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Dog Files Viewpoint: Q & A No.2 with Dog Trainer, Lon L. Flewelling

Q and A with Dog Trainer, Lon L. Flewelling

By Lon L. Flewelling For The Dog Files

Q and A No.2 with Lead Dog, Lon L. Flewelling of Lead Dog Services in Denver;
This month I address, 1.) Chewing woodwork 2.) Alpha dogs 3.) Dog attacking lawn mower and weed trimmer 4.) Introducing new puppy to household

Have you any ideas on how to treat an Australian stumpy-tailed Cattle dog who has ADHD??? I haven’t got much of my house left.

Lon L. Flewelling:
In my opinion I don’t believe that they actually have adhd. I believe it’s more that the active, pent up herding and working dog breeds exhibit the same symptoms as what we might think is ADHD.

I recommend LOTS of activity to drop the energy level, then add a great deal of short session training, i.e. making them use their brain in sit/stay, stop and automatic sit at stop signs, direction changes during walks, etc. I believe these will have successful results to alleviate the symptoms.

Also, some dogs react to preservatives in commercial foods that can interact with their chemistry to produce the same symptoms as well. So a higher quality, good blend of proteins and fiber.

I suggest that you slowly introduce any new food over a two week period starting with 3/4 of their current food, 1/4 of the new food to allow their systems to adjust to the change without adverse reactions. every couple of days adjust the quantity of old to new increasing the new slightly until you are feeding all new food.

I had a great and interesting question and answer conversation with Bob Mattice, a fellow trainer and president of The Doggie Door in Innisfall, AB, Canada;

I have a client now that wants me to temperament test her dog. This big English mastiff got into it with an Alpaca, and ripped its ears off, and it wasn’t pretty. Now the farmers are suing her and trying to charge this dog as a dangerous breed. So i have a few friends that do this type of work also and we sort of consult each other. I tested this dog harshly and everything last night and couldn’t get him to show any signs of aggression. Next thing I plan with him is some exposure training with live stock. I have set her up with some strict obedience training, and serious energy draining exercise. What types of test would you test for with something like this???

I usually start with a fence line test just to watch for the body language and posturing that come with general aggression whether livestock or other dogs and even humans. Obviously there can be fence aggression/territory issues that can throw off the ‘test’ but safety first. On lead walking passes within close proximity of the animals, if possible with the stock walking opposite direction getting closer each pass while watching for the same language and posture. These usually allow interception and correction should any issues arrive and gives and idea of what may be the trigger to the event as well. Does anybody know what lead up to the aggression? i.e. any actions from the alpaca, previous agitation from another source, etc?

Yeah exactly. I did just that with all sorts of dogs going at him at the fence and he corrected out of any reaction so easily. He does show fear reaction tho, where he tries to bolt a couple of times but after walking him and working through that he was a million times better than when we first started the walk. He doesn’t pull on the leash for me one bit. He corrects extremely well for a dog that gets zero exercise or structure. Thats just it no one knows what set him off. the farmer just saw the end and chased him off.

Given that they are generally a guard dog prone to warning and tend to hold an intruder at bay rather than attack I wonder if there is an outside reason or source that made it take action…

With the way he seems fearful towards some things, do you think the Alpaca came after him maybe and he just reacted to its attack??

I really do believe that’s a solid possibility as to what happened, ‘mouse in the corner’ reaction. The Alpaca being taller and if unshorn look much like a really big dog. They can be somewhat aggressive themselves and tend to spit, kick and brae at an intruder, all misconstrued as aggressive canine behavior to the uneducated dog.

He was also with another dog that stayed outside the fence and usually runs up and down but never has he gone in before. So he may have gotten the Alpaca’s going before my guy went in the fenced area too.
I’m so glad that you seem to be on the exact same thinking mode as I am too with this case.

Using the information available as ‘evidence’ if you will, it seems that the reason it happened is solid. That makes it workable as well. The strong, but gently assertive leadership approach coupled with much needed activity approach should bring good results.

Lon L. Flewelling was born the middle and most charming of three boys in rural Minnesota where he spent many formative hours on family farms directly interacting with animals nearly from day one. Since his youth he enjoyed the gift and magic of close communication abilities particularly with dogs. Lon followed his gift into the world of wolf studies to further develop my passion and abilities to understand canines and their communications with each other and humans. He is a perpetual student of canines and sees no end to the absorption of canine knowledge.

“Lon L. Flewelling is the human owner’s manual on how to operate your dog in Denver!”
-Shasta Michaels-

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