Basil's worse after meeting with behaviorist

So it's been a few weeks since we saw the behaviorist. She said he has a resource guarding issue which was that he would bite if I tried to take away something he valued (the attack from me taking away the tea bag) but he also bites on walks too if he can't get what he wants (to see a bicyclist or dog). She recommended that all of his toys be taken away and earn one back for every week he doesn't have an "attack". But that I can give him one bone to work on dropping treats while he has it so he learns people coming is a good thing. He was to wear a gentle lead at all times out of the crate and be supervised at all times. He has to earn everything, sit for on the couch, sit for a walk, sit for food and all of his meals are fed with impulse control and leave it exercises… no bowl feeding.

So we're a few weeks later... he now attacks my hand if I put it in his kennel, attacks my hand during leave it exercises sometimes, and attacked my hand last night when I tried to move him over in bed....he never did this before. He would welcome my hand in the kennel.. letting me pet him. At the time I was checking if he had an accident in bed from his bladder infection. He also tries to attack my hand when I try to put the gentle lead on. Last night on our walk he attacked my leg so bad that he put a huge hole in my pants... He is a lot more calm and is more loving and affectionate... can cuddle and just hang out now. I'm worried that these measures that I'm taking are making his problems worse... or is he just mad at all of these changes and time will iron them out? Any opinions?

Oh, this is hard to read. He has been fully vetted yes? Have you talked to the behaviorist about this behavior?

It would be best if you discussed this with the behaviourist as ssoon as possible so that she can review her advice. It's difficult to see why he is now reacting like this.

@Patty:

It would be best if you discussed this with the behaviourist as ssoon as possible so that she can review her advice. It's difficult to see why he is now reacting like this.

I'd suggest getting a video of this behavior so that you can show the behaviorist. Otherwise, google "extinction burst" and see if it seems like that's what he's doing. From what you say, his behavior seems a bit different from an extinction burst, but I'm not there to see it so it makes it hard to judge on anything. The attacking the pants leg, seems like it might be displaced aggression.

Has a complete thyroid test been done? He is having any health problems? Any injuries? Is he not feeling well? Is he a happy dog or does he have a sad look? How is his bladder problem? Has he been x-rayed/tested for stones?

The reason I ask these questions is because I can tell when my Bs are ill and/or not feeling well. My Bs act differently then their normal behavior.

I cannot remember how old Basil is-but even if he is young-I would still have the thyroid test done. I had a young dog who had low thyroid who normally would not be tested at his age but I did because of behavior problems.

Jennifer

I really don't think your explanation of what is going on gives a full picture and definitely not enough to say whether this behavior has anything to do with regimen that your behaviorist has recommended. First off, you mention that you were checking to see if Basil had urinated due to a UTI. Has Basil been suffering from a UTI during the time that you have noticed this increase in biting? If he is in pain from the UTI he may associate human touch with the pain he is feeling and is lashing out.

It is possible that the bites during walks and impulse control exercises could be due to frustration and is something you need to discuss with the behaviorist. Video taping is a good idea.

Thank you for all of your replies. It's hard to video tape these instances because it's not every time i do something… he doesn't attack my hand every time I put it in the kennel or when we're on a walk... I agree that it could be displaced aggression on the walks.. that makes sense. He has been checked by the vet and was said to be healthy except for his UTI now. His symptoms for the UTI have cleared up but that could still mean that he's in pain. Now that I think of it, a lot of his attacks recently have been at times when I go to pick him up or put a hand near him so he could be anticipating pain. With the attack during leave it he could have been frustrated because it's done with all of his kibble at meal times so he's hungry... he would definitely rather swallow it all in 3 seconds without chewing.

I will email the behaviorist and explain his behavior. He is supposed to go in for a check up at the vet very soon for his pre-neuter appointment so I'll mention these things then as well. Thank you for the information on the bursts.. I'll look into it as well. Thank you for all of your replies.

@dcmclcm4:

Has a complete thyroid test been done? He is having any health problems? Any injuries? Is he not feeling well? Is he a happy dog or does he have a sad look? How is his bladder problem? Has he been x-rayed/tested for stones?

The reason I ask these questions is because I can tell when my Bs are ill and/or not feeling well. My Bs act differently then their normal behavior.

I cannot remember how old Basil is-but even if he is young-I would still have the thyroid test done. I had a young dog who had low thyroid who normally would not be tested at his age but I did because of behavior problems.

Jennifer

Basil will be 5 months on November 5th. The only health problem he has is his UTI right now. He's almost done his medication.. I think about 3 days left. He was acting strange when I figured out he had a UTI.. just laid around all day and didn't want to play or do anything and looked sad. Now he's more adventurous and curious about everything.. up and about looking for socks and mittens as before. He wasn't x-rayed for stones and hasn't had his thyroid tested.. I'll ask the vet about it when we go to our appointment.

This isn't a direct reply to the thread, but basilboy mentioned nipping/biting on walks and my B does the same thing. If he sees another dog he wants to get to for example, he'll lunge and either try to nip my leg or nip my other dog who is with us on these walks. I have just learned to anticipate it and move to avoid it, but now I am wondering if it's something I should deal with more directly. He is never like this in the house if I try to move him, etc. Now and then if he gets really frisky inside he might run up to a chair and bite the edge of it before running off again. I don't mean to piggy back on this thread, but I thought someone might offer advice that would also be helpful to the original poster.

@bewler:

This isn't a direct reply to the thread, but basilboy mentioned nipping/biting on walks and my B does the same thing. If he sees another dog he wants to get to for example, he'll lunge and either try to nip my leg or nip my other dog who is with us on these walks. I have just learned to anticipate it and move to avoid it, but now I am wondering if it's something I should deal with more directly. He is never like this in the house if I try to move him, etc. Now and then if he gets really frisky inside he might run up to a chair and bite the edge of it before running off again. I don't mean to piggy back on this thread, but I thought someone might offer advice that would also be helpful to the original poster.

The behaviorist mentioned getting him to sit and only get to see other dogs if he's in a calm state. With Basil and I think a lot of B's would be this way… if he sees something that he wants then it doesn't matter what you say or do, nothing will distract him. When Basil goes to lunge at me I try to move out of the way, stop walking and get him into a sit to let him know that we're not moving until he's calmed down. If I haven't anticipated his biting then I stop walking quickly and stand rigidly without any words or eye contact... he then realizes that he can't get what he wants.. if he bites=not moving. Make sure that if he bites you.. you don't give in and let him get what he wants. After the bite then I get him into a sit and get him to lay down or whatever you want to make him "earn" the walk again. I find doing this distracts him and gets him into a more calm, focused state of mind. Good luck and I hope you can figure this out.

Any "rough" treatment will cause more issues than it solves. I would find someone who does gentle training so the boy "gets" what he wants and you get what you want. Using any of CM methods only make things worse with our breed.

Once the UTI is cured and that is ruled out, if the behavior persists, then talk with your behaviorist (if her response isn't satisfactory then find another behaviorist).
I train my dogs to the "leave it" command and apply this not only for food/garbage on the floor but also for squirrels and other dogs. Now I admit my dogs are not perfect at responding (particularly if there's a rabbit) but in general it's a good command for distraction control.
Sharron - what are CM methods?

"She recommended that all of his toys be taken away and earn one back for every week he doesn't have an "attack"."

I'm still not quite sure what this means. I remember you mentioning this in another thread.

At five months old (approx.), he should have a lot of toys 🙂 In some ways, this reminds me of the old way of taking a first grader's recess away because he runs around the classroom too much, haha.

But maybe the behaviorist explained the rationale behind this recommendation and I missed it; I've been away a lot lately.

@listeme:

"She recommended that all of his toys be taken away and earn one back for every week he doesn't have an "attack"."

I'm still not quite sure what this means. I remember you mentioning this in another thread.

At five months old (approx.), he should have a lot of toys 🙂 In some ways, this reminds me of the old way of taking a first grader's recess away because he runs around the classroom too much, haha.

But maybe the behaviorist explained the rationale behind this recommendation and I missed it; I've been away a lot lately.

She didn't explain it… she just said that he literally had to earn EVERYTHING. And she specifically told me to take away all of his toys. Right now I give him a few toys but he doesn't have free reign... I think it's due to his resource guarding even though he doesn't resource guard his toys. So he gets time with his two favourite squeaky toys (hippo and monkey) and then a bone and a kong I fill with natural peanut butter but if he's having a really bad day like the other day then he doesn't get his toys... I don't know if this was the point to what she was saying... but I've tweaked it because I feel that a young pup like him should be playing... especially if anyone has had a puppy that they haven't been able to tire out and trying to sleep that night! 🙂 I'm sorry I'm not explaining things well enough for you guys to understand but a lot of it I'm not understanding myself but I did pay her good money to tell me what to do so I'm just trying to follow it. If you don't understand what I mean by attack... it's like if you ever saw a wild dog hunt a rabbit... he will growl and snarl and basically not just bite me once.. it's more like he's trying to kill something with several quick bites. I'm trying to look for warning signs first... like changes in his body language or a low growl in which I'll stop and try to use coaxing instead like using a treat. I've tried doing this wit his gentle lead... if he sits nice and lets me put it on then he gets a cookie :)... so maybe that will help teach him that it's okay to have this put on. Does anyone have an opinion on how long and at what times he should be wearing the gentle lead? She literally said at all times when he's out of the crate.. but if he has it on he just sleeps or looks at me like I just ruined his life. Thanks for all your replies by the way.

I think my confusion is mostly that my experience with "earning" stuff (like in the nothing in life is free program) is always, 100 percent instant reward type stuff. So in order to go through a door, my puppy has to sit. In order to get her food, she has to do something. In order to do the thing she wants to do now, she has to do a thing now. Because dogs live in the moment 🙂

So I keep tripping over the word "earning". A behaviorist knows that the puppy has no idea he has to do something for a whole week in order to get a reward, so she must be targeting the humans and mean something else than my customary understanding of the word. So I guess I'd be wondering what the behaviorist is expecting of the human here 😃

I'm just musing, by the way. Basil seems like a funny and complex little guy 🙂

P.S. Did I recommend the SPT yahoo group? It's been a GREAT resource for me in training the puppies I have in a completely positive way. I love the list owner's approach to both humans and puppies.

I've not used a gentle leader. Did she say why he should have it on all the time? Is it to give you quick or better control in sudden situations?

@listeme:

I've not used a gentle leader. Did she say why he should have it on all the time? Is it to give you quick or better control in sudden situations?

She said it would calm him down and I think it was to control his resource guarding more? So that he wouldn't feel like he can attack? Today I put the gentle lead on very slowly using gentle words after I got him to sit and then gave him a cookie and praised him when he didn't fuss or try to attack my hand. Maybe he's just been irritated from the UTI

@listeme:

I think my confusion is mostly that my experience with "earning" stuff (like in the nothing in life is free program) is always, 100 percent instant reward type stuff. So in order to go through a door, my puppy has to sit. In order to get her food, she has to do something. In order to do the thing she wants to do now, she has to do a thing now. Because dogs live in the moment 🙂

So I keep tripping over the word "earning". A behaviorist knows that the puppy has no idea he has to do something for a whole week in order to get a reward, so she must be targeting the humans and mean something else than my customary understanding of the word. So I guess I'd be wondering what the behaviorist is expecting of the human here 😃

I'm just musing, by the way. Basil seems like a funny and complex little guy 🙂

P.S. Did I recommend the SPT yahoo group? It's been a GREAT resource for me in training the puppies I have in a completely positive way. I love the list owner's approach to both humans and puppies.

Hm, how do I find this group? I'm not sure what she wants to happen with him earning a toy a week… maybe connected to the resource guarding? But again he doesn't resource guard his toys.. I can say "drop it" with a bone and he'll listen and I can hold his toys and pick them up without a reaction. So I'm really not sure on this one.

I'm not very good at links, but I think this should work: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/spt/

@listeme:

I'm not very good at links, but I think this should work: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/spt/

Joined! thank you

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