Reputation Behaviour

Discussion in 'Jack Russell Terrier' started by Bumbleweed, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. Bumbleweed

    Bumbleweed New Member

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    Evening all. My 2yo JRT has been causing a bit of upset. I keep him on the lead in the local park most of the time, but if it's quiet I'll let him have a play with his ball. He has a fairly good recall but will want to see if any other dog wants to play. He meets his 'friends' at the weekends and play appropriately, playing a little rough with the ones who want to and not bothering the ones who don't. He can be a noisy player, making what I call the 'talking growls' as he plays - not all the time but it does happen. We go to a local woods when I have the car where he meets dozens of dogs with no issues, some of them on the lead, but most of them off. He never tries to instigate play when at the woods.

    About 2 months ago I was talking to a friend in the park who was with his dog. I decided to let mine have a play with him. Unknown to me, a girl with a puppy entered near to where I was and mine went over to have a sniff - I was about 5 metres away so went over to make sure all was ok. From out of nowhere the girl's mother came charging along screaming 'no, please, please, no, he's scared', then the girl started to scream and my dog started to chase the puppy around the girl's legs. He never bit the puppy but no doubt scared it. I tried to speak with the mum but she didn't want to know and kept yelling at me so I thought it best to leave it.

    Moving on, last week in the evening I was playing ball with him. A couple of little kids asked their mum if they could throw the ball for him - she was happy so I was ok with it. A woman and her partner came round a corner with their pug - my dog had met the pug before and never had any issues - they sniffed and I called mine away and he moved away - I wasn't more than 2 metres away. The pug then gave the 'play bow' so mine went for the chase. Again the same thing happened, the pug's lead got tangled around the ankles, my dog making noise and 'toothing' - I have no doubt in my mind that the pug wanted to play, but the owner started to react. As I reach to grab him, her partner gave my dog a boot in the ribs, causing him to run off, then back again, then off again in a sort of 6 feet forward, 6 feet back type of movement. The guy continued to run at my dog shouting 'come on then' like a football hooligan until I managed to get him to come back to me.

    The upshot of these 2 incidents was hundreds of Facebook posts on our local community page describing how their dogs were 'attacked' by mine, with loads of others joining in, people who have never met me or my dog. I can appreciate that not all dogs want to play. Today though has left me feeling cr*p.

    I was at the 'dog meet', there was about 8 other dogs there, no problems all playing well for about an hour. Sometimes they will run round the bushes where we tend to stand. Suddenly there was a scream followed my my dog barking and a little girl came running out from some bushes with my dog chasing her. He wasn't attacking or snarling or trying to nip or anything but was making his usual noises. Understandably the girl was scared - the mum said to me it was ok and not to worry, her girl is petrified of dogs and she said she shouldn't have run away as it made it worse. My dog was now back playing with his friends. I called him over, made him sit and gave him a 'recall' treat and picked him up, something I always do if he gets overexcited.

    One of the other dog owners started saying that I shouldn't be rewarding him and that he should never be off a lead. I wasn't rewarding him for chasing, I was rewarding him for coming to me and sitting.

    I know the simple response is to never let him off the lead but I can't help but wonder if this is OTT. His recall is a voice 'ah' followed by a 'here', with a squeeze of a squeaky ball if he turns 'deaf' - unfortunately I didn't have the ball to hand as it was in my coat which I had taken off (first nice day for weeks!)

    I'm a believer of not 'punishing' a dog for what we would call bad behaviour as I believe a dog doesn't understand the concept as we do. I will give a firm no if he tries something he shouldn't but I believe this must be done at the time it happens, not after the event. I don't feel shouting at a dog does anything but either frighten them or agitate them.

    I'll continue to work on his recall but when he goes into instinct mode I can become invisible to him and nothing works - this happens if he sees a squirrell or a duck, so if anyone has any further ideas I'm listening.
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  3. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    I don't believe in punishing either. Yes, your dog should be able to have a reliable recall before he mixes off lead with younger, or more submissive dogs, and your boy did recall and deserves his reward for that. However hard we try it is never that simple though, is it? I have one Beagle which has a string of working qualifications after his name, but he still would chase bikes and motorbikes, and can be reactive with dogs that he thinks are suspicious characters - usually just bouncy Retrievers! My other rehomed Beagle blanked my recall this week, and was just minutes away from a meeting with an Intercity train!
    Unfortunately, JRT's and Beagles will never have the responses of GSD's and Border Collies. They are hard wired to hunt and chase, - and the faster the movement, the more stimulated they become. We dont have many dog parks in the UK, but unless we are in a safe space with dogs I know they get on with, I keep my horrors under control by using a 5 or 10 metre long line. This gives them some freedom, but means that I can reel them in quickly if there is any doubt how they will react. Maybe not ideal, but certainly safer.
  4. My bear Yoji

    My bear Yoji Member

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    I agree with a treat for recall
    I also agree that shouting at dogs isn’t a way to train it only relevés our own frustration
    I’m always envious of dogs I see out & about, off lead and walking by their owners heal, mine walks great on the lead, but, once off he forgets himself and can easily get into “ mischief “ so for that it’s a rare occurrence
    With your dog only being 2 he still behaving as a puppy would and gets over excited with dogs & children running around screaming, children have such high pitched screams too which can whip a dog up into a frenzy
    If I had your situation I would be keeping it on a lead until you get your confidence back
    All the comments from your locals must really upset you, i would be devastated. Their attitude would also change seeing your dog on his lead
    Accidents are just that, but, given you have the knowledge of how your dog can behave means you can do something about it
    I understand he isn’t being vicious, but, in a giddy state he could accidentally injure a child and the adults wouldn’t give you a second chance they would just see that your dog has “ bitten “ their child
    I fell I have waffled on a bit, but, I hope I have come across as being supportive
    Please come back and let us know what you decide and how you both are getting on
  5. Bumbleweed

    Bumbleweed New Member

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    Thank you for your replies. I do have a long lead (haven't used for for some time) but couldn't use it at the 'meets' as it's all running, fetching, rolling etc, so just wouldn't work. They all get on very well - there can be some disagreements but they'll sort it out in a matter of seconds in their language. Yesterday my JRT was pinned down by the boxer, there was a few barks and teeth baring then it was over.

    When the boxer and a staffy mix have one of their games of snarling and hugging, it can easily look like a fight to the uninformed. There is a really good mix of temperaments and breeds - Labs, KC spaniel, pugs, collies, G Shepherds and so forth, some dominant, some submissive, some non-plussed; sometimes kids attend and there have never been any issues of concern. It's an early morning thing, in all weathers so the park is usually quiet.

    None of us saw the girl and her mum walking the trail behind the bushes even though it's behind where we usually stand. It shook us all up and I'm worried that me and my JRT will give the group a bad name. I know one local guy has said recently he's going to get our meets banned - even though he has a dog that plays off the lead! Bit of an arrogant know-it-all type of man who has even officially complained that a neighbour had too much moss outside his house.

    If I see a dog walk through who I don't recognise or know, or I know the owner doesn't like to be approached, I'll call or distract my JRT and lead him until they've gone. This works well as it shows him that being on the lead doesn't mean the play has finished.

    Like I said, most of the time during 'normal' walks he's on his lead and I use a local field/trail for a runaround. During the wet weather though it can become a bit of a mudpit and I use the park during the quieter times. It's just really frustrating when the facebook warriors go on about their dog being 'attacked' or 'mauled', then others joining in who believe it must be true.

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