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Old 02-09-2005, 08:33 PM
beepingbird beepingbird is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 17
Angry naughty westie

i posted on here about 2months ago about my agressive westie, i thought he might have grown out of it by now, but as you might have guessed from the title,he hasn't.
i'm truelly at my wits end with him. he will come & lie on my lap, but then growl if i touch him, he'll sleep on my bed, but growl if i get to close, he growls when hes sleeping if he thinks you are about to touch him, & if hes done something wrong & i try to put him outside, he growls and snaps. i fear he will one day end up biting somebody & i will have to get him put to sleep.
my mum has even said we might have to get rid of him if it carries on.hes nearly 11months old now, he couldnt have asked for a better home, he gets fed chicken, beef,etc, never dog food, he gets walked everyday, he never gets smacked,he only ever gets shouted at when hes really bad, i let him sleep on my bed at night time, hes hardly ever left on his own in the house, he has more toys that any pup could dream of, and still he behaves like this

like i said in my last post, one of his balls hasnt dropped yet, i'm begining to think this is the only possible cause. i would like to hear other peoples advice before i bring him to the vet. thanks
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Old 02-09-2005, 08:45 PM
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Love4Pits Love4Pits is offline
Playful Husky Pup
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 3,174

Huh I have no idea. He sounds like he's a dominate little guy and finds that if he growls and snaps he gets his way. Im not sure what you could do and I know there are people on here who can give you better advice. Its weird that he doesent want you to touch him and their could be something physicaly wrong that causes him discomfort when he is touched possibly? Idon't know I would ask my vet if i were you. Sorry i could'nt give you better advice.
Good Luck

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Old 02-11-2005, 09:46 PM
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CreatureTeacher CreatureTeacher is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 1,445


Don't worry--we can fix this!

I don't think we can blame an undecended testicle for your Westie's problems. I would get it looked at by a vet just to be safe though.

I think I can guess exactly what's wrong with your Westie. First of all, you're not alone!! A lot of dog owners are in your shoes. The problem revolves very basically around your dog's misinterpretation of the signals you're sending him. It's just a failure to communicate, and we can correct it but it will take real committment and the participation of the whole family.

From what you've said, it sounds like your little Westie is under the mistaken impression that he's the head of the household. I say that because it sounds like you and your family try very hard to make sure he's happy and healthy. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that; in fact, I think you must be very good people for treating him so well. What I'm going to suggest is that we carefully explain to him that, although he is loved, valued, and cherished, until he gets a job and starts paying the bills, he is in fact not the big man of the house. I'm not going to suggest you do anything cruel or even impolite to your dog. He just needs an attitude adjustment, and I'll explain what you need to do to adjust it.

It's important to understand that the kindest gestures we make toward our dogs can be interpreted by them as reverence. I keep finding that dogs with this problem have wonderful owners, who want nothing more than their dog's happiness. But then the dog, who has been given the impression that they rule the roost, have no problems behaving as such. So when he's inconvenienced or just feels like asserting his authority, he may growl, snap, or just make himself generally unpleasant to be around. Yelling or hitting won't solve the problem; punishment like this will only confuse him, because he's acting on the information he thinks he's received. You need to operate on his ingrained understanding of social behavior to show him that he's not the one running the show, and therefore he's not allowed to make a jerk of himself.

I've explained the concept of resource control on the board a couple of times, but in case you missed it I'll do it again:

You may be inadvertently sending your dogs signals that, in Dog-ese, mean, 'You're the boss!" What I'm going to ask you and your family to do is called 'resource control'. Your pooch is confused as to his standing in the social order of your family. A lot of people would tell you he's 'dominant', but I don't consider that to be a productive word or attitude. So we're going to stick with 'confused'. I don't want you to try to dominate him. You need to demonstrate to him that you (and your family) are his leader, not his 'alpha'. He's living in your house and he has to abide by your rules.

So here's the way it works: from now on, everything is on your terms. 'Resources' include anything you have that your dog wants; meals, affection, play, treats, etc. are all resources that you're going to control. The main thing you and your family need to do is demand the dog give you the equivalent of a "please" before he gets access to those resources. Before he gets what he wants, you get something you want. Watch your dog carefully, and ask yourself, "Is he asking, or demanding?" Any demands should be completely ignored. If he's demanding dinner, then you can walk away for five minutes and then come back and try again. If he's demanding to be petted, get up and walk away from him. Don't talk to him or look at him, just deny him what he wants until he can ask politely.

Now I'm not telling you not to feed your dog. Your dog must always have access to what he needs to be healthy and happy: food, fresh water, shelter, and companionship. But food and companionship are powerful motivators. So before he gets dinner, ask him to do something polite, like "sit". If he refuses to accomodate you, then you can put his food out of reach and walk away. Try again in 10 minutes. You'll find he can be very, very well behaved when he believes his dinner is on the line! And don't pet him every time he wants you to. Affection is a very powerful resource, especially for a dog his size and age, and if he feels as though it's his for the taking, you just took a step down the social ladder in his eyes. Affection should be doled out only occasionally and in small doses. No more "wooby-talk". In fact, try to talk to him a lot less over all. Don't baby him, spoil him, or indulge him in any way. Completely ignore begging for food or attention. It's also important to ignore any way he might "lash out" over the new arrangement; he may make a real hellian of himself for a few days. You just have to remain calm and collected and continue controlling his resources.

When you do pet him, make sure he asks politely or ask him for a "sit". Don't give affection for longer than 5 minutes. Leave him wanting more! If he does something you like, give him a brief reward. If he does something you don't like, temporarilly withdraw your resources (i.e. petting or attention).

When your dog realizes that you aren't his carpet, he'll straighten up quite a bit. Usually, you'll notice a minor difference in behavior in a week or so, and he'll understand fully the new social order in 3-4 weeks. I believe this practice will do wonders for your dog, especially considering his age. If you don't do this now, it's going to be a lot harder when he gets older and used to his position. When you can tell that he recognizes you and your family as the 'pack leaders' (and believe me, you'll know it when you see it), you can slowly return his privileges until life is back to normal. If he starts thinking he's in charge again, just do the resource control practice again.

It is absolutely ESSENTIAL that everyone in the family participates in resource control, or it will not work. Any guests in the house should be encouraged to simply pretend your dog isn't there. If you or they have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me.

I'll be the first person to tell you that this is difficult; I LOVE to pet and cuddle my dogs, and it broke my heart to spend almost a month mostly ignoring them. I just thought of it as Canine Boot Camp. They and I are better for having gone through with it, and our relationship has a solid structure in which everyone understands their place. Now we can relax and be happy together. You can do it! Don't put your dog in harm's way, just adjust his attitude.

Keep me updated, and feel free to write with any questions. Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

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Old 02-16-2005, 07:55 PM
beepingbird beepingbird is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 17

wow! thanks emma, finally somebody who can help! i'm gonna try what you suggest, i will definately tell who how it goes, thanks again!
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