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Nipping - Need Help

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FG167
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Nipping - Need Help

Post by FG167 » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:07 pm

Madix is a 1 yr 4 month old Dutch Shepherd. We have taken obedience classes and agility classes since he was 4 months old. He's passed his CGC and has numerous other dog "friends". When we lived at my ex's house, we had random people over all the time - no problems at all besides alert barking. Same with meeting new dogs, as long as the introduction was made, no problems.

Moved out when he was 10 months old and into my parents' house for a time and just recently moved into an apartment. We've been here about a month. He seems to be getting more territorial. When we first moved in, he would growl or start to bark at every bike, walker, jogger, dog etc that went past (when we were outside). I distracted him, and praised for eye contact and ignoring. Now he will occasionally have his hair raise up but for the most part, he is calm when we go outside for potty breaks etc.

We went through a stage where he would jab people that wanted to meet him, sharply with his muzzle - it was rude (my trainer calls it muzzle punching) and I corrected and went through another round of classes and the behavior disappeared. Due to his appearance, rarely does anyone ask to pet him. Which, I never had a problem in the past with. The first time someone at the new place asked to, it was a girl about my age and he was fine, until she went to walk away - then he barked at her a bit. The second time happened today. I was getting my mail, he was between me and the wall. A guy from my building walked behind me to leave and Madix reached his head out to him, like to be pet. So the guy reached down and pet him, and when he turned to walk away, Madix nipped his pants pocket. No growl, no hair. I corrected sharply and he responded instantly by downing next to me. The guy just continued leaving after saying "Hey!" but that was about it.

I'm wanting opinions on what this behavior may be (aggression, dominance, annoying teenage behavior...) and on how I should begin to correct it. I'm also getting back in with my trainer asap, but was hoping for some more input. Obviously, in an apartment community he is going to have to pass people on occasion and I cannot have him nipping at. Oh, I use a Halti on him 24/7 at the apartment too. He responds well to it but admittedly, my reflexes weren't fast enough (and it was unexpected for me) to prevent this nip. Although the correction was swift.

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Tell us about yourself: Dogs are my life, what can I say. GSDs primarily for nearly 50 years til bringing in my first DutchShep about 4 years ago. GSD rescue for 9 yrs, nearly 200 thru my home, rehabbed, adopted out. Been involved in AKC ob, herding, tracking, agility; Schutzhund-DVG; scent detection (HR-water)&narcotics, some patrol work. Mostly herding training at present on my little farm.

Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by GSDNanny » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:20 pm

A GSD rescue I placed in a good home several years back used to do the same thing but I was informed last month that he went for an elderly lady (unprovoked) and almost took her knee cap off entirely. Needless to say, it is in the court system now and the dog is awaiting E&D.

The ironic thing here is that this dog had some excellent DDR working blood lines, a gorgeous solid black dog and at 8 months when I rescued him, he had strict bite inhibition as he had been reprimanded severely as a pup. He would not even play tug without cowering. Before placing him, I had trained him basic OB and house manners and he would have stayed with me but I was active in DVG Schutzhund and he just seemed not to work out for that.
Go figure he would end up mauling someone. Sad.

So all I am saying is be very cautious and careful.

Denise Gatlin
Louisiana

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Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by vneerland » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:29 am

Hello FG167. I know you were here before a lot of the rest of us where, so a late welcome to you.
(If you have a real name ;) it sure would be nice to find that at the bottom of your post too, so we 'know' who we are addressing? Please?)

About your dog. The part that I worry about is internet diagnosis. Your story does not tell me what the dogs body posture is when he nips, but I will be honest and express concern that he only gets his 'courage up' when the person is leaving. A dog that is what is called defensive, may feel a lot braver when the alledged threat is over and moving away from him, than he or she is when the danger is face to face, literally. I would certainly suggest you seek advice from someone who can get the whole picture. My scope on the subject is that you can get him to stop that, but you will have to step up and be a very effective leader, not leaving the dog room for personal opinion in this matter. I would toss the halti and put a normal tight enough flat collar on. If he were mine, he would be receiving some 'don't even think about it' guidance. That does not mean that I would be mean or harsh, but I would certainly stop asking the dog for good behavior (like a halti tends to do) and start telling him what behavior is and what is not acceptable. That fix sure sounds more appealing than the picture Denise painted above.
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Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by FG167 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:40 pm

Thanks for the responses. My name is Falon :-) Sorry for not putting that. I created my profile long ago, and at work (I guess I'm naughty too lol) and didn't put any pics or signature.

Yesterday was an emotional day. I was already stressed about something else and then Madix's behavior upset me further. Upon researching different forms of aggression, herding, nipping, muzzles and general pack behavior - I was reminded of training I already knew how to do and haven't been. Bad, bad, BAD me!

I totally agree on the body language being the most important. He's clearly targeting and getting ready for the "game" when being petted (of course this is hindsight...if I would've thought about it then, I could've caught it). He sits nicely, attentive, but his ears are just that touch too alert and when they turn away he either yips or (like the guy yesterday, who's pocket was already touching Madix's nose on the turn), nips. No idea if he's AIMING for cloth or actually trying to nip - either way, not ok. Madix is a button pusher, if he knows something aggravates, he usually will try it. Now if he gets in trouble for it, he will drop it. Apparently, I did not draw a firm enough line on where this behavior fell. He nipped the guy, the guy said "hey", I said "Madix!" and he turned and kind of bounced back into place, where I finished snapping "No! Bad dog!" at which point his ears dropped and he downed. This particular instance, I think he's being a jerk and I was not clear enough in the past that this is not ok behavior. However, we've passed people he's wanted to jab his nose at, which I controlled with the Halti and the body language was...ruder I guess.

So, I started the cascade and have contacted two of my three trainers, waiting for responses and a game plan and am going to see the third tonight. Want to nip this in the bud. Some things I've been slacking on that I've picked back up, firmer and stronger corrections on behaviors I KNOW he knows and also he now has a job every single time I leave the apartment. I was being lax and just taking him out to potty, loose lead, la-dee-dah. Now he must sit, wait at each and every door way (we pass through three to get in and out of my building) until I go through and let him through as well. We walk to the potty spot, where he is to wait quietly until I give him the potty command and then we do a little sit and downing onto the next potty spot (one for pee and one for poop ya know) and then heeling and doorways on the way back. Already noticed less hair-raising and targeting behavior on our short 2 jaunts outside yesterday. Also much more responsive to command in the apartment too.

I use the Halti as a means to direct his head. He will jab people on the way by and I don't want to have him on just a flat collar when I can 100% control his muzzle direction with the Halti - a suggestion made by my trainer. He is extremely responsive to voice commands and corrections, I was just being way too soft with my too smart brat and letting things slide that should not - like going through doorways first. I've also looked at and considered a muzzle as well. Part of the problem is I get nervous when certain people come around - due to Madix's behavior, which of course then enhances the bad behavior - vicious circle starts. However, jabbing with a muzzle is just as unacceptable as without soooo I'm sticking to my Halti for now until I hear back from my trainers. We went through a similar behavior issue when he was younger and obviously need to revisit - which I KNOW happens frequently around this age, the testing of old behaviors I mean. Obviously all entirely my fault for letting things slip to this level but hopefully I am getting back on track quickly enough to not have any problems. Based on the change in behavior from yesterday morning to yesterday night, I feel I am on the right track. Hopefully. Thoughts? Opinions?

Thanks again!
Falon

P.S. Do not have problems around any people (or dogs) if he is wearing his pack or if we are playing a game - aka fetch or frisbee (off lead) or even if I'm working on other behaviors such as impulse control. ONLY had problems so far when I haven't given a job - again, bad, bad, BAD me. I'm so furious with myself for letting this happen.

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Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by GSDNanny » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:55 pm

I feel that training is a non-stop ongoing lesson for both ourselves and our dogs, changing and adpating as maturity and environment thru time changes. The emphasis here is that we have to maintain a consisent level in that training or these intelligent canines will compensate whether we like it or not. Complacency seems to be the norm in society and when we let our guard down in anything at all, it comes back to bite us (sorry for the pun).
To reiterate about the black shepherd I had placed in a home. When he left me, he had his basic ob, house manners and was no longer nipping. He went into a home setting with children and a housewife whose husband traveled for work so was not home much. I had given strict instruction to the couple who had previously had a large dog so I felt this may work out. I normally did not adopt to families with kids but this dog at that point was sound, IMHO. But being the very intelligent dog he was, this boy took over the household eventually, basically doing his job but his way. It started back with the nipping and graduated because his initial training was not reinforced as I had stressed. I had heard that the dog had gripped a couple of times and told them I would take the dog back or they needed to get it under control. They insisted they could handle this. Then I get a call from the owner that AC had confiscated the dog for this severe bite and that maybe I could go get him. Now I am mad! GRRRRRR!!! :evil: The AC director is a friend of mine and he said it was one of the worst dog bites he had ever seen. Sorry to get off on that tangent but it is still fresh and infuriates me to no end. Needless to say these type issues are why I dont do GSD rescue anymore. Meanwhile the dog is in a small kennel, going kennel crazy and awaiting a death sentence.

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Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by vneerland » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:26 pm

Falon,
I hope you can hook up with your training team and that they can guide you forward on this.
For my own pack, training truly is not always (or even usually) a formal thing. It is a lifestyle. "No" is always the wrong answer, and "yes ma'am" always the correct one. :g_wink:
They are allowed to sit on the couch, even on top of me, bounce out of the door ahead of me and do all kinds of 'unspeakable' stuff that most well raised pets are not allowed to do. I do not have any problems and the contents of the individual packages are plenty hot. They all respect me though, and we have no issues (touch wood) with any of the members of my very large pack.
Training in itself does not need to constant, but consistent behavior or the owners behalf DOES.
What is not allowed today, will not be allowed tomorrow. Always make them do as you say (or don't say anything if you know you cannot enforce it that time) and always be willing to correct the occasional wrong answer. ;) It may sound simple, but that truly is your road to succes. Work on yourself and you will work on your dog.

@ Denise. I am sorry to hear about things gone wrong. But unless you know the true triggers of a bad bite, I would not bend over backwards to go save him. That may sound cold, but I know first hand that truly unpredictable behavior (for me, it was an imported dog) is an accident waiting to happen and it ruins the dogs chance of a decent life since you have to keep him penned up and his interaction strictly controlled. One could argue the quality of such life. :cry: (and yes, probably all caused by stupidity of some human somewhere along the line)
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Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by Christie M » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:08 pm

vneerland wrote:Falon,
I hope you can hook up with your training team and that they can guide you forward on this.
For my own pack, training truly is not always (or even usually) a formal thing. It is a lifestyle. "No" is always the wrong answer, and "yes ma'am" always the correct one. :g_wink:
They are allowed to sit on the couch, even on top of me, bounce out of the door ahead of me and do all kinds of 'unspeakable' stuff that most well raised pets are not allowed to do. I do not have any problems and the contents of the individual packages are plenty hot. They all respect me though, and we have no issues (touch wood) with any of the members of my very large pack.
Training in itself does not need to constant, but consistent behavior or the owners behalf DOES.
What is not allowed today, will not be allowed tomorrow. Always make them do as you say (or don't say anything if you know you cannot enforce it that time) and always be willing to correct the occasional wrong answer. ;) It may sound simple, but that truly is your road to succes. Work on yourself and you will work on your dog.

@ Denise. I am sorry to hear about things gone wrong. But unless you know the true triggers of a bad bite, I would not bend over backwards to go save him. That may sound cold, but I know first hand that truly unpredictable behavior (for me, it was an imported dog) is an accident waiting to happen and it ruins the dogs chance of a decent life since you have to keep him penned up and his interaction strictly controlled. One could argue the quality of such life. :cry: (and yes, probably all caused by stupidity of some human somewhere along the line)
Really, really sound advice on all parts.

Falon,

From what I have seen out of the 2 Titan litters that I have been around, I think they are super late to mature and start to show/experience defense at just over a year - rather than 8-10 months like many other working DS.

Having not seen him I'm speculating, but I do think that Madix is being a punk. I don't know if his delayed reaction (butt biting) is a result of natural lack of nerve to have a frontal conversation, or inhibition because of your involvement...but still choosing to take the shot. I have seen it in a few rescues, and no amount of "socialization" helped. The dogs simply had to be controlled in those situations and their owners had to learn that their dog doesn't need freedom to greet and not all dogs want to be friends with everyone else. That is a human trait we put on them. Even though you live in an apartment, its perfectly Ok to say "no, I would rather that you didn't pet my dog." If you have enough obedience and control, he doesn't get to make stupid decisions if you don't allow him the opportunity. As you said, when working, he isn't thinking about outside influences, so he's fine.

My advice - for what its worth - is to not work very hard to "fix" it right now. don't force interactions or confrontations. No matter how positive you try to make it, he may simply not want to be in those situations. Take him for the same walks, have him around people..etc. But don't force him to be touched or petted. A simple down-stay next to you is sufficient. If he is just going through a reactive, fear phase then allot of this should pass. But you could make things allot worse by forcing the issue or giving him to much freedom.

What trainers are you looking at in MI? I am trying to think if I know anyone on the west side of the state that could help you.

Good luck!
Salix says she'll whoop him for you if you'ld like!!!
Christie Meyer
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http://www.dutchshepherdrescue.org
http://www.thunderhawkcanine.com

Be proud of the things that you have taught your dog. Be humbled and grateful for all of the things that your dog has taught you. - Unknown

FG167
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Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by FG167 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:06 am

Christie,

Thanks for the response - I did not know that about the maturity level of the Titan litters. Definitely makes sense that behavior I thought we already had come to terms with is cropping up again. I am sure that my presence is causing some inhibition as he does do his best to do as I ask and please me. I am not sure about the second part. As a puppy, if anything scared him he went at it full throttle, barking, growling etc. I never saw him run or back down from anything that scared him, but I'm not sure if that's something that sticks or something that could change as he gets older?

I had come to the same conclusions that you metion about "forcing" interactions. I am however, instead of breezing inside to avoid passing someone I'm worried he might poke at, I'm pulling him off to the side and forcing him to sit calmly and behave. I am wondering if I put the idea of needing him to be "boss" in these situations due to me trying to get inside and out of the way before another person/dog/kid came in or out - that is habit and more me and my other dog than as a consequence of his actions - until now obviously. He does excellent at down stay, or he did lol, will have to make sure that is still strong in the presence of people that apparently arouse him.

What are your thoughts on getting him into herding or schutzhund training? I have a friend that has her own livestock for herding that has offered to help me - although she does Aussies not shepherds, she does have a lot of experience. There is a place that does tracking/obedience/schutzhund etc etc in Lowell - K9 Academy International - I know nothing about them what-so-ever though. Should I get a muzzle so that when we are forced into tight situations I know he can't do anything, until I'm confident he won't?

I am working with my old SAR mentor, who is mentoring with Brenda Aloff. I have been taking Madix to Brenda since the first week I got him and she's really helped me understand and work with him. However, with life issues, I hadn't been in about 5 months so I re-contacted her and my SAR mentor and they're coming up with a game plan for Madix and I to start on. She's said from the get-go that he is a truly dominant dog that would be a lot of work but that I had done some fantastic groundwork on our bond so if anyone could do it with him, I would be able to. So, perhaps this is just an oops in understanding between Madix and I and we just need a little more training to clear things up. I absolutely adore him and he's the sweetest thing to me so if I can get him to "get" it, I know he will do it, no problems.

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Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by vneerland » Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:02 pm

FG167 wrote:I had come to the same conclusions that you metion about "forcing" interactions. I am however, instead of breezing inside to avoid passing someone I'm worried he might poke at, I'm pulling him off to the side and forcing him to sit calmly and behave. I am wondering if I put the idea of needing him to be "boss" in these situations due to me trying to get inside and out of the way before another person/dog/kid came in or out - that is habit and more me and my other dog than as a consequence of his actions - until now obviously. He does excellent at down stay, or he did lol, will have to make sure that is still strong in the presence of people that apparently arouse him.
Right there, unfortunately you are giving the percise reason WHY he does not improve on his people skills. You are worried that he might do something and you are pulling him off. So he gets confirmed in his suspicion that there is something very wrong with people, sensing your worry (underlined by your actions) Breaking that cycle is quite tricky, since you do not want to open yourself up to all the consequences of the experiment (of letting him check things out himself) gone wrong.
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Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by FG167 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:13 pm

vneerland wrote:
FG167 wrote:I had come to the same conclusions that you metion about "forcing" interactions. I am however, instead of breezing inside to avoid passing someone I'm worried he might poke at, I'm pulling him off to the side and forcing him to sit calmly and behave. I am wondering if I put the idea of needing him to be "boss" in these situations due to me trying to get inside and out of the way before another person/dog/kid came in or out - that is habit and more me and my other dog than as a consequence of his actions - until now obviously. He does excellent at down stay, or he did lol, will have to make sure that is still strong in the presence of people that apparently arouse him.
Right there, unfortunately you are giving the percise reason WHY he does not improve on his people skills. You are worried that he might do something and you are pulling him off. So he gets confirmed in his suspicion that there is something very wrong with people, sensing your worry (underlined by your actions) Breaking that cycle is quite tricky, since you do not want to open yourself up to all the consequences of the experiment (of letting him check things out himself) gone wrong.
Right, a realization I came to yesterday, and agreed, is unfortunate. I'm not letting him check things out...as in sniff or "meet" people. I'm just waiting to the side of the sidewalk or parking lot or whatever as they pass, with ample room so that we're not crowded (and me in between), as opposed to beating them inside or outside. It seems to be going well so far. Yesterday a guy with a big lunch box and a camp chair swinging went in before us and a family with a toddler and a young girl running around went by and while interested, he offered eye contact to me (praise) and did not break his sit or target. Today I took him to the park and unloaded with 5-6 women chatting about 6-7 feet away and he paid absolutely no attention. I figured we'd start with some space between us and "others" and then slowly get closer - outside of range where he might touch - and see how things go. We've already done this training but obviously when I moved into the apartment and started "avoiding" others, for lack of a better term, I've pushed him back a bit. So, starting from square one. Do you think this is acceptable or do you have another suggestion on how to handle it?

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Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by vneerland » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:32 pm

I think square one is a good place. ;) If nothing else, you probably have to prove to yourself, as much as anything, that he is worthy of your trust (and that he will not eat everone whom he comes in contact with) If you have (working) dog clubs somewhere around you, that might be a good place to start him on people introductions, if you so chose. Of course you can live with a dog that has to be kept at bay, but I am not sure you want that? If not, people who are in working dogs can usually read a dog better than most pet owners and might be more willing and understanding to help you with your problem.
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Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by FG167 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:59 am

vneerland wrote:I think square one is a good place. ;) If nothing else, you probably have to prove to yourself, as much as anything, that he is worthy of your trust (and that he will not eat everone whom he comes in contact with) If you have (working) dog clubs somewhere around you, that might be a good place to start him on people introductions, if you so chose. Of course you can live with a dog that has to be kept at bay, but I am not sure you want that? If not, people who are in working dogs can usually read a dog better than most pet owners and might be more willing and understanding to help you with your problem.
Ok, that's where I went, back to square one :) Seriously can already see a difference. I took him to the vet today - he started his screeching right when we got in the door and all of his hair stood on end. It was just us, no people, no dogs - clearly scared. I did a Brenda Aloff technique, took him into the room. Warned the Vet Tech and the Vet that we were going through a "stage", kept him in a down. He was fine with the Tech, tried to stare down the Vet (who was not giving eye contact back) and offered one small growl. Up to now, I was torn whether to correct or not - based on if he was "testing" everyone and everything or if he was truly concerned. Went with my gut, leash correction with a firm "no!" and received a tail wag and instant eye contact (little snot IS testing me!) - didn't have any other problems with him with the Vet (including when she got a fecal sample from him). She said her take was that he was testing everyone, including me and that my reaction was perfect. She told me she thought I was doing a great job with him, he was very well-mannered, listened extremely well and a really nice dog. :D Made my day! I talked to her about my apartment and what I've been doing and she said she thought I was doing a great job and to keep up the good work. On the way out, we passed a lady that was standing at the counter. I had him sit before we went out the door, his side was almost touching her and he had nothing but eye contact for me. Did some impulse control and some "fun" games when we got home and have had nothing but terrific responses and behavior. Guess we needed a refresher and I needed a reminder to not slack off, whatever life is throwing at me. I do believe his targeting of smaller dogs and dogs in general within a certain distance, is harder than when he was younger, but plenty of time to work on that. It's definitely not out of control by any means.

I have been researching working dog clubs, schutzhund clubs, sda clubs etc etc for the last week and I've found quite a few options within reasonable driving distance. However, they all want to evaluate Madix and I'm not sure what that entails? I also don't know anyone in any of these groups and what I really want is some word-of-mouth about them. Not too sure how to go about gaining that. I have been lurking on a German Shepherd forum and there are a couple members in some of the "possible" groups from my area so I might just shoot them a message and see. Think that would be ok?

REALLY appreciate the general insight and advice!! Thanks!

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Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by vneerland » Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:02 pm

Golden rule: when checking out a potential club to join, leave your dog at HOME ;)
Just visit and observe and with the dog not even in the car, you cannot be tempted to make the mistake of getting him out, which is what you will do when asked by the clubmembers, even if your gut feeling is already telling you not to.
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Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by GSDNanny » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:56 pm

vneerland wrote:Golden rule: when checking out a potential club to join, leave your dog at HOME ;)
Just visit and observe and with the dog not even in the car, you cannot be tempted to make the mistake of getting him out, which is what you will do when asked by the clubmembers, even if your gut feeling is already telling you not to.

DITTO!!!!! Judith is so right. This is very important! In fact, go several times to observe because not always do all club members attend all training days. What you observe the first time may be show for a guest and not reality in how they train. I dont mean to scare you but just remember this, first and foremost, you are fully responsible for your own dog's wellbeing both physically and emotionally. Someone who helps train your dog is NOT the person who goes home with him to live after training - it is you, of course. There are certain training methods with results you may not be able to live with if inflicted upon your dog. So with that said, and I dont mean to sound negative, do what Judith suggests and go out and watch first. Always have fun with your dog and make sure your dog is having fun too!!

Denise Gatlin
Louisiana

Denise Gatlin & Zip, Shooter & the K9 crew

Livin' in the deep south - Louisiana

GSDNanny
Training Dog
Posts: 615
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:13 pm
Tell us about yourself: Dogs are my life, what can I say. GSDs primarily for nearly 50 years til bringing in my first DutchShep about 4 years ago. GSD rescue for 9 yrs, nearly 200 thru my home, rehabbed, adopted out. Been involved in AKC ob, herding, tracking, agility; Schutzhund-DVG; scent detection (HR-water)&narcotics, some patrol work. Mostly herding training at present on my little farm.

Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by GSDNanny » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:06 pm

Just to expand on my first post.....many years ago I attended training with an out of town Schutzhund group. I did not have a dog to train at that time but went to observe and learn, doing this for over 6 months, every Saturday morning. When I finally got my GSD pup, I continued to attend with just fun stuff for my pup. One weekend, the group sponsored a seminar. I wont even go there to tell you what went on, what happened to the dogs in training. GRRRRR!!! When some of the people whom I had trained with over that six+months actually participated with their dogs in this fiasco, I got in my vehicle and headed to the house, 200 miles away, and never went back. I just got involved in AKC ob and tracking then. It was three years later before I got reinvolved in another Schutzhund club. Totally different training methods. I continued to be a member for another 5 yrs til the club dissolved. I know there are some that I would offend probably with my sideways reference to some training methods but what I really hate is seeing a newbie thrown to the wolves if that is so the case and it may not be. I am just saying.......

Denise Gatlin

Denise Gatlin & Zip, Shooter & the K9 crew

Livin' in the deep south - Louisiana

FG167
Green Dog
Posts: 108
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:52 am
Tell us about yourself: I am/have been involved in Dock Jumping, Agility, Rally, Tracking, Flyball and Search and Rescue and Schutzhund :-)
Location: Michigan

Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by FG167 » Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:42 am

An update:

Madix is doing wonderfully. Have not had any growling issues with anyone coming/going from the apartment, even when they are very close to us. I am not allowing petting and he's giving me better eye contact. Small dogs are still a distraction but I'm able to refocus him or place him in a down, depending on the circumstances. We stood underneath the (open) stairwell while some kids bounced their bikes down them and out the door and he didn't flinch, growl or otherwise act uncomfortable or like he wanted to go after the bikes. Same with the groups of people drinking/smoking out on their balcony's. Have had several conversations outside with strangers while he is with me and have had no problems with that at all. Little brother had a friend over today (we live together) and Madix was interested but calm and otherwise totally focused on me (it was going out/dinner time when we passed through where they were).

Definitely a bit of a fear stage - started agility again, a building he was at weekly for several months but we've had 2-3 months off. His hair stood up when we first got there and he did his uncomfortable bark. I settled him down and we jumped right in. He remembered the trainer and was very sweet with her, ignored everyone else - people and dogs (yay!) but was very clingy. No one else but me and my best friend (who has known Madix since day 1) noticed because he wasn't obnoxious about it. Just leaned into me when we were off course, a little bit more panting than usual and wanted my hands on his little noggin' more frequently. Was however, totally fine when I tied him to the wall to reset the course. I did some of the calming exercises we've practiced since I got him, he took a titch longer than usual, but they worked and boy was he whipped when we got home! Overall, very pleased with where we're at right now. :)

FG167
Green Dog
Posts: 108
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:52 am
Tell us about yourself: I am/have been involved in Dock Jumping, Agility, Rally, Tracking, Flyball and Search and Rescue and Schutzhund :-)
Location: Michigan

Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by FG167 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:59 pm

Thought I'd post another update.

Have started Schutzhund training with Madix along with Flyball. He's done outstanding in both venues. He's met/been man-handled/heeled by etc etc everyone on both teams/clubs with no problems.

In case anyone else has this trouble - the key to Madix is to NOT let the leash get taught - as soon as I tighten up, he goes on alert and it starts us down a bad path (same story with a GSD that is SUPER friendly otherwise in my SchH group). I also make sure that everyone ignores him. For my dog group this works AMAZING b/c they are all around dogs/have dogs so they naturally just ignore unless he comes up to them, then it's a matter-of-fact pet and that's about it. He seems the most uncomfortable when people all stare and the focus is on him or if they run up/swarm him. If they come up and ignore, we're fine. Just some quirks we're working through.

Some great successes: one lady (he met once) was holding him for flyball, right in front of his back legs and she accidentally whacked him in his "boy parts" (her words, not mine LOL), he grumbled but did not even turn. When I told my SchH group I was having a problem they all volunteered to stand in a VERY tight group while I walked him through - we were each brushing people on both sides - absolutely no issues. The biggest guy even did some things (at my request) to push his buttons and he was totally fine (he back-talked but did not even HINT at other behavior). Plus, I'm much more comfortable after starting SchH because I know what to expect out of Madix as far as growling/barking/biting b/c I know what pushes his limits etc. Which is very nice.

I'm pleased but still watchful - he's a bit of a punk so if he thinks he CAN scare someone (aka they are acting nervous) he will growl and then the monster will wag his tail as if saying "run, please run". But, that really is just part of his personality I think and something I squash as soon as I see it starting up - but he is SUCH a button pusher that I'm not surprised.

Added to that, every single person he has accepted once, he is very good with them from then on out. Plus, if he plays with anyone (and he'll play with ANYONE), then that takes all guesswork out as well. Sooo basically I need to watch my behavior (no tensing or flinching or getting nervous) and pay attention to what's around me and we're all good. Same story with other dogs - if they play fetch with us, then he's good with them (he really ignores them, doesn't really like to play with too many others) and he takes reprimands very well. He's got a nice, moderate personality now, I think.

Oh and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this dog! He is such my soul dog and I can't imagine my life without him in it - he's just a marvelous animal! I will always have shepherds now :D

bestlind
Just Whelped
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:00 am
Tell us about yourself: I live in South-eastern Massachusetts with my husband and our three dogs. One of these is a 2 yr old Dutch Shepherd named Ember. I got her from NADSR in 2010. We like to compete in dock-diving and disc dog competitions and trying anything new!
Location: Norton, MA

Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by bestlind » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:07 am

Where are you training at? I train with Gustavo Sanchez and he told me there is another DS in the group. Maybe thats you guys?
Lindsay Best

Ember, rescue Dutch Shepherd
Norton, MA

FG167
Green Dog
Posts: 108
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:52 am
Tell us about yourself: I am/have been involved in Dock Jumping, Agility, Rally, Tracking, Flyball and Search and Rescue and Schutzhund :-)
Location: Michigan

Re: Nipping - Need Help

Post by FG167 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:51 am

bestlind wrote:Where are you training at? I train with Gustavo Sanchez and he told me there is another DS in the group. Maybe thats you guys?
Nope, not us. I train with a group in Battle Creek with Ron Stokes. I'd like to come and visit and observe your group sometime though!!

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