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Msmaria 08-26-2014 05:47 PM

Professional help results
 
I really have debated posting this for 2 reasons. 1) not sure the replies I'd get and really wanted to give the behaviorist plan a full go and 2) not sure I really believed the behaviorist was right in the first place. I think/ thought my dog was fearful. He thinks he's dominant protective.

I've posted quite a few times about my dog who was showing some fearful signs, backing away from head pats and barked and lunged at a few men, circled a lady with a hat on including a lady dressed up as the Statue of Liberty earlier this year. Chased a skateboarder down the street, after he knocked my daughter over. She's 20 but really petite. Looks like 16.

Last month however was the last straw, when my daughter was walking him with me and my son behind her. An approx 5 year approached us running towards our dog. I looked for the mother but she was on her phone and it happened so fast. We don't have young kids around and my daughter got nervous and told him to stop, which he didnt, and my dog started barking and pulling towards the young boy. Luckily my son had yanked back on the leash and the little boy stopped.
I had been doing counter conditioning with him for months but I really needed help after this.
Called in a behaviorist who works with the court and dogs that have bitten someone. He does service dog, therapy and schutzhund training and has much experience with fearful dogs and biters.

He came to our house, met Dexter who does what he usually does when I let someone in the house smells them and gets his ball. He jokingly asked me where my fearful dog was. ( by this time Dexters on the couch next to the behaviorist with his head and ball in his lap.) I asked him to come out with us in public because my dog is fearful in public and is afraid of being petted. He spent 2 hours with us and went to a shopping center where his partner met us.
Some things he observed and talked to us about. Some of them embarrassing and some even worse than fearful.

Behaviorist results: Dexter is competitive dominant and protective of my daughter. He would bite if given the chance.

1) Dexter is not fearful, he's dominant with strangers. he does not like being patted on head. Moves head away but moves back in to person patting him. Not a fearful action. He said a lot of german shepherds do not like being petted on the head.

2) he's competitive dominant with people who challenge him. Behaviorist's partner approached staring and Dexter stared back, tail high slight wag, on front paws. Not looking away. Surprisingly Dexter didnt growl or bark at him, but I think its because he didn't get too close. Other people were passing by us while this was happening and Dexter ignored them even though they were close, but kept staring at the partner.

Protective of my daughter, who he sees as weak. He's anxious in public when she's walking him. He's constantly looking around and watching her behavior. He's too young and immature enough to decide who's bad and who's not. Not his job to decide. Daughter has to become leader.

We have a written plan, basically states:

1) NILF. No more couch, even dog couch. No bedroom at all. No more chicken, treats etc. Dexter is spoiled, especially by my daughter who allows him on her bed, couch etc. too many treats, canned dog food. Dexter receiving too many mixed signals.
2) said kirkland brand food was good. Not too much protein. He recommends lower protein food for dogs with behavioral issues.
3) he usually recommends blood tests but Dexters behavior is not bad, so he's not recommending it.

4)Daughter has to play ball and tug according to new rules. When she plays with him he never takes the ball to her and drops it and waits for her to pick it up ( like he does with me. I'm a lazy butt so I make him bring it) instead he drops it, waits for her to reach down to get it, he swoops in and gets it before her and she chases him around the yard and house.

5) no more dog park. He said lots of german shepherds are competitive dominant with other dominant dogs and that's when fights begin.

I have to say, I really didn't believe him and told him so, but what did I have to lose.

I'm posting this now because it's been a month this past Sunday and we've seen such a big change. ( it did take 4 days for him to stop climbing on the couch though lol) . Last week my daughter had him on leash at a family park event and several family kids ran up to him. We have been working on not getting nervous. He wagged his tail and played ball with them. He's not 100 percent better because I still see him looking around when she's walking him, and he still stares but....he hasn't barked at anyone so that's a huge improvement.

We are continuing to do some training out in public with the behaviorist so my daughter can feel more comfortable.

Anyway just wanted to share my experience and hope it helps some others to decide whether a behaviorist might be a good idea, if you are having some behavioral issues. Please keep your fingers crossed for Dexter and I too.

ksotto333 08-26-2014 06:17 PM

It's good to hear when positive changes come about. Changing habits is always hard...hope your trend continues...

Msmaria 08-26-2014 06:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ksotto333 (Post 5948601)
It's good to hear when positive changes come about. Changing habits is always hard...hope your trend continues...

Thank you, yes habits are hard to change. I'd find myself settling in for the night to watch the news and Dexter would just casually jump on the couch and put his head in my lap and it would take me a few seconds to realize, he's on the couch:blush: and I'd tell him to get down and go to his bed. I had to be firm for his own good.

Ashley_M 08-26-2014 11:05 PM

Thank you for you sharing - very interesting read! I don't doubt his knowledge but I am especially interested in why he recommends lower protein food for dogs with behavioral issues.

Msmaria 08-26-2014 11:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ashley_M (Post 5949929)
Thank you for you sharing - very interesting read! I don't doubt his knowledge but I am especially interested in why he recommends lower protein food for dogs with behavioral issues.

I can ask him for you.

Juliem24 08-26-2014 11:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ashley_M (Post 5949929)
Thank you for you sharing - very interesting read! I don't doubt his knowledge but I am especially interested in why he recommends lower protein food for dogs with behavioral issues.

Yeah, I'd like to understand this also.
Thank you.

llombardo 08-26-2014 11:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Juliem24 (Post 5950001)
Yeah, I'd like to understand this also.
Thank you.

I am interested in this because I have noticed after Midnite eats he gets dominant with my male golden. It's like clockwork every day. He eats, then he starts with the other dog(he pokes him and growls and attempts to hump), I stop it and it's over, repeat when he eats again. He is persistent and I think it has something to do with him eating or the food. I have even brought this up in conversation with my friend because I can't figure it out. It last about 30 seconds and then it's over. I don't think mine is dominant aggressive or protective and he doesn't have any behaviorist issues, it's just odd. Maybe it's the protein in the food , which I thought was pretty low but maybe not?

Msmaria 08-27-2014 12:52 AM

I will ask why and how much is too much. If anyone has any answers before i talk to him tomorrow. Would like to hear their opinion. I never asked since he said the brand he was on was ok in protein.

lauren43 08-27-2014 02:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Msmaria (Post 5948513)
I
1) Dexter is not fearful, he's dominant with strangers. he does not like being patted on head. Moves head away but moves back in to person patting him. Not a fearful action. He said a lot of german shepherds do not like being petted on the head.

2) he's competitive dominant with people who challenge him. Behaviorist's partner approached staring and Dexter stared back, tail high slight wag, on front paws. Not looking away. Surprisingly Dexter didnt growl or bark at him, but I think its because he didn't get too close. Other people were passing by us while this was happening and Dexter ignored them even though they were close, but kept staring at the partner.

Protective of my daughter, who he sees as weak. He's anxious in public when she's walking him. He's constantly looking around and watching her behavior. He's too young and immature enough to decide who's bad and who's not. Not his job to decide. Daughter has to become leader.

From this description he does not sound fearful. But without seeing the dog there is no way to assess that over the internet

Quote:

Originally Posted by Msmaria (Post 5948513)
1) NILF. No more couch, even dog couch. No bedroom at all. No more chicken, treats etc. Dexter is spoiled, especially by my daughter who allows him on her bed, couch etc. too many treats, canned dog food. Dexter receiving too many mixed signals.
2) said kirkland brand food was good. Not too much protein. He recommends lower protein food for dogs with behavioral issues.
3) he usually recommends blood tests but Dexters behavior is not bad, so he's not recommending it.

To me some of this is over the top. Ok restricting bed/couch privleges, if you believe that makes a dog "dominant" fine. But no dog bed? Where is he supposed to lay?

I personally don't believe there is a such thing as too many treats. Perhaps not giving them for no reason anymore (always ask for at least a sit)...but in my eyes my dogs can have unlimited treats (because they are given on my terms of course)

And I've never heard of this low protein thing. I know dogs with much more intense issues than your dog that are fed raw. Their trainer has not requested a food change. I personally don't like Kirkland but only because its made by Diamond.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Msmaria (Post 5948513)
I

4)Daughter has to play ball and tug according to new rules. When she plays with him he never takes the ball to her and drops it and waits for her to pick it up ( like he does with me. I'm a lazy butt so I make him bring it) instead he drops it, waits for her to reach down to get it, he swoops in and gets it before her and she chases him around the yard and house.

What is she supposed to do now?

I guess I kind of get this. Her chasing makes him "dominant" (I personally am not one to buy into this whole dominance theory)...Though in my eyes this is a dog just having fun, he found out that keep away is way better than fetch!

If she doesn't want to chase him though, I'd walk inside. Pretend he doesn't exist. Watch how fast he drops that ball and wants to go where she's going! Or better yet, perhaps he'll bring it with him to the door.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Msmaria (Post 5948513)
I
5) no more dog park. He said lots of german shepherds are competitive dominant with other dominant dogs and that's when fights begin.

I have to agree with this one. I hate dog parks. The only time I take my dogs is in the super early morning when no one is there. If there is someone there, we go for a walk instead.

Finally after all my responses, if it's working---KEEP AT IT!

Pax8 08-27-2014 02:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Msmaria (Post 5948513)
2) said kirkland brand food was good. Not too much protein. He recommends lower protein food for dogs with behavioral issues.

A past behaviorist I worked with had suggested this to me before. I don't know what your behaviorist's reasoning is for it, but my behaviorist's reasoning was based on an Eastern theory that high levels of protein - especially red protein or "warm protein" lent itself to higher energy which could feed more intensity in any sort of aggressive behavior. Less protein, less energy, so less energy feeding into the aggressive behaviors we were working on fixing.

It makes some sense when I think about it. I have definitely seen the energy spike in dogs that go from a basic grain dog food to a high protein food. I can see how that extra energy could easily lend itself to any existing nervous, guarding, or aggressive behavior.

And a couple friends with collies refuse to feed high protein because their already high energy dogs end up bouncing off the walls. So they feed grain based (think chicken and brown rice) because it seems to temper the energy.

I'm also interested. I'd like to know if both our behaviorists had similar reasons. :)


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