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Author Topic: Agression towards other dogs
gypsy
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posted June 01, 2004 10:22 AM      Profile for gypsy         
Hi folks!! My dog Darla was adopted this last January, and she is an excellent dog, very well trained and obedient always, except when it comes to other dogs. She will growl and pull on the leash, and jump and demonstrate unacceptable behavior when we walk passed other dogs. But, the catch is, if we walk passed a dog that is just hanging out in his own front yard, she won't mind. It's just when the other dog is being walked by someone else coming towards us, from the other side of the street, or, if we go to a park and there are other dogs, at dog supply stores, groooming, etc....It's a big problem. I have talked to many trainers about this and followed their tips, (having her on sit stay position while another dog is in sight, giving treats for every instant she stops to growl, try the chocker collar (which nearly stopped her breathing), etc.....) Nothing worked. Simetimes I get her to sit in front of another dog, but only aftermany repetitions of the command "sit" and she still growls, and once she gets up the scandal continues.In every other situation she is the most obedient dog, put another dog in her sight and she loses it. I tried taking her to group classes to socialize her with other dogs but the schools won't take dog agressive dogs without first having them properly socialized with home training so that when the dog gets to the group classes the dog can already "tolerate" other dogs. Anyone has any tip???? Any and all advices welcome! I really want her to calm down so I can take her to parks and walk her without having to suffer and worry everytime we see another dog. Everyone has dogs in my neighborhood.

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gypsy

Posts: 43 | From: New Jersey USA | Registered: Apr 2004
DaxAriel's toy
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posted June 01, 2004 11:23 AM      Profile for DaxAriel's toy         
Do you know anyone with a dog of similar size and build? I would take these into a field somewhere and let them off the leash (NEUTRAL TERRITORY). I think "Aggressive behavior" is actually fear or protectiveness made worse when they can't escape (leash). If they are close to the same size it is unlikely that there will be any serious injuries. (if unsure MUZZLE HER the first couple of times).

OR agree to a muzzle for the puppy socials. Most places should allow you to bring her if she has a muzzle on.

Don't expect your dog to like everyother other animal but she should slowly learn to accept them with indifference.

Posts: 748 | From: Edmonton AB Canada | Registered: Mar 2004
gypsy
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posted June 01, 2004 12:30 PM      Profile for gypsy         
Doglover, good idea. I don't know anyone with a similar size dog, either a lot larger or a lot smaller. The ones in my neighborhood I couldn't ask yet because I recently moved here and only know them by saying hello and watching them frown each time my dog growls at their dogs. But I will try to get that done. Yes, and we should get a muzzle too. I was told to try a martingale collar recently, so I'll try that as well, and also heard good things about the gentleleader being sucessful. Thanks for the tips! I agree about the agression being fear or protectiveness made worse when on the leash. She is protective of me, and also I believe she might be afraid of other dogs, just at their sight her breathing gets heavy and she begins to make all kinds of whining sounds.

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gypsy

Posts: 43 | From: New Jersey USA | Registered: Apr 2004
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posted June 01, 2004 12:49 PM      Profile for DaxAriel's toy         
A dog a lot bigger (as long as they aren't aggresive) would be ok as well. The idea is to get her to realize she (and you) are safe. The halti only works if you are holding the leash and might make her more fearful. Do you think she will bite? or just growl? Noise is OK - teeth aren't.

I think supervised interaction is the best cure.

Posts: 748 | From: Edmonton AB Canada | Registered: Mar 2004
gypsy
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posted June 02, 2004 06:30 AM      Profile for gypsy         
I truly don't know if she will bite, I think it depends on the dog. She was lose with my sister's cocker spaniel (half my dog's size) and she just growled and than stopped, the minute I interacted with the other dog she bolted towards him showing teeth, but didn't bite, but thas is the only dog she never minded, and there are two other dogs in my neighborhood (smaller too) that she has indifference for. She tends to be worse with some dogs. Yesterday I was walking her and this dog (her size but a lot heavier), that neither of us ever saw before, jumped over his fence and caming running towards us, he jumped on my dog, growling all along, and went for her tail and her whole behind, once tried to get at her face, but I moved my dog in a quick circle and the other dog was just able to bite her tail. My dog growled at the beginning but then stopped and was just silent. The onwner of the other dog finally came and got her dog, apologised and left. After I got home with my dog I went to touch her behind because there was all this saliva from the other dog in her tail and in all the fur in her behind and my dog (Darla) growled for a split second and almost nipped at me. She never once had this kind of behavior at home, never for any reason tried to nip or growled at me. I think whatever hapenned with this other dog in the street did something to her. We also think that since she is a rescue, that perhaps something hapenned with some dog in her past we don't know about, she might be afraid for her own reasons. Anyway, I will look into who I can ask to get together with her in a field. It might be important to have that happen, so she sees not all dogs are a threat. I hope it works. I want Darla to be able to live without any fear, I want her to be confortable, she is such a sweetheart in any other situation, and even yesterday with that other dog going at her, she could have bit him if she wanted to. I love my Darla as my daughter, my best friend, my eternal friend. I am getting way beyond the point, forgive me for all this bla bla. Thanks for the tip. Take care. ALl the best to you and your special canine friends!

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gypsy

Posts: 43 | From: New Jersey USA | Registered: Apr 2004
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posted June 02, 2004 03:11 PM      Profile for DaxAriel's toy         
To me it doesn't sound like your dog is aggressive just normal. Be sure to let the leash go so Darla can escape if necessary (or defend herself).
Posts: 748 | From: Edmonton AB Canada | Registered: Mar 2004
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posted June 02, 2004 08:28 PM      Profile for DaxAriel's toy         
The nipping at you is pretty normal too. She's was probably not certain whether or not she was hurt and didn't want you to touch the area. I would talk calmly but firmly to her and touch her starting at her head and work back.

Ariel my rotti, used to do this alot with her paws (I've never seen a dog with feet as sensitive - ticklish as her) and actually try to bite. I would say her name in a tone that was calm but slightly scolding and touch her over and over. When she submitted without noise, she was praised. She rarely does it now.

Overall, I don't think you should shy away from going to puppy socials or obedience classes. There would be lots of interaction on and off the leash and most owners are aware that their dogs might not like others.

Posts: 748 | From: Edmonton AB Canada | Registered: Mar 2004
ellierat
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posted June 03, 2004 06:15 PM      Profile for ellierat         
Gypsy, does anyone else walk her? How is she with them? Sounds very much like a protection thing of you. If you are very close, some dogs will go to great lengths to take care of your well being.
If you can't go to puppy classes, how about trying adult obedience classes.
When you are confronted with another dog in your path, do you try to reassure your dog? This actually does the reverse affect.
A halti will not stop her from being able to growl, a muzzle is the only thing here, but she will still be able to make the noise, even bark!!

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I love my labs.

Posts: 880 | From: australia | Registered: Feb 2004
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posted June 03, 2004 07:58 PM      Profile for DaxAriel's toy         
I agree that your apprehension about meeting the other dogs during your walk is as much to blame as her reaction. She is sensing your mood and doesn't know how to react.

Also I notice, especially with older dogs, that they forget how to play nice. The make more noise and to us humans it might sound threatening.

Since you've only had the dog for less than 6 months, it will only be a matter of time and patience on your part to teach her. You seem like a good dog owner wo she'll learn.

Posts: 748 | From: Edmonton AB Canada | Registered: Mar 2004
gypsy
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posted June 04, 2004 07:59 AM      Profile for gypsy         
Hello guys,
Well, you are right about the protection thing. She used to be walked by a lady from the shelter she came from, and after lots of training, this lady says my dog Darla became much easier to walk. At one point the lady claims she was able to walk Darla with another two dogs at the same time! Darla also growls and pulls when my husband walks her. When I see other dogs, which happens all the time since everyone walks their dogs in my neighborhood, I don't try to walk the opposite way or anything, I just keep on walking as if nothing was hapenning, Darla, who always walks by my side nicely, at the sight of another dog coming our way, begins to pull and drag me, and growl, and jump, she just puts up a scandal. She actually drags me all the way near the other dog while jumping up and growling! I spoke to a behaviorist yesterday about this, who said that Darla seems to be "leash agressive", she wants to have a couple of private sessions with us and then introduce Darla to her own dogs, who are "neutral", and if Darla behaves and demonstrates she can obey the commands and tolerate the other dogs then I can go into the group classes at her school. At this point, the three schools I called won't take us into group classes before Darla can first learn to tolerate the presence of other dogs.
With regard to the muzzles, martingale, gentle leader collars, I am aware they are instruments that can be put to good use, and even work wonders while in use, but, I know that there is an underlying issue here that I want to get to the bottom of and understand so that I don't find myself using those instruments as cover-ups for something else. So, I will do the few private lessons with the behaviorist to try make Darla "neutral", and I believe things will get better after that. On the other hand, I think you guys are correct in saying it might be me, and my husband. The other day a friend of my mother came over, and he asked if he could walk Darla around the block, I let him, when he came back he told me they walked passed a labrador and that Darla had completely ignored the other dog, and I am still astonished by that. So, hey...........for all I know she might just be playing dammed smart and just somehow getting away with doing what she wants to with me huh???!!!.......... In which case I will be the one who will need the most training...
It has been lovely to share with you pals

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gypsy

Posts: 43 | From: New Jersey USA | Registered: Apr 2004
ellierat
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posted June 05, 2004 03:48 PM      Profile for ellierat         
Gypsy, don't be too hard on yourself, your dog loves you and wants to look after you is all.
At least you know she will protect you, and I would also guess that if someone approached you in a threatening way she would bite their heads off, at least you know you won't be mugged!!!
Hope all goes well with your training, hang in there.

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I love my labs.

Posts: 880 | From: australia | Registered: Feb 2004
sambucca/whiskey
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posted June 05, 2004 05:58 PM      Profile for sambucca/whiskey         
Well I guess i will be the odd one out.
Is she aggressive with other people who are walking or only those with dogs?
Just from what I have learned with my whiskey having been through dominance aggresission.
It is possible she doesnt feel you or your husband are strong pack leaders(you can change that)and maybe sees the friend who walked her as more authorative.
So although it may be pack leader status it may be simple to cure ie. you know she can ignore other dogs, so put her on NILIF(nothing in life is free) and if you cant get into obedience get tapes, books on how to gain alpha status as well as obedience the two are very much one in the same.
Anyhow I could be totally wrong but do ask your behaviorist.

Posts: 246 | Registered: May 2004
lou3
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posted June 05, 2004 06:34 PM      Profile for lou3         
i second the motion put forward by sambucca/whiskey, sounds like something to seriously consider to me.
Lou

[ June 05, 2004, 06:34 PM: Message edited by: lou3 ]

Posts: 461 | From: uk | Registered: Nov 2003
gypsy
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posted June 05, 2004 06:39 PM      Profile for gypsy         
Hey sambucca/whiskey, in answer to your question, no, my dog Darla is not agressive to any other person who walks by us. She is only agressive towards the dogs. In fact, we cannot even take her to pet stores or to the vet without having to hold her leash real tight and constantly fight to get her into the sit stay position, no growl, etc.... She is a mixed breed (husky/belgian tervuren) I got from a shelter and don't know about her past, she might not have been properly socialized with other dogs as a puppy. But I have hope to work on this issue with the behaviorist. She is highly obedient in every other situation, always follows my commands eagerly, as long as there are no dogs in front of us, or walking towards us. When we walk passed dogs that are just minding their own buziness in their front yards she does not mind. Although I cannot be sure what this is, I do know she is extremely protective of me and of her own territory for I have seen it plenty of times. You might be right in what you say, and the lady from the shelter who got to walk her with another two dogs at once would agree with you, and if this is so then I can't wait to get this resolved so I can walk her passed all the dogs in my neighborhood without going through all the stress.

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gypsy

Posts: 43 | From: New Jersey USA | Registered: Apr 2004
sambucca/whiskey
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posted June 06, 2004 10:20 AM      Profile for sambucca/whiskey         
Well I am glad to hear it is not towards people and is just other dogs. From what I have learned unless a dog is trained to be protective, otherwise being protective can mean they see you as the underdog and therfore are NOT going to allow another dog in your space.
If you are afraid youi may lose control of her one day because she is pulling pick up a prong or pinch collar they distribute the correction more evenly and will relieve alot of the tension she puts on the leash.
It does not really sound like leash aggression to me but definitley keep us posted.

Posts: 246 | Registered: May 2004
gypsy
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posted June 06, 2004 01:52 PM      Profile for gypsy         
sambuca, hello.
Well this morning I had some improvement. We were walking on my driveway to go for a walk and there was another dog being walked on the other side of my street, quite distant from where I was, but nevertheless still visible to Darla. Of course she growled and jumped at first but I quickly got her to sit and stay, and she stayed, quietly, until the other dog was out of sight. We never saw this dog before, maybe she simply did't mind this one, or maybe she behaved because the other dog was not walking towards her, I don't know, but it was better this time. The behaviorist I spoke to a few times on the phone is the one who thinks it's leash agression, and also protectiveness from some other stories she knows about my dog from prior conversations we had throught the months, as Darla has been over protective more than a few times and she has helped us to smooth that part out. Unfortunately I cannot afford to have this trainer come to my home so I am waiting for her to open her own school in August. It will be considerably cheaper then. I will share what happens then.
Thank you all for having shared your thoughts and experiences, it's all been educational.

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gypsy

Posts: 43 | From: New Jersey USA | Registered: Apr 2004
sambucca/whiskey
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posted June 06, 2004 04:18 PM      Profile for sambucca/whiskey         
Well August is awhile away, that is great you are proceeding with proffessional and real contact help.
Have you looked in to NILF if not I can go in to detail. It is only on part to being respected but does show you control your dogs surroundings I would stay away from training aggression with a gentle leader, but do get a martindale, herm springer, pinch/prong collar that way when you see another dog you can command a sit and if she breaks the sit she is not being corrected for lunging after another dog but for breaking the command they do catch on to this quit quickly.
Once she does this fine you can start putting her in a down stay from what i understand this is more submissive and if you can keep a down stay where she used to be aggressive out of control you will have very little to worry about work slowly but consistentley I am still working 3mths later with Whiskeys dominance and he is doing great .

Posts: 246 | Registered: May 2004
gypsy
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posted June 07, 2004 11:39 AM      Profile for gypsy         
Sambuca,

Yes, I will get a martingale collar, and hopefully it will help me to have her sit and stay EVERY time we see other dogs, rather than once in a while...No, I am not familiar with NILF. Would love to know about it.

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gypsy

Posts: 43 | From: New Jersey USA | Registered: Apr 2004


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