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Old 01-28-2010, 10:32 PM   #1
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Default Agression / Dominance / Walking problem

Hi All..

I seem to be having an ongoing problem with a young dog my wife and I adopted from a rescue shelter about 6 months ago. He is a 2-3 year old Silky Terrrier / shih-tzu cross and for most of the time is very well behaved - around humans (including young children) and other dogs. When we got him he had just been de sexed. We have no knowledge of his past history.

My problem occurs during the evening - We walk him just before going to bed so that he can go to the toilet etc, but he seems to not be interested in moving when it is just me taking him. The only time he will show some excitement about walking is if my wife gets up and grabs the lead. When it is just me he will refuse to get up, and even when the lead is on he will put on the brakes and refuse to budge. I often have to resort to picking him up and carrying him a good distance away from our house, or being slighly more forceful and using the harness leash to elevate his legs slightly which forces him to walk. I would really prefer that he just wanted to walk!

When he is in this mood, some times to pick him up I get the odd growl / showing of teeth, and if he is sitting on my wifes lap or next to her on the couch he will most certainly always try and bite me (or any other male) when we pick him up. We have experimented with other females and while he growled in one instance, I found he will let most females pick him up.

When we first brought him home, admitedly during the first few weeks, my work schedule involved me working long hours etc, while my wife was at home so he obviously bonded with her initially. But at the moment, I am almost always the one who feeds him and does most of the walking. I make him sit before he eats, and I also make sure I am the first one to walk through the front door - in most cases he will sit until I invite him in.

During the days I get some resistance to walking, but this problem is definately worse at night. For a dog that is usually motivated by food, I have found that tempting him with treats to get him to walk has not given a long term improvement. I am not sure whether we are dealing with a dominance or a trust issue but I would really like to find a way to sort out the walking issue, and stop the aggression for good.

If anyone could suggest any ideas (for the Dog or the owners!) that would be great. Thanks for your help.

Chris.

Last edited by broady; 01-28-2010 at 10:33 PM.. Reason: Added more info

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Old 01-28-2010, 11:40 PM   #2
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Hi Chris,

My miniature schnauzer used to do that too when he was younger. He just refuse to burge and i had to carry him all the time. I was sick of that.

It requires a lot of patience. I started to play ball with him to get him running about, then after a few weeks i progress to put a leash on him while playing the same game. This will help him to get use to the presence of the leash around him.

After a week or two i will try to walk him again holding the ball (this is to get his attention), do praise him and pad him for the good work if he started off with even only a few steps.

If all things failed, i would resort to showing his favourite treat in my hand. Let him sniff it and then place it in my pocket. Then attempt to walk him and if he has done it, remember to reward him whats in your pocket.

I hope this will help

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Old 01-29-2010, 01:25 AM   #3
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He is clearly not used to be socialised with or around men or worse have had bad experiences around it. Your wife is becoming a high valueable resource and he will protect this to not have to suffer again. You need to win his trust... You should be the only one to take over walking and feeding for a while. The one to give treats and praise. He should NOT be allowed on the couch or in your wife's lap to avoid resource guarding of her. IF he guards her against you she should quickly put him on the floor and walk away from him that is the ONLY punishment needed. He will quickly learn that negative behaviors makes him loose what he wants. Don't force contact with him, but sit on the floor with a really nice treat like hot dogs or chicken peices. Just throw them to him and if he eats give praise. Once he starts to come to you to easy sit exercises and give praise. Training basic obedience will strenghten the bond and make him more confident. Once he learns that you are a source of safety, food and pleasure as well he will be more calm and open with you. after that you need to make your male friends Give him treats in calm manners too. He needs to be socialised with men and regain confidence in people in general. Right now he's only bonded to one and thats your wife. I would say if you feel insecure of what I have written take in a true behaviorist someone that has veterinary behaviorist education they can show you what Im talking about.
Good luck with your little fella and thank you for rescuing!
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Old 01-31-2010, 07:04 PM   #4
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Thankyou both for the replies and advice.

I think you are on the right track Monkey and I will follow your advice to build the trust levels.

Thanks Again!
Chris

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Old 01-31-2010, 09:12 PM   #5
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You are welcome I am keeping my fingers crossed. Im used to dealing with similar situations. Resource guarding one way or another is something I often come across with the rotts I rescue. The more they trust you the less they guard, thats how it always have been with them Please keep us posted and post some more pics of your pup he's adorable
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