Almost 7 month old Pup

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Lotsaquestions
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:34 am

Getting quite concerned with aggression from other male dogs now, seriously considering neutering.

Took him on a walk today (local country park), 5 male dogs all wanted a piece of him. The first one I thought was just an unfortunate fluke, and nothing came of it (Merlin backed away and got away. The other dog just charged and barked). Second one, same thing, Merlin ran off. We put him on a lead from then on (we were walking along a bridleway so it wasn't open field). Whilst on a lead, and not doing anything to start it as far as I could see (he was looking at them though) the rest of them seemed to want to rip his face off. These same dogs I had seen act completley different to a dog up ahead. When they get all snarly his first response is to turn away and look at me (left over from BAT work I did as a puppy), so he kept being rewarded, however with the last dog he let out a little growl before turning away. I am really concerned his temperament is going to be damaged because of it.

In the meantime while I mull over neutering, is there anything I can do to help Merlin out? I have been thinking of doing a 'watch me' with all dogs on a lead so he isn't giving any eye contact, but given his dog obsession that will be extreamly hard to do. I have also been doing a positive interrupter which isn't yet proofed with doggy distractions, perhaps even a momentary look away from the other dog would help appease them?

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:07 pm

Lotsaquestions wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:34 am
with the last dog he let out a little growl before turning away. I am really concerned his temperament is going to be damaged because of it.
I think he had every justification and you should be impressed that he didn't react more! Growling isn't aggression - it's communication, and is saying, 'I feel uncomfortable' or 'Please bog off.' Jasper often lets off a low rumble at annoying little puppies who want to play with him - he's simply saying he's not the sort of dog who enjoys that sort of thing, and it would take a LOT more provocation for him to be more proactive.

A couple of suggestions: (1) when you see a dog coming for you/Merlin, get in between Merlin and the incoming dog and should 'GIT!!!' at the other dog, making yourself look as big as possible and pointing in the opposite direction; (2) throw a handful of stinky treats towards the incoming dog to distract it and stop it in its tracks, then swiftly remove Merlin before he can try to get them.

These aren't foolproof. A couple of times I've tried (1) with a dog approaching Jasper but he's decided that he needs to back me up, rather than let me sort it out for him. And the dog who you treat-bomb might turn out to be intolerant of whatever treats you throw, so you need to be fairly sure the dog was going to attack Merlin so you can justify your actions to the irate owner. Though if everyone where you walk treats other dogs without even asking (which is a really bad idea, but just try stopping them :roll: ), you may get away with it :wink:
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:38 pm

But I'd also see if you can think of quieter places/times to walk. It's not for ever, this will settle down. An adolescent entire dog can produce seven times as much testosterone as a fully mature one.
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:41 pm

Thank you for the advice. Normally I can spot which dogs will be funny with him but today they were perfectly normal until they got close, then those pearly whites came out. Merlin tends to let me know if I don't realise, but he was as shocked as me at the reactions I think. He was also shocked when three lady dogs swooned over him, too, and licked his mouth like he was manness personified... Normally he is trying to hassle them!

I'll see if I can teach Merlin a 'behind me' command so I can get between them before they even get close. To be on the safe side I might just do it with every off lead dog. I tend to carry boiled chicken with me on a permanent basis so I can toss those out, hopefully those are hypoallergenic enough. I've heard of people using umbrellas, which might work better than me shouting since Merlin WILL join in with me shouting. I have no doubt in my mind about that!

He's 8 months old now and just under 10kg, am I naive in thinking he's at his peak now and it won't be long before it settles? He started cocking his leg at 5 and a half months. It is a real shame, since I bet the owners of the other dogs aren't even aware their dogs will act like this so I can't even read their reactions to see if their dog has an issue or not. At least dogs who are fearful, fear aggressive or generally aggressive tend to get put on a lead when they see a dog so I can do the same. Today most of the owners seemed as shocked as we were.

No more midday walks in country parks. Crack of dawn strolls in the woods it is! Maybe I'll run into other intact owners who have the same issue :lol:

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Sun Oct 08, 2017 2:47 pm

I'd guess he's round about his peak - I've seen 10 months quoted as the max, with levels gradually dropping till around 18 months. But as a small breed, he'll mature more quickly than larger dogs. It's difficult to know when other dogs will stop going for him though, as it'll depend on the other dogs (J was much better with pups up to a year but didn't like cocky bouncy labs, boxers & similar). But once he gets to, say, 18 months, if he's still being picked on it would be worth considering neutering just to make life less stressful for both of you.

Just a thought - if he was unsure about the lady dogs (licking lips can be a sign of anxiety) he may be going through a shy phase, which means it would be a really bad time to get him neutered right now.
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Ari_RR » Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:59 pm

Lotsaquestions wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:41 pm
No more midday walks in country parks. Crack of dawn strolls in the woods it is! Maybe I'll run into other intact owners who have the same issue :lol:
Yep, we've been there!
On the bright side - you will probably see interesting things. We saw owls flying, for example...
On the other side - if you run into other dogs, I would suggest staying away... there is a reason they are out there at the crack of dawn, and it may well be the opposite of yours.

When Ari and I were roaming the woods at 5 am, it was because if had brought him out at 7, he would be harassing and challenging every male out there... the larger - the better, but in absense of large ones, small or medium size would become targets too.

Keep your eyes open :wink:

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:41 am

It was the lady dogs who were licking his mouth, Merlin was just standing there a little confused by the attention of three small girls :lol: The boy dog they were with then ran Merlin off, which was his first encounter of the day. Its why we thought it was a fluke, that perhaps the boy dog just didn't want Merlin around the girls (if dogs even think that way!)

He can be skittish about some things though (people at night, unexpected noises, unexpected things in the street like a chair or bike) which is why we kept him intact to help him gain confidence. He is alot better now, but there are still times when he gets spooked. Neutering him will be a last resort if we just can't enjoy walks anymore, since our area is HUGELY 'doggy', and unfortunately some prats walk their dogs off lead along the streets. Going around corners in my area has always been a little bit stressful for me, since as a puppy (4 months old) a loose dog ran up to him and was ready to tear him a new one. If that was to happen again I can only imagine it wouldn't be 'ready' anymore, but instead something much, much worse.

I'll try him with his OAP buddies this morning, hopefully since they know him and have shown no signs of hating him (yet) he'll still be able to meet up with them. Training around them as distractions has done absolute wonders for Merlin's over excitement issues.

@Ari_RR I'll bare that in mind!

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:36 am

So far so good with his usual buddies, I even managed to get him into a one minute stay whilst the other dogs were running about which I never thought possible a month ago, and he's passing dogs without a sound (but still very, very interested). He's doing alot better in his training, and we've booked him into another IMDT training class now he has improved at his KC one. We're also able to have a quick drink in a pub after he's been running about without him being crazy.

One thing that has cropped up is a new behaviour that I'm 50/50 on what it is. Merlin is a guarder, he guards very high value food. He hasn't done this since 15 weeks old with counter conditioning, and he's never guarded toys, but I'm always on the lookout for potential guarding issues as he grows up. Now, most the time when I stroke other dogs he doesn't react at all, in fact he tends to just wander off and do his own thing. He has even walked off when I've given other dogs treats and he would rather sniff a tree. Occassionally, though, he jumps on them and growls. Now I assume, for now, that this is just him being a pushy bully and have been treating it as such, and it does only happen with dogs he wants to / was playing with. After he jumps on them (no teeth baring) he tries to get them to chase him or wrestle, and he is in no way stiff. But it is a very sudden jump + growl. He is a fairly independent dog in general, and would rather sleep in a different room to me than anywhere near me (damn Spitz!) so I hoped he wouldn't be inclined to get too possessive over me.

I am just wondering if you guys think this is 'innocent' (I know its not really innocent!) bully behaviour and not any early signs of guarding? He is under a strict NILIF and I make sure other people do things with him so I'm not his one and only, but I do reward him ALOT when outside purely because he can be worried about some things and reactive to things that do worry him (general adolescent shyness). So I assume I am a pretty high resource outside the house.

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:06 pm

I don't know the answer - though Jasper went through a very short phase of snarking at another dog if I gave it a treat, which stopped of its own accord. In general, though, life would be a whole lot easier if people never gave other people's dogs treats, so I rarely do. There's nothing worse than being mugged by someone else's slobbery dog, though the treat fairy whose groin seems to be the target as Jasper belts up to him at 20mph may beg to differ :lol:

In general, this board is anti-NILIF. I'm nicking a bit of an old post by Jacksdad to explain it:
jacksdad wrote:
Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:42 pm
NILIF absolutely can [not saying it always does] become abusive. You don't have to hit your dog to be abusive, even if your intentions are 100% trying to do the right thing strictly following a NILIF protocal that is based on incorrect understanding of a dog's needs and behavior can turn abusive because you end up depriving a social animal of their basic needs unless they "jump through some hoop" first.

The BIG problem with NILIF is often the narrative that goes along with it. The why you dog is doing something and the why/how you should respond to whatever it is your dog was doing. To date I have run across FAR more wrong and baseless explanations for what a dog is doing than correct ones, particularly in the context of NILIF.

NOT everything in the dogs life needs to be earned. a healthy relationship is full of free things. And dogs being a social animal NEED free "stuff" in it's life, including from us. NOT all quests for attention, to play, to go on a walk, to go to the bathroom, to eat their daily needs of nutrition should be acquired ONLY through earning. Basic life needs should be free. That would includes having nutritional needs met, the ability to relieve and empty their bladder and bowls, basic exercise and even social enter actions.

There is a HUGE difference between expecting your dog to sit to get attention verse jumping on you and ONLY EVER giving your dog attention when you decide it is time AND after the dog "earns" it. Or expecting your dog to not jump all over you as put down it's food bowl, but rather sit calmly while you place it on the ground and step back verse having to do some absurd task their basic ration.

Now you maybe saying...."well that is all I want, and isn't that what NILIF is about". If it was...I would be it's #1 fan. But NILIF isn't just about good manners, and teaching your dog what is expected, and how to get along in the human world etc. Again, the issue with NILIF is it's explanations, reasoning, and the tone it sets for the relationship between dog and human.

giving your dog "free" stuff/attention does not create problems...provided you are teaching your dog what it needs to know to co exist with you and other humans.
If you want to read it in context, the thread's here: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=19638

Bottom line, like children, indulging them rotten some of the time won't turn them into spoiled brats, and they shouldn't have to ask your permission when they want to go to the loo!
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:56 pm

Ah! I didnt know it could be harmful! Luckily i only ever did NILIF in regards to things he wants that are in human hands. This could be food, a toy or even some paper he likes the look of. He had to sit for it. I started it after being nipped when he tried a 'smash and grab' for various things, then subsequently learned people recommend it for guarding. Maybe i dont have to be so strict with that anymore!

Merlin doesnt actually mind me giving dogs treats, he just comes and sits next to them to get one too. He jumps on them if i am just stroking a dog, or they are jumping up at me. Today a lab smelt Merlins food in my treat bag and starting to lick my hand (i didnt give her any food) then he pounced. I was saying 'oh you can smell the food can't you?' then he just jumped on her. i hope it is just a weird phase.

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:18 am

Ok I think its definately pushy play behaviour. Went to the park and a new dog was there, lovely little Jack Russell. They played together for a bit but then the Jack Russell got wind of the food I had on me and was springing up and down like a yo-yo. Merlin got annoyed he wasn't playing anymore, and jumped on him. I distracted Merlin with a ball, and that was that. The Jack Russell kept jumping up but Merlin sussed the game was over and just walked off. Phew!

One question, though, about another dog that goes to the park in the evenings that has alot of other owners worried, and the dogs owners seem to be very naive. We've told the owners to get help from a behaviourist, but would like some advice we can pass along about what it is.

The dog is an almost 6 month old Lab boy. He pins other dogs down constantly and doesn't let go when the other dogs (mostly puppies) are yelping. He dragged one dog along by its cheek (and drew blood), and apparently he's grabbed loads of dogs by the throat and doesn't let go. The other owners (not the labs owners) have been pulling the lab off other dogs constantly, but apparently its now escalated further and the Lab has been turning around snapping at people who pull the dog away. This all happens in the evenings, I've only ever taken Merlin to the local park in the evenings once (and he met the Lab and really, really bullied the lab so we left immediately. It was an instant dislike for this Lab that I've never seen before from Merlin), but from what I've heard its just getting worse and worse.

Now the owners aren't doing anything. They're not bad people, I think they're just really naive and are a bit afraid of the Lab. Part of me thinks this is bullying behaviour that has just been left to escalate from the owners, but the not letting go when yelping sets off a few alarm bells. Even in Merlin's height of 'I'm a big boy bully' he ALWAYS backed off if the other dog made any noise and never, ever latched on or pinned. He tended to just roll dogs over and growl, which was horrible in itself. People have been telling the owners to intervene more, and they've been doing it themselves, and if it is simple bullying that did work for Merlin. However since the Lab is now snapping at people I'm not sure its working at all. Is there anything we can say to help out the Lab's owners for the time being?

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:36 am

I'd just tell them that this behaviour can be extremely damaging (mentally, as well a physically) for the other dogs and they really need to keep their dog on (long?) lead to prevent it, and get a behaviourist in, or someone :wink: is likely to report them to the dog warden. And I would actually report them to the dog warden if they didn't do anything, because someone could get badly bitten.

There's one dog, B, who used to bully Jasper when he was a pup. B grew out of the behaviour and I thought they were fine around each other till one day when we walked round the woods together. J & B seemed to be ignoring each other and J seemed fine, but at the end of the walk he threw a 'jumpy/bitey' tantrum (directed at me) the likes of which he hadn't done for years. He hadn't forgotten, and the stress must have been building the whole way around the walk. They don't forget, and they don't completely get over it.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:26 am

Poor Jasper :( I am glad after only meeting the Lab once we never took Merlin back in the evenings. I'll pass on the advice about the long line and say taking no action will only make things worse. I hope they listen, would be a shame for such a young dog to be deemed dangerous when I bet this behaviour can be fixed. He has no lead on him at the moment so people have been collar grabbing to pull him away.

We're in the West Midlands area of the UK so if anyone on this forum knows a good behaviourist near us so we can pass on the details. They've been told to get one in by others, but they are taking the Lab to training and I think they think its the same thing.

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:43 am

This one in Great Malvern is Emmabeth's business, so should be pretty darn good: https://www.thecanineconsultants.co.uk/
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:50 am

I'll pass on the info, hopefully they'll take the hint!

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