replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the additional information. I really appreciate it.
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 this 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 because you lived in the country. Although it will be a great deal of work, this behavior CAN be changed.
The first thing you're going to need to do is get him on a strict regimen of exercise. I understand that you may be worried about taking him 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 this needs a couple miles a day to drain his energy and keep him from getting into trouble because he's too wound up.
If you're unable to give him a couple miles a day, you 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, he should be walked with a Gentle Leader or Halti, rather than a traditional collar and retractable leash. 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 this 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. http://www.clickertrainusa.com/clicker-training-videos.htm .
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.
The next thing I'd do is to immediately encourage you to implement the NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free) program in your house. In my opinion, the NILIF program offers the best payoff for most dogs and their owners. With NILIF, your dog complies with your commands and you do not need to bully or use physical force (such as 'telling him off'). The idea is that you bolster your leadership and cultivate your dog's respect for you by controlling all his resources.
Specifically, you determine when you put his food bowl down and when you pick it up. You set the time for playing with toys and when that game ends. You initiate grooming and petting sessions.
By controlling his resources, you elevate your status in the eyes of your dog. I particularly like this method of training because it works on a wide range of canine personalities, including shy, easily distracted, high energy, and pushy dogs. Shy dogs gain confidence, distracted dogs develop focus and patience, pushy dogs learn manners.
Here's how NILIF works: start by giving your dog the cold shoulder when he demands your attention. Ignore him if he paws at your hand, barks at you or brings a toy to get you to pet or play with him. Don't utter a single syllable or push him away. Just act as if he is invisible. This is not meant to be rude or cruel. Rather, you are training him to understand that he cannot demand your attention any time he desires. The light bulb will turn on in his brain as he realizes that it is you, not he, who calls the shots in the house.
NOTE: Be prepared for an increase in unwanted behavior as you implement your new strategy. Your dog is going to try even harder at first, probably misbehaving even more things, since his tactics worked in the past. Do not give in!!
All members of the family must participate in the new house rules. Let them know that from now on, your dog must earn his paycheck (praise, treats, playtime) with proper behavior. At mealtime, ask him to sit and wait before you put the bowl down. When you want to play one of his favorite games, such as fetching that tennis ball, tell him to lie down before you toss the ball again. When you are done with the game, tell him game over, pick up the pall, and put it out of his reach. Do this calmly and walk away. The key to success is being consistent. Every time you want to toss your dog a small treat, have him do something such as sit or do a trick, before you hand over the tasty morsel. When you approach the front door to walk him, make sure he knows that you always exit and enter doors before him. At your dog training class, your dog must do what you've asked before he gets a treat.
The bot***** *****ne is that NILIF establishes a clear ranking in the household with the adult humans in the number one spot. It is done without meanness or punishment, but rather as a simple fact of life. In time, your dog will stop doing anything that would be considered an insult to a pack leader...such as challenging them for authority or trying to guard or control anything in his little world.
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 him more socialized in a controlled environment with people who know how to handle him. It will also help his owners cement their position as the pack leader while out on a walk, which will help the dog trust them and allow him to be less reactive when he encounters another dog.
I hope this helps.