Breed: Cattle Dog mix
Behavior Challenge: Biting, reacting aggressively towards other dogs when walking on leash, herding/circling and nipping at heels
Oscar is a high energy and very intelligent dog and he was severely frustrated at a lack of physical and mental stimulation. In addition, his herding instincts were causing him problems in a small space. It meant he was constantly underfoot. Besides that, there wasn’t always consensus among the humans in the house on how to address or mitigate his behavior. Needless to say, when Oscar bit the toddler, he wasn’t going to get any more chances.
Train what you can, manage the rest until you can train it. In fact, this is always what we do. But it was even MORE important in Oscar’s case, because we couldn’t have a second bite. We started with some basic on-leash work with a chain training collar. We really wanted to give the family all options for not only training Oscar but controlling him effectively if necessary in any situation, including when out on walks. We started in a traditional Koehler style with long line work, moving to a leash and heel. A couple lessons in, we decided to begin working with an e-collar as well in order to allow the family to more easily enforce boundaries in the home and also interrupt unwanted behavior. They were also advised that Oscar needed his own space in their space, so he could be part of the family (and not relegated to the basement), but still be safe and unobtrusive. In addition to this, some puzzle toys and treat-dispensing toys were introduced to keep him occupied while sharing their space.
Oscar made great strides on the on-leash portion of the training and on anything that the family set their mind to. He was a very willing and motivated training participant, relishing a kind word, ball, or treat. Just the regularly scheduled training sessions helped to de-escalate his behavior and tire him out. It helped that he had his time for attention. By the end of our time together, Oscar was walking past dogs on the narrow walkways around Lake Calhoun without a second look, sometime just a tap reminder from the e-collar to keep his attention focused forward. He also become easier to instruct and safer around the house.
In Their Own Words – Our Client Experience
Oscar’s behavior was slipping over the last few years as we started raising a (human) family. He was acting out, showing nervous behaviors, and worst of all, he was being aggressive toward our kids. We called Paws n Motion on the recommendation of a friend, and we are very pleased that we did! During my first telephone conversation with Sarah, she took the time to learn all she could about Oscar and the issues we were facing. When we got together the first time, we hit the ground running with training. Oscar approached Sarah as enthusiastically as he did anyone else – jumping, barking, being a pest – but Sarah immediately took control of the situation. I was immediately impressed with Sarah’s interaction with Oscar, and knew we had a lot to learn from her!
Throughout our six training sessions so far, we’ve found Sarah to be consistently professional, insightful, well-prepared, and genuinely enthusiastic about working with us. Sarah provided a very doable training plan for us (yes, us – not just Oscar) from the beginning, with well-defined exercises for us to practice between training sessions. The plan was “doable” because Sarah always took into consideration our physical limitations of living in a relatively small home in the city, and our time limitations of being a busy family of five.
The techniques Sarah taught us have greatly helped us manage Oscar’s behavior at home, and have put us well on our way toward having an obedient dog that we can trust around our kids. We have even received unsolicited compliments on Oscar’s new manners when we are out on walks! We are very pleased with the services we received from Paws n Motion and we highly recommend them!