Dogs first time aggression?

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chrisharry
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Dogs first time aggression?

Post by chrisharry » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:24 am

Hi we had quite a worrying/ upsetting incident this morning.

We took our lurcher Freddie who is about 2 years old for a walk before work down the lane. As we were walking our neighbor came walking the other way and started chatting. Freddie has been a bit nervous around this neighbor before for no particular reason but has never shown any sort of aggression to him or to anyone else for that matter. There is one person a work he seems very nervous of and has barked at before but he tries to go the opposite way when this person comes anywhere near us when we are walking around.

Freddie started wagging his tail and moved towards him and started growling whilst still wagging his tail?? The neighbor said hello to Freddie and put the back of his hand down for Freddie to sniff. He was pulling towards him and started to bark with an aggressive tone so I pulled him away and the neighbor who was obviously quite shocked walked away.

He has started reacting similar with dogs walking down the road. He goes up to them and greets them wagging his tail and then barks quite aggressively in their face. He doesn't growl though.

We had him as a rescue about a year and a half ago now and he has always had a good nature and I have been confident with him greeting new people. He can be a handful and a bit boisterous at times but never aggressive like that with people and has never tried to bite another dog.



So any general advice would be gratefully received..

More specifically what should I do if it happens again?
Should I not stop and say hello?
Should I encourage Freddie to say hello as he approaches (eg whos that Freddie?? while giving him some fuss to make it positive)
What should I do if he does growl and bark again? (I pulled him away and got him to sit and told him no barking)
What should I do when a dog comes the other way (As I feel im trying to avoid this now as im not sure how to deal with it)


Many thanks in advance

Chris

Chucklevision
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Re: Dogs first time aggression?

Post by Chucklevision » Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:47 am

I'm sure there's another member here with much more experience that can offer advice but i would say that you need to get to the root of the aggression first before you can work out how to treat . Has he had a bad experience with or near your neighbour? Or could there be something about the home environment that doesn't work for him? It may not be aggression but nervousness

Eitherway those sorts of interactions can still be stressful for Freddie. It's not particularly similar but our 4 month old beagle has recently been getting possessive with his toys and after consulting with our trainer we worked out that our home environment wasn't structured enough for Dudley. We've also had to implement a "no contact rule"with other dogs/people as we were frequently allowing him to meet lots of dogs and allowing him to be petted to our detriment as it meant that he was overstimulated and stopped listening to us. At end of the day it is you/freddie that has to pick up the pieces when an encounter goes wobbly.

It could be that removing the opportunity for these encounters to happen (since you can't predict when &where) would be the best for Freddie for now. You can get little bandana's from an initiative called Yellow Dog which state your dog needs space.

chrisharry
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Re: Dogs first time aggression?

Post by chrisharry » Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:57 am

Chucklevision wrote:I'm sure there's another member here with much more experience that can offer advice but i would say that you need to get to the root of the aggression first before you can work out how to treat . Has he had a bad experience with or near your neighbour? Or could there be something about the home environment that doesn't work for him? It may not be aggression but nervousness

Eitherway those sorts of interactions can still be stressful for Freddie. It's not particularly similar but our 4 month old beagle has recently been getting possessive with his toys and after consulting with our trainer we worked out that our home environment wasn't structured enough for Dudley. We've also had to implement a "no contact rule"with other dogs/people as we were frequently allowing him to meet lots of dogs and allowing him to be petted to our detriment as it meant that he was overstimulated and stopped listening to us. At end of the day it is you/freddie that has to pick up the pieces when an encounter goes wobbly.

It could be that removing the opportunity for these encounters to happen (since you can't predict when &where) would be the best for Freddie for now. You can get little bandana's from an initiative called Yellow Dog which state your dog needs space.

I think the way he behaved it was more nervousness he has been a bit nervous of him before but for no reason I can think of. Hes always been friendly and not overpowering greeting the dog. He is pretty tall so I dont know if that has an effect?

I bring him to work with me and he has to walk passed people when I take him for a walk all the time with no problems. Some come over to say hi and he likes a bit of fuss. He is a rescue dog so I dont know if he has had a bad experience previously but since we have had him he has always been fine with strangers. Slightly over friendly if anything..

JudyN
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Re: Dogs first time aggression?

Post by JudyN » Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:39 am

If he's never shown any nervousness of other people, there's probably just something about this person that worries him. It may be that he resembles someone from his past, it could be some physical characteristic, it could even be that once when he met him a fly landed on his bum, or a car backfired... You'll probably never know.

Dogs don't only wag their tails out of friendliness. It can be a sign of challenging - at least with other dogs, I'm not sure about when meeting people. But it could be a way of saying 'Look, I'm friendly, but I'm a bit worried so please be nice to me.' Also, he may go up to the person to try to gain information about him, e.g. what he smells like, how he will respond - it's all about assessing the risk as thoroughly as possible, but he may then find himself in a position he can't cope with, and turn aggressive out of fear.

The answer is not to let him go up to this person - he can stand by your side, or behind you, while you chat at a distance he is comfortable at. (If he shows nerves within a few yards, you'll just have to say hello at a distance and walk on). You can also treat Freddie while chatting, or just whenever you see this person, so he'll begin to associate him with good things.

Similarly with dogs - don't let him approach close enough that he might react. It's possible, though, that the barking isn't aggressive - some lurchers can be a bit vocal and bossy when they want another dog to play (and the lurcher's idea of 'play' may not be what the other dog - or its owner - regards as play - lurchers can look as if they're trying to kill each other when they play, and like to goad other dogs into chasing them). It might be worth investigating dog body language to try to judge this - though even if it is 'bossy play' or goading, it's still a reason for not letting him do it.

If it happens again - it's because you haven't managed him well enough (that's not a criticism - we all do it as we're learning what our dogs can handle). Simply move him further away till he's comfortable. Don't jerk the lead, don't tell him off, and don't make him sit. He reacted because he was anxious, and these would only increase his anxiety. And you would only be suppressing the behaviour without dealing with the anxiety, which could result in him not letting you know how he feels until he explodes.

If you see a dog coming the other way and you think he might react, take a wide berth round it, cross the road, go the other way, maybe treating him as soon as you spot the dog. He could well behave differently in different places - my dog doesn't like meeting other dogs on pavements or at gateways, so I avoid any meetings there. In other places I can usually judge if it's the sort of dog he might react to.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Nettle
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Re: Dogs first time aggression?

Post by Nettle » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:36 am

Do you know his breed mix?

Has he any health issues or do you suspect any?

In any potential incident, get your body between him and the person to whom he is reacting. It's such a little change to us but such a huge one for a dog.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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chrisharry
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Re: Dogs first time aggression?

Post by chrisharry » Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:44 pm

Thanks for your comments.

Since this he has barked at 3 more people in the last two days.. No growling or aggression just barking :/

Two at work and the (other) neighbors kids playing on the trampoline.

The kids play on the trampoline most evenings and he completely ignores them. For some reason this evening he went up to where they were on his back legs and was really barking. There is a 7ft wall between us as well. We walk past lots of people at work and hes usually fine including the general public who come into the shop we have on site so its really out of character.

As for whats hes crossed with we are really not sure. The vet thought collie but others have said lab, dalmatian and bull dog!? Here is a few pics that I have on this laptop.

Image
Image
Image

Any ideas on what I can/ should do?

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Nettle
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Re: Dogs first time aggression?

Post by Nettle » Fri Jul 15, 2016 4:05 am

You have a collie cross there. Possibly other ingredients too but looks a nice type of collie lurcher. People don't cross in dalmatian or bull dog, lab rarely because it gives too big a head, sometimes bull terrier but yours does not have a bullie look.

Clearly the kids on the trampoline that day seemed threatening to your dog, so maybe there were different kids or a different type of noise.

Maybe there was another noise or a smell that he knew about but you didn't. It can be fun doing the detective work! But the way to go is as soon as he looks as if he is going to react - bring him indoors and do some quiet activity with him, like one of our Exercise the Mind Games (but not training).
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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chrisharry
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Re: Dogs first time aggression?

Post by chrisharry » Fri Jul 15, 2016 4:34 am

Nettle wrote:You have a collie cross there. Possibly other ingredients too but looks a nice type of collie lurcher. People don't cross in dalmatian or bull dog, lab rarely because it gives too big a head, sometimes bull terrier but yours does not have a bullie look.

Clearly the kids on the trampoline that day seemed threatening to your dog, so maybe there were different kids or a different type of noise.

Maybe there was another noise or a smell that he knew about but you didn't. It can be fun doing the detective work! But the way to go is as soon as he looks as if he is going to react - bring him indoors and do some quiet activity with him, like one of our Exercise the Mind Games (but not training).
No it was the same kids not behaving any different to usual... Yes you might be right might have been another noise or smell but just seems strange that he has gone a year and a few months barking at no one and now barked a several people in different locations and environments in a few days...

JudyN
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Re: Dogs first time aggression?

Post by JudyN » Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:09 am

I agree with Nettle's assessment of the cross (she's far more knowledgeable than me anyway), though the plush coat in the second photo makes me wonder about the 'something else'.

It's possible that this could be part of Freddie growing up. I've just checked back through my old posts and at 18 months, my lurcher was fine with all other dogs. Some time after this he decided he hated young unneutered males, and also became grumpy with bouncy or overconfident dogs.

It's also possible he's being the 'fun police' with the children on the trampoline, telling them to calm down, or he might be feeding off their energy. Again, being the 'fun police' could be something that develops with age.

And as you say he can be generally nervous, maybe he's decided he needs to be more vocal about people he's not keen on approaching, and getting a word in first.

So I think the best approach is to avoid all the situations he doesn't like, keep him within his comfort zone and treat him when he does spot a 'trigger', and generally avoid stress. That would be the best response regardless of whether this is 'developing his personality' or 'developing an issue' for some as yet unknown reason.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

chrisharry
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Re: Dogs first time aggression?

Post by chrisharry » Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:34 am

Thanks yes im always concious of his stress etc but generally hes not a nervous dog he likes people he like fuss. Its only very big people hes a bit nervous with so I try and avoid those sort of situations. Its a strange one hopefully its just a phase.

I always praise and reward with a positive experience with human or dog where he is well behaved weather it be him sitting quietly to let the school children walk past on the way to work or remaining calm when being greeted by someone with a learning disability who can get a little excitable themselves. I have always felt 100% confident with Freddie when greeting strangers but now I feel more cautious and I don't want that to rub off on him.

JudyN
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Re: Dogs first time aggression?

Post by JudyN » Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:40 am

chrisharry wrote: I always praise and reward with a positive experience with human or dog where he is well behaved weather it be him sitting quietly to let the school children walk past on the way to work or remaining calm when being greeted by someone with a learning disability who can get a little excitable themselves.
Just bear in mind - because it's an important distinction - that you don't want him to 'behave' in a situation he finds stressful, you want him not to find the situation stressful in the first place :wink: You can still treat him though, even if he isn't stressed - my dog will now often walk past a dog quite happily, without any desire to interact with it in any way, and then look at me for a treat. It's not 'I was a good boy, I get a treat,' it's 'I saw a dog, I get a treat - yay, seeing dogs is great!'

Also - sitting can make a dog feel more vulnerable, and many lurchers find it uncomfortable. If he doesn't tend to sit naturally, I wouldn't ask for a sit.

There is a knack to conveying a feeling of relaxation. Think to yourself, 'Tum te tum te tum, there's a large person/dog coming this way, la la la la la let's go that way,' rather than 'Oh ****, that might set him off,' and exerting pressure on his lead to move him in the other direction. It sounds silly, but it works for me! Just the fact that you turn away from other dogs/people won't of itself make him feel they are something to be nervous of - quite the opposite, in fact.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

chrisharry
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Re: Dogs first time aggression?

Post by chrisharry » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:06 am

Its a fine balancing act for sure!

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Nettle
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Re: Dogs first time aggression?

Post by Nettle » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:17 am

It's worth remembering that stress builds quickly (seconds) and dissipates slowly (days) so where you think he was okay with meeting someone, he may not have been quite as Joe Cool as you thought, and that stress carried over until he reacted at home. I'm sure you've had days where you were stressed, finally got home where you thought you could chill out and STILL something happened to disturb your peace. You might then have been really far more annoyed than that situation would have made you on another day.


I agree with not asking him to 'sit' for greetings, and honestly, if people are noisy and erratic round him for whatever reason, keep him away from those situations. It is about keeping your dog secure not pleasing other people. You can revisit these situations when he is through his over-sensitive stage. IF he gets over that - many lurchers are hyper-sensitive, including one of mine.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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chrisharry
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Re: Dogs first time aggression?

Post by chrisharry » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:03 am

So after a while now of him being ok with strangers another odd one today walking outside at work started talking to a colleague outside who Freddy likes and she gave him some fuss and he was all happy. Another lady came over and Freddy was wagging his tail the stroked him on the head and he growled and looked like he went for her. Like a warning but still very out of character and very worrying.

Earlier in the day a man got out his car and came up to us to say hello and freddy was fine very relaxed

Does this now mean I cant let strangers approach him?
What do I do in this situation? How do I get the message across that its not ok to do that?
Can we no longer let him off lead in public?

After over a year of him being happy to greet people with no issues what has changed?

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Nettle
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Re: Dogs first time aggression?

Post by Nettle » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:37 am

It's not okay to let strangers touch him, particularly on his head. He isn't a toy. None of us would like strangers touching us anywhere but heads are especially confrontational.

He is a works-in-progress, but honestly, it is never a good idea to let strangers pet our dogs, no matter how accommodating those dogs might be. Individual dogs might solicit touch from anybody and everybody, but most would rather be left alone.

All of us find some people threatening. Listen to your dog and be aware of his needs. He is your number one priority.

And yes of course you can let him off the lead - just make sure nobody touches him unless he knows them AND wants them to. Just as you would do with a child. :)
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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