Aggressive behaviour?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by MadeToFly, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. MadeToFly

    MadeToFly New Member

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    * not sure if this is a training issue

    Maddie's behaviour sometimes concerns me.
    Tonight a neighbour's dog (in the backyard that Maddie couldn't reach/see) went wild with barking at her and stuff, and her fur went straight up. She then ran to the fence barking and jumping up, being aggressive, etc. I snapped and she came back to me but it's weird.
    It seems to be only when she's threatened though. One day I took her to the dog park when she was younger and a BIG Akita cross came charging at her barking/growling, tackled her and grabbed at her neck. She lost it and made weird snarl/growl noises, wiggled loose and went after the dog. She chased after the dog (a good 5x her size) while making the weird sounds and biting at it's back legs/hind end before stopping after a good 40ft or so? Fur was up from her neck to the base of her tail but then she merrily trotted back to me and played with the other dogs.
    Another incident happened the same day as the dog park. I was taking Maddie out of the car onto the sidewalk and some kid thought it was funny that his little pug was barked/lunging towards Maddie and LET the dog run at Maddie. Well it jumped on her and started biting and stuff, and Maddie lost it again. She grabbed the pug by it's back and rolled it over on the lawn while making those snarly/growl noises again before I was able to yank her off. But then she strained against the leash baring her teeth and barking while I yelled at the kid to remove the pug (the kid was just standing there).
    And a final instance was when a friend had her dog over (SPCA dog, I think it's some kind of hound/whippet cross) and they're best friends and play all day. The little dog was starting to get a little rough and ended up biting the side of Maddie's face and pulling a bit. Once again got a quick snarl/growl and she grabbed the dog by the back of its neck and pinned it down HARD. I hauled her off before anything else happened so I don't know if she would've just released or went further. Past experiences I would say she'd let go but who knows?
    Tonight's incident really made me wonder. Some people have said it's just her defensive mode but.. I dunno?
    Aside from that she's VERY good with other dogs and just wants to play. And she's ridiculously friendly with people (loses her mind with excitement), and she's not possessive of food or toys with humans/dogs. She'll steal bones/toys out of my other dog's mouth but doesn't react if he does the same or my friend's dog does it (the whippet/hound). This seems to only happen when a dog gets aggressive.

    I've always just equated it to someone pinching/hurting you. Some people go "ow!", turn away, etc. While others strike out. She doesn't do it to people (and lord knows I poke and prod her all the time and play rough).

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    Click to Calm. :) Buy it, read it, do it.

    If there are some dogs she can be reliably good with, then let her have play dates with them. I wouldn't take her to dog parks or have her play with any unknown/unpredictable dogs.
     
  3. MadeToFly

    MadeToFly New Member

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    We found out she has bi-lateral hip dysplasia so her dog park days are long behind her now. She plays with my neighbour's Boston Terrier, my friend's Whippet creature and our other dog (white shepherd x retriever). She used to play with another neighbour's chocolate lab but he kept trying to mount her and with her hips in the shape they are, we didn't want her to be knocked over or twist them.
     
  4. RawFedDogs

    RawFedDogs New Member

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    You are describing completely normal canine behavior. She shouldn't be corrected or punished for behaving like this. In her mind she is protecting her life. These are life and death situations to her. I don't see anything to worry about.

    She is behaving exactly as she should.

    She isn't a human. She is a dog and behaving correctly. Dogs don't and shouldn't go "ow!" and walk away. I'm not sure humans should either.
     
  5. Maura

    Maura New Member

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    I strongly agree that she is behaving normally. When you call her back to you and remain calm, you are letting her know that she is safe and she doesn't have to continue to show aggression to the ill behaved hoodlum on the other side of the fence.
     
  6. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    I agree with RawFedDogs, it sounds like pretty normal behavior. It's not as if she got a pinch, though; IMO a better analogy would be if you're having a nice conversation with someone and then all of a sudden they tackle you. The other dog needs to know that that's not acceptable behavior, and it sounds like she is communicating that well. She isn't bothered by YOU poking and prodding her because she knows you, and trusts you not to hurt her. She doesn't know these other dogs that well, so she needs to set boundaries with them.

    If what you describe is accurate and the extent of her problems, I wouldn't be concerned. The problem might arise if she continuously has bad associations with other dogs playing too rough, and starts thinking that every dog is going to play that way; then you'll see her being much more offensive and not letting dogs get close to her. But as long as she continues playing well with dogs she knows, I wouldn't be concerned.
     
  7. MadeToFly

    MadeToFly New Member

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    Alright, thanks for the input guys, it's put my fears to rest :)
    Just this afternoon she had a nice play session with the neighbour's BT for a while before lying in the shade for a snooze. I'm glad the behaviour is entirely normal, my other dog flees at the slightest thing so it's a bit of a change to have an "alpha" dog :)
     
  8. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    She's not necessarily an "alpha" dog (if there really is such a thing). She's just confident in herself, knows where boundaries are, and is good at communicating with other dogs. Before humans started interfering, ALL dogs used to be like this. :D
     
  9. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    She doesn't even sound aggressive, she sounds like she knows how to stand up for herself and when it's appropriate to do so.

    However, I wouldn't allow her around strange dogs, so the behavior wouldn't escalate.
     
  10. ShopieCha

    ShopieCha Training Pro =)

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    Most dogs simply do not know doggie etiquette.

    Dogs spend most of their time around us humans and have very little chance to interact with their own kind. Often, when they do they only have brief encounters and do not even have a chance to get over their excitement before they part ways with the other dog.

    If you can find a way to expose you dog to other dogs in a safe environment where they can explore doggie etiquette for a bit you will find that some of the problems will go away. But it does take time.
     
  11. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    I'd say she's behaving exactly as she should; other dogs are being rude and pushy, and she is saying to them "back off". Well within her rights. What is considered "normal, acceptable behavior" that people want their dogs to have (happy-go-lucky, leaping happy joyful at every dog they meet) is actually very rude and inappropriate behavior in the dog world.

    What I would be doing (and am doing, as I have a dog who will also not tolerate rude encounters with most dogs), is to make a point to protect your dog a bit. She shouldn't *have* to feel like she needs to defend herself. You do that for her as much as possible. Obviously there are situations you can't prevent, but there are a lot you can. If you see a play date with even a good friend getting a bit to wound up, separate the dogs for a bit and let them settle. You already have stopped taking her to dog parks, which is where I see dogs being the rudest.

    As for random encounters like the pug, I have no problem stepping between my dog and another dog who is going to bother her. If I'm "armed", I throw a handful of treats away from us to distract the dog while me make our getaway. If needed, a loud "GET" and a stomped foot will often back off the other dog. I'm sorry if I scare the other dog or upset the owner, but my responsibility is to my dog. I have seen an enormous decrease in her reactivity since I have started doing these things. She no longer worries about every dog we see, because she knows she isn't going to have to stand up for herself.
     

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