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 Post subject: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:23 pm 
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OK...I know I'm neurotic, but I am so confused. I have taken Rocky to a clas to build foundational obedience (socializing, etc). He's 5 months old. Today I had the trainer come to my house b/c my pup is a neurotic cleptomaniac that doesn't listen even with food as a reward. He barked and carried on at the trainer. We went outside and the trainer tried to put a remote collar on him and he freaked out. He barked and hollered and screamed like I've never heard a dog scream before. he wound up biting the trainer and he bit the metal part of the leash and lost his puppy canine tooth and was bleeding. After that he let his anal glands loose (man...did his tush stink). The trainer told me that my english cocker spaniel has serious fear agression, and is ridiculously strong for a 5 month old puppy, and unless i do strict obedience with him that i will either be giving him up or putting him down in 3 years. He said that Rocky owns me, not me owning Rocky and that Rocky is this way b/c of me. He wound up convincing me that i need one-on-one training and lifelong obedience for Rocky wtih a remote collar for $500.

I know ROcky needs to listen and be respectful with puppy manners.

Do I suck as a puppy owner? I love my puppy. With all my heart. He's my little mushy snuggle puppy. I don't know if I should stick with obedience training, or try it on my own.

I am taking Rocky tot he vet tomorrow to have his mouth and glands looked at. I'm not sure if he lost one or more teeth. The trainer siad he didn't need to go to the vet, but it makes me feel more comfortable.

Thoughts? Do I suck??


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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:36 pm 
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And I fogot to mention that he also said that my dog's breed is the highest dog bite breed in the country.


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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:46 pm 
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I have heard that cockers are one of the highest dog bite breeds as well. I think this is partly due to small dog syndrome (they think they are bad ass..lol). When some friends heard we were getting a cocker they tried to talk us out of it. Kasey will growl if certain people try to pick him up (we just tell them not to, they dont need to hold him anyway...and he has never growled at the vet), but he is also not submissive at all and that is just me and my husband needing to show him we are the boss, and that he is not the boss. We are going to start puppy classes next month when he is 4 months old. I work with him constantly, and this doesnt make me a better puppy mama than you as I do not know how much you work with your boy, but you sure seem to love him a lot. We take Kasey just about everywhere with us and to play with my parents, sisters and friends dogs (well, once he got the 3rd parvo anyway) frequently. I am working on leash training and basic commands with him on my own as well. He heels, sits and leaves it. I think you have a puppy being a puppy and maybe a little bit on the spoiled side =). I would suggest you look into another class and for sure another trainer. This one seems to have written off your boy based on his breed already and you need a trainer to help you not make you feel bad.


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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:07 pm 
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Gina, first of all take a deep breath. You are not a bad puppy mom or you wouldn't be so worried about Rocky. I started both my girls with in home training (one on one with a trainer) My oldest Karlie was very strong willed and very very nippy as a puppy. We kept proxide and bandaids on the coffee table as she was sure to draw blood almost every night. We worked through her issues, although to be honest I still have to sit pretty heavy on her or she will try and push the limits. She has passed her CGC and does agility and now my trainer thinks she would make a great therapy dog. She has told us had we not worked so hard on Karlie or been the pet parents we are alot of owners would have given up on her. When in fact all she needed was time and patience and a whole lot of consistancy. We did not have fear aggression issues, in fact Karlie has so much confidence thats what gave us trouble. Kaitlyn on the other hand is almost to soft tempered, never nipped even as a puppy and gets her feelings hurt very easily. She also shows some small signs of fear aggession around some large dogs, its really hard to desensitize because it's not all the time and not always the same type of dogs. We are still working with her and will continue. She also passed her CGC and is begining in agility. I have only used positive training on both. All that being said, I think I would look for a different trainer, as I would be offended by the remarks and attitude of your trainer. So much of being able to work through their issues is the trainer and you being on the same page and you feeling comfortable with they type of training they recommend. Rocky is still so young I do believe that there is so much that can be done help him, not just oh well he's a cocker and they are know to bite. As for not listening even with food, you pup may not be food motivated, some are some aren't. You need to find out what does motivate him, praise, toys, a good game of fetch and use that. I say find a different trainer, and keep doing your best Rocky is young and has a lot of untapped potential. And remember training obedience (good manners) is a daily thing you are never never finished.

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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:48 pm 
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My first piece of advice is to get a new trainer. Then we can go from there. You are NOT a bad puppy parent you are just a new one. I do not know what you mean by your pup being a "neurotic kleptomaniac" but he IS just a baby. Each dog trains differently. With two of mine we did the "no" and pop the leash and with our youngest if we popped the leash he just became a basket case and we couldn't do anything with him till he got over the trauma. I good trainer will help you become the leader of the pack NOT tell you that you'll either be getting rid of the pup or having him put down.

I agree with a lot of what Becky suggested. You should be doing basic training with him in several short sessions a day. When he does well you need to carry on as if he sloved world hunger and cured cancer at the same time. Pups want nothing more than to please their person. Find a low-key instructor that will work with him one-on-one but within a class so he gets more socialization as well as additional training.

You didn't mention how he is with other pups but if he goes after other dogs, you do need to work on desensitizing him as Becky mentioned. Ask the trainer (the NEW one) to observe and see if he is aggressive toward the other pups or just acting like a puppy and wanting to rumble.

I'm not sure what the trainer did or how he handled your pup but if I were to go after a pup in the pup's house, try and get some collar on him and get him to listen to me I think I'd sort of expect to be bitten. It really sounds as if your pup felt menanced in his own home by some strange man.

Just remember YOU are the pack leader. I'd get the vet to check the pup and then work with him consistently (which is the key). We have some brilliant trainers on here that will surely give you good advice but please don't worry.

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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:52 pm 
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Yes, take a deep breath ... NO YOU DO NOT SUCK. Certain things your "trainer" said raise RED flags to me. He/she stated that cockers have the highest incidents of dog bites of any breed.

On an episode of Dogs 101, they stated it was German Shepherd, Chow Chow and Golden Retrivers in the top three. I don't know which stats they used.
I have also found an article that states Dachshund, Chihuahua and Jack Russell Terriers are the top three. http://ezinearticles.com/?Top-Biting-Dog
Another article listed the top three as Pits, Rotties and GSDs.
http://www.dog-bite-law-center.com/pgs/s
A few articles that I could find that listed cocker spaniels as among the highest were all comments by trainers and groomers, not statistics.

I agree that this trainer seems to have written off the breed. With that said, a trainer that tried to scare me like that and make those dire predictions I would RUN from and find another trainer. I would definitely get a second opinion.

Hang in there :TWag

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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:16 pm 
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I am so sorry you are going through so much with your pup. I am o expert but puppies need time and a lot of patience. I am not sure if your pup is excited aggressive or real fear agressive. One thing for sure at that age you need to socialize him a lot, walk him, drained his energy with exercise and be very consistent with him. Puppies get ver oral biting and destroying whatever comes their way to get their teeth sharp. Find anoither training that will work for you. Even though he is a puppy please be very structure and consistent with him. Stick toi a feeding schedule, to a way to go to bed, crate him(I know from your past posts you wanted him to sleep in your bed which I dont think is a good idea), set boundaries, check with your vet regarding neutering him or any other medicqal issues. If he is dominant aggressive you might want to set specific rules for him anf make him know who is the leader of the pack. Good luck and keep us updated.

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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:54 pm 
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okay you do need another trainer, one with a more positive outlook. Your pup was definitely terrified what with the emptying of the anal gland is a for sure signal. Also you mentioned a "training collar" I do hope that wasn't a shock collar. That would be a horrible way to start training an already fearful pup. If Rocky is nipping, if he attempts this, you yip yourself loud and high pitched. This will help him learn to cut it out. Introduce him gradually to new situations and do not let strangers handle him until his is in a more comfortable "zone" so to speak. You might just sit with him and have a friend approach and toss a treat then back off so he can investigate the treat. By a treat I mean something really delicious, not just a piece of kibble. Maybe a chunk of real chicken or real liver. For walks you might go a few steps and kneel down and give him reassurance and then go a few more, etc. Most of all you need to remain calm so he doesn't pick up on your anxiety. Do set firm boundaries in his life. Food at the same times, possibly teaching him to sit before eating. He needs a calm touch and secure home life. Puppy school or obediance is a good thing but only with a trainer looking at long term results not a swift solution. Positive methods like clicker training and things like T touch might help too.


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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:18 pm 
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Gina,

No you DO NOT suck as a puppy mom. Remember however that a puppy can be snuggly and loved, but there is also a time and a place for a firm hand. You need to be able to know when it is time to be firm and when it is time to be affectionate.

I went through the same thing when my Winnie was 6 months old, except for me my VET told me my dog was fear aggressive as she bit a vet staff as she was coming out of anesthetic and they were trying to take her out of the cage. The vet recommended I put her down, then and there. After some tears, 2 different vets consultations and the advice of my trainer/groomer I learned that my puppy was a fearful biter, could be interpreted as mild fear aggression to some. Winnie is characteristically shy of strangers and will nip if she feels threatened. She's never been any worse then that and as a result of that we socialize with family and friends who know her, but do not allow strangers to touch or pet her outside of her comfort zone. Learning how to manage her behavior has taken some work, but I am so glad we did this instead of conceding and putting her down. Winnie is the sweetest girl, smart and funny and loving. We have been blessed to have her and have never had a problem with her since that one incident. We've seen improvements over the years, she's become more trusting and tolerant, she can even meet people safely now if we permit them to do so and advise them the right way to approach our dog. Winnie will be 7 in November :)

My advice to you is to:
- Give that trainer the boot, your puppy is young he can be worked with and any GOOD trainer will know that
- Talk to your vet about this assessment from your trainer, they are familiar with behavioral issues as well
- Be prepared to work hard, weather your puppy is fear aggressive or not you'll need to work with him to break any puppy habits that are unwanted

If you have questions for me, please feel free to ask, I know what you are going through. It will be ok you can do this.
All the best!

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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:23 pm 
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Its not a shock collar as in electrocuting him but it is a collar just like the machine with the sticky pads they use in my chiropractor's office that feels like tapping. He put it in my hand and let me feel it and it didn't feel painful but then again I like the chiropractor machine. What is T Touch? Clicke training did seem to work in the beginning. That's how I taught him to sit and shake. Yes, I do like him to sleep with me and he seems to sleep better when he does. He carries on too awful in his crate. And, since he is in the crate during the day 4 days a week while i am at work (I come home at lunch to walk him), I like to give him bed and furniture priviledges.


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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:53 pm 
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You have raised one red flag after another with this trainer. It sounds like all he wants is your money and personally I would walk quickly away from him.

Whether it is a shock collar or not, perhaps it terrifies Rocky. Puppies need positive enforcement and thrive on it!

Please ask yourself what good this trainer has done for you to date. If there is not much positive that has come from your experience so you far, I am not sure what you will get for $500 from someone who seems to nave already written your dog off as a failure and made
You feel like a failure as well.

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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:43 pm 
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I would also say to not feel bad and I would find a new trainer ASAP. I don't know what answers he/she gave when you interviewed them but hurting dogs who are fearful is like slapping the toddler who runs from new situations. Eventually they become brats out of self-preservation. I'd look for someone who was R+ (positive reinforcement) as well as committed to confidence building. Simply put reward good behaviors and ignore bad ones. I'd also keep clicker training. You might pick up "click to calm" by Karen Pryor. She's awesome and this book is a lifesaver!
Also realize he's just a puppy and lots of puppies go through fear periods starting around 19-20 weeks, and he's probably in a bit of pain because he's loosing puppy teeth. My suggestion is to be kind, reward good behavior and ignore bad behavior. If you need more training suggestions I'd check out Ian Dunbar, Patricia McConnell and Karen Pryor. All are great R+ trainers who have amazing success. Also, if someone suggests they follow CM, run. Fast.
You might also google puppy fear stages to know what he's going through developmentally. With love and gentle confidence building you'll have a sound little guy in no time. You CAN do this and you'll all be better for it.

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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:02 pm 
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Gina,

Has Rocky been aggressive before? I would hesitate to label him fear aggressive based on one stressful biting incident.

Frankly Rocky is a 5 month old puppy who's full of himself! He needs time, socialization and consistent POSITIVE training to turn him from his current BRAT stage to a nice well behaved, well adjusted dog!

Please read this article.... http://www.dogbreedz.com/dog_articles/d ... opment.htm

Yes, you need help. NOT because you suck, but obviously Rocky is a handful and you could use some guidance in his training... there are other trainers out there who will work to overcome your dog's issues. Find a good behaviorist/trainer. Personally, I would be turned completely off by someone with such a negative attitudes towards my dog. While this man's methods probably work... you will not have the merry Cocker Spaniel you desire, in the end.

My opinion... get your money back.

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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:06 pm 
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Dump that guy ASAP and get a new trainer! That's all I have to say. I also do not believe that cockers, English or American are the #1 biters.

No I did NOT read all the replies.

ETA: the ONLY time I have had a dog release his anal glands was out of fear. I think your cocker guy knows the trainer is a complete idiot and fears him.

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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:27 pm 
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Gina, my Gordie sounds like your guy. He has severe fear aggression and is neurotic, shy and fearful. He was shipped to me from out of state, and by the time we figured out how severe his problems were, we had already fallen in love with him.

He's been looked at by a number of experts, 2 vets and 2 trainers, who all agreed that the only hope for him was probably medication. He's currently on fluoxetine (prozak) and we are definitely seeing improvement. Please don't be afraid to try drugs, if they're recommended. Along with obedience training and a stable routine, the drugs can make your dog more relaxed and confident.


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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:55 pm 
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Gina,
Your puppy is only five months old. Unless there is a recurring pattern of aggression towards humans, I think this is a very isolated incidence. The trainer should have NEVER used that collar on your puppy. He is much too young for that and the remote control collar that taps is very, very scary for any dog. I don't see the need for any remote at all because your pup should be on leash at this point anyways.

And from what you have described, may I ask you how much exercise and walking does your pup get every day?

I remember in my first dog obedience class, the people who exercise their dogs before the class tend to be more successful in class. Their dogs are more focused and not crazy.

Also, since your puppy is on the more excitable side, I would strongly suggest that you do not use food in training basic things like sit, down, stay and heel. I find it counter productive to have food around my Cherry and Heidi and it would just rile them up. You can use the word "good" and physical praise to mark the good behaviors. We do not always need to bribe them. They will do it for the attention and affection. That said, when training for things like agility etc, I do use treat because those aren't basic manners any more.

Anyways, good luck!! Have faith in him! He can feel it. So please don't break the trust because of a STUPID trainer that is against the cockers.

_________________
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Louie BN RA CGC R/W Parti DOB: 2/4/03
Heidi CD RN CGC Buff DOB: 3/31/06
Cherry CDX RE CGC R/W Parti DOB: 4/1/10

Please support rescues and responsible breeders. Stop buying from evil puppy mills!


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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:34 pm 
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Oh wow.

First of all, like several people said, dump the "trainer." Dogs, puppies, kids, once someone tells you they are inherently bad, can't learn etc. you should be done with that (ignorant) person and never look back or question yourself for an instant!

You do NOT suck as a puppy mom. Those who do, do not seek training. They throw the puppy out in the back yard to languish and howl and cry until eventually the dog goes to the shelter. (I know, I rescued dozens with that kind of history.)

Five months old is a BABY. He needs lots of sleep, and _structured_ time for meals, crate training, potty training, other training, and vigorous play. Look up "Nothing in Life is Free" - with that he will learn that all good things come from YOU, to seek permission from you, and to follow your directions.

PLEASE don't let this "trainer" ruin your bond with your puppy. Find a kind puppy class, where you do the work directly with your puppy. He wants to learn that you are in charge; he will be much happier, and much safer.

FWIW, many long years ago, about 17, in fact, I took my first cocker, Feather, who was 6 months old at the time, to the dog training class at the local rec dept. First, the instructor said she couldn't be there without a choke chain on her, I said, "OK, give me my money back" and she relented. Then during the class she insisted that we "treat" the puppies for compliance.

Now Feather was not at all food motivated (she already knew when and where her next meal would be!) and she took the cheese treat politely, laid it on the floor, and moved away. The instructor berated me loudly in front of the whole class for bringing "a dog who was not hungry" and "the wrong treat!" I turned a deaf ear on her and praised my puppy.

I waited after class and the instructor rudely asked me, "why are you still here?" And ever so politely, I said, "I'm waiting for you to give me my check back. We won't be coming any more."

I was VERY CLEAR: no choke chain on MY puppy and only praise for what she did well = respectful training. I believe every dog deserves it, and every person has a right to learn to provide it.

Please, find a new "trainer."

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Cricket, home January 29, 2012
Maggie Mae, home September 1, 2014

---------------------------------------
Feather: March 23, 1994 - November 17, 2011
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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:37 am 
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Marge wrote:
okay you do need another trainer, one with a more positive outlook. Your pup was definitely terrified what with the emptying of the anal gland is a for sure signal. Also you mentioned a "training collar" I do hope that wasn't a shock collar. That would be a horrible way to start training an already fearful pup. If Rocky is nipping, if he attempts this, you yip yourself loud and high pitched. This will help him learn to cut it out. Introduce him gradually to new situations and do not let strangers handle him until his is in a more comfortable "zone" so to speak. You might just sit with him and have a friend approach and toss a treat then back off so he can investigate the treat. By a treat I mean something really delicious, not just a piece of kibble. Maybe a chunk of real chicken or real liver. For walks you might go a few steps and kneel down and give him reassurance and then go a few more, etc. Most of all you need to remain calm so he doesn't pick up on your anxiety. Do set firm boundaries in his life. Food at the same times, possibly teaching him to sit before eating. He needs a calm touch and secure home life. Puppy school or obediance is a good thing but only with a trainer looking at long term results not a swift solution. Positive methods like clicker training and things like T touch might help too.


Ditch any trainer who uses pain to control a puppy...PRONTO! :bang

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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:03 am 
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Thank you all for your kind words. It is much appreciated. I plan on going to the vet at 11:00AM (EST) and have him checked out and explain to the vet what happened, since the vet recommended them. They may not know all about how he operates, and I am a big believer in feedback. I have already explained to Rocky that we will never go see that mean man again. I've told my hubby that I will be asking for my money back.

As for the question of if Rocky has ever been labeled as agressive before...no...quite the contrary. My vet recommended that I work on socializing him because he is too timid and scared. He's never ever bitten anyone (except for the puppy nips) and never drew blood from anyone except the"mean man trainer".

My hubby said that the reason the guy gave me a $1200 training package for $500 and then only asked me for a 50% deposit is because he messed up big time when handling my puppers. He used much more harsh and foul words, but this is a family forum so I will not type them :wnk

I am going to use love and treats and positive rewards with my puppy. Rocky is food motivated. He likes the good stuff...boiled chicken, boiled beef (roast beef), hot dogs (i know...they aren't ideal)...He likes long walks and his tennis ball. So we are going this route.

At this point, I'm never setting foot in that guys's place again, even if he doesn't give me my money back.


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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:24 am 
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I know he's 5 months old so may be too old for "puppy" classes but you might see if there are some play groups he can join to learn some confidence and socialization. Since he should have all his shots by now you might check with the training center you did his original classes with to see if they do play groups. He might be a little small for the big dog park yet but it can't hurt to get him exposed to all sorts of things in controlled environments to help ease his fears.

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Mom to:
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Charlie "the middle child- Orange Tabby G-day 7/4/2005
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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:09 am 
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Good for you Gina! :th-up I hope this man is reasonable about giving your money back!

While Rocky may have some issues, from what you described I didn't think Rocky was aggressive. ANY dog would react the same given the stress he was under. I wouldn't doubt that he tried his best to get away from this man and gave clear warnings before he bit. That being said I do think you need help working with Rocky to address his issues so he doesn't become fear aggressive.

Also, you may have to work to re-establish your pup's trust especially regarding putting his collar on. I remember there was a period of time with Chessie where she would want and need to go out but refused to come near the steps to get her collar on. I would sit on the steps with my side or back to her holding treats till she got the courage to come near. Sometimes I'd sit there quite long! With this trauma with his collar Rocky may give you a hard time ... start working now to rebuild his confidence. It will take time and patience never force him ~ you need to show him that his collar will not hurt him.

In the meantime continue to do what you have been doing training wise. Rocky is a smart boy and you can do this!

_________________
Lisa R

Chesapeake OA, OAJ (CGC)
4/20/10

Competing in Excellent Agility ...
JWW ~ 1 of 3 Q's
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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:21 am 
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Sounds like you found a awful trainer. I hope it doesn't sour you on all training because it does actually work. I hope you find the perfect match for your puppy and you.

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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:35 am 
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Quote:
He used much more harsh and foul words, but this is a family forum so I will not type them


That is completely inappropriate. I am a dog trainer (I just teach general classes in my community, and have done so for several years) and I would NEVER use any harsh language around a client or their dog. If that trainer can't control their temper, they shouldn't be dealing with animals. Also, I agree with each and every person that said to ditch a trainer that uses an e-collar on a puppy. The only trainers that I know of that use e-collars on puppies are people that train hunting dogs . . . and that tradition is changing and those collars aren't used as much.

Any dog that is cornered and can't get themselves out of a situation will bite. Even the most well-rounded dog will resort to biting if all of their other warning signals have been ignored. That the trainer couldn't see the bites coming just speaks to the ineptitude there.

I'm sure that with love, patience and consistency (and yes, tough love counts as love!) you will get Rocky to come around. He's just a baby, and now's the time that he's treading carefully in the world, trying to figure it all out. Knowing that he can trust you will make everything so much easier for him.

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Farley, Grace & Jack Jack
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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:42 am 
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Thanks everyone for the kind words. Rocky checked out OK at the vet and the vet gave me a referral t another trainer. This trainer does positive reinforcement and is faculty of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior. We have an in-home session next week. She said she will bring chicken.


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 Post subject: Re: fear aggression?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:06 am 
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Glad to hear it, Gina.

Check out Catoctin Kennel Club's obedience classes as well. They have a new session that just started but maybe you can start a bit late. I have only heard positive things about their obedience classes and I am very happy with the conformation classes I have taken there.

Please keep us advised.

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Jackie

Rocky (7/18/02), Onyx (10/2/10), Misty (8/15/11), and Ethan (10/20/11)
Weesister (7/18/02-7/22/10) and Killington (10/85-2/02)waiting at the bridge


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