Aggressive towards other dogs

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Luna2, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. Luna2

    Luna2 Shelter Dog

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    My dog is a small mixed dog i got from my local shelter about six months ago. She is very aggressive towards all other dogs and im at a loss as for what to do about it. since i got her from the shelter im not sure where this aggression comes from and living in such a small town i have yet to find any trainers that i can call to help me with her. i take her to the park everyday hoping that she will eventually get used to the other dogs there but there seems to be no change. she has no other problems and is very good with other people and small children. it seems to just be a territorial thing with the other dogs maybe because she had to compete with other dogs at the shelter? im not sure. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2005
  2. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    That seems to be a problem that quite a few small dogs - and small dog owners deal with - or don't deal with. :rolleyes:

    Let me say immediately: Good on you for being concerned about it! Thank you, thank you on behalf of all of us with biggies who are frustrated with small dog owners who think their dogs' aggressive behaviour is "cute" and then scream when our big dogs finally snarl after being bitten. You are on such a fancy pedestal right now in my opinion!

    Probably a training class will be your best hope. A good one will get you a chance for socialization in a very controlled environment with a trainer who can give you some direct guidance.

    Most big dogs are fairly tolerant of the little 'uns, but every now and then you run into one that's fed up, in ill health, or perceives the small dog to be a threat to its owner and you end up with a tragic situation.

    Ten thousand blessings be upon you for having the awareness and responsibility to realize this isn't "cute" behaviour.
     
  3. Saje

    Saje Island dweller

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    I like Renee's suggestion. I guess it would help if you knew someone with a gentle giant. I don't mean any big dog that won't find back but the kind of dog that is really good with puppies, little dogs, kids... and knows how to "educate" them. Make sure your dog is leashed whenever you are out around other dogs. If your dog is looking for trouble he might find it!

    And good for you, like Renee said, for recognizing and tackling the problem.

    Saje
     
  4. Luna2

    Luna2 Shelter Dog

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    thanks for the help. i am always so embarrassed at the park when we are walking and my dog is crazily barking at all these other dogs who just look at her like shes nuts! and other dog owners give me dirty looks, i always feel so bad! i keep her leashed always like you mentioned saje because i just dont trust her around dogs. My one last question would be, where can i find a doggie class in my small town? we dont even have a petsmart here! it is tragic, i have yet to find anyone who does any sort of training in my town.
     
  5. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Sometimes your local vet(s) can give you a reference. That's really a pretty good place to start. An animal shelter is another place to ask. Try doing a search on the internet, too. Lots of small businesses in small towns use the internet as an affordable way to advertise.
     
  6. Saje

    Saje Island dweller

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    I leave in a small town too. Well, smallish.

    There are a couple of "trainers" here. The shelter has given me some business cards for them. They would be a good place to start asking. Or at your vets.

    Also, surprisingly, our town and the neighbouring town both offer dog classes at the local recreation centre. They have tons of programs there and these classes seem to be very reasonably priced.

    Just some thoughts.
     
  7. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    since you do not know her history, could it be possible that she has had a bad experience, been attacked in her past by another dog? I don't know what you would do to minimize such an experience. Will ask around.
     
  8. CreatureTeacher

    CreatureTeacher New Member

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    Luna,
    Renee has a great suggestion. The problem with dog-dog aggression is that if you don't do something about it, it will only get worse. A group class would help, as long as it was taught by a behaviorist who had lots of experience with this kind of behavior. Unfortunately there are a lot of yokel trainers out there, and again it's possible to make the behavior worse. If you know someone with a "gentle giant", I would say go for it, but let's do a little doggy psychology first. What your little pooch needs is called desensitization, a process by which you define the stimulus that's upsetting your dog and introduce him to low levels of that stimulus in a comfortable environment.
    In this case, you should sit down with a pen and paper and write down everything you see when your little one aggresses. Does she seem angry? Frightened? Is she on defense or offense? Does she hunch up or stretch out? Does she try to bite or is she just barking? What is her tail doing? How does she behave just before she aggresses? Is she trying to escape the other dog, or does she go straight for them? Try to watch objectively, and quickly write down everything you see. This will help us to define that upsetting stimulus, then we can proceed.
    When you've got some observations written up, you can post them here or e-mail me at k9oandc@hotmail.com and we'll talk more about it.
    Good luck! I sure hope I can help!
     
  9. 2pups622

    2pups622 Soon to Be 4 Pups!!

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    lets see if i can answer everything you asked
    yes he is very angry not frightened he is very stiff and in attack mode he goes right for the bite when hes in the house he just barks and growls he tail is wagging but stiff wagging medium speed he behave there is no before he goes right to kill he goes straight for them

    he is a 3 year old yorkshire terrier he 20 pds and hes been like this since he was 4 months he dont like anything outside the house im use to it i just want you opinion i put up a large fence so i dont get sued and i have a couple of beware of dog signs
    he also dont like children out side the house and people outside the house he ok when most of the people come in but i know right away hell growl at them so i keep him away he pretty good with kids when there in the house once he know them hes fine if i forgot anything let me know

    luna sorry to butt into your thread but we are in the same situation my guy is worse :Dso we can get help together:D
     
  10. CreatureTeacher

    CreatureTeacher New Member

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    Is your Yorkie neutered?

    (I assumed Luna's pooch was spayed because she came from a shelter...?)
     
  11. 2pups622

    2pups622 Soon to Be 4 Pups!!

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    yep hes been neutered
     
  12. CreatureTeacher

    CreatureTeacher New Member

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    For the Yorkie's owner:

    You're in a tight spot. It seems to me that your dog's agoraphobic reaction to things outside his home has become habit, and habits are hard to break. What he needs is some true patience and support. Here's what you do.

    Define your goal. Make it specific. Do you want to take him on a walk to the corner and back without having any "incidents"? I think that's a good place to start. He's not going to become a social butterfly in a day, so set realistic goals. One day at a time, as they say.

    What you need to do is show him that it's to his advantage to remain calm and collected. Pick a quiet day when there isn't a lot going on outside. Grab a leash and take him one step outside the front door, into uncomfortable territory. Don't drag him out. Instead, coerce him with a slice of hotdog or something equally yummy. While he's outside, pet and praise him, then allow him to return to his comfort zone. Praise him when he's back in. This is very important. You can't wait until he becomes uncomfortable to allow him to go back inside. The stress level of the whole practice should be very, very low. Once you're back in, go do something else for 10-15 minutes and allow your Yorkie to do the same. Just ignore him for this time, even if he wants your attention. Don't be mean, just be doing something else.

    Then do it again. One step out, treat and praise, then back inside. Practice this a few times a day and you will have just expanded your dog's comfort zone to include the front step. There will probably be things that happen that you can't control, like a bike going by, that will set him off. Don't "correct" him in any way, because you'll only compound his anxiety. And because you've got him on his leash, he won't be going anywhere. Let him bark and snarl and be nasty to his heart's content, as long as no one's getting hurt and he can't reach the thing that's upsetting him. Just hold the leash and ignore him completely. If he's going to be a grouch, then he can be a grouch all by himself! Give him 2 minutes. If he calms down in that time, then continue with your lesson. If not, pick him up and take him to his kennel (or, if you don't have a kennel, the bathroom or another small room will work), shut him in, and let him have a 5-10 minute time out.

    It's very important that you don't get angry, frustrated, or irritated with him, because you'll only make the situation worse. Stay completely calm. Don't even talk to him unless you're praising him. And don't get resentful, even if it takes him a while to get comfortable.

    Before you move on to two steps out the door, I want your Yorkie bouncing and spinning to go out and get his hotdog. We want him not to just tolerate the discomfort of being out front, we want him to be happy to be out! When he's clearly comfortable, start adding a time delay. Step out with him, wait 30 seconds, then give him his hotdog and take him back in. Do this a few times before you move on to a minute. When you've got him up to 2 minutes outside, then it's time to ask him for two steps. Take him out, lure him with the hotdog if you have to, and ask him to go a little farther. Then give him his treat immediately. When he's comfortable with the distance, start adding the delay again. Don't forget to give him about 10 minutes between each trip outside. It will realistically take you a week to a week-and-a-half to get him two steps into uncomfortable territory for 2 minutes.

    Work this way until he's no longer afraid of the big unknown outside his home. When those bikes go by and other things happen that aren't in your control, stick to the plan. He will get to the point where the little distractions aren't worth barking at anymore. The first time he reacts in a way you like, throw him a party! Give lots of treats and lots of praise.

    You can get him all the way to that corner and back. If you're patient and careful, in time he'll be bouncing blissfully alongside you anywhere you want to go.

    Let me know how it goes!
     
  13. 2pups622

    2pups622 Soon to Be 4 Pups!!

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    brownie love to go for walks i just dont take him cause im scared that someones lose dog is gonna come up to him and he bites it or a child comes up to him ive yelled at a few kids cause they hear him growling and they come up to him thats all i need is for him to get taken away or get sued
     
  14. 2pups622

    2pups622 Soon to Be 4 Pups!!

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    brownie is very trained when we do walk he sits at corner with out me saying sit and when were inside i can tell him to stay and go take a shower and hes still sitting there

    i think it my fault hes like this cause we are never apart from the day i got him whe i go shopping is the only time and hes sleeping in his cage but hes also a yorkie and lots of yorkie are like this i dont worry about it that much cause he would never bite me he knows better ive been working on quiet with him when he barks inthe window and hes been getting alittle better
    i guess i couldnt stop him when he was 4 months i cant stop him at 3 years i deal with it i just wanted a professioals opinion im alway open for suggestions :D
     
  15. greentiger

    greentiger New Member

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    Hey luna, I have the same issue with Snoop. Now he is not fixed but we are working on it. But creature teacher's website suggestion has been working for us. Basically, we have started the social isolation...believe me it was tough because Snoop is so affectionate. My husband and I agreed not to respond to him or his attemts to get affection. He was a little bummed (Snoop) but seemed to calm down a bit, sleeping more. We also decided to keep him from the couch unless he was invited by one of us. The rule is as long as one of us is on the couch and we want him there (which is most of the time.) He has never been allowed on the bed so no issue. The biggest test was taking him on a walk...the very first thing that happend was that as soon as the elevator openend my wonderful neighborh and her two dogs, Luki (male husky)and Brooklyn(male rottie) were standing there. Normally we are holding back three barking dogs, but not a peep out of anyone. My friend backed up and we walked out, with nothing more than a passing woof from Brooklyn. She and I looked so pleased and smiled at our babies. Snoop has still had the occasional barking but not as fierce and the time period is shorter. If it does happen I am firm, very quiet and pull him along. I make sure to tell him a stern "No" and then we walk in silence. I think the article was really helpful and it may get some taking used too but Snoop is already responding well. He has even gien up begging from mealtimes. I still kiss on him and tell him how wonderful he, but it is on my terms. Check it out.see what you think and ggod luck
    ciao
    greentiger
     
  16. CreatureTeacher

    CreatureTeacher New Member

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    Oh, oops. I guess I misunderstood your problem, 2pups. But the same principles still apply. Here are the 3 very basic, "brain stem" type rules for training and desensitization:
    1. Set your dog up to be successful, then reward his success. Meaning, if you know your dog will bark at the kid walking toward you, cross the street and let him watch the kid from a distance. Then, if he behaves himself, reward him! Don't wait for the barking to begin when you know it's coming. He'll start to understand that when he stays calm, he gets rewards! Then you can gradually decrease the distance between him and the kid (or whatever is upsetting him). Don't push him too hard; set him up for success.
    2. Reward behaviors you'd like to see more often, and vary your reward type. The rule of thumb is that the reward must come within 4 seconds of the behavior. If you wait longer, you take the chance of your dog missing the point. And remember to reward desirable behaviors like your dog lying quietly and minding his own business. Just walk over and give him a treat or pat his head. If he's not begging from you at dinner for once, reward him! He doesn't have to be trying to get your attention to get a reward.
    Here's an old positive reinforcement trainers' simile: Pretend you speed everyday when driving to work (which of course NO ONE does). Maybe one day out of 30, a cop pulls you over and gives you a ticket. Does that really stop you from speeding? Probably not. Now pretend that one day for whatever reason you are going the speed limit, and lo and behold a cop pulls you over. He walks to your car, hands you a $100 bill, tells you to have a nice day, and sends you on your way. Will the possibility that you MIGHT get $100 if you go the speed limit keep you from speeding? It sure would me! I'm willing to be 2 minutes late to work if it means that occasionally I'll get a $100. This is the same way a varied reward works with our dogs. They'll do what we ask just in case we've got that $100 in our pocket. A dog learning on a varied reward schedule will learn faster and better than a dog getting the same biscuit every time. Anything your Yorkie enjoys can be a reward: a quick game of fetch, leftover pasta, a pat on the head, a bit of kibble, praise, etc.
    3. Ignore behaviors you'd like to see extinguish. This one was hard for me. We learn all our lives to give negative attention for negative behaviors (like yelling "no!" or giving a slap to the bum) and positive attention for positive behaviors. This seems to work OK for humans. The problem is, it doesn't translate well to other animals, especially dogs. For your dog, any attention is good attention. Even yelling and spanking. I have taught any number of dogs who were only misbehaving to get yelled at. Strange, but true. The absolute best thing you can do to stop an undesirable behavior is to completely ignore your dog while he's doing it, and for 5-10 minutes afterward. But you have to remember to reward good behavior when you see it, even if it wouldn't normally get your attention.
    Let me know if this helps!
     
  17. CreatureTeacher

    CreatureTeacher New Member

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    Thanks for the kind words, Greentiger. :)
    It's tough to stick to your guns when making sure your dog knows you're paying the bills. I just want to make sure you know the new social structure is only temporary. Stay "strict" for 2-4 weeks, depending on Snoop's attitude, then you can gradually back off and give him back his freedoms as you feel he earns them. If he starts "owning the place" again in a couple of months, do another "treatment". Keep me updated on your progress!
     
  18. Rose's Gal

    Rose's Gal New Member

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    Ok, I have a question! *waves hand wildly* (Wow CreatureTeacher, aren't you busy! lol) My 9yr old, male, neutered, Lab/Rottie mix is dominant to other dogs and is aggresive toward other male dogs. I'm not going to go as far as saying I want him to love all dogs, but how can I teach him to tolorate or at least ignore other dogs? He has learned to ignore our Grandma's Mini Schnauzer, Molly, and he is learing to ignore a freinds Golden Retreiver puppy, Mattie, but I would never let him off leash around them.

    Blackie was neutered at age three and wasn't socialized hardly at all with other dogs when he was a pup. He has also been attacked by various dogs in his life time. (Mainly our neighbor's two Aussies.)

    On our walks, he carries his tail in the 'don't you mess with me or I'll eat you' manner and if he sees a dog, he starts pulling on the leash to get at it. If a dog comes up to him, he attacks it. (We live in the country so none of our neighbors have their dogs contianed except for one neighbor who owns two Greyhounds and a Cocker Spaniel.)

    I think I'm making him sound worse than he really is, so I'll give you an example of his doggy aggressivness:
    My mom and I just started our walk with our dogs. We were about halfway down our 1/4mile lane, when our neighbor let her Chocolate lab (Justice) and her Boxer (Daisy) outside. Daisy came running up to us because she wanted to play. She went running up to Rose (my mutt) who, thankfully, is tolorant of other dogs. Mom was holding Blackie back as well as she good because he was strianing on the leash trying to get at Daisy. (Rose just stood there, her tail up strait, her hackles raised, sniffing Daisy's mouth while Daisy was being submissive.)
    Well, while Mrs.D___ was trying to get Daisy up to the house, Justice decided to come out and see what all of the fuss was about. Justice went up to Blackie and Blackie started growling and half jumping on Justice. Luckly, at that time, Mrs.D___ was able to get her dogs, and we continued our walk.

    Another example:
    Dad, my siblings and I were going down to our creek to watch the construction work that was going on. (They were repairing the bridge that goes over it.) I had penned Rose up because our dogs are enemies with three BLue Heelers that live down there. Blackie was nowhere to be seen though, so I pocketed a leash and a bone, thinking if we saw him on our walk, I'd clip him on the leash to keep him out of trouble. Well, sure enough, when we got into the woods, here come Blackie all good natured, wagging his tail. I was going to put him on leash then, but Dad said don't worry about it, so I didn't. Well, up comes our neighbors Boxer (his name is Gage) and he is being friendly, but Blackie didn't like him up so close. Gage got right next to us, when Blackie chased him away. Gage ran back a little bit, so Blackie came back up next to us. Gage came back up next to us too, so Blackie chased him away again. This continued until Gage got smart and went home. I then clipped Blackie on leash and we walked down to the creek. Well, on our way home, a neighbors Golden Retreiver came up to us and Blackie kept on trying go after it. He was ok with Gage, but he was going after the Golden Retreiver with a 'I'm gonna fight and nothings going to stop me' additude. The dog decided coming up wasn't such a good idea, and went home.

    Ok, sorry for the novel. Any idea on how I can get him to ignore other dogs? Thanks for reading the really long post! lol
     
  19. Luna2

    Luna2 Shelter Dog

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    thanks for more advice.. i didnt realize i was getting anymore suggestions! yes my dog was fixed when i got her from the shelter and her aggression towards other dogs seems to be territorial and defensive. Her ears and tail will go straight up and she will focus in on the dog ahead like shes in a zone. She is always on a leash and since she is so small i can hold her back relatively easily so im not sure if she would bite another dog or not since i refuse to let her run up to a strangers dog. she barks like crazy. i think she is all talk because there was one occasion at the park where another dog wasnt on a leash and came running up to her. when my dog acted aggressive towards her, the other dog (a yellow lab) growled at her and she backed down between my legs. however, when we saw the same dog again the next day she still barked at her and tried to run after her except this time both were leashed and we just avoided one another. also when i go to visit my mother who lives three hours away they have a black lab who is 14 yrs old and very tolerant of my dog. my dog will bark at her and even snap at her. it seems like as long as my moms dog stays away from her she is fine but if she comes into her territory she becomes aggressive. i wish she would be social with other dogs because i would love to have more dogs someday. ithink the problem is that she believes that she is the "pack leader" and my problem is that i dont know how to regain control. and especially with me not knowing her past i need directions that are specific to her.
     
  20. CreatureTeacher

    CreatureTeacher New Member

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    To Rosie's Gal:

    I want you to practice some "resource control", or which I conveniently just finished writing a description here: http://www.chazhound.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2234 . The same principles are going to apply to your dog. I want him thinking more about how to make you happy and less about how to best intimidate that dog over there. If you have questions about resource control, write me at k9oandc@hotmail.com .

    And Luna, now that I'm looking at your post, a short touch of resource control wouldn't hurt your girl either. Let's all go read about it!

    PS - Everyone who's going to practice resource control should keep me updated during the first couple of weeks. Your dog's reaction will tell me whether or not it's working. Good luck!
     

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