Training and Behavior

I think some of you may have the wrong idea about me, Tad, and these behavior problems and why I'm looking into a trainer. So, I want to clear this up...

Tad is a very good dog. He sits, stays, lays down (if you're lucky), and knows 'no'. He doesn't require a leash, and comes to me when he's called. However, when he is excited...he loses it. It's understandable, I get that. That's not the issue. The issue is his protective instincts. Yes, he has every right to be protective, however, I refuse to have an unpredictable dog. I am far more responsible than that. He gets incredibly vicious when he gets into protective mode, and I absolutely will not have that. THAT is why I am looking for a behaviorist/trainer. I don't need someone to teach me how to teach him to sit and stay as PetSmart would do. I can do that myself, and I have. The issue lies with this certain vicious behavior that I want curbed before something happens and it becomes out of my hands because the state has stepped in or a lawyer. Yeah, that's a worst case scenario...but, honestly...I see that in Tad's future, and that's why I'm desperately trying to find someone who I feel is capable and who I am comfortable with their training methods.

The three of us, here at the clinic, have consistency. They know the rules I want Tad to have, and they know the commands I use. I am very slowly seeing a difference, but it is still a long road. A client yesterday told us that Tad has the same problem her dog has, 'Greeting Disorder'. :) It's true...definitely true. But, we're working on it. Whenever the bell rings because the door has opened, I hold Tad's collar and he has to sit until he's calm. When he's calm, we slowly walk to the front of the hospital. If he gets out of hand, he is ordered to sit again until he's calm. Then, we round the corner and he sees the people or their dog, and he is excited again, and so we sit. When he's calm, we move forward. We'll get there. As I said, I can already see an improvement, so that's good.

He is a very, very smart dog...in fact, he's smarter than the other two...and it's the smart one's you have to watch out for. ;)

So far I've contacted two well-known trainers for our area. Neither of them have bothered to contact me in return. I am pretty...erm, irate at that. How do you expect to run a business if you don't return messages? Either way, I'm still looking.

We have a client here at the clinic, and she's done agility with her border collies for as long as I can remember. She gave me some pointers, and also talked to me about putting Tad in agility, just for fun. It would definitely stimulate his mind and give him a 'job'. I definitely agree that every dog needs a 'job'...or something special they can contribute to the family/pack. It would also help with his energy levels, but first...he needs 100% obedience...or pretty darn close to it.

I am definitely considering this for him; he is very high energy. I feel like this is part of the problem we're having here at the clinic. He is high energy and it goes over the top when he gets excited while he's here.

He is not a BAD dog. I see far worse dogs every day, however...he is not as well behaved as he needs to be for the lifestyle that my dogs and I live.

I hope that this has cleared up a few concerns that have been expressed on Tad's Facebook Page regarding the training and behavior posts.


  1. Good luck ... dogs are not easy, they require work and effort, and you've done a great job already with Tad. You and he will win!

  2. As someone who has shared her life with a number of highly intelligent Border Collies, I know how important it is for every dog to have a 'job'. In particular, bored and jobless Border Collies have a strong tendency to go 'self-employed'!

    Good luck with your search for a trainer :-)

  3. I guess the confused people never had a terrier, I find terriers to more often than not have similar greeting disorders, and you are right that doesn't make them bad dogs. And Tad is not a bad boy, he is awesome :) I wish you luck in curbing this protective behavior before something worst case happens. I have experienced that before with a jack/chi mix, unfortunately *someone* aka DH didn't really see the problem til it was too late, and his sweet dog was dragging the neighbors shitzu down the parking lot by its leg, and then bit the neighbor when she tried to rescue her baby.

  4. It is obvious that you know what you are doing. I have sought training for my baby for the same thing. He is great with the basic commands (except stay), does agility and loves it, and gets along well with other dogs at his daycare. However, he can be totally unpredictable and protective when people come to the door, or he just doesn't like the way they look when we are walking down the street. It is scary and frustrating because the worst possible thing is for the dog to do something that cannot be "undone" like biting. I appreciate how much you have done and continue to do for Tad. I am sure it is not easy but you are a fantastic doggy mom!

  5. TIFF. Please let me send you the packet of training tech. we got from our trainer. I think it has valuable information. Let me know if you are interested. No shock collars, pincher collar and food based rewarding. I am Kelly O'Neil on Facebook. or email me at msjitterbug@gmail.com.

  6. I have no doubt that you will correct these issues and I commend you for knowing the importance of this. Agility probably would be great even for the socialization aspect of it. So glad he is in your hands, I know you will fix this and hopefully find a trainer you are comfortable with. Not sure if Brian Kilcommons is still around, but he was awesome in his day and I think you'd approve of his methods. He did a TV segment on adopting shelter dogs and filmed at the shelter I volunteered at. He knows his stuff and is extremely compassionate.

  7. I think you know exactly what you're doing Tiffany. Dogs, especially abused and neglected dogs can have a whole host of behavioral issues. God bless you for taking this on.

    As a pet owner who has struggled with behavioral issues of my own (I mean my dog's behavior although they would probably say they were my issues) I know that time and consistency win the day. I also share your frustration with those who don't return calls. Business must not be as bad as I'm reading about if they can be so choosy.

    Keep up the good work.

  8. Tiff, I am a retired Certified Professional dog trainer, but unfortunately I live in Ohio. Here's a link for you to find a trainer in your area from the school where I got my certification. If you can't find someone perhaps you can email me and I can give you some tips. jb8549@gmail.com

  9. Sorry...the link is

  10. Tiffany, I have almost the same problem with one of mine, except she has already taken to attacking two of our other small dogs. I am trying to convince my boyfriend to not get rid of her, she is 99% sweetheart. He's convinced it's her instinct and can't be trained, I don't agree though. I hope you have better luck than I have been having. :(

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  12. TAD (the Totally Awesome Dog) is much like a smaller Terrier, only a LOT bigger and therefore more rowdier when he gets excited and protective. However the big difference is Tad is with you just about every waking moment and is also in a "work" environment with other workmates around and also other pets. He may feel, therefore, even more protective with that many "carers" to take care and protect. That said, I agree the Agility trials may work and also have to agree with you that one CAN'T run a business with success (or any credibility) when one doesn't return phone calls or enquiries.

    Australia here and enjoying Tad's and your development as MATES no end.

    Also I wish to add here about your blog on Tad that it has been great reading and interest seeing the progress in this young dog and also the work you and the Vet staff have put into him. I also wish to say Thanks to all the people who have assisted in donations to keep this young fella in the expensive Vet care... You are a great role model on Human nature and the blog pages you have published have revealed so much about yourself as a person and also the need for the rest of the World to look after those less well off than we are. WELL DONE.