Leash frustration - advice please

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Sheena
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Leash frustration - advice please

Post by Sheena » Sun Mar 16, 2008 7:12 am

Hi. My 22 month old neutered male dog seems to have developed leash frustration when passing other dogs on walks. He gets quite growly and goes up on his back legs and pulls towards the other dog. Sometimes it is obvious he just wants to play but with some dogs he seems to be more aggressive, and I get the impression it is dogs that he does not feel confident with.

He was attacked by a female cocker spaniel half his size (he is 6 stone) and it seems to have occurred since then, as he has always been extremely dog friendly from being a puppy and is very focussed on other dogs, but is improving with training.

We are trying to get him to focus on us more, but he has always been very excited by other dogs and still is. We go to dog classes and he is great with most of the dogs and will walk in between them without doing this, but there are two dogs there that he seems to get really upset by - one was quite nasty with him but the other has never bothered him so I don't know why. He is much worse with strange dogs he meets outside than inside.

I think he may be having a bit of a fear phase too, as he is very outgoing and cheeky but is quite sensitive underneath his bravado. He seems fine off lead with other dogs in a controlled environment but we keep him on a long line outside as he has no recall having husky in his lines.

His body language when greeting some other dogs seems quite dominant with quite an assertive stance, but then with other dogs especially smaller ones he is very submissive.

I am a little worried about him growling at other dogs on walks and getting attacked again by off lead dogs because of his behaviour. I do give him treats when he sees other dogs and try to get him to walk on nicely which often works but not always. He is also hard to control when he gets very agitated being so big - I have him on a harness and head collar which helps but I don't want him being attacked again and the situation getting worse. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

Sheena
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Post by Sheena » Fri Mar 21, 2008 6:45 am

Hi - any ideas on this one please - it would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:12 am

I missed that sorry. Once a dog has been attacked it does make many of the fear aggressive but most can be turned round. Unfortunately with one of mine, Joe, 2 Weimaraners attacked him when he had his back to them and he has never recovered from this and I doubt he will now.

Another of my dogs was so fear aggressive to other dogs when I first got her that all she wanted to do was kill them :roll:

Each time your dog reacts, to him he has frightened the other dog away so the next time he sees another dog, his behaviour has been successful so he will be worse, the more he does this the worse he will get.

I can only tell you how I did it with Gracie.

My aim when walking her was for her not to react to another dog, this meant I would take her into fields, well in, up drives etc, I would turn and walk the other way until there was somewhere I could do this. If she didn't react she was in her safety zone, if she reacted I didn't have her far enough away so the next time I had to go further.

I also taught her to "Watch me", but I had to get her attention BEFORE she saw another dog, once she had seen him, it was too late. Watch me is very useful, especially when she started to improve.

Gradually I found I didn't have to take her quite so far away, her safety zone was getting smaller. I also had to put up with an idiotic man who thought it was funny to see Gracie, 10ins high, want to kill his Boxer :roll: Eventually I convinced him it wasn't a good idea but it was hard work.

This took months not weeks but was well worth the effort. Gracie is now very good with other dogs and greets them in a really nice way. She goes to hydrotherapy and meets a lot of dogs in the waiting room. 6 months after I started working with her she went on a Lurcher Link walk were all the other dogs towered about her. She showed no agression but was barking a lot, but she is a Staffy/Cairn Terrier :lol:

Basically the idea is to keep your dog at such a distance he feels safe and doesn't need to feel he has to chase them away. He must see other dogs but at a distance. Many people stop their fear aggressive dogs from seeing others and this is a mistake and makes the problem worse.
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pat
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Post by pat » Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:50 am

Can I just add something that a friend at work told me as it may also help. She has a big and powerful boxer cross and he was lunging at other dogs and sometimes knocking them down. My friend was getting really worried so she booked into training classes with a well known behaviourist. However, she had to wait for several weeks before the classes started so she bought a few balls for the dog and got him hooked on fetching them. She's never looked back. She now carries a ball everywhere with her and her dog no longer takes the slightest bit of notice of other dogs. She's really pleased with herself as she worked out what to do all by herself and it's really worked for her. She also cancelled the training classes as her dog is now so well behaved she doesn't need them.
I'm trying this out with Sasha and she does love "Ballie." I hide it in the airing cupboard when we're not playing with it.

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Sheena
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Post by Sheena » Sat Mar 22, 2008 5:39 am

Thanks for your ideas. I do think it is part fear and part leash frustration as he is often more growly the further away the dog is and if he gets closer to the dog and I talk to the owner he tends to calm down and say hello to the other dog. Also, dogs have approached him when he has been on lead and they have been off and he just submitted to them and let them sniff him. It is the odd dog that he has a really bad reaction to - normally bigger ones so I think he is a bit fearful.

He seems to be improving as we give him liver cake when we see another dog over the road or approaching and we ask him to walk on for liver cake when passing another dog which he sometimes does and sometimes he reacts.

I have had a true fear aggressive dog and I can see a difference with this one so I think he can improve. He was even playing with puppies in Pets at Home. He is a naturally dog friendly dog deep down.

I think I will have a word with the spaniel owner if I see him as someone else said it had gone for their Westie too so it is not the first time.

Thanks.

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Sat Mar 22, 2008 6:05 am

Sheena wrote:Thanks for your ideas. I do think it is part fear and part leash frustration as he is often more growly the further away the dog is and if he gets closer to the dog and I talk to the owner he tends to calm down and say hello to the other dog. Also, dogs have approached him when he has been on lead and they have been off and he just submitted to them and let them sniff him. It is the odd dog that he has a really bad reaction to - normally bigger ones so I think he is a bit fearful.
I have found that when I stop and talk to the owner my dog settled down because the other dog wasn't reacting, this doesn't mean that my dog wasn't still fear aggressive, just that this dog, at this time, no longer threaten her.

The reacting more when the dog is at a distance is normal, they are telling the dog to go away when the dogs isn't likely to attach him because of the distance.

Has he only been attacked once? I have found that if they are like this after being attacked only once, they can turned round much quicker than if attacked several times or if the problem has been allowed to escalate. When I dog is on a lead they can't escape which makes them even more stressed with the situation and is why most behave the way they do.
He seems to be improving as we give him liver cake when we see another dog over the road or approaching and we ask him to walk on for liver cake when passing another dog which he sometimes does and sometimes he reacts.
Watch his body language and try and spot the difference when he will walk on and when he reacts. This could be a good clue to how best to handle each situation.
I have had a true fear aggressive dog and I can see a difference with this one so I think he can improve. He was even playing with puppies in Pets at Home. He is a naturally dog friendly dog deep down.
I think you will get him through this, all the signs are very positive :D
I think I will have a word with the spaniel owner if I see him as someone else said it had gone for their Westie too so it is not the first time.

Thanks.
Be prepared for a mouthful of abuse, this is what a lot of owners with dogs like this do. They won't acknowledge they have an aggressive dog and put the blame onto you and your dog. I no longer go this way but go straight to the Dog Warden instead.
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pat
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Post by pat » Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:28 am

He seems to be improving as we give him liver cake when we see another dog over the road or approaching and we ask him to walk on for liver cake when passing another dog which he sometimes does and sometimes he reacts.
There's a great video clip on Youtube of someone using this technique with their dog. Have a look at this:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=A8MqAs976X0
The handler is wearing a hands free waist belt and a shoulder bag and the dog is ignoring everything in favour of the treats. He walks beautifully on the lead and every time there's something to ignore the handler says, "Good boy" and then treats. To my mind the voice praise is as important as the treat as it lets the dog know that a reward is coming. I'd love to know what other people think.
Getting eliminated is all part of the fun, or so I was told

Sheena
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Post by Sheena » Sat Mar 29, 2008 4:29 pm

Thanks everyone. I do have a dog walking belt and he is improving. It is when we walk where other dogs are off lead that I worry as most off lead dogs are well behaved, but it is ones who come charging up to us that I worry about. It is difficult in this situation.

Owdb1tch
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Post by Owdb1tch » Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:36 am

This problem is common to all of us, Sheena, so don't feel alone :D

I place myself between the offending dog and my dog - my dogs have learned to "get behind" when I tell them - and I make myself big and fierce (I'm normally small and fierce) and I fix the dog with big body language and eye contact that says "BACK OFF" while my voice says something insincere that won't offend the other dog owner, such as "Go back to Mummy, lovely dog, because mine don't play" in Joyce Grenfell sort of tones.

The dog reads the body language, the owner hears the words.

It works well - if there are two approaching dogs using a scissor movement, one comes to the front and the other nips round behind, so I have to be nifty.
Find the cause, find the cure.




A dog is never 'bad' or 'naughty'. It is simply behaving like a dog.

thistledown
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Post by thistledown » Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:28 am

Owdb1tch wrote:I make myself big and fierce (I'm normally small and fierce)
:D @ that mental image!

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:43 am

I am not as polite as you Owdb1tch, mainly because being polite doesn't work round here but if they think it is going to hit their pockets, that is different :lol: I usually tell them that they will have to pay my vet bills as well as their own as my dogs are on the lead and under control, their's isn't. It is amazing how quickly they get their dogs then :lol:

Like you I put myself between my dogs and the others.
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Sheena
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Post by Sheena » Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:40 pm

It is just the few owners that don't seem to care. Most are very good, but it only takes one.

It is the ones that run up and crash into other dogs that cause the most problems - if they just have a sniff it is ok.

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:26 pm

It depends on what your dog is like Sheena, one of mine is terrified of any strange dog because he has been attacked so many times, he now panicks if he thinks a dog is going to approach him. :(
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Carrie
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Post by Carrie » Mon Mar 31, 2008 2:34 pm

An excellent book for this is Click To Calm, by Emma Parsons. I highly recommend it.
Training with my mind, not my hands.

Sheena
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Post by Sheena » Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:13 pm

That is very awful for your dog Mattie to have been attacked so many times.

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