Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 2 of 2 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So let me start by saying that I am in an unusual situation. I am 10 months into a two-year contract in central Africa. The company I work for provides a house surrounded by a wall, a car, and a salary. When my wife and I moved in, a dog came with the house. It's our first dog. His name is Kivu (pronounced KEEvoo, for what it's worth). He is a very timid dog by nature, and he's prone to biting people, so we let him get accustomed to us. After about a month, we were petting him and he was eating and gaining back weight and everything was grand. He is between 8 and 13 years old, and we are at LEAST his 4th owner, but the correct number might be twice that. We expected a dog in this situation might have some issues, and we blamed his "personality" on that.

About 6 months after we moved in, we coincidentally met an animal behaviorist who works for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. She met Kivu, called him fear aggressive, said we needed to be his pack leader and give him a job, and mentioned she would lend us her entire collection of "The Dog Whisperer" DVDs. She doesn't actually live in the same town that we do, and she has unfortunately passed away from a stroke since, so we never saw her again.

Now let me tell you about my neighbor. It's another American couple, friends of ours from before, actually, who brought their 2 year old Akita, Hana, with them from the States. Now Hana is full of energy, extremely gentle and loving, and, well, she's the boss. But it's been getting worse lately, and she's always pushing and testing to see how in charge she really is. She spends a lot of time at our house, the dogs love to play together. Kivu sits and stares at the gate until Hana comes over in the morning. Anyway, Hana inspired me to start to re-investigate this whole 'pack leader' thing, because I clearly don't know what I'm doing.

So let me tell you about some of the confusing signals I get from our dog. He appears to be completely submissive. His favorite position is lying on his back while you scratch his belly. If you say no, he gets small, curls, and puts his ears and tail down. He lets us go through doors first. He never growls, barks, or snaps at us. Unless there's some serious distraction, he always comes when called. Obviously, at least one of his previous owners was good with dogs. Now when we pick up the leash, everything changes. He runs around like crazy, whining and yelping and jumping, and his whole body trembles with excitement. When we get to the main gate that goes outside, he bolts. Initially, he would run around and sniff and smell to his heart's content, but several months ago, we forced him to walk beside us. Now he's only frantic for about 50 feet or so, then he walks nicely. But if we tell him to sit when he's outside on the leash, he won't listen. We have to force him to sit. As soon as we get him home, he's mister obedient again. Incidentally, when I drive out that same gate, he couldn't care less about the world outside. But he can't take it when either I or my wife walk out.

So now, on to my neighbors. There's a small gate connecting our houses. They have chickens and turkeys and guinea fowl running around their yard, and our dog is a notorious hunter, so we don't let him over there until after nightfall, when the birds are in their coop. That means that if we want to go over for dinner, we have to go without him. What an ordeal. At the gate, we tell him no, sit, stay, whatever, and he makes himself small again and his whole body trembles, we go through first, but he tries tries tries to go through after us. Later, when the birds are put away, we let him over. We force him not to come through until we say it's okay. While we're gone, he screams bloody murder without stopping until we come back or let him come over.

I've done as much research as I can here, which isn't much. I share a satellite internet connection with several people, and it's so slow I have to wait for google to load. My only experience with the dog whisperer is a couple episodes buried way, way long ago and a spoof I saw on South Park. My neighbors don't know how to be in charge of a dog, obviously, and neither does anybody else in this town. Can anybody recommend required website reading, or give any advice?

P.S. If we get good at this, we're going to get our own dog when we move back to the States. We've discovered that we love dogs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,466 Posts
First of all, forget "The Dog Whisperer." Cesar's mthods are generally not ones the average dog owner should be using. You have to remember that he is often working with dogs that have serious behavior issues where it's to the point of the dog either changes its behavior or it will be put down.

It sounds like you're doing an excellent job overall especially with an older dog who has not had the best chances in life so far.

as far as the walk craziness goes here's what I've done with my mother's dogs who acted like crazy dogs when taken for a walk. I have them sit to fasten their leashes. If they start acting like wild things, the leashes come off and are put away for a minute or so. Then we try again. Once the leashes are on, if they act crazy at the door or try to bolt out, we go back and the leashes are removed and put away for a few minutes. The first time I did this, I think it took about 30-40 minutes to actually get to take the walk. The next time was quicker. Now, no matter how long it's been since the last walk, I rarely have to put the leashes away at all, or occasionally once at most for them to remember their manners.

As far as the barking and crying when you're over at the neighbors' without him, turn away from him and don't even look at him. Totally ignore him. And when you go to get him make sure he's quieted down before you take him out. Perhaps have him do something such as sit or lie down to "earn" the privilege of going with you. But why not ask the neighbors to put the birds away a bit early when they invite you over or tether the dog to you so that he can't hunt the birds? Now I am assuming that he's invited.

Frankly I feel sorry for your neighbor's Akita. From what you say, it sounds like a future disaster in the making. Akitas are not a breed that any sensible person wants ruling their household. I love the breed but would not want to be part of that type of situation with one.
 
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
Top