Disclaimer: I am not a vet nor am a qualified trainer or behaviourist. What I do have is over 30 years practical dog training and behaviour experience. So do your research and if my example works for you then great. Always see a vet and a qualified and recommended behaviourist. This is just an example of one dogs’ behaviour in my pack…
The Story Of Maisie Jalfrezi…
Background – Maisie is a small crossbreed rescued from the streets abroad at the tender age of 4 weeks. The RAF family that took her in moved to the UK later in life and had a family. It wasn’t long before Maisie started to display certain behaviours tantamount to jealousy and insecurity. Maisie’s ‘dad’ contacted me as his wife could no longer tolerate Maisie and no longer wanted her. It was a split decision, but her ‘dad’ decided it was best to find her a new home. This is where I came in. I was contacted with a view to taking Maisie in and finding her a new home. I saw displays of Maisie’s behaviour quite early on and made a quick decision to keep her as she was only really suitable for an experienced home as her behaviour could easily have escalated in the wrong hands which would have been unfair on her meaning potentially she would have to return to me.
Anyway, we fell in love with her. On the day the decision was made to keep her, we had a collar upgrade ceremony, she was now the proud owner of a leather and brass half check. By then Maisie and Seb had become very close – we called her a daddies girl.
It is important to explain here that you can spoil 2 types of dog rotten, type one – the well balanced, secure, well-raised dog and type two the insecure, not so well balanced dog, Mais was the latter. The first type one dog will not change its’ behaviour and will be obedient and well behaved, type two dog when spoiled will as I say ‘go off the rails’. That said, behaviours such as growling, mainly insecure growling will be displayed.
This is where you will need an open mind and trust me that what I’m telling you now is not something I’ve been told by someone else nor read in a book, this is experience. Dogs are pack animals, if you don’t agree then I suggest you close this window now unless you are prepared to keep an open mind. Pack animal = hierarchy, whatever word you use, there will always be some kind of hierarchy among animals whether YOU like it or not. Don’t mistake the word ‘dominance’ for pack because it is not the same thing.
When you lavish a dog who is what I’ve called ‘the type 2’ they become quite shitty in their temperament. So for example to define ‘lavish’ these are things like allow on the bed, allow on the furniture, told / asked to do things and they ignore you, they barge through doors ahead or you, this includes anywhere you should go first, this includes getting out of a car, setting off on a walk – general manners. Think of these as PRIVILEGES. When you give a type 2 dog too many privileges, they don’t have a clue where they are in the pack and it is stressful for them. A dog is far happier being at the correct rung on the ladder rather than a falsely elevated one.
It is stressful for a dog to behave badly. When they have their status elevated by their owner and are aggressive as a result of this, they are not happy dogs.
What we did with Maisie was simple
(Remember this is Maisie’s story. If you can identify then good, but I am writing about a specific case and all dogs are different. You can try certain techniques and see if they work for you.)
- The most important one – Not allowed on the bed. Noooooo, this was the biggest fail for Maisie as this privilege created a princess!
- Fed her separately because she had issues with being aggressive around food. I feed her first (not necessarily last as you might expect).
- Be more aloof around her, so not lavishing her with praise unless she deserved it.
- If she does creep upstairs and puts her paws on the bed as if to want to jump on, a stern “down” Maisie, gentle push if required, then sincere verbal praise for getting down and being a good girl.
- At night she is basically banished to the bottom ranks and sleeps in our conservatory. Here she is firmly reminded that bad behaviour will not be tolerated.
You know what? We have a new dog and I know she is happier with certain behaviour she NOW displays.
Good luck with your dog and please please remember that this is Maisie’s individual case and if in doubt consult your vet.