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Jake

Jake is a black lab 6 years old in Feb.
Jake was adopted from our Vet when he was 8-9 weeks old – his owners dropped him off and never picked him up - we had a 12 year old mixed small dog at the time.

Jake is a wonderful dog, but he has a behavioral problem. Occasionally, he will drop his head, turn away from you, growl and even show his teeth sometimes. Then he will lift his front paw at you encouraging you to pet him. If we don’t touch or talk to him, he will sometimes come right out of what looks like a trance – if we have been petting him and stop he will turn and put his paw on your lap as to ask you to continue petting him, but as soon as you do he does the same thing – no amount of talking (loving or firm seems to bring him out).  Some words work “do you want to go”  “do you want a cookie”.
We took him to training classes when he was 9 months for basic commands and he has always done quite well withy these. We even have had him at a special dog trainer. Our vet has checked him out a few times and can find no medical reason for this behavior.  Jake has tried to snap at us when he is in these moods – he really acts like a different dog when he does this – we are very worried that he will hurt someone – also, we would like him to be his loveable self – he seems to be getting worse as he get older – please if you can help us we would really appreciate it.
2 Responses
234713 tn?1283526659
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Are you sure that your dog does not have a seizure disorder, or neurological problem?  The problem does not sound strictly behavioral.  You might try video recording this behavior to show to your vet or veterinary animal behaviorist, or veterinary neurologist and go from there.  They would also be interested to know if there is a pattern to the episodes, for  example, does it happen once per week, or daily at 9:00, etc.  Or there may be something that occurs to set them off.  A specific sound, or music, or the turning on of a light.  Please do some detective work and record your observations no matter how insignificant.  The behaviorist or neurologist may be able to  tie the ends together.  There are also several different medications that may also be helpful, such as antidepressents.  When using medication there may be a bit of trial and error before finding the one most effective, but try to be patient because there is a solution out there.
82861 tn?1333453911
You're correct that this is a behavior issue, and you may need the help of a veterinary behaviorist rather than an obedience trainer.  It appears that Jake rules your household - in his own mind, and you all have unwittingly reinforced the bad behavior.  Simply put, by giving affection for unwanted behavior, you reinforce the behavior.  Jake is controlling the amount of affection he receives - not you - and that isn't a good thing.

You need to find some tools to redirect his mind when he gets in this fixated, neurotic state, and that is what a behaviorist can help you with.  If you aren't walking him every single day in a controlled manner as his pack leader, he isn't going to respect your authority anywhere else.  Dogs are genetically programmed to travel, eat, rest, play, and repeat, in their day.  If you work with what Mother Nature intended them to be, you'll have a much healthier, happy and mentally balanced dog.  He's trying to tell you what he needs in the only way he can.

I highly recommend books and DVDs by the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan to assist you in learning how to be your dog's Pack Leader.  If you can't purchase these items, check them out from the library and video rental stores.  I can personally testify that his techniques are absolutely humane and very effective, very quickly.  All it takes is learning how your dog's mind works and moving foward from there enforcing the rules of your home.  Dog psychology is a sadly neglected element of most dog obedience training classes.  Sure, you can get your dog to sit, stay, even shake paws with you, but what about the rest of the day?  Redirecting unwanted behavior needs to happen throughout the dog's lifetime with you.  Certainly, the need for correction becomes less and less and your dog learns, but there's always something brand new to trigger a new behavior.  Having the right tools in your doggie behavior toolbox will keep your entire household healthy and happy, both physically and mentally.

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