Help needed ASAP

Tricks, obedience, behavior, and more.
Diamondlil
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Help needed ASAP

Postby Diamondlil » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:47 am

My dog trainer worked wonders on my friends unruly red setters and really helped with my Bedlington, so much so that I was really happy he's been working with my step-daughter-in-law's staffie. Her dog is 6, altered, and very excitable. Just a big bundle of attention seeking love, without any meanness in him at all. You can take food right out of his mouth with his tail wagging.
As her son is coming up to 2 and she has arthritis making exercising the dog difficult, his owner wanted help with him and his excitability. So yesterday the trainer told her to scruff the dog and put him into a 'lay' position 'to show him who's boss' (Sounds suspiciously like an alpha roll to me) The dog reacted by snapping and drawing blood on her wrist so the trainer advised he should be put to sleep.
His owner is totally traumatised, Her dog has never in his life been aggressive in any way. And I mean never. He doesn't bark, growl or posture with any humans or other dogs. In fact his favourite position is squirming on his back while you tickle his tummy. Because she has a toddler around the trainer's words and hysteria by her mother are weighing on her mind. I do understand the safety of her son is paramount but can't help feeling that it was the alpha roll that caused the snap and that it shouldn't mean a death sentance for this happy-go-lucky family pet. At the moment she's going to seek a second opinion, so we've suggested a dog behaviourist rather than a trainer should be the way to go. (We're in the UK or I'd ask if any could be recommended)
My chap (her dad) has said he'll take on the dog rather than him be put to sleep. If that does happen he'll be able to take him to work with him most days and my son who walks my dogs when I'm on nightshifts will also be able to excercise the dog. I had 14 years of managing my stranger-aggressive pit mix, with firm kindness, but I always knew she hated people she didn't like. This is totally different, is my gut feeling right that the dog just didn't know what the heck was happening and reacted instinctively to what must have seemed to be a sudden attack?

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Poohs Dad
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Re: Help needed ASAP

Postby Poohs Dad » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:33 am

I, for one, believe your assumption is correct. Very few dogs would feel comfortable with a stranger attempting to alpha roll them...which is a ridiculous move under any circumstances. You should consult a behaviorist rather than a "trainer" for a behavior issue.

Diamondlil
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Re: Help needed ASAP

Postby Diamondlil » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:50 am

The trainer got the owner to roll the dog, which is how she got bitten. I'm just hoping she doesn't make a rushed decision as this goofy tank of a dog has never shown any issues apart from being excitable.

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jamielvsaustin
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Re: Help needed ASAP

Postby jamielvsaustin » Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:29 am

Diamondlil, I think you're right. I mean none of us were there so we can't say for sure. But if the dog is a true staffy...then they're excitable dogs. There are ways to exercise and "exhaust" them without the owner having to do a lot of work (because of her arthritis). Obedience training is a great way to mentally stimulate the dog...and it'll help with his excitability. Also a flirt pole is a great outdoor activity that doesn't require a lot of exertion from the owner. Depending on where her arthritis is, she may not be able to tug the toy after the dog has caught it. So another option is a spring pole.

Please urge her to not euthanize the dog, it really does sound like he was completely uncomfortable and did minimal harm. If he'd wanted to cause serious damage he likely would have. The fact that it was a nip says a lot (to me).

Diamondlil
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Re: Help needed ASAP

Postby Diamondlil » Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:50 am

Thanks for your answer, I really appreciate the help.
Latest news is that she's booked another trainer, not a behaviourist.
I only have a distant relationship with her and can't get directly involved, but my partner, her dad, is switched on enough through the trials and tribulations of rehabbing my rescue beddie over the last year to have already suggested a behaviourist would be the way to go. He's seen how well Bertie has changed from being a known biter before I got him, snapping at my grown-up boys when over-stimulated, to a sane and sensible family pet.
Apparently this new trainer works with 'attack dogs'. I may be making assumptions but that doesn't sound the right course to take and if this is another alpha roll fan full of dominance theory I just can't see it helping at all.
My partner reiterated to her that he will willingly take on the dog rather than see him euthed. If that does happen Toby will have a much more active life with more attention, activity and input. We are out and about in the countryside fishing or shooting most weekends and my dogs come along with us. They get long walks, safe, offlead running time and then have to sit or lay quietly while we are busy. (Last weekend they got their first overnight camping trip for an overnight beach fishing session) I'm no big fan of formal 'training sessions', so I throw in impromtue learning tasks for mine as part of every day life.
As far as flirt pole etc, I think she'd also have to work hard on the impulse control for Toby. Basically for 6 years his exhuberance hasn't been channeled at all. Any new game gets him so excited he often wets and yodels.

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luvnstuff
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Re: Help needed ASAP

Postby luvnstuff » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:13 pm

Fire trainer. First do that for your friend. Then tell them to enjoy their pet. The bite sounds like a confused, possibly a bit spoiled pet, who freaked and snapped as a "warning" and was pushed to far by a over alpha-ed trainer w their own issues ( ex,all must bow to me now! !). Rolling a confused dog or just a forced down can be interpreted as a confrontation in even the nicest of dogs. If the dog was really agressive it wouldn't of wasted the bite on a wrist...

Diamondlil
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Re: Help needed ASAP

Postby Diamondlil » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:47 pm

Thanks. I can't emphasise enough how daft and goofy and loving this dog is under normal circumstances. Whilst the trainer worked on basic disobedience for my friend's red setters with good results and specifically on lead walking for my beddie, he never suggested alpha rolling our dogs. I'm so glad he didn't try it on mine because it wouldn't have been the dog's reaction he'd have had to worry about.
So far no news about Toby, I'll hopefully know more tomorrow evening. If I was close to his owner it would be easier than having her dad as a go-between. I did suggest he gets her looking at dog behavioural sites online.

Diamondlil
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Re: Help needed ASAP

Postby Diamondlil » Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:00 am

Good news! The new trainer is taking a much more holistic approach, with advice on diet and more work on Toby's almost obsessive need to be with (preferably on) his people. Much more to keep Toby's brain engaged and give him work to do. The change in diet is to try to reduce his hyperactivity and the new trainer also agrees that he is no way an aggressive dog and that the other trainer's approach was completely ignoring his needs.

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Nickdawg
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Re: Help needed ASAP

Postby Nickdawg » Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:58 pm

:) :thumbsup:


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