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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19540
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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I was wondering if I could please get some urgent help

Customer Question

Hi,
I was wondering if I could please get some urgent help with my dog Bailey.
Bailey is a 3 yr old male Staffy X (we are not sure what he is crossed with) he weighs 14 kg. He is a very friendly dog with people however we have some ongoing issues with him that are becoming hard to manage and we are not sure what to do.
A bit about his background. My partner's family got Bailey when he was a young pup, however my partner's mother decided she would not allow him in the house because he shed (a terrible excuse if you ask me) and sent him off to a friend for 6 months. Both my partner and I lived at home with our parents at that stage so we didn't have an option to take him in ourselves. When we eventually moved out (6 months later) we picked him from the 'friends' house and the conditions were terrible. Poor Bailey had been left outside and had obviously been attacked by a larget dog. We were horrified.
Since then Bailey has been living with us (for the past year and a half) and we have been working hard to get him in a good place but we still have some ongoing issues.
Bailey is very hyperactive, he gets an hour walk most days but it seems it is never enough for him and he is constantly hyperactive and a ball of energy. I understand that his breed has high energy levels but we are worried that maybe it is abnormal.
Another big problem we have is his separation anxiety which is severe. He has been known to whine for hours and scratch the life out of our front door and bark. We both work full time and try to give him as much exercise as possible but he seems distressed.
When we are both at home he is the perfect dog. He is very affectionate and I probably baby him to much (cuddles cuddles cuddles!) I think he may have become too attached to us.
He also has a habit of juping up on guests, when people stay over he invited himself into their bed and he sits on any guest which is very embarrassing for us. We try to be stern with him but he has a mind of his own and is very hard to say no to (a real manipulator with puppy dog eyes)
The last and biggest problem we are having is his dog aggression. A friend looked after him whilst we were away in the past week and he attacked a dog. She had him off leash (which I advised her not to as I don't trust him off leash) and he attacked a small dog. He is ok around big dogs but obviously this time something happened. We are very concerned and want to do our best to look after Bailey but to be honest we have no idea where to start.
We love Bailey very much and would appreciate no judgement as we are doing our best with him and will do anything for him
Thanks,
Emma
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi JaCustomer, My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today. I want to let you know it will take about 30 minutes to type up the response.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi thank you very much, I will await your response
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Let me try and address each issue. The exercise issue is one that you will likely experience for at least a couple more years. Walks are great, but slow leisurely walks don't give him the exericise he needs. Walks should be fast paced and not an investigative event. Running would be even better. An hour of fast paced exercise would tire him out a bit. For us, an hour long walk isn't something we are used to doing and we get tired. A dog can take a leisurely walk for hours before getting too tired. If he is ball oriented and you have an enclosed place you might get an automatic ball thrower and teach him how to drop the balls in the machine by himself. See one here:http://www.godoggoinc.com/ Another option for exercise which many owners of similar breeds use is a treadmill. Letting him run on the treadmill is good exercise and won't wear you out as well. Now separation can be a very big issue for many people. If he is a whiner, you can not use a bark collar as they do not trigger on whining generally. They require a bark or howl to trigger the reprimand (spray or shock). So you will need to do the training or medications for the separation anxiety. First thing is to take your dog for a nice long walk before you leave, preferably 30 minutes or long. Make it a long, quick paced walk to tire your boy out. Second is to use a low-key approach to leaving the house. Ignore your dog before you leave and after you come home for at least 5 minutes or more. If your house is like mine in the morning everyone is running around getting ready to leave. This has the dog in an excited mood and then suddenly he is alone. If this is the case, put him away from everyone, say in a bathroom until the frenzy is over. Don't punish or shout at your dog when you come home and find he’s barked the whole time. When you do, you increase his stress level rather than reduce it. You can provide him with small stimulating toys or toys that you can fill with treats like kongs. Fill with xylitol free peanut butter or yogurt, freeze and give when you leave. If his mouth is busy, he won't be whining. . Sometimes leaving a TV or radio on can help a dog with this problem as well. Also remember to not reward a dog's excitement to you with petting and affection or even eye contact. You want to show him nice calm praise when he is being calm. Another thing that might help is a DAP collar. These use a pheromone to calm a dog. See one here:vetmedicine.about.com/od/behaviortraining/gr/DAP-Dog-Collar.htmPractice leaving the house, opening the door immediately and rewarding him with a hot dog treat if he did not scratch, bite and carry one. This teaches him that you leave but come back quickly. Once he seems to not do anything when you initially leave, lengthen the time he must be quet for you to come back in. Change the time as well. Make it 2 minutes one time and 10 mintues another, so he never knows if you are gone for an hour or gone for 2 minutes. It helps him stay calm for longer periods of time, just be sure you reward him when he is good. Another thing that helps is to do things that might make the dog feel you are leaving and then don't such as putting on your coat or picking up your keys. Or leave without doing those things. This helps remove things that might trigger the dog to become anxious. These should help his separation anxiety and boredom and help curb his barking. It will not be an overnight cure and will take work on your and your family’s part to be consistent in your interaction with him. Here is a site that also offers idea to combat separation anxiety.http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/overcoming-separation-anxiety.aspx Another option is medication, which is discussed on this site:http://www.fidosavvy.com/dog-separation-anxiety-medication.html Usually it is a combination of techniquest that work for separation anxiety, so use multiple techniques together to achieve the fastest results. He will need obedience training and you will have to keep him off the furniture completely. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htmhttp://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/training_nothing_in_life_is_free.html Dogs need to know that you are the boss and you decide on who is a danger including dogs and what they can do or not do such as get on the furniture. Dogs that are allowed on furniture (even if put on the furniture) tend to feel that since they are elevated to your level or higher if on your lap, they mentally feel elevated as well in the pack order and thus are the boss. Keeping them on the floor can help lower them mentally back to a submissive position in the pack. So the first thing is to not allow him higher that the humans or even on the same level. Attach a leash and use it to remove him from the furniture. Give a correction in the form of a short tug to get his attention and firm "NO" when he attempts to get on and a treat when he starts not trying to get on the furniture. Thus you are providing negative reinforcement for the getting on the furniture and positive reinforcement for the desired behavior (not attempting to get on the furniture). This will help prevent him sitting on people. The obedience training will help stop the jumping but they also have no jump harnesses that will stop that as well which are easily found online. Now dog on dog aggression may be very difficult for him to get over. You showing him that you are the boss helps because the boss is responsible for protecting the pack which includes him. So you need to be prepared to do that. You won't allow other dogs to approach him and if necessary will need to step between him and other dogs. That will be your job. However, since he was attacked it is going to take a lot of work. The BAT method may work for this but it is going to take work. http://www.training-your-dog-and-you.com/Behavior_Adjustment_Training.htmlhttp://www.petexpertise.com/behavior-adjustment-training-dog.html Being prepared with a basket muzzle for him if there is any possibility of him attacking is something you should do. Even if you use it each time you go out. A basket muzzle still allows breathing and even eating and drinking in a lot of cases so can be worm more often and that protects other dogs while you go about working with him on his aggression. I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Jane Lefler

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