11th January 2014, 12:58 AM
Help please re: Impromptu aggression & how to solve??
Hi,to cut a long story short - though I do love to make a short story long so bear with me while I try!
My 8 yo CKCS rescue has been going to a paid daytime carer due to his Separation Anxiety/noise reg neighbours for nearly a year now.
She is very good,adopts the positive re-inforcement strategy for the most part (odd rattling of stone can,squirty air collar! ). Titch has always been happy there.....long 2 hour off lead walks....lots of socialisation...within a controlled environment.....
Although separation from Titch since has been more stressful for him re: dribbling excessively when we're gone & key woofing points i.e. getting a particular uniform on,reaching for keys etc which he never used to do pre-carer (not left on own as much then I can suppose - worsened the SA - opposite of what I was trying to achieve!?)
I was offered a couple of months ago through a chance encounter FREE! dog care!
A neighbour just a stones throw from my house said they'd love to have him when I'm not home....I took them up on it...they have a darling Staffordshire Bull Terrier with a heart of gold & a temperament of a saint.
It worked so well for a while though they did feed Titch a mite too much - liked to show their love through food (Titch commonly gets 2 small square protein filled senior directed dry meals per day,a couple of small treats & a lamb bone once a week) They were giving him access to the other dogs breakfast/dinner....human food titbits,treats as a constant drill throughout the day! Titch probably thought for a while...'yeah sweetie shop,mine mine mine!'
It all went skew whiff however when Titch & the resident dog came to blows
They had a really nasty fight (as I am informed as I was at work)
Apparently Titch started it....say what! ( I asked - they swore no food was around at the time!)
In my experience of Titch (since he was 10 months old) I have not,& no-one who has ever come into contact with Titch,including paid carer,has ever seen anything remotely leading up to this with him :-O
Ok,scenario over,drama quieted - neither dog was hurt - perhaps due to free carer being on the ball & breaking it up asap??
Where to go from here? Free carer wants to try any & every poss avenue to make it work. I was resigned to the 'It didnt work,hey-ho immediate neighbours will have to put up with the noise the rest of the week whilst I take Titch to paid carers only 2 days'
The suggestion has been a muzzle re: both parties but that can only be a temporary solution perhaps to integrate them both again? Theres no way I would be up for a muzzle on Titch for like 9 hours 3 days a week :-(
Thats trying to treat the symptoms not the problem anyhow huh & give Titch negative thoughts?
There is so much more I can input as to the situation but am trying to cut a long story short!
Titch has shown no aggression other than a warning snap here & there thoughout the years....its just not in his disposition :-/
What to do next?
Worried & dont wanna inadvertently do the wrong thing.
Dont wanna reinforce the aggression by forcing him into a situation he may not be comfortable with
Do Titch & the free carers dog (3 yo male) have a future being friends? Is it attainable? How?
Thank you for reading,am so stuck,I did consider myself quite dog worldly! Would love opinions & suggestions on this one though. Aggression is not a new concept to me though with this dog it is & wanna speak in Titch's language? x
11th January 2014, 02:08 AM
If you want to even try making them friends again, I think you have to test the waters a bit first to see how they react to each other when they next see each other, and then observe them interact personally (no use relying on your neighbor's version/s), 'shadow' the neighbor as he/she goes about his/her day at home with the dogs, if you will. Then based on your observations you'll be in a better position to make the next step.
11th January 2014, 10:13 AM
Once you have two dogs or more, there can be fights even amongst best friends. Dogs can easily get into fights -- full stop. There can be many, many triggers. The fact that nothing serious happened indicates this was probably a scuffle in which neither really tried to do anything. However as the dog was with people who probably wouldn't understand who 'started' it, nor the context, nor perhaps have been able to read subtle signals indicating these two were not that happy together all the time -- I would consider it a risk to leave your dog in this situation. It's the difference between professional management and casual care.
Next time you are at the vet, I'd probably have Titch carefully vet checked to ensure he is not in any kind of pain and hence giving warnings to a dog simply for coming close -- which then turned into a fight.
I've done dog aggression seminars and talked a lot abut these kinds of issues with my certified (CPDT, APDT) trainer friends. They would always have a dog vet checked as a starting point.
If he checks out OK, then the issue really becomes not whether these two dogs are likely to fight again, so much as whether the owners could recognise growing anxiety or snap responses, and manage the dogs -- and if you are willing to risk Titch. in a fight with a bully he is likely to come out very much the worse as bullies are far stronger dogs built for fighting. But I do think it easily possible Titch started this because of the food issue. This is a high value item to almost all cavaliers. And overfeeding risks Titch's health. I wonder if allowing him access to the other dog's food triggered this -- that's the single most common source of dog fights in a household and is simply: stupid.
In your shoes, if there's been a fight and the owners do not really have advanced dog management skills, I would put him back in more professional care. My concern would be the owners and the management more than the individual dogs and who might be 'at fault'.
I think he's better off elsewhere unless you want a dog growing steadily overweight -- a health risk that could well be riskier than the chance of a fight -- and around people who seem pretty clueless about managing dogs, no matter how nice they may be. 'Free' is not worth injury or death.
In memory: Lucy
Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com
11th January 2014, 12:55 PM
Let me start by saying that FREE is great, and every now and then free things work out wonderfully. In this case though, I would try the professional route due to the over feeding. It's very hard to tell well meaning and kind neighbors to stop feeding the dog. Hey, I have to constantly remind my hubby to stop feeding the dog. An overweight cav is prone to so many health issues, and getting the weight off is a slow process.
i would also guess the fight was a food issue. I have 3 dogs and the only time Bosco will even bark at my chins is when there is a certain chicken treat that he loves. He wants it, they have it, and he will look at her and cry, then bark. He has never tried to take, but whenever I give this particular treat (very rare), I supervise. sorry, I digress.
I think you should go with the professional arrangement. Too much at risk here- an overweight and possibly hurt dog. Get you neighbors a nice parting gift and simply explain that it's too much to ask of them, specially since twitch "started it" or so they say......
best of luck..
14th January 2014, 10:05 PM
Dandelos - Yes,I have only gone on their interpretation for the most part in regards to how the dogs behaved around each other. Had a long chat with neighbour tonight,brought up the subject of hierarchy & his views.....asked if their dog hassled Titch to play (perhaps being that much younger & still learning,their dog might not read doggie signals clearly) etc
Yours is a great idea in relation to me just 'sitting in' on how it all works with them.
Karlin - Thank you for your steadfast experienced & knowledgeable reply.
One of my feelings towards this is that I think their dog is a bit too attentive for Titch's likening. Titch is his own dog whos more often than not most un-too-bothered if theres canine company floating about. He much prefers human company.
Right,so the mere fact that Titch is 'allowed!' regarding the food could be enough to turn his attitude & hone his responses?
I was thinking that his focus may been tweaked!....Hmm,food for thought!
I do my own in-house check-up on Titch from time to time - I feel all around his body,bend/stretch his paws out,inspect his pads/teeth/ears. I have a vet nurse pal,shall ask her to give him a once over.
I know nothing compares to a vets professional opinion so will do in the very near future. He last saw a vet 4 months ago for an MOT when he had his booster :-/
In my opinion although I haven't had him professionally diagnosed I feel he suffers mildly from SM. He's sensitive around the ears/neck/underarms & has 'episodes' about twice a year (though I haven't witnessed one for about a year & a half now)......I wonder if the other dog caught him somewhere tender whilst trying to play?
I'm aware & I agree wholeheartedly re the overfeeding issue - the amount of times I've thrown it in there! At first the disapproving opinion...then the its bad for their health/heart spiel....like feeding a kid sweets & junk food all day....then the subtle hand over of a very small bag of Titchs dry food - 'If you feel you need to feed him give him a couple of these at intervals'. Last discussion on this with them was DONT feed him anything - he gets breakfast before he comes & dinner when he returns,thats fine. He's used to that routine,he doesn't expect anymore. Like you say,Cavaliers tend to be a mite bit food driven & I'd gotten that greediness ticked & controlled!
I have currently set up the professional day care for Mondays & Fridays no matter what. If it turns out I have to leave him home alone Tuesdays,Wednesdays & for 4/5 daylight hours on a Sat & Sun so be it. Its sociable hours for the most part when most people are at work anyhow so surely if the neighbour decided to take it further the powers that be would see I've been trying :-/ Such a worry.
Titch's happiness bothers me to an extent where its 50/50 my life/his life.....I centre my whole social life around this pooch already,I have a ton of other priorities bleurgh
Joandesan - I know,annoying as everyone says how cute he is,99 times out of 100 if a small child spots him on our walks they are full of...'aww doggy,can we have one?!' & this is what these people did - & Titch is a great dog to have around....easy to please...sleeps a good proportion of the day. I am planning to sit with them/him on Sat to just observe.
Yes,thats the thing also. He'd been at a great weight...:-( Now...he wouldnt be considered obese ATM - perhaps borderline (can still just see his waist :-/ not impressed)
My friend ( who I took Titch to see on Xmas day ) kept trying to feed him Turkey WHAT IS IT WITH PEOPLE?! until I said No! He's fine without it & he's used to no human food so you're not going to hurt his feelings or anything!!
Thank you everyone for your opinions & advice. I've really appreciated it & taken it in hand ( def the fly-on-the-wall idea ) I think I probably know what to do but will be more informed after observing their behaviour on Saturday.
You are a mine of valuable information & thank you also for replying so quick x
15th January 2014, 01:49 PM
LOL! "Borderline" is what my vet says about Bosco. He's fine as is, but no more weight!
Originally Posted by TriTitch
15th January 2014, 11:40 PM
joandesan - Oh dear! I always remember in the days when I first got Titch & went to get him neutered,the vet commented on his figure & said how great it was to see a Cavalier in such shape (lithe & streamlined!)......he never told me that immediately upon his discharge would he get a big time middle-aged spread! It happened almost overnight.
I let it happen before my eyes - though he was still on a similar diet to what he is now,just bigger portions,until it kicked in with me that this dog needed to lose weight.
I have since minimised his meals to a third of what he was on & taken him on longer walks & it had done the trick! Exercise is the key above anything,just cutting back on the amount of food didn't do enough.
My paid carer has been such a positive in Titch's life & accentuated more fitness into his life.
Update re current situation - saw free carer today,Titch & I spent time with free carer & dog today & we have all come to the conclusion that it is not a happy place for Titch to be in :-/
He wont be going there any more. I'm happy that door is closed but also not,because the problem isn't solved,just avoided.
Will he think its ok to assert his authority in other scenarios if thats what it was?
Do I know my dog as well as I thought?
If you translate it to a human drama then it may be understandable - most of us do not welcome confrontation but if cornered we will defend.
I'm thinking & hoping that given the right dog speak situation Titch will do what he does & behave as I'm used to him behaving so in the future will try my hardest to not put him in an uncertain predicament again. Will try to pick up on the human signals in order to responsibly give him the best possible chance of happiness within his care x
16th January 2014, 06:41 PM
My vet tells me that my Japanese Chin are "sexy" --lithe and streamlined. Poor Bosco is "borderline". LOL! I watch what they all eat very carefully, especially Bosco, If I didn't he would definitely be overweight.
Originally Posted by TriTitch
It may be just a personality difference between the two dogs. When I walk my dogs, there are some dogs that my dogs just don't like, and they will pull in the opposite direction-- maybe they give off a bad vibe? Other dogs they will approach without issue. I can't figure it out, but if they "don't want to say hello", I don't encourage them to.
Good luck with Titch. You are a concerned owner and you will find a solution. Others on this forum offer such good advice, and you have the "professional" carer to talk to as well,.