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watergirl

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watergirl

Hi, I'm Watergirl and my Cairn is Addie. She is 2.5 years old and we live in Maine. Addie is my second Cairn and after the death of my first girl Emmy, I was sure I wanted another one. Emmy was 4 when I adopted her and she was a gem from the get go and I thought that was the personality of all Cairns. Boy was I mistaken. She was great until about a 6 months when I broke my neck and she was shuffled around a bit for care. She developed horrible resource guarding, never got completely housebroken and she attacks me like Cujo when any grooming or particular touching is done to her. At other times I can play with her on the floor, touch her anywhere and cuddle and nuzzle with her. She has a Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde personality. She can be the sweetest dog on earth at times. Sometimes I have seriously thought about getting rid of her but I just can't. I just finished reading the thread on aggressive behavior and I though they were talking about Addie. HELP! This seems to be a great site

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Terrier lover

Welcome. It is a great site...lots of good information, lots of great people with wonderful Cairns, who may I say seem to have many similar characteristics. Good and bad!:P

Before Sam we had a Cairn called Jock and he definitely could be part Dr J and Mr H. He was what he was, a wonderful Cairn, however  you just had to know what he would tolerate and wouldn't ...anything near his mouth meant taking a risk that you might lose a digit. There were also times I just had to put a soft muzzle on him to groom him. It wasn't the end of the world, it kept m calm and him relaxed.  And yet he was also very affectionate...I just think some Cairns are built that way.

 You might want to contact a good trainer who is familiar with terriers and give you some good advise on how to deal with some of the issues you are having. It sounds like Addie when you were injured, perhaps was put into situations that made her lose her trust in people? They are very sensitive little creatures.

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watergirl

Thank you, I have had several trainers and they have reiterated what was said in the aggression post. The heavy gloves and muzzle may be the way I have to go. I have tried the ultra firm No, you don't bite. I have grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and I have acted in firm..I am in command tones but so far no good. Last night I took and towel and went to dry her off from the rain an she lunged at the towel and continued to attack it. I'm just glad it wasn't me because I would have had a serious bite. The funny thing is the groomer can clip her, bathe her and cut her toenails with little resistance.. I have to go away and a neighbor offered to watch her but I was very uneasy not knowing when she would become ugly. Her breeder is actually going to keep her for me because she wants to see how Addie responds to her.

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Malcolm's Dad

Welcome Watergirl. Malcolm is like that too, a Jeckel and Hyde. At times he loving and cuddly. Just don't try to get him off a chair when he has gotten comfortable. He will grumble but no longer bites. He is almost 9 and stopped with the biting a long time ago. But he will still tell you off when he is not happy.

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Idaho Cairns

" The funny thing is the groomer can clip her, bathe her and cut her toenails with little resistance "  That's not a "funny thing" at all that might well be the key you need to unlock your relationship with Addie.  Have you watched the groomer work with her, discussed the groomer's methods of dealing with intimate handling of your Addie? 
I'll go out on a limb here, even tho it is one that I know is stout, and say that it appears that Addie has you measured,  knows what backs you off,  knows the degree to which she can intimidate and win.  Yes, Cairns can "be" like that, very, very manipulative.  We had one that buffaloed me from day one and I stayed cowered even tho my wife could/did handle her with ease--she simply ignored the growls, grimaces, the posing, and posturing that the dog used to try and back off anyone forcing her to do what she didn't want to do, feel, experience. I always proceeded with caution even knowing that the dog was really running a bluff on me.
If your groomer can handle Addie, then you can handle Addie because, obviously, Addie is capable of being handled.  Forget about the "trainer", they know general things and techniques that may or may not apply to your Addie.  If what you say about the groomer is accurate then she/he knows precisely what it takes to break the Mr. Hyde in Addie--she/he is your key to unlock that door.

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pkcrossley

my beloved cairn redmon was like the descriptions here of addie, jock and malcolm. he started out as a total problem puppy with a heart of gold, and as he matured --and was pretty seriously and closely trained-- he showed more gold and fewer problems all the time, but he was never a hundred person bomb-proof.

evidently there are bomb-proof cairns but it is hard to believe, since their breeding gives them a fighting reflex that they can invoke consciously (i believe) or that can just overtake them by instinct. the conscious invocation of this frenzy is what you have to deal with first. once a cairn gets the idea that it is easy to intimidate people, they will get addicted to it. so first is erase any impression she has that she can either scare you or make you angry (they love to push buttons).

sounds like you are on the right track. i used woodstove mitts that i could not be bitten through, and for a few weeks kept my dog in a harness and short-leash 24 hours a day, so any problems i could lift him right off the floor and take him to a time out --no shouting, no fuss, just done. and with my dog shunning also worked like a charm --the bad-*ss stuff wilted pretty fast.

but i never let him be unsupervised around children --most of whom have never been taught to respect dogs-- and warned all visitors to keep their hands away from his face or tail. he never got into trouble (with anybody but me) and was a fantastic friend to me, especially after about 3 years of age (they mature late). he is missed every day. 

your addie sounds like she is on the curve of cairn normality --which means she is going to need a lot of kind, fair and consistent discipline, and time to reach the age of cairn maturity. you seem to be going in the right direction, you just need some positive feedback. 

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watergirl

Thanks everyone. I bought a pair of woodstove gloves today and I am really going to try in earnest to go with the no treats for a while. I am trying to eliminate sleeping in my bed. While she goes quite willingly to her kennel when I tell her I have to go to work, she now balks at the nighttime routine. I may have to offer an incentive to get her back in the kennel at night. I haven't decided about a soft muzzle, she will be a bugger to get it on her. The reason the groomer has such success is that she has her in that contraption that keeps her head away from you and prevents biting plus she is a larger tough type of woman. She is such a loving dog at other times, my neighbors can't believe she is such a problem. She has a border collie buddie that visits her every day and where people and other dogs can't get near her food or toys, this dog "comet" can do anything and Addie puts up with it. I believe it is a real love affair.

The other problem I have with Addie is that she is not totally trustworthy in the house. She can spend hours in her kennel and not pee but if I leave her for an hour or two or when she slept with me, she would get up and pee so now she goes goes in the kennel unless I am going for a quick errand. Thanks again, you folks have been more help than my two trainers.

watergirl

 

 

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bradl

We have always fed our guys in their kennel so they tend to think of it as a cafe, restaurant, bar, den and bed-and-breakfast all rolled into one.

When necessary we'll toss a treat in the back periodically during the day so they get used to (and enjoy) going in frequently. And they (nearly) always get a treat when put away. When tossing treats in we let them see us do it, but we don't fuss and we don't tell them to go get it. We aren't *putting* them in, they're choosing to go in themselves and rewarding themselves. 

Just one small aspect of the total situation, but the more tools you have at your disposal, the easier things can (eventually) be. Hang in there!

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sanford
On 10/26/2017 at 5:55 PM, watergirl said:

...The funny thing is the groomer can clip her, bathe her and cut her toenails with little resistance...

Ruffy is totally sweet, loving and gentle except when I try to groom him, and he turns into a demon! I've never been bitten, but when I'm face to face with bared fangs and snarling and growling I have enough fear - or good sense - to back down. 

I've taken Ruffy to any number of groomers over the years - and have always cautioned them about his behavior. Yet, without exception, each and every one reported that he was "a perfect gentleman", "he was no problem at all", etc., etc. (A few times, I watched the process and sure enough he was fine with being groomed)!

I have one theory which is that the groomers always say that the dog was well behaved, whether it was true or not, because its good for business. My other theory is that there is something inherent in the dog's consciousness that alters its behavior when restrained in an unfamiliar environment, with a person it doesn't know. Perhaps the dog emotionally shuts down?

I'm at a loss to understand this, although one groomer, who I watched, told me that it was OK to observe them as long as Ruffy couldn't see me... She said that when a dog sees its owner out of reach it sometimes becomes excited and combative.

Edited by sanford

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hheldorfer

To add to Sanford's comment:  I think experienced groomers all have that "Alpha Dog" personality and dogs seem to catch on quickly that the groomer knows exactly what he/she is doing.  If I try to clip or grind Buffy's nails she becomes a drama queen; when one of the vet assistants or a groomer does it, she lifts each paw for them.  I believe the difference is that I am not 100% confident in my abilities, whereas a groomer has done it a thousand times before.

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pkcrossley

sanford, ruffy has your number. he doens't like being groomed and he he knows he can scare you off.or, he doesn't care one way or another about grooming but it is just such fun to give dad a hard time i think it's harmless --you can get him groomed by somebody else. you two are quite a pair. 

as for addie not being 100% on house training, brad has much wisdom on that. if she is 95%, give yourself peace of mind by getting her a couple of pairs of cute pants to wear when you are out (or visiting). pop in washer, get on with life. 

Edited by pkcrossley

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watergirl

My very first dog as a little kid was Ruffy, a cocker spaniel. Thanks for the post.

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Kathryn

Regarding resource guarding: our trainer recommended hand feeding our resource guarder (T Bone, gone since 2013). He was only given the food -- which he was very very interested in -- when he sat nicely, didn't lunge for it, etc.  I did feed him with a garden glove on for a while, until he was spot on. It also stopped his habit of bolting his food in 10 seconds flat. After a while I started to tell him to stay and put a piece of food on the floor.  He had to stay until I told him to get it.  Dinner became a game...and a training session. T Bone was a dog who would actually drool when he wanted something badly.  Never had such a food-oriented dog.  But over time he became much more polite...

T Bone still bit due to fear aggression though. That was built into him, and I could not change it.  And my current dog Oban would probably snap at someone if they got too close to his eyes too quickly -- he really does not like that. But I actively discourage anyone from approaching him that way, and I try to build manners in people around my dog too, for the betterment of both.  

No help with the grooming though. Never caught the hang of it myself. But I am terrified I will cut Oban's nails wrong and make him bleed -- I did that with another dog once. And he has that figured out. Luckily we have a professional groomer (and local breeder/shower of cairns) who not only grooms him and deals with his nails, etc., but also sometimes scales his teeth!  We occasionally tease her about sitting on him to keep his quiet -- we would have to.  But for some reason (probably that confident alpha attitude Idaho mentioned), he puts up with everything from her, and absolutely adores her as well. 

As PK mentioned, these dogs mature late.  At 2.5 years old, Addie is just at the age beyond puppyhood, at the age where she should be settling in. There is clearly hope here yet.

 

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