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Have recently adopted a rescue abused russel 12 yrs old. he…

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Hello, have recently adopted...

Hello, have recently adopted a rescue abused jack russel 12 yrs old. he is v ery loving and now trusting of me, but very agressive on walks to othr dogs ending up in a sort of a seisure, and also very agressiv to people walking by

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. Seizures always look scary. Let's get you talking to the Dog Trainer. What is the dog training's name?

Joey

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Dog Trainer should know about the dog training?

Has had bad treatment in past, swinging him around on collar and lead, locked up in shed ..may have trackea prob as seisure starts off with a cough ending up falling over

Submitted: 10 months ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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7/30/2017
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. B., Veterinarian replied 10 months ago
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 22,840
Experience: Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.

Now as I am sure you can appreciate, we can see dog ad stranger focused aggression for a range of reasons. Though given your history, Joey's behavior sounds more like a defensive or fear motivated aggression which is quite common with this type of past. As well, just to note, the seizure likely episodes sound like he has a collapsing trachea. If he pulls on the lead (he needs a harness or Halti if you aren't using one already) it will compress the throat leading to what we are seeing. Though if he gets really worked up some dogs can collapse the trachea by tensing the neck muscles,so sometimes we will still see it in early days until we can calm their behaviour.

With this in mind, our focus would be to try to modify his behavior and reduce the underlying fear/anxiety that may be precipitating this. Now to start, I have to note that these can be tricky situations to manage at home. Especially since owners often will be stressed by situation (which is completely reasonable). But if you are, Joey ill pick up on your stress when another dog/stranger is near and that can actually make him more prone to reacting as he reads your stressed body language. Therefore, if he is very aggressive with other dogs/people or you are getting very distressed, we may need to think about having a local vet behaviourist work with both of you to reduce his reactivity to other dogs.

Otherwise, we'd want to take a few steps here to start. For the moment, we need to prevent and avoid situations that cause him to react. This is because the more he carries our this behavior, the more likely he will do so. Instead, for the short term, we'd want to avoid other dogs (even if it means walking him at different times or in different locations). While we do this, we want to focus on obedience training. The aim is that as you establish a positive training relationship with Joey, he will learn to defer to your requests and that will come to include you telling him to "leave" other dogs and keep walking.

Once you are confident with your training, our next step would be to use desensitisation. This is where we start to gradually reintroduce the stressor (ie other dogs/strangers). This would mean short walks in the neighborhood where there are both. When a dog/person is in sight, we'd want to have him sit and focus on you (positive praise and lots of treats for doing so). This is done until they've left. The aim is that we are changing the connotation of these meetings into something positive. And with time he should stop reacting to them and be less stressed by their presence. This does need to be worked on little by little, so again short walks (1-2 dog encounters from afar each time). Of course, as you do this, we need to be in tune with Joey. You will need to watch for signs of distress (ie subtle tensing of his muscles, lip licking, excessive panting, head turning away from a fearful situation, yawning, freezing, biting the leash, whining, or growling, etc). If you see these, we need to reroute your walk to avoid the stressor (with time we will need to do that less, of course).

As well, if you find getting him deferring to you a challenge, it can help to adjust your interactions with him for everything. By this, we want to make him "work" for everything (ie petting, treats, toys, walks, meals, getting whatever he wants). This can just be sitting, waiting, or laying down on command and then he can have that item. Of course, if he shows inappropriate behavior then we need to remove the item or giving a time-out. This approach may sound a bit tough but it teaches them that you are the source of what they want and thus they need to listen. Plus dogs do thrive having a job and earning what they want can reduce tensions and anxieties. And of course, we don't want to be using any physical punishment since its not appropriate. So, positive reinforcement is key for Joey.

Finally we can also use some anti-anxiety supportive care for him. Often we will use Adaptil, a a synthetic pheromone that helps to relieve stress and lower tension levels for them. This can be used as a collar preparation or a plug-in diffuser. Other options to try (even alongside the Adaptil), would be Bach Flower Remedy, Kalmaid or Zylkene. All can soothe stress in these situations. Furthermore, there is a diet on the market called Calm by Royal Canin which contains supplements to soothe anxiety (and these can even be used as treats on the walk). And since these are not drugs per say, they can be used in combination as needed to just reduce stress and help get him open minded about your training and walking without fear.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

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Dog Veterinarian: Dr. B., Veterinarian replied 9 months ago
Hi,

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

Dr. B.
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