You could suggest trying taking Alfie along with them on a walk,perhaps the dog is missing her canine friends,so it sounds a good idea to at least try that.She could be depressed at swapping one horrible but familiar situation for another that's less horrible but still not ideal.Wonder why they thought it a good idea to get a dog who really needed owners with the time to devote to her re habilitation into a more 'at home' family life. Poor dog must be terribly confused.Confusing for you too when you probably expected to be it's walker not its therapist alfiemummy. Hope things change for the better very soon,you will be getting emotionally attached to her.
I don't think you will be doing a lot of walking with her just yet. Obviously, she needs to learn to trust you before you can take her out again. Alfie might help with the trust, but I would introduce them away from her home as it seems that's where she is in an emotional conflict.
Do the owners do any kind of training with her? Simple sit, down, wait, leave? Wait for calm before collar/lead goes on? Calm before food is put down for her?
Anyway, I think your approach is very sensible, so don't rush things, above all, keep yourself safe.
There is no such thing as a naughty dog, only an untrained one!
Very true migsy, I wasn't expecting that when they called me up - but I'm happy to keep trying so long as they are and hopefully we will see some improvement.
I have arranged to go again tomorrow while the owner is there again. They informed me that the heating man came yesterday and she did the same thing to him - interesting to know that it's not just me. Was thinking of telling the owners to try and get her around people more as I think this would help. I remember her saying that they haven't had many visitors so she probably hasn't encountered many other people at all yet.
I'm not sure about the training, when I was round there she is quite attached to the male owner and is more responsive to him. Although I was told that she was more wary of men and prefers women. While I was there she followed him around and did whatever he told her to do (sit, stay etc) - I'll be sure to mention it anyway.
I'm not sure what to do about this wednesday when I'm supposed to be walking her on my own again. I can't see much point in going round if I'm not going to be able to get her out and surely this would undo all the work I'm trying to do in getting her to trust me while the owners are there.
I reckon it might be a good idea to tell them that getting more people to go round would help. Even if they can only get a couple of people to go round, they could go multiple times, even dressing up so as to appear differently. I'm sure it's something that Karen Wild recommends doing for socialisation of young puppies, but I think it could be adapted to work for this situation.
I went round twice today while the owner was there and we took her for a short walk both times. He gave me the lead when we left the house and I was in control of her all the way round, the first time I visited she was stuck to his leg and obviously not happy. When I came round the second time and we walked her she relaxed a little more and actually went on the other side of me so that I was between her and her owner, she was even comfortable enough to give my hand a little sniff and to toilet while on the lead (which she rarely does even with her owners). A few times he started to drop back in the hope that she would carry on with me, which she did for a little while before realising he wasn't there anymore and stopping. When we got back to the house after the second walk, we practised me entering and leaving the house and she looked a lot more comfortable, sitting by her owner with her ears up rather than back and with a more relaxed expression.
I didn't get barked or growled at at all today which was nice. While I was there he did mention that she could possibly be coming into season as a couple of dogs have been interested in her and she is licking a lot, but he's not sure yet.
I'm due to go round for an hour again on my own tomorrow as they are both at work. I told him that I would leave after half hour if there was no change in her behaviour - which I highly doubt after just one day of very slight progress. I've also arranged to go again tomorrow when they are back from work to walk with her owner again.
Glad to hear things are beginning to look up. That's a good idea practicing you entering and leaving the house with the owners there, never thought of that. Hopefully you'll start to see some solid progress soon and I hope tomorrow goes well.
I went round today and there was a lot less growling and barking, I only stayed for half an hour and went to walk another dog before coming back for another half an hour. I still didn't manage to get her on a walk but she was coming towards me and taking the ham I offered which was good. I arranged to go again this evening when the owner was back, we took her for a short walk and she was taking treats from me. When we got back I took her to the end of the road and back on my own, it was going really well and she seemed really happy and was letting me stroke her and was nuzzling into me.
When we got back, I went to take the lead off her and she suddenly bit my hand. I'm not sure what it is but there's something about me being in her house that she does not like as she doesn't seem to mind me at all outside. It's probably something I've done or not picked up on but I'm not an expert on things like this. The owner was devastated and we agreed that it was for the best that I wouldn't come anymore - quite honestly I would be too nervous to work with her and wouldn't be much help now anyway.
Hey alfiemummy hope you're okay, physically as well as mentally. Things did seem to be improving slowly and with baby steps. Like you say if you are nervous now, understandably (and she must be a big dog also), then there'd be no point to continue as she'd pick up on that and you could never truly relax no matter how much you wanted to. I commend you though on the effort and patience you have put in so far. Sounds like the owners however need to take a lot more responsibility for the future training of the dog, I do wish them well.
So very very sorry things ended like this alfiemummy,you must be devastated after putting your heart and soul into trying to help this very disturbed dog. You gave it your best,but were actually put in a very unfair position as you were employed to walk the dog,yet expected to be a behaviourist.Such a shame as the dog seemed to slowly be improving. I hope the family seek a behaviourist,as the poor dog definitely needs expert help,as it is obviously deeply disturbed because of its past horrible life.A professional behaviourist would recognise all the subtle signs the dog was displaying and why. You did absolutely nothing wrong,and it was so kind of you, and brave too, to take on such a challenge.
Luckily I'm not too badly hurt, the bite barely broke the skin. I just have 3 small marks and a lot of swelling and it is very sore. I was quite calm when it happened and the owner shut her away in another room, after the shock wore off I was a bit upset so he made me a cup of tea and gave me some chocolate lol. I'm not sure what they are going to do, he kept asking me if I wanted her put to sleep but I refused. I don't think it's fair to do that as it's not really her fault, they've barely had her very long and she's not used to people at all - she obviously bit me out of fear as she just clamped down and immediately released.
I had to walk another dog straight after, thankfully it was only a Chihuahua and he was super excited to see me and was very cuddly and licky which made me feel better Although driving was not fun and I had difficulty holding his lead due to the pain, I'm hoping it wears off soon.
Post by smilesbetter on Sept 10, 2014 23:14:50 GMT
Sorry to hear you got bitten and won't be walking her anymore! Hope the owners get an actual behaviourist rather than expecting you to do the job of one.
Also perhaps they should fit her with a nice comfortable harness rather than a collar for the lead, she possibly bit you because you you going in towards her neck, which is of course a very "aggressive" thing to do to a dog not well socialised with humans (I mean that she might have seen it that way haha). Some dogs are very sensitive about this I suppose.
It certainly sounds like you made a good bit of progress though, but they should be working with a behaviourist to get her more used to people, and if they aren't able to care for her every day (if they are away so long that they need a dog walker) then perhaps they should rethink their circumstances, as it is irresponsible of them to be putting a dog walker in danger like that. It's also sad that they are so quick to offer to have the dog put down. If my dog bit someone under any circumstance I'd be begging for them not to demand it be out down, not offering to have it done! Perhaps they are realising that their dog is going to be a lot harder work than they first thought...
Hope Alfie is giving you lots of cuddles to make you feel better!
So sorry to hear this alfiemummy! Hope you're recovering from the shock okay. I agree with zahada. It seems like a behaviourist might be the right step for this dog. It certainly sounds as if she has issues with people coming into her house that will need working on. It might not be anything you've done at all, but it could be something that happened in her past and hasn't been disclosed to either the rescue centre or the new owners. Hopefully they'll do the right thing and the dog will begin to improve.