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Hi there I have adopted a beagle who is 7 and 5 months from the rspca. He is perfectly behaved at home with two other beagles ( 7 yrs and 4 years) but is reactive towards other dogs that try to come up to him as well as will bark and growl at bikes riding by or noisy trucks. I am trying to redirect his attention when any of the above things are coming towards him with fritz. I have taken him to a vet to be checked out including bloods and all is clear. I have also contacted the rspca who were aware of his behaviour but not to this extreme. They feel that he may not be able to be rehome but I don't want to give up on him.
Hope you are able to give me any information to help Syd who has been in and out of foster care.
Answered Wednesday 21 October 2015
thanks for the question as this is quite a common problem in domestic dogs. I assume this behaviour is being displayed when he is on a lead? This often happens because the dog feels threatened and trapped when he is on the lead and hence responds to possible threats with aggression.
You are on the right track by trying to distract him when the threatening stimulus occurs. Do you use play, toys or food rewards to re-direct his attention? Usually food rewards are the best however it depends on whether he is food motivated. You would be best to try training him when they are not too many threatening stimuli around (ie at night or early morning) as otherwise you will just spend the entire time feeding him! Obviously avoid busy roads and dog parks initially so that you can achieve some walks without failures.
I would suggest that you ask your vet for a recommendation on a dog trainer that may be able to actually come out and help you re-train Syd in the field. You may also want to consider anti-anxiety medications for him, at least for the early stages of the re-training process, however your vet will be able to advise you on what is most appropriate.
If you are committed to your new pup then I am sure with a consistent and multi-modal approach you will be able to get on top of this problem however it may take some time.
Good luck and thanks for providing a caring home for a previously unwanted animal,
Anthony and James.
Pet ExpertsDr Ant and Dr James
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