Isis, my 2 year old female Rott, was diagnosed with Parvo 2 weeks after we got her from the breeder at 8 weeks old. Having never seen or heard of the virus other than as a booster shot that all puppies get, and having sat in the vets quarantine area for 8 hours a day seeing the effects of the virus, I was more than a little paranoid about her exposure to other dogs after her recovery.
We have a fairly large yard so excersise was not much of an issue, however since practically all of my freinds and family members also have dogs my house became off limits for a little over a year. Along with what a few members of my household considered extreme measures regarding footwear clothing, and cleaning around the house and yard and when leaving to go to school, work, etc. However given the virulence of this virus, as I said, I was not taking any chances with allowing it to spread beyond my household.
Another issue is that locally there are only 3 trainers and 2 doggy daycare/boarding kennels and all of them flat out refuse to deal with Rotts among a half dozen other breeds. And here again I am sure some will call me stubborn but I refuse to take her to one of the local dog parks for a number of reasons.
Needless to say this has created a few behaviour issues with strangers and primarily other dogs and bicyclists. With the exception of passing bicycles, which she uniformly seems to want to mangle, she is completely unpredictable in her reactions. The same person walking past with the same dog she will either become very aggressive ears and stump back snarling and lunging, posturing by sticking her chest out and barking really loud, or playful (which unfortuantely without paying attention to body language most people and dogs seem to confuse with the former with the only exceptions being her stump is wagging a millions miles an hour ears are perked her deep growl is nowhere near the teeth barrred snarl, and she is bounding around like a friggin jack rabbit.)
To date I have tried having friends bring over their dogs over and only rewarding her when she displays a playful non aggressive posture and removing her to the house and ignoring her until she calms down when she starts showing any signs of aggression. In truth, and in this I may be wrong, but I am less concerned with her posturing as long as she stops on command which she is normally very good about. The big problem with this is generally the other dogs tend to quickly become uncomfortable with her exhuberance, primarily, I think the growling. To date the altercations are very brief and she has never instigated them. I should also clarify these intaractions are with breeds of similiar size and normally mellower dispositions. When it comes to smaller breeds she goes into either bully or pred/prey mode.
Recently she has managed to get away from my 16 year old son on two seperate occasions, once when I was out of town and the other after she managed to dislocate my shoulder trying to chase after a rabbit in the yard. (My fault since it was 3 in the morining and had been paying closer attention I would have seen her tensing up and prepping to launch). Both times it ended in an altercation with another dog that the owner had let go in our yard, the second was on the way back after she had managed to get as far as the boat yard down the road and had tried to "play" with some of the members.
Bottom line I am hoping someone on here has had similiar issues and has some suggestions as to how to handle this. For that matter any reccomendations on ways of training her to snap her focus back to me and not the "intruders", as well as any better ways to try and socialize her would be greatly appreciated. I realize I am probably leaving out some peritnent information in this wall-o-text, I will be happy to fill in any gaps that I have left out.
Thank you in advance.
Re: Parvo Survivor
This is one of the worse things that could happen to a Rottweiler....you left her untrained and unsocialized for almost 2 years now?? The most important window of socialization starts closing by 16 weeks or so. She's missed so much, she may never be right.
Many puppies contract parvo, and get over it...there was no reason that you had to keep her isolated for all that time. Once she was over the diarrhea and healthy...she should have been doing what all puppies are doing...like going out for walks, socializing with all sorts of people and going to obedience classes.
You need to get a professional trainer that works with working breeds, and difficult cases, or a behaviorist to come to your home and assess her. They will also show you how to manage things and desensitize her.
This is not something that can be fixed over the internet.
(Baxter)Weka's Knight'N' Shinin Armor CGN TT HIC
(Jemma) Eirian's First Class Jem HIC CGN
Duncan (Rescue)~A work in progress
* * * * * *
At the Bridge:
Re: Parvo Survivor
First, I am glad you are here now and looking for help. That's the first step in the right direction! Unfortunately, Gina is right. You need professional help. By "professional," we mean a trainer who is: (1) experienced with the working breeds and not just softer breeds like Labs or Goldens; (2) who has successfully worked with his or her own dogs in high-level competitive venues (while there are different schools of thought on this one, given the severity of your situation, I would not skimp on this); (3) who understands operant conditioning and modern training methods; and (4) who has successfully rehabilitated a reactive and potentially fear-aggressive dog. If you need to travel long distances to find this person, it will be worth it. I know that the training center founded by Patricia McConnell, Dogs Best Friend (or something like that), is in Madison. I'm not espousing them, they're just the only name I can think of off the top of my head.
Were this my dog, I would not try to "socialize" her at this date. She's past that point in her life. Instead, I would work on counter-conditioning and absolutely rock solid obedience. You want a dog who understands "watch me" to the point that she can and will ignore other dogs, who will hold a sit stay while another dog walks by, etc. This is a much more achievable goal. With good counter-conditioning, you can also work on the tendency to overreact. It will take a TON of work and a long time.
In the meantime...safety is the number one priority. Your son should never walk her. If you walk her, do so with a prong collar or other training collar, safely attached to a loose slip collar in case it pops off. Do not get close to others on walks - keep a safe distance. Manage her appropriately when people come over and I would not ask them to put their dogs at risk.
Best of luck - I wish you success with this.
Pieka, CD-C, RL2, RL1X, RN, BH, CGC
Whiskey, CD, RN, CGC, TT
Louie, CGC, TDI
Sofia, CGC., TDI, TT, HIC, (1997-2008)
Re: Parvo Survivor
You do have a bit of an uphill struggle. There surely must be classes or a good trainer you can work with within driving distance.
I had a sort-of similar situation with a Rottweiler - long story but it was a rescue situation with a 5 year old, intact, mostly chained dog I was supposed to just have temporarily...anyhow, Dutch turned out fabulous although a challenging dog. It took quite a bit of work to get his respect and get him to understand that he could not chase every thing that moved. A prong collar was probably the most useful tool I used with him. And classes. And lots of "training walks." Often wearing a back pack - Dutch, not me.
I probably never would have gotten him to the point where he welcomed all other dogs (or people for that matter) into the house happily, like a Labrador. Nor did I expect that of him. I did expect him to be polite, listen to me, and not lunge at everything he wanted to chase. We got there but it took a while, and part of his life was always going to be about managing him...certainly not a dog I'd ever have taken to a dog park (I am not a fan, anyhow.)
It sounds like Isis is unsocialized around other dogs and doesn't know how to play nice so she's a bully, has a high prey drive, and could use a lot of training and work to engage her mind and body. In order to learn how to behave around other dogs (she doesn't have to like them but she does have to behave) she needs to learn self control, how to focus on you - and you need to learn how to teach her. As Gina says, you'll need hands-on help for this.
Isis sounds like a cool dog and probably has a ton of potential. What you've got is the all-too common result on not socializing and working with a pup during the first few months, but it's fixable with work.
Royce von der Alten Welt 6.7.2010
Cooper, CGC, CD, TDI, TT, UACH
Daphne the Destructo-Rott
Bosco the clown
Ajax, my very first Rottweiler in 1985.
Re: Parvo Survivor
I would highly recommend finding a trainer/behaviorist willing to work with you. Truth be told I would be apprehesive of any trainer who wasn't at least willing to work with you or recommend you to someone who could help you.
I know you're about 3 hours northwest of us so probably about 2 hours from Madison. They have several excellent trainers located there.
Dog's Best Friend Training | Dog Training and Behavior Classes and Consultations - Madison, WI This is the one founded by patricia mcconnell
Blue Dog Training & Behavior Madison, Wisconsin Another that seems to be modeled along the same aproach. Positive training.
Group Classes Another...I don't know anything about this one but it appears they use positive training.
I know a two hour drive one way is a bit of a treck, but I have to say we drove an hour and a 1/2 one way when we went to have Lou evaled and started training...well worth the drive.
You may even want to check with your local shelter. They may have some trainers or behaviorists they could recommend.
**We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals. Immanuel Kant
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