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Nicki Platt
 

IS THIS YOUR PROBLEM?
Excessive Barking
Reactivity to other Dogs or Human
Biting
Fearfulness
Aggression
Separation Anxiety
Under Socialisation
Fighting
Submissive Urination
Hyperactivity
Barrier Aggression
Adult House-Soiling
Sibling Rivalry
Household Destruction
Escaping?


Dog Therapist Nicki Platt

Hello! I am Nicki your local therapist and owner of Beau, Harvey & Tilly (2 Labs and a Springer).

“Most aggressive episodes are triggered by the fear of being caught in a particular situation. Contrary to popular belief, it’s very rare indeed that an aggressive dog is a dominant dog. Dogs aren’t born aggressive, they become aggressive for a myriad of reasons. They have a large variety of body language that they use to convey a “stay away” message. People frequently misinterpret this body language and approach the dog inappropriately and are bitten. The sad thing is that most episodes of aggression aren’t investigated and treated properly. Consequently, the reason for the aggression is usually buried with the dog.”

Nicki Platt

 

Airedale Australian Bedlington Border English Bull Cairn Cesky Dandie Dinmont Glen Of Imaal Irish Kerry Blue Lakeland Sporting Lukas Manchester Miniature Bull Norfolk Norwich Parson Russell Scottish Sealyham Skye Soft Coated Wheaten Staffordshire Bull Welsh West Highland White Wire FoxBREED: BORDER
Helen's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

Would it ever be possible for my two cats and Bonnie the dog to live together happily? When we got Bonnie at 12 weeks the two cats were already well established at home. They were very nervous around her and would run away.

I know we should have handled things differently but now the cats live upstairs and are separated by a stairgate. However there are times when they venture into Bonnie's territory but have to make a hasty exit! I cannot face living with this for the next few years.

I am so worried that Bonnie would kill the cats if she got them and wonder if it is too late to try and change this and for them all to live together.

Your thoughts would be very helpful.

Thanks
Helen Pigott
Location: Abingdon - Oxon

BREED: BORDER
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Helen,

It can be difficult to introduce a dog to existing cats in the home and to be truthful, yes it would have been better to have done it when Bonnie was a puppy. A little daily work at that stage correcting her from even looking at the cats and rewarding when she pretends they don't exist could have made your life easier!! However, it's not too late!! Of course it's better if the cats are confident, but if they’ve been chased a few times they will naturally be wary.

So to start:-

You need to ensure Bonnie is very responsive to you in general terms. Sit/down/stay and recall are essential.

Ensure that she respects you when going through doors and up and down stairs by keeping behind you. Teach her with growly voice NO and if needed use a lead with little tugs to teach to stay behind. Quiet voice praise, no hand fuss as you will be lowering your height and therefore your authority.

If she loves to chase a ball, teach her to sit/stay and not move when you roll it a couple of metres. She is only allowed to fetch it when you tell her. This simulates a moving cat although you won't be telling her to "fetch" the cat! Use a fixed long lead (20ft is ideal) to prevent her getting to the ball, you can stand on it if needed, again use the growly NO. Again quiet voice praise only when she responds.

When she is doing well you can start throwing the ball longer distances and using growly NO stop her mid run. When she stops to look at you call her to you in very sweet recall voice and give her loads of praise and fuss.

These exercises should only be for 5 mins or so and stop once she has got it right twice. You can go back to it later or the next day, since if you keep on she'll only start making mistakes and you will both get bored and frustrated! Always finish on a good note.
Once you can do this training successfully, you can think about introducing the cats.

Choose the most confident cat and if it can be on a high surface without getting too stressed you can bring Bonnie in on a lead, keep it loose but be ready to do a little tug and growly NO if she even looks at the cats.

Keep her next to you, on loose lead and watch Bonnie carefully, if you see her ears prick i.e. she's seen the cat, immediately correct with NO and tug and sweet voice recall her away. Praise when she responds and then walk her back towards the cat repeating several times until Bonnie gets the message that the cat is a no go area!

If your cat is happy in a carry basket you could try with one in the basket, but kept on a table or higher surface.
If the cat feels safe enough after a few days of this, you could try the basket on the floor, making sure that Bonnie is listening to all your commands and getting praise when she gets it right.

Do make sure that your cat(s) are not stressed by the training, and if needed leave a day or so in between training sessions so they can relax.

One to one help from a professional may give you more confidence so do consider getting help.

I hope this helps,

Regards
Nicki.

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BREED: STAFFORDSHIRE BULL
Corinna's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

i live in windsor Berkshire and i have 3 staffi's. ..one older male harley hes 9 n bin castrated...one bitch called kia shes 5 n recently bin spaded...and another male whos one of kias pups whos not bin castrated n hes just 3yrs...

When he reached 1yr my older male did turned on him (they were fine before) which resulted in myself separating harley from the other two...

It was difficult at 1st however weve got them into routines so they dont ever get together....

Anyway the last yr mayb 14months my younger male has on occasions when ive returned home from work he greats me really excited n if i sit down he will sit with me for 10mins then his back goes up n he growls then i tell him to go n he will look at me n go upstairs n i can still him upstairs for second n stop n he will stay up their n its almost like hes sulking...

On two occasions hes actually bitten n chewed the living room door n bitten through water pipes. ..this is when im not home...im really worried about this n wandered wat it is...plz help

Thank you
Mrs Corinna Carpenter
Windsor, Berkshire.

BREED: STAFFORDSHIRE BULL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Corinna,

Staffies are such lovely dogs, such a shame they have a poor reputation now due to just a few poor owners!!

Firstly, I would recommend that you castrate your younger boy. He will still need some rehabilitation work, but it will make it easier for you to train him as he will no longer have the hormonal induced instincts. It can take up to 3 months for the testosterone to be finally gone from his body.

It sounds a bit like your younger boy (you don't mention his name) is taking a leadership role in your pack. He's thinking he has two females to look after! For both his separation anxiety which is resulting in his destructive behaviour and for his growling etc. follow the points below and you should start to see a different dog.

His top dog status has been accidentally been given to him due to various factors. Harley was probably top dog, and putting the youngster in his place because maybe you were giving the younger dog more privileges, like more cuddles on the sofa as he was the "baby" of your pack. Maybe you felt sorry for him due to Harley's reaction as he was maturing so that gave him the idea that because he was getting more attention, and could "train" you into responding to him whenever he wanted, that HE was in charge. This can be ok for some dogs who don't take it too far, but your youngster is finding the job rather too difficult. When you leave he can't believe that he is not there with you to protect and look after you, he thinks you cannot be safe without him. So he gets frustrated and anxious and gets destructive. Make sure that you do not tell him off when you find this, if you don't catch a dog in the act of being naughty and stop them, they have no idea why you are angry and get even more worried about your return home, which of course causes more anxiety led destructive behaviour. So you need to help him by becoming pack leader of all three dogs, so they all need to respect you and maybe you'll even get Harley back into the pack. The following replicates as far as possible the behaviour of top dogs in a pack, aloof, calm in control and consistent.

You will need to practice leaving him in another room initially, when you are in the house. Do this for very short periods and disagree with any barking, scratching etc. Just stand the other side of the door and as soon as he's quiet, just walk in the room again, totally ignoring his efforts to get your attention. Gradually make the time you are separated longer.
Once he's given up trying you can call him over to give him a fuss, never go to him, always call him to you.
When you are successful in that exercise, 3 or 4 days probably, you can start simulating leaving the house. Doing the same when you return.
In future, train him not to assume he can get on the furniture whenever he wants. If he's growling at you he should not be there with you. Maybe you put your arm around him? That's a dominant behaviour for him to accept as HE is the top dog‼ You maybe shout at him if he puts his hackles up, then he runs upstairs to get some height (authority) and doesn't understand your upset/anger. Avoid making it into a confrontation situation by changing what you do and the problem won't arise through the misunderstanding of each other's motives.
So ignore him when you come home, only call him over for a fuss when he's given up and you should avoid accidentally causing the behaviour.

It is possible that crate for him to sleep in might help him feel secure, but never shut the door until you know he is happy and content. Cover it completely so it's nice and cosy.

I'm sure you will find that if you get him castrated and do some basic training and the work above you will find that he relaxes and allows you to be the decision maker and not try to be the one in charge himself.

I hope this helps,

Regards
Nicki.

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BREED: STAFFORDSHIRE CROSS
Rachael's Problem:

Hi - I have 3 dogs.

Lex is a 4 year old unnuetered male staffie x terrier Lucy is a 1 year old unspayed female patterdale terrier JD is a 6 month old unnuetered staffie male.

Here's my problems...

Lex is a very loving dog but is extremelly aggressive with strange dogs - if I am walking him he must be kept on leash as the second he sees another dog his hackles are up, he's snarling and he's trying to attack. I've considered getting him a muzzle and he'll be getting nuetered in 3 weeks (although thevet said this wouldn't calm him due to his age, its just to stop him breeding)

Another problem he has is very bad seperation anxiety - I believe this is due to a bad few months for him when he was about 1 and a half before I owned him - my cousin owned him back then and would leave him alone for up to 10-12 hours a day! - this is why I took on ownership of him)

Lucy also can be a very loving dog but she too is being very agressive with strange dogs on walks - even more agressive than Lex! It means its impossible to let her off leash too - this is a huge problem for Lucy as she just isn't getting enough excercise for her breed (I don't use her as a working dog) so she's getting frustrated and hyper - often running around the house chasing JD and playfighting. I do have a yard but they're not interested in running out there.

I guess the frustration coukd be why she's being agressive with strange dogs. JD is still in the middle of basic training but he is very hard to control. When he greeds for food when I'm eating and I tell him a firm 'NO' he just sits and growls and barks at me - in the end, I simply remove him from the room, but then he starts crying and barking even worse - its very frustrating.

Another problem is that Lucy and JD have had 3 serious fights in as many weeks - luckily I've seperated them before they could get hurt. About 20 minutes later after some calm down time, they're the best of friends again and cuddle up.

Lex has asserted himself as Alpha (ONLY BETWEEN THE DOGS) but I think Lucy and JD are fighting so they don't have to be the Omega - but neither will back off from each other!

So all in all I'm finding the 3 of them very hard to control at times and itsgetting frustrating - I even have to put them in a seperate room when people come over so they don't jump up and hurt them!

Have you got any advice please!? Xx

Rachael Philip.

BREED: STAFFORDSHIRE CROSS
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Rachael,

It's great that you took Lex on and also that you are getting him neutered. Although it may not stop his behaviour it will make rehabilitating him easier for you.

From the description you have given of your three dogs is really sounds like they are all trying for the leadership position which they feel is available! So it's important that you and any other humans change the way you are with them to help them understand that they no longer make the decisions. All the behaviours you describe including the separation anxiety is due to their feeling that they do not have a strong pack leader who will support and protect them rather than the other way around.

You say that your dogs can be very loving, from that I take it that they come up to you for lots of cuddles and they greet you boisterously when you've been out. They may be asking for attention very gently, sitting staring at you, nudging with their nose, gently use a paw or they may be leaping on you on the sofa, jumping up and grabbing clothing, barking at you or maybe using both Active and Passive methods. Now, hundreds of dogs do this and I would never meet them! They and their owners manage each other and there are no major issues that the owner needs help with. But where the owner is experiencing quite major problems as you are, things need to change. Your boy is being the guardian of the pack and the two

By getting your attention any time they want, your dogs are "training" you! Therefore, they do not feel that you are worth listening to when you try to change or stop the behaviours that you need to. To make a start try the following and after a couple of weeks you should begin to see your dogs respond to you in a more focused way.

Think yourself into the position of female pack leader, your dogs can't think like a human, so you have to think like a dog!
Whenever your dogs make overtures to you for attention by Passive methods, ignore them. If they bark at you or jump or grab clothing, use a growly voice (like another dog would!) to say "stop".
Do not turn away for jumping up, walk into the dogs space and he will have to get down as he overbalances when you must immediately praise with voice only. Then ignore.
So make sure any future interaction with your dogs is started by you and not them.
Do not let them bring toys to make you play, you choose when and which toy.
Once your dogs have given up asking for attention, may be 5 mins or longer, call them over and you'll get the same loving attention, but it will be as pack leader.
Review their food, if they are begging for your food, them may be trying to tell you that what they have is not satisfying them. A good meat based (no cereals or additives) food should help and research raw feeding on the internet, it's cheap, easy and my dogs thrive on it. Cereals cannot be properly digested by dogs and it comes out as excess energy.
It's unusual for a male and female to fight, so maybe nutrition is part of the problem. It's still a dog's instinct to get to the top of the pack so they get the better part of the animal the pack has hunted! So your JD is trying tell you he is higher up the pack and needs you to give up food for him!
Get crates for them and teach them to use them so that they sleep in them at night and during the day if left for short periods. Never just shut a dog in and go out before a couple of weeks showing them their new safe place. Cover it completely when they rest.
Keep them off furniture until invited, when they have given up asking.
Stop play fighting early. It's only going to make each of them too excited and they are testing out each other's ability to be pack leader!
Do training with each of them every day, separately at first.
Make sure you are not favouring one dog or giving one dog more attention. If you are training JD, you may be working with him more and making Lucy feel that she is not getting the attention. She will then take an opportunity as some time in the future to "put JD in his place"‼

With the three dogs you certainly do have your hands full, but try the above and you should see a difference. I would also recommend that you neuter JD when he's older (over a year) so that he has the hormones needed to help his brain and body mature properly.

I hope this helps,

Regards
Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER
Hugh's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

I have a friend with a 4 year old female border terrier.

I am not sure if Meg is neutered or not however recently she has become aggressive both on and off-lead to other female dogs.

We were walking along a path with Meg on lead and she ignored all males who came within close reach but then barked aggressively and lunged at female labradors who were coming into greet her. 10 minutes later we took her off the lead and she ran straight at four labradors, targetted the bitches and went after them barking and harrassing them to the point they turned on her.
A fight ensued and we pulled her out.

A week later we slowly introduced her to five dogs (four male one female) we had been walking with. She had excellent body language on lead and we then decided to let her off. She played nicely with several of the dogs including the bitch.
Having felt we had achieved enough we were putting the other female back on a lead when Meg came in and became quite excited targetting the female dog's face with energetic lunges but no teeth.
We blocked her advances twice with our hands saying Meg enough and then out of nowhere Meg went ballistic and jumped ontop of the friendly younger female biting head and neck repetitively. Meg was pulled off and the lab bitch (different to the ones earlier in the week) was nervous and had a laceration to her tongue.

can you help us to understand what can possibly be triggering Meg's aggression ?

Thanks.

Hugh Scotchbrook

BREED: BORDER
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Hugh,

Meg's aggression to other females could be hormone related. If a bitch is coming into season she may get aggressive to other females wanting to drive them away as "SHE" wants to be the breeding female. Also, it can happen that after a bitch is spayed (neutered) as I've been told by a vet, they may become aggressive or more aggressive due to the fact that all the female hormones are removed with the female breeding organs and all that is left are the naturally occurring male hormones. So, if she's not neutered, it may be a passing phase, BUT does need to be tackled anyway.

Play by dogs is all about finding out how strong, fast or confident another dog may be, so be aware of which dog starts the games. The more confident dogs get others to chase them by doing lots of play bows enticing the others into a game. However, some dogs have become bullies, due to a variety of reasons. Uncontrolled puppy parties, pain/discomfort, rough play with humans and also believing that they make the decisions in the household not the owner! Below are some points that may help, if not 1-2-1 professional behaviour help may be needed to find the underlying cause.

Get Meg checked for any skeletal (frame) problems. A dog chiropractitioner will be able to tell if she has any back/neck problems that might be adding to the problem
Review her diet - sugar, cereals, colouring, and other additives can make aggression worse and if her body is telling her she needs better nutrition, she may be trying to ensure that other females cant join "her" pack!!
Do some daily training with her and before going out for her walk. Sit/stay, down/stay, recall, manners at doors and attentive lead work will help her to understand that her owner is in charge!
Teach her to "stop" on command. i.e. sit and wait for a ball to be thrown and not move until given permission first, then teach her to stop if she does chase. This will be important if you see her begin to focus on another dog.
Do not allow her to stare at another dog or other dog to stare at her. Staring is a challenge and just builds up until there is an explosion.
Being on lead is a "fight or flight" situation. She is trapped so the only thing she can do is to lunge at dogs to tell them to leave.
Teach her to walk on a loose lead, her toes at owners heel - keep changing direction letting 6ft lead slip and without telling her until she has to watch all the time as owner is being very unpredictable!
Watch her body language carefully, she is probably giving off signals that the humans miss. If she pricks her ears and focuses on another dog, that is the moment to correct her and distract her from what she is about to do - don't give her the benefit of doubt!
Work her on a long 20ft lead until you have 100% recall in all circumstances despite distractions.

Hope this helps but do seek help if you find the behaviour continuing.

Regards,

Nicki.

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BREED: PATTERDALE
Carol's Problem:

Hi Nicki

I have two bitch patterdale terriers un spayed 2.5 years old that are siblings. They have always been the best of friends.

I have recently been looking after my sons 10 year old staffy un neutered with a very laid back temperament.

My problem is the patter dales have now started fighting with each other at very random times. All three dogs appear to get on with each other most of the time, the staffy never bothers with either but I must say has made himself very at home and I treat all three the same or so I think.

I have had to split the patterdales and one is with my mum at her house will I ever be able to re unite and have a balanced household?

Carol Rollason Doncaster

BREED: PATTERDALE
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Carol,

It is upsetting when your dogs start fighting with each other and yes you can work to try to get peace back in your household.

It does sound like the trigger was the other dog coming in and the girls may be fighting over him, wanting him to be the protector! Sibling rivalry can be worse with two females, whether or not they are actual siblings, boys seem to be able to get along more easily!

Basically the reason SR starts, and it can be quite subtle at the beginning, is lack of leadership. The two girls may be of similar personality level and are therefore vying for top dog position. If the dogs don't see the human owner as the pack leader, then they will fight for the vacancy! So the adult humans in the pack need to step up and be the ones making decisions.

If you can keep them at home, separate, each dog including the boy should have a crate to call their own. If you can't keep the girls together and you should swap them over with you mum so that they do get time with you so you can rehabilitate them.

Yes, make sure you treat all dogs the same. Do not feel sorry for, give any extra privileges to any dog.
Start the retraining with a plan to do some work every day and to be totally consistent.

When training, keep calm never be aggressive or frustrated - they will see that as weakness and not believe you as pack leader.
Do not allow any dog to have the privilege of getting on furniture. If they need to rest they should be taught that the crate (completely covered and cosy) is the place to go.

Teach each dog to respond to your commands 100% of the time. Sit/drop/stay. Leave it, Go to bed. Give up toys to you. Never barge up stairs or through doors past you. Remember the pack leader goes first!!

If you have both girls, allow them to interact in safety one in crate one out and swap and do the training so each sees the other responding. Remember to give lots of voice praise, not treats.

If needed get muzzles.

Exercise them together (muzzled if necessary) so they get used to being together. Correct any attempt to get at each other.

Watch them carefully in the home. If one is staring at the other, that is the one starting the fight. Staring is a challenge and makes the other dog feel uncomfortable and they will eventually "crack" and have a go. Any staring MUST be stopped.

When you have them behaving and responding well separately, you can consider getting them back together. Keep them muzzled and watch them carefully, out in the garden is best. Be ready to correct them, have a blanket or water available to prevent any fights, but if you watch and see any body language changes, correct and distract immediately.

Sometimes, rehabilitation is not successful and you may need to rehome one of the girls, but if you work hard with daily training, you could well be successful.

Regards,

Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER/CROSS
Kelly's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

I hav a nearly 7 month old border terrie x jack russle ever since she been old enough to go out she has mixed with loads of dogs at loads different places all different breeds and been fine got on well but in the last week or so she has got quite scrappy and picking fight when out walking usually with other terrier like dogs?

Was woundering why she has just started doin this and what I can do to prevent it as she loves being off the lead and dont want to hav to keep her on all the time ?

Thanks
K elly Webb

BREED: BORDER/CROSS
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Kelly,

There are lots of reasons why dogs become scrappy with others so I'll take you through some to see if anything rings a bell with you. Once you know the reason, it's easier to start to change the behaviour.

You don't say if she's been spayed early or not. Research has shown that in some cases, spaying a female can make them more aggressive as it is thought that due to all the female hormones being removed and leaving just some male hormones, this can create a change in character/behaviour.

As she's just coming up to being a teenager, she may be trying out her "independence" and see where she is in the hierarchy of the dogs she meets. She may be fine with some "high pack" type dogs, but decide to see if she can dominate more shy/timid ones. She may be fine with males, not so good with females so see if there's a pattern.

If she's not been spayed she may well be coming into season which can make a girl grumpy, I think we all know something about that!!
If it's not hormonal, it could be that she's been a little over exuberant with play recently; small terrier types tend to rush around jumping and spinning and can hurt themselves without us knowing as they hide any pain or discomfort. The reason for this is that in the wild a weak injured dog might get chased out of the pack as it weakens the strength of the whole group. They still have a lot of wild natural instincts from their wolf ancestors.

If she is in pain, she may associate it with other dogs and not want them to play with her, so she's taking the initiative and telling them to keep away before it starts.

If when you stroke her she moves away from your hand at some point or sits down when you run your fingers, hand down her spine she may well need to see a doggy chiropractor to gently realign her back or pelvis.

Even if you're unsure, I always recommend my clients get their dogs checked by their vet/chiropractor when a normally happy go lucky dog begins to show aggression to others as it is often pain/discomfort that is causing it.

Once you have ruled out or she's had treatment for any pain/discomfort she may still need some rehabilitation as her behaviour may have become a habit so:-

Teach her that you will keep her safe by becoming her leader
Show and guide her into walking on a loose 6ft lead at your heel so she is following you not the other way around.
Don't let her rush to greet dogs. You be the one to calmly take her to other dogs and giving her permission to greet, let the lead be loose otherwise she may feel trapped. Choose calm friendly dogs and allow her to sniff and greet for 5 seconds only then call her away. That way she will not have a chance of starting to show aggression or dominate the other dog, she will have a quiet calm interaction and your will be seen by her to be in charge.

Once you are confident that she is greeting dogs nicely ( it can take a few weeks of daily work to get to this stage) get a long 20 ft. lead. NOT an extendable one, they create the impression in a dogs mind that because they are in front they are the leader and making the decisions!
Work on the long lead changing direction randomly and without letter her know, but make the direction change so she sees you do it. The idea behind this is to get her to focus on you and just be that little bit worried that you may disappear. Once her focus is on you she will not be looking for other dogs.

When you feel you have more control, let her drag the long lead but continue to work as if you were holding it. Then you can stop her running to other dogs if you need to. Still allow the 5 second greet and call her away.

Over a few weeks you should gain respect as her leader and she will be happy that you are keeping her safe and that she no longer has to "look after the pack"!

I hope this helps, but do seek help if you need to.

Regards
Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER
Georgia's' Problem:

Hi, my 8 year old male border terrier is starting to act differently. Before he used to be energetic, hyper, walks in front of me during exercise in walks, not being lazy and now its all changed.

Hes beginning to be and do the complete opposite he always looks miserable, hes slackong in walks, he eats loads of grass, hes lazy and im getting really concernee. Help?

Georgia Nicholson
Mansfield, Nottinghamshire

BREED: BORDER
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Georgia,

To me his behaviour sounds like it's medical or physical not a behavioural problem, but without knowing more I'll give you a few ideas to think about.

If you are aware that something happened whilst on a walk, for example he got a sudden fright, or the collar or lead got tangled and hurt him, or he's been attacked by another dog, my advice would be to get him to your vet to have him checked out.

Have there been any changes in his life? Food? Stress? Is anyone unwell or had disappeared from his life? You'd be surprised how sensitive dogs are to moods and anxieties in the home.

Was it a sudden change or more gradual? Has he lost his appetite? Is he still poohing ok? Or drinking more water? He may have a sore back or hips from an over energetic game and not feel comfortable. I'm not a vet, but from experience and research over the years his symptoms could be related to low thyroid gland output; also if he's eating more grass than normal he could have eaten something. Does he chew balls, steal socks or suchlike?

He may have something stuck in his digestive system somewhere that he can't expel that is causing him problems., So I would get him to a vet as soon as you can to either rule out medical/physical first. I do hope he's ok.

Regards
Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER
James' Problem:

We have two Border Terriers, one male (Bobby) who is 4-5 years old and speyed, and a female (Bella) who is 3-4 years old and not neutered.

Bobby has known Bella since she was a small puppy and they have always been good friends. They have occasionally fought, usually as a result of Bella trying to get a toy from Bobby, who is quite possessive.

These incidents are quite rare. Today a similar incident occurred, and we separated them as usual, however Bobby has this afternoon started three or four further fights with Bella for no reason. Each time we separate them, and we have scolded Bobby. It seems that Bobby is now seeking to fight with Bella, who is quite timid.

He follows her and his ears prick and he then has a go at her. He is fine with us, and our other dog who is a very old female Jack Russell we inherited two years ago.

James Metcalf Location - Aylesbury, Bucks, UK.

BREED: BORDER
Nicki's Answer:

Hi James,

This sounds like classic Sibling rivalry which is not just for brother/sisters etc.

Maybe something has changed recently? Was your older dog the "leader" and now she's "retired" are the other two vying for the top job? Has Bella been ill? Dogs in the wild will drive out an ailing dog and an ill dog will smell different. Without actually seeing the behaviour it's difficult to assess, but Sibling Rivalry stems from the dogs believing that they must take control. This can happen especially if the dogs have been able to "train" their owners to respond to their every whim! Stroke me cos I'm cute, feed me I'm hungry, let me out (then I'll just sniff the air at the door!) walk time, play with me etc. This is no problem for many dogs, but I'll never meet them because the owners haven't got any issues that need rehabilitating! Also, if you feel sorry for Bella because she is the one being picked on, so you pick her up, give her lots of love whilst scolding Bobby, you will be making Bobby even more angry with her and he will continually try to put her in her place!! Normally when there are males and females, it's usually the female who is "higher" pack, but in this case it seems that Bobby thinks he is.

The way to overcome this problem and get the dogs back to being tolerant of each other it is essential that you follow the points below.

· Each dog MUST have total respect for the adult humans in the pack. Work with each separately and if you've had to separate them make sure you have given them a crate each and alternate their time in and out and with you.
· All training must be done as a proper session to give them each quality time. No aggression, always be calm and show and guide the dogs so they understand what you want. Lots of praise when they respond.
· Do simple work with each one. Sit/stay down/stay. Always make them wait for their food until given permission. Go to bed, give up toys, sit stay while you throw a toy or treat and not to fetch until given permission. This last exercise will give you the control to stop Bobby if you miss the build up to him having a go at Bella.
· You will need to see respect from each dog, i.e. licking lips, head low, slow waggy tail, ears relaxed back.
· If you have separated them, after a week's work with each of them you could try to reintroduce have both on leads to ensure you can separate them without getting bitten.
· Keep both of them off furniture
· Make sure you treat both dogs equally, not favouring one over the other.
· If toys are a problem, remove them and only play when you choose a toy to work with.
· If food triggers the problem, feed them separately and remove bowls.
· Make them feel cared for individually and not want to compete with each other.

You may need some extra 1-2-1 help, but the above should start to work if you are committed and consistent with your new found leadership with good rules and boundaries.

I hope this helps, but do seek help if you need to.

Regards
Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER
Stuart's Problem:

Hello Nicki,

We have a Border Terrior who has just turned 2. My partner and I both work and we leave Benji 2-3 times per week for about six hours, two or three times a week.

Benji is left in the kitchen but when my partner gets back from work there is always a big puddle of wee by the baby gate that keeps him in the Kitchen. He is walked both morning and night for about 30 minutes each time.

What can we do to stop Benji from weeing while we are gone because he can hold it all night and if we are in he is quite happy to hold on. My partner has had enough, so I really need to find a fix as soon as possible.

Thanks
Stuart Luker

BREED: BORDER
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Stuart,

It sounds like your Border boy Benji, is suffering from Separation Anxiety.

Dogs use their wee and poo to protect their territory and dogs that toilet in the house often leave a puddle near an entrance/exit or near food eating or preparation areas to tell other dogs to keep out. Dogs still have lots of the instincts that have kept Wolves safe, so even domesticated dogs go back to instincts if they feel anxious in some way. Dogs rely on use to provide for them and your boy needs to feel less dependent on you, he is not doing it on purpose to annoy you, it's a cry for help. This problem can be sorted though so below are some ideas to help.

This may take a few weeks, but if you are consistent these tips should work.

· Review what you are feeding. If it's dry food he will have to drink a lot to compensate, so check out a natural raw food diet for him or move him onto a good quality wet food. You should be looking for minimum 60% named meat product (not meat and animal derivatives) as the first ingredient and avoid all cereals and grains as they can create excess energy. He will need suitable things to gnaw to keep his teeth clean.

· Feed him and scatter food out in the garden. He will then want to protect that area and hold on to his wee to do so.
· Provide him with something tasty when you leave him. i.e. a kong stuffed with tuna and frozen overnight will provide him with lots of mental stimulation and not reliant on you for food. Also some chopped up raw veg/fruit like carrot, cauliflower, apple etc. (not grapes or raisons)
· I expect you feel guilty about leaving him, but don't! Don't overcompensate by giving him loads of fuss as soon as you get back. Ignore him, calmly clear up any mess and only give him attention when he's given up trying to get you to do so.
· Check with neighbours that he's not stressed and barking while you are out, if he is, you may need extra help to get him to be relaxed and happy.
· Leave a radio on for him
· Start to separate from him when you are in the house, leave him in the kitchen on his own for short periods, correct any whining or barking and then just walk back in to the kitchen and ignore him. Only fuss him when he's given up trying to get your attention. Start off with just 1 min and gradually increase the time. Do it several times a day. This will help him be more accepting and not be so dependent on you.
· NEVER tell him off if you find a puddle, unless you catch a dog the act he will have no idea why you are angry and will just worry more about your return.
· Clear up with pet shop products to neutralise the smell. Household cleaners will not do this and he will continue to use the same spot.

I hope this helps, but do seek help if you need to.

Regards
Nicki.

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BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Jess' Problem:

Hi Nicki,

I have a jack russell terrier and he is under a year old. He is lovely on a morning and generally fine until we are out dragging on thelead, barking and being agressive with other dogs and strangers.

I walk him every day. On an evening when he is tired the agression is a lot worse. If I sit down or move when he is sleeping he growls, snarls and snaps.

I dont know how to stop this as it happens every night.

Jess Richardson.

BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Jess,

Almost all aggression in dogs is as a result of fear or anxiety about a situation and can happen because a dog feels that he’s been put in a leadership position and has to protect his owner! It’s bad enough being a human and trying to control a household, so being a small Jack Russell it’s impossible!

One thing to check first though is if he’s got a hidden injury like a bad back. Often because Jacks are lively dogs, they throw themselves around a lot and can “put their backs out” without us realising it. As he’s even more grumpy in the evening it could be that his walks/activities have, over the day made him hurt so if he has to move when he’s resting it hurts him. Being aggressive to dogs may be a way or saying “keep away, it hurts if you try to play with me”! If he’s hopping sometimes, sitting on one hip and not square, if when you stroke him he moves away from your hand, growls or looks round suddenly when you get to a certain point on his back, if you notice excessive heat in any area, those are indications that he could do with a back treatment! There are many animal Chiropractors who can make a big difference, so do a search on the internet in your area and you are bound to find one. At this stage avoid x-rays, as they often don’t show the small out of balance joints that cause the muscular pain.

If he has got a back problem, you will still need to retrain his behaviour with other dogs and that starts in the home with you becoming his kind, calm pack leader.

· Picture yourself as the top dog in a wolf pack; dogs are 99.8% wolf! During any interaction with him, ask yourself who started it, him or you. A top dog would not respond to a lower pack member’s demands!
· Only give him attention on your terms, not when he asks. Ignore don’t correct him, once he’s given up and wandered off, you can call him over and then give him cuddles.
· Give him a lovely cosy bed on the floor and keep him off furniture until you invite him up on your lap, but only when he’s not asking or trying to get up!
· If he sleeps on your bed, make sure you control when he can jump up there, top dogs wouldn’t allow a dog access to their resting place unless invited.
· Review his diet. Read the ingredients and if there are any cereals, sugar (even fruit sugars) colourings, fillers, preservatives and other additives, change to a meat base food with NO cereals etc. Like children, many dogs are affected by poor ingredients and end up with ADHD type symptoms!
· Work on getting his attention on walks ALL the time, so lots of changes of direction to keep him interested, sit/stay etc. Don’t use the lead to pull him, let him see you turn and want to be with you.
· Watch his body language carefully all the time, if you see him prick his ears that’s the moment to get his focus back on you, with changes of direction etc
· To begin with get your confidence by choosing quiet areas to walk him away from where the dogs are if possible to get into your new routine.

I hope this helps, but do seek 1-2-1 help if you find you still need assistance.

Regards
Nicki.

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BREED: KERRY BLUE
Emily's Problem:

Hi, I am a professional mobile dog groomer in Florida.

I groom a KBT that has quills growing out of "her" elbows, hocks, and some on her point of shoulder.

The owner and I are trying to remove the immature ones as they seem to come out easily. The more mature ones will not come out without hurting the dog.

What can we expect in the future? These started showing up at six months.

Thank you,

Emily Pryor - Florida USA

"That's Groomer to You!"

BREED: KERRY BLUE
Ed's Answer,

Hello Emily,

I too have come across this coat problem in the past - it must stem from the inter breeding in years gone by. Some people call them 'Wires' and this is a good description of them; they are almost like hard plastic.

You can keep on extracting the immature ones and hope that they don't grow back - I have tried pulling the mature ones and they can sometimes bleed. However, a quick pull on them reduces any pain - but you have to get it out in one - use pliers to keep a firm grip. The other alternative is just live with it and cut them short - they don't seem to harm the animal in any way.

As a matter of interest, have a look at the pedigree and see if there are any 'Champion Porcupines' in the lineage!

Regards,
Editor.

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BREED: YORKI
Dolores' Problem:

Hi Nicki

I adopted a x/yorkie, from the local dog pound in Birkenhead, about 10 weeks ago.

He is a very loving dog but in the past couple of weeks when I have taken him for his walk he has started barking at anything with wheels, even shopping trolleys.

A couple of times in the park he has nearly been hit by cycles which have come up behind us and not let us know they were there. I like to walk him to a beach near where we live as he can be let off the lead and run free as long as he wants but due to the problem I can't walk him there as people are starting to make comments about his behaviour.

When he starts barking I stop and tell him to stop and put my hand in front of his face but he does not seem to take any notice as he starts again as soon as we start walking again.

I also have a problem with him doing his business in the house during the night he will stop for a few days then go back to doing it I do not tell him off any more but he does seem to know that he has done wrong.

I hope you can help with my problems and thank you for your time.

Dolores
Birkenhead, Merseyside.

BREED: YORKI
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Dolores,

How great that you’ve rehomed a dog from a rescue centre, there are so many dogs that need homes and they are mostly lovely companions.

From your email and you saying he is a very loving dog, I suspect that he has sneaked into “top dog” position! Dogs find it very easy to train people; they come up and nudge us for a fuss, stare with those great big eyes, jump on our laps for cuddles (size allowing!) bring toys so we play and even bark or squeak for food or walks! As a result of us responding to all their demands they are led to believe that they are now in charge so start to make all sorts of decisions about who or what is allowed near “their” pack!

A dog that is not a natural leader (most dogs!) can get very anxious about the promotion that they’ve had and as a result start to use their wee and poo as an extra protection. Dogs in the wild would patrol their territory regularly and deposit their scent to ward off any intruders. So therefore your dog is just trying to ensure that his pack is properly protected. Dogs who have this issue often toilet near to doors, food storage or preparation areas as they are the most important to him.

So to help him to begin to realise that you are the pack leader and he should be listening to your decisions follow the bullet points below. There is no magic wand it may take a few weeks but it should certainly make him feel less stressed and anxious about life in general.

· Start by ignoring his requests for attention, wait until he’s given up and then call him for cuddles/fuss/playtime. Some dogs can be very persistent so it will take strong will power for you to stick with it, but it is important.
· Review his diet. Exclude all cereals, additives, preservatives and sugar. These can make a dog hyperactive and make aggression worse.
· For the toileting problem, feed him in the garden (weather permitting) and also scatter food outside. This will encourage him to save up his wee and poo to protect that area.
· Clear up any mess without telling him off and use proper pet shop products which will neutralise the ammonia. If he cocks his leg it can spray a long way so it’s important to do a thorough clean so he can no longer detect his own scent marking.
· Consider getting him a crate to be his indoor bedroom. Train him to be happy and relaxed in it by putting his bedding in, leaving it open, provide a few treats and lavishly praise him when he goes in. Gradually you will be able to close the door of the crate for a sleep time while you are close by. Cover it completely with an old blanket when you get to this stage. Then when he is happy to spend time in it you can let him sleep in there at night and he is less likely to toilet in his bed. The crate need only be big enough for him to stand up, turn round and lie down, other wise if too big he may use a corner for toileting.
· On lead, teach him to walk next to you on a loose lead. Be careful of extendable leads they are difficult to use to teach a dog to walk properly.
· Keep his focus on you and he is less likely to even notice bikes or other such objects.
· When you spot an object you think he may react to, watch his body language carefully and if he pricks his ears, raises his tail, or his hackles, THAT is the time to prevent him from escalation. So distract him with your voice and a little tug on the lead, and then change direction away from the object. It’s best to set up training as much as possible so you can plan in advance and be prepared, so if you have friends of relatives with bikes/trolleys etc get them to help you so that you can desensitise him to all the things that are triggering him.
· Work on getting 100% recall when he is off lead.

I hope that this helps you make a start to change his behaviour. If you change what you do, he will be able to change too.

Regards
Nicki.

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BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Emma's Problem:

Hi There Nicki,

I have 2 dogs that have lived together for 3 years and now have decided they no longer like each other?

Sam is a 4 year old Jack Russel and Teddy is a 3 year old long haired mongrel (he is smaller than Sam)
We also have a 2 year old Chihuahua cross, a 5 month collie and 15 week springer.

When we brought home the collie Bella this is when things started. Sam has always been a very dominant dog within the house, Unfortunately i can see where i have gone wrong as i allowed the smaller dogs to have the run of the house, When Bella came along i knew i wanted to change for when the springer Gunner came, Bella has been in training and i have been a lot more vocal and strict with her, she isn't allowed on settee or upstairs where the little ones are.

Now gunner is here the 2 little ones have now started to fight quite badly but only around me or my room? It is destroying me as Teddy has always been my baby and to see him like this is so upsetting. I'm willing to try anything to get the harmony back within my home.

Other info:
Sam neutered jack russell male 4 Years old,
Teddy neutered terrier cross male 3 years old
Timmy neutered chihuahua 2 years old
Bella 5 month collie bitch Not neutered
Gunner 15 week old male un neutered.

Kindest regards
Emma Beaumont.

BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Emma,

Quite a pack you have there! Your behaviour with your Collie is the way to work with ALL the dogs. If Teddy has been your "baby" that is, I'm afraid, the reasons for the problems you are now experiencing.

Dogs are a pack species and need rules and boundaries to feel safe and secure, if they are not given clear leadership they can grow up to be "brats"!!

By giving favour to one or two dogs over the others, allowing them upstairs, on beds, furniture, giving them cuddles whenever they demand has led one of them to consider himself higher pack than the other and trying to make sure that he's "put in his place". This behaviour often only takes place in front of the owner to show the owner who is in charge!

The only way you may change this is to start treating all the dogs in exactly the same way, by not giving any of them privileges. Such privileges, being allowed upstairs, (height is important to dogs), on furniture, picked up and cuddled, given attention on demand will create unbalance in the dog pack world.

You may find that your younger dogs may mature into more stable dogs, but there is a risk that the bigger dogs may try to correct the privileged ones and injuries may occur.

So the best way for you now is to become a leader. All the work you are doing with you collie should be repeated with each of the other dogs.

Start teaching each one on their own then once they each understand that you are in charge, you can start working with two or more at a time. Switch the pairings so they all see the other dog being trained as well, then once they all see you as a reliable, calm, controlled leader worth responding to, you will find harmony back in your home!

Regards
Nicki.

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BREED: YORKSHIRE
Debbie's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

We have a 7 year old Yorkie X Mini Schnauzer male dog with whom we have had ongoing severe aggression issues. He is adorable and mainly laid back in the home setting and gets on great with our Staffie X Meg, but as soon as his lead comes out for a walk he trembles and whines uncontrollably.

He will bark and lunge at any dog he sees - random people (no rhyme or reason as to why or who sets him off), pushchairs, children, invalid scooters - just whatever he decides constitutes a threat.

We NEVER let him off lead ever as feel the risks are too great. Yesterday a young spaniel ran at him full pelt and managed to grab it's collar but thankfully not throat, he would not let go - totally intent on keeping hold of this poor terrified dog.

To be honest I am at the end of my tether. He has been the most difficult dog I have ever know. I wish I didn't love him so much, but I do and it's heart breaking and very stressful not only for us but for Sidney too.

If I could live in a bubble where no other dogs or people existed I would have no qualms about carrying on but in reality I am running out of options.

This year we are moving abroad with my parents and their two Jack Russells who can also be aggressive when faced with another aggressive dog. I see disaster ahead unless I can either find a way to calm my dog down or as a very very last resort find him a new home where he will be an only dog with someone with A LOT of patience and fortitude.

Regards. Debbie Jackson

BREED: YORKSHIRE
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Debbie,

It’s such a shame when a dog behaves like that, everyone including the dog is very stressed! But it can be sorted. It does seem to happen with a lot of smaller dogs especially terriers!

Dogs are not born aggressive, but can become so due to a variety of reasons.

The problem often stems from the way a small dog is looked after. Often they are allowed to sleep on beds, jump all over furniture, watch and bark out of windows at passers-by. They are often picked up to get them out of trouble or just to have a cuddle and spend lots of time jumping at their owners asking for immediate attention to play, have a fuss or cuddle or demanding walks, food etc! If they sleep on beds or backs of sofas they may growl when being shooed down or scooped off. If this is ringing any bells, you’ll realise that I’ve met a lot of dogs just like Sidney!

One of the first things to check is that he’s not in any discomfort. Many dogs are aggressive to others due to them not wanting strange dogs to come near them to play or sniff them, due to back problems. Often in the home they show no or little indication of discomfort, but check by running two fingers down his spine area and if he moves away or reacts at any point then it’s worth getting him checked out by a chiropractor. If there is an issue, although the aggression won’t go away, if the underlying reason is eliminated it’s much easier to rehabilitate him into new ways of behaving.

One of the other reasons that dogs become over protective of their pack is feeling that they are being asked to be the leader/minder of the pack. As the boy, it’s his duty to protect his female, but this often extends to all members of the pack that he feels belong to him and are lower down the pecking order. Dogs are pack animals and cannot be leaders of humans, unfortunately we humans often elevate a dog to pack leader without realising it causing huge stress for the dog who is not capable of leading a dog pack let along trying to run a household of humans!!

I’ve listed below some things to start you off, but must stress that being consistent doing daily training is essential. These points are designed to help the humans to become leaders and let him be the dog he was meant to be i.e. respond to your training and trust your decisions about other dogs and stop making his own.

· Chiropractic check for neck and/or back problems.
· Stop responding to any of his demand for your attention, once he’s given up and wandered off, feel free to call him to you for a fuss or cuddle. That way you are in charge of the interaction not him.
· Keep him off furniture until invited when he’s not asking. Provide him with a comfy bed in the room and gently lead him to it with “go to bed” and lots of praise.
· Review his diet, lots of cereals and sugar will create excess energy and exacerbate aggression. A natural raw food regime is best. Research on the internet.
· Get his immediate response to “easy” commands in the house and garden, teach “leave it” recall, giving up toys etc rewarding with lots of praise. If you use treats initially, gradually wean him off them. You want him to respond because he respects you not just for treats.
· Teach him to walk next to you on a loose lead 6ft is best (no extendables please!) Keep changing direction without letting him know, letting the lead slip through your hand so he has plenty of time to realise you aren’t there and rush to be with you. Be very random until he has to watch you all the time as he has no idea when you might change.
· Avoid dogs as much as possible in this learning process.
· Once he is focused on you – may take a few weeks of daily work – go to an area where you may meet dogs, but only ones on lead or get a friend with a dog to help. Watch his body language carefully, the moment you see him react, ears, tail, hackles, disagree with growly “bad” and immediately start changing direction to get his focus back on you. Do not let them meet, but if you can walk them parallel for a while that will help.
· Consider working him in a muzzle, not only will you feel more relaxed, but it often calms down the dog too.
· This is not an easy behaviour to rehabilitate on your own, so do consider seeking professional help. He can be helped and you can enjoy life with him and other companions.

Regards,
Nicki

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BREED: STAFFORDSHIRE BULL
Barry's Problem:

Hello,

I've had a staff from 8 weeks old he is 10 months now but he has started two chew his bed and furniture when we go out.
What can I do to stop this?

Barry Aldred.

BREED: STAFFORDSHIRE BULL
Editor's Answer:

HI Barry,

Your young Stafford has just gone through the process of shedding his milk teeth and growing the adult ones. you say that this happens when you go out. Boredom perhaps? A lot of young dogs will do this if left unsupervised - I once saw a picture of a Bedlington Terrier that had completely demolished a three seater settee when his owners were out!

Buy yourself a Folding Metal Dog Crate (If you are from the UK Argos have them) and put him in this if you are not away for long periods. You can always use this at night too. Dogs - even small dogs can be very destructive when left unsupervised.

I hope that this helps you.

Editor.

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BREED: STAFFORDSHIRE BULL
Cheryl's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

I have a staffie I think she may have some pitbull in her. She is very demanding but a lovely dog has loads of energy. She is 8 + years old. We also have a yorkie 3 + years old.

They are both females. Jodie the staffie is spayed. Ms Annie the yorkie is not. After about a year the first incident occurred when Jodie went for Ms Annie it was not pleasant. Ms Annie has a habit of chasing Jodie and kind of nipping her when they r outside playing. From then on we do not really allow them both out at the same time in the back yard.

It has happened that the helper has let her out by mistake and there was another incident. There have also been incidents inside, one day when we came home from being out. Also shortly after an attack when we tried to put them together again then Jodie wanted to go for her. Things then calm down after a while and it can be months before anything happens and all seems well. Last week there was an incident in the evening when I was walking towards letting them out to the small garden in the front, before I could even get there Jodie went for Ms Annie. It is terrible having to try and get Jodie off Ms A every time it is not easy.

Ms Annie has got hurt on a number of occasions but considering the attacks, she has not been hurt too badly but that does not mean that she could not be hurt real bad, it is a miracle that she is still around. This last time she had to have some stitches as the tooth went into one area quite deep.

They are currently separated. I do not know what the solution is, I will take Ms Annie to be spayed. I have got calming tablets to start giving Jodie. Some people say I should consider giving Ms Annie away, she is very attached to her family. One just does not know what to do anymore and it all seems so unnecessary. Any advice or suggestions you are able to give will be more than welcome. The vets have not given much suggestions or hope that the situation can be rectified. Other than the spaying of Ms Annie which they say may help but no guarantee and the calming tablets given to Jodie and even Ms Annie. They are homeopathic medicines.

Thank you so much
Cheryl
South Africa

BREED: STAFFORDSHIRE BULL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Cheryl,

A horrible situation for you. You obviously love both dogs and it would be sad to have to rehome one of them, but sibling rivalry between two bitches is often difficult to rehabilitate.

Let me put to you a few scenarios that I suspect might be happening and if they are, you will begin to see why this behaviour is happening. Sibling rivalry can happen with any dogs who live together, and often it's the result of one dog, usually a smaller or more timid dog, being given the impression by the accidental actions of the owners into believing that they are higher up the pack hierarchy than they should be.

I can just picture cute little Ms Annie, being picked up a lot for cuddles, allowed to jump onto laps, maybe even rest on the back of the sofa, sleep on the bed and because she's been attacked a few times by Jodie, you feeling sorry for her and giving her even more attention. Probably because Jodie is a bigger girl, she's not allowed all those privileges and has been told off lots for being "horrid" to Ms Annie. Now, let's pause a minute and look at things from the eyes of the dogs. Dogs are pack animals, there's no denying that, dogs like to be top dogs because their instincts are still those of a wolf and top (or higher pack dogs) get the best food, so even if they are fed the same by us humans, the instincts are still there to be up the pack. Also, a strong pack with a set hierarchy is a stable pack and all dogs are happy in their positions. Even if one tries to improve their status, they will either succeed or be kept in their existing position. So, from Ms A's point of view, the humans are allowing lots of privileges that should be reserved for pack leaders themselves, and she is not only gaining leadership over the humans, but Jodie as well. Both physically and behaviourally i.e. "above and higher then them". Would the pack leaders of a wild dog pack allow a lower pack dog to do that? No! So little Ms A thinks she's in charge because all the signals tell her that she is!! So, what does Jodie make of this? She may be naturally a higher or similar pack personality than Ms A and sees her getting all the attention of a "leader", almost worshipped by the humans, so she will pick her moment, and usually it's only when the humans are around, (after all they are the trigger as far as she's concerned!) and in dog fashion try to put Ms A "in her place". Now in a pack of dogs not involving humans, Ms A may have been put in her place early on, with a fairly mild correction from Jodie and they would have lived happily ever after knowing where they stood, but because of the continued elevation of position both physically and behaviourally of Ms A, Jodie has had to try harder each time to teach Ms A. Ms A knowing she has the backing of the humans, will taunt and tease Jodie when they are together further irritating Jodie and she will then bide her time to correct her. Now for some strategies to help you get these girls back together.

· Give each a crate as their own cosy crate den, train them to use them as their place of safety, sleep them in them at night and at any time they need a rest during the day. Cover them completely and let them rest. Train them gently and kindly to be happy slowly getting them used to being in them.
· The crates can be in the same room so long as they are not trying to kill each other through the sides.
· Several times a day, for 5/10 mins, take each dog out separately and do some training with them in view of the other dog. Do not use treats. Sit/stay, down/stay, giving up toys, coming when called getting each dog to respond immediately to your commands, so that you know you have full control of each dog separately.
· If you can't have both dogs in the same room together, alternate them in your main room, so that they get equal time with you being trained.
· Keep both dogs off furniture, laps etc. They must both be treated exactly the same, neither having privileges that make them think they are higher than the humans.
· Ignore any attention seeking by them. i.e. forlorn eyes, head on lap, nudging for fuss, demands to play etc. You need to call your dogs for cuddles, getting them to respond to you not the other way around!
· If you can lead walk them together, do so, but maybe muzzle both of them. Neither should be in front of the humans, the pack leaders should be in front! So no extendable leads, teach them to walk on loose leads separately if you can't do it with both at the same time.
· Review their diet. Lots of additives, cereals and by-products can cause havoc with behaviour, just as they do with children. A meat based food (preferably raw - research on the internet) will help each to feel fully nourished and less anxious.
· Neutering Ms A may help and it is worth doing, but the behaviours have become habits now, so training also is necessary.
· If you get to the stage where you feel you have total control of each, and they are walking happily together on lead then you may consider trying them together (muzzled).After a relaxed walk would be best, just let them off lead when you get home, but be ready with a blanket or water to help stop a fight.
· Take things slowly, be committed and consistent, seek professional help if you need to and you may find that there is a happy ending to this unfortunate tale.

I hope that these points help.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: WELSH
Randall's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

Our male Welsh Terrier (Bailiff) is 2 1/2 years old (fixed). He has full run of the house and sleeps at foot of our bed.

Twice in the last week he has attacked our 8 year old boy for no reason.
One time he had a bone but the other the dog was just laying under a table a jumped out and latched onto my son's arm.

We are very upset. Bailiff is also known to run and chase little kids if they move fast. I understand the hunter/prey thing, but he's a pacifist to rabbits and squirilles.

My son is afraid to be in the same room with Bailiff. Why now?

Randall Stark

BREED: WELSH
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Randall,

This behaviour is very worrying for you, but can be sorted. It sounds like there is sibling rivalry between your son and your Bailiff. Your dog is seeing your son as a lower member of the pack who needs putting in his place. So it's now very important for the safety of your son and dog, as in my mind he could be at risk of being put to sleep, that you change the way that you interact with your Bailiff.

By allowing him on your bed, (and probably furniture) you are giving him the impression that he is the pack leader. If you've seen Lion King, you'll remember that the hyenas took possession of the high rock where the lions used to rest! Hope that rings a bell! He is probably getting your attention by bringing you toys to play with, jumping up when you return home, maybe even barking at you for attention often at walk or meal times, getting on your laps whenever he feels like it. With these behaviours, it is likely that your dog is training you to do his bidding and accidentally you have therefore promoted him to pack leader and he's not a good one!! The following points will change the leadership role back to the adults, your son should not be involved with doing any training at this stage.

· Start ignoring him when he's asking for attention; following, whining, cute eyes, nudge for fuss, jumping up, barking, grabbing clothing are just some of the ways dogs train us! . When he's given up, (may take a while to begin with, but if you remain consistent he will soon learn) you can call him over, therefore ALL attention must be instigated by you not him.

· Stop him from jumping up at humans and onto furniture and your bed. He should not consider it his right to rest with the leaders.
· Give him a place of safety like a crate, fully covered. Train him to enjoy being in there slowly and kindly then once he's happy he can sleep in there overnight.
· Also provide him with a bed on the floor of your living room so you can show him where he can rest instead of on you/your furniture or use the crate.
· Review his diet, natural raw food (lots of info on the internet) will help to calm him and allow easier training. Avoid all foods with any sugar, cereals or too many carbs. Dogs cannot digest cereals and apart from the excessive waste they produce, it can make them hyperactive.
· Feed him outside and never interrupt him or try to take food away, you could easily set up a very protective aggression habit.
· Take all decisions away from him, the pack leaders decide, not Bailiff.

Many dogs can be allowed on furniture/beds etc without them taking advantage ( I rarely meet those dogs in my work‼) but with the ones with a personality like your boy, you have to provide good rules and boundaries so he understands that he's the lowest member of your pack and not your son‼

These tips will help to start the process, but in this case I would recommend you seek professional help as well.

I hope that these points help.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: AIREDALE
Dana's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

All of a sudden twice in two weeks my moms dog has been attacking her other dog. Not biting but very aggresive. Holding him down. Scratched her today, trying to get to him. Both times the pugnhas been laying down doing nothing.

Once her airedale jumped up from a dead sleep and oscar was just laying on stool where he always lays.

Ms Dana Cox

BREED: AIREDALE
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Dana,

That’s quite a worrying situation your mum has and there can be a variety of reasons why this Sibling Rivalry is happening. I haven’t got all the details I would normally need, like are the dogs neutered, their ages and although I understand the dog being attacked is a male Pug I don’t know if the Airdale is male or female. A pug is a mall cuddly dog and it likely to be allowed on furniture and laps and may be getting quite a lot of attention and because he’s been attacked your mum may be feeling sorry for him. This will make the situation worse. There may have been changes in the house, has one of the dogs been ill? Have the human relationships changed? Has their food been changed?

It seems that the Airdale is putting the Pug in his place, because he’s getting more attention than he should as a “lower” pack dog. You cannot change the pack level of dogs, as it creates this type of situation. Dogs will choose any time to “correct” another dog, not just when a situation has happened, but it is possible that the Airdale has a physical problem or that the Pug is unwell in some way – in the wild, dogs would drive out a sick dog. However, without a full investigation of the whole situation it can be difficult to diagnose the reasons for the behaviour.

Here are some point that should help.

· Get the Airdale checked out for any pain, discomfort or illness
· The humans will need to change how they behave with the dogs, otherwise the dogs can’t change
· Treat both dogs exactly the same and stop the Pug from having access to furniture laps etc for at least 6-8 weeks
· If the Airdale is female, make sure she is fed first, but not otherwise.
· Do separate training with them, daily – general obedience, stopping them from barging through doors or past on stairs.
· Ignore them when they try to seek attention from you (they are training you!!) when they give up call them for a fuss.
· All attention i.e. playing with toys etc must be on your terms not theirs.
· Give the Pug a crate to sleep in instead of the footstool. Dog’s see getting height as being superior, so the Airdale is just trying to get the situation more balanced.
· Feed them separately, make them sit/stay for food.
· Ensure that they are getting a good quality meat based diet, sometimes lack of proper nutrition can create rivalry for food. Raw is best (and not expensive) so do some research.

I hope that these points help.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: WELSH
Stephen's Problem:

Hi Nikki,

we are a couple living in berlin germany with 5 kids and 2 welsh terriers sisters, they are 2years old.

When we show affection to one of the dogs the sister oftens aggressively attacks the other, this has also now moved on to when they are in the garden alone the sister also attacks the other for no reason.

Can you help or advise us please? Now the attacked sister is very nervous and submissive around the other when they are in each others company.

Both have been spayed and it has gotten better but still happens a few times a week and is getting very trying for us.

Thanks
Stephen Lusk.
Germany.

BREED: WELSH
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Stephen,

This looks like a classic case of sibling rivalry and often females can be more difficult to rehabilitate than two males. Breeders should explain to puppy buyers that it is not a good idea to have two pups from the same litter but if they do, a male and female is better.

Sibling rivalry happens when the dogs feel they do not have leadership and one or both try for the top job! The way to help the situation can be hard work and even then is not guaranteed to work, so you may have to consider rehoming one of your girls. Below are some tips, but sibling rivalry may need professional help.

· Give each girl a crate as their place of safety, cover completely to make a cosy den and get them to sleep in them at night and if tired during the day.
· Treat both dogs equally, if you feel sorry for the one being attacked and give her more attention, you will make the situation worse.
· If the dogs are allowed on furniture, teach them to stay off. If the humans are to be believed as pack leaders in this situation, the dogs must not think they can rest on the "leaders" place.
· Set up training sessions for each of them separately to re-establish your leadership. This must be done when the children are not around so you have time. General obedience could help, but teach them each to give up toys immediately to a command, then if they learn to react immediately you will be able to stop a fight from starting.
· Watch their body language, you should see changes that tell you what is about to happen. The attack may not be immediately after the reason for the attack, i.e. straight after you've fussed the weaker dog, the other girl may "bide her time" for the right moment.
· Be more aloof with both of them, pack leaders don't give lots of attention to dogs.
· If you have to separate them, alternate each being with you equally.
· Feed them separately.
· Don’t' respond to them demanding your attention, i.e. play when they want to, fuss when they demand a cuddle/stroke etc. Make sure that any attention you give them is on your terms when they are not "asking"!
· If you get each one separately to totally respect the training you give, you may be able to get this situation correct.

Do think about getting a Behaviour therapist to help - sibling rivalry can be a complicated issue to correct.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
lesley's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

My six-year-old Parsons is generally the best-behaved dog I have ever had - probably because as I had just retired I had time to put a lot of work into her training. However, over the past few months she has suddenly started attacking puppies who want to play with her when we are out walking.

She doesn't break their skin but it's not a pretty sight and the other owners are not at all happy. I should add that she is usually quite a wimp when she meets bigger dogs.

I realise she is getting middle-aged, but am not happy about this and I never know when I am going to meet a puppy, who just wants to play.

Any advice would welcome. We live near lots of parks so she is usually off the lead.

Many thanks

Lesley Chisholm
London SW14

BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Lesley,

I’ve worked with a lot of dogs where a puppy has been brought into a house where there is already an older dog and the older dog just doesn’t understand the puppy!

It can take time for the two to be brought together, but gets easier as the puppy matures. For some dogs often ones that were removed from the litter at an early age, they don’t understand the body language of a puppy which is quite different from an adult well socialised

dog. So your situation may be as a result of that. However, there can be other reasons; pain or discomfort – puppies are lively and jump up at dogs a lot making the other dog move suddenly, if there is an underlying back or joint problem (you did mention she was middle aged) it could be the reason she is “telling” the youngsters to keep away.

If she is submissive to older dogs they will recognise that body language and respect her wish to be left alone. Alternatively, she could have got into the habit of being a bully with younger dogs, because they are “lower” down the pack level being puppies and she is making sure they know it! Below are some points that may help, but professional help may be needed.

· Get her checked out by a chiropractor to remove the cause if it’s that; the McTimoney method is very gentle.
· Keep her on a long lead; 4 metres will allow you to keep her within range and to watch her body language.
· If you see a young dog approaching you can take control of the situation much sooner, so watch her and you’ll know by her body, ears and tail position if she’s happy to be approached or not.
· Whilst on the long lead use the time to teach her instant recall and distance control – professional help may help.
· If it is likely that she will meet pups, buy a well-fitting basket muzzle for her so you can work in safety with the knowledge that she can’t hurt the pup or upset the owner
· Check your own reactions if she’s on lead. If you tense up when you see a puppy, she will immediately think there is something from which she needs to protect the pack.

If you’re not enjoying her all the time, find the cause then you can get help to rehabilitate her.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL/PATTERDALE
Alison's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

We have just adopted a 3 year old jack russell cross patterdale from a rescue centre (very little history other than he was a stray rescued from a pound).

He seems to have settled in well and is lovely and responds to the whole family, our children are 7, 10 and 13. He has about walks a day and doesnt bark unless someone knocks on the door.

The only area of concern is he has snapped a couple of times, once at my 10year old daughter and once at my husband. He hasnt actually bit anyone but obviously we are concerned he may do in the future. He doesnt growl before he bites so there is no real warning that he isnt happy with whats going on.

The two instances were:
1) he was trying to sniff some food and my daughter picked him up from behind, we have explained and told her she can't pick him up.

2) the second instances was after my husband had wiped his eye, he had growled at him so he was told to go in his bed which he did. When he came out he went over to my husband who was sat on the floor looking sheepish and then sat on his knee. Think he saw the tissue in his hand or maybe is arm move out of the corner of his eye and he snapped at him.

He hasnt been neutered, would this help - he is fairly placid in the house and only gets excited when out and about, however, he seems to be well trained and returns when called, sits and does as he is told generally apart from he wont drop his ball which he is a little obsessed with.

We really want to work with him as he is a lovely dog but we are concerned he may bite one of the children. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Alison Evans.

BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL/PATTERDALE
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Alison,

So glad you taken on a rescue dog, there are so many great dogs waitingnfor their forever homes.

Dogs communicate with each other mainly with their body language, they use a growl to tell another dog to stop something and if the other dog doesn’t respond, then they will snap.

As humans, we don’t always notice all the warning signs of the subtle body language and sometimes dogs will go straight to the snap if in the past, growls haven’t been heeded i.e. during his life before finding you and your family.

Jacks are very lively active dogs and they tend to leap around lots, it can happen that they “put their backs out” and you see them occasionally hopping when the run or sit on one hip with a leg stuck out. This can indicate that they’ve got some pain or discomfort in their back, so I really recommend you get him checked out by a dog chiropractor who can do some gentle adjustments to help. The two incidents you mentions could certainly be due to pain or discomfort, sudden movements or picking up a dog could cause the reaction. Also, never go near a dog when it’s eating, leave him alone or you may make him want to protect his food, so put him out in the garden to eat his meals in peace.

Once you’ve established that he’s not in discomfort you can work with rehabilitating his behaviour.

To help him change, here are some tips to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

· Teach him to stay off laps and furniture until invited.
· Make sure all attention you give him is on your terms not his.
· Teach him to give up his ball, he is showing possessive behaviour which could lead to protecting his ball if a child goes near it. Alternatively, move his toys to a box out of his reach and when you want to play, you take the toy out and start the game, not him.
· Ensure that he has a good nutritious food supply; cereals, additives, colourings will make a dog hyperactive just like they do for children.
· Don’t go to him to give him a fuss, call him to you instead.

I hope this helps Alison, but if you are still concerned, do get some 1-2-1 help in your home.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER/LAKELAND
Julia's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

Ive just bought a Border Lakeland cross and hes an adorable little man but hes started to go for me when I tell him 'NO' to play biting.

I do get very cross with him and become quite aggressive myself. I wont tolerate him doing this.

Im worried that hes going to be an unpredictable dog that cant be trusted and I cant have this as I have young grandchildren. Im hoping this is something he will grow out of. Is this normal?

Julia Galbraith
Hertfordshire

BREED: BORDER/LAKELAND
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Julia,

You don't say how old your boy is, whether or not he's a puppy or an adult rescue so I'll just have to be a little general about the behaviour.

Dogs are not born aggressive, it's is something that happens or a misunderstanding of their behaviour that creates aggression.

Play biting is natural for puppies, as that's what they will do with their siblings and other pack member and some dogs don't grow out of it. To him, you are a funny shaped dog and he's trying to interpret your behaviour as if you were a dog!

By getting aggressive with your corrections, he's just responding in a way that is natural and may be thinking you are just making the game more intense. Some dogs cower away with an owners aggression and get scared of hands and the angry voice and others will just have a go back, and who can blame them?

A much better way to help him understand that play biting is not acceptable is to ensure that he is calm and quiet, and start to stroke him, if he responds with openin his mouth as if to play bite, freeze your hand movement, don't snatch your hand away and use a growly voice like "BAD". If he stops and looks at you in surprise (it's his language you are speaking!!)

use a soft voice to say "good boy"! Set up such training sessions when you are ready and have planned them so that you have the advantage and not being taken by surprise. So don't wait for naughty behaviour as he will be too excited to listen to you, make sure the lessons are when you are ready and well planned.

You may like to review his food, as some foods make a dog very excitable and difficult to train. Have a look at the ingredients and get all cereals, additives, sugar and preservatives out of his diet. Research natural raw feeding, that's the best way to keep a dog happy, relaxed and easy to train.

I hope this help you to remain calm and stop your aggressive reactions, which will then give him a lovely education.

Regards,

Nicki.

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BREED: IRISH
Steve's Problem:

Hi Nicki

My friend has since, Sunday 21st July, taken in a 5 year old Irish Terrier.

Although it seems to show a liking towards people the Terrier does not seem to like being given instructions. For example the terrier bit my friend's mother's hand after my friend's mother warned the terrier about a wasp approaching. This is not the first instance too, as the terrier has also tried to bite my friend's father's hand.

What could You recommend in dealing with these moments, apart from these moments the terrier sleeps well and 'makes himself at home when resting/sleeping'

Thank You in anticipation for Your advice

Steve Leatherhead.
Surrey.

BREED: IRISH
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Steve,

It is really important to help this dog as otherwise he may make more mistakes and cause serious injury. You may need to get 1-2-1 help for this aggression problem, but let me give you some pointers here.

Dogs are not born aggressive, something happens to make them feel that they have to protect themselves and of course as they have teeth, that is what they use. Dogs instincts are "flight" or "fight" in situations where they are frightened or feel threatened. As your friend has only just taken him on, you don't say if he's from a rescue situation or if you know any of his history.

It is possible that he has been physically punished for some behaviours, so sees "hands" as weapons not to be allowed near him. So a waving arm/hand trying to move a wasp away or tapping him to get his attention may be construed as aggression and so he responds in the same way.

I have found that some dogs sight or hearing are compromised and therefore they do not see or hear approaches, so just be aware of that.Pain can be another problem, if he turns suddenly or sits down or moves away from a hand that is stroking him, that is an indication and a vet check/chiropractic session would be a good idea.

Never use aggression when training or asking for obedience, i.e. NEVER use his collar to hold him or go to grab him or pull him away from situations, he will interpret that as aggression and may well swing round to bite.

Always call him to you for a fuss, never go to him. Teach him to move away from you, using calm body language.

Make sure that because he's a rescue, your friend is not giving him too much freedom without rules and boundaries. Without rules and boundaries, a dog may assume the leader role himself and not being capable, will make poor decisions.

I hope this has given you some ideas about his behaviour, but I think this may need expert help.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: SEALYHAM X LUCAS
Julie's Problem:

Hello Nicki,

Percy is 10 months old and has until recently been fairly well behaved.

We've been to puppy classes and Percy was quite good, but recently his recall has been diabolical, he is just completely distracted. He won't come back regardless of the treats on offer.

He sees a person or another dog and just goes to them, when he does come back he stays just far enough away so that you can't get hold of him. What can we do?

Julie L'abraham

BREED: SEALYHAM X LUCAS
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Julie,

Oh dear, Percy is being a naughty teenager! I often see this, in dogs as they get to around 9 months. Up till then recall is fine, but then as they mature he's now got to the age where he has started to test the rules and boundaries and to make decisions for himself.

Remember, he is a pack animal and the adult dogs would start to teach him that for safety, security and for the pack to survive the rules and boundaries of pack law must be adhered to, he would learn to listen to the adults dogs. So, by being in a human pack (he thinks you're funny shaped dogs, by the way!) it is up to us to give him his education to keep him and others safe.

Get a long fixed (not extendable) lead, 20ft is about right. If your garden is big enough, practice recall every day as a fun game. Always crouch down, it's much more inviting, you could try squeaking a toy, whistle or use just your voice in a very excited way to get him to come for a fuss.

Gradually wean him off responding to food, as he's decided he's not that bothered anyway!! If he doesn't respond, don't reel him in, give a tug and continue to call him in a happy voice. He has to make the decision to come to you otherwise you'll always have to use a lead. Never use his name or recall him in an angry voice, make sure you keep it "sweet" otherwise if he hears your frustration or anger, there's no way he'll want to respond!

Keep the lessons fun and when he's done it well for a couple of times, leave the training for the day or until later so he doesn't get bored. To make sure he comes right up to you, do not reach out for him, wait until he's right up to you when you crouch and give him a fuss on his body and shoulders, not his head. Then if you need to you can slip a finger under his collar to hold him. If you reach out and grab for his collar he'll always succeed in ducking away from you and having great fun making you chase him!

Never let him wander off, always make sure you give permission for him to leave you.

Work at keeping his attention on you on walks, you have to be more interesting than other dogs or people, so give him games to play. Hide from him, give him toys to find, don't do too much ball throwing as you are teaching him to chase moving objects and continuous ball chasing can cause injuries.

It can take around 6 weeks work on a long lead to reteach recall, but if you're consistent, keep calm and relaxed, never getting angry or frustrated he'll respond.

Hope this helps,

Nicki.

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BREED: LAKELAND
Martin's problem:

Hi Nicki,

we have a delightful 2+ year old lakie who is developing a intermitant issue that is worrying us.

He is good off the lead with most dogs,but does like to charge up to them growling,but if they stand their ground it just turns into the usual sniffing etc, but occasionally if they are young or submissive, he will circle them and may even nip at them.

Is this a normal Lakeland trait, and can we train him out of it?

We would appreciate your advice.

Martin Smith
Hertfordshire

BREED: LAKELAND
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Martin,

Lakies are such lovely dogs, dead cute and clever, but like most terriers, quite determined to make decisions themselves!!

Yes you can train him out of the behaviour, you will need to do a little work every day and be consistent with your rules, otherwise he will not respect you as a proper leader. You don't say if your boy is neutered or not so it's worth checking to see if he's rushing at male entire dogs, males in general or he doesn't make any distinction between males or females. If he's entire he may be checking out the opposition, if he's neutered he may just be recognising other dogs that seem a little more timid and is just being a bully as he's fully maturing into an adult. This can happen when a dog feels that HE is the pack leader and is not listening to his owners. Did the behaviour start around the time he was growing up and developed over a period? Whatever the reason, because you haven't found an effective way to stop him from rushing in the first place, he thinks it's ok to do so. The way to stop this behaviour, regardless of the reasons he's doing it, is to review the following steps.

· Now he's fully mature if he's entire, get him neutered it may help his behaviour, but should make it easier for you to train without the distraction of hormones.
· Work at home on getting him to give up toys and to not chase a ball/toy until given permission. Ask for sit near you, then using a growly voice stop him from moving when you drop a ball a short distance away. Send him to fetch it once he's waited. Once you have achieved this, you can use the "stop" command to stop him AFTER you've thrown it and get him to recall. Give him lots of praise and fuss when he responds and returns to you.
· Using a 20ft fixed lead (not extendable) choose a quiet park and do the same work without too many distraction, work at keeping his focus on you and not getting distracted, watching his body language carefully so that you know the instant he sees a dog or gets distracted. i.e. ears pricked, tail erect, hackles up. It's at THIS point you must use your "stop" command to refocus him on you. Work at gaining confidence that you are in control.
· Continue to use long lead on your walk keeping his focus on you by changing direction without telling him so he has to keep watching you and use your "stop" command when he loses focus on you. Don't give him the benefit of doubt - if you miss the moment and he runs off to a dog, you at least have the control of a lead.
· Keep working at "stop" and "come" on long lead until you are confident he is listening to you then you can drop the lead and let him drag it to test your controls.

I hope this has given you some ideas on how to teach him better manners when greeting other dogs.

Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER

Hi, How do i stop my 9 week old male border terrier from biting and hanging of clothing,

thanks Martyn Rideout, Leicester

Hello Martin,

At nine weeks you need to administer basic discipline. And, if it's washing that he's hanging from - lift the clothes line. Ed.

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BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Simon's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

my 9 year old jack Russell oftern starts biting at fresh air looking up as if there is some thing he can see and trying to bite it is this normal or does he have some problems ?

Thanks for your help

Simon Chollerton

BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Nicki's Answer:

HI Simon,

I have seen a number of dogs with this behaviour and almost always it's a learned behaviour not neurological or medical, however it's a good idea to get him checked by a vet to be sure.

Provided there's nothing wrong with him, you can try the following.

The reason dogs learn this behaviour is often due to our human reaction to it. Maybe the first time he did see something, like a fly and try to get it and the humans gave him attention for it, like encouragement, laughter or similar which made him think it was a good way to get some attention! Can you hide and see if he does it when you're not there, you could perhaps set up a webcam to check. Also see if it happens at certain times of the day, is he stressed or anxious. If he's a "stressy" Jack (they often can be!) make sure he has a place of safety like a covered crate to rest in, ensure he has lots of brain work, so devise games for him, take him for walks and do some fun training sessions. He may be bored, so that is good for any dog, stressy or not! It tires them out much more than physical activity.

· When he does the air licking, try ignoring it completely, never look or comment on it.
· Distract him with toy or some training, but don't get caught into giving him something instead, otherwise he's training you with the behaviour!
· Quietly, calmly ask him to "go to bed" (having trained him to the command previously)

Good luck!

Regards,

Nicki.

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BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Judith's Problem:

I have a five month old jack russell bitch we have had her since 9 weeks.

She had been playful and loving and fine with our other 3 dogs. They all play together, rough housing etc, all good natured.

She had just become aggressive with my 10yr old collie bitch. E.g if collie goes towards the door the russell flies at her, at first she backed down but today she overwhelmed my collie. It seems like she wants to be the boss and it is getting worse.

What shall i do? Please help as we love all our dogs and this is really upsetting, thanks

Judith Bramham-law

BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Judith,

It's often the case that bitches together can be more difficult than males as the females are always higher up the pack than the boys. (A bit like the human world I reckon!!) It sounds like your young female is trying to take on the top dog role. To stop this from happening (and you can!) it's important that the top job isn't vacant; therefore the humans must make sure they make the decisions and not allow the dogs to do so.

Below are areas that you will need to address, but do consider 1-2-1 help if it doesn't as it can definitely be fixed.

· The first thing to do is to check that your older dog is not unwell. Often owners don't notice small changes in health or behaviour, but if your older bitch has been ill or injured your youngster will start to anticipate that she can "climb the ladder"!
· Ensure that ALL dogs are treated equally. If one is getting more fuss or cuddles or is allowed on furniture/beds and others aren't or even don't want to then the one getting privileges can feel they are higher than the others and become a bully, or if it's a weaker dog having more attention, a "higher pack" dog will tell her off for getting it!
· Watch the dogs carefully, if you see any form of assertive behaviour from the youngster, (staring, stalking, blocking, getting height, head over neck etc) you must disagree with it straight away.
· Keep all dogs off furniture/beds - that's where the leaders rest i.e. the humans.
· Be more aloof with all the dogs, don't respond to their approaches for attention. Let them give up then make sure attention is on your terms not theirs. You don't want them to be able to "train" you otherwise they will not be able to accept you as the pack leader.
· Feed them separately.
· Ensure that you are providing good quality meat based food for them all. If the youngster feels that the nutrition isn't sufficient (she's a growing girl) she may be trying to control the eating order to get more. Research natural raw feeding - it makes for happy dogs‼
· If she's not yet neutered she might be coming into season and be extra hungry as her body will be getting ready to have a litter, so consider feeding her more if you suspect her first season is on it's way.
· Be wary of neutering your youngster too early. It will take away the female hormones and leave the residual male hormones which could make her behaviour worse, research thoroughly.

Hope you find this useful and you succeed in help your dogs

Regards,

Nicki.

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BREED: STAFFORDSHIRE BULL
Megan's Problem,

Hi Nicki,

i have a Staffordshire Terrier we got when she was 7 months old but the 1st week she attacked me i just thought she was trying to control me but since then it has been 3 times and once once today me and my boyfriend stay together and she only seems to attack me I realy don't know what to do don't want to give her away is there anything I can do ?

Thanks
Megan Kirkwood

BREED: STAFFORDSHIRE BULL
Nicki's Answer:

I haven’t quite got the full picture of what’s happening with your rescue Staffy, so I’ll try my best to give you help, but this is probably one where you will need 1-2-1 help to resolve the issue. Please see below :-

· Review her diet – lots of cereals, colourings, sugar and additives play havoc with a dog’s personality just as they do with children. Get her onto a good quality meat with veg diet, research raw feeding, it will help her to calm down.

· Get her checked out by a vet and referred to a chiropractor for a check on her frame. Often dogs have pain issues that we don’t notice and it will affect behaviourl

· Start to ignore her demands for attention. Any playing, cuddles etc. must be on your terms not hers

· NEVER play rough with her or do tugging games; not only is it teaching her wrong behaviour, tug games can injure a dog’s neck and cause pain issues triggering aggression.

· Teach her to walk on loose lead if she’s pulling, if she has neck problems, get advice on what to use. NEVER use a choke or pinch collar nor extendable lead.

· She may have been beaten in the past, so be careful with any sudden movements of your arm etc.

· Keep her off furniture and you bed, keep all 4 paws on the floor for now. Provide her with an indoor den, (crate) cover it and make it cosy for her. Leave the door open, but encourage her to use it as her place of safety. Once she’s happy using it, you can close the door for short periods while you are still in the house to ensure she doesn’t get stressed.

I would advise getting some help from a behaviourist but ensure it is one that is capable of dealing with these issues that will do the visit in your home ask your Vet for a local referral or www.BarkBusters.co.uk in your area.

Regards,

Nicki.

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BREED: PATTERDALE X PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Carmen's Problem,

Hi Nicki,

We have one year old spayed patterdale x jack russell who has increasingly over the last 6 months shown aggression when we leave the house for any reason.

She barks, growls and jumps up at us when we try to put her where she has her bed, which is at the back of the kitchen behind a baby gate. This situation is so stressful at the moment and again today I actually felt fearful of her and defend my self with the wash basket!

Could this be seperation anxiety? I am prepared to try anything to change her behaviour. She is such a lovely affectionate dog.

Thanks.

Carmen Dussoye.

BREED: PATTERDALE X PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Nicki's Answer,

Hi Carmen,

From the information you have given, it seems that this behaviour started as she began to mature around 6 months. Dogs get upset when left for various reasons and want to stop the “pack” from leaving or spend the whole time “calling” them back, by barking and whining. It sounds like your girl is not actually anxious about being left, but demanding that you follow her wishes and either take her with you or don’t leave!! To her you are going out hunting, so she feels she should be with you!

As this happened around 6 months, was it around that time that you changed her from a good protein rich puppy food to an adult food? Or reduced her meals from 3 to 2 or to once a day? This reduction in quality food can take a couple of months for a dog to show behaviour that’s indicating her worry that the only source of her food, albeit in a reduced form, is leaving and she has no knowledge when you’ll be back. You may need some 1 to 1 help for this, but you can make a start.

: Spend time training her in other areas – give her some “brain” work, like sit/down/stay, finding toys/treats. Scatter some food in the garden for her to hunt to satisfy her natural urges. 15 mins brain work will tire her out more than an hour’s run which only makes a dog fitter not better behaved!

: Change the sequence of events that set her off, move coats, shoes, bags, keys to a different room well before you need to shut her in her normal area.

: Always when you leave give her a high quality treat, something like a Kong stuffed with drained tuna (frozen overnight is best) to give her some good nutrition and something to do. Will take some time to get all the tuna out and then she may settle. If she doesn’t eat it, then she may be anxious, but the same methods can be followed.

: Separate from her when you are at home so she doesn’t have full access to you to train you to play, cuddle her etc. More attention on YOUR terms, not hers.
When you come home ignore her attention seeking until she has given up, then call her over to you for a fuss.

: Start to practice leaving her frequently, when you choose the time, not when you have to go out. Only leave her for a few minutes, then come back and ignore her (as above) Gradually increase the length of time and always carry out the same actions as when you are really going, otherwise she’ll know when it’s not real!!

: Review her diet – if the food she has is high in cereals, or has colourings, sugars or other additives, find a better quality diet based on meat. Most pet shops sell raw pet mince, that could be a great way to start, but make sure she has veggies too.

I do hope this helps, but if not seek 1 to 1 help, she is very young and you have many happy years ahead with her if you sort it out now.

Regards,

Nicki.

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BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Yvie's Problem,

Hi Nicki,

I've got Jack Russell bitch 10 months old her personality has changed recently shes getting aggressive towards traffic which she's been fine before.

Yvie fern

BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Nicki's Answer,

Hi Yvie,

This type of behaviour can be the result of your dog experience a fright during her walk. A large lorry or bus rattling past or using air brakes can really upset a dog. Also, she is maturing now so may have decided that she wants to control the world and wants to chase the traffic into submission!

Whatever the reason, the way to help her get over this is to get and keep her focus on you when you are doing some leadwork training. She can only think of one thing at a time so keeping her interested in you, will help her forget traffic!

Make sure you have a buckle collar and 6ft lead so you can have two points of contact on the lead (handle in one hand, across body down to your dog). Teach her to walk on a loose lead next to you, by changing direction without giving her warning, let the lead slip through your hand so she has 6ft to make up her mind she needs to be with you. Praise as she turns. Take care that you are not near a busy road that she might get into.

Best to practice this on very quiet roads to begin with, to ensure that she can do it without distraction. If you are totally random in your changes of direction, she will have to focus on you so that she knows where you are going. Once she's working well with few or no distractions, start doing the same work nearer a busy road. Work at keeping her attention on you at all times and give lots of voice praise as she responds. 10 or 15 mins twice a day to begin with is enough as this type of training is very intense and at only 10 months she will lose concentration.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Simon's Problem,

Hi Nicki,

my 9 year old jack Russell oftern starts biting at fresh air looking up as if there is some thing he can see and trying to bite it is this normal or does he ave some problems ?

Thanks for your help Simon Chollerton

BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Simon,

No it's not normal behaviour for a dog but have seen it before and there could be several causes.

It's quite possible that the first time your dog did this he might have been snapping at a fly or something and you or one of your family might have "encouraged" the behaviour by giving him attention. Someone might have laughed at him, or said "go on, get it" or even just told him he was a clever boy.

As he got such a great reaction he is now doing it as attention seeking. If this is the cause you should try ignoring the behaviour completely so he doesn't get any reaction and after a week or so he should have stopped.

You can also use distraction, by clapping your hands then call him over and give him a fuss, or get a toy and throw it to distract him. Some dogs are very clever and then do the behaviour to get the fuss/game, so be aware if he does this and stick with ignoring.

If it continues, it would be a good idea to get him checked over by your vet in case he has bad teeth or pain around his muzzle, head or neck.

Hope this has helped you.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: PATTERDALE
Tracey's Problem,

Hi Nicki,

I have just recently bought an 8 week old patterdale terrier Rosie who we all love to bits. The only problem I have with her is getting her to sleep all night in her cage I need help I'm tierd and due to go back to work next week.

Please can you help

Tracey McQuade

BREED: PATTERDALE
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Tracey,

How cute your Patterdale must be! But not so cute at night when you’re trying to get some sleep!

Here are some tips to help her settle.

· Make sure the crate isn’t too big, she just needs to be able to stand up, turn round and lie down, if it’s too big divide it so that she can’t use a corner for toileting.
· Cover the crate completely, this makes it into a dark, cosy safe den.
· Make sure she has her sleep periods in it during the day and not curled up on your lap or anywhere where she chooses.
· Feed her in her crate, so she knows it’s a great place to be.
· Ensure that she’s not hungry at night. Pups need lots of food, so if in doubt give her a stuffed kong with good quality protein in it. A small pup may need up to 4 meals a day.
· Teach her “go to bed” or other phrase in a pleasant nice voice every time she goes in. Try to encourage her in by herself and not by putting her in if you can. Use a treat if needed.
· Don’t respond to her if she objects to being in there during the day. Obviously don’t let her get really distressed, but be firm and no soft voice attention, otherwise she will assume that you are praising for the whining!

It’s really worth persevering with a crate, as it will help with toilet training, can be secured in a car for safety when travelling and you can take her anywhere on holiday or visiting know she is safe.

I hope things settle down for you now.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: PATTERDALE
Rachel's Problem,

Hi Nicki,

I wonder if you could help with this...

My husband and I have a 3 year old patterdale, he is such a lovely dog at home, very loving and well behaved. He does bark at people walking past the window but this isn't much of a problem.

The problem is that he can be very aggressive with other dogs on walks, it tends to be scarey or unusual looking dogs (ie. weimaraners, boxers, staffs, chiwowas etc), he is normally fine with Labradors, spaniels and terrier, collies (although there have been a couple of instances with these breeds also!

When he takes a disliking to the look if a dog he literally attacks them and will not stop!! I've had to drag him away. Luckily he has never done serious harm but It has been hard because he seems to pick and choose which dogs he doesn't like. I used to let him off the lead but I'm not able to now as the problem has got worse.

He hates any other dog or child being picked up, he tries to jump up and bite them! This is becoming a real problem and I'm not sure what to do, can anybody please help???

Thanks, Rachel Waring.

BREED: PATTERDALE
Nicki's Answer,

Hi Rachel,

It is upsetting when we see our lovely, cuddly dogs suddenly take on the look and behaviour of a hooligan!

Aggression is almost always the result of anxiety or fear. It may be that your Patterdale has some discomfort, which he disguises, but may be painful when previously playing with dogs. Therefore certain dogs (depends on their personality) equals pain and he will try to "get in first" with his corrections. My first advice therefore is to get him checked out by a chiropractor (get your vet's permissions). They may find that his frame may be out of alignment and be able in a couple of treatments to adjust the areas. This may not "cure" his behaviour, but once pain/discomfort are ruled out you can then concentrate on changing his behaviour.

Other reasons for aggression:

· He thinks he's the pack leader and not you!
· He is being territorial
· He is not neutered and is showing dominance over other dogs. (Neutering is not a "cure", but along with retraining would help).
· Illness or injury in the family can make a dog insecure and feel the need to "take over" and organise the whole world!

People picking up their dogs or children causes his jumping because height is important and if another dog is picked up and given that higher position, he will feel that it is not deserved. It's also a natural chasing instinct - he will jump at a tree or fence if a squirrel runs up high.

To help overcome this problem, you will need to prove to your boy that you are in control.

· Stop him from barking out of the window - restrict his access to it as well as showing him you disagree with his behaviour. Although this is "not a problem" for you, it is actually reinforcing his ideas of his own importance so unless you can teach him not to bark out of the window, he doesn't see a problem controlling other situations. So if you are consistent about the no barking rule indoors it will help outdoors.
· Don't allow him to train you! i.e. play when he wants, get cuddles, go in/out of doors etc. All attention should be on your terms never his.
· Teach him to walk on a loose lead past other dogs, keep his focus on you and watch carefully for any body language (hackles, pricked ears, tail up) that indicates that he might respond.
· Teach him instant recall (coming when called) use a 20ft long line and always give him much praise when he comes never tell him off.
· He is making some very bad decisions, if he were a large dog, he could be in much worse trouble by now, so take all decisions away from him. A training class may help you to put in practice some daily work, or some 1-2-1 help.
· If necessary during the retraining process invest in a basket muzzle.

I hope this helps to get your boy back on track.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: LAKELAND
Christine's Problem:

HELLO NICKI.

I HAVE MOM-DOG VIXEN=4 YRS AND 2 PUPS OF HERS JUST OVER 12 WEEKS YOUNG; FOXY LADY AND MR BRUNO. VIXEN IS MY 3rd FEMALE TERRIER.

NOW PUPS HAVE STARTED FIGHTING VERY AGGRESSIVELY. IT SEEMS FOXY IS THE INSTIGATOR. IT LOOKS, SOUNDS AND FEELS REALLY BAD. HAVE BEEN TOLD=YOU NEVER SOLVE THIS PROBLEM, MUST GET RID OF BRUNO etc. WOULD LIKE TO KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS SIBLING RIVALRY, PLEASE.

THEY FIGHT INDOORS, GARDEN AT LEAST TWICE A DAY. THEY BOTH GET ON WELL WITH THEIR VIXEN, BUT HAVE "GANGED UP" ON HIM, BUT NOT BADLY. HAVE TAKEN THEM OUT SEPARATELY ON THE STREET, BUT FEEL NOW TOTALLY HELPLESS. MY MISTAKE HAS BEEN, THAT BRUNO HAS BEEN MORE ON MY LAP, BUT THEN FOXY HAS BEEN HAPPY PLAYING WITH VIXEN AND NOT WANTING TO GET MY ATTENTION. SOMETIMES THEY ARE BOTH ON MY LAP.

BOTH SLEEP IN THE KITCHEN, AND ONLY FOUGHT ONCE. HAVE TWO SEPARATE BEDS, BUT OFTEN SLEEP IN ONE. FOXY DOES GO OFF IF GIVEN HALF A CHANCE, SO TODAY SHE WAS ON THE LEAD, AND BRUNO WAS PLAYING IN A BIG PARK WITH HIS MOM. ALL OF A SUDDEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.DIDN'T SEE IT COMING. PLEASE HELP. I WANT TO KEEP THEM BOTH, AND VIXEN.TANKS IN ADVANCE,
desperate

Christine Elsen-Palmer

BREED: LAKELAND
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Christine,

Yes I can picture the havoc that's happening! It can be difficult for two siblings to live together but certainly not impossible. The biggest clue you have given me is that you have been giving Bruno more cuddles and lap time, even though it didn't seem that Foxy Lady was particularly interested.

From Foxy and Vixen's point of view Bruno has been given privileges far above his station by being allowed on your lap and the pack leader's (you) resting place. If you remember that dogs are pack animals and they have a hierarchy, then how many dogs in a wild dog or wolf pack would just jump up onto the pack leader or on his/her resting place? Pups can get away with lots of things until they are around 6-8 months old, then their education is started! It seems in your case that Bruno's education has started early! In addition, when there are males and female dog's in a domestic pack it is always the females that are higher in the pecking order. So, you might be able to understand a little why your two girls are taking it out on Bruno and trying to "put him in his place" when the opportunity arises. It can be hours or days after the perceived "privilege" so you will not always be able to spot it coming.

It is not always possible to stop sibling rivalry and you may need the help of a behaviour specialist to support you, or even rehome one of them, but this is what I recommend.

To stop this sibling rivalry behaviour and Vixen joining in too, it is important that all three dogs respect and see you as their pack leader and then you should be able to control and gradually eliminate the behaviour you are seeing. If you're committed and consistent, you should see improvements.

· No dog should be allowed on the furniture or up for cuddles, this may not be forever, but you must stick with it for several months. Start now! Just teach them to "go to bed" if they need a rest.

· Stop "play" fighting from getting too excited. These "games" are testing each other's strengths and weaknesses, it's not just a game. They will see you in a strong position if they are stopped.

· Teach them not to jump up at you; very disrespectful to a pack leader!

· Never be physical with the dogs - even grabbing by the collar. The dog just may turn round and bite your hand when the adrenalin is high.

· Train each dog separately to respond to all your commands - make it fun - this is not a punishment not a "boot camp" give lots of verbal praise! When they are following your commands with quiet voice praise every time you can start working with two dogs together, change them round so they each get an opportunity to work with each other and see you controlling the situations.

· Review what they are eating - a good, healthy natural diet with plenty of meat, veg/fruit will help to keep them satisfied and not feel threatened that there are too many dogs in the pack.

· Feed them separately if fights start around food. Feed the girls first, then Bruno to show them that you recognise the pecking order.

· Teach each to walk on a loose lead next to you - not in front. When you have achieved it separately, start by taking two together, changing each time and eventually you should have all three together.

It is not any easy problem, but it can be fixed provided you are committed and totally consistent with your rules and boundaries. Please do seek help if you continue to have problems.

Hope this helps.

Regards, Nicki


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BREED: TERRIER
Jackie's Problem:

: Dog aggression

We have two dogs, Toddles is a cross breed think that there is terrier in him, and he is just over 18months old. Basher male Chesapeake Bay retriever is 7months (both male dogs).

Before Basher come along, we had a female Chesapeake Bay retriever, who unfortunately died (and we brought basher in as a new buddy for toddles.

In the past few weeks, toddles has been showing signs of aggression snarling and then snapping, they sleep on our bed, if basher moves an inch it is like world war 3 at 2 in the morning.

Majority of the time they play very well with each other - but other times I can't even see what the fight is about.

Any help would be of great help

Jackie handley.

BREED: TERRIER
Nicki's Answer:

Hello Jackie

Thank you for your information regarding Toddles and Basher. You haven’t said if either of them have been neutered, it would be helpful if you had a word with your vet about that, they are both vying for top dog position.

You seem to have a Sibling Rivalry situation here and it doesn’t always happen with siblings.

One of the most common reasons for sibling rivalry is that the ‘leading dog’ of the two feels that its higher position is being diminished because the subordinate has an alliance with you. You say that they both sleep on the bed. I would put a stop to this straight away and have them sleep on their own beds on the floor. If they fight whilst you are asleep and you wake suddenly then you could get bitten.

You must make sure you don’t have a favourite, if you do the other dog will resent it. Treat them both exactly the same. The way to resolve the situation is to show them both that YOU are in control. You may need to train each separately and that they are totally accepting of your position. This may take several weeks, so be patient, consistent and keep calm. That is the sign of a great leader.

You must ignore their requests for attention until they give up trying then you can call them to you for a fuss. If you call one and the other pushes in ignore the one you didn’t call and then alternate next time.

It may also be useful to have Toddles checked over by the vet just in case there is anything wrong with him medically; if he’s showing weakness at all then Basher will want to evict him from the pack.

If the situation doesn’t improve you must seek professional help before a serious fight occurs.

Hope this helps.

Regards, Nicki


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BREED: PATTERDALE
Dawn's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

I have a 4 year old patterdale girl, she barks everytime I leave her, at night she will not sleep in her crate, I have tried most things, collars with sprays, ignoring her which at the moment is not an option as I live in a static caravan and people are complaining, I am nearly at my wits end, can anyone help me,

I have had a trainer out and spoke to two others who really just say ignore but this doesnt work with Megan

Thanks.

Dawn Pollard
Doncaster

BREED:PATTERDALE
Nicki's Answer:

Hello Dawn

I am so sorry you are having problems with Megan. She sounds like she is suffering from separation anxiety and hopefully these few tips will help you to help her solve this problem.

With the crate, have you tried leaving her in there with the door closed and the crate covered with a blanket or sheet making it more of a den for her. You will have to do this when you are around, maybe have her in there in your bedroom so she knows you are close by. If she barks then you can correct her with your voice then she will know you are near. She may be a little hungry, try leaving her in there with a survival kit, i.e. a stuffed Kong with something good like tin tuna or peanut butter, something to keep her occupied. Eventually you should be able to move her further away from you, then into another room away from you. She should feel more comfortable if you are consistent.

With the separation anxiety itself you need to practice this at home starting with room to room separation. Taking small steps at first then gradually increasing in time and correcting any barking or scratching.

Don't attend to her every whim either, like when she demands attention or stroking or tickling her tummy, only do this when you want to not because she asks for it. When you do leave her don't make a fuss of going out (and this should be done very slowly at first say staying outside the premises for a few minutes at a time). When you come back through the front door correct or ignore any exuberant jumping or or excitement but ignore her for a few minutes or so. She needs know she can relax and be confident even in your absence.

If you are struggling do try and get some professional help.

Hope these tips help.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED:SOFT COATED WHEATEN
Linda's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

Feherty will be 1 year old in 3 weeks and I've just started to have issues with him getting into scraps with other dogs.

He is neutered and was socialized from the beginning (puppy classes, dog park, leash free trails/hikes)and haven't had any problems with him interacting with other dogs, until now.

At the dog park there were dogs he liked to play with better than others, and when he was very young he did encounter a couple of "bullies" that he learned to stand up to and either became friends with or they left each other alone.

It's only in the last month that he's taken to "fighting". I've noticed a few things; he doesn't seem to be the one starting the arguement he just won't back down, sometimes I don't think he understands the signal being given to be left alone (he'll go back and give appropriate play behaviours after being growled at), and once involved in a scrap it's as if he just can't let it go.

I just came back from a walk on the trail where we encounted a dog walker with several dogs, and one tried to mount Feherty, which set of a scrap ... and after we'd seperated them my guy seemed to want to take on any other dog that came near him.

I made him sit and calm down and then leashed him for the remainder of the walk. I stopped going to the dog park because it seemed all they did was wrestle/play fight and I thought this was only reenforcing the behaviour I didn't want, so I've recently restricted his dog encounters to the hiking trails where the meet-and-greets can be quick, or I can pause and let him play if we want. I've been on leash free hikes with one or two other dogs, and up to 15 dogs and no problems. It's some dogs some of the time. But I need this behaviour to stop before it becomes a major issue. I'm not sure what training techniques to implement. Thank you for any insight or advice you can share.

Linda Scott
Toronto,Canada

BREED:SOFT COATED WHEATEN
Nicki's Answer:

Hello Linda

It is very upsetting when our dog is or becomes aggressive towards other dogs and it makes walking unpleasant or very difficult. Puppies aren't born aggressive, something happens to change them and it can be many different circumstances or situations that cause this. However the underlying cause is usually the fear or anxiety in a dog to certain situations. So it is therefore up to us, the dog's guardians, to rehabilitate and retrain new and acceptable behaviours so that your dog can become a relaxed and well socialised member of your family.

I would suggest that for the time being you walk Feherty on a lead at all times while you are training him. You need for him to walk properly to heel so that he is beside you and not at all in front of your toes which will enable him to see you for direction and will enable you to watch his body language very closely so you can correct his behaviour before it gets out of hand. Do not hesitate to take steps to address the behaviour if you see any of the following, ears forward, hackles up, stiffening of the body, low growl, tail up etc. This will indicate that he is going to lunge and then you are in a position to correct him.

You should always ensure your lead is nice and loose and that you watch him constantly so he can't make the mistake. When he sees you taking charge of the situation in this way he will realise that he can relax and in turn, make your walks a lot easier.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER
Jane's Problem:

Hi Nicki

I have read on endless sites that you should not let your border off the lead.

I am letting my 5 month old border bitch off when in the countryside and there is no livestock around. She comes back to me when called or whisted and given a treat as a reward.

I am now thinking should I be doing this having read all the comments.

What do you think?

Jane Watt

BREED: BORDER
Editor's Answer:

Hello Jane,

Your question to Nicki is not one of behavior; it is a common sense question.

You say that you have read on endless sites that you shouldn't let your dog off the lead (We assume in the countryside). This can apply to any type of dog. However, dogs can always be let off the lead if it's safe and reasonable to do so. But, what you must remember is that a Border Terrier has natural instincts and two of them are to hunt and go to ground.

You could let your Border off her lead and you cannot find her; she may have gone to ground. This can lead to injury if she is confronted by either a Fox or a Badger and may even require you digging the dog out of the ground, or not finding her at all.

It's all about common sense and what can happen in the countryside; the decision - on lead or off, is down to you.

Kindest Regards,
Editor.

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BREED: YORKSHIRE
Sandra's Problem

Hi Nicki,

i have a 3 month old yorkshire terrier and all of a sudden urinates and poo's on my settee. I have the pads (2 at a time)its hit and miss but that i expect. Can you advise me on this problem please.

Thank you
sandra carbino

BREED: YORKSHIRE
Nicki's Answer:

Hi,

You don't say whether your Yorkie pup is male or female. If male, it's very early, but he may be marking his territory on your sofa, i.e. claiming it as his.

· You need to go back to basic toilet training.

· Confine your dog to a smaller area when you are not able to properly supervise, such as a pen. A sleeping crate, will help, one that is only big enough for him/her to stand up, lie down and turn around, make sure it's fully covered to make is cosy and don't just shut him/her in if not already used to one. Train him to be happy and relaxed in there of his own accord before shutting him for rest periods during the day and sleeping at night. Dogs don't normally like to toilet in their sleep area, so provided the crate isn't too big, (a corner can be used as a toilet) he/she should be able to go all night by now.

· Take him/her out to toilet first thing in the morning and last thing at night, after food, after play and every hour or so in between.

· NEVER tell him off if you just find a puddle, wet patch or poo,(he won't know why he is getting told off) if you see him in the act, clap your hands, say NO firmly and quickly take him into the garden and lots of praise when he/she performs. Choose a word or phrase like "busy,busy" or "quick, quick" to use as praise when toileting, (not Good girl/boy - you will be using that in other circumstances and you don't want your pup to associate that phrase with toilet) once he/she associates the words with the act, you can get toileting on command.

· Scatter some food in the garden for him/her to hunt and find, most dogs love frozen peas, chopped apples, pear, carrot etc. Dogs will want to "protect" their territory and feeding area by marking it, so he will want to save his wee and poo to do that outside.

· Use the pet shop products to clean the areas of wee/poo - normal household cleaners do not neutralise the odour - dogs will continue to use an area if they still smell it.

This will work if you are patient, calm and committed to stick to it.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER
Annette's Problem

Hi Nicki,

we have a fourteen month old Border and a 7yr old crossbreed, both females, in the last three months my border has been attacked three times, each time for no apparent reason, she has however retaliated on all occassions, another occasion was when my crossbreed was attacked and the border intervened by attacking the other dog, protecting the crossbreed as she is quite timid and has never been aggressive towards any human or animal, however recently we have had two occasions in which the border has attacked two dogs, the first when a very friendly dog said hello whilst on its back with a ball in its mouth and another after taking a rope toy from a border collie and he tried to take it back, on both occasions the dogs retaliated but she has no fear and will not give up until i manage to get her off the dog which is very difficult, would really like to resolve this problem, as most of the time she is fine with most dogs and has been well socialised.

Many thanks Annette.

BREED: BORDER
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Annette,

First is to consider why your dogs were attacked by others. Sometimes if a dog is unwell or hiding an injury, dogs scent will be different if there is an illness other dogs see/smell the weakness and when they enter "their" patch, may attack to drive them away. You don't say if your girls have been neutered or not, a bitch coming into season will be seen as a threat by another intact female, so that too can be a trigger for attack. So, if might just be wise to get your vet to check them over, just in case.

Having been attacked and having protected your other girl, your Border has had to take the decision that she no longer trusts any dog coming near her and she is making the decision to be defensive regardless of the intentions of the other dog. The way to help her over this, is for you and any other adults in the home to become her pack leaders and therefore her protector, not the other way around.

You may need some professional help with this as you need to treat the cause of the behaviour (leadership issues) not just the symptoms i.e. aggression to dogs.

Start by ensuring that you act like a great dog pack leader. That means you need to only give attention to your girls when you instigate it, not when they are seeking it. So ignore them when they come for fuss, or decide it's time for their walk, dinner etc., but as soon as they give up, you can then take the initiative and call them for a cuddle, take them out or feed. Don't let them on furniture whenever they want to get up, provide them with a bed and if your other girl is nervous, she might love a covered, cosy crate to rest safely in. If you have them up for cuddles, make sure it's when you invite them not just when they decide.

If either or both of them bark at passers by, door bell, postman etc., it's important that you learn how to prevent that. Barking is a warning to the pack (amongst other things) so if you can stop the barking you will be closing to using the same methods to stop her attacking other dogs. Timing is important, you must "disagree" with her behaviour the moment you see her body language change, don't give her the benefit of doubt, if her adrenalin gets too high because you've missed the pricked ears, or hackles, she won't hear you. So practice showing and guiding her into stopping barking (lots of quiet voice praise when she does and watch her body language carefully when on walks so that you spot her intention and disagree and distract her.

It is not an easy behaviour to change, but with the right techniques, you can do it. Do seek professional help and if needed, muzzle her on walks until you have sorted the problem.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: LAKELAND
Kelly's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

My husband and I have always wanted a multiple dog household and in 2008 we got Peggy, black and tan Lakland/Fox Wire cross and we loved her instantly. A few months later we bumped into Peggys parents on a walk with one remaining pup in tow who had a bad start - how could we not have her and 2 days later Peppa was welcomed into our family.
I know what your thinking, 2 females from the same litter is a big no no - however Peggy was extremely dominant and Peppa was the polar opposite and very submissive, we thought they would be just fine.

Two years later, with the exception of one small disagreement it was all going so well. So much so we decided to get another dog to complete our pack - this time we rehomed Jake 8 year old Airedale, hes one of the largest Airedales Ive ever seen - his temperament is very similar to Peppas, daft, quiet and submissive.

About 6 months later another fight broke out between Peggy and Peppa, this time it seemed to escalate very quickly into a very vicious fight. We have two children - 11 years and 4 years old.

We have a large-ish house and could separate Peggy and Peppa, we sought advice locally and read a wealth of information about dogs fighting and felt confident we could now recognise the signs to nip a brewing fight in the bud so we reintroduced them.

All was fine for another 6 months until another fight broke out - this was the worst fight and Peppa was badly injured - we were all very traumatised. We sought advice from anyone and everyone who knew anything about terriers/ dog fighting and the general consensus was to split the girls up. Luckily for me one of my closest/oldest friends came to the rescue and fostered Peppa until her wounds heeled and we could decide what to do - needless to say she stayed with her and now Peppa lives with them. Shes literally 50m down the road and we see her all the time.

A few months back my husband got a contract working abroad for a few weeks here and there. Peggy was very unsettled. We did our best to reassure her and keep her in a routine but she attacked Jake, out of the blue it seemed. Thankfully Jake didn't retaliate

and we manage to separate them. I do think Peggys anxiety at alpha working away played its part. I was rushed into hospital, I was let out 2 days later only to be rushed in again. I'm back home now and recovering well. On Saturday 15th Dec, i let the dogs out into the garden (routine before bed) - on the way back into the house Peggy snapped at Jake, he stopped in his tracks and cowered but Peggy decided it wasn't enough and attacked him. She had a death grip on him and wasn't letting go - Jake's ear was badly injured and hes gotten wounds to his throat/face/neck. I do believe that if i hadn't of split them up Peggy would have killed Jake.

My mother in law had Peggy over the weekend but her garden is unsecured and Peggy came back when my husband returned. I am confident that my husband working away and my visit to a&e played its part in unsettling Peggy however we are now faced with a situation.
As we have children in the house i find that i cannot ignore Peggys history, family and friends are voicing their concerns about the safety of my children if another fight broke out and i feel like its forcing my hand and i have no alternative but to rehome Peggy. I am very closely bonded with Peggy and i love her dearly, i don't want to re home her but i feel like i am been both selfish and a irresponsible parent if i keep her. As upsetting as this all is I cant help but feel that Peggy needs to be in a house with no other dogs and we are not the right owners for her needs? What do you think?

If you could help me in anyway determine exactly what that is i would be very grateful.

Kind Regards
Kelly McKeown Cheshire, England

BREED: LAKELAND
Nicki's answer:

HI Kelly,

Lots of background information there which does help me picture Peggy's personality, thanks.

Sibling Rivalry (fighting within the pack, not just litter mates) can be a difficult issue to resolve, but it can be, provided an owner is totally committed and willing to work hard. In my view you will need one to one help from a therapist experienced in dealing with this upsetting problem, someone who will assess each dog separately and together, but I will give you some tips below.

First thing to do is to ensure that she has no medical reason for her behaviour. Some dogs may have a form of epilepsy that could cause these fits of aggression, so please get her thoroughly checked out.

No dog is born aggressive so there is always a reason for a dog to become so. From the picture you have painted, it seems that Peggy seems to think that she must be the "top dog" and as it's unlikely that she is a natural leader (they don't have to use their teeth to keep order!) she is using the only way she knows. There are often various warnings that we humans miss, or may misinterpret completely. Do you feed one before the other, i.e. if you feed Jake first, then Peggy may resent that. If you allow Jake more privileges, more cuddles, allowed on furniture and not Peggy, is Jake a "favourite"? It is normal for a female to be higher in the pack that a male so be aware that both dogs must be treated the same. Or you may be giving Peggy more attention, let her assume she can jump on a lap whenever she wants, get you to fuss and stroke her, play with her on her terms not hers, that will give her the idea that as she can train you to behave in a certain way, SHE must be in charge and tell Jake to stay away. Take note of any assertive behaviour exhibited by Peggy watch body language carefully, and correct it before it escalates. i.e. staring, hackles, growling, rigid posture, high tail etc.

Work with each separately teaching immediate response to all commands, being consistent and ensuring that the humans in the house have "top dog" position, not a dog! Do not use any physical methods i.e. choke or electric collars, smacking or scaring them. Only use humane, training methods, but always follow through ensuring you have the ability to calmly get controls. i.e. recall - use an 8mtre training lead and encourage with little tugs. Teach dogs to give up toys, not run off until allowed, sit and down stays. Plan your sessions so you are prepared and in control.

Each dog must separately respond immediately to your requests, once you are at that stage you can start training them together, but use a muzzle on Peggy for safety. If Jake is nervous of being near Peggy, have him behind a dog gate and do some work with Peggy stopping her, not by being on lead, but by your training, from going towards Jake for example. He will then see that you have control of her and feel more secure in your leadership.

It can be a very long process and you will need to be totally committed and consistent to succeed. However, as I previously said for everyone's safety and Peggy's, I would strongly advise that you seek professional help.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: LAKELAND
Tom's problem:

Hi Nicki,

5 yr old Lakie -- huge anxiety issues, when we leave the house she attacks the door -- all door knobs ruined, licks the windows in the vehicle if left alone in there. Will lick floor continually sometimes. Only thing that works ok is telling her to go lay down, that gets you out the door but does nothing for the doorknobs.

She is not driven by food treats gets too anxious to eat. Any suggestions?

Tom Weiss USA

BREED: LAKELAND
Nicki's answer:

Separation Anxiety is very distressing for both dog and owners and stems from various causes. It may be the case that you need to seek professional help on a one to one basis as it can take some time to find the right regime that allows a dog to rest and be relaxed when left.

Dogs can feel worried when their primary food source (you!) disappears that they never know if they're going to get fed ever again. Make sure your dog is having good quality meat based food and despite the fact that she doesn't eat while you're out, leave her with something. A kong stuffed with tuna and frozen overnight may get her attention.

She may be under the impression that she is the head of the house so when you leave, for her it's like her small toddler is running off into the unknown and she gets worried. To help her to understand that you are the pack leader and not her, you will need to spend time changing your own behaviour. Does she get a response from you every time she asks? Strokes, fuss, walks etc? Does she answer the door? Does she think it's her right to be on the furniture/bed? To start helping her, she needs your leadership to know it's safe to relax when you're out. So ignore her requests for fuss, but when she gives up call her and give her lots. Never play with her when she wants, you decide when to play. The idea is that attention must be on your terms not hers, then she'll begin to feel more relaxed and chilled that she doesn't have to keep getting you to respond all the time and need you with her 24/7.

Some dogs get worried about having too much space to guard, so you need to start separating from her room to room and disagreeing with her objections.

Just for a minute or two, then return without giving her attention until she's given up trying. They call her for a fuss. You might have to do this several times and gradually lengthen the time. Get her a crate and cover it, but DO NOT shut her in it. Allow her to get used to using it as her place of safety, she may well love being under tables already, so a crate will be a safe haven. When she's happy, you can close the door, but only when you are in the house to ensure that she is not stressed. Short periods, increasing in length may be the answer. BUT do consider getting some one to one professional help, doing the wrong thing can make matters worse.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Val's problem:

Hello Nicki I hope you can help me.

I have 2 terriers. Jake is male and is 3yrs 6mths old and Lola 1yr 6mths old. I have had both since puppies and they are siblings. They have always got on very well with no problems. They have not fought over any thing. Jake may have let off a little growl to say get off i have had enough but that is all.

That was until about 3 weeks ago. Lola would be on the settee and jake would be on the floor and as Lola would go to get down he would go for her. Snap and show his teeth and then she would do the same. But since then Lola has turned on Jake . She puts her ears and tail up and looks at him and then you can see her lips moving and then they both pounce.

They have not hurt each other yet but i am very worried that they are going to do so. You can tell when she is going to do it. I then separate them and ten mimutes later they are fine . At the start it only happened in the evening maybe once but not every evening but now it is more regular and this past week it is every evening but also the last 2 times it has happened in the afternoon and evening.

They go out for walks together and are in the garden together and they are fine. They are ok with people and other dogs. Jake was done at the vets at round about 12 months old and lola was about 6 months ago. They are treated both the same . I do feed jake first and put his lead on him first but they both have lots of love, exercise, and play time. Something has gone wrong. I await your reply.

Many thanks. Mrs Taylor.
Herefordshire.

BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Mrs Taylor,

Thank you for such detailed information, it helps to get the picture of what is/has happened. You have a typical sibling rivalry situation here and it doesn't always happen with siblings! This problem can develop with any two (or more) dogs living together often worse with two females and can usually be resolved in time.

I'll give you some background on dog psychology and you may begin to see what's happened with your two. Dogs are 99.8% wolf, so they have lots of their ancestor's instincts despite the generations of domestication. There is a pack hierarchy and each dog needs to know where they stand in that situation. Dogs will try to "climb the ladder" as in a wild pack the top dogs get to eat first therefore getting the best food and higher status.

Despite this not being necessary in today's dogs, they STILL have the instinct.

You appear to be giving the dogs some mixed messages as to their status in the pack by feeding Jake first (adult females are normally the higher dog) giving him the impression that he is top dog, but yet Lola is on the furniture (gaining height and authority and extra cuddles) so Jake will take an opportunity to try to take her down a peg or two and Lola will get in first if she gets signals that he's thinking about it! Sometimes it's at the situation but sometimes to an owner the attack seems to happen out of the blue.

Make sure you don't have a favourite, if you do, the other dog will resent it. Treat them both exactly the same.

The way to resolve the situation is to show them both that YOU are the in control. You have to ensure that each dog (train separately if needed) is totally accepting of your position. This may take several weeks, so be patient, consistent and keep calm - that's the sign of a great leader!

Start by not allowing either dog on the furniture and ignore their requests for attention until they give up trying, then you can call them to you for a fuss. If you call one and the other pushes in, ignore the one you didn't call and then alternate next time, if you call them both - no problem giving them a fuss, but watch for one keep pushing the other out of the way. Give Lola her food first, make them wait for it then give Lola permission to take it and a few seconds later Jake. If at any time, you see their body language indicate that either is about to "have a go", make a growly noise and clap your hands to refocus them on you and not each other, then quiet voice praise not loads of hand fuss.

If the situation doesn't improve you must seek professional help, because if it's not sorted before a serious fight happens, you may have to separate them.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: SKYE
Joyce's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

My 16mt old Skye Terrier had a bad experience at her 2nd show [at 6mts ] where the judge [experienced judge ] badly handled her by that I mean he had gone over her and she stood a little nervous but fine then for reason only known to himself he took his forefinger from the butt of her tail and dragged it up to her neck where she turned round to bite him

He did try to come back to her but she was having none of it and went for him again, since then no one can get hands on her except family.

I have taken her back to ring craft a good few weeks later and she stands on the table and will take a tip bit so long as you walk away straight away and walk on her lead BUT will not let anyone have hands on her.

I am working her with her sister [ who is fine, they both have the same sort of temperament ] and maybe to do brace classes with her as it is normally no hands on and she does like to go to the shows, I don't think she will ever get into a show ring on her own but what I need to do is to get her to be safe in a crowd of people as with them being Skyes a lot of people ask about them and some tend to go to touch them and the last thing I want to happen is for her to bite someone that could lead to her losing her life due to a bad experience.

I am working on her slow but steady but any advice/tips would be most grateful. I know it is a time and patient factor and if I have to keep her at home most of the time I will for her safety

Regards
Joyce Neilson.

Johnstone, Renfrewshire

BREED: SKYE
Nicki's Answer:

Hi,

What a shame your young Skye terrier has become hand shy. My first reaction when reading about your experience was that she might well be hiding some pain or at the minimum, some discomfort in her back. You mentioned that she was a little nervous by the initial handling and only reacted with a snap when he ran his finger up her spine. It's quite possible that as she's a youngster, she and her sister play lots together or she may have fallen off something or jumped badly and "put her back out". Dogs always try to hide injuries (in a pack the weak ones are shunned or driven out) so it's easy for an owner to miss. Check gently yourself by running your hand (with the lie of the fur) down her back when she's standing, if she sits or moves away at some point then she is likely to be sore around that point.

Ask your vet's permission to get her to a doggy chiropractor, don't go the anaesthetic/x-ray route yet. You may have to muzzle her for safety, but a chiropractor will be able to gently feel for anything that's not quite right and 2/3 treatment may sort it out.

You may then gradually be able to gently teach her to be handled again, but it may take a while for her trust to be regained.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER
Anne's Problem

Hi Nicki, I have a 18mnth old border terrier who is mostly loving maybe a bit spoiled I only got him 2 months ago and he was a good behaved dog.

But since then has started to bark and has bit people who come near our house.

I have since found out that the reason his other owner gave him away was she got staffy dog and it was bitting him. Help me stop this please as I have kids and am worried.

Thanks
Anne Gallacher

BREED: BORDER
Nicki's Answer:

Hi,

Firstly, this is one where you may need professional help to find out why your young Border Terrier is being aggressive. Dogs aren't born aggressive, but can become so as a result of various reasons. Changing homes is a worrying time for a dog and after about 2 or 3 weeks they settle. Dogs can be territorial, guarding "their" pack, they can be nervous and anxious about situations and the only way they know how to deal with it is by telling everyone to go away, dogs, people children and they do that in the only way a dog can - bark, growl, snap.

You mention that he his mostly loving and maybe a bit spoilt - you are therefore accidentally letting him train you all to have cuddles when he wants, play with him when he wants, maybe even give him treats and take him for walks whenever he demands its. If you are going overboard with your love, then he will be seeing you and your family and visitors/strangers as low pack dogs that he has to control as you have accidentally, by your actions, told him he has to be in charge!

The best way to help him become a happy calm member of your family is to ignore ALL his requests for attention and only give him love and cuddles on your terms and never when he's asking. Think of yourselves as the top dogs in a wild dog pack and think how the top dogs behave. They are aloof, pretend other low pack dogs don't exist, until they want to say, start a game, go hunting etc. So when your boy brings you a toy, ignore him, even take the toy away until he's given up asking and you actually want to play.

Same with fusses, when you come in, first thing in the morning, ignore until he gives up then call him over and give him as much love a cuddles as you like.

If things don't improve, please get some professional help for this confused young boy.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: STAFFORD CROSS
Monica's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

I have a Staffy cross labrador, she's 2 years old, and we were given her as her previous owners were going to put her in a dogs home.

She is a very lovely, friendly dog and gets on with everyone and all dogs and cats, but she seems to always bark, growl and whine, possibly for attention or even separation anxiety as in her previous home she used to live with a Jack Russell Terrier.

We want an effective solution to not prevent her from barking if she needs to do so, but an effective way to stop her from barking if it's unnecessary.

Monica Russell Canterbury Kent, UK

BREED: STAFFORD CROSS
Nicki's Answer:

Hi,

Dogs that bark for attention have often been rewarded by getting attention when they do bark! Bark to be let in/out, bark when it's dinner time, bark for a walk, for a treat - the list can go on! One of the things you can do is to use a growly voice to show that you disagree with the behaviour and teach her to go to bed on command. This is NOT a punishment, but you are getting her to do something for which you can praise her in soft voice.

So the first thing to do is to teach "go to bed" as a separate training session. Show her where to go, always keep a calm quiet voice (not angry or threatening, esp if she doesn't go) and don't grab her by the collar to drag her. She wont learn anything.

The way to achieve what you want is to make her work it out for herself that she gets attention for good things not by barking. So other things you can do is a training session for sit/stay down/stay, and other "games" so that she gets attention but on your terms not hers.

Hope this helps, but you may need expert help to change her pattern of behaviour.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL - Sarah Smith.
Sarah's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

I have an 18 month old jack russell who has been an angel since the day I got him as a puppy, he has been really easy to train and has never shown any aggression what so ever.

My friend got herself a puppy Staffordshire bull terrier who is now 6 months old, they were introduced and have become great doggy friends however they had a fight yesterday and unfortunately my jack bit me on the hand a couple of minutes after the fight was broken up.

After reading the information on your site I now understand the fight was due to territory reasons however dont understand why he bit me.

I have two children so would like to get this problem sorted before it escalates and results in rehoming my dog. If I am doing something wrong with him please could you let me know.

Thanks.
Sarah Smith
Surrey.

BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Sarah,

If your JRT's doggy friend is a male also and is not yet neutered, it may be that the hormones have kicked in and they are both acting like testosterone fuelled teenagers!! Neutering will help prevent those behaviours relating to territory, running off to find females and ensure that other entire dogs don't see him as a threat.

You don't say if your boy [PJR] was injured in any way? It might be that even if there were no puncture wounds, a strong jawed Staffy pup, might well have inflicted bruising and when you touched or stroked him, it hurt. Because his adrenalin was probably still "up", and the fight still on his mind, he might have thought he was being attacked again. It was probably a "one off", but you would be wise to teach your boy that he doesn't have the right to be on furniture when ever he wants. You can invite him up when you choose (when he's not asking!), but by keeping him on the floor, he is less likely to think he's as good as the humans!

Whenever I deal with aggression in dogs, I always like a vet to check over the dog for tenderness and recommend chiropractor treatments. Often dogs are in pain or dicomfort(they hide it well!) and will lash out when being stroked with the only thing they have (teeth) to make the discomfort stop.

You can do a simple check yourself, just gently stroke your dog and watch for any reaction like looking round suddenly, sitting down away from your hand or getting up and moving away. Slightly increase the pressure, just to make sure and take him off to the vet and ask for referral to chiropractor.

X-rays don't usually show up the small problems, but if they are not recognised and treated, aggression can become chronic.

Hopefully, this was just a one off incident and you'll have many years of fun with him.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: CAIRN
Valrie's Problem:

Hi Nicki

I have a Ciarmal - cross between Cairn & Maltese, very excitable but clever little pup, 6 months ole, problem is he runs off if he sees another dog - towards it and does not come back, even when I call, whistle.

He loves attention from people, children especially and other dos - very sociable and when other dogs play with him he always submits.

I have now bought retractable lead, and trying to pull him back when I call him - this works, but would love to let him have a fun time without lead, especially when walking him in woodland parks etc.

He also still mouths a little, not hard or sore, is he still teething?

Thanks
Valerie

BREED: CAIRN
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Valerie,

I bet your youngster is soooo cute! It is one of the most important areas of training to ensure that your dog comes back to you EVERY time. You need to make sure firstly that he will respond to you in your house and garden, where there are fewer distractions.

So crouch down and in a very excited happy voice call him and encourage him all the time he's on his way to you so he doesn't get distracted. A squeaky toy is always useful to help. If he ignores you get a long 20ft training lead and let him wander off in the garden then call him, if he ignores you make a growly disapproving voice like "bad" and tug the lead so he moves a little way. Do not reel him in - he has to decide to respond himself. So once you've disapproved of his ignoring you and tugged change your voice immediately to happy, sweet, excited recall voice and when he gets to you give him a big cuddle. Don't go to grab his collar, fuss him on his shoulders, sides and back then if you need to you can quietly slip your finger into his collar.

Once you've achieved 100% recall in house and garden you can take him on a long lead to a local park when it's fairly quiet (not too many distractions) and start work on recall there. I could take a few weeks to get him to respond as he's very young, so keep your training sessions short 5/10mins only as he will lose concentration quickly. As you see the improvement in his focus on you, gradually introduce more distractions. Get a friend with a dog on lead and when he goes to run towards it, make your growly voice and then call him back. If you have him on lead you can always make sure that you have the ability to "make it happen" in a calm controlled way.

Remember ALWAYS give him praise and fuss when he comes back, no matter how long it may have taken - do it through gritted teeth if you need to!! He must always feel safe to come back to you. If your voice gets angry or frustrated, he will not want to come back so a whistle is sometimes better.

I hope this helps and your little boy will be safe and respond to your recall.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: TIBETAN
Renee's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

Can I get one-to-one advice about my two female tibetan terriers (litter mates) who have sibling rivalry?

They are 3 months now and I have been walking, exercising, training them separately with good results.

However, one of the pups has developed "anxiety-induced urination' around the other pup - so I have decided to completely separate them from their shared living and play space for the next year (as recommended by a dog behaviourist).

I am particularly worried by the pup who has this urine problem. Do you think it will clear up once the two pups are totally separated? I was told they could play together twice a day for 15 minutes under supervision, but that is it.

I was also told that once they have formed their own individual characters (14 months appx.), they can come together again.

Do you have any experience with littermate sibling rivalry? Any success stories and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,
Renee J Bales

BREED: TIBETAN
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Renee,

I have often dealt with Sibling Rivalry, both in litter mates and non related dogs. It usually presents as dogs fighting with one another and can have one or more causes. If one dog is attacking another it is often the case that the owner may be feeling sorry for the "weaker" one and giving more attention, privileges and cuddles which then infuriates the other naturally higher status dog, leading to the attacks to put the other "in his place", often it seems without warning.

Separating dogs in this situation and training each to have respect and immediate response to the owner before getting them back together again can work, but the longer it's left before getting them together the more difficult it can be if the original problem of status has not been resolved.

Living with separated dogs is not easy and creates stress and anxiety for the owners, which is picked up by the dogs making things worse.

Female sibling rivalry can be much more difficult to resolve than males.

The situation described is possibly not sibling rivalry, but without more details it is difficult to get a full picture. If one dog is weeing when approached by the other, she is showing the highest form of respect to the other dog. If the weeing is happening when they are left, either overnight or during the day, it is more likely to be anxiety related which needs to be dealt with differently.

· If they are not fighting, I would try to resolve the issue with them living together. You may need some 1-2-1 expert help with this.
· Review their diet to ensure that they are receiving good meat based (no cereals) nutrition.
· Ensure that you are treating both pups in the same way, do not be tempted to "baby" the one who is weeing, or getting angry with the other.
· Be consistent 100% of the time.
· Provide them with a covered crate each so they feel secure and cosy and each have a place of safety.
· Work on general obedience every day with each separately. 3-5 mins only each session, but a couple of times a day.
· Also, I would recommend that you take the pup to the vet for a check up as she could be suffering from a urine infection. If she is unwell her sibling might well be "picking" on her.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: ENGLISH BULL
Sam's Problem:

Hello Nicki,

I have a 4 year old male English Bull Terrier called Sonny. I got him from bullie rescue SOS, he was abused before I got him at 12 months old and over the last 3 years I have taught him most basic commands, he has finally stopped barking all the time at other dogs when he is in the garden.

But, the one problem I cant seem to control is his aggression towards other dogs when we go for walks, and because of this I am having to walk him late at night when there are no other dogs around.

My problem is that I live in a wonderful area for walking Sonny but this also applies to other dog owners.

I really need some help as i do not know what else I can do, I really want to be able to take him for walks at a normal time and this is the one thing Sonny is missing out on too.

I have tried taking him out around other dogs and the people who walk them and all I meet with is abuse or aggression from people which isn't fair on me or Sonny. I have tried everything I can think of apart from paying someone to try and help us, and also my worry would be what if I pay out a lot of money to try and releave this problem and it doesn't work!

I really need someone who has had experience with aggressive Bull Terriers or aggressive dogs in general. Help me please as I don't know what else to do!!!!!!!

Kind Regards

Sam Hobbs
Hatfield in Hertfordshire.

BREED: ENGLISH BULL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Sam,

It's such a shame that some humans ruin dogs, they are not born aggressive, but things happen to make them so. Never-the-less, this can be turned around! Confident dogs are rarely aggressive, it's mainly the nervous or anxious ones that are. Lots of dogs and quite possible with a Bully is that they pose at being dominant when actually they would be really happy to stop making decisions. So training for this sort of behaviour starts in the home and it's especially important that you forget about his bad start in life. If you feel sorry for him you will be indulging him too much, which then makes him think that your are in his pack and not the other way around! So start making some house rules so that he feels safer that you make decisions and not him. Don't allow him on furniture when he wants, don't play with him when he wants and don’t fuss him when he wants, BUT when he's given up trying it on (and in my experience a Bully will try for a long time!) you call him for a cuddle, up on the sofa, you start games. He's been trying to interpret your behaviour in the only way he knows, like a dog, he will see this change as the way the "top dogs" behave and have more respect for your other decisions. Never shout or be aggressive towards him.

At the same time as doing this you will need to teach him to walk next to you on a completely loose lead, never in front. If he's in front, he sees the other dog first, his pack is behind him so he has to protect and he doesn't know any other way to behave yet. So change the way you behave and he will change. Start changing direction silently, letting the lead slip through your hand as you walk away, do it frequently, make it a game and praise him when he turns to be with you. This will get his focus on you which is essential, then he can't be looking for other dogs. Watch him carefully all the time, his body language will tell you when he's seen another dog, and it's then that you must change his focus back onto you, long before he lunges or barks. Watch for ears going forward, hackles etc.

But you must remember to have good focus when there are no distractions first. Keep him moving, stop him staring at the other dog, aim to have no tension on the lead, so that your anxiety doesn't transfer to him.

This is a difficult issue to change on your own and I think you will need expert help. Find a behaviourist who has experience with dog2dog aggression, make sure that they will support you until the issue has been sorted, there is no short cut, it will take commitment from you and daily work. So don't lose heart it's worth the effort

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: PATTERDALE
Adele's Problem:

Hello Nicki,

I have a 1 and a half year old Patterdale Terrier. She is a fantastic dog however lashes out at me and my husband with mouthing and biting.

We have taken to her to dog trainers and also tried the Ceasar Millan dog training methods but nothing seems to work, once in an over excited/ almost aggressive state it is basically impossible to get her back to a calm state.even the dog trainer thought she was a wee bit loopy...

Please help!!!

Adele McCormack

BREED: PATTERDALE
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Adele,

You haven’t said if she’s always been like this since a puppy or if it started as she grew older. Without seeing her and her other interactions with you it’s difficult to picture if this is all the time, only when she’s excited like when playing or if it’s out of the blue. I often see this type of behaviour and it can be for various reasons. In young dogs it can be that they are not getting the sort of nutrients that will satisfy a growing dog. Check the food she’s having – if it’s cereal based, has additives, colourings and preservatives it’s possible that she is desperately trying to tell you she need good grub! Research raw feeding – dogs have thrived on it for thousands of years, but whatever you decide, for 2/3 weeks get all the carbohydrates and additives out of her diet to see if she calms down. If she’s not neutered it might be due to her coming into season when females get VERY hungry preparing their bodies to have pups.

It may be as a result of attention seeking, even if she gets told off, it’s still attention and she made you do it! So, do lots of general obedience work with her, challenge her brain, walks are great, but without mental challenge you’ll get a very fit naughty dog! So give her attention with training and lots of praise so she has no need to be naughty to get your attention. 15/20 mins a day in short 3 -5 min sessions, should help to tire her out.

She could be overtired – so if you have a crate for her – get her to rest morning and afternoon for an hour or so, because just like children, dogs can become monsters when they are tired and fractious.

With any training method, it is only normally effective if you have the support of a behaviourist who can show you exactly how to deal with the issues, taking into account your own dog’s personality and your lifestyle, so with a dog like your girl, any physical correction is undoubtedly going to be interpreted by her as a game and she’ll continue or get more hyper if you try to push her away or similar.

Make sure no one is playing rough games with her and if it continues, do seek help – she’s very young and you have potentially many happy years of a lovely, responsive, happy relaxed dog to look forward to.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER
Judith's Problem:

Hi Nicky,

My 1 year old border who has a lovely temperament has just started to give a growl and snap on occasion, e.g. when I brushed him tonight.

He soon settles after and is back to his placid self. Whilst walking he will also jump up and bite on his lead, at times also giving a growl. I would welcome your advice please.

Judith Moffat

BREED: BORDER
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Judith,

Whenever I meet or hear about a dog that has started to growl at their owner I always ask that the dog is firstly checked out fully by a vet in case there is an injury or even just discomfort in certain areas. So just check if there's any particular area that triggers his growling. Borders are lively dogs and can often "put their backs out" which can cause tenderness, so a vet check is your first point of call.

However, from your description of the other behaviours, it sounds like he is being a bit of a teenager and trying to take control of situations, so now he's a year old if he's not neutered it's worth considering as it may help, but may not fully resolve the issues.

Growling at an owner is a warning and is potentially a bite, so it is important to sort out the problem now. When grooming him, so long as it's not hurting, put him on a lead and stand or kneel on it so you then have both hands free. With a gentle not harsh brush, use long slow calming strokes to relax him, with one hand on his chest giving him a scratch. Use light pressure until you can see/feel the amount that he's comfortable with.

If he growls, try using "BAD" in a growly voice, but don't persist in grooming him for a long time, do a couple more strokes then give him permission to move away. Do a short session 2 or 3 times a day for only a couple of minutes, make it a pleasurable experience for both of you.

With the lead, make sure you leave the house in control - not letting him rush out the door in front, so ask for a calm sit/stay, then call him out - that will set the tone for the walk. If you teach him to walk on a loose lead next to you he will learn that you are in charge. Use the growly voice to correct the behaviour and refocus him on you and not the lead. If it persists a light weight chain lead may stop the behaviour and you can go back to normal lead in due course.

If the growling persists, do get help for your local behaviourist.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER
Tilly's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

We recently lost our 15 year old male lurcher and have now acquired a whippet at the age of 10 weeks. He has been with us 10 weeks.

Our 5 year old border terrier, who has always been the friendliest of dogs with people and othe dogs has suddenly become quite aggessive. Today she attacked a defenceless old dog (small black terrier) sho had done absolutely nothing to offend.

Is there an expanation and how should we approach this problem?

Tilly Walker.

BREED: BORDER
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Tilly,

It seems to me that your BT perhaps relied on your old lurcher to keep her safe.

This arrangement commonly happens in the dog world. The female is the leader and the male sets himself up as the minder. Some males (like your Lurcher) do this very efficiently but others can be a bit hysterical.

The females usually set off the alarm with a bark or two, which alerts the male to check things out. It sounds to me like your original pair had a good working arrangement, but with his loss and the introduction of a puppy, her role has had to change to that of a minder and it's possibly freaking her out a bit after five years of feeling totally safe and protected.

For your BT, the pack balance has changed dramatically. As to how to approach the problem - it's a bit tricky. Time will allow the whippet to mature to adulthood and he could naturally take over the minding position. But if he's a shy boy, and whippets frequently have that sort of temperament, the situation you have at the moment may not right itself.

I think you might need to consider using a soft-cloth muzzle on your BT when you take her out in public for the time being.

This will have a two-fold effect. #1 - under Council legislation, you could face a hefty fine if she does it again. By using a muzzle, you are showing that you're taking responsibility to keep other animals safe. And #2 - you will relax knowing that she can't do any harm.

This situation can become a problem when an owner starts to become nervous every time another dog comes near.

I do believe you have a temporary problem and the above suggestion could get you through to the point where the little whippet takes over the minder's job at maturity.

However, if you find that the problem is escalating, you will need to call in professional help to achieve the situation you had when the lurcher was alive.

Sometimes with the introduction of a new puppy, we inadvertently raise the status of the puppy by feeding them first, picking them up for cuddles, giving them a lot of attention etc. You probably did this with her when she first came to the family, but it wouldn't have mattered too much, since you already had an older male and she was always going to be the boss of the two of them.

But this time, you have a young male and an older female. Perhaps she feels knocked off her perch a bit and has taken the minder's position, which she hasn't a clue how to do.

See how you go but don't hesitate to call in a professional to try to get the balance of the pack back in order to ensure a happy existence for all. It was that way before and it can be that way again with a bit of understanding as to how she's feeling.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER
Virginia's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

please can you give me any tips on how to stop my 3year old BT. from barking each time he is the garden, and out on his walks sometime. he barks at fresh air.

Thanks.
Virginia Kemmett.

BREED: BORDER
Nicki's Answer:

Hello Virginia,

If you had a tummy ache, your doctor could probably tell you how to ease the pain, but s/he would need to know a lot more about you before s/he would be able to diagnose why the pain happened in the first place.

So it is with dogs that bark inappropriately. There could be a thousand reasons why your dog is barking like he is but unless you address the reason why it's happening, you will be only treating the symptoms of what's bothering your dog.

Treating barking is quite a speciality and each treatment could be quite different from one dog to another, depending on the reason why it started in the first place.

If there was a simple answer to your problem, you probably would have worked it out for yourself by now.

I think you need a barking specialist to visit you and your dog. You need to sit down and work out from your dog's background just what is triggering the behaviour. Once you have the answer to that, you will then know what to change in your dog's life so that he doesn't need to bark so much.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: PATTERDALE/LAKELAND
Teesdale's Problem

Hi Nicki,

we have a 2yr old patterdale/lakeland we also have Rufus a 3yr old retriever, who is an angel compared to Oscar(patterdale X), Oscar was attacked at a yr old however has never truly mixed well with other dogs, eg puppy classes.

we are at present on our 2nd dog behavourist...without much improvement. He wants to kill every dog he sees and motorbikes..and we truly do not know how to make it better, we have done clicker.

He is adorable, loves playing, clever and such a lovely dog except out on a walk...we walk them twice a day, once together, the longer walk seperately as Rufus loves EVERYONE! and plays with other dogs all the time.

Any advice would be greatly received.

T. Teesdale.

BREED: PATTERDALE/LAKELAND
Nicki's Answer:
Oscar and Rufus

Hi, quite difficult for you to manage with two such different personalities, I bet you dread going for a walk with Oscar at times! I see a lot of dogs, not only terriers, behaving in the same way, but it CAN be successfully resolved. You are likely to need continued help from a behavioural therapist, but remember that there should be no harsh methods used.

His attack at a time in his life when he was just reaching maturity will have knocked his confidence, although from what you say, he sounds like he was an anxious pup to start with. It’s likely that he’s taken on the role of being in charge of the house and the people, both indoors and out and Rufus is quite happy to let him be the guard dog! What he’s doing is taking a pre-emptive strike against any dog or other object (bikes) that he sees as a threat or is “out of control” (moving bikes – not allowed!)

Is Oscar the one who rushes barking to the door when the postman or visitor arrives, barking to either chase them away or alerting the rest of the pack to a potential intruder? Terriers are particularly good at that!

Firstly it’s important that you get him to focus on you, if he’s listening to you initially in calm situations, then he won’t be looking for other things to focus on. You will need to take over leadership yourself, calmly and quietly and teach him not to bark in other circumstances in your house and garden. A behaviour therapist should be able to show you an effective “stop what you’re doing” technique so you can follow up with praise. You will need to be proactive and practice daily to desensitize him to post/bell and any other stimuli that makes him bark. Set up the lessons to ensure that you are prepared and have a picture of how you will respond. Do simple exercises, like sit/down/stay - these will be fun and give you lots of opportunity to praise him. Beware of too many treats though, better to use lots of voice praise. Be confident and calm – any frustration will be seen by Oscar as weakness on your part! Consistency is the key.

Once you have achieved control of his behaviour in the house (if he lunges at the TV when animals on, that’s a great way to stage a lesson) and garden. You can hope to achieve better results outside. Firstly, though, you will need to get him to walk on a loose lead next to you, so don’t use an extendable, get a 6ft lead and teach him to walk behind or next to you by silently, randomly changing direction and letting the lead slip through your hand and not giving him any signals of what you are about to do. If you do this often enough (10 mins 2 x day) he’ll have to watch you to know where you are going and will have to forget about searching for things to lunge at.

You may want to review his diet too – too many additives, sugars and cereals can all have a huge affect on a dogs behaviour – research natural raw feeding – Rufus will no doubt appreciate it too!

I hope this helps and you are able to enjoy Oscar as much as Rufus.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER
Julie's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

My 4 month old male border 'Bobby' has suddenly become quite aggessive towards other dogs. Its starts with full on sniffing then it leads to mouthing and then on occasions lead to growling and biting.

He has been well mixed with other dogs from 12 weeks but just seems not to like them.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Jilie Birch.

BREED: BORDER
Nicki's Answer:

Aggressive Border Terrier

Hi Julie,

Almost all aggression stems from fear or anxiety, dogs are not born aggressive so there is definitely a reason. You don't say if it happens both on and off lead or just one or the other. If it's on lead and a dog comes up to him, if there is tension on the lead then he will feel trapped and also unable to display respectful body language to the other dog. If it's happened a few times now you will naturally be anxious and may be tensing the lead which he will see as anxiety from you and double his worry!

He may have an injury and not want dogs to be jumping and playing with him, so it would be a good idea to get him checked out by your vet. Make a note if he moves away from your hands when you stroke his back i.e. sits if you run your hand down his back, or does he growl at any point when you groom him? Watch him walk and run see if he hops or when he stands does he put weight on all four legs equally?

Is he a confident or nervous dog, was the socialising initially done in a free for all situation with other pups, or with older sensible dogs? All these things could have a bearing on his behaviour now.

So firstly get a vet check, and instead of allowing a long interaction with other dogs, watch his body language carefully and if you see him go stiff or his hackles raise or his tail stiff or quivering, just refocus him on you and take him away from the situation early before the growling starts. You could clap your hands to distract him then call him away if off lead. If on lead, leave it slightly loose but if you see his body change, do the same as if off lead, i.e. refocus him on you and take control of the situation so he sees you are making the decisions and protecting him.

As he's so young and the aggression is only likely to get worse if the reasons are discovered, seek the help of a professional behavioural

therapist - you have many years with him and you want to enjoy them!

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: PATTERDALE/LAKELAND
Ang's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

We have a Patterdale/Lakeland Terrier, she willbe 1 in June. She has responded well to training, is great with the kids and the cat.

Before I go to bed I always let her out in to the garden to wee. For the last month she has gone bonkers when i have let her out, running around the garden about 20 times panting and grunting and she will not come in.

I've tried the positive reinforcement, not working. Tonight it took me 2o mins to get her in, it was freezing. I was really annoyed with her, I made her go in her bed for 10 mins whilst I watched the TV in another room, she cried but I ignored her, help!

Ang Beale
Leicester, England

BREED: PATTERDALE/LAKELAND
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Ang,

Sounds like your terrier has found something the hunt in your garden! Could be foxes coming in and leaving scent, could be rats, frogs or anything that could interested a terrier hunter! It's probably a temporary issue for the spring when other creatures are more active, but obviously if it's getting you angry and she hears that in your voice, she'll definitely not want to come back to you.

To keep things calm, you need to put yourself in a "winning" position, so get a 20ft cotton training lead to do some recall work with her in the garden. Do a training session every day, with her on long lead and do recall by crouching down and call in happy voice. If she ignores you because she's sniffing or something, do a growly voice "bad" and give the lead a little tug. As soon as she starts to move in your direction, get going with excited praise and give her a big fuss and cuddle when she gets to you. If you do this every day for a couple of weeks she should get the idea that she can't get away with not listening. Don't' "reel" her in to you, you want her to decide to come because you've asked her so little tugs when saying growly BAD then relax lead and praise like mad as she's coming to you.

Also, to begin with last thing at night when you let her out put the long lead on her so she can drag it and you can pick it up and get her in calmly and in control without getting high blood pressure!!

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: STAFFORDSHIRE BULL
Claire's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

I inherited a staffi puppy and she is lovely and well behaved with family but when we take her out she barks at everyone, growls and then crys if you stop.

Once she knows people she is lovely again she has been attacked twice by other dogs is there anything i can do.

Claire Atkinson

BREED: STAFFORDSHIRE BULL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Claire,

Your Staffie puppy sounds like she’s nervous outside in the big wide world.

Firstly you will need to teach her to walk on a loose lead next to you as a dog in front thinks she’s being told to make decisions! Do this by changing direction, letting the lead be loose so that she suddenly finds you are gone encourage and then she will turn to get back to you, keep changing and you’ll find that she’ll start to follow.

Choose a safe area to do this with few or no distractions. Once you have achieved this, one of the ways to help her is to get strangers to help you. Take her to a supermarket on a day when it’s not too busy. Take some of her favourite treats something that doesn’t roll away, like small cubes of dried chicken or small pieces of jerky, and get the help of various people. Just get them to walk slowly past you without looking or talking to her and drop a treat or two on the ground so she can find them. This will get her to realise that strangers are pretty ok!

Also, if you have a hatch back or estate car, you could try parking it where people walk past and have her sitting in the back with you next to her to give her confidence reward her when quiet as they pass. Hope one of these works for you.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: IRISH
Jon's Problem:

Our 2 year old Irish Terrier Mossy appears to have a fear of wasps and not other flying insects.

Two questions, is this just a natural fear/dislike like humans have with wasps or do you think something in his early formative months could have given him some sort of fear/phobia?

Jon McGowan

BREED: IRISH
Nicki's Answer: Irish Terrier Mossy:

Hi Jon,

You don’t say what Mossy does when he hears or sees a wasp. It is possible that someone went into a panic and screamed or shouted flapping arms around to get rid of one at some time, which has created his fear. Or he may have been stung by one at some time.

You could try doing some fun training when there are wasps around, getting him to focus on a treat ball or a game of hunt the treat hidden in the room somewhere. If he just runs away and hides from them, I reckon he’s being very sensible – I’ve been stung before!!

Just ensure you have a safe re-call with him, use a long line if you feel he may get into danger running and hiding so you can condition him to always come back to you and praise and reward when he does. This way when he sees/hears a wasp he will be looking for you and his reward !

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: SOFT COATED WHEATEN
Teresa's Problem:

My one year old wheaten has started to wet in her bed and sometimes in our other dogs bed, She woke from her sleep this afternoon and wet on her mat while we were all in the room.

She was dry, I am not sure what to do, do i start to leave paper down again or move her bed?

Teresa Earl

BREED: SOFT COATED WHEATEN
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Teresa

· Don’t' tell her off if you find a wet patch, as this will make her more anxious. Just clear it up using suitable products designed to eliminate and neutralise the urine. Ordinary household cleaners don't do this.

· It sounds like she really can’t help herself, so it is possible that she has a urine infections so get her checked by the vet.

· She may be coming into season if she hasn’t been spayed, so she may be marking, but my instinct suggests an infection rather than a behavioural issue.

· Depending on the circumstances, dogs may wee to show respect to other dogs or people, but that is usually obvious as they show submissive body language when the do it.

· Very occasionally, spaying has been known to affect the bladder, so again check with your vet if she has recently been spayed.

· Feed and scatter feed outside in the garden, to encourage her to “save” her wee to mark and protect around her feeding area.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: BEDLINGTON
Karen's Problem

Dear Nicki,

Hi my bedlington is a very good dog in all ways but how do we stop him from cocking his leg at everything and weeing he does in the house mainly at night when we are in bed

karen wiggins

BREED: BEDLINGTON
Nicki's Answer

Hi Karen

You don't say how old your Bedlington is, but here are the usual reasons for toileting in the house and cocking his leg all the time.

If he is still entire he will be marking his territory on walks, so castration may help with that. Otherwise, make sure that you don't stop every time he wants to sniff - carry on walking and give a little tug on his lead, but when you think he "needs" a wee, take him to a likely spot and give him permission to wee. Choose a word or phrase so he gets to know by association that he can now relieve himself.

Weeing in the house overnight -

· Never tell him off if you find a puddle - this will only make him more anxious. Just clear it up using suitable products designed to eliminate and neutralise the urine. Ordinary household cleaners don't do this.

· If this has only recently started he may have a urinary tract infection, so get him checked out by the vet.

· He may be anxious at night by sounds like foxes and have too much space to look after (dogs use their wee/poo to "protect" their territory) therefore it could be caused by him having too much space to "look after" at night, so consider giving him a smaller space, such as utility room or a cosy covered crate to sleep in. Dogs don't like to wee in their sleeping area, so don't make the crate too big.

· If he's being fed on dry food, he will be drinking a lot, so research changing his food to natural raw food or a good quality meat based food.

· Feed and scatter feed in the garden, to encourage him to "save" his wee to mark around his feeding area.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: MANCHESTER
Sadie's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

Our 1 yr old Manchester Terrier, Nero, has always been very friendly with other dogs off the lead but barks aggressively when he encounters other dogs on the lead. He walks nicely to heel on the lead when there are no distractions but he becomes so obsessed when he sees other dogs that its impossible to get his focus back to us. He also growls or barks at some people...although it is easier to maintain his focus when he spots people rather than dogs.

He was well socialised as a puppy and plays very well with friends dogs in our house, on the beach and in parks off the lead. He has been neutered, at about 6 months old.

As soon as he gets close enough to greet other dogs when he is on the lead, he is happy and friendly, and sometimes a little bit timid, but other owners often don't want him to greet with their dogs as his barking seems so aggressive.

How can we stop this barking and get his focus back to us?

Sadie Ramm.
Stavanger, Norway

BREED: MANCHESTER
Nicki's Answer

Hi Sadie,

Nero sounds like a sweetie! It is interesting that you say he can be quite submissive to some dogs as we usually find that almost all aggression results from a dog feeling nervous, fear or anxiety about a situation. When he is off lead he is more confident in his ability to "read" other dogs and to give them suitable body language to indicate his friendliness and wish to play. The situation changes when he's on lead: He is "trapped" and also close to you possibly, because of his previous behaviour you may well be tightening up on the lead as soon as you see another dog coming. This reaction is totally understandable and difficult to stop, but Nero will interpret it as YOU being worried, him feeling he has to protect you and the only thing that is causing the problem is the approaching dog, so he reacts aggressively to "chase" it away!

The best way to help this issue is that when you see a dog coming towards you, immediately start to watch Nero intently. DO NOT tighten the lead, watch his ears and when they prick up as he sees the dog, that is the time to refocus him on you, don't wait till he starts being silly. To refocus him use your voice or treat and if you use a standard collar a little tug and release to get his attention then change direction encouraging him to listen to you. Keep changing direction and every time he pricks up his ears, it means that he is not focusing on you. Praise as soon as focus on you.

You can practice this when there are no dogs around to get the technique and to help you to relax, as he will no doubt bet focused on other distractions during a walk. It's important to practice so that it becomes second nature to take control at any time that he loses focus on you.

I hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: PATTERDALE /LAKELAND
(It is a requirement that owners give a 'Location' to have their questions published)
Mike's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

my patterdale terrier has started growling at my son and his girlfriend when they come in and approach him to say hello and also won't come anywhere near them, then he can be ok.
Can you help?

Mike Gibson. (No Location Given)

BREED: PATTERDALE /LAKELAND
Nicki's Answer:

The way he is reacting to your son and his girlfriend, it sounds like he is anxious about the situation. Some dogs of a slightly nervous or timid nature can find it very intimidating when people look at them and go towards them, no matter how nice the people are behaving according to our world.

Dogs are a different species and if another dog stares at one and walks towards it, that body language looks the same from a human and can be worrying. Sometimes the more you "try", the more worried a dog gets.

The best way to deal with this situation is that when they come in they should completely ignore your Lakeland as if he doesn't exist, greet you, make a cup of tea, then your dog will not feel under threat of being approached. You can leave it until the dog comes up to sniff, but still ignore, then when things are nicely settled, they should sit down and call your dog over for a cuddle. If he is nervous of them, it is best to leave him and not keep trying, just letting him settle and be relaxed around them being ignored. It can take a few weeks, but after a while he will feel much less threatened and be happy to come when called. Just don't put too much pressure on him.

Like people some dogs are shy and it is best not to confront them - they usually settle much better if ignored.

I hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: PARSON /LAKELAND (It is a requirement that owners give a 'Location' to have their questions published)
Janice's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

We have a 5 year old male neutered parson/lakeland cross - the majority of the time he is brilliant.
Yesterday my niece (22) visited as I stood up followed by my niece the dog snarled & behaved aggressively towards her.

We removed the dog from the room. When he came back in he was calm but again as she went to leave him he became aggressive. Similar events happened at Christmas.

He does spend the majority of the time with me ~wonder if in some way he's protecting ?

Janice Gellett
(No Location Given)

BREED: PARSON /LAKELAND
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Janice,

Without seeing him it is difficult to assess him, but from your description of his behaviour, I think you have hit the nail on the head!

As you do spend a lot of time with him I can picture him following you around, resting mainly when you sit down, but then he's up the moment you move to check on you. He probably comes up to you for lots of cuddles or maybe even barks at you for attention and brings you toys for you to play with him. If you look at it from a dog's point of view, he has control of you and his growling and snapping at people who come near you is merely his way of keeping you to himself!

Although it is difficult, the best way to help him, as I suspect he's "on duty" all the time and pretty exhausted with it - is to teach him to go to bed on command and every time he tries to follow you or demands attention, you quietly and calmly ask him to go to bed. A suitable indoor den (crate) would be useful completely covered and cosy - you would need to let him get used to it gradually without closing the door - so that you can ensure that he gets sufficient rest. At other times, you should completely ignore his requests for attention until he gives up and then if you wish, call him over for a fuss, but make sure he's wandered off and isn't just sitting staring at you waiting for you to acknowledge him!

If he tries to sit with you when you have visitors, ask him to go to bed, remember, this is NOT a punishment, it is merely to show him that he has no need to protect you and will keep visitors safe and him safe from making a horrible mistake - just because he thinks it's his job to keep you all to himself!

I hope this helps.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: LAKELAND
Leah's Problem - Water obsession

Hi Nicki,

I wonder if you can advise what we can do about our 15 month old Lakeland bitch please?

She's quite good at recall now and is off lead most of the time when we're away from roads, mixing well with other dogs and generally being a good, friendly, playful little dog.

The problem is when we're at home - she has an obsession with running water. If it's raining, she starts going mad, running round the garden, barking at any drips of water she can find. She stands below the drips with the water
running onto her face, barking and snapping away at it - she's nearly choked a couple of times. If she hears a tap running she starts jumping up at the sink.

I can't use the garden hose or watering can while she's around as she just attacks the water and ends up coughing and spluttering. She's the same if she hears tin-foil or a tape measure being unravelled, so maybe it's the noise it makes?

Any ideas why she's doing this, and how to get her out of the habit please?

Many thanks
Leah Grayson - Sheffield

BREED:LAKELAND
Nicki's Answer - Water obsession

Hi Leah,

This is what we call Obsessive Compulsive Behaviour/Disorder and can be very difficult to correct.

It often starts as a game with a new puppy such as with a laser light getting the pup to chase and praising the game and can end up with a dog obsessed with sunlight, shadows etc spending hours "looking" for the adrenalin rush they get from it.

Start by ensuring that you have great control over your girl in all other ways. Such as making sure she doesn't rush to the door to greet visitors, waiting quietly while you answer the door until given permission to come forward, sit/stay and down/stay, 100% recall even with distractions; ensure that she will stop from chasing toys or a thrown treat until given permission, you may have to work on lead initially to help to show and guide her.

You can use a growly voice "bad" to refocus her on you. Make sure you praise her well when she gets it right. Once you have got these types of control (total 15 mins consistent daily work is required - 2/3 mins on each exercise through the day, you can start working with the water problem.

Have her on lead and have the hose running gently lying on the ground. Use the same techniques that you used to stop her from chasing a toy or treat as soon as she sees the running water. Don't have her too near it to begin with, work where you can get her to respond and gradually get closer to the water, and remember lots of praise when she keeps her focus on you. Don't carry on with the training for too long, she's still a young dog and will get bored.

Don't get frustrated, if you find it's not working stop the session on a success, i.e. sit and finish. Then next time you try, change what you were doing slightly as she just may not have understood.

For jumping up at the sink, you will need to refocus her so that she stops jumping up, so firstly she must understand that she shouldn't jump up at anything or anyone, if allowed to jump up "sometimes" she will just get confused, so work on that first so you know you can stop her.

Try first using a tasty treat hotdog sausage, dried liver something she is not used too to reward her for leaving and not jumping. You can also use something dropped on the floor near her (like a bunch of keys) at the same time as using "bad" in a growly voice. Give her lots of voice praise the moment she gets 4 feet back on the floor.

Again practice this every day until you can stop her from jumping up at people/tables etc., and then start working on the more "exciting" distraction of a running tap.

Once you have achieved success at just one of the scenarios, you can apply the same techniques to rain, drips, watering can etc.

I hope this helps, but if you do get stuck, seek a professional behaviourist for help.

Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: PATTERDALE (It is a requirement that owners give a 'Location' to have their questions published)
Abigail Milling's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

I have a 1 year old patterdale dog, he is lovely natured, however, he will not come back to me if I let him of the lead on the beach.

If other dogs are around wants to play with them and gets excited this can sometimes result in him nipping the dog, and sometimes he will have a sneaky nip at passers by when we are out walking, therefore, I now keep him on a short leash when we pass anybody.

Any advice?

Abigail Milling

BREED: PATTERDALE
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Abigail,

Recall is one of the main areas where people struggle. It's often, fine until the dog is distracted and as a result can be very dangerous if in a park and the dog decides to chase a squirrel or go to say hello to a dog who happens to be over the other side of a road!

One of the best ways to teach a dog to come back when called is to ensure that you NEVER give up, even in doors or from the garden.

To get good recall on the beach, you must have 100% recall in house and garden and it's easy to just get out the treat tin or give up and allow the dog to "get away with it"!

So get a 3mtr training lead - a lunge line from a horse tack shop or pet shops will sell them. If his recall is 100% at home and garden you can start on the beach, if not, perfect it at home first.

First get it right with no or very few distractions then work up to greater distractions. Consistent daily training is the only way. On long lead, let him wander around and then crouch down and in a very excited happy voice call him with his name and "come" or other word that you already use.

If he looks at you keep calling and praising all the time he's coming towards you and give huge lavish fuss and praise when he gets to you.
If he gets distracted or ignores you, do a little tug on the long lead and a growly "bad" then immediately change your voice back to sweet excited voice.
NEVER get an angry or frustrated tone in your "recall" voice.
NEVER use his name in a "tough" way, always sweet, as you want him to respond to it!
Never reel him in like a fish, you want him to choose to come back to you, not because of force or bribes. So get even closer, but loads of praise if he even takes one or two steps towards you.
Never tell him off when he eventually does get to you, as it will just ruin all your hard work!

With terriers, a favourite squeaky toy can sometimes help, but you'll need to break his old habits of ignoring you by keeping him on the long lead for 5/6 weeks.

With the sudden lunging at passersby, watch him like a hawk when you know that someone is walking towards or past you. Spot the body language, i.e. pricked ears and correct him then with a growly "bad" and a quick flick to the lead.

If you hold him tight on a short lead he then thinks that you are worried about the passer by too and try to protect both you and him! If it gets really worrying get a basket muzzle and seek help from a local behaviourist who should be able to show you what to do.

I hope this helps,

Nicki.

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BREED: FOX (WIRE)
Schulte Sabine's Problem

Dear Nicki,

I live in Mexiko and have two fox terrier wire, a dog (entire) and a bitch (operated). They are siblings.

The main problem is the continuos and very aggresiv fighting between them.
Some times the dog begins the
fight, when he doesn't allow the bitch to come into the house, near food or even
near me.

On other times the bitch starts the fight, specially before a walk or before eating.

How can we stop this behaviour?

Schulte Sabine
Mexiko

BREED: FOX (WIRE)
Nicki's Answer

Hi,

Sibling rivalry can be very distressing to owners; and dogs can cause serious injuries to each other. It develops from one or both dogs thinking they are the pack leader in the household and fighting for top position, or a subordinate dog being pitied and therefore favoured by the owner or not having the same rules for both dogs.

Sometimes it happens when one of the dogs is aging or ill and showing weakness. You may have to temporarily separate them to prevent injury.

Check to see if it only happens when you are around, it may be that they are vying for your attention - so best to be more aloof with them and not give attention when they demand it. It must always be on your terms when they are not asking!

It is something you may need professional help with, but the process to follow is to educate your two so that they understand that YOU and neither of them makes the rules!

Work with each dog separately and do lots of work where the dog has to obey you, never be aggressive in your voice or body language, but be calm and strong and make things happen.

Try doing lots of sit/stay down/stay, stop all barking at any noise, correct them for barging past you, ensure you are always in front on walk, (loose lead).
Ensure that they each give up toys to you on demand. They have to WANT to do your bidding and respond immediately before you can think of working with them together.
You must have respect from both dogs - look for submission signs when you are working - focus on you, ears down, licking lips, tail low/relaxed.

If their rivalry is connected with food, research diet and avoid additives, colourings and cereals, stick to meat and veg based foods as additives can cause hyperactivity and behaviour problems.
Feed separately and use that time to teach them to wait for their food - you the pack leader must take all decisions away from them before you can expect the situation to improve.

I hope this helps,

Nicki.

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BREED:MANCHESTER
Teresa's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

How can I stop my two year old bitch barking at other dogs when we are out on a walk, or if a dog appears on the TV. She kicks off

I have tried telling her off but she takes no notice. Can you please help?

Teresa Coleclough

BREED:MANCHESTER
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Teresa,

It sounds like your young girl is deciding that she owns you, and the house and sees other dogs as a threat to her pack!

On walks, you will need to make sure that she is walking calmly next to you on a loose lead. If she is in front then you are in effect giving her permission to make the decisions.

Practice leadwork for a couple of weeks until you have her walking perfectly without any distractions, then go somewhere where you will see a few dogs, but at a distance.

When you know a dog is around, watch your girl and look for the body language that shows you she's seen it. Pricked ears, hackles, and staring are obvious signs, and THAT is the time to correct, don't wait until she starts as the adrenalin will stop her listening!

Work at keep her focus on you, by changing direction frequently and then she won't even notice other dogs.

For the TV situation, record a programme, then you can be ready for a training session. If needed you can put her on a lead too. Be standing, and be ready to correct her barking using a flick on the lead at the same time as your voice. Make sure she is not in front of you. Immediately praise if she responds. You can put the TV on "pause" with a dog on screen as it's often the movement that makes matters worse.

So start slowly do daily training sessions keep calm and controlled and end on a good note after 2/3 minutes.

I hope this helps,

Nicki.

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BREED: LAKELAND
Jill's problem

Hi Nicki,

I live in Dorset and have a Lakeland 11 months old. She's been spayed and her dominance problem has gone except when someone puts a lead on their smaller dog in her presence!

The remaining problems are:- I become invisible when we are in the local field and she will run with other dogs
which can lead her to the car park and to the open road and, being a retired and not fully able-bodied lady, I can't run to catch her. If I get near she scoots away. She also pulls on the lead so much that it hurts my back.

I had a long day's training with a dog whisperer and she advised clicker training but this proved impossible.

She is on raw meaty bones so is not after a hunt. Is there something I can do myself to correct this?

Thank you. Jill.
Dorset.

BREED: LAKELAND
Nicki's Answer,

Hi Jill,

I've worked with a number of Lakeland Terriers and they do have an independent streak!!

Your girl is now a teenager and is finding out her capabilities, making decisions on her own which are obviously unsafe.

It sounds like she thinks she's in charge of you and not the other way around! Obedience training like clicker work can be good fun, but when you are dealing with instinctive behaviour, i.e. wanting to interact with other dogs, investigate hedges, woods etc., it is often doesn't work.

It's great to hear that she's on rmb - that will certainly help. With your bad back it's important to teach her to walk on a loose lead next to you and sometimes a well designed head collar can help with this. I've used one called a Canny Collar with great success, so that's something you can investigate. You will also need to teach her to follow rather than be in front, so never use an extendable lead with her especially not on a head collar.

Get her to follow by frequently and silently changing direction, allowing the lead to slip to its full length, 6 ft is best, (make sure it's safe to do so) so she has to watch you and not wait for a command or feel through the lead where you are.

To get 100% recall in all circumstances, you will need to get a 20ft long lead (not extendable) and practice every day for 5 or 6 weeks. Crouching or lowering your height, calling in excited voice or using a whistle and giving little tugs to show the direction you want her to come, combined with a verbal correction. Don't reel her in as she needs to "choose" to come to you for a big fuss and cuddle, make sure you don't get a frustrated/angry tone to your voice.

To start off you can use a tasty treat, dried liver is a good one or with a terrier a squeaky toy may work better. Gradually as you get more confident you can reduce the use of the bribe and rely on the fact that she trusts your decisions more than her own. If you struggle with these techniques, do consider getting a professional behaviourist to help you, so that you can see it working for yourself.

I hope this helps,

Nicki.

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BREED: BEDLINGTON
Carol's Problem

Hi Nicki,

We live in Gateshead and have an 8 month old male bedlington. He was the cutest, brightest and most loving pup until last week, when he growled and bit my 11 year old daughter.

Since then he has growled regularily when we try to stroke or pet him and has even snapped at myself, my daughter and other children visiting our home.

I'm starting to get really worried as he seems so very agressive now, in fact we are becoming a bit afraid of him.

I have looked him straight in the eye and made a loud 'NO' which always used to work when he was doing something he shouldn't i.e chewing furniture etc.

However now he just stays very still and we are finding it quite intimidating. We feel like he has undergone an awful personality change and we can't work out why...help please...?

Carol Williamson
Gateshead

BREED: BEDLINGTON
Nicki's Answer,

Hi Carol,

Unfortunately this sometimes happens in previously "cute, bright and loving" pups. It's their very personalities that can at times ensure that they get away with behaviour that otherwise would have been corrected in a moreboisterous or "naughty" puppy.

Bedlingtons as you know too well, look like little lambs and for the most part, act like little lambs as well. I don'tnormally attribute behaviour in a breedist way, but in all my years of working with dogs, this is the first time I've ever heard of an aggressive Bedlington.

This makes me think that there could be a mix-up in your communications with him. I would also get a vet check to ensure nothing wrong to cause the change in behaviour.

There is one very revealing sentence in your query: "I have looked him straight in the eye and made a loud NO which always used to work when he was doing something he shouldn't - ie chewing furniture etc".

I know that you think you have an unpredictable, aggressive dog on your hands. But I have to say that I think he thinks that you're unpredictable and aggressive too and I think he might be trying to defend himself in the only way he knows, with his voice and his teeth.

You may not realise it but looking a dog straight in the eye is very, very aggressive behaviour from where he stands and if you got your timing wrong, he wouldn't have a clue as to why he was being challenged so aggressively.

The only time you can properly correct a dog is when he's actually in the act of doing something, or better still, when you can see from his body language that he's thinking about doing something.

Once the act is over, there's no point in bringing a dog to the scene of the "crime" and reprimanding him. Perhaps this is what you've done unwittingly in the past?

Any kind of "tapping on the nose" (which I've heard recommended by many) ends up in a dog trying to defend himself when approached.

I would need more details of your case to comment accurately, but it seems to me that now that your lad is starting to grow up into his equivalent teenage years, he's starting to stand up for himself.

The rise in his testosterone would help him in the courage department too. Of course, once he sees that it works,he'll continue to do it.

You really should get some one-on-one help to try to sort out what's happening. You could just have a miscommunication happening as mentioned above, but it needs to be properly investigated and the proper steps taken to recover your relationship with him.

It seems to me too that you're going up to him to pat him. Until you get some professional help (we have a therapist in your area) it would be best to call him over to you for a pat rather than going up to him to pat him, particularly if he's in his bed, in a corner, on the couch or otherwise left with no escape route.

When he comes over to you, read his body language. If he appears afraid (tail under, ears back, head down) then don't stroke him, just talk lovingly to him and walk away.

This is a whole new way of dealing with your dog, but if you don't change your behaviour, then his behaviour won't change either.

With regards to him biting your daughter, I can't comment because I don't have enough information. This is something that you must discuss in detail with your trainer.

Don't lose hope. I understand that this is a testing time for all of you but with some good care and re-training of both you and your dog, I'm sure you will get back to the loving relationship you once had with him.

Hope this helps, Kind Regards

Nicki

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BREED: BEDLINGTON
Mel's Problem

Dear Nicki
hi I was wondering; we are a family of 4 and we have a bedlington
terrier age 8 years old when I and only I go to leave the house my dog follows me around while I get my coat on then when i leave the house he jumps at the door and barks.

Why has he started doing this your view would be greatfully received

Thanks Mel.

Mel Richardson (No Location Given)

BREED: BEDLINGTON
Nicki's Answer,

Hi Mel, You've given me very little information with which to form an opinion, but speaking generally, this usually happens when you are the one feeding the dog. Or, you are giving the dog something that the others aren't (in the form of titbits?)

Because it's happened so recently in an 8 year-old dog, this can also be an indication that the dog's sight could be fading too.

This isn't always the case, but when you get a dramatic change of behaviour at a later age, it's something that should be looked at. Ask your vet to just have a look over him and check all okay.

The simple thing to do would be to get other family members to feed him something meaningful and high in protein after you leave the house. It's my guess that you feed him either immediately before you go or as soon as you arrive back home?

I reiterate that It's hard to tell from the information you've given me and I can only generalise, but this is worth a try.

Hope this helps, Kind Regards

Nicki

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BREED: WELSH
Phylis's Problem

Dear Nicki,

Rusty is a 4 year old welsh terrier who has been the best compion you could ask for, he is quiet and only barks if he has a cat or something up a tree or a ground hog out of reach. He would hardly leave my husbands side for very long.

Lately, he has started taking off and not coming back for hours, especially at night, (we live in the country) when he does come home he will sit on the porch looking out into the yard and refuses to come inside, he will actually run off the porch and acts like he is afraid of you and will not come when called!

Rusty has never been mistreated. He has always come when called, sits when asked, shake hands, rolls over, and he sleeps by my husband, hikes with my husband etc, so this new behavior is very troublesome, as we are now starting to get coyotes and bears in our neighborhood along with all the other animals that go bumb in the night.

We are thinking of purchaseing a "shock" collar for him when he won't stop and come back, only thing is that he will figure out that when its on him he won't run off, but as soon as you take it off, he'll be gone, so I don't see where that will work. We just need to know what is up with him.

Rusty is NOT locked up all day, he goes to work with my husband where he gets plenty of exercise. He even rides on the back of my husbands motorcycle. He is the first one in the vehicle when we get ready to go somewhere, its just that he takes off when he gets home!

Now I don't know if the fact that we now have a cat has anything to do with his new behavior or not. He loves Kitkit, they are best buds. If Kitkit gets outside and we can't find her, we ask Rusty to find her, and within 10 minutes he is herding her to the front door.

Can you help? I am afraid he is going to get killed by something bigger than him, or snake bitten as we have copperheads around here.

Rusty used to play with the lab next door all day long, for the past several months he doesn't want to play with her anymore, could it be that she won't leave her yard?

I can't figure this one out.

Phyllis Breeden
Virginia USA

BREED: WELSH
Nicki's Answer,

It sounds to me that Rusty has partaken of Nature's bounty and likes what he found and wants more, more, more. It could be that KitKit introduced him to hunting?

It might sound somewhat controversial, but this is what he was born to do. He's a carnivore who was fashioned to eat ground-dwelling herbivores, yet we feed our dogs biscuits.

It sounds like Rusty has a great life, but that's got nothing to do with what's happening at the moment. The thrill of the kill has taken over his life and he's turned into a bit of an addict.

It can be difficult (but not impossible) to dissuade a dog once he's free-ranged. I would suggest that you try to give him a more natural diet at home so that he doesn't have the burning desire to go hunting. Check out www.rmb.com

You're right to be worried that he's entering a world where it's
survival of the fittest. Copperheads, bears and coyotes? Sounds like a pretty scary place that you need to keep him out of. He's new at his hunting skills and will probably try to take them all on.

A change of diet is my recommendation and give him plenty of it so that he builds up a stash in his own territory. Keep him away from temptation in the early morning and early evening until the diet kicks in.

Alongside this I would look for a trainer locally that can help with Rusty's re-call and start by re-training him on a long lead to ensure safety.

Kind regards
Nicki

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BREED: WELSH
Sharon's Problem

Dear Nicki,

We have Reg a 2 yr old Welshie, (Welsh Terrier ) who has been a great little chap, house trained, but on quite a few occasions he has soiled in the house always of a night. (a lovely present to come down to)

He is kept in the kitchen overnight and this problem can happen up to twice/three times a week.

We have tried letting him out very late (often past midnight), changed feeding times to see if that makes any difference, standing around to see if he goes quite often he doesn't go but nothing in the morning there is no pattern to it.

We are up early in the morning so its not like he has been left for hours on the very odd occasion he has been left in the daytime its never happened at all, only thru the night.

We don't know what to do we have tried so many things, if he is asleep on our lap or on the lounge floor quite often he
leaks and is so fast asleep hasn't got a clue we are not sure about this either but it is becoming a real problem, any advice would be useful.

Thank you

Sharon Ford

BREED: WELSH
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Sharon,

The first thing to do is to get him checked out by your vet. If he’s leaking, it might be a physical problem or a urinary tract infection causing the wetting.

Dogs and wolves in the wild use their toileting to protect their territory and feeding areas, to them it’s like building a brick wall!

If it’s happening only at night, it’s quite possible that he hears something outside i.e. foxes and decides to send them a message that “this is his territory”.

This will especially be the case if you feed him in the kitchen; he may be leaving his “presents” near a food preparation area, a table where you eat, food bowls, by the kitchen door or near a fridge, these are the common areas that show us that he’s “protecting”.

The way to retrain him is to ensure that he’s getting good quality food, (natural is best) and to feed him in the garden, move his bowl to different areas (you wouldn't’t want him toileting right by the back door) and also choose some food to scatter out there for him, such as chopped up apple, carrot a little grated cheese or if you are feeding kibble, some of that too. He will then save his toilets to protect THAT area and not the kitchen.

The other thing to remember is that it’s important to use proper PET odour and stain remover products when you wipe up the results. Normal household cleaners are often ammonia based and will not remove the ammonia from his toileting and only encourage him to continue to use that area.

Also, make sure you are not scolding him when you find the mess. It will only make him anxious and he’ll not know why you are angry. You have to catch a dog in the act for him to understand his behaviour is unwanted.

Say nothing, any solid matter should be taken outside and put in the area that you want him to use and just quietly clean up.

It can take a couple of weeks (or more) but you should find that he will start to protect his new feeding area.

I hope that this helps,

Nicki.

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BREED: BEDLINGTON
Daryl's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

We have a Bedlington Terrier which came to us via a dog rescue group about four years ago.

We know that he had at least two homes and two foster homes before he came to us and were warned that he chewed things up and would relieve himself indoors. With regular walks and attention, neither of these two things ever happened.

His last owner was at work all day and his walks were short and sweet. I think he spent many hours alone, shut in abasement flat. From what was said, I got the impression a boyfriend said 'It's me or the dog'.

We are retired so he is with us all day. He has always been a nervous dog. He is afraid of pillows and cushions and even making the bed sets him off. He attacks but does not bite and knows immediately he has done wrong and retreats to his bed.

Recently, however, he has become very jealous of my husband and these attacks are for no reason at all. For health
reasons, my husband is unable to walk him or do very much for him.

We love this dog. He didn't have a very good start in life but what can we do?

Your help would be very much appreciated.

Kind regards, Daryl.
Wales

BREED: BEDLINGTON
Nicki's Answer:

One of the big mistakes we humans make when we take on a dog that hasn't had a very good start in life, is to feel sorry for him. Sadly that's the worse thing you can do.

Nervous dogs need calm and relaxed owners who don't "love" him too much and provide the safety of leadership that dogs like him crave.

Try to make sure that you aren't talking, fussing him too much and that when he's anxious don't try to "comfort" him in soft voice. By doing that he will think he's being praised because of the tone of you voice.

Try to establish a nice safe place for him to go to and teach him "go to bed". Never harsh voice, not a punishment, and if you find him getting stressed or know a situation is going to arise, send him to bed gently and make sure he stays.

A crate would be excellent for this, covered up it makes a cosy den and will help too when thunder or fireworks are likely.

I hope this helps but do contact a behavioural expert, as you may need one to one work to ensure that this lucky rescue goes on to relax and be happy.

Also Read About Spot The Shelter Dog

Nicki

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BREED: PARSON RUSSELL
Simon And Harry's Problem

Dear Nicki,

I have a 3 year old Parson Russell , I have not had him from a Pup he was my mothers dog first.

He doesn't want to eat , I know my Mum would fret to the extent of trying anything, she bought loads of meat, dog foods etc until he ate one, but I refuse too.

The last thing she was feeding him was minced beef, but he won't eat that now.

I have tried the put it down, walk away, leave it 20/30 minutes, pick it up, give him nothing else, repeat until he eats.

I have done it for 5
days with no success and him not eating, and more than once.

It does not work, and I do not believe it is a dominance issue any more.

His behaviour otherwise is good, he responds to me when we are out walking, walks to heel, and I have just managed to get him to recall enough to let him off the lead.

I have no issues with him except the eating it has always been hit and miss with him, but I am slowly becoming concerned for his health? Should I be?

At the moment he is only getting a few reward treats when we're walking/training. But I am sure he needs more?

Does he want to find wild food - Should I give him a carcass or what?

Thanks
Simon and Harry
(No Location Given)

BREED: PARSON RUSSELL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Simon and Harry,

I would first suggest that you get a vet to check his teeth, if he has pain or discomfort in his mouth he may find it difficult to eat.

Then, if all is ok in his mouth and general health, definitely stop giving him treats on walks as that will be reducing his appetite therefore allowing him to refuse food.

Some foods and treats have additives and sugar in them and the dogs become addicted to these so it's important to make sure that all the food is additive and sugar free.

If you walk him in the morning, make sure you leave at least an hour after his walk before you offer him his breakfast.

It may be that if he has a large garden or is off lead on walks that he is finding his own food to supplement his diet, such as windfall fruit or small mammals which is again reducing his appetite. If you suspect this, keep him on lead for a week to see if that helps.

It does sound like he had been controlling your mum where food is concerned, and I suspect he is picking up on the stress that you are feeling at his failure to eat.

It's sometimes tempting to stand and watch in the hopes that he will eat and make encouraging noises or even get down and try to hand feed him, which will only cause him concern and anxiety.

Research certainly shows that natural feeding is best for dogs so you could try that or natural food that is lightly cooked, (never cooked bones).

If he likes scraps from your own meals, you could add these to his chosen food and only offer small meals to begin with.

Here is a helpful website www.darlingsrealdogfood.com

I hope this helps

Nicki

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BREED: LAKELAND
Fiona's Problem

Dear Nicki,

I have a two year old lakeland who is, as all terriers are, loveable when he wants to be.
His issues are firstly at night time when I try and put him in his room where he sleeps he will growl or worse,
bear his teeth and snap.

He has never bitten anyone. If I try and put him in this room during the day and close the door he will do the same. If the door is open he will happily take himself off to his bed for an afternoon snooze with no problems.

How can I get him not to growl - he can be quite frightening to watch?

Secondly his constant barking at the doorbell or passers by. I have tried allsorts, 'NO', "Speak/Quiet",
citronella collar (wouldnt want to try the electric collar). None have worked.
My dog is not a big eater and is not easily 'bribed' wth treats.

I have also tried a clicker trainer but he was far more interested in who was at the door
than me and my clicker and treat!

I have recently had him neutered but it is too early to see if this will make a difference.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Fiona Watson

Location: Merseyside

BREED: LAKELAND
Nicki's Answer:

Here is the answer : although very tricky he is going to need some help to sort him :)

Hi Fiona.

As much as I would like to have a magic wand for you, this is a more complex problem that first meets the eye.

Lakelands can be notorious for running households and they can be very difficult to dissuade.
You're focussing on the problem that's vexing you the most - ie him baring his teeth when you tell him to go to bed - but there are other problems that are contributing that you need to get on top of - ie his constant barking at the doorbell or passers-by.

It seems to me that you've got yourself a minder and you're going to need some professional help to turn the situation around effectively.

As far as he sees it, he's the family's minder and as such he will object strongly to "going off duty" - eg - into a room at night where he can't see what's going on. Every dog worth his salt knows instinctively that night time is the time when the predators emerge to create havoc, so I can understand why he's refusing to go off duty. He's not really being naughty - quite the reverse - he's trying to be the best minder that he can be, whether you want one or not.

You will need professional help to encourage him to give up his day job for a start. Once you're successful with that, you will then be able to effectively work on getting him to relinquish his night job too. He must be exhausted, working day and night to mind you and your family, just getting a little afternoon snooze to carry him through.
This is something that he's doing instinctively and you will need a lot of support to bring about a solution, so give me a call and we can tackle this together.

Hope this enough - my details are on the Home Page left hand column ' Click Here ' if you wants to call me .

Nicki

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BREED: BULL (English)
Margaret's Problem

Dear Nicki,

I have a English Bull Terrier who is 6 and a half months old she is very lovely and friendly.
She wants to be with you all the time.

The
problem I have is when you are not around and I dont mean out to work just upstairs in the house.
She is so naughty she will chew and destroy
anything in her path.

I have given her toys which i was told to rotate every 3-4 days which i do so she does not get bored and she goes out for walks.

I really dont know what else to do with her and she is so rewarding but when she is destroying things you can not replace cause they cost too much money.

How can I go about teaching her thats is not acceptable for her to do this?

Any help would be much appreciated..


Margaret O'Kane (No Location Given)

BREED: BULL (English)
Nicki's Answer :

Hi Margaret,

English Bull Terriers grow from a very small puppy to a very large dog over six months.

They need to be feeding all the time to satisfy their nutritional needs. You are her food provider so she won't want you out of her sight for very long.

Going for walks for them is going on a food hunting expedition - you must seem like a very poor hunter to her, since you never find anything worthwhile to eat when you're out walking.

She will instinctively try to satisfy her need to graze by picking up anything she finds in the house that has a whiff of food about it. I've seen dogs eat an entire sofa - turns out the owners always used to eat their dinner sitting on the sofa watching TV. Touch the remote control with sticky fingers and they'll eat that too. Their nose can sniff out the most remote of scents and since her need for nutrition is driving her, nothing that you've touched is safe.

I would try to get her onto a diet that more closely resembles that which nature dictates - check out www.rawmeatybones.com for some very good advice and information.

In the meantime, use a large metal pot or baking dish or food bowl and fill it with all kinds of raw, whole fruit and vegetables - carrots, apples, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, celery, bananas, whole raw eggs, sprouts, whole pineapples - use your imagination - you don't have to buy high quality foodstuffs, anything that's marked down in the supermarket will do very well. Leave the bowl on the floor for her.

Don't give her onions, potatoes, raisins or grapes. Don't cut the fruit and vegetables up - just give her whole apples, the full head of broccoli and/or cauliflower, carrots etc. Ensure the bowl is replenished regularly and you should findthe chewing problem will disappear.

Be sensible with the amount of space you give her - confine her to one or two rooms until you're satisfied that all your possessions are safe - it shouldn't take too long and you'll be amazed at what they get a taste for.

She might make a bit of a mess chewingher way through all that you leave for her, but I'm sure you'd agree thatthat's better than having to replace precious, expensive items. And do your research on the rawmeatybones website and try to think more towards nature.

She sounds like a great dog - she's not really being naughty when she eats your things, she's just hunting.

I hope that this helps your problem.

Nicki.

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BREED: BEDLINGTON
Christine's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

My Bedlington bich is now 7 months old,as soon as she wakes up she starts banging on the doors till you get up,
she does not like being fastened
in a cage or a pen.This has been going on since before I got her .

As I have
neighbour both sides of me I have to get up. It wasn't too bad on dark mornings about 6.30 but now its light it can be as early as 4.50am.

I've tried leaving another dog with her, she sleeps in a bed in the kitchen. Its getting very hard as were are in our mid sixty's,but we don't want to part with her.

Christine Mills. (No Location Given)

BREED: BEDLINGTON
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Christine,

To treat the symptoms:

Sleep her in your room in the her crate or in a bed and when she wakes you up, correct her then ignore her.  She has to learn that her behaviour won't be rewarded with positive attention.

I know it is hard but if you keep going down to her she is getting what she wants and it will never stop. Once she has slept in the crate or bed a few nights without waking you up you can start moving her back downstairs.

However; To Treat the cause:

She's not waking you up just to be annoying. At her age, she's focussed on food and processed food sometimes doesn't satisfy.  Feed her an evening meal of raw chicken carcasses or lamb necks.  Refer to www.rawmeatybones.com to get your information re raw feeding.  You need to give her a meal that will satisfy her and carry her through the night.  She's waking you up because you're the one who feeds her.  A growing dog often does better if they're fed that which Nature intended.  They can survive very well on manufactured food, but when you have a problem like this, nothing satisfies quite like a natural diet.

If you wish, you can combine the two solutions above to get the result you need.

BREED:FRENCH BULLDOGS
Christine's Problem: 2

Dear Nicki,

I also have 3 french bulldogs,mum dad and there 9 month old daughter,the problem is the 2 bitch,s eat poo if you dont catch them doing it.It seems to be a thing Frenchies do.The youngest mostly comes back indoor and does it in her bed are, then eats it.

She doesn't do anything when you take her out for a walk,I also have bedlingtons and they are ok.I feel awfull having to shout to them to stop  but what else can I do .

They are fed high protein complete food and  processed meat that comes in a plastic tray.I don't want to change the diet too much as they are both allergic to some lamb products.But if this would help I would give it a try.

Christine Mills. (No Location Given)

Nicki.

BREED:FRENCH BULLDOGS
Nicki's Answer:

Hi again Christine,

So many behavioural problems in dogs are based in diet. It's not just Frenchies that do this.  I've seen a Springer Spaniel who was curled into a circle, eating her own poo before it hit the ground. 

Bitches are the hunters in the dog world and they have all sorts of tricks to supplement their diet if they find it inadequate.  I know you're trying to give them a good diet, but imagine what they'd eat if they were living in a forest.  They would instinctively catch, kill and eat any small, ground-dwelling herbivore. 

This is as Nature intended.  You can stop this habit by putting your dogs onto a more natural diet.  Refer to www.rawmeatybones.com  When they're eating raw, meaty bones, their excrement becomes hard, white and unpalatable.  What's more to the point is the dogs will be totally satisfied, both physically and nutritionally and won't need to seek nutrients elsewhere. 

I would suggest that you look into following Mother Nature's direction.

I hope that this helps you with your two problems

Nicki

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BREED: PARSON RUSSELL
Ann's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

We have a new puppy bitch whom we bred and is now approaching 6months.

We also have her mother and her grandfather. The dog is 6 1/2 years old and really dislikes the pup.
What is the best way to try and make him accept the
pup? He is great with the other dogs within the household.

The pup is rather boisterous but does submit when told off.

At present we keep them apart and only let them mix when out walking but he has attacked her when she became a bit too cheeky with him.

Any suggestions please?

Ann Jones
Uxbridge

BREED: PARSON RUSSELL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Ann,

Sounds like cheeky teenager syndrome which also invades our world at times.

The male minder is keeping order in the pack on behalf of the lead female - the youngster is submitting when told off - which is just as well because if she didn't show respect and submit, the older female would correct her then there'd be real problems with continuing integration.

As it is, it's probably best that this relatively gentle control being exhibited by the male is allowed to continue and it might be helpful if the humans in the pack became a little more demanding of the pup in terms of respect too.

Young pups are really, really cute and they can sometimes get away with more than they should. This is what's happening here and the male is just doing what comes naturally to keep the pack strong and in order. He's getting a bit frustrated because he needs some help from the rest of the pack (humans) but they keep elevating the pup over and above her station.

Hope this helps,

Kind Regards

Nicki.

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BREED: ENGLISH BULL
Ann's Problem:

Dear Nicki

I have taken on a Bull terrier from my local sspca. He is deaf but has been well looked after and has hand signals which he understands for 'come' and 'sit'.

He gets off the lead a lot as we live in the country so all in all he is a happy dog. I have been trying to find anyone else with a deaf dog as I would like to continue his training but looking for advice.

Can you help?
Thanks.

Ann Markey
Scotland.


BREED: ENGLISH BULL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Ann

It sounds like you're doing very well already. If you think about it, we don't really need words to teach a dog to do things.
We find that deaf dogs train much quicker than do hearing dogs, simply because we're not confusing them by trying to teach them to respond to words like sit, stay, come, leave, heel etc etc - this process can take months of repetition before you see any kind of progress.

However, if you use accurate body language and treats most dogs respond beautifully. It would probably help me to give you a more comprehensive answer if I knew what you had in mind that you wish to teach him.

It's one thing to teach a dog to DO something, but quite another to teach a dog to STOP doing something.

If he has some behavioural problems that you need to address, I would be happy to discuss these with you if you would like to contact me. [If you wish to contact Nick directly; email Terrierworld and I will forward your details to Nicki Ed.]

You are very kind to take on a deaf dog and I do commend you for it. I'm sure you'll find that he'll surprise you (if he hasn't already) with his ability to understand and respond once your lines of communication with him are opened up.

Kind Regards

Nicki

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BREED: KERRY BLUE TERRIER
Sue's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

My 15week old Kerry pup doesn't wee and poo when we go for walks. He does go in my garden (and in the house).

How can I encourage him so that he doesn't
become cross legged before the walk ends?

Thanks.

Sue Bailey
Liverpool

BREED: KERRY BLUE TERRIER
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Sue

Being a male, even though he's still very young, he's practising for what his instincts tell him is his future role as minder of the pack.

A dog's urine and faeces are powerful fence-making material and they learn to drop it only where it will be most useful - ie the outer and inner areas where he gets his food.

This is normal behaviour in a young puppy and the best you can do is to feed him outside where you want him to toilet. If he's using the house, it will probably be near to a much-used entry/exit or a window where there's a lot of activity outside or where he has been fed. If this is so in your case, you should confine your puppy in a smaller space for a bit longer and feed him outside without exception.

To get him started outside, roll a whole, raw egg out in the area where you want him to toilet - dogs will mark around an area where they found meaningful food. Give him some raw chicken wings and dried liver out there too and he'll very quickly start going outside to mark and re-mark the area where he found it. If he has these traits so early, it normally means that he's going to take his minder responsibilities very seriously, so be sure to curb any early unnecessary barking.

He should start minding sensibly by the time he's around 14-18 months old - any unwitting, early encouragement will quickly develop into nuisance barking.

If you need to read up on diet to be safe please see www.rawmeatybones.com - Dr Tom Lonsdale.

Hope this helps.

Kind Regards
Nicki

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BREED: BORDER TERRIER
Sue's Problem:

Hi Nicki,

I have two terriers (both bitches) and the younger one, Sooty, has become aggressive both to other dogs and towards the older terrier, Hattie, to the point where there have been a couple of nasty spats in the back of my car.

I'mworried she's going to seriously injure the older dog, which is nearly 13.

Any advice would be welcome.

Many thanks.

Sue Prince
No Location Given. (Terrier World Requires A Location For Answers To Problems)

BREED: BORDER TERRIER
Nicki's Answer:

Dear Sue

Sibling rivalry is far too complex a problem to risk giving advice without proper assessment. There is no one-size-fits-all remedy for this complex problem.

Your entire situation needs to be investigated thoroughly because inappropriate advice could make the matter much worse. It would be advisable to contact me and let me know the area in which you live. I may be able to put you in touch with one of my colleagues so that you can progress through this problem in a way that is suitable to you, Sooty and Hattie.

You need to know that this problem can be solved but great care needs to be taken so that the steps towards peace in your household are the correct ones. WWW.Barkbusters.co.uk/merseyside

Kind Regards

Nicki

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BREED: BORDER TERRIER
Anne's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

I have a 6 year old Springer Spaniel & an 18 month old Border Terrier. (Both entire)

Recently Indi (terrier) has been getting more aggressive towards Thai(Springer). If Thai leaves a room & wants to come back Indi's body language will change - his ears will drop, his head comes forward & he starts growling.

Thai will wait for me to move Indi or get hold of him before he will come in. It's now growing from this to if he wants to sit near him or if he goes to the bedroom.

They have had a couple of fights each time they get more nasty.The last time I seperated them Thai had been hurt. So I decided to have Indi Neutered. This was a 2 wks ago. During this recovery period I have seperated them but Indi is still growling at Thai.

Will this stop in time or is there other issue's that need to be addressed?

Anne Rendle
Wiltshire


BREED: BORDER TERRIER

Nicki's Answer:

Hi Anne,

Sibling rivalry is a complex issue and it can be a difficult problem to solve because it happens for a lot of different reasons. You are going to need professional help to isolate the trigger as it applies to Indy and Thai.

Sibling rivalry usually happens between two dogs of the same sex, with similar temperaments.

You've done the right thing in getting Indy castrated but I would be inclined to have Thai done as well. This will then reduce the aggression hormone testosterone in both dogs and it will make the solution to your problem easier to isolate and treat.

I would also have Thai's health checked out too at the same time, because ill health in the underdog is often the trigger to this behaviour.

You may not think Thai is unwell, but Indy could well be detecting a change in Thai's body chemistry which indicates that he's no longer a strong leader.

I would urge you to get in touch with www.Barkbusters.co.uk in your area so that we can recommend somebody to visit you to fully assess your situation and to put in place a successful rehabilitation programme.

Kind Regards

Nicki

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BREED: KERRY BLUE TERRIER

Dear Nicki,

Hi, I have a 8 month old kerry blue. When he went to his first show he was fine, now he is starting to back off the judge when they go over him, it seems to have just started, he is very outgoing, but seems shy of people now.

Please can you help me?

Julie Moss
Wiltshire.

BREED: KERRY BLUE TERRIER
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Julie,

At 8 months of age, his true personality is probably only now coming forward. From the way you describe him, it sounds to me that he could have a nervous disposition.

There's nothing wrong in this, it's just the way he was born and it can be verified if he reacts strongly to either thunder storms, fireworks or loud sounds. Nervous dogs frequently present the dichotomy of being generally outgoing but wary of strangers.

It can be
difficult to persevere in the show ring with a dog with a nervous disposition. The way around it could be if you embarked on a project to get strangers to hand feed him something meaningful like dried liver. In that way,
you will be instrumental in altering his perception of strangers, from
possible threat to a treat giver.

Many nervous dogs do very well in the show ring, but their owners need to do lots of work to build up theirconfidence with strangers.

Nothing traumatic has happened to create his wariness of strangers, it's just part of the complex nature of the nervous dog.

Kind Regards

Nicki

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BREED: STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER

Teresa's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

Hello, please could you give me some advice.

I have a 10 year old bitch who lost her partner of 9 years last nov.

We have just got a 9 week old puppy and she does not like him at all, she won't look at him.
She has snapped at him and meant it.

We only let them together when we are there with them. We make a lot of fuss with her and try and not to keep them apart.

Could you please help me.

Thank you

TERESA MARTIN
Truro, Cornwall

BREED: STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Teresa,

She does love him, but she's trying to discipline him. Just because she's trying to discipline him doesn't mean that she doesn't love him - any parent will recognise this.

He's probably a bit of a handful at the moment, so
cute and bouncy with no knowledge of canine manners, rules and order. She knows instinctively that he has a strong nature and she has to be firm with him to get through to him whilst he's still young.

In the dog world (and our world for that matter), ignorning certain behaviour is the highest form of dominance - that's why she's not looking at him. What she can't ignore, she's disciplining in the only way she knows - with her voice tone and body language.

You're quite right that she meant it - she needs to see him submit to her and recognise that there are rules and boundaries that he must adhere to. It won't be long before he'll be much stronger physically than she is. She needs to pull him into line now while he's still small and young so that she can rely on him in the future to be a strong pack member.

She will always be the leader of the two of them and she's working hard to gain order and respect. They will eventually be the best of friends and he will follow her everywhere - but she needs your help to get it right nowwhile he's young. She needs you to discipline him too - do it in exactly the same way that she's doing it - with voice tones and body language.

Feel free to contact me if you need any further help.

Kind Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER TERRIER

Sharon's Problem:

Dear Nickie,

I have a 4 month old border terrier and ever since I've started taking her out for walks(12 weeks) she barks at people and dogs.

The other day we had a postman
following us on our walk and she wouldn't stop barking until we lost him!

I find her so embarrasing! I've been told to ignore her when she barks and praise her a few seconds after she's stopped barking.

If i can see someone walking towards us in the distance I try to get her to sit and give her treats but this isn't veryeffective!

She's an extremely happy doggy...I don't think she's aggressive.I'm pretty sure she does it for attention because as soon as someone gives her attention she stops barking!

I need some advice please. I don't really want to go down the route of using "barking detterrent collars".

I look forward to your reply.

Sharon Belding
Southampton

BREED: BORDER TERRIER
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Sharon

It sounds like your little lady is getting the wrong message in that she's being given treats/loving/attention almost as a result of the bad behaviour.

She sounds like a clever little thing and being a terrier, you're definitely doing the right thing in getting this sorted before she's too much older.

Terriers love to bark and sometimes it's not too long before it's all gone pear-shaped and become an entrenched habit that's difficult to shift.

Get yourself a little water spray and every time she exhibits the body language where you just KNOW she's going to bark, squirt her and growl at he same time - don't wait til the bark happens, try to treat the body language. As soon as she responds to you (ears down, licking lips, taildown), vocally tell her she's a good girl - but be ready to squirt again if she repeats the behaviour.

It just sounds like she got a little mixed up and thought that she was getting attention/treats for the barking. She's a baby and needs your direction - if you don't have a failure signal, she won't learn. You can use "uh-uh" as we do with little kids when they're heading in the wrong direction, just accompany the vocal signal with the water spray and it will all be a thing of the past very quickly. It won't take long before you won't need the water spray at all - just the vocal warning sound.

Good Luck

Kind Regards

Nicki.

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BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL

Vicky's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

I have a 5 1/2 month old jack russell who's trying to dominate by getting on the couch showing his teeth and begging at the dinner table he has tried to bite me and bitten my little boy I know these dogs are teritorial andprotective over certain members of the family i didn't want that when i bought this puppy for the kids.

He toilet trained straight away on the newspaper but has
now started to do his buisness on the floor, also if somebody is going out as soon as they put their coat on he goes mad barking and growling, he has plenty ofexercise 2-3 times a day but he really starting to ge on my nerves no as I am starting to loose trust when he's around.

Vicky Sinclair
(Huyton Liverpool)

BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Vicky,


This seems like a combination of management, miscommunication and dietary
problems.

There's nothing cuter than a Jack Russell puppy and he may have been able to get away with a little too much just because he's so cute and still very, very young.

But at 5half months, now's the time to crack down a bit or you'll end up as a bully and a hooligan. He needs to understand just where be belongs in the pack - in this case, right at the bottom. I agree that it seems that he's quite dominant in that he toilet trained very early - this is a sign of a clever little dog who's worked out what's required.

But now he's rebelling
and making his own rules in order to climb to the top rung of the ladder. The males tend to want to "mind" the pack - this is instinctive and normally not a problem, but the urge needs to be curbed in this instance because this puppy is too young to do it sensibly. Somehow he's got the idea that his behaviour is acceptable - this is where the miscommunication comes in.

He
needs to be told in his own language that barking when people prepare to leave the home is totally unacceptable behaviour. This can be done by using a water spray and growling at him disapprovingly and chasing him away from the area of confrontation. He may come back a couple of times to test your consistency, but keep up the disapproval until he submits.

The body language for submission is the tail and ears drop down and they commonly lick their lips. Once he does this, then verbally tell him he's a good boy in a soft voice of approval but he's a strong-minded little lad, so beprepared to use a stern voice and the water spray again if he tries to persist once you've praised his submission.

With regards to him showing his teeth when you try to get him off the couch, this is just miscommunication. Dogs don't speak English, so my guess is that he doesn't really understand that he has to get off the couch and your body language accompanied by your angry voice is scaring him. He's virtually in a trapped situation on the couch, so he will show his teeth to warn you away.

The way to clear up the miscommunication is to crouch down and gently call him off the couch. If he comes off quickly, praise him but be prepared to growl and use the water spray if his body language indicates that he's going to go straight back up there. However, if he just looks at you and doesn't get off the couch when your body language is clearly inviting, then use the water spray and growl at him, then immediately step back and crouch down and call him gently.

I've never seen this fail to get the message through to even the most stubborn of dogs. If you want to train him to stay off the couch, then be sure that the whole family is consistent. Inconsistency will prolong the problem. If you want to keep him off the couch when you're not there, you might have to think about crating him in your absences or put a piece of alfoil over the couch cushions - or turn them up.

If a dog is fed from the table, it will continue to beg at the table. Maybe somebody has fed him so he's got the message? If this is not the case, then you need to consider the following:

A dog who tries to share in the family meal is a dog who's trying to posture his dominance. In the dog world, the most dominant member of the pack gains first access to the food so he could be trying to gain height on theheirarchy ladder by trying to stare you down and bully you into giving up your food. However, he could well be getting a bit hungry for nature's food at this age. His testosterone is starting to rise and he's at the stage of a hungry teenage boy at the moment.

If the number of meals he's being given has been reduced recently, it might be well worth increasing his food intakeagain for a bit longer. So the choices are either lock him away outside whilst you're eating if you can't resist those big brown eyes or consider changing his diet to a more natural fare - check out www.rawmeatybones.com This will be more satisfying for him and a lot of the problems outlined will dissipate. He needs to be fed two to three times a day until he's at least 2 years old. If he's fed naturally, he won't overeat and will self-regulate his intake by walking away from offered food.

Kind Regards

Nicki Platt
.

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BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Amanda's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

our Jack Russell, male terrier (fixed) is extremely jealous of our neutered male norwich and our fixed female wheaten. He snaps at them and it beginning to terrorize them. Can you help?
We live in the west on the coast of ireland.

Amanda Hooke
Ireland.

BREED: PARSON JACK RUSSELL
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Amanda,

The reasons why sibling rivalry occurs in a household are diverse and numerous. I would need a lot more information from you before I could reliably comment on your particular circumstances. As you now know, sibling rivalry normally involves quite a high level of aggression and is distressing and divisive for all concerned, both dog and humans. I have a policy not to give advice on aggression without first seeing the dog and investigating the living circumstances.

You would need to understand that any comments I make are of a general nature. So, generally speaking, sibling rivalry happens because the pack is in disorder. Somehow the aggressor has got the idea that he has the back-up of the rest of the pack to tell everybody off (probably from the vantage point of somebody's lap). Basically he's in brat zone and he probably got there because he's either cute and quirky or has had a period of illness and this has endeared him to the humans in the pack.

Personality plays a big part in this brat behaviour too. A truly dominant dog rarely resorts to aggression to keep its place in the pack. Dominant dogs are strategists and will withdraw rather than confront. This kind of dog is usually described as patient,
laid-back or easy-going - humans rarely recognise this dog as truly dominant.

All aggression stems from fear, so the aggressor in sibling rivalry is usually of a shy, nervous, timid or fearful personality, even though he looks pretty fierce when he's busily telling everybody off. Food also plays a large part in triggering confrontation. We often find that the aggressor is food-obsessed and in the dog world, the leader is entitled to the first helping.

I would need to know exactly when the aggression is happening, the ages of the dogs, the health status of all three, the eating habits of all three and particularly, how the family regards each dog. Sibling rivalry is a complex subject and the comments above are a mere outline of just some of the triggers that happen in a multi member mixed pack.

This problem can be solved so I would urge you to contact me personally so that we can exchange specific information with a view to setting in place a rehabilitation programme to bring peace to your household.

Kind Regards

Nicki Platt.

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BREED: PATTERDALE TERRIER CROSSBREED
Lea's Problem

Dear Nicki,

my names Leanne, originally from Cumbria but now living in Liverpool.
My friend Claire gave me your name and profession as she advised you are helping eliminate her dogs bad behaviour.
I have a patterdale terrier cross, and his problem is that he is continiously attention barking. I find this quite embarressing when having friends round, espeically claire who constantly taunts me that her dog is much better behaved than mine!!

Please Help!!

(end of my tether Lea)

Leanne Henry
Liverpool
England

BREED: PATTERDALE TERRIER CROSSBREED
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Lea,

Patterdales are quick thinkers and fast learners, but like most dogs, pretty quick at training their human companions to do what they want too!! It starts off, often in puppyhood, when we think they’re sooo cute when they practice their little yips and barks and we praise them or give them lots of cuddles and fuss cos they’re sooo clever or we teach them to “speak” for a treat!! Then as the dog gets older it’s not so cute and becomes downright annoying when you’re on the phone or trying to watch TV and there’s this dog barking at you to play, or go out, or walk or food.

So, the first thing is, to only give him attention on your terms, never when he demands it. So if he wants to play ignore it, take the toys away if necessary and get a toy out when you want to play. Secondly, ignore the barking, but if it’s just too bad, quietly and calmly call him out of the room and shut him out. Don’t be tempted to get angry and take hold of his collar to take him out. If he barks or scratches to come back in, wait till he’s quiet for a second and begin slowly to open the door. If he barks, whines, scratches or pushes to come in, close it. Eventually, you should be able to quietly “invite” him in. If he barks again, do it all again. Dogs learn by association and if he’s shown by the closing door that barking doesn’t get what he wants and being quiet does, he might catch on very quickly. Try doing that every day and you should see his brain clicking into action!

Good luck.

Kind Regards

Nicki
.

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BREED: LAKELAND
Debra's Problem

Dear Nicki,

hello - we have a 3 yr old lakeland who is lovely, but she barks at anything and everything even when in the house.
Once she starts she can go on and on.
Any ideas?

Debra Tullin

BREED: LAKELAND
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Debra,
Here are some facts on barking, I would have to know I little more to understand which she falls into.
The main things I would look at is leadership and diet, it seems to me that she needs to know that you are in control of all situations not her.
I would also be inclined to have her frame checked out and a full MOT from the vet! She sounds lovely, but she may think it is her job to warn of anything and anybody, and unless she is corrected she won't understand that she is doing anything wrong she will think she is doing a fabulous job, as nothing and nobody will come near!
Please feel free to give me a few more details and I will be able to help you further, how long she has been doing this, has anything changed in the household, change of diet?

BARKING - THE FACTS

• Barking is a behavioural problem.

• Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. You need your dog assessed by a professional to ascertain why YOUR dog is barking when you’ve been telling it to stop.

• If you’ve been telling it to stop and it immediately goes back to barking, you can safely say you’re not getting through to your dog.

• Barking at people who pass by the property is nuisance barking.

• A dog who barks at birds, dogs, people, falling leaves, the clouds, etc. AREN’T watchdogs. Remember the old story of the boy who cried “Wolf”.

• A quiet, intelligent watchdog is the one intruders know they need to be wary of.

• Old dogs CAN learn new tricks.

• A dog as it matures will automatically “watch” your property.

• A pup who barks without being stopped is a potential nuisance barker.

• A pup who barks at his owner when being vocally “told off” needs training as soon as possible. He is looking for a leader.

Hope to hear from you soon, Kind Regards,
Nicki.

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BREED: BORDER
Lorraine's Problem

Dear Nicki,

Ted [my Border] was 1 last week. he's a great little dog, a bit stubborn but better since he was neutered. But,...today a friend came with a 3 year old springer [Charlie] who will usually stand his ground, they went for a long walk together and that was
good Ted kept looking to Charlie like a big brother!
But when we got home Ted wanted Charlie to play like chase me or rough and tumble but Charlie didn't want to know..so Ted was like trying to lick/knibble in Charlie's ear then then trying to push Charlie down by the shoulders. I'm not sure if this was leading to try and hump charlie or just to play.
Ted will not take no for an answer when he is like that. Is it because he is young or is it a dominance thing?
He was not so bad with a female dog.
Nobody likes their dog bullied though and thats how it starts to look. Charlie was just trying to ignore Ted. Can You Help?

Thanks,

Lorraine Wallace
Kent.

BREED: BORDER
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Lorraine,

Ted is only a year old, so I expect he's recently been neutered. You would need to take into consideration that it takes between 6 weeks and three months for the level of testosterone to drop once castration has taken place.
Ted sounds like he's going on with a bit of bossy-boots behaviour that is normally fuelled by high levels of testosterone but it's also the behaviour of a young, pushy male too.
Charlie is being very mature and clever in expressing his dominance. In the dog world (and in ours too) ignoring certain unacceptable behaviour is the highest form of dominance.
Ted's behaviour is certainly unacceptable to an older dog but Ted's too young to know - Charlie is trying to teach him. Just leave them be and don't interfere. There could come a time if Ted keeps up the pestering when Charlie takes a pop at Ted but it won't be serious - just a little verbal warning to back off. It doesn't mean they're not friends, it's just the animal world at work.

Hope this helps,

Kind Regards
Nicki

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BREED: KERRY BLUE
Sharon's Problem

Dear Nicki,

We rescued our lovely Kerry Blue, Benji, over 3 months ago. He is nearly 4 years old and came with a couple of issues.
He had been living with 90-year-old owners and was not getting fed properly or exercised. We were advised that he had previously bitten a dog groomer.
He has really come on since we got him; he s had his first haircut and had put on weight. He s great on walks, although not fond of other dogs.
The only real problem that we have is that he is very very possessive when he is given anything. He growls and gives us dirty looks if you give him a bone or he picks up a random sweetie wrapper. We were planning to try and work on this area for training.
However, on Friday night he bit my partner Stephen when he was trying to retrieve his treat for him from under the chair. We are now sick with worry that he may bite again and it will be a child or relative. There was no warning or growl, just an inch gouge and from Stephens arm. We had to attend the hospital.
Could you please advise what the best course of action would be?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a million,

Sharon
South Lanarkshire
Scotland
UK

BREED: KERRY BLUE
Nicki's Answer:


Hi Sharon

As he seems quite nervous/aggressive in certain situations like with the dog groomer and doesn't like dogs, the very first thing I would do is take him to the vet to check his frame and ensure he has not got anything out of place in his body.
In the meantime avoid trapped places like under chairs, corners,try and allow him a safe area. It seems diet may be an issue also so research his diet look at www.rawmeatybones.com and try and get him on as natural diet as possible.
It is very tricky when dealing with aggression without seeing him, but dogs are not naturally aggressive and there will be a cause either illness, fear, etc..
I would contact www.barkbusters.co.uk in your area as they can help with your issues but I do think you need help in order to keep him safe.

I hope this helps,

Kind Regards
Nicki

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BREED: KERRY BLUE
Rossane's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

Mary Kate my Kerry(named after Maureen O'Hara's character in The Quiet Man) paws at me for attention. I have tried "off", "no", etc. It's very annoying. She's a real lover - so it's not lack of attention.

Thanks!
Rossane Carey
Harrison Township, USA

BREED: KERRY BLUE
Nicki's Answer:

Dear Rossane,

This kind of behaviour starts off being rather endearing, but it can quickly become sooooo annoying. Some people don't mind it but in your case, it seems to have gone over the top somewhat and needs to be curbed. Mary-Kate is just training you. She's probably thrilled when you respond - even if you say "No" or "off" you've responded.
The best way to put a stop to this is to totally ignore her, don't say a word and don't look at her or respond in any way.
Sit it out the first time - it might take some time initially. When she gives up in disgust and walks away (and she will, just be patient) call her over to you and love her all you want. Then withdraw the loving and do it all again. It'll only take a couple of days before she gets the message that you're in control of the training.
At different times during the day, crouch down, invite her over to you and give her lots of loving. This kind of training can be a powerful weapon in reversing who's in charge of whom.

Hope this helps,

Kind Regards
Nicki

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BREED: LAKELAND
Elain's Problem:


Dear Nicki,

I am now the proud owner of a sweet two year old Lakeland Terrier named Duey. He is one of the kindest, agreeable, and affectionate males. There's only one issue...he doesn't like to be left alone and barks continually (for hours). I've left the radio and TV on without any success.
Duey arrived at my home only two weeks ago and there is an adjustment period yet is there something I can do to help his transition go smoothly?

Thanks.
Elaine

BREED: LAKELAND
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Elaine,

This level of barking was probably happening in his previous home too and was more than likely the reason why this “sweet, kind, agreeable and affectionate” dog was rehomed at 2 years of age. You’re quite right in saying that he needs a period of time to adjust to his new surroundings.
However, I’ve found that after two weeks, the real personality of the dog comes to the fore so this level of barking won’t improve by itself. You need to look at other areas where Duey is barking. I’m sure that he’s not barking just when you leave. Eg, does he bark when the post arrives? Does he bark when the doorbell goes? Does he bark when people pass by the house?
It seems to me that he’s been able to get away with things for quite sometime, due mainly to the kind of personality he is. It’s difficult to correct a sweet-natured dog but I’m afraid you’re going to have to start giving him some rules and boundaries.
Let him know in no uncertain manner that you don’t accept him barking unnecessarily. Do this by setting up situations where he will bark when you’re in the room, and soundly tell him off for the behaviour (don’t wait for things to happen – be proactive rather than reactive). Remember to vocally praise him once he stops – only to immediately use a strong vocal correction if he barks again.
Once he’s responding put him in another room and shut the door. If he barks, soundly correct him as you did before without opening the door to him. Then you should be able to leave the house but wait outside your property and listen for any barking. If it happens, go back and correct him from outside the house. You’re going to have to take baby steps and wait for improvement in one area before moving on to the more difficult situation of you leaving him in the house and departing. It’s time for a little tough love.

Hope this helps,

Kind Regards
Nicki

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BREED: BEDLINGTON
Susan's Problem:

Dear Nicki,

I have two young bedlington terriers, Shaun a 9 month old neutered male, and Evie a 4 month old little girl. Since we got Evie, they make a lot of noise when they playfight and we are getting complaints from the neighbours next door. Also, Shaun barks sometimes when he is in the garden. We have tried anti bark collars, which make a noise to distract them from barking with no avail.
Can you suggest anything to stop them?

Regards,
Susan.

BREED: BEDLINGTON
Nicki's Answer:

Dear Susan

I'm not in the habit of dividing behavioural problems by breed, but Bedlington Terriers, as you no doubt know only too well, are normally sweet, gentle little creatures and as a result, we don't get called on to treatbehavioural problems very often with this breed. However, it can sometimes happen that BECAUSE they're so sweet and gentle, it's almost impossible for owners to "tell them off" effectively - it would be like telling Bambi off.
I do think that this could be a little bit of a management problem, easily solved by giving them a few rules and boundaries in this and other areas oftheir life.
Males in the dog world are usually the females' minders, so this could be why Shaun has started barking in the back garden since Evie came into the household. It sounds like he's trying to be a good little pack member and mind the valuable female - he has no idea that this (instinctive) behaviour can cause problems for the pack in our human world.
I think maybe he doesn't see you as The Minder of the pack because you love them both so much. Dogs without rules and boundaries gently but consistently instilled at a young age, will resort to their instincts as they mature.
The safety of the pack is all important - it's all about survival, so you can only imagine the strength of their instincts.
This behaviour will continue to escalate as they grow towards maturity, so you're right to seek help now before the behaviour becomes entrenched.
Before you tackle the barking in the back garden, you need to control the play fighting to begin with, as this usually happens inside the house and within close proximity to you. From what you say, the play fighting is starting to get out of hand if the neighbours are complaining about the noise. A certain amount of play-fighting is of course acceptable, but it should be stopped by you if it starts to gain in volume, frequency and ferocity. Don't stand for it - clap your hands loudly and growl deeply until they stop. Remember that they don't understand words at this stage, so keep things simple - the "uh-uh" sound is often understood instantly if accompanied by a loud sound such as rapid clapping. Once they respond to this vocal telling off, you should use it each time they are doing something unacceptable.
When this becomes familiar, you should be able to use it effectively when Shaun's barking in the back garden - bang on the back door to accompany your vocal warning. There's no point in going outside to tell him off - the timing will be wrong. He needs to hear the correction at the exact time he's barking. Be consistent and vocally reward their response to the correction in a soft, loving voice. Don't use their name to tell them off - that should be kept for all things good and "NO" is used too often in a normal household for the dogs to understand it as their correction word. It's too easy to fall into the habit of "Shaun - NO" or "Evie - NO" when you have more than one dog.
Using their names in connection with a correction can lead to problems with the recall at a later stage. Keep it simple and use "Uh-uh" and loud rapid clapping at the precise moment that unwanted behaviour is happening.

Hope this helps,

Kind Regards
Nicki

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BREED: CAIRN - CAIRN/SCOTTIE CROSS BREED
Gordon R Blakemore's Problem:

Dear Nicki,
I have two terrier bitches. Maisie (4) is pure bred Cairn. Flora (2) is Cairn/Scottie cross. 12 months ago Flora broke her back. She went to a specialist for 6 weeks, after which (as I was working away from home and couldgive her the TLC needed)
I nursed her for 9 months. She is now almost fully
recovered except for slight incontinence which is getting better too. The problem is that she now keeps fighting with Maisie, and last night attacked her severely with the result that Maisie is now in the vet's for stitches and X-ray
to her leg. Please do you have any suggestions as to why this should be happening and what I can do about it.
I thought it may be an attachment to me, but in this instance I was away from home. I am going to put a muzzle on her
until I can get advice on how to deal with this.
Regards,
Gordon

BREED: CAIRN - CAIRN/SCOTTIE CROSS BREED
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Gordon, Thanks for your email,

SIBLING RIVALRY
This normally occurs between two dogs of the same sex and of a similar temperament but it commonly happens when there's been a disruption in the pack. This kind of fighting is seen between two females more often than it is seen between two males.
It can be a serious situation which, untreated, can lead to both dogs being permanently separated, either in the home or one dog is found alternate accommodation. Needless to say, this is very upsetting for everybody.
The reason in this case needs to be investigated by a professional.
The knee-jerk reaction would be to say that Flora was inadvertently elevated up the pecking order by the post trauma nursing care. Of course she would have been carefully tended to ensure a full recovery but in the dog world, their instinct is to "get them while they're down". My guess is that Maisie was boss before Flora became incapacitated. Maisie, being two years older than Flora, would have given Flora all the body language and discipline that gave a clear message that Maisie the boss right from the time that Flora was a very young pup.
You, Gordon (being a human) would have protected Flora from any kind of rough play (discipline dished up by Maisie) during the protracted recovery period of 9 months.
Flora appears to have seen you as her back-up to take over the leadership from Maisie.
But this is guesswork from a distance and the whole situation needs to be thoroughly investigated. I would urge you to get professional assistance to properly assess the situation. You need help in to how to restore pack order.

Hope this helps,

Kind Regards
Nicki

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BREED:KERRY BLUE
Dianne Collins Problem:

Dear Nicki,
Hi....I have a 1 year old Kerry Blue Terrier. He is a great dog but wants to drag me all over the place. I have tried the "tree stance" where I just stand still when he starts pulling and the "about face" when he starts pulling. Neither seems to be of much help. He is better on a gentleleader....until he sees something of greater interest than me! I walk him on either a nylon collar or a Martindale collar. Any words of wisdom? Thanks!

Dianne Collins
Atlanta Georgia
USA

BREED:KERRY BLUE
Nicki's Answer:

Hi Dianne
Thanks for you email, what we have to remember is that when we go for a walk...our dogs are going for a hunt!
The very first thing I would look at is diet as if your dog is not totally satisfied with his, he will also see walks/hunts as a secondary food source. We have many ways of getting a dog to heal but I prefer it to be because they want too.
If the diet is correct you stand a much better chance.
If you haven't tried a Canny Collar I would recommend one it is a kind and effective way of conditioning him to walk at your side without having pull on his neck. (www.cannyco.com )
You also need to up your leadership with him in the home over the next few weeks whilst working on heal, use
5 minutes a day to practice sit/stay on a lead in your house but not using treats, just your voice only and get him to show you some respect. Ensure you are in charge of the front door and always lead out first.

Hope this helps,

Kind Regards
Nicki

 

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