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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
B.Basset my rescue foster caused a scene in the pet store today when I went to pick up the mini poodle I am also fostering from doggy daycare. B.'s been so good for several days I was expecting something soon so I was the only calm one. We seem to have this cycle of several days learning and good behaviour followed by a day of stubbornness and testing.

The staff brought Coco up and I was ready for B. to react badly after having me to himself all afternoon. He was fine even when Coco was greeting me. He was fine when the staff gave them both treats, even when he finished his first and Coco was still trying to manage his with his 4 remaining teeth, dropping it and picking it up. B. watched but was fine.

Then as we started out the door B. grabbed Coco around the neck and started shaking him. I dropped Coco's lead and pulled B.in. He let Coco go unharmed as far as I have been able to tell.

So what's going on here and why the "attack" after Coco had greeted us and finished the food? Did I relax after the treats and let my guard down and he sensed a oportunity? or is it something else entirely? And what do I do to manage it?

The previous 2 "attacks" have been just as harmless but were in the home entrance way. One before a walk and one after. So I have made sure that they don't get to share that small space any more.

I am working at getting the mini poodle a 4-ever placement but its not easy with a 14 year old. I can send B. back to the rescue who placed him with me but the only options for the poodle are euthanization or staying with me till I find him a home. None of which changes my sense that I need to understand if I can what is going on in B.'s head because he's going to have to wear a muzzle when around other dogs if I can't trust him. I can't work on his issues if I don't understand them, and he can't go to a 4 ever home if he still has undefined issues.
 

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Can you find a dog behaviorist in your area to help you? A friend of mine adopted a Jack Russell who had been shuffled around to three homes in his short life due to behavior problems, and my friend was able to find a relatively inexpensive behaviorist in our area who worked with her and helped tremendously.

In the meantime, since doorways seem to be a trigger (does he object to the other dog exiting ahead of him?) I'd avoid that situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you!! Sometimes one misses the obvious. I bet you are right! Its doors he's triggered by.

Given what I know of his history that would make sense. He and his basset sibling developed what the owner decided were aggression issues. B. was nipping people as well as the other dog so he was surrendered to breed rescue. Since I know doorbells are a trigger for wild excitement on B.s part and guests were a trigger for dog problems in the former home sounds like a good bet doors and entrances have some bad memories attached.
 

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. None of which changes my sense that I need to understand if I can what is going on in B.'s
There is no way to ever know what is going on in a dogs head, we can speculate but that often lead to the wrong conclusions and makes things harder not eaiser. Stick with what you know and that is the behavior, not why the behavior is occuring.

What is known:
1. B has a low tollerance for being stared at.

2. Many/Most/ALL Dog v Dog incidents occured Near Enterances

3. He has a history of nipping

Unknowns

1. threshold of staring that causes a reaction i.e. proximity of the starer, length of stare etc.

2. While proximity to enterance seams to be a tigger it is not clear that is exclusively this proximity or if the proximity creates a behavior in the others that B is reacking to. For instance Is coco less sure of the actions of B. when near enterance and therefor watches him more closely i.e. stare?

3. any other triggers.

4. B.'s understanding of doggie communication, is he socially inept with other dogs?

Keep in mind You are never going to know everything and if you wait until you do you have create more situation in which B has reacted and been self rewarded for doing so making treatment harder. You just have to formulate a plan as best as you can with what is known and not know.

For instance You could work on a counter conditioning Program for both the staring and entrances simultaniously. Work exclusively on staring and use management to prevent problems at enterances until the staring sensitivity is overcome. Then see if the enterance issues still exist? There are pro's and cons to any approach way your options.

You also need to remember that dogs are poor generalizer Just because a dog will tollerate staring from you in your home does not mean it will tollerate it from another dog or stranger: or from you in a different setting etc. You will need to work on this progressively in a multiple locations and incorporate the help of others as well.

thing you need to know

1. an understanding of desenitization and counter-conditioning both theoritical and practical.

2. ability to read stress level in a dog, b in particular.

As mentioned above outside professional help is always appropriate

other resourse
CAUTIOUS CANINE - HOW TO HELP DOGS CONQUER THEIR

ON TALKING TERMS WITH DOGS - CALMING SIGNALS
By a noted expert on canine body language, notably “calming signals.” These are signals dogs give eachother - and humans - that denote stress. These are the dogs’ attempt to defuse situations that otherwise might result in fights or aggression.
 

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My sweet Stomps (ATB ) would attack Lightning under certain circumstances. Stomps was an insecure, unsocialized rescue, and his attacks usually came about when he was stressed or extremely tired. I learned that I had to feed them separately, neither were allowed to sleep with me, Stomps was not allowed to sit in my lap, etc. Taking him to a pet store would have been my and his worst nightmare. The same might be the case for you dog. Also, he might be feeling your anxiety about him, which makes him even more anxious. I would be very careful of putting B in stressful situations, especially involving the poodle and any other dogs. If you have to go though doorways with both dogs, I would make B wait so that the poodle goes first, then you, then B. With monitoring and some basic lifestyle changes, Stomps and Lightning lived together fight-free for many years. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I wish I could get a behaviourist involved but as a single parent with a new business I have to watch my budget. He's aready needed vaccinations, ear meds, a bigger crate than I had ( I got a great one second hand) which has gobbled up the pet's share of current spending money.

I really apprecaite the input I can get here.

Yes, he is badly socialized and I have been working with him much the way I would with a puppy recognizing that he is now 75lbs and has a tendency to nip when defensive. Problem is there is so much to do and I can only work on tiny bits each day without seeing signs its stressing him.

He has been boarded at my vets for 36 hours, had shots, ear drops ect and they agree he has issues. but properly handled should be fit for an experienced owner.

We have made several trips to this pet store, starting at times when I know they will not be busy, and there have not been any issues. One of the reasons I did this was because there are other experienced dog owners and staff who are used to all kinds of dog behaviours and it was one of the safer enviornments to get a feel for B. ablitiy to socialize.

I try not to let my concerns be felt by B. and I think about (most of) what I do with him so as not to put him in situations that are too stressful or dangerous for any of us. I have been very careful to allow him the contact he wants/needs so he feels loved but I do not allow him to get on my lap or be in a position to nip me if startled awake. One of the first habits we broke was his jumping up on people.

We are doing very well with the muzzle and I use it as a training tool not a discipline tool. It allows me to safely see how comfortable he is places like the pet store and how well he socializes with other dogs.

I hope to get him to the point where he can do a pet dog training course, muzzled and see how that goes. We are a long way from that however, that much intense work for an hour long class he would disintegrate.
 

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I have been working with him much the way I would with a puppy
That can be a big problem. During the growth phase that puppies are socialized they are very open to new experience and do not in general approach them with fear and intrepidation contrary to an adult dog. If he is become stressed it is becuase you are asking too much of him: putting him in too close of contact etc. The second thing is with puppies all we have to do show is that nothing bad happens in the socialization situation, As long as nothing bad happens they will not fear it in the future. However with an adult that is approach a situation with fear to begin with the fact nothing bad happen changes nothing with their emotional state in future situation because the still have that basal fear. You must actively change their preception. This is general done through clasical conditioning. Say if instead of going in the pets store you stand 50-100 feet away from the enterance with B. Every time a dog nears the enterance he gets a cookie. Over time he will for a positive association with dogs approaching the enterance of the pet store and look forward to it. This is the densensitization part of counter-conditioning and desenitivation. With puppies that are more open to such new experience flooding is often used and is a common practice of some television dog trainers but it comes with very high risk when used with adult dogs
from link above
When other therapies fail to quickly rid dogs of anxiety, discomfort and fear of a particular aversive event, trainers sometimes turn to "flooding" the dog with the event that induces the emotional impairment. If the dog fears gunfire, a trainer might anchor the dog close to a firing range; if a rancher's dog fears horses, he may put his dog in a horse stable yard for a week. Sometimes the treatment works, but quite often it does not—and when it does not, a dog may turn into an emotional wreck.
This technique is akin to getting a person over their fear of spiders by throwing him in a closet with a 1000 tarantulas. General what happens when you open the door is not a person that is no longer afraid of spiders but a quiver mass that may never fully recover from the experience

Flooding Dog Aggression
Flooding in dog aggression occurs when a dog, especially a fear aggressive dog, is forced to be near whatever triggers the response. He is not permitted to escape or defend himself. For example, if a dog is scared of strange men you could flood him by putting a muzzle on him and then placing him in a room with three men he doesn't know. Being unable to fight or flee, he will eventually collapse emotionally.
The emotional collapse is mistaken for rehabilitation. The dog is actually even more horrified and likely to bite in the future. But he doesn't appear that way. So be careful when choosing a trainer or following advice. Flooding a dog will often provide the superficial appearance of success and can be done quickly, but it is not a long term solution. Lowering dog aggression requires commitment to a long term plan of counter-conditioning and desensitization that provides positive experiences and associations with the items he had been aggressive toward.

Guidelines For Working With a Fearful Dog
Regardless of what your dog is afraid of, or why s/he is afraid, resist any advice or temptation to force your dog to ‘face’ its fears (this is called flooding). One day that may be appropriate but until you know that your dog is ready, you risk making the problem worse. Respect your dog’s fears, they’re not silly, unfounded or senseless. Your dog is not being a coward. Your mission (if you choose to accept it) is to help your dog learn to enjoy the things that it currently fears. It will not happen overnight and you should not expect that your dog will suddenly come around (it might, but its best to be prepared for the more likely scenario that it doesn’t).
If you have developed a good relationship with your dog you will become its source of confidence and courage. When your dog trusts you, you can begin to ask it to deal with uncomfortable situations, and s/he is more likely to be willing and able to comply. Learn about how your dog’s body language conveys its feelings and you’ll be even better at giving your dog the kinds of experiences it needs.
If your dog is afraid of people, be prepared to protect your dog from well-meaning friends and strangers. Initially the best approach to take with a fearful dog is to put as little pressure as possible on it. This means avoiding direct eye contact, not talking to the dog if it shows discomfort or fear when spoken to and handling the dog as little and as gently as possible. It doesn’t matter what your intentions are, your dog will still be afraid. Your goal is to help the dog to be in the presence of people, however peripherally, and not feel fear. Ask people to ignore your dog until it is ready to have strangers interact with it.
Triggers & Thresholds

Rewards
When working with any dog, rewards are a key component of training. When working with fearful dogs high value rewards become even more important for their role in helping to change how your dog feels about a given situation, person, place or thing.
but as a single parent with a new business I have to watch my budget.
If cost is an issue with some of the reference I provided Send me a PM and I can provide you my copies
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I was taught even with puppies to be very aware of their fears, not to put them in a situation where they might be fearful, but gradually introduce them to new situations. It sounds much like what you say needs to be done with an adult dog.

I would never force a dog into a situation they were uncomfortable with, much less one they were fearful of. I do take note of anything that makes my dogs fearful or stressed and attempt to find ways to see it becomes a situation they can cope with or are not exposed to.

I have a strong background with dogs, my parents bred and raised beagles when I was young and there have been select litters of dalmations and poodles over the years because the breeder our family pet came from wanted that blood line for a particular breeding. I think from stories I am just beginning to be told now I have B. my grandparents had or raised bassets before switching to beagles. A story about my grandmother and clothes pinning ears up because she couldn't stand ears dragging in who knows what's been on that ground. LOL.

I knew there was something I had missed about the pet store "attack" because while I was prepared to be wrong (I've only known B. for 3 weeks) he was not/is not fearful of the pet store. Its a fun place to visit, with pats, treats, praise, wonderful water bowls. He is not food aggressive from what I have seen. He does not react when I remove his stash of hoarded dry food or move his chewy. He will drop and leave treasures like chicken or pork chop bones found on walks with some patience on my part. He is seemingly protective of me, jealous of Coco but perhaps it is really the doors issue and the expectation of punishment on the abusive side. I could make a good case either way. As you said we don't ever really know what goes on in their heads, do we?
 

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jealous of Coco
again it is better to stick with the actual behavior than attach an emotion to it. This is not so say B is not jealous but rather even if he is noing such does nothing to advance his treatment, but a belief that he is when that is not the case can be detrimental

Keep in mind I have offend many when they take what I psot personnally. I now nothing of your backround etc, But even if I did it would not likely effect what I post. That is because answering specific question for a specific individual there are many lurkers present and the future that will have similar situation or question. So the answer is gear toward the lowest common denominator and often what the more experience owner with think is common sense and put down when it is not assumed is not the case for the less experienced.

IMHO the blaming of behavioral problem in rescue dogs on abuse is general a streach. Poor breeding ie genetics, and poor early socialization, environment are far more the cause even combined or seperate than any sort of deliberate abuse. Again the only reason I mention this is because many assume abuse then go on to make excuses for the dog rather than work at fixing the problem, While it may be fun and entertaining to speculate at the cause of the problem know why does not actual help in solving the problem whereas focusing on the actual behavior can

On the behaviorist front, something to consider, many rescues make available funds for a behavior (usually one the rescue has used in the past) available to fosters for treatment/evaluation when necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A saying I have always loved:
Those who know not and know that they know not are children, teach them.
Those who know and know not that they know not are asleep, wake them.
Those who know and know that they know are wise, follow them.
Those who know not and know not that they know not are fools, shun them.

I know that there is alot I know not. There are going to go on being little issues I want opinions on from here. There are bound to be many points of view and that's part of what I am looking for. It would be silly to take offence at what others voice when I ask for help to make sure I am making informed choices. From what I have seen there are many here who know what they know and what they don't know. A good place to be. Somewhere to share the good times, the bad times and also somewhere to learn and to share knowlege.

B. came to me from another province. B. is the first foster they have placed in this area. I have a couple of local contacts who will I believe work well with me on behaviour issues. I have not had the time to contact them. One is a groomer who has done a great job working with my previous 2 rescues who's issues were not so extreme (seperation, intolerance of grooming). Another is a trainer (possibly behaviourist)who as worked with my mother's poodles, he also does some rescue work when he can around his regular boarding and training clients. My last dog came from a local rescue but I don't believe she has a trainer/behaviourist working with her. I was wondering if the person who does the assessments for the local Humane Society would run a basic assessment on B. for me.
 
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