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Boyden challenged me and I need help


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#21 juliepoudrier

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 05:12 AM

Miz,
I am actually in a meeting for work right now (have been all morning) and have just skimmed the posts, so forgive me if I repeat anything....

Farleigh is a dog that will definitely bite if you go to grab his collar. This could be because he thinks he's in trouble or also when he's scared (case in point--we had storms last night and after they passed I needed to get him outside, but he was in hiding mode and I *knew better* than to try and grab his collar). Anyway, just so you know, I don't think Farleigh's previous owners grabbed his collar or used it to treat him roughly. It's just the way he is--nut case .

I can tell you from experience that escalating the issue will just lead to more escalation (been there, done that). So I just work around the issue. That doesn't mean I back down--I simply try to manage situations so that the confrontation never happens in the first place (so I'll use a slip lead and snag him that way if he's in hiding and I need to get him to move, or just a happy voice "Let's go!" if that will work).

Now Farleigh doens't have food guarding issues, but I just wanted to point out that some dogs are weird this way (the collar issue) and I just can't see the value in challenging the dog when it happens because you really could get hurt.

Sorry for the seeming rambling, but just wanted to share my experience. I think a behaviorist is a good idea.

J.

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#22 BigD

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 09:02 AM

Miztiki -

Hope things are a bit more calm at your house....

Only thing I can advise you on - next time you attempt to "test" Boyden or Fynne, make sure you mentally go through every scenario in your head and have a way out before you do it.

You set up Boyden with this and when he reacted towards you, you didn't know what to do and backed off - which as others have pointed out may have been the wrong thing to do.

With the collar issue, I remember that you backed off when he bit you. I know it's to cool off and think - BUT - you may be giving Boyden the wrong signals here. He tells YOU to 'watch it' with a bite and you back off, he gets too big for his pants and you back off. The signals you are sending him may be confusing.

Remember, dogs live in the moment. Putting him in a down-stay for 30 minutes and then making him heal outside, etc doesn't mean a thing to him. Your punishment needs to be immediate and instant. After some time - 30 minutes for sure! - the "moment" is over and you are now just working with a dog. Not punishing him - in his mind. You can not say to him "Remember what you did 10 minutes ago? Well, that is why you are on a leash mister!"

So in the future I think you are going to need to react MUCH faster in a very negative way. Do NOT set yourself up for these testing matches until you know you can control the situation no matter what the outcome. He's shown you twice now that he thinks he's bigger than you.

Keep them in their crates and take baby steps. And above all, make sure you are safe first.

Denise

#23 Annette Carter & the Borderbratz

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 09:44 AM

Miz,

Also, I know putting Boy in the bathroom made you feel better and I agree that a time out can work but if you go longer than 2 minutes then the lesson is pretty much lost on the dog. If he doesn't understand then the punishment will be unjust. I rescued a lab/husky mix in 1990 from the shelter as a baby and she had this thing with digging in the garbage. My ex thought that a pup should be reliable loose in the house from the start and he was brutal to her- he did modify things somewhat when he would put her in the empty garbage can and make her stay there for a half hour at a time. I can tell you that it didn't work, keeping the garbage from rewarding her worked in the long run and my ex is my ex for precisely the reasons above. Here is a face to go along with the story.

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#24 ErinKate

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 10:34 AM

People are crazy aren't they Annette! I know you have heard it before, but it is like my father in law tying a rope around the puppy's belly to make it recall. UUGGHHHH!!
That dog is too cute with those ears!

#25 SQinAZ

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 10:43 AM

Out of curiosity, and because Beck has been acting up lately as well, is there an age in BC's which is akin to being a human teenager? You know..talking back, defying the rules, not listening the you, etc.? I'm guessing that Beck is somewhere around 3 1/2 right now, and am praying that this is just a phase.

#26 Annette Carter & the Borderbratz

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 11:17 AM

Oh Beck's Mom! Delta is going on 5 years old and she still talks back. She is more dominant than the other 3 and pushes her boundaries in just the cutest little ways! Although I appreciate just how darned stinkin cute she is, I have to be consistant in enforcing the rules and it may never end or who knows, as she becomes geriatric, she may tire. I just have to keep the smiles, oohs and aahs all to myself.

#27 SQinAZ

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 12:26 PM

Gee, thanks Annette...couldn't you have just lied to me and told me this is just a phase? *LOL*

Miztiki: While I am sorry that you are having problems with Boy...I feel your pain and am also reading the responses here hungrily, as Beck has growled at my cats lately if she even thinks they might be looking at her chew bone. It's okay if I take it away from her...and she feels safe leaving it in my office with me, but I don't want any harm to come to my cats and don't like this new behavior.

#28 Miztiki

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 01:48 PM

I typed out a long response but there's a bug on the boards that won't keep me logged in, so I'll keep this real short.

Vet saw Boy today, saw unusual behavior, is quite concerned, did blood test and will probably refer to a neurologist.

Boy sees behaviorist Tuesday.

I hope it's something I'm doing wrong and not something neurological. He's been a bit "off" lately. I cried alot yesterday and today. Thanks for all the suggestions and support guys.

Hope this goes through...

#29 BigD

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 02:02 PM

Oh gosh...I hope it's not neurological either!

Um...what about that tick born thing? (Sorry, don't remember what that is called) but are they checking for that seeing that Boy has been swimming in ticks lately???

Keep us posted.

Denise

#30 Annette Carter & the Borderbratz

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 02:20 PM

I'm sorry Miz, will keep Boyden in my prayers.

#31 INU

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 02:48 PM

Miz,
I am not experienced enough with this kind of issue to give advice but I thought these might cheer you up a little. The bottomline, he is a sweet boy. Let me konw if there is anything I can do to help.

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#32 Maralynn

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 05:08 PM

I'm not quite sure what to say other than I'll pray that Boyden's issues will be quickly resolved.

Your dogs are both very fortunate to have YOU!

Mara
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#33 Miztiki

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 05:14 PM

How do you make your pictures come out so clear? They both look great but if I recall, there were a few more than that... :D That was really fun. We should do it again.

I think the bugs are gone from the board so I'll elaborate from earlier.

I took Boyden to the vet and told her a bit about some things he's been doing lately. He was acting strange (not himself) while there and she said there's definately something not right about him. I asked her if she thought it was behavioral and she said that might be part of it, but that she was really concerned with what she was seeing because "that's not the Boy I know".

She listened to his breathing and said it didn't sound normal to her, so we did x-rays. He has a bit of infection and interstitial (sp) patterning (still gotta look that one up, more than she would expect to see at his age, and that his heart appeared a little enlarged. She said she wasn't overly concerned by anything she was seeing on the x-rays though.

She drew blood for a full body panel (thyroid, liver, kidneys, etc.) and a heartworm test. She said she'll probably refer him to a neurologist but will wait for the results to come in tomorrow. She gave me her home and cell number in case I need her.

What happened last night was more than what you think, based on most posts and suggestions. I'm almost positive that if I hadn't backed off that he would have really hurt me. (I can't believe I'm actually saying that. :rolleyes: ) Nothing I have ever come up against from a dog has ever made me so afraid. I let them out, shut the door, then started shaking and just cried. I've been crying on and off since. He glared at me with cold, hard eyes and took a step towards me when I stared back at him. He didn't growl, he just stood there with his head lowered a bit and his body frozen and stared at me and smiled, then took a step towards me without blinking. THIS IS NOT LIKE HIM!!!

On the way back from North Carolina I had a couple hours to kill in the swampy area of Louisiana. I took some back roads and ended up on a pretty little gravel road along a lake with lots of pretty little houses. Someone's black lab was loose and followed my car. We were driving really slow. Anyway, Boy usually barks at dogs or even people when he's in the car. He's still learning what "shhh" means. He didn't just bark at this dog, but he went crazy. I was a bit concerned that he would break the windows trying to get at him or jump on my head or something. He was vicious, not like the Cujo he used to be (acts big and bad but doesn't really mean it), but vicious.

He did something similar a few days ago when Fynne was eating in her crate. He was all over that crate and was downright vicious. Even if she did give him dirty looks or something, his reaction was WAY over the top, same as the car incident. This all started just very recently.

Boyden has never shown aggression towards me when it comes to food. If he's eating and I call him, he happily trots to me. If I approach him while eating, he just looks at me like "hi mom" and isn't the slightest bit uncomfortable. I'm always cautious about taking food away from any dog but he's never resisted or shown any resentment about it at all. Even if my idea of having Fynne near while he was eating yesterday was a bad idea, it still doesn't explain why he did what he did.

Even if there is a medical reason for his behavior I'll still see the behaviorist. I'm sure I'm doing some things wrong.

Annette, what you described about the sneaky and alpha/beta and all makes some sense. It doesn't explain the overreaction but it definately makes sense and I'll run that by the behaviorist.

When Boy went after the cat over the bone months back I did something similar, sorta. I took the bone and got the cat and sat down near Boy, put the bone down and put the cat on top of it. I told him that's MY bone and that there's no reason for him to act like that, blah blah blah. It went over well with him. Never had a problem after that, though the cat doesn't really go by Boy when he's eating.

I'm tired and just putting my thoughts on here more than anything. Sorry to get so detailed but I can always come back to this thread for future reference. I'll see what the vet and the behaviorist has to say. Thanks for being there for me.

#34 echo44

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 05:24 PM

my prayers are with you. I feel bad you have to go through this

#35 Annette Carter & the Borderbratz

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 06:52 PM

Miz,

Not sure if you even want to think about this anymore but I did some reading in Behavior Problems in Dogs by William Campbell. It's an old one for me. He writes a bit about behavior problems (aggression) that are endocrine related. All of the ones that seem like they could apply to Boy's case are following steriod prescription and in the case of thyroid disfunction following steriod use, neutering or allergies.

Mr. Campbell states that dogs on the brink of certain behavioral issues that could be exacerbated by steriod use include: Aggressiveness, Excitability During Isolation, Submissive urination during stress, and Tendencies Toward Excessive Vocal and/or physical Tension-relieving Activity.

So things can be exacerbated by giving him steriods and it just doesn't go away but can get worse.

So your doc is on it by taking his blood. And all this stuff here is fixable if it's his hormones, ok?

Annette

#36 SQinAZ

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 07:53 PM

Originally posted by Miztiki:
Anyway, Boy usually barks at dogs or even people when he's in the car. He's still learning what "shhh" means. He didn't just bark at this dog, but he went crazy. I was a bit concerned that he would break the windows trying to get at him or jump on my head or something. He was vicious, not like the Cujo he used to be (acts big and bad but doesn't really mean it), but vicious.

Paying rapt attention here, because Beck started doing this a few months ago and we have been working on changing this behavior. As she also started being snarky/lunging/growling/baring teeth at dogs leaving the dog park when she is on her leash and we are entering, I thought this was her being possesive and protecting me. (I haven't been able to walk her around the neighborhood anymore because of this. *sigh*) And she also acts like this at the front door if someone/something she perceives as a threat is even across the street.

Now lately, she lunges at and growls at my cats if she thinks they are even thinking about looking at her bone. I can take this bone right out of her mouth and she has no problem with that. But heaven forbid the cats should be even 5 feet away from this sacred bone....

Anyway, Miztiki, I truly pray for you and Boyden, and hope it's not a neurological problem...because if it is, Beck might have the same thing. :rolleyes: I'm praying it is just a behavioral issue for both of them...and that part of it is due to their loving us too much because we love them too much (if this is possible).

I do believe that I have had Beck longer than any of her past owners, and that that time is increased exponentially because we are together nearly 24/7/365. Just as you are with Boyden and Fynne. For the first time, Beck no longer suffers from fear of abandonment...and that alone is causing problems. But I am so very glad that she is over this fear. And we will work out the other problems. I hope. Just as I hope that you can work out these problems with Boyden. (((HUGS)))

BTW...I have never feared for my safety around Beck...other than fearing that she is going to knock me down and break some bones when she charges at me like a freight train, or that she is going to put my eye out trying to wake me up in the morning. (Issues we have been working on, trust me. *S*) So I do understand your concern/fear now that Boy could turn on you. I would hate to be afraid of Beck...and my heart goes out to you.

#37 Miztiki

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 10:01 PM

I'm typing this for my own benefit for later...

I don't know if what's been going on with Boy lately is behavioral or organic or both. I could see it going both ways.

There have been some subtle changes in Boy recently. I'd noticed a week or so before going to NC that he seemed a little "off". He was eating and drinking well, playful, full of energy, etc. He just acted funny sometimes. Sometimes there was a look in his eyes that was different. He usually has soft, friendly, happy and even playful eyes, or he has focused and expectant eyes, like when we are training.

The last several days I've seen the look alot more. It's almost as if he's wary of me, or doesn't trust me. It's not a fearful look, but a "I don't know if I trust you or not" look.

Say I tell him to sit and he doesn't. As always I will enforce it, by going to him and putting my hand on his butt if I have to. That seems to be happening more frequently lately. The look he gives me is almost like he doesn't want to be told what to do, but will do it. This is new, though I haven't changed the way I do things.

Today he's been looking at me like that alot. He follows me with his eyes but they are not soft. They are not hard either, but unsettling just the same.

He has been soliciting attention from me all day today, something he hasn't done since I first adopted him. As in the beginning, he will put his chin on my lap and look up at me. He also licked my neck real slow and soft, just like he did at the shelter when I was checking him out.

He is not the most affectionate dog and does not ask for attention by pawing or bringing toys or things like that. I can call him to me and initiate affection in certain ways, like running my hands over his face, or doing my own little version of wiggle-butt. That gets his butt wiggling and he'll walk between my legs while I wiggle and rub his back. His tail always wags and we both love it. On an average day I spend very little time petting him unless it's praise for doing something I asked. It's not often that I pet him just for the sake of petting him.

Ok, so maybe he's been seeing a way to move up the ladder and he's been eyeballing me. Maybe the attention seeking is related to last night's incidence. So I lean towards behavioral problem with this train of thought and feel that I've not been the leader I should be.

But on the other hand, how does that explain his behavior towards the vet today? He loves Dr. Martin. He's very comfortable at the vet and has always happily gone to her like the stereotypical happy lab. Today was different the second she walked in the door though, and she commented on it right away.

He looked at her funny. He didn't show any interest when she called him to her, even in an excited voice. VERY unlike him, but when the vet tech came in to bring him into x-ray and picked up his leash, he didn't get up. She called and then even tugged and he just stared at her. I even told him "ok" (release command) and to go, but he just laid there and stared. I finally had to go out the door so he would follow. When he came back in from x-ray he hid under my chair. Also NOT AT ALL like him.

Dr. Martin was pretty confident that he's sick somehow and was very concerned. So that's why I'm wondering if this is a behavioral thing or a medical issue.

Boyden has been staring at me alot today and it's kind of giving me the creeps. This is a recent thing that's becoming more common. It has given me the creeps a few times before, like when I go to enforce the sit and he looks at me like that.

I'm anxious to see that behaviorist! And get some medical answers! I don't know which I want more.

I've wondered if Fynne might have something to do with it. I don't know how. While looking up "dominant dogs" in books and online, it says the dominant ones demand attention, block you, push you, jump on you, don't like to be handled, have guarding issues, talk back, yadda yadda yadda. That's Fynne to a T! The last thing I would call her is dominant though. She's fearful and quick to act submissively.

Boyden on the other hand is a dominant dog to me. He's confident without being cocky. He's calm, collected, cool, not easily ruffled, takes things in stride. He does not get submissive. He would never submit to Fynne but Fynne will quickly submit to him.

If Fynne's eating and I or Boy go by her food, she'll act all big and tough, bark, snarl, growl, grab her food and run off, but she'll put her ears back and tuck her tail in. (Of course she's not that bad anymore since I've been working with her alot on this.)

If Fynne goes near Boy when he's eating, he just smiles, puts his ears and tail up, and that's it. Takes less than a second. Fynne wouldn't dare try to take his food but he can just walk up and take her food and she'll run off with her tail between her legs. (That happened once and I've since taken measures to be sure it doesn't happen again.)

So who's dominant? I say Boy is but nearly all that I read says that Fynne is.

Fynne has gotten too pushy with Boy a few times and he has quickly put her in her place. Twice I've seen him throw her on her back and put his mouth on her throat, then let her up and act like nothing happened. She looks like she's totally embarassed when he does that and acts like a puppy towards him.

Speaking of which, watching him with her is very similar to watching a dog with a puppy. He lets her get away with alot of crap! It reminds me SOO much of Mickey when Taz was a pup. The behaviorist said he's a good teacher dog like she uses to help dogs learn to be dogs.

That has me thinking. Maybe I'm not being enough of a leader in that respect so am letting him down. Most of the time she is in here with me. Boy is not allowed in here, so they are not usually right near eachother. Sometimes she'll go out and pester him to play (which he's always happy to do) and I'll let them outside to get rid of some energy. They run and run and play. She's usually the one chasing him, biting him on the neck, making a bunch of noise. He doesn't seem to mind though and if she goes off he will try to get her to play some more.

In the house she can get on both of our nerves. If I call Boy to me she will cut in front of him and run to me first. I always push her back and if she keeps at it I'll crate her. I can't really interact with Boy, whether playing or training, without crating her because she HAS to be the center of attention. She'll very rudely push her way between us but I'll keep her away, crating her more often than not because she's thick as a brick and doesn't get it yet. Grrr.

But anyway, maybe he resents her getting between us and resents me because I haven't put a complete stop to it. Maybe that's a small part of the problem?

Just thinking things out here.

#38 Bill Fosher

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 01:01 AM

Miz,

Also consider the possibility that you're overthinking this. If any dog puts a mouth on me, he learns very quickly that he should never, ever do it again. It could be that in trying to be positive and kind to Boyden, you've done him a disservice by allowing some really destructive behaviors to develop. You may need help to break these bad habits now, but it's not your concern whether he "resents" you. He may not behave the way he has been behaving. Period.

#39 nancy

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 01:12 AM

I really think the questions about the steroids are important. I know that steroids can have these kinds of effects on male humans. I'll see if I can find any links about that. But I know of several cases of criminal violence attributed to a young wrestler or football player's efforts to bulk up.

Sometimes a vet - or a doctor - ignores such information. Even the best ones. I had one doctor who wanted me to take one sinamet tablet every night, for my terribly twitchy legs. She was worried about the fact that I hadn't had a real night's sleep in several months. When I looked up side effects and called her, she was adamant that the sleep was more important and that the neurological disorders were probably rare and overstated. Ten years later, everyone acknoledges these side effects. Glad I decided to take a half a pill, only when I absolutely need it.

#40 muggs

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 01:25 AM

I'm so sorry you are going through this Miz. My "gut" says there must be a physical reason for his actions. I hope you get your answers very fast. I can imagine the waiting is horribly frustrating. Since his strange actions included his attitude towards the vet, I can't imagine Fynne being too much of an issue. As far as pack status, it sounds to me that Boy is alpha and Fynne beta dog. Everything I've read says alpha makes quick corrections when necessary, otherwise pretty cool and collected. Fynne's behavior sounds more like one that is trying to become alpha with the pushy attitude.

I'll be thinking of you and Boy.
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