"Agressive" behaviour advice

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Toller_08, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    I didn't know where to put this, as I don't know if it's actually a training concern or not, but anyhow...

    My Uncle has a 1 year old male Doberman, Kuma. Dance despises this dog. Always has, ever since the first day he came to our house at 10 weeks old. If he so much as looked at her when he was young, she'd growl and posture at him. When he hit about 6 months old, he greeted her in a way she felt was incredibly rude (and it was), and ever since then it's as if she'd held a grudge against him or something. I have to keep her on a leash now whenever he comes over as she lunges at him. Snarling, growling, hair standing up on end everywhere, tail curled as high over her back as possible, etc. I'm sure the leash creates tension, but I don't know if I should just let them sort it out on their own either. I'm usually all for letting dogs sort themselves out in a lot of cases, but her behaviour is a little too aggressive for my liking. I sometimes put her in her crate when he comes, but I don't like to. She should be able to co-exist with him for the short times he comes to visit and play with Keira. What should I do in this situation? Oh, and she never acts this way toward any other dogs... just Kuma.
     
  2. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    My friends who have tollers and some breeders I know have tollers who are NOT great with all dogs. They are great with some dogs..but not all.

    I wouldn't classify tollers as being super dog friendly like most of the retriever class. Its not that they are nasty.. its just that they seem to have a low tolerance for rudeness. I would not let them sort it out. It could seriously backfire.
     
  3. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    You might want to try the "good things happen when this dog enters" routine. Go into a large room and have Dance as far from the door as possible. have your dad bring Kuma in and start shoving treats into dance's mouth wait a few seconds and have Kuma leave, once he is gone cease treat giving and wait about the same amount, then repeat over and over slowly moving closer to the door with Dance. This basically teaches Dance to associate Kuma's entering and presence with good things.
    If Kuma is fairly controllable you could work up to having Dance use Kuma as a prop, have her start targeting his hip (only if he will not feel threatened/see it as rude) or teach her to do anything involving him as a prop (targeting, walking around, jumping over etc.). Do not ever have them together unless in a session until things are much, much better. Even then you may never get them to be buddies but you should be able to have Dance be in his vicinity without lunging.

    You might want to get "Click to Calm", many of those exercises should help you.
     
  4. skKi

    skKi woop

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    I agree. When I worked in a dog daycare, there was a toller who simply hated one of the labs but no one else. The solution was that they needed to come in on separate days..

    Perhaps you should stick to crating her when Kuma visits if it's only once in a while, or maybe you could use that time to take her on a walk where she won't be bothered.
     
  5. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I'd want to protect that Doberman from these kinds of experiences. Dobermans have a tendency to be dog aggressive when they hit about 18 - 24 months as it is. But having this kind of thing happening this early is not a good thing. You can try conditioning Dance to tolerating the other dog, but not all dogs are going to work things out ever. And definitely I wouldn't leave anything up to them to sort out. If your uncle is willing, sometimes it's helpful to go for a walk together...parallel with the humans on the inside. Sometimes this going on a "mission" together (sort of together) helps smooth things over a little bit while providing an outlet for that pent up frustration.
     
  6. SizzleDog

    SizzleDog Lord Cynical

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    What doberluv says is very true - you you know this, since you have dobes. :)

    I'd say be very careful - I'd make Kuma's visits very positive, every time she sees Kuma... she gets a special treat, or a special toy. If she doesn't respond to that... then I'd say keep them separated.

    As you know, doberboys big dumb galumps who act before they think, and do a lot of their thinking with their nether regions... I can only hope Kuma's rudeness wasn't allowed to sneak by unpunished! :)
     
  7. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    Maybe she 'should' - but does she have to? I can certainly understand if you are looking for ways to make her behave better, but I have learned in three years with Meg to just accept that some dogs she isn't going to like. Luckily so far, the dogs she hasn't liked have been ones that I really don't NEED her to be okay with. Best example was a huge lab whose owner boarded at our barn. The dog was everything Meg hates in dogs, and from day one, they didn't like each other. Yes, it would have been nice if they both could have been loose at the barn together, but I just told the owners that when they pulled in, to get out themselves first so I could put Meg in the car while they let their dog out for a while. It was safer for everyone, and I felt good that I wasn't putting my dog into a situation that she was uncomforable with.

    How often does your uncle come over? Is there a reason Dance can't just hang out in your room while the dog is there?

    Like I said, I understand if your purpose is to find ways to make the behavior better; I'm just putting my thoughts on it out there.
     
  8. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I agree with BB. Do you and your uncle have to bring your dogs to each other's houses? When I had Lyric, people couldn't bring their dogs to my house. He wouldn't have gone for it. Just one or two exceptions...dogs he grew up with from puppy hood that he liked.
     
  9. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    Thanks everyone!

    Boston, he comes over regularly for playdates with Keira. And you're right, she doesn't have to like him, but it would be nice if she could. If she never does, it certainly won't be the end of the world, but I was hoping that there was something I could do to improve her behaviour.

    That's why I leash Dance and/or crate her when he's here, because I don't want him to have a bad experience with another dog. As much as she wants to, she's never actually had the chance to do anything to him. And no, he doesn't have to come over, but it's a good way for both he and Keira to tire eachother out and they enjoy themselves.

    I'll try doing positive, fun things with her when he's here and see if that works (leashed, of course). If not, there's not much else I can do. It certainly doesn't harm her to be in her crate while he's here at all. I just don't like to see such behaviour out of my dog. For fear I guess that one day it's not going to be just Kuma that she doesn't like. Is that possible, do you guys think? She's excellent with every other dog at the moment that she meets and I hope she stays that way.

    And sizzle, don't worry, he was corrected for it!
     
  10. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Personally I don't think it's reasonable for a dog to get along with every other dog. Dogs each have different personalities, and some personalities are just annoying to some dogs. I know firsthand that it's really scary to see your dog nasty to another dog, and it's hard to understand how your sweet dog could act that way. But try not to think of your dog as a ticking timebomb just waiting to turn into a DA dog.... She just doesn't like that dog, period.
     
  11. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Absolutely. Dogs are like us. We don't like every single person out there.

    However, I would recommend avoiding punishing your dog when she acts like that around the other dog. "Corrections" can back fire on you, causing the problem to escalate by associating the other dog (s) with a bad feeling (from the punishment). The best you can hope for with that is a temporary and iffy supression of the behavior. Then "out of the blue" the dog some time in the future goes balistic toward the other dog. A better way is something like what Maxi described. But still....you might end up with a mere and mild tolerance to your uncle's dog. Lots of dogs just flat out aren't crazy about every dog they meet.
     
  12. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    When I correct her, it's not a harsh enough correction for her to associate bad things with him I don't think. I usually give her a little poke or a tap to distract her for a second, and then "leave it", or "that's enough". She calms down a little with that, but not enough that I'm comfortable with her behaviour around him. So that's usually when I crate her so as to avoid conflict. I'm going to try Maxi's suggestions, and hope for the best. And if I get no promising results, then at least I tried. If she's still showing aggressive tendencies toward him after working with her for a while, then they won't be together ever again.

    I'm sure you're right in that she won't become DA. I just can't believe the amount of aggression she has toward him though. Having had a DA dog in the past, I naturally worry about another dog of mine becoming so. I know I shouldn't, but I do.
     
  13. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I hear ya. How old is she again? She could become DA. It's important that she has lots of good experiences with dogs she does like and try to avoid dogs which upset her. For some reason, either she doesn't like this dog...plain and simple or something about him frightens her. Maybe that coming onto her too strong that one time freaked her out. It's hard to say what is in her head. But I'd counter act it as best you can with lots and lots of socialization with other, better mannered dogs.
     
  14. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    She'll be two April 1st. And in the last 6 or so months she's developed a few different quirks and behaviours. Some good, and some I'm not overly fond of... but they seem to come and go. Even so, I deal with them as they come since I don't want her to think any of them are ok. This is the only one that really worries me though - the rest are pretty normal adolescent dog things.

    She was a pretty timid dog when she was young, and I socialized her like you wouldn't believe. Now she has a huge amount of confidence in the majority of situations.. and I think that's part of why she's become more aggressive with Kuma than she used to be.

    She greets other dogs in a friendly manner still. She used to greet them with her tail in her legs and was a bit unsure. Now she walks up to them with calm confidence, and good body language. So as long as she stays that way I'll be happy. I don't want her to gain so much confidence that she develops a more dominant temperament and causes issues. That's what Tango ended up doing, but I like to think her DA could have been prevented had I known something about proper training back then. Hard to say though - she was DA by the time she was 10mths old, so maybe I couldn't have prevented it. Sure made life tough though -- for both her and I. I enjoy having "take anywhere dogs" now since they're such a huge part of my life.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  15. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Normally, it's not the confident dogs that need to display that "over-kill" "dominant" attitude. Some breeds are incredibly hard to socialize amply. Dobermans are another. I had trouble with Lyric that way. And he would "go off" on other dogs but basically only when on a leash. (I caused that I'm sure when the first time he got a little insecure and got growly, I probably tightened up on the leash and reacted.) And it just went from there. It took a lot of counter conditioning to get him over that or mostly over it. I thought I socialized Lyric enough, but probably not. He went to classes all the time and was fine in class contexts. But there just weren't enough dogs around where I live to practice every day.

    Anyhow, it is a real pain in the arse to deal with. You want to continue socializing to dogs she will be apt to get along with and avoid unpleasant combinations...dogs she doesn't like and might have a big reaction to. The more confidence she develops where other dogs are concerned, the less she'll feel a need to be reactive. Once they get in the habit of "going off" on other dogs, it's very difficult to turn around. I think hormones are released in that state and sometimes those can be reinforcing. Plus, if she would rather have more flight distance...more space between her and the other dog (for whatever reason) and she becomes reactive....and it works, (the other dog backs off) she learns that acting snarly, barky, lunging etc works. And that reinforces the behavior even more.

    A couple of good books: Click To Calm, Emma Parsons and Fight, Jean Donaldson. I know there are others, but those two come to mind. I recommend those because they not only show you what may be going on, but how to work the problem step by step.
     
  16. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    This is Dekka's issue. She is fearful and wants the dogs to keep thier distance. People have a hard time seeing a snarling JRT who looks like she wants to eat their dog as afraid, but there it is. Kaiden who is uber confident doesn't get into fights is happy go lucky and he is a 5 year old intact male.
     
  17. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Yes indeed. People have a hard time thinking a 90 Lb, muscular Doberman Pinscher with a big mouth full of gnashing white teeth is reacting out of insecurity. He looked so vicious and forward at times. There are two styles of creating more flight distance and dogs vary in what style they use: One is to get away from the other dog. (or person, whatever) And the other is to make the other dog go away by acting fierce. Not wanting to be up close and personal with another dog is usually due to some kind of fear or insecurity. There are some truly dominant-aggressive dogs that just want to fight but that is probably not nearly as common.
     
  18. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    yeah, try it with a pit bull :-/

    mushroom is scared. i know he is scared. the general public sees vicious pit bull. and all of this could have been avoided in the first place if people'd follow the freaking leash law.
     
  19. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    I can't imagine... that must seriously suck! I know the censure I get from the general public and my dog is tiny, cute and isn't a 'dangerous' breed.
     
  20. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    That's what I thought too (about the confidence point), but she doesn't behave insecure or worried at all anymore, so I don't know what to really call her. She simply behaves in a confident, calm manner when meeting new dogs, and then is on her way. She doesn't seem insecure around this particular dog either -- she just has some sort of hatred toward him, for lack of a better explanation. She doesn't appear to want distance, like a fearful dog normally would. But then again, while I know a lot more than the average dog owner, I'm still young and relatively new to training dogs, so I could be missing some sort of subtle clues.

    I'll see if I can find those books you mentioned, too. :)
     

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