Cobber's "being a real jerk" in daycare - Page 2

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Cobber's "being a real jerk" in daycare

This is a discussion on Cobber's "being a real jerk" in daycare within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; It could be he is resource guarding the couch and the staff????...

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Old 03-14-2014, 07:58 PM
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It could be he is resource guarding the couch and the staff????
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:58 PM
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Go easy on Tyler. It's ridiculously difficult to express to an owner "I love your dog, except he's doing something I don't like, and I really want it to work out, but also I want you to be aware that it's a problem, and it's a serious enough problem that it needs to be addressed, but still tooootally fixable, but do please work on it because it's making things difficult BUT WE LOVE HIM" without sounding insane or getting shrugged off because "it can't be that bad." I know I've had to have that talk three or four times with the same people to really get it through their head that their dog is having real, non-imaginary, not-just-because-I-don't-like-him problems, and it's hard to strike the right balance of firmness and friendliness. One guy was totally blowing me off even when I showed him that I had deep purple bruises from wrist to elbow on both sides of my arm like a sleeve of bruise from where my entire arm had ended up in between his dog and the dog his dog was attacking.The Talk is really difficult to get right.

From what you posted above, in addition to reducing stimulation, I'd put a bit of extra work into impulse control/frustration tolerance and possibly resource guarding as well. Both of the examples you posted sound like him trying to say "Hey, I need a %#^*ing BREAK" when he's just out of patience to me, gauging by my customers who acted similarly. But it's worth noting that sofas and handlers are both guardable things. That wouldn't be my first bet, but it would be on my radar.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:08 PM
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Thanks! I actually like Tyler a lot, so I'm trying to take his talk with me very seriously (but obviously I also took it a little personally). It does seem like resource guarding, but again, Cobber's never displayed anything like that when he and I are together, so I'm not even sure how to train it out of him when I've never seen him do it. He's more than happy to step aside from me, from his food, from his toys, etc., when the cats show any interest. But we don't have another dog, so it may just be something that doesn't manifest here at home.

But, yes, from what Tyler gave me as examples, that sounds like RG. I will be talking with the day care owner Monday morning - she will probably have different examples to share that might help me process better.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by CobbersMom View Post
Thanks! You're all being very reassuring - I very much appreciate that!

Regarding the "jerk" comment - that's what Tyler opened with when I walked in to pick up Cobber tonight: "We need to talk because Cobber's really being a jerk this week!" Maybe that's sort of where my sense of blindsiding came from.

Anyway, I appreciate knowing that this isn't necessarily a bad thing and that it might be a sign that he needs less exercise in his day than has been the case up to now.

Wow... I would not ever open a conversation with an owner that began with that. Sigh... Tyler needs to work on his people skills... Although he may have been nervous.

Anyways, I completely agree with inkii and sassafras on this. It sounds like he really needs a break from Doggie Daycare. I would drop him down to 2 days, tbh.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:13 PM
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1) Is your daycare large enough and well staffed enough to separate the dogs into different play groups? If so, maybe Cobber could be moved to a different play group. It's possible he may be stressed by new dogs that he feels are "pushy" and won't back off. So he goes and sits on the couch, and they still come up and "nudge nudge nudge" until Cobber snaps. Or he sits by a staff member (for protection?) and here they come again "nudge nudge nudge" until Cobber snaps at them. Then Cobber is called a bad dog.
2) Do the play groups get any quiet time, or can Cobber get some quiet time to rest every day?
3) Your comments about this guy Tyler sent up some red flags. Is Tyler the manager? He obviously doesn't like Cobber if he's calling him a jerk! He was seeing a problem but did not discuss it with you before it got to this point. When the problem escalated, Cobber got punished by being crated. So now Cobber may think the crate is a punishment - not good! Also, Cobber wouldn't accept a treat from Tyler, so he may not like or trust Tyler. You have no way of knowing why Cobber has learned not to take treats from Tyler.
Are there any other day care options in your area? Hopefully, you can find a better situation for your dog.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:26 PM
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It's better that Tyler brings it up to you, although I totally get why he would not: Most dog owners react very badly when they are told that their dog is a canine Jesus, and I've heard many times on multiple forums about doggy daycare workers who just 'suck it up' rather than reporting bad behaviour to mom and dad. I mean, at the end of the day they are a business which usually means that they're trying to let 'the customer is always right' be the overriding policy wherever possible.

And yeah, 5 days / week for daycare might be a bit excessive. I worked summer camps. Have you played with people for 8 hours/day all week? It's exhausting. I slept like a baby every night. Maybe an idea would be to alternate the days that he's in daycare and for 'home alone' days set him up with something quiet but still stimulating, like a good edible chew or some puzzle toys.

Another idea for you if daycare is overwhelming for him is to go the pet sitter / dog-walker route. Doesn't even have to be a pro; just an at-home mom, a student or a retired person that you trust. You can even get references. Daily an hour of a walker / sitter's time might run you $10-$20, depending on whether they're professional or not.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:29 PM
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Be glad someone was willing to tell you! We didn't find out that our bichon Bandit was acting aggressively protective of our other, younger bichon until after he had passed away. I guess the people that work where we board our dogs thought it was manageable and decided not to tell us until much later. Of course, at that point it's too late to work on it.
Sorry, I don't really have any advice. I'm glad to hear that you're open to what Tyler was telling you, despite wanting to take it personally.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:34 PM
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Personally I wouldn't take him back to daycare. It doesn't sound like he's having fun anymore, he's probably on edge the entire time in case he needs to tell off another dog. Not to mention that all it takes is another dog deciding to fight back to end up with an actual fight and two injured dogs.

A LOT of terriers become dog reactive, intolerant, or aggressive as they mature. It's not uncommon and it does NOT make him a bad dog if he is dog intolerant! Dog issues are not the same as people issues, even if he were to become full-on dog aggressive (which I doubt he will) he'd still be his same sweet self with people. One of my own dogs is dog intolerant, she will not tolerate strange dogs approaching her. She just gets snarky and snaps at them, but I do not let her meet strange dogs due to the risk of a real fight.

To me it sounds like Cobber would be happier having someone come take him for a walk every day instead of going to daycare. He could still get out of the house but not have to deal with a bunch of dogs.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by CobbersMom View Post
The day care guy (Tyler) made it pretty clear Cobber was the problem. It seems this happens when he's on their couch (for example) and another dog comes up and nudges Cobber to play, Cobber will lash out and bite. Or if Cobber's sitting by the side of one of the staff and a dog comes up, Cobber lashes out and bites. It sounds bad, and I don't blame the staff for suggesting maybe this won't work out.
This possibly sounds like guarding... Couches/soft beds and favorite people are valuable items to anyone... And if he's tired on top of that... Yup, the other dog might get a nasty response... I'm not sure the day care will be able to deal with this where they have other dogs to take care of, but perhaps checking out to see if Cobber does this at home with your couch or you...? Run a test and have a friend come over to see if Cobber shows any stress signals when sharing the couch..?

And don't worry about taking a break... We all do it and it's often healthy. Welcome back!
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:50 PM
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My initial reaction was the same as yours-I get that it's hard to perfect the talk, but some people skills could definitely have gone a long way in not blindsiding you-however unintentional. Even just having noted beforehand 'oh, he had a bad day' would've been better than suddenly 'he's been nipping etc for weeks'. And you never thought to mention this to his owner?!?!!?

The examples you mentioned really DO sound like he needs more of a break. I'd cut back to 2-3 times a week, and see how that goes. If the problems keep happening it's time to stay at home.

In addition, impulse control games and CCing for calm around other dogs might be beneficial. You don't want his few bad experiences of dogs wanting to go play when he's tired becoming what he feels is normal. Set up play dates, keep them short, and give lots of rest time. Working on 'leave it' and some resource guarding stuff will always help-unless your dog is HAPPY to give up their favorite toys/food/spots/etc, there's always work to be done on the resource guarding front.

I'm glad you came back, there's no need for your tail to be tucked :P People have disagreements all the time and getting help when you need it is more important than an argument you had, regardless of what it was about. Stick around!! Post more photos
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