Possessive Australian cattle dog puppy

Go Back   Dog Forum > Keeping and Caring for Dogs > Dog Training and Behavior

Possessive Australian cattle dog puppy

This is a discussion on Possessive Australian cattle dog puppy within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello. I'm new here. I have a 6 month old blue heeler pup. As I'm sure a lot of other cattle dog owners do, we ...

User Tag List

Like Tree32Likes

 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-02-2017, 09:31 PM
  #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Possessive Australian cattle dog puppy

Hello. I'm new here. I have a 6 month old blue heeler pup. As I'm sure a lot of other cattle dog owners do, we are having some trouble with strangers. When we are somewhere public, like walking on the beach, and she doesn't have time to claim something, she is fine with people. Of course, she won't let them pet her, but she's not growling. But when people come around something she thinks is hers, (and things become hers very fast) she growls and nips at heels. At my friend's house, I left her in a fenced in part of their yard while we went inside. She decided that was hers and didn't want to let them come into the yard. She would listen to me, but it was difficult and my friends were scared of her. At my grandma's house, she pretty much terrorizes my cousin. The only thing I know to do is hold her muzzle shut and lie her on the ground whenever she growls. I'm scanning the Internet for the right thing to do, but I can't find any good explanations of what I need to do. I think I understand that I shouldn't be physically correcting her as I am....? But I cannot find an alternative. I have some NaturVet Bitter YUCK! spray I could spray in her mouth as a correction.... Some guy mentioned doing that with his heeler. Is this a good idea? I guess I'd need to do some research and find some stuff that tastes unpleasant but wouldn't hurt her eyes if I somehow missed her mouth. A spray bottle with water? I know you're face palming at me right now. I'm sorry but I've got no clue what to do.

Oh also: we missed puppy classes (we didn't sign up in time) and the next class isn't for another month or so. I'd really like to nip this in the bud (no pun intended ) We're currently searching for a trainer but it's slow moving since I'm 15 and both parents work.
33socks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2017, 11:11 PM
  #2
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Boston metro-area, USA
Posts: 1,885
Mentioned: 46 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Exclamation nope; no YUCK! spray into her mouth, *ever* - that's to prevent chewing OBJECTS...

... it has nothing to do with biting - only spray things that a dog might gnaw [wood baseboard, banister; a hardcover book; etc].

Besides the inapropos application, what impression of Ur hands & Ur actions would the pup get, if U were to OPEN HER MOUTH with one hand over her foreface, & use the other to spray the inside of her sensitive mouth & tongue with horrid-tasting vile liquid? -
would the vet, among other ppl, appreciate this bad association the next time s/he reached for the pup's head to examine their eyes, or tried to open the pup's or now-dog's mouth for an interior exam?!?! -
I think not.


Also, Ur instincts are right - pinning her down & especially holding her mouth shut are not going to help, & holding her muzzle closed will definitely make things worse: when U reach for her head, after doing that a few too many times, she WILL at some point, bite with force & either U or someone else will be hurt - possibly, b/c we're talking hands here, with lots of nerves, tendons, small highly-mobile joints, etc, all in a small area, permanent loss of function may result from that one bite.
And it will happen - U are setting her up to defend herself, & her teeth are all she's got.

For help with training of all kinds, I have 2 well-regarded, reliable sources, Ian Dunbar's free downloadable books - 'Before U Get Ur Puppy' & 'After...' for advice on pro-active socialization, habituation, general manners, & chew-proofing by teaching about chew-toys,
& ANY of the videos on UTube by KikoPup.
KikoPup AKA Emily Larlham is an excellent trainer, but even better, she's a good teacher - & she will never ever ever tell U to do something that will scare, anger, or seriously stress Ur dog. She's reliably kind, humane, & thoughtful about potential fallout.



Free downloads | Dog Star Daily

https://www.youtube.com/user/kikopup

Look them over, & if U still have Qs, come on back - & please do update us.

For now, i'd have her on-leash around nonfamily or any folks that she does not live with, & i'd attach the leash to a hands-free belt, either made for the purpose, or just a good sturdy 2-inch wide belt - slide the wrist loop over the tab end & run it to whichever side U prefer, run the belt thru the remaining belt-loops of a sturdy pair of khakis or heavy-duty work pants, & buckle it securely.
Now, where U go, she goes - 4-ft of leash or even a 3-ft traffic leash is plenty, U want her right beside U, not leaping on passersby.

Work on desensitizing her & counter-conditioning her automatic ACD distrust of strangers - pair the visual arrival & continued presence of any stranger with Open Bar / Closed Bar: so long as the stranger is visible & audible, feed feed feed pea-sized or half-pea sized high-quality tidbits; when they can no longer be seen or heard, Bar's closed! - no more goodies, just stop feeding.

Open Bar / Closed Bar is not 'training' & there are zero contingencies; it's pure association & classical conditioning, 'I see a stranger, & i know that Good Things are about to happen'.

The 1st time that she sees an unknown someone coming in the distance, & turns to U smiling in anticipation of a goodie - YOU ARE MAKING PROGRESS. Celebrate! -- but 1st, start paying out tidbits, LOL.

- terry
leashedForLife is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2017, 10:35 AM
  #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Thank you thank you!! We will definantly try open bar/closed bar. And thank you for the references, I downloaded the book, I haven't had a chance to read it yet but I scanned through it and it looks like it will be helpful. I'll stop with the mouth holding, I see how that could be very bad. I'm still confused though, here's a scenario: say we're sitting outside at a not-too-crowded restaurant. There are a couple other people around, and she's lying at my feet, so I'm treating every once and a while. Someone comes walking down the sidewalk and walks right by us. I would reward her a ton right now, right? As soon as the person comes into view and stop when he goes out of view? What do I do if she growls? Do I just stop rewarding and use verbal correction?
33socks is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Old 08-04-2017, 02:44 PM
  #4
Senior Member
 
AlwaysTomboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: near Reading, PA
Posts: 340
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 33socks View Post
What do I do if she growls? Do I just stop rewarding and use verbal correction?
You don't want to correct your dog when she growls, assuming that 'correct' means telling her "no" or something that indicates she should stop the behavior. A growl is one of the ways your dog is able to communicate to you that something is happening and she's not cool with it, and it's a fairly obvious and harmless method of communication. It might be scary but it's just noise. In and of itself, it doesn't hurt anyone and it's a clear signal that even us humans with our dull (compared to a dog) senses can notice. A growl is your cue to listen to your dog and do what you need to do to get her away from whatever it is that's bothering her. It means you let one of her triggers get too close. If you quash one of her most obvious methods of communication, she may decide to skip the warning (since it's only going to get her a reprimand) and start doing even less appropriate things like snapping or biting.

Put another way, stopping her from growling isn't changing her attitude towards the trigger. If you're afraid of spiders and scream every time you see one and I start slapping you in the face every time you scream, you're not going to feel any differently about spiders; you'll just know that around me you can't scream when you see one and it might be better just to stomp on the spider or to punch me in the nose. It's not changing your feelings towards the trigger, just your reaction to it, and it's probably not going to change your reaction in a positive way. That's probably a bad analogy. Sorry.

I'm inclined to think that you need a more controlled environment than a restaurant to work with her; you need to be somewhere where you can easily and quickly get more distance if necessary. You want her to associate people (if that's her trigger) with good things like treats, but if she has to resort to growling because someone got too close, then she's back to thinking that people are scary and need to be told to stay away so you've lost a bit of the progress you made with the people/treat connection.
33socks and leashedForLife like this.
AlwaysTomboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2017, 02:56 PM
  #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Ok. I see. No, that was a good analogy. Just realized that half the time we thought we were "socializing" her we were pretty much drowning her in new stuff. Which was scary. So I should never put her in a situation where she would growl or snap and I should instead be working up to that. THANK YOU.
33socks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2017, 07:27 PM
  #6
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Boston metro-area, USA
Posts: 1,885
Mentioned: 46 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Arrow Nope; this isn't "training', it's positive association of strangers + Good THings

Quote:
Originally Posted by 33socks View Post

...here's a scenario: say we're sitting outside at a not-too-crowded restaurant. There are a couple other people around, and she's lying at my feet, so I'm treating every once and a while.
Someone ... walks right by us. I would reward her a ton right now, right? As soon as the person comes into view & stop when he goes out of view?

What do I do if she growls?
Do I just stop rewarding and use verbal correction?
Nope - U still deliver the goody.

As i said - this is pure conditioning - we pair the soon-to-be-former trigger with Good Things.
What THE DOG does is immaterial - this is noncontingent; it's not training, there's no, "U do this, & i pay that", requirement - she does what she does, it doesn't matter, THe PRESENCE OF A STRANGER = 'Open Bar'.

Of course U are also there to prevent her doing anything that might scare, upset, or injure anyone! - U aren't going to ignore it if she gets up from her lying position on the floor, & begins to lunge toward a passerby, right?
Of course not! - that's what leashes are for, but at the same time, growling is nothing but communicating she's worried; she feels threatened, & it's a warning: "keep doing what yer doing, or get closer, & i might punch yer ticket."

GROWLS * SHOULD * NEVER * BE * PUNISHED - NOR EVEN DISCOURAGED.
They are critical info, & are priceless - we need them, & dogs need to feel free to express their concerns, at all times. A dog who cannot growl, or who has had the growl punished out of them, is a danger to themselves & others, as they cannot warn - they can only bite.

- terry
AlwaysTomboy and 33socks like this.
leashedForLife is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2017, 07:41 PM
  #7
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Boston metro-area, USA
Posts: 1,885
Mentioned: 46 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Wink it isn't just "exposure", it's HAPPY exposure...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 33socks View Post

... Just realized that half the time we thought we were "socializing" her we were pretty much drowning her in new stuff.
Which was scary. So I should never put her in a situation where she would growl or snap and I should instead be working up to that. THANK YOU.
this happens more often than U'd think - 'socialization' = happy controlled exposures to living beings.
'Habituation' = happy controlled exposures to non-living stimuli: traffic, elevators, rides on the subway, fire sirens, passing ambulances, the compressors on refrigeration units [which emit sounds we humans cannot hear - dogs hear both ultra- & infra-sonically, we do not], etc.

"Happy" means not overwhelming, not flooding the dog - incremental; only as close or as loud or as _______ as the dog is ready to experience with mild stress or no stress.
U can always get closer, louder, deeper, ______ , next time - or the time after that.


The flip side of habituation is SENSITIZING - making the dog less comfortable with X, instead of 'more comfy'.
They become hyperaware of the particular thing they've been sensitized to, & react to it at lower & lower thresholds - farther away, lower decibels, seeing just one part of the whole can trigger a huge reaction before the entire object is even visible.

Sensitizing is what happens when the dog is forced into situations that are too much for them, when they cannot cope, they feel unsafe or threatened, they are overwhelmed by stimuli, too many hands are touching them [one person only may touch at a time, not a dozen small children mobbing the dog], & so on.

- terry
33socks likes this.
leashedForLife is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2017, 11:05 AM
  #8
Senior Member
 
AlwaysTomboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: near Reading, PA
Posts: 340
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 33socks View Post
What do I do if she growls? Do I just stop rewarding and use verbal correction?
Quote:
Originally Posted by leashedForLife View Post
Nope - U still deliver the goody.
leashedForLife, thank you for clarifying this. This is what I've been doing with my reactive dog but didn't want to offer that as advice since I wasn't sure it was actually good practice. If she's still willing and able to take treats, I keep giving them to her when her trigger is in sight, even if she's growling. If she's too distracted to be interested in treats, I know we're too close to the trigger and she's over threshold so we need to move away.

I also try to make the moving away process a good thing; a cheerful, "Good girl! Now let's walk over here," said in a happy excited voice so it doesn't seem like she's being pulled away in anger or disappointment or that she's being punished or corrected.
33socks and leashedForLife like this.
AlwaysTomboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2017, 09:00 PM
  #9
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Boston metro-area, USA
Posts: 1,885
Mentioned: 46 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Lightbulb a great DIY manual...

of course, if U feel out of Ur depth or the dog has any history of actually biting persons or other nonhumans, consulting a credentialed behaviorist [CAAB, Board-cert'd vet behaviorist, IAABC k9 consultant, etc] is the proper course.

however... if the problem is relatively new, or relatively small [growls not bites; barks not raging snarls], there's no reason not to reduce the size of the problem with some classic DS / CC: DeSensitize & Counter-Condition.

'Click to Calm' is a terrific DIY text, with very safe, straightforward descriptions of what to do, & how to do it.

I can personally attest to 4 different dogs in the Va Beach / Norfolk area who had serious aggro issues, but whose owners simply could not afford a series of one-to-one B-Mod sessions.
They met me once or twice, so i could see the dog; i wrote a detailed evaluation of their dog's behavior, another custom-tailored plan for B-mod, & they used the book for the process, with me via phone or e-mail for back-up.
All 4 dogs kept their homes, & improved tremendously; they would never be dog-park pups or social butterflies, but they could safely be taken off the owner's property on leash, & handled in public without constant drama.

U can read the book in toto, or simply leaf to the part that describes Ur dog's symptoms & start B-Mod. // I would heartily recommend reading the entire book when U can, as understanding what's going on is helpful - but it's not mandatory.
I don't "Need" to know why an owner-surrendered dog reacts violently to having his ears touched, in order to fix the issue - if that were so, only dogs with extensive behavioral histories could ever be rehabbed.
However, especially for pet-owners, having a grasp of how dogs think & feel, & why they do what they do, is helpful. Such understanding helps prevent future issues; U are less likely to unintentionally poison a cue when U know what that means, & why it happens.

- terry
33socks likes this.
leashedForLife is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2017, 09:20 PM
  #10
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Boston metro-area, USA
Posts: 1,885
Mentioned: 46 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
E-T-A:
Click to Calm was written for aggro, but works with any reactive issue - hyperexcitement, phobias, past traumas, etc. Simply substitute the apropos term for aggro, "fear", "anger", etc, & get to work.

- t
33socks likes this.
leashedForLife is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Tags
aggression, blue heeler, herding, possessive dog, red heeler

Thread Tools
Display Modes


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:20 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd. Runs best on HiVelocity Hosting.