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Old 09.04.2020, 18:56
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Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

We have a 7 month old male Jack Russell and a 6 month old Fox Terrier, also male. They have been happy living together and sharing their training bedtime cage for 4 months....however, recently they have now taken to being unable to be in each others company except with supervision as they attack each other...mainly the Fox Terrier is the instigator....and the Jack Russell knows how to play him....So...

We have details from our vet of a specialist trainer to look at the dominance issue and he is happy to give them a trial, but its going to be another month, we can't wait that long as our life is unbearable with them at the moment and they are both wearing muzzles for most of the day....not good for them either.

Does anyone know a good English speaking (preferably) trainer for one to one training? We are in the Zurich Oberland, but happy to go out to Zurich or up to an hours drive.
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Old 09.04.2020, 19:08
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

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We have a 7 month old male Jack Russell and a 6 month old Fox Terrier, also male. They have been happy living together and sharing their training bedtime cage for 4 months....however, recently they have now taken to being unable to be in each others company except with supervision as they attack each other...mainly the Fox Terrier is the instigator....and the Jack Russell knows how to play him....So...

We have details from our vet of a specialist trainer to look at the dominance issue and he is happy to give them a trial, but its going to be another month, we can't wait that long as our life is unbearable with them at the moment and they are both wearing muzzles for most of the day....not good for them either.

Does anyone know a good English speaking (preferably) trainer for one to one training? We are in the Zurich Oberland, but happy to go out to Zurich or up to an hours drive.
Dog trainers are not allowed to work (unless it is ordered by the cantonal veterinary department - and even that is only assigned to/allowed by certain trainers).
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Old 09.04.2020, 19:11
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

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Dog trainers are not allowed to work (unless it is ordered by the cantonal veterinary department - and even that is only assigned to/allowed by certain trainers).
I am aware of that and have the necessary letter of authorisation from my vet. Thanks anyway.
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Old 09.04.2020, 19:28
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

My trainer is in Luzern and cannot work at the moment. I would just make sure to really interview any trainer you employ because I would only go with a Positive reinforcement trainer and there are a lot of them out there I wouldn't trust to train a pet hamster
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Old 09.04.2020, 19:36
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

Try to contact EF member CherryTree, here:

https://www.englishforum.ch/pet-trad...rk-school.html

She is a dog trainer, and I think also behaviorist, with a very good reputation.

She hasn't been on the forum for some months, so you probably should contact her through her professional website, which is linked in the above post.

---

In the meantime, are you keeping the dogs separate whenever unsupervised?

How are they on walks together, are they able to tolerate each other when outside your home, i.e., 'their' territory? This is something to look at, as it might help in diagnosing the dogs' issues and finding a way forward.

Also, while you are waiting for professional help, would you be able to film the two dogs together, both in quiet times as well as stressful? If you can do that, trying to get several films that might represent the typical day to day interactions, you could send them to a trainer to review, hopefully then the trainer could at least give you some emergency stop-gap ideas.


---

Since you mention that the way things are right now is getting unbearable, if you need a break, would you consider sending one or both dogs to a Pension for a short time? Normally I wouldn't suggest this,, but in such serious cases sometimes 'breathing space' can be a help, if only to get your stress levels down. A break from the stress could put you in a better frame of mind to tackle the problem afresh.

One in Switzerland that was recommended to me by the behavioral therapist working with my problem child Robin Goodfellow is NF Dogs Home in Bad Ragaz.

This was established by Nicole Fröhlich, a well known and respected behaviorist in Switzerland. You can also book various training activities with their staff during your dog's stay.
https://www.nf-dogshome.ch

Of course you, the owner, need to be involved in behavioral training, but having the NF team assess your guy(s) could be helpful. I have found a multi-faceted approach is often needed.

I have not used NF Dog's Home with Robin, so I am only passing on a suggestion. But that they were the only place in Switzerland recommended as being appropriate for Robin - who is a very difficult dog - says a lot.

Once the borders are open again, I can recommend an outstanding place in Germany, Tom's Hundewelt, about an hour out of Basel.
http://toms-hundewelt.de

This is where Robin goes when we have to travel, and we have Tom, also a trainer, work with him during his stay there.

A short stay at the right Pension might give you all time to breathe, relax, and re-group as you make your longer term plans and goals.

---

By the way, we are working with Dr Maya Bräm, a specialist in behavioral medicine:
https://www.tierspital.uzh.ch/de/kle...gie/braem.html

Whether or not behavioral medicine is an appropriate approach in your case is likely a question for farther down the line. But if it comes to that, she is outstanding. She has, quite literally, saved Robin's life.

---
But as a first step do try to contact CherryTree.


I know what you are going through, and sincerely wish you all the very best.

Last edited by meloncollie; 12.04.2020 at 03:06.
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Old 09.04.2020, 19:42
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

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I am aware of that and have the necessary letter of authorisation from my vet. Thanks anyway.
If you got that paper, check her out. She has the permission (she says on her website). Hüntwangen is a little town past Eglisau.

I don't know her, so this is no personal recommendation. And I don't know if she speaks English but she'll be able to communicate with your dogs.
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Old 09.04.2020, 19:44
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

Male hormones coming into play I wonder? Has your vet suggested neutering for them?
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Old 10.04.2020, 00:58
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

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Male hormones coming into play I wonder? Has your vet suggested neutering for them?
There has been a lot of research into the role testosterone plays in many behaviors, some wanted, some unwanted, in the last decade or so. The conclusions drawn in these studies as to pros and cons of neutering, and when to do so, might be summed up in layman's terms as 'it's complicated'.

Yes, his dogs are on the verge of puberty, and yes, hormones might be a factor. But there may be other behavioral issues at play that need to be assessed.

In some cases neutering can help reduce some unwanted behaviors, for instance those directly related to sexual drive.

In some cases, however, neutering might be contraindicated. One such case where neutering is often recommended against is fear-based aggression, as neutering can actually make the behavior worse.

This is one reason why Stoker needs to get in touch with a trainer or behaviorist ASAP for assessment. Given what Stoker describes and given the stakes, whether or not to neuter, and when (as testosterone plays a role in bone development), are questions that need to be worked out with a qualified behavioral professional.

---
FYI re: NF Dog's Home, if you were to consider this as a short term separation/sanity option, while you are setting longer term plans in place:

In order to stay at the Pension the dog(s) must have had the nasal KC vax. And IIRC a trial stay is required.

Again, I wish you all the best, Stoker.

Last edited by meloncollie; 10.04.2020 at 03:11.
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Old 10.04.2020, 10:35
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

If the dogs got along well and suddenly don't, I would wonder why. My own experience is with dogs who never really got along well from the beginning, but tolerated one another. With age they mellowed. They were all females, which some have suggested can be problematic.

Friends have recommended Debra Bailey.

https://www.tierverhaltenspraxis.com/mich_en.html

Her website is in English, she is based in Wil (ZH)

As for raging hormones, our dog is in quite the state at the moment and we suspect the Havanese across the road is in season. She is not spayed. (Apparently she has a heart condition so surgery is a risk). Poor Watson sits in the garden and howls...and our next door neighbour yells at him. Watson is definitely not himself. He is 5 and not castrated. This is the first time he has ever been like this.
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Old 11.04.2020, 12:39
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

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We have a 7 month old male Jack Russell and a 6 month old Fox Terrier, also male. They have been happy living together and sharing their training bedtime cage for 4 months....however, recently they have now taken to being unable to be in each others company except with supervision as they attack each other...mainly the Fox Terrier is the instigator....and the Jack Russell knows how to play him....So...

We have details from our vet of a specialist trainer to look at the dominance issue and he is happy to give them a trial, but its going to be another month, we can't wait that long as our life is unbearable with them at the moment and they are both wearing muzzles for most of the day....not good for them either.

Does anyone know a good English speaking (preferably) trainer for one to one training? We are in the Zurich Oberland, but happy to go out to Zurich or up to an hours drive.
This sounds like a difficult time. I am not a trainer, jusy a dog owner with 18 years of experience sharing some advice.

If you can, try and separate them as much as possible so you can remove the muzzles. I understand they are for their own safety but not an ideal solution.

Door gates on a room or two to give each one their own space, rather than a cage during the day. You can put some mesh /fabric on the door gates to prevent contact. If you can't allocate two rooms then divide a big room. There are baby gate systems which can do this.

Feeding them in separate areas as well and walking them separately may help as well as dividing their toys. Definitely a second cage for the night.

Perhaps this is just a stage where one dog is trying to establish itself as the alpha dog. We went through that as well. Eventually the other 2 dogs accepted that. We as humans were still the pack leaders, but amongst the dogs, one was the top dog.

I hope you can figure out a more peaceful arrangement while waiting for an expert assessment.

Did you recently move? We found that moving was initially very unsettling for our dogs as they had to find their new spots. That also took a bit of time to work out.
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Old 07.05.2020, 09:11
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

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Male hormones coming into play I wonder? Has your vet suggested neutering for them?
Bad advice.
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Old 07.05.2020, 11:26
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

Hi OP,

When I read your post, this video immediately came to my mind. These are two small dogs in the same household that attack each other and with repeated patient training, they learn to be in the same space.

Victoria Stilwell is a dog trainer I highly respect and recommend as she only uses positive reinforcement. It is a lot of work but so worth it.

Please have a look at the videos, I hope they might help in the meantime, until you are able to find a dog trainer who can physically help you. I hope you can find someone who uses only positive reinforcement. Good luck!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urbm7thbmcg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV_ghJRx4Lk
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Old 26.05.2020, 09:15
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

Thanks for sharing this, OP. It sounds quite distressing and it isn't easy to talk about difficult situations when you are feeling totally stressed. I found the discussion really interesting and helpful, even though we no longer have a dog. I'm sure the advice you've gotten will be useful to others too.
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Old 26.05.2020, 16:01
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

Any update OP ? I'd suggest my trainer, she's fantastic and is especially good with dog-on-dog aggression, but she's in the Fribourg/Bulle area which is probably too far a drive for you. Hope you have been able to connect with someone helpful.
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Old 26.05.2020, 18:51
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

Both males? I had 2 brothers ages back who would fight each other. They had to be in separate rooms if we weren’t around. I wouldn’t have 2 boys again. I’d say castration is key.... training isn’t going to sort that!
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Old 27.05.2020, 10:03
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

I strongly disagree that castration of 6 and 7 month old dogs will fix the problem and that training alone cannot get the desired results. Not only can it be detrimental to their health and growth to castrate too early but, it can make aggression far worse if aggression is fear based.


It would be great to get an update from OP to see whether he/she has found a good positive trainer/behaviourist and if the situation has improved
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Old 27.05.2020, 11:08
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Re: Urgent...trainer needed for our small dogs

As with all concerns over aggressive behavior, it is important that we do not suggest a diagnosis without knowing the dogs, without having seen the behavior ourselves. We simply cannot know enough about the situation to diagnose from afar - and suggesting steps that might address things that ultimately may not be appropriate to the situation can be dangerous.

Rather, we should speak to our own experiences, talk about what we have done with our own dogs in similar situations. The OP can then take from our experiences the things he or she believes to be pertinent to his or her own dogs.

There are, however, two things we can and should suggest to help anyone in this situation:

1. Professional help.

It is very important to involve one's trainer, practical or medical behaviorist, and veterinarian. (In my experience, all of the above have been needed.) Aggression issues are wide-ranging and complex, there could be factors involved - multiple factors even - that might not be readily apparent to a lay person. One needs to get to the root of the behavior in order to successfully treat it. A professional who can see what is going on, in real time, is best placed to help. Recommendations for professionals we have consulted are always helpful.

2. Short to medium term management strategies to minimize incidents while a plan to address the behavior is worked out.

Every repetition of a behavior has to potential to ingrain it, so managing the environment to reduce/avoid incidents is often needed while you keep your eyes on the long term goal. Stoker, if you need any advice here please let us know.


I hope you and the pups are OK - and wish you all the very best.
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