My dog is agressive towards other dogs

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dustyhelp
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My dog is agressive towards other dogs

Post by dustyhelp » Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:25 am

My dog, Dusty, is very aggressive towards other dogs and my family and i have tried many different techniques to help lessen or stop his aggression. we have tried going to a trainer when we got him at age 5, but that didnt work. When i walk him, i am afraid that if i get to close to another dog that he will attack them. I have had that happen about 5 or 6 times that i remember.

I really want to be able to help him out with his problem. Im also confused about his reactions. are they out of fear or something else?

Any advice would be great :)

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Nettle
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Post by Nettle » Sun Dec 28, 2008 3:56 am

Usually this is a fear reaction, escalating either into an idea of driving away the other dog before it can pose a danger, or getting the first bite in.

Forgive me if I seem to be stating the obvious - it's an Internet thing.

Don't let your dog lunge at other dogs when you walk. Keep your body between him and the other dog and take him away to the side when other dogs approach - keep walking, just open a space between you. If you meet a rude dog owner who lets their dog lunge at yours, just increase the space and increase the pace.

At the same time, start a regime by way of YOU seeing other dogs first (you are taller and can see further) and get his attention with an extra yummy treat or a toy that only comes out on walks.

The idea is that when another dog approaches, he can trust YOU to keep HIM safe, so he does not need to defend himself, and also another dog = a special treat.


Persevere and you will soon have a dog that sees another dog and comes to you looking for his treat or his toy.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

Gershep1
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Post by Gershep1 » Sun Dec 28, 2008 4:50 am

Nettle's suggestions are excellent and are also effective with dogs that are dominance aggressive rather than fear aggressive. The only thing I can add is remember to be calm and confident. When you see a potential conflict situation, remember that you have a plan and are in control. If you feel stressed, turn and walk away instead of letting your tension travel down the leash. Regroup mentally and try again. It sounds sort of new-wave Zen, but it sometimes helps to picture a successful outcome in your mind. Confidence travels down the leash too. :D

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Sun Dec 28, 2008 5:12 am

What is dominance aggression? To me that doesn't make sense with a dog, it does if it is the handler using it to control an aggressive dog.


How I stopped my dog from attacking others was to keep her at a safe distance so they she didn't feel the need to react to defend herself. If I saw another dog coming I would take her into a field, up some's drive etc. I also taught her to "Watch Me", put her into a sit and get her to "Watch Me" while the other dog went past. If I couldn't get her away I would turn and walk the other way until I could.

Gradually she started to build up confidence and I didn't need to take her quite so far away and now I can pass other dogs without a problem. She greats strange dogs in a really nice way.

The idea was for me to teach her that other dogs were fine, I could only do this if she wasn't reacting. When a dog reacts like this their brain shuts down apart from the fight or flight part so trying to get them to listen to you is impossible, they are not capable of listening when like this. If you can stop your dog from reacting, he will be able to listen to you.
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Gershep1
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Post by Gershep1 » Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:29 am

Mattie wrote:What is dominance aggression? To me that doesn't make sense with a dog, it does if it is the handler using it to control an aggressive dog.
Not all aggression is fear based. The dominant aggressive dog is usually very confident and slow to actually fight or attack unless another dog repeatedly ignores warnings and oversteps boundaries. Then it's a matter of putting the other dog "in their place." That's all very natural until the dominant aggressive dog meets other dominant aggressives. They all think they're the Big Kahuna. This is fairly common with high drive sporting dogs and, unfortunately, sometimes the attitude gets a bit out of hand. So it's up to the owner to patiently teach focus, control and good behavior. Or the owner doesn't, and then you see a lot of dogs wearing basket muzzles at competitions.

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Sun Dec 28, 2008 12:48 pm

Sorry I don't agree, a friend asked the trainer who first used the words "Dominant Aggression" and asked her what it meant, she was told that it is the handler using dominance to stop aggression and the words were misunderstood. Using dominance to stop agression will never work, it will only make the problem worse and dogs don't do it.

Dogs have their own language, they do put other dogs in their place but they don't use dominance to stop aggression, a fight would break out were serious damage would happen to at least one of the dogs and most dogs don't put themselves in that position.

People are calling confident dogs dominant, same with confident pups, how often do we see on here pups being called dominant when they are just confident and need guidlines it is the same with adult dogs.

Many dogs are falsly labelled as dominant when they are just confident, this leads to people using dominance in the form of aggression to control them which causes more problems.

I do agree that not all agression is fear and I have never said it was, but most is fear based and often, as I found out myself, a dog that seems to be aggressive without it being fear is often based in fear. My little girl Gracie taught me a lot about that, terriers especially don't show fear but are very aggressive when they are frightened. They can't show fear if they are doing the job they were bred for, if the did they would be killed most times.

Other reasons for aggression is often medical, pain, brain tumours etc but a dog that has learnt to be aggressive to defent themselves are frightened.
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dustyhelp
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Location: Texas, USA

Post by dustyhelp » Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:06 pm

thanks everyone. :D i will try the treat method when i walk him today.

thanks again!

ckranz
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Post by ckranz » Mon Dec 29, 2008 2:10 pm

Leash reactivity is common across a broad spectrum of dogs. It is always based in fear because of the confinement a dog on a leash feels. When people walk we approach each other along straight lines where as dogs typically approach on a curve to walk around and sniff butts. Observing other dogs coming towards your dog on leash adds that stress, plus a dog that is at the end of his leash does not feel he has the ability to retreat from a given situation (Flight or fight syndrome). He feels confined, backed into a corner, leaving only fight.

lastly the handlers confidence and nervousness also travel down the leash adding to the level of stress impacting a dog's behavior.

Look at the loose leash walking thread. There are some excellent techniques to help your dog learn to walk on a loose lead.

Second, do not approach other dogs while on leash. If it can be avoided don't let others approach you. Keep your dogs focus on you and do not provide him the opportunity to lunge out at another dog. Even if it means crossing the street, Walking halfway up a drive way and moving between your neighbor's cars to block his view of the oncoming dog.

Praise and reward for keeping focus and attention on you as other dog's pass at a distance where your dog will not react.

katowaggytail
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Post by katowaggytail » Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:39 pm

Hi, I have a 8st 11lb Rhodesian Ridgeback that I rescued Feb 2006. I have no knowledge of his first 3 years.

He is perfect with people and small dogs, no threat to me or him, but with anything field spaniel size and upwards... well.. we suffer the same! I have learnt to be really firm, have taught him to look at me and we always stop and let others pass and or avoid, if it's easier, he is sometimes on the lead when we do this but not always. I'm all for a quiet life!

People say to me that being on the lead will make them worse - well helloo, I have a rather large beastie, with a reputation (undeserved me thinks, and no they don't kill lions!!) - what do you prefer I do??!! I have even had pepole aim towards me whilst we are doing the wait and watch me, saying is he ok my dog wants to say hello and when I say well actually no you can't let your Bernese say hello the owners get the hump!!

All i'm trying to say... it's late and I'm just in from work!! ... is do what you feel is right, avoid if needed, use a lead, say no to stupid owners and enjoy your hound. Take what advice suits and tweak it to you and your pooch.

Fi

katowaggytail
Posts: 394
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:37 am

Post by katowaggytail » Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:40 pm

Hi, I have a 8st 11lb Rhodesian Ridgeback that I rescued Feb 2006. I have no knowledge of his first 3 years.

He is perfect with people and small dogs, no threat to me or him, but with anything field spaniel size and upwards... well.. we suffer the same! I have learnt to be really firm, have taught him to look at me and we always stop and let others pass and or avoid, if it's easier, he is sometimes on the lead when we do this but not always. I'm all for a quiet life!

People say to me that being on the lead will make them worse - well helloo, I have a rather large beastie, with a reputation (undeserved me thinks, and no they don't kill lions!!) - what do you prefer I do??!! I have even had pepole aim towards me whilst we are doing the wait and watch me, saying is he ok my dog wants to say hello and when I say well actually no you can't let your Bernese say hello the owners get the hump!!

All i'm trying to say... it's late and I'm just in from work!! ... is do what you feel is right, avoid if needed, use a lead, say no to stupid owners and enjoy your hound. Take what advice suits and tweak it to you and your pooch.

Fi

katowaggytail
Posts: 394
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:37 am

Post by katowaggytail » Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:40 pm

Oh bugger, internet gremlins are alive and well agin!!

ckranz
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Post by ckranz » Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:05 pm

My response to people who come up to meet my rather reactive dog (he's improved much through training) is basically that my dog is not alright with meeting your dog.

They may say well my dog is friendly....well mine is not.

Mine is especially not good with young children and of course they are the hardest to say no too. Again I tell the kids and their parents, that my dog is especially nervous around children. its not them its my dog. Thus far I have not had any problems with people.

There are many good threads with lots of good advice for helping to increase your dog's focus on you in a variety of circumstances. With any training you need to build on success. If your dog is not at a point where he can sit watching you as another dog passes, then he is not going to be ready to just walk on by. Increase distance to where he can be successful sitting. Position yourself to block is vision of an oncoming dog.

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:57 am

Dogs will never learn that it is ok for other dogs to pass them unless they see other dogs but this has to be at a distance were your dog doesn't feel stressed enough to react.

With Gracie I would take her away from the other dog, quite a distance at first, but she could always see the other dog. If she reacted I hadn't taken her away far enough and corrected that the next time.

Yes, we have to teach our dogs to look to us when we see another dog, but our dog does need to be aware that the dog is there. Hiding from another dog won't help our dog, that will just make our dog think that there is something wrong and other dogs are a danger.
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