Max the Schnauzer

My first meeting with Max the 4 year old Schnauzer was at the family home in South Manchester and you could say it was eventful. Max’s first act was to bark at me, back off and then launch at me and bite me mid thigh; not exactly what I had in mind and thankfully it was just a front of the mouth warning bite, but still very much unacceptable. After some discussion with Max’s owners we decided to take the burden of his perceived leadership away from him by putting some simple behavioural changes in place and then deal with the original issue that  I was called for – his apparent aggression towards other dogs (big or small; it didn’t matter to Max).

We started off by getting his owner to hold his eye contact whilst one of my own dogs passed on the opposite side of the road followed by giving Max a tasty reward and lots of praise (positive reinforcement) for the correct response. We built up to eventually using all 3 of my dogs and then walked  Max side by side with Oscar, my Golden Cocker Spaniel. It seemed that Max’s issues with dogs were all part of the same problem, he thought he had to protect his “pack” and just didn’t really want the job and he certainly wasn’t capable of doing it.

We have worked religiously on gaining Max’s trust and getting him to ‘look’ at his owner when asked and this morning for the second time in a week he has been to a dog park in Altrincham doing “dog stuff” with no negative behaviour whatsoever towards any of the many dogs we walked with or near. Although Max is a work in progress, I have high hopes for him as it is extremely rewarding to see him  being a dog without carrying the burden of protecting his “pack”. I’ll keep you posted on his progress.

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