State of the Gus Gus

Gus as some of you know… has had a rough start in life. Despite coming from a reputable breeder, he’s had a genetic rage flaw that we’ve been trying to moderate with behaviour cues.

Tonight for the first time, Gus Gus played ball. He normally wears a muzzle until bedtime but we’ve been trying to let him roam without it in his high stress area…the living room… when it’s very late at night. This makes him very happy.

So, here’s some pix of Gus Gus, playing and happy. Under a cut of course. Excuse the floor. They went running amok in dried leaves and I didn’t hoover that up. Instead, I threw a crocheted ball for him. MUCH better use of time.

no idea where the bread tie came from.

12 thoughts on “State of the Gus Gus

  1. Patricia Grayson

    He looks very huggable. I cannot picture him any other way, much less muzzled. Your patient love is working.

    1. He does wear a muzzle during the day because he has some serious triggers and attacks blindly… the other dogs, us. Strangely enough, he never chases the cats. 99.9% of the time he’s a sweetie but it’s been a behaviour we’ve been working on ever since we’ve had him. It was a damned celebration to have him playing ball tonight. I didn’t even mind not being able to hoover.

    1. It’s caused by too much inbreeding. Spaniels have it too but it’s more widespread there. The cairn terriers in Missouri, Kansas and Pennsylvania seem to be the hardest hit for Gus’ breed. And he’s a large cairn. Could do some damage but we’ve been working with him for years. He’s a sweet boy.

      1. Rhys Ford

        He’s doing okay. *nods* Right now, he’s crashed on the doggy bed by his brother and sleeping happily.

  2. Verena

    It’s like you have your own zoo. 🙂 Gus really looks adorable!

  3. Treasure

    Congratulations in a very big serious way to both you and Gus. Sudden Rage Syndrone is really hard to modify as it’s part of his genetic code. If you haven’t told your vet and your local terrier group you should. To get any where and get any modification done is a miracle and may even be worthy of a write up in a Vet Journal

    1. A lot of his rage I think is poor socialization on the part of the breeder as well as the inbreeding. We actually purchased him from the breeder and by the time we figured out what the hell was going on… well, we were at wits’ ends.

      It’s been a slow re-routing of his behaviours and still, like I said, not perfect. I don’t think it’s SOA. More something akin to it brought on by stress, like an intense Fear Aggression. Either way, a muzzle and training it is for him.

      We’ve been working with vets and Col. Potters’ Cairn Rescue trainer gave us a HUGE jump start. He’s never going to be fantastically perfect. We know this. We’re just following the course set by quite a few people before us. He doesn’t have it as bad as some spaniels and honestly, he does blank out and really either can’t hear us or refuses to hear us when he rages. Long road and a lifelong thing for him. We have hopes that we can get at least better for him.

  4. g8torgrrl

    I’m happy to hear that you are working with Gus to manage his temperament “issue” (god I hate that word!). I was the Exec. Director of a large animal sanctuary and Cocker and Springer Spaniels (though there’s some controversy about the Springers) are most often surrendered by their owners because of their rage and/or aggression problems. I’ve done extensive research into it and there is no definitive answer or solution but like you, I’ve found positive reinforcement, counter-conditioning and patience are the most effective at affecting long-term behavior modification.

    Keep at it and I’m sure things will get easier with time. And forget the carpet! After all, no one cares about carpet when you’ve got a gorgeous face grinning at you like that!

    Glad Gus had a good day. 😉

    1. Thank you for your words! Honestly, it’s been a long haul but he’s a sweetheart and well, I am the one who brought him in and made this his home. He deserves the effort and work not just because he’s my dog but because it’s the right thing to do, you know?

      It’s been four years and he’s got a routine…. gets a time out when he amps up too much and has learned that when he’s anxious, he came come to me. He does make some wookie noises to complain and sometimes he does “lose” it but it’s easier and easier to get him to pull out of it.

      Yeah, issue’s kind of an odd word they use, no? He’s had a great week. Every step he makes towards feeling secure is a good one. I just want him to have a happy life and know he’s loved. And to stop rolling in the owl hork that he finds in the back yard before I can get to it.

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