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 Is seeing a behaviorist worth the expense?

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TwisterII
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Female Join date : 2013-06-14
Location : Missouri

PostSubject: Is seeing a behaviorist worth the expense?    Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:26 pm

The Situation: So yesterday we discovered we will be a one dog family at least until Kenzi has passed the rainbow bridge or if something extreme happens to mellow her out a bunch. A friend of my husband is having to re-home or at least foster out her husky for a couple months after falling into a bad situation she had no control over. We've been wanting another dog for a while and thought since hers was a fixed male and we knew his background he might be a good candidate. We intended to do several meets leading up to the initial take over to get them slowly acclimated to each other since Kenzi does have a history with aggression and dominance at times since we adopted her. She's attacked my dad's female bird dog and has had several attempted attacks on small unleashed dogs that have approached us on walks.

How meeting went: We spent several hours in the cold of a neutral area parking lot slowly working the dogs closer to each other, stopping when Kenzi would get worked up, making her sit, making her wait. As normal her ten foot threshold kicked in and the growling began. We would correct her and force her to look at us and not the other dog, but even though her eyes might be looking at us it's obvious her brain is still hung up. When she gets hung up about a dog it doesn't matter if you yell, squeak her squeaky toy, hit her, force food in her mouth, whatever she is zoned out and the only way to bring her back is to remove the animal completely. We attempted to walk the dogs together around the parking lot which ended up in just a bunch of lunging and attempted attacks, one of which did make contact resulting in a patch of lost fur and a chunk of my husbands hand being bloodied trying to get her to let go, all despite a muzzle (soft muzzle she somehow managed to break like it wasn't even on).

What I've noticed: If one of us holds her away from the dog beyond her threshold where she's calmer she will cry if the other walks toward the dog. She seems very protective and increasingly territorial. The territorial bit we observed from day one. She marks worse than any male, fixed or unfixed, that I've ever known. When we first got her she was reactive to dogs but not so aggressive. If a dog would submit she would sniff and go on, now she isn't interested in sniffing. It doesn't matter how flat to the ground and submissive the other dog is she's only interested in biting and she always goes for the face. It's to the point where she's dangerous to have where other dogs are. She's been great with people except old men. I've had her snap at one old man with some crazy facial hair and then she growled at one that was staring at her. She accepts when we correct her concerning people but dogs she's dead to the world.

Qustion: I'm not even sure we have behaviorists in this part of the country. With all her issues she is a good dog and we love to take her places and she loves to go, but I'm wondering if there isn't something deeper going on inside her that taking her to a behaviorist might not solve. Or that she might be so far gone that to get her back we would have to take out a second mortgage on the house we just bought in order to pay for it. Has anyone worked with a behaviorist? What should I expect if I were to go to one? Do you really think that they are worth the expense for a case like her, or should we just resign ourselves to one dog and a cage muzzle in public where there might be other dogs? Sorry for the long lead up. It's been an ongoing issue for a while that has finally escalated to a point beyond what I've ever dealt with before. We've tried to keep her meeting dogs ever since we've noticed an issue, but it's gotten worse despite our efforts to head it off.

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arooroomom
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Female Join date : 2009-12-13
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PostSubject: Re: Is seeing a behaviorist worth the expense?    Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:35 pm

Don't take offence- it's probably getting worse because she keeps getting corrected around other dogs. While it may "seem" like correcting is the clear and obvious choice- it does often end up with aggression steadily increasing or having a dog who will "randomly" attack out of no where.

I would most definitely contact a trainer. If you can give me your general area I can look through the lists of some of my groups and point you in a good direction Smile

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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Is seeing a behaviorist worth the expense?    Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:00 pm

I live in central Missouri around Lake of the Ozarks. I'm not sure how to correct her when there aren't dogs around since the behavior doesn't happen in order to correct if there isn't a dog around. If that makes sense.

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wpskier222
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PostSubject: Re: Is seeing a behaviorist worth the expense?    Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:16 pm

I could be totally wrong, but I think Kristina meant that the correction becomes associated with other dogs, so she sort of blames the other dogs for the corrections and will escalate her aggression. Almost like the other dog is causing the correction, so she reacts with more and more intensity.
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TheBadGuppy
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Female Join date : 2013-06-20
Location : Toronto, Ontario

PostSubject: Re: Is seeing a behaviorist worth the expense?    Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:30 pm

My friend has a husky, and they hired a behaviourist when she was younger because they were expecting twins and needed their husky to be a GOOD husky before the babies arrived. She suggested it to me when we brought Gus home because of his separation anxiety. They are called Bark Busters. I believe they have a trainer in each state in the US? We're from Canada so I'm not too sure about the US.

I did contact Bark Busters, and they did an assessment over the phone with me. They quoted me around $700, which is very expensive! BUT it's all in home training. So they come to your home and assess the situation. And it's lifetime training. So it's not like you have a certain number of sessions or hours that you pay for. They will work with you until you work out your issue. And will continue to work with you in the future if anything else comes up. My husband and I thought about this for a long time. We decided not to do it because with Gus, we didn't think it was anything we couldn't do ourselves. It was more that Gus needed time to learn that we'll come home.

But the lifetime guarantee kind of gives you peace of mind about paying that much money. I don't know much about their training techniques though. But i'm sure that if you call them, you can probably ask them about this.
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Is seeing a behaviorist worth the expense?    Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:37 pm

That makes sense. We have attempted to "ignore" in cases where she doesn't "meet" the other dog. No correction there since we don't have to get near the other dog, just forcing her to walk on until they are out of sight. This works only if the other dog will leave us alone or if on leash the other owner will take heed when I sit Kenzi aside as far out of the way as possible and block her. Avoidance has been how we've played most cases, but when we can't get around it and she snaps then she gets corrected. We don't correct before she snaps. Same on the two instances we've had issues with her and people.

I will check out Bark Busters. Living in the middle of nowhere is sometimes hard to get people to come to you, but where there's no session limit that makes me feel better. We don't have huge amounts of money to throw into something and then if it doesn't work as fast as they thought and then try to charge us more for extra time it just won't fly. Thanks!

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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Is seeing a behaviorist worth the expense?    Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:53 pm

I checked on Bark Busters. There are three in Missouri and none service where I am. I guess I live in that dead space between all of their boundaries. Oh the price of rural life.

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TheBadGuppy
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PostSubject: Re: Is seeing a behaviorist worth the expense?    Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:06 pm

Awww that is too bad! I guess meeting them halfway or something wouldn't work because it's not your home, etc. That's really too bad because i think that after the initial meetings, it's mostly phone conversations. Did they have any recommendations for behaviourists?

I just went on their website, and it looks like you can contact each individual trainer. It might be worth it to see if they have any recommendations for behaviourists in your area? Or maybe they're willing to go freelance, if there is such a thing haha.

Good luck! Sorry i couldn't be more helpful.
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Is seeing a behaviorist worth the expense?    Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:13 pm

I may try to contact the one. He shows that he's worked with dogs are far north as Lebanon. That's just a half hour away. I've googled a few names in the area but haven't found any reviews for them concerning the type of problems I'm having. No one around that I've found has any experience with Huskies. Mostly labs just needing taught the basics and how to channel energy. Kenzi isn't mouthy, she knows her tricks, she never jumps and I can take anything she has away from her without any issue, but those seem to be the main things people train because around here.

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TheBadGuppy
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PostSubject: Re: Is seeing a behaviorist worth the expense?    Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:26 pm

Yah i would do that too. You've got nothing to lose Smile

Dog people have big hearts! I'm sure if you reach out to people in your area, that someone will be willing to help you.
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