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Discussion Starter #1
We have adopted two rescue Bassets. However the bithch she can be curled up with you stroking her all nice and placid. Sometimes if you reach down to touch her front paw she can become grissly, growly and snappy. I assume this may be the cause of bagage she may bring, since she does not limp or no outward sign of injury. Any ideas what may cause this?
 

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I evaluate dogs for our pet therapy organization to see if they're suitable for therapy work. One part of the temperment test is touching the dog's feet to see how they react.

I've encountered dogs that hate to have their feet touched, and have failed the evaluation because of that. Sometimes the owner will go home and work with their dog to get them over their discomfort at having their feet handled, come back to be re-evaluted,and the dog will get a pass. Sometimes they can't get past the problem.
 

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When I adopted Stomps, he was about 3-5 years old and no one could touch his ears, feet or armpits. As he became more trusting of me, he relaxed and allowed myself and others to touch those areas, although for the rest of his life I warned newcomers about touching those places. He went from having to wear a muzzle to have his toenails clipped to laying passively for the groomer (never for me, though!). So your rescue might take a while and get over it, or not. Even if she gets over it with you, I would still warn people about touching her feet.
 

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Touch senisitivity is not likely cause by a rescue's "baggage" but can be the result of inadequit handling and habituation as a puppy. On thing to be also on the look out for is resource guarding. The vast majority of resource guarders are touch sensitive as well. Beat in mind that not all touch sensitive dog are resource guarders just something to be on the look out for,.

some resources to help deal with the problem

MINE! - A GUIDE TO RESOURCE GUARDING IN DOGS

below is an excerpt from a fair Review of the book above on the relative part dealing with touch sensitivity
Anal retentive to a fault (and I mean that as a compliment in this context), Donaldson does an excellent job of breaking down forms of resource guarding behavior into detailed, progressive increments. In order to teach a dog to accept having its mouth opened, for example, she lists 60 separate steps - beginning with touching the dog's rump for a single second. It takes 27 steps before one even touches the dog's head.
Clearly, this is not a book for someone who wants a quick fix to their problem. It requires a food-motivated dog and an extremely dedicated and talented owner with the patience and perseverance to apply the technique.

CAUTIOUS CANINE - HOW TO HELP DOGS CONQUER THEIR FEARS, 2ND EDITION
an primer in counter conditioning and desensitivation techniques. While the focus is stranger the tenchinques can and are successfully applied to a myriad of situations, touch sensitivity being one.

Internet articles

Desensitization & Counter Conditioning

Touch and How It Affects Your Dog
The dog’s degree of sensitivity to touch is largely inherited,...

If a dog has an undesirable degree of sensitivity to touch, this can often be improved by appropriate conditioning
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Many thanks for all replies. This dog psycology bit is really quite fascinating. The dog whisperer techniques I also find very interesting.
 

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The dog whisperer techniques I also find very interesting.
Just understand they have no baisis in reality Dogs are not wolves nor are they pack animals. just as Wolves in the wild are not packs but rather family units. Most of what you think you know by what that show is perpetution of myth.

What ever Happen to the term Alpha Wolf
However, keen observers may have noticed that during the past few years the trend has begun to wane. For example, 19 prominent wolf biologists from both Europe and North America never mentioned the term alpha in a long article on breeding pairs of wolves. The article, titled “The Effects of Breeder Loss on Wolves,” was published in a 2008 issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management. In the 448-page, 2003 book Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation, edited by Luigi Boitani and myself and written by 23 authors, alpha is mentioned in only six places and then only to explain why the term is outdated. What gives?

This change in terminology reflects an important shift in our thinking about wolf social behavior. Rather than viewing a wolf pack as a group of animals organized with a “top dog” that fought its way to the top, or a male-female pair of such aggressive wolves, science has come to understand that most wolf packs are merely family groups formed exactly the same way as human families are formed. That is, maturing male and female wolves from different packs disperse, travel around until they find each other and an area vacant of other wolves but with adequate prey, court, mate, and produce their own litter of pups.
Why won't Dominance Die
It is easy to see why trainers and owners alike are fond of the concepts of “pack” and “dominance” in relation to pet dogs. A pack means we’re all part of the same gang. “Dominance” explains our respective positions in that pack. We live in a pack with our pet dogs and they either dominate us or we dominate them. To be at the top of the pack with total dominance would make you the “alpha”, with all the esteem that entails, therefore dogs will strive for dominance unless you beat them to it. It’s a neat explanation.
Except that none of it actually bears scientific scrutiny
The Dominance Conterversy and Cesar Milan

Dominance in Dogs

Dominance in Dogs is Not a Personality Trait

Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals by American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior
AVSAB is concerned with the recent re-emergence of dominance theory and forcing dogs and other animals into submission as a means of preventing and correcting behavior problems.

...In our relationship with our pets, priority access to resources is not the major concern. The majority of behaviors owners want to modify, such as excessive vocalization, unruly greetings, and failure to come when called, are not related to valued resources and may not even involve aggression. Rather, these behaviors occur because they have been inadvertently rewarded and because alternate appropriate behaviors have not been trained instead. Consequently, what owners really want is not to gain dominance, but to obtain the ability to influence their pets to perform behaviors willingly —which is one accepted definition of leadership (Knowles and Saxberg 1970; Yin 2009).

if you are truely interested in "dog psycology" read The Social Organization of the Domestic Dog
A Longitudinal Study of Domestic Canine Behavior and the
Ontogeny of Canine Social Systems
 

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Thanks Mikey. I will read with interest. I am new to basset ownership and we have two a bitch 4 yrs and a dog 8 mth. The dog at the same time every evening about 19:30 starts getting very playful jumping up and biting (nipping). I would never hit him to stop (thats the road to no where), he does get the water from from a water pistol in the face, to get him to stop or dragged outside. However this seems the wrong way to go about things hence my interest in "dog psycology". I think there is a some jealousy with bitch when she gets a cuddlle first etc. We got both dogs from rescue so I don't know whether he was taken from his mother before 12 weeks, and we are his second owner, so there may be some stress related problems.

With respect to the Alpha therory, there are things that should not necessarily do like sitting on the same level going to the older bitch first etc. would this cause stress. Perhaps I should throw the Alpha therory in the bin and just treat them both equally with respect.

John
 

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Alpha therory, there are things that should not necessarily do like sitting on the same level going to the older bitch first etc
The studies that have been done have shown the domance reduction exercise (first through door ways, human eating first]etc do not effect dominance aggresion. There can be other reason for doing them such as creating a more orderly household but reducing aggression is not one of them,,

Supporting the "older bitch" is a oversimplication of the suport the Alpha. In general the older animal is more likely to be the alpha but a better measure is not the age of the dog but espescially with rescue in which it is older dogs entering the household the "alpha is more likely to be the dog that has been in the house the longest.

But here is the problem in order to apply "alpha" theory to the real world so many exception need to be made it looses all reason. Why is it when the beta dog is on the prime sleeping spot the Alpha then goes to another spot rather than force the beta to move. Or why does the Older Alpha let the younger more playfull beta free access to the toys. It is pretty simple The Alpha modle is an oversimplication and a poor modle of how dogs and most societies arrange themselves.

For instance each dogs has a range of thing the find pleasure in and some of those thing more so than other. It is certainly not the same for all dogs. It is not uncommon to find the Older dog dominating the most comfortable bedding because that is more immportant to him than the others. The puppy that controls the toys. One dog that is more likely to be snuggling next to a human and still another first in line foor treats or a scrap of food that fall to the floor during food prep. Each dog though observation, social cues etc learn what is important to the other and itself and seeks to come to an order that maximise first his pleasure along with that for the entire group. It is non confrontrational.

As for support the Alpha or treating each dog equally, neither is actual practical. It is against human nature to specifical discriminate against a particular dog so the support the alpha is difficult to imppossible for humans to maintain. Second because dogs do not share the same level of appreciation for the same things treating them equally does not work well. There is a practical matter as well. It is harder to feed two dogs at the same time than one after another etc. It is better for the dog to learn some impulse/fustration control which occurs when one dogs gets something befor the other. What work is treating each dog fairly and striving to give the dog that what it needs. For one dog that may mean extended play time and another an extra snuggle, not equal but in general fair.
 

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The dog at the same time every evening about 19:30 starts getting very playful jumping up and biting (nipping). I would never hit him to stop (thats the road to no where), he does get the water from from a water pistol in the face, to get him to stop or dragged outside. However this seems the wrong way to go about things hence my interest in "dog psycology".
Jumping up and biting what? This type of behavior in general has two factors at work on is jumping up and nipping tend to be attention seeking behaviors. Now the standard answer to attention seeking behaviors is to ignore the behavior and not reward it with attention, keep in mind Negative attention i.e. punishment is attention and often actually a reward for the dog. While in theory it will work from a practical stand point it does not because most attention seeking behavior work in the first place by being obnoxious enough that they can be ingnored. And even if the human is diligent in attempting to ignore the behavior a phenonenom known as an extinction burst that occurs when a previously reinforces behavior ceases to be reinforced in which the behavior becomes more incistent and stronger, before eventual becomeing extinct, problem is the makes the behavior supper obnoxious and even more difficult to ignore and the impressing the cure is making things worse not better.

What does work is teaching an incompatible behavior that is more effective. To stop a dog from jumping up, reward the dog for keeping for feet on the ground in those situations it normal jumps etc. see; Stopping Negative Behavior Positively


You note the behavior is predictable. For many dog that are on a schedual with food, sleep and general routine they also like a schedule for other normal activities as well and this includes play/attention. You can stop the negative behavior by being proactive by offering what the dog is seeking before the dog has to ask. That is if the dog starts jumping up and nipping at 19:30 schedual to plau/walk/exercise the dog at 19:00 and the incidents of problems at 19:30 general will disappear.

Most attention seeking behavior can also be classified as a lack of impulse control as well. Most dogs today have verey low natural threshold of impulse control but it is something that can be taught, and one of the few area I find dogs better able to generalize the behavior. Impluse control is the most important trait for making a dog easy or dificult to live with.

Any Dog Can Live Calmly in a House - Even Yours!

Impulse Control


Lowering Arousal: How to Train Impulse Control


We used to say a trained dog is a free dog, a dog that could go with us anywhere on or off lead. They knew how to “behave” in the human-controlled world. But what we should have said is: A dog with self-control is a free dog. Freedom for dogs has everything to do with impulse control and little to do with whether they can heel or shake their paw.

In my experience, a few dogs are born with low arousal levels and they have a natural sense of self-control. But I find that there seem to be less and less of these dogs. This may be because of breeding priorities that don’t include low arousal, or it may just mean that most dogs don’t live in rural environments and therefore they don’t come with very good natural programming to live in a mainly human-controlled world. I think dogs living in a busy household or environment never learn self control because they are constantly being stimulated and conditioned to be up and active, particularly ones who might be crated for long periods of time. When these dogs are then let out of the crate, owners often allow them to pace and be continually active in the home environment. Dogs like this can lose their ability to control themselves, similar to what can happen to dogs in a shelter environment. Dogs that are continually aroused can have higher cortisol levels¹​


Guidelines for Teaching Self Control Teaching your dog self control as the foundation for all other learning

I find the follow exercise particular useful with food motivated dogs


Most people veiw time out, shaker can (bottle can with pennies) Squirt bottle, say no as punishment, but that is not the case for most dogs. By definition in behaviorism Punishment must reduce the occurance of a behavior , if it does not it is not punishment. Most times the above do not reduce the occurance of a behavior, they may stop the behavior once it has occured but they do not reduce the likelihood the behavior will occur again. So as such at best the are disruptive stimuli that is something that stops the behavior. Which is not bad provided one then takes the opportunity to train a more appropriate behavior. This is a better long term solution anyway. Studies have shown that training an appropriate alternate behavior is less likely to fail long term than simply punishing a behavior. in which regression after 3 month is often 97% or higher.

Also keep in mind you are dealing with an adolescent 8 mnth puppy and like all adolescents they are constrantly testing boundries and trying to figure out how the world works and how they fit in, It can be and often is very trying time and the reason for high relinquish rates to shelters and rescues in this age group

Puppy Adolscence - or Demon Spawn
The absolute first thing a person must do is understand what adolescence is.
(I posted part of this about a week ago. Forgive the repeat.)
Every puppy of every breed -- and every adolescent of every species that raises its young -- goes through the same thing at adolescence. Adolescence is an important, necessary transition period between childhood and adulthood. As infants, these creatures were completely helpless, completely dependent upon their mothers for everything -- food, comfort, safety. In childhood, the creatures begin practicing the skills they'll need later.
However, they do it right there with mom in sight, so mom can protect or help as necessary. They instinctively know they aren't able to take care of themselves, so they stick close.
The eventual goal is, of course, adulthood. Complete independence. Mom won't be there to make decisions -- or to alleviate them of responsibility for their mistakes. The real world will be applying consequences, and those can be harsh (even fatal). The animal will, perhaps, become a parent herself, and must have all the knowledge and skills to raise the next generation. Adolescence is the transition between the safe practice of childhood and the
independent, butt-on-the-line reality of adulthood. Adolescence is the time when "Because I said so" simply isn't good enough anymore -- Nature *demands* that they test boundaries and consequences and decide for themselves what decisions they want to make. It's not dominance or rebellion. It's growing up.
Yes, even pet dogs *have* to go through this period. "But he won't be making decisions -- I will," you protest. Actually, I doubt it. Unless you're planning to be there, directing his every move 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you need your dog to know how to make decisions. More importantly, you want him to make the decision *you* want. And you want him to make this decision even when you're not there to back up the decision.

...
The second thing to do is make sure the dog is well-exercised physically and mentally. They're going through a growth spurt, in addition to massive mental development. They need to exercise ALL of those muscles. Get that up out to a safe place where it can truly run. Play games like fetch and retrieve that really work the dog. If you've got a doggy daycare, put the
dog in daycare once a week and let him play himself silly (as well as learn to speak dog fluently!).
It's imperative to continue dog-dog socialization through adolescence. They are going through massive changes, and they need to learn to relate to their species on a different level. Lots of dog-dog aggression shows up in adolescence not because the dogs are innately aggressive, but because they are changing mentally and physically and haven't learned to communicate effectively as a teenager
 
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