Hi there, I'm really hoping you can offer me some words of wisdom. I have a four year old labradoodle, who is for me, the perfect dog. I help my niece with looking after her two girls (an eight year old labradoodle and a three year old greyhound cross) when she goes away, and they are really badly behaved for me. They mess in the house, bark and howl and worst of all, ruin our walks, something that is usually a highlight of my day.
When we go out, the greyhound charges other dogs. Not aggressively, but she is intimidating when she does it. Often she can't stop, and bowls other dogs over. Obviously this scares the dogs and the owners. If I have her on the lead she jumps and barks and sounds agressive, and I struggle to hold her. The labradoodle gets defensive of me and her sister and barks at people. If I have her on the lead it's worse as she growls and leaps at them. They both ignore my attempts at recalls, with our without treats, and I suddenly become one of those dog onwers i hate. The ones who have no control and you secretly think shouldn't have dogs. My own dog just wanders around.
Our usual walking spot is a narrow canal path. Today I took them to an open space and t was worse! They both ran off in opposite directions, got me in trouble with every passing dog and at one point chased a swan. Our walk lasted about 20 minutes, and I needed to lie down afterwards!
I feel I'm making the situation worse somehow, as I've walked with them and my niece, and they don't behave this way. I now get so anxious walking them, I think they pick up on it and get distressed, behaving worse than ever.
I'm embarrassed to even post this, but any advice would be helpful. I can't stop helping my niece.
welcome to the forum @aejc1 sorry to hear you are having problems, there's no reason to be embarrassed about posting this. Hopefully someone will come along and advise, you may be better off posting this in the DOG Forum under Dog problems. I have mentioned down there that you have posted up here
Aha just noticed you posted as a GUEST that's why you posted up here and that's why I can't tag you
Sorry to hear you're having trouble @aejc1. How long have you been having this trouble for? You could be right that the dogs are picking up on your anxieties. I would suggest walking them separately if they're likely to run off in opposite directions and cause havoc. It'll make it much easier if you only have one of them to watch. Another suggestion would be to use a long line to stop the dogs from running away too far. You'd also be able to work on a recall with the dogs that way as you can hang on to the end of the line and 'reel them in' if they don't listen to you. Also make sure you have some amazingly tempting treats to give them when they do come back. Not just normal biscuits - what type of treats have you been using so far?
My brother's Jack Russell is similar to the way you describe your niece's dogs (reactive on lead). He's very food motivated, so I tend to get him to come back and sit for a treat when I spot a potential problem coming towards us (another dog, person or bike). He sits very well, waiting for his treat and barely even glances at the other dog/person. He is a bike chaser if given the chance, but again, getting him to sit for a treat stops him being tempted by the bikes as long as I get his attention and get him into a sit before he sees the bike. Is it possible for you to try this with your niece's dogs?