Aggressive/dominant behaviour. Uh oh... - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Aggressive/dominant behaviour. Uh oh...

Just to say how much I value this forum - it is a fascinating and very helpful resource. Thanks in advance for any suggestions with the following issues...

Elvis has been a bad boy this weekend. His cone collar came off a few days ago and he is now back to 'normal' after his neauter surgery. However, yesterday he snapped, snarled, growled and barked at my house cleaner and in the evening took center stage in the living room barking and growling at a visitor. Not good behaviour. I really do not want a yappy snappy dog! I put him into 'time out' - a quiet, dark bathroom - but after 10 minutes he was back outside yapping and snapping.

About a month ago my house keeper helped me clean out his eyes (which he hated) and he has not seen been in her company since. I wondered if he is remembering that unpleasant incident?

During the day he goes to a dog sitter where he hangs out with a female chichahua. He is very attached and affectionate to the sitter, myself, my female lodger and female neighbours. But show him a man and he barks, growls. On the whole I would say he's got quite a nervous and jumpy temperament but now that he is maturing I would really like to get to grips with the unpleasant behaviour. I am going on vacation next week and was going to leave him in the care of the dog sitter. But I am now considering the kennels where he will get to play with other dogs and be cared for by a male supervisor. Your advice will be appreciated!

Regards, Karen and Elvis
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 06:31 AM
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I would say only good treats should come from men from now on. I am not sure you should quite jump to changing to a male supervisor while your gone as if he is a nervous dog that may be too much. Could you take puppy class with a male instructor though?

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 07:32 AM
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I agree with Amanda about boarding with a man. Their world is already changed, with you gone and no longer being at home, that it might be too much if he is already upset with men in general.

Slow conditioning and rewarding good behavior is usually the best way to eliminate bad behavior. It means being consistent and saying 'no' , then redirecting. Yup, you want to nip this in the bud.




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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 08:14 AM
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I agree with Marj and Amanda on the boarding thing. In terms of getting to accept strangers better (especially men) Amanda already gave you great advice. With Kodi, from the time he was a tiny pup, I asked everyone I saw to give him a small treat (which I provided). Pretty soon, he thought everyone was a friend and possible source of goodies. Then winter came, and people started wearing hats, he didn't seem to recognize them as humans.<g> We started right back up with the goodies, and that quickly faded too.

That said, Kodi is not fearful or nervous by nature. He may have gotten over his aversion to hats on his own once he figured it out. But it is VERY important to me that he remain socialized and people friendly... I hate little barky, nippy dogs.<g> So I have made a real effort from day one to make social encounters (with people and dogs) as positive an experience as possible.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 09:35 AM
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You definitely want to nip that in the bud and I think the advice of Amanda, Marj, and Karen is spot on. Murphy is super socailized and loves everyone he sees. KoKo (my Yorkie) also loves people but is yippy. I hope Murphy's calm non barking attitude rubs off on her rather than the other way around.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 11:31 AM
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I agree with everyone here. A little classical conditioning might help here.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Many thanks for you thoughts and advice. May I ask a specific question about how to recondition Elvis's behaviour that happened this weekend?

A guest/man comes to the house. The door bell rings and Elvis starts barking. When the guest comes into the house he stands and barks, holding his own, dominating the scene, making it impossible for me to welcome my freind into my calm (ha!) house. After 10 minutes in time out (darkened bathroom) he comes out and starts barking again. On this occasion my friend was happy to hold out treats (although Elvis is not food oriented) and was very patient with the whole scenario. He finally calmed down after I picked him up for a cuddle and my friend petted him in my arms. It worked but was picking him up rewarding his bad, barking behaviour?

Any tips on how he can love my house cleaner again, very gratefully received. he was very fond of her before. We tried food and cuddles but he snapped at her a number of times. awful!

The only (very nice) trainer here is female and I will look into the dog sitter miding him while I am on holiday.

If you had not guessed already, I'm back on the dating scene and do not want a cute-as-a-button Havanese called Elvis chasing away potential beaus! Cheers, Karen
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 04:26 AM
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Karen- I would avoid the picking up part as much as possible. If Elvis isn't naturally food motivated, I would not feed him on days you knew you were to have male visitors (dogs are opportunistic especially when hungry!) If you can ask them to get down to his level and maybe at first put the food around them. Then on their shoe and then in their hand. I did this with my last rescue and my SIL and he bonded rather quickly to her. She just sat on the floor and we were talking and she ignored him. She waited an entire day before the hand.

I do think especially with little dogs you have to be careful about picking them up in fear situations. You could try having Elvis on a leash and if he starts to bark just turn and walk away to the other room for a second. When you approach and he isn't barking- good dog. Try to put in praise even if it is walking to the other room when he hasn't seen a visitor yet. I would also think about teaching him bark and no bark. I have one dog I did this for as he can be pretty mouthy and now I just have to give him the shhh signal and he stops barking immediately. You want him to know that isn't appropriate behavior but you want to balance the bark and act crazy and mommy will pick you up or take you to a room where there is no scary visitor- know what I mean?

I would get him in with socialization overall. The fearful dogs are almost always the ones who bite! Also-does he have a favorite toy? You could always involve that with just the visitors for awhile as well. Visitors should mean his favorite things

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 04:27 AM
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Karen- I would avoid the picking up part as much as possible. If Elvis isn't naturally food motivated, I would not feed him on days you knew you were to have male visitors (dogs are opportunistic especially when hungry!) If you can ask them to get down to his level and maybe at first put the food around them. Then on their shoe and then in their hand. I did this with my last rescue and my SIL and he bonded rather quickly to her. She just sat on the floor and we were talking and she ignored him. She waited an entire day before the hand.

I do think especially with little dogs you have to be careful about picking them up in fear situations. You could try having Elvis on a leash and if he starts to bark just turn and walk away to the other room for a second. When you approach and he isn't barking- good dog. Try to put in praise even if it is walking to the other room when he hasn't seen a visitor yet. I would also think about teaching him bark and no bark. I have one dog I did this for as he can be pretty mouthy and now I just have to give him the shhh signal and he stops barking immediately. You want him to know that isn't appropriate behavior but you want to balance the bark and act crazy and mommy will pick you up or take you to a room where there is no scary visitor- know what I mean?

I would get him in with socialization overall. The fearful dogs are almost always the ones who bite! Also-does he have a favorite toy? You could always involve that with just the visitors for awhile as well. Visitors should mean his favorite things

Dora, Dasher, & Belle's Mommy
www.belledoradasher.blogspot.com

Thinking of adding a Neezer, check out this thread!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 05:33 PM
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Amanda, you're repeating yourself.




Hello. My name is marj and I have MHS.




"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi

“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.” -Guillaume Apollinaire"
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