying a 'clicker' which has a little metal plate in it. You press the plate and the thing clicks, then you give the dog a treat immediately. Soon, the dog learns that the click brings a treat and will usually drop whatever they're doing, which includes trying to get into altercations with other dogs on the walk, and even will help him focus on you during the walk.
If you feel like he may be too anxious to wear the Gentle Leader or do the clicker training, you may also want to look into trying an over-the-counter product to help him with his anxiety.
A couple things you could try would be:
Melantonin is an over-the-counter drug that can be used to treat some anxiety issues in dogs. The dose you would give would be up to 3 mg given orally whenever necessary up to every 8 hours. More information can be found here:
http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/melatonin-melatonex/page1.aspx , which includes risks, warning signs to watch out for and other bits of useful information.
Try a DAP collar. These are collars that are impregnated with a man-made version of the dog appeasing pheromone, which is a pheromone that nursing bitches give off to their pups to help them feel calm and secure. It's something that humans can't smell, but it has an amazing effect on dogs with anxiety and other issues. Although you can find them at your vet's office..you can also find them online at places like Amazon.com and Ebay for much cheaper. Just make sure they're DAP brand, as they seem to work better than some other versions.
Finally, it might not be a bad idea to get him involved in a basic obedience class. If you tell the training center what you're dealing with, I have no doubt they'll be more than happy to help you get Tyson more socialized. It will also help your daughter cement her position as the pack leader while out on a walk, which will help Tyson trust her and allow him to be less reactive when he encounters another dog.
I hope this helps.
Sorry that I cannot rate your answer any higher until we have had a chance to apply your ideas and see how they work. My daughter could not afford to pay someone to walk Tyson and would be afraid to let anyone else take him in case he attacked another dog. We will try the leader again and book him in to obedience classes but he is a liability around other dogs if he doesn't know them, so group classes could be a trial. Thanks for your advice. Carole
You may want to talk to a trainer and see if they'd come out and work with Tyson. I've seen many times where the dog is difficult on a walk with the owner and completely different with someone else. It's possible that Tyson doesn't see your daughter as the pack leader, and as you know, if you don't fill that position, a staffie will be more than happy to take it over for you.
If he walks well with someone else, then the problem is the relationship and not specifically with Tyson.
He walks really well on his lead until another dog passes him and then if will have a in it it and is dry hard to hold. He is friendly and playful with dogs that he knows. If is even submissive with my dog who is 13.
I can understand your concern...I have spent the last 15+ years working with aggressive pitbulls and pitbull mixes...I'm sure that Tyson is difficult to control when he meets another dog, but having a behaviorist/trainer come out and observe him may be easier for your daughter than to take him to class. They'll also be able to work with her on how to correct his behavior so she won't be fearful of taking him out.
Also, if you'd like to continue this conversation, you don't have to rate me for each interaction. You can simply press the 'continue conversation' button and we can keep working.
A CVT with a special interest in behavior modificaiton through structure, boundaries and limitations with positive reinforcement.
Hi Carole,I'm just following up on our conversation about Tyson. How is everything going?CVT_in_MN
Thanks for the follow up. Tyson is still with me, as I took him away for a few days with my dog to our beach house which he loves. I will take him back to his family today and have discussed your advice with them and hopefully they will take it from there.