buster buster buster

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by dustbuster, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. dustbuster New Member

    hi there friends, Im a newbie...with an awsome staffie/dalmation X..very handsome and smart. I got him at a shelter when he was 18 months old..he's 5 now...unfortunately he has 2 major issues..#1 he doesnt like kids..mostly when they are jumping and making noise..and #2 which is really bad...he HATES when any one comes up our driveway..in fact he has punctured a tire and scratched one to many cars..where do I go with this? H E L P PLEASE:dogsad:

  2. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    How does he react to children? Is he aggressive, scared, both, etc?
    Is it a car problem in general, or is he "protecting" your home from the cars? (I.e., does he display aggressive behaviors towards cars if you are walking on the sidewalk near traffic, or only in your driveway?) Does he start to act aggressively when he hears the cars coming(tense up, raise hackles, etc), or just when he sees them in the driveway? Is he okay with the visitors once they exit the car?
    As for the cars, if he does enjoy visitors, then the key is to help him realize that the cars are the ones that bring them to him. I can't really give you any advice without knowing the answers to these questions, but will be more than happy to reply again when you do. =)
  3. dustbuster New Member

    hi again...i'll try to give you a better picture. He's improved greatly around children..doesnt like them much, but is more tolerable. But if they get excited he reacts by attempting to nip. As far as cars go..he is the best dog EVER when we are away from home. When we go camping, people comment on how nice he is..however, after a couple of days, when he's established 'his' turf..he treats his campsite like he does his home...overly protective. At home he is ALWAYS on guard duty for cars ...and when one comes up..he zones in for the kill! There is no stopping him once he's in that state. Some times he will come when called if i can get him early enough...but most of the time he's bad. We always reprimand him and he automatically runs into the office, which acts as his 'crate'...then after just a few minutes he calms down and smells our guests and all is well again. If we are walking down the road and a car goes by, he doesnt pay any attention...i think its a protective thing. I wonder too, if its fear as well..theres alot of situations that arise where he shows us his 'big chicken' side.
    And im almost certain that he's more afraid of children than anything...but protective of us as well...He is a dominant male...but we try to socialize him alot..and hes learning that hes not always top dog...I sure hope this helps..I really do appreciate any advice i can get!:dogblush:
  4. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Alrighty then. ^^ As for the children, it's going to take lots of socialization---if you know someone with older children(basically, old enough that you can help them understand that they need to calmly greet the dog), bring them over as often as possible. After they've played with the dog calmly and gently, let him go to the office or whatever so they can play and have fun. It'd be great if you could have him somewhere where he could easily hear and see them, but not be with them so he's not agitated. Do not let them tug his ears and tail and the like---eventually, this can be your goal, but right now he doesn't even like them being around, much less yanking on him. If younger children come around a lot, then make sure he is somewhere where they cannot get to him but he can see them. This way, their roughhousing will not cause him to feel threatened. As he gets used to the normal sounds of active children and seems okay with it, allow him to come out for just a little while. BEFORE he gets agitated enough to nip, put him back up. It's important that you learn his comfort level, and pay attention to just how much he can take from the kids. Always make sure he is put up before his patience runs out, so that you are rewarding him by letting him have some peace and quiet. You can slowly increase the time he is with them, but just continue to put him up as needed. If he nips at them, give a firm "Ah-ah!" to discourage the behavior. When he stops, praise him, give him a bit to relax, and put him up. Do not put him up immediately after the "ah-ah" as he may begin to associate nipping being rewarded with escaping the children. It may seem cruel to contain him everytime young visitors come over, but everyone will benefit--and really, he won't mind a bit. Understand that containing him is NOT meant to be a "time-out." Dogs are not like children--time-outs mean nothing to them. Containing him is meant to be a safety precaution for everyone, and to give him some time to himself. Once he gets to where he can stay with them for extended periods of time, you can do even more to help him learn that kids are fun! You can have older children give him treats. Teach him the "come" command, and when he has mastered it, have an older child give the command and then reward him.
    As for the cars, put him on a leash anytime you know someone is coming over. Since you said he is fine passing cars on the road, walk up and down your road until your visitor gets in the driveway and out of the car. If he shows aggression, say "Ah-ah!" and immediately spin around and walk the opposite direction. You may have to do this several times before he can calmly approach the house again with the strange car in the driveway. Another thing you can try is have either you or whoever you live with walk him while the other pulls the friend's car in the drive(provided they are comfortable with that). If you do this many, many, many times, he will begin to associate cars in the driveway with people he wants to see. If he sees you getting out of the strange car, his aggression should dissipate and he should be thrilled to see you.
    Anytime you know you have a visitor coming over, young or not, you should take him for a jog--a long one. If you jog him enough, it will help release all the excess energy that he is taking out on the visitors and their vehicles.
    Along with all this, you must work on not letting him rush through the door. If he's not rushing through the door, then he's not attacking cars. Teach him "wait." (The classroom here on the website has a lesson on this.) He needs to understand that he should never, EVER run through the door. This is dangerous to him as well as(obviously) your visitors. You need to ensure that his "wait" becomes flawless and he will wait away from the door for extended periods of time unless you release him. As he improves, stand between him and the open door and toss something behind you(toys, food, whatever). If he tries to go get it, say, "Ah-ah!" and step in front of him. Continue to block him with your body until he stops. Praise him when he quits trying to get the object and tell him again to wait, and start the whole process over. Repeat it several times, and continue to test his obedience by perhaps having your spouse pass by the open door(behind you, so that you can still block your dog). Once he has improved with his vehicle aggression on-leash outside, test his wait inside. Leash him just in case, and have your spouse pull a familiar vehicle into the driveway. Use the same methods to help him keep his wait position, and release him only when he is firmly keeping it. YOU walk out first, then tell him, "Okay, good boy!" to let him happily greet his friend.
    This will take a lot of work and a long time to fix. Be patient, and do everything multiple times, but be sure to give him breaks. Don't wear him out on training. Good luck, and I do hope this helps. If I think of anything else, I will let you know. If after a good, long, persistent try with these methods, he still isn't improving, get back to me. =)
  5. dustbuster New Member

    Thank you SO much!!..Finally some practical help! I've read so much on the topic I get a headache just thinking about it! I've spent way too much money too for nothing...I am totally committed to helping buster deal with this...he's such a fantastic dog! I have started training on the door thing...at least i got that right..lol..he's so strong and tires me out after about 3 attempts, but I have confidence in both him and myself to fix this. I need to improve on my 'ah ah'...Thanks again, and I'll keep you posted as to our progress!:msnblushing:
  6. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    You are very welcome. ^^ The "door thing" is one of the most important steps to help start his progress. The lesson in the Academy's classroom should work just fine for you. Just keep your ah-ah sharp, firm, and short. It's not hard. =) Best of luck to you, and do keep me posted!
  7. dustbuster New Member

    hi there! I just HAD to tell you about our day! Buster did SO GREAT! I worked with him at the door several times...just to let you know, I did it just 2 weeks ago, and it was exhausting. So this time I was prepared to have to actually time him to the railing so that he wouldnt freak when I had my daughter knock on the door. But much to my suprise, he sat and stayed VERY well...I was amazed at how he watched me so intently for any cue. Definate success there. Then I arranged with my sister to visit and let her know that I wouldnt be locking him up but that I was working with him...so for about 20 mins I worked with him on a leash..sit/stay...and when a strange car drove by..he just looked at it..no big deal..but when my sister came along..slowed down..and then headed up the driveway..I just repeated "stay..stay" with hand signals...and he just stayed and watched!...And then when we caught up to her..he didnt even look at the car..just said hello and hopped into my husbands truck for nap!...YAYYY...I feel optimistic for the first time in a long time! Did I do that alright? Should I have done anything differently or should I do the same thing again? I'll keep in touch...tysm again...:dogtongue2:
  8. cppugs New Member

    That is awesome! You AND Buster did a great job!! Two big things are practice and consistency! Keep up the good work.
  9. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Wonderful!!! Sounds like you two did great. Everything sounds good, just try to make sure you are watching his body language. If he is tensing up or perking his ears as the car arrives, make sure you aren't cooing, "Stay, stay" to him. If you are only using hand signals then that is fine, just make sure you are never reassuring him or trying to keep him calm by petting, cooing, etc. Keep him calm with commands(or hand cues), redirecting his attention, and the other things that I have mentioned in my other reply. =) He should never be unintentionally rewarded for even the slightest signs of aggression.
    It sounds like you are doing everything just fine. I'm so happy to hear that he is improving!!!!! Keep me posted, and keep up the great work. Congratulations!!

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