Something I Had To Share…

So I have something to share with you that I’ve really not shared before. It’s about a personal struggle that taught me something really important and I think will help you out massively!

As I said, this struggle was tough but I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today without it!

If you are currently experiencing a similar struggle or a different struggle that is difficult to overcome, then don’t forget to comment below the video!

We want to help you with your struggles!

  • Dianne P. Ford

    Tom, I had a similar struggle with my first agility dog. Because she was from the pound at 5.5wk from a litter of 13 pups, she hadn’t had enough socialization and mom time. I was faced with fear-based aggression for the first 1.5yr of her life with me. I had some really bad training advice at the start, but then I trusted my psychology training and instinct, and found a better support system. After that she became a model-citizen dog, who helped many people overcome their own fear of dogs. It’s especially hard when living with a partner (and kids) to create consistency for dealing with behavioral challenges, and involving and training the people so they don’t feel sidelined, useless, or frustrated about it too. Great post!

  • Sandra

    I have rescued a 18 month old sheltie that has not been socialised, he also has nervous aggression and I also feel I have had bad advice on how to tackle his issues.
    I have had him neutered and we are working slowly on his problems.
    Sadly recently he was attacked by a Jack Russell which has set him back.
    He is very attached to me and has separation anxiety,
    It’s a struggle when you don’t have the support of your family when tackling things at home.

  • Vera Bout

    Hi Tom, I have similar issues with one of my dogs who come to us at five years of age last year. She is the sweetest girl with people but has become very unhappy with some [but not all] dogs she doesn’t know and will run at them growling and barking and I’m now afraid it could get worse. When she came to us she did have separation anxiety as she had led a very sheltered life on a farm so didn’t know much about anything. She is more confident now and I can shut the bathroom door! But it seems the fear aggression started as she learnt to feel safe with me and our other two dogs. I feel extremely guilty now because I think I have not spent the time one to one with her that she needed as I’ve been very busy with my young dog who has been quite a challenge himself but not in that way. It’s only in these last few days that I’ve become conscious of letting this lovely girl down. Yes we do crate games and other fun stuff on a one to one basis but I haven’t really addressed the fear aggression issue rather I’ve pretended it isn’t there because we can avoid other dogs in the main. Your video clip above has really brought home to me that its time to stop avoiding and start thinking what I can do to help her.

  • Jill Robertson

    Hi Tom Although I’m not struggling yet I am anticipating one when I acquire a new puppy in August. I have the sweetest natured 7 year Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla, Poppy, and will be welcoming her niece shortly. I share my house with a dog tolerator rather than dog lover and so it’s down to me to ensure a smooth increase to the household. Poppy has not had to share her home with another dog and seems glad of it as she tends to be timid with new dogs following having been attacked a couple of times. She yelps if a dog is too insistent on greeting her out of fright but gets on well with all Lauren’s dogs whom she knows. I plan on loads of crate games with the puppy but am wary of spending too much time training the new arrival because of “jealousy” or resource guarding issues. Any advice would be welcome.

  • Hi Tom

    Where do I begin?

    I did originally have two dogs, one was quite brutally attacked at 9 months old (1 week after castration) by a random stray dog on a walk. It took me many years to build his confidence around meeting new dogs.

    Six years later I met my partner who had his rescue dog, but one of my dogs (the attacked one) couldn’t get on with his dog in the house (fine outside), so we split them in the house. Two dogs in one group, one on his own, then we stupidly got a rescue “friend” for the single dog, and eventually got a third rescue dog to live with the other two dogs. So now we have five dogs.

    All was fine, it was hard work to keep them all happy and exercised adequately but there were no big issues for about a year.

    Then (approx 1 year ago) the rescue “friend” we got for the single dog very randomly attacked him upon waking up from a deep sleep, the attack was very bad and caused a lot of injury and upset. She has since had a full blood test (although not easily as she despises new people, especially vets), all clear vet unsure as to why she did it. She had lived with him for over a year with no problems at all then one day woke up and attacked him.

    SO, now we have three groups of dogs and have done since last September.

    The three (my first dog plus two rescues), my other single dog (who was attacked) and the rescue girl.

    There are different combinations of dogs to can be walked together, however the two girls hate each other (both rescues from different groups in the house) and cannot be near each other even on opposite sides of a rugby field is too close.

    Whenever we put one group in the garden for the toilet or take any dogs for a walk/training or if we switch rooms so the dogs all get company, the two girls (mainly the little one) go ballistic at each other, even if they can’t see each other.

    Oddly, I am also a positive reinforcement dog trainer, I regularly do 121’s for other peoples dog and help them with their issues. All of my dogs are “trained” as in they understand cues, loose lead work, recalls etc. I do BAT & LAT work with the reactive dogs at a distance they are comfortable with when outside for new people, dogs and their other triggers, we have made progress. I also give the two girls NutraCalm tablets each day to help take the edge off their anxiety.

    Sadly, my heart rules my head which is why we got all of the rescue dogs in the first place. The two girls have both had quite traumatic experiences (or lack of) before they came to us, one particularly spent years in kennels due to being people & dog aggressive, so of course re-homing or giving up any of our dogs is not an option.

    I want to work at their problems and help them to live in harmony (even if not in the same rooms) as currently we just manage the situation as opposed to making it better. Do you have any advice for me?

  • Tom Mitchell

    We can so help you on this!

  • Tom Mitchell

    There are definitely two sides to this – training appropriate behaviour with the puppy from day 1 and building a positive and calm association with the puppy with Poppy! Always have these two aims in mind when working on this and make good use of crates, boundary games and turn-taking to ensure no negative experiences happen! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Tom Mitchell

    We have so much learning coming on this too, Vera!!

  • Tom Mitchell

    I understand completely, Sandra, and we have so much learning for you on the way with this!!

  • Tom Mitchell

    Absolutely!! All these things make us better trainers for sure though! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Thank you so much!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Vera Bout

    Looking forward to this Tom! Thank you.

  • Darcey Shears

    Hi Tom,
    I have a miniature poodle X who, from very early on, was very, very nervous. She bonded with me, the family and our dogs nicely and quickly, although developed the behaviour of barking, lunging and howling at other dogs. In some situations I can control her and she remains calm and focussed on me, but other times (frequently on walks) she is determined to carry on barking and making a scene… I can’t understand how her huge, but silent fear (to the point where she runs away) has transformed into this very loud one!
    She is 16 months and has been spayed, although I don’t really see much of a difference in her behaviour. I have worked really hard on how she reacts to people and we can now successfully pass people without a sound. I compete in agility and was hoping for her to be my next competition dog, she is really excelling in training – though I don’t know how I’m ever going to get her in the ring!
    Any advice to help us would be very much appreciated! ๐Ÿ™‚