Buddy The Rottweiler

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Sam Basso
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
OR, if you are out of this area, inquire about a telephone or e-Lesson
Email: [email protected]

From: Rhonda Waters
Sent: Sunday, November 02, 2003 7:55 PM
To: Sam
Subject: Update on Buddy The Rottweiler

Hi Sam,Buddy is doing so much better. We worked on the homework you gave us concerning him getting off the couch. I can now get him off when I want him to. He still likes to lay his head in my lap but doesn’t growl anymore if I ask him to move off. He accepts it if I don’t want to pet him or let him lay on me. He understands the routine here better and goes outside without growling at me about it. He’s not growling when I correct him any more. He listens well. Real pleased with himself when he does something good. The advice really helped and I appreciate your time. I know we still have work to do but he has improved so much. He’s happier now also. Buddy & I thank you for helping me to understand him better.

Rhonda Waters
SSRR FosterCoordinator(TN/MS/LA)
SSRRTempTest/HCCoordinator(TN/MS/LA)
Foster Mom, Mom to Fallen, Faison, Lexie, Lance & Harley

READ THE CASE STUDY ON THIS DOG

Dear Sam,

We are having problems with Buddy The Rottweiler. When he and I are sitting on the couch, he will put his feet on me. If I start to move, he will growl at me. His growl is deeper when I try to move or make him move. When I move and he growls, I tell him “No” and gently grab his collar and make him move off me, If he doesn’t resist, I give him a treat. When he resists I tell him “No” again and grab his collar and move him. To be on the safe side because I am not sure if, when I make him move, he is going to do more than growl, I use the muzzle on him. His growls are a lot deeper when I try to make him move. At that point he’s given me the impression that if I force him to move he would do more then growl. He bares his teeth! Given the fact he outweighs me (he is 120 lbs to my 110 lbs) it is very hard to make him move off me, and with him growling and putting more strength into keeping me from moving, I thought the muzzle was best for now. He still growls when I am petting him, but it is a low growl and could just be he wants more attention. But he is more forceful about not wanting me to get up if he is laying by me. He does not lunge at me now when I correct him, as he was doing, so he’s made progress. We keep working on getting him to move off me when I ask him to so we can do away with the muzzle. He’s growled at my husband a few times for getting too close to me. My husband is spending more time with him, and I believe that’ll help him from getting so possessive over me. We are also going to start taking him out for more socialization. He gets along great with all the dogs here, no jealousy there. He is a dog who has been with one owner for 6 yrs, then thrust into a strange place. Oh, Buddy howls if I get out of his sight, so I am sure you’ll agree he is looking to me for comfort.

Am I properly handling his behavior with wanting me not to move? I really want to get him out of that behavior. I have just never dealt with this kind of situation. I’ve dealt with every issue known to dogs and horses but this. He’s adjusting more and more every day but he is the saddest boy I have been around in along time. This all has been really hard on him. He does nothing but mope around and insist on being with me. Thanks for the help. Anything you can tell me, if I may be handling this all wrong, please don’t hesitate to tell me. I want to help him.

Rhonda Waters

SSRRFosterCoordinator(TN/MS/LA)
SSRRTempTest/HCCoordinator(TN/MS/LA)
FosterMom,Mom to Fallen,Faison,Lexie,Lance& Harley
www.ssrr.org(SouthernStatesRottwelierRescue)
“You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything”

Dear Rhonda,

First, you need to be very careful with dogs like this. You can be severely bitten, though usually the bites are chomp, chomp, chomp instead of bite and hold. Still you can end up in the hospital.

Second, I approach these situations first by trying to make my handling a positive outcome.

Third, I believe in approaching this by doing rigorous obedience training, starting with treats to learn the words, then by teaching each command clearly and precisely and working for a good attitude and response, then drills on each behavior over and over again. It is easier to fight out leadership issues through basic obedience first, while you can set up problems, before dealing with it in this home context. Once the dog is trained, I do not allow ANY disobedience to ANYTHING I ask of the dog; barking, urinating, obedience, manners… anything. This doesn’t indicate I am rough or harsh on the dog, but I don’t let the dog linger in a state where there is any ambiguity as to what to do, or that they have a choice to not do what I say. I always follow through, and I always work problems over time to fix them (or at least make them manageable).

Fourth, it is DANGEROUS to drag a dog like this off a couch or bed by the collar. You will probably get bitten. If you are working an exercise and need to use a muzzle to get the result without getting bitten, that is usually OK. Fight it out on your terms and for your safety first. You might even have to use the muzzle for all the obedience work. Just be sure to use a basket muzzle (agitation muzzle) like they use for police dogs, so the dog can breathe and even take a treat. Don’t use the cheap fabric ones. Go to www.rayallen.com to get one.

Fifth, you have to work to get the dog to perceive your actions as being in his interests instead of against his interests. Meaning, you do things together. It can’t be about just ordering the dog around. Often times, I find a test of wills going on. If you activate aggression, and the dog can’t be backed down, then you can’t win that kind of situation. Not everyone has the ability to back a dog down, and some dogs won’t back down without methods that you would find personally dangerous.

Some of these dogs can never be made safe, so be careful. Some of these dogs are just jerks. Some are insecure. Some are anti-social or lazy. You have to puzzle out the dog and figure out why he/she is acting that way before you go too far on any method. I try a little of one thing and make mental notes. Then I go a little further and try some more things. As you work a dog, you can figure them out. So, some of what I have said above might be wrong for this dog. It could make things better or even much worse. Can’t say without working the dog in person.

Sam Basso www.samthedogtrainer.com

Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.