Rollo & aggression - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 04:01 AM Thread Starter
Val
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Rollo & aggression

Sorry I haven't visited these forum for quite some time. I apologise if I haven't replied to any questions etc. Husband has been quite ill & has had to have 2 heart ops but is slowly getting better.

Anyway, just lately Rollo, now aged just over 2, has developed some aggression which is worrying me. He will bark at any one or anything that he sees coming up the road or anywhere near the house. I have resorted to keeping the blinds down so he can't see outside so am living in semi darkness If the doorbell rings he goes totally mad, throwing himself against the door & doing somersaults.

A couple of weeks ago he managed to squeeze between my husbands legs when the postman came & he chased him down the road. The next day we had a warning letter from Royal Mail telling us to keep our dog under control. I have been working on my clicker training with him & he has all the basic commands down to a T but... when he gets in a frenzy nothing works, he just zones out. I have had him at the vets for a check up. which to my mind was very hasty, just felt his stomach, legs, looked in his mouth and pronounced that all was well.

Last night he was next to me on the sofa & had been biting at his leg for about half an hour. I eventually reached over him to have a look at his paw and he turned on me, really aggressive, lunging, growling. He didn't bite but snarled for quite some time. I was really taken aback.

He has seen a behaviourist a week ago who came to the house. He was recommended by the vet but I thought him a bit useless. For a small fortune I ended up with an A4 sheet telling me not to make eye contact with Rollo and keep him on a training lead in the house - what???

Anyway, I wondered if anyone else had aggression issues with their Havanese & if so what worked or helped.

Sorry for the long post but am feeling a bit desperate this morning.

Val

Last edited by Val; 06-25-2019 at 04:04 AM.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 09:19 PM
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Had Rollo shown any signs of aggression before? If not, if he was a normal happy and friendly Hav, I would want to look more seriously into health issues. If he had some behaviour issues in the past then perhaps another behaviourist that has good recommendations and some real ways of dealing.







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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 05:01 AM
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I don’t know if this will work at 2 years of age, but i would hope so. Havs are very smart. First, i’d take him to a regular doctor for a thorough examination, as already suggested. Explain the problem with the aggression. Start training. If Rollo growls at you hard or acts aggressive, he goes into his cage for about 5 minutes for “time out”. Have a stick or chew in there fo him to play with, or work out his aggressions with.

Try to keep one of his toys near you. If you get the start of a growl, you can try to redirect him by playing with him. But i do remember my trainer telling me, “no exceptions. She tries to nip at you or that growl even starts to sound serious, you pick her up and put her in her cage”. Now, Zumba was 6 months when we started this training, which is why only the 5 minutes. Not sure if you’d have to go for longer time for a 2 year old. Some body else would have to tell you that.

I would say that the pulling down of the blinds is not good for you or for Rollo. Being able to look out the window is a source of entertainment for him, and now that has been taken away from him. I also wonder - is Rollo able to use up his energy? Is he able to do his “zombies”? I know that Zumba, who is a wonderful dog, acts up if her abundance of energy is not allowed to be used up on a daily basis.

i do recognize that it is unacceptable for Rollo to bark at everyone walking by. i would think a good trainer would help you with that. The books say you teach them to bark on command, and then teach them to stop. I could not get myself to teach Zumba to bark. I went straight to the teaching her not to bark, and it worked for me. When she barked, i would tell her to quiet. She could see the treat in my hand. When she stopped even for a second, i’d reinforce the word quiet, and tell her she was a good girl, and she’d get the treat. She quickly figured out that if she stopped barking if she saw me, she was going to get a treat. These days, she doesn’t need a treat anymore to stop the barking once she sees that i have responded to her letting me know there was somebody at the door.

I am sorry that both the vet and the behaviorist did not seem to be very effective. Any chance your local grooming places could provide you with recommendations? Best of luck. I hope you and Rollo figure it out.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions. I am trying to get him to respond to treats when he starts to bark together with clicker training. The behaviourist says it's because I have been too soft with him & that by letting him get up on the furniture etc he sees himself as having the same status as us. He needs to be conditioned to 'know his place' which I sort of understand. I do love having him on my lap for cuddles however, so this will be hard for both of us. It's his aggressive response to the doorbell that is really annoying. He launches himself at the door & sometimes I think he will go right through it. So, trying to decondition him to that as well at the moment.

He has also suddenly become very wary of other dogs, not aggressive with them, but doesn't want to go near them when we go out for walks. He has had a few really bad experiences, one quite recently, where a dog has come up to him, made all the waggy tail approaches, touched noses, smelt rear ends & then gone for him - I don't think he trusts any other dog now. We have such a lot to work on
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 05:29 AM
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You give him treats when he starts to bark? That is after you have requested him to bark, right? And then another treat when he stops when you ask him to stop.

i would think it is ok for Rollo to be up in the couch with you, as long as you have requested him to come up to join you. If you ask him to stay down on the floor by your feet, he should do that. Is he trained to do sit/stay/down/heel, etc? If not, those are good things to teach so he knows who’s in charge.

How do you like the clicker? I tried it for a few weeks. My trainer said it was my choice, but a very effective tool especially if I want to get into Agility. However, i found the clicker inconvenient. Was not always with me when i wanted to reward for a good listen or task. Or I couldn’t get the click in fast enough. Or. . . . I can’t remember, but I found that i tried to work with it less and less and then pretty much gave up on it. Do you like your clicker and, if so, what kind do you have?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 05:29 PM
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The first thing I would check is that leg. I don't know how to tell you how I would do it, and expect you to be able to. Probably best to carry him to a Vet, and have it checked out. If it's hurting him, it wouldn't surprise me that he would get aggressive to protect it. Some will, and some won't, but I would have that checked out first.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Val View Post
Thanks for the suggestions. I am trying to get him to respond to treats when he starts to bark together with clicker training. The behaviourist says it's because I have been too soft with him & that by letting him get up on the furniture etc he sees himself as having the same status as us. He needs to be conditioned to 'know his place' which I sort of understand. I do love having him on my lap for cuddles however, so this will be hard for both of us. It's his aggressive response to the doorbell that is really annoying. He launches himself at the door & sometimes I think he will go right through it. So, trying to decondition him to that as well at the moment.

He has also suddenly become very wary of other dogs, not aggressive with them, but doesn't want to go near them when we go out for walks. He has had a few really bad experiences, one quite recently, where a dog has come up to him, made all the waggy tail approaches, touched noses, smelt rear ends & then gone for him - I don't think he trusts any other dog now. We have such a lot to work on
I completely agree about having him checked by a vet again, and you might want a second opinion if you don’t feel like the exam was thorough and something may be up with his leg. I would be especially pushy with the vet if these are new behaviors. Trust your instincts, and hopefully you can get referrals.

My Havanese is no example of a perfectly well trained dog, and I am definitely not a training expert by any means. To me, if your trainer/behaviorist said the problem is allowing him on the furniture and not knowing his place, that advice seems rooted in “dominance theory” which can do more harm than good. If the vet clears him, I might really reconsider the behaviorist.

What I have observed is that problems rarely come from being “soft.” Most problems come from difficulty breaking down/recognizing behavior and consistency, and it’s pretty normal for pet owners to have trouble with it. A good trainer will ask you what your priorities are and what is important to you, not tell you what should be important to you, such as keeping him off furniture. Whether or not you want your small dog on furniture is up to YOU, and absolutely can be trained either way by teaching him what you want, you don’t need to “show him who’s boss.”

Sorry if I’m reading in! it’s a button for me, so I might be. it’s an attitude that believe it or not bleeds over into human behavior in parenting, too, and I have seen in my professional experience. The alternative is a dog that is happy to accept your limits and follow your instructions, and it’s actually easier to train and better for everyone.

But hopefully it’s a medical issue that can be quickly resolved!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by EvaE1izabeth View Post
I completely agree about having him checked by a vet again, and you might want a second opinion if you don’t feel like the exam was thorough and something may be up with his leg. I would be especially pushy with the vet if these are new behaviors. Trust your instincts, and hopefully you can get referrals.

My Havanese is no example of a perfectly well trained dog, and I am definitely not a training expert by any means. To me, if your trainer/behaviorist said the problem is allowing him on the furniture and not knowing his place, that advice seems rooted in “dominance theory” which can do more harm than good. If the vet clears him, I might really reconsider the behaviorist.

What I have observed is that problems rarely come from being “soft.” Most problems come from difficulty breaking down/recognizing behavior and consistency, and it’s pretty normal for pet owners to have trouble with it. A good trainer will ask you what your priorities are and what is important to you, not tell you what should be important to you, such as keeping him off furniture. Whether or not you want your small dog on furniture is up to YOU, and absolutely can be trained either way by teaching him what you want, you don’t need to “show him who’s boss.”

Sorry if I’m reading in! it’s a button for me, so I might be. it’s an attitude that believe it or not bleeds over into human behavior in parenting, too, and I have seen in my professional experience. The alternative is a dog that is happy to accept your limits and follow your instructions, and it’s actually easier to train and better for everyone.

But hopefully it’s a medical issue that can be quickly resolved!
I agree , I will look to see if I can find a trainer near you.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 07:31 PM
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The first thing I would check is that leg. I don't know how to tell you how I would do it, and expect you to be able to. Probably best to carry him to a Vet, and have it checked out. If it's hurting him, it wouldn't surprise me that he would get aggressive to protect it. Some will, and some won't, but I would have that checked out first.
100%. Our puppy was dropped and paw was in a cast for 6 wks. His was totally obvious. But I still would think a vet would x-ray it. It was a generally terrible experience, though he wasn't aggressive. I ended up completely spoiling him, but luckily we don't have real behavior problems like I feared (he's my velcro dog, but that might just be his personality and I don't mind it. I purposely leave him home a couple of hours a day so he doesn't develop separation anxiety). Anyway, pain can be a reason for that kind of sudden problem.
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