Territorial & Dominance Aggression

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Blue one of Six, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. Blue one of Six

    Blue one of Six New Member

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    We have a large fenced property in a rural area with 4 dogs and 2 inside dogs. Of the 4 outside dogs one is both Territorial and Dominance Aggressive. He is a mixed Golden & Retriever, very large and about 13 months old. He has been with us since we found him at about 5 weeks old and has always been around the other dogs on the property. He is the pack leader even though Boots our mix doberman/rottweiler (female spade) is more food aggressive but only with Blue and another male dog, Tux a Black Irish Setter mix. Blue demonstrates his dominance by putting his paws on all the dogs, Paws on any adult's shoulders if sitting down low or wraps around your legs. He is also constant barker when something happens outside our property like a car or neighbor walking or other dogs are outside.
    The big problem is that another neighbor has 4 dogs, one a male (Kirky) a little older than Blue and of the exact same breed background. This neighbor is not here regularly so they are loose in the area and other neighbors feed them. They are good to have outside the gate as security and are all friendly to people and dogs other than Kirky and Blue who always try to fight through the gate. So I know the problem, I know to work with Blue on commands but most information I find says to work with the dog and his problem (dog) who is not always at the gate. And of course when he is I know from the barking which may not be at training time. Does anyone have good experience with solving this type of problem? Professional training is not an option as we are too far away from these services
     
  2. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    I suggest that you post this in the training section, this part of the forum is actually for help with forum problems, not dog problems.
     
  3. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    I'm sorry, what exactly is the problem? I have something about food guarding, pawing, barking, and fence fighting with the neighbor. Can you be a little more specific??

    You might also want to post in the "Training" forum, you will get more help there as not many people read this particular forum.

    Welcome to Chaz!
     
  4. Blue one of Six

    Blue one of Six New Member

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    Territorial and Domanance Agression

    We have a large fenced property in a rural area with 4 dogs and 2 inside dogs. Of the 4 outside dogs one is both Territorial and Dominance Aggressive. He is a mixed Golden & Retriever, very large and about 13 months old. He has been with us since we found him at about 5 weeks old and has always been around the other dogs on the property. He is the pack leader even though Boots our mix doberman/rottweiler (female spade) is more food aggressive but only with Blue and another male dog, Tux a Black Irish Setter mix. Blue demonstrates his dominance by putting his paws on all the dogs, Paws on any adult's shoulders if sitting down low or wraps around your legs. He is also constant barker when something happens outside our property like a car or neighbor walking or other dogs are outside.
    The big problem is that another neighbor has 4 dogs, one a male (Kirky) a little older than Blue and of the exact same breed background. This neighbor is not here regularly so they are loose in the area and other neighbors feed them. They are good to have outside the gate as security and are all friendly to people and dogs other than Kirky and Blue who always try to fight through the gate. So I know the problem, I know to work with Blue on commands but most information I find says to work with the dog and his problem (dog) who is not always at the gate. And of course when he is I know from the barking which may not be at training time. Does anyone have good experience with solving this type of problem? Professional training is not an option as we are too far away from these services
     
  5. Blue one of Six

    Blue one of Six New Member

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    Thank you it's re-posted the thread. The problem is how to stop the dominance and aggression. And more specifically the fence fighting and barking. The dog is in good health, obviously gets a lot of exercise, and we recognize him over the other dogs as pack leader by letting him be first with food, or other things. In addition I spend time with him so he gets individual attention. Also he is in good health. During his fence fighting and barking we call him and he is distracted and will not come. So generally I go to the gate and take him back up to the house on a leash where I tie him and scold him. He seems to recognize that he should not do this as he sees me with the leash and cools down and although sometimes he pulls back but ususally walks up to house at my side. So he is not uncontrollable
     
  6. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    So, what you're saying is that you reward his pushiness?


    He does not recognize that he should not do this. He is not human and does not share human values. He is a dog and this is normal dog behavior.

    In addition, scolding him in association with the other dog will escalate the reactivity to the other dog. A desensatization program needs to be implemented to soften this behavior. But you can't expect a dog to not defend his territory. That's the way dogs are. You can pair the other dogs, cars and things with high value treats when he sees them from a great distance, where he's less likely to get so aroused and work very gradually so he can get closer. He could get so he sees dogs and thinks good things happen in their presence. But not if you scold him in their presence. That makes them look even worse.


    From your other thread:

    How do you know that he is the "pack" leader?

    Do you find that food "aggression" is absnormal behavior? Do you mean he is worried and insecure about losing his food and defends it? Is this defensive or offensive behavior?

    Why is putting paws on all the dogs or barking at something outside the property dominance? Is wrapping around your legs a dominant trait? Or an insecure one? Or something else? I'm just not quite perceiving a connection to dominance there. And wondering how you figured that out?

    There are methods for tempering down manic barking. But it is normal for dogs to defend their territory from other dogs or cars or anything out of the ordinary that comes close. This is how dogs are. But you can teach them to not get too frantic by desensatization and making them feel more familiar with these "intruders." But I wouldn't expect the dog never to bark or show interest in "intruders." That's their "job."

    As far as the other stuff, what do you do with your dog as far as obedience training? Is this dog always outside? How does he act in the house? (if he spends any time in the house) Are you outside with these outside dogs most of the time? Or are they on their own most of the day?

    I see a need to look at your dog from another angle. I'm sure we can help you with more specifics on desensitizing him to a degree with the fence fighting, getting a more reliable recall and teaching him to stop barking on cue. But punishment is not included in the very best methods. IMO.
     
  7. JPuckett1989

    JPuckett1989 Slowly but surely......

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    I agree with doberluv. He doesn't know that barking at the other dog is a bad thing and knows to stop when he sees you with a leash. He sees the leash and stops because he knows he's about to be in trouble. Leash means trouble,bad,punishment, not barking at the dog. Once again,you give him the benefit of being the "pack leader" but then want to punish him for what you believe to be dominance behavior. You need to show all of them that you're the one in control not any of them if you're going to go this way.
     
  8. Blue one of Six

    Blue one of Six New Member

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    Dominance

    Doberlov, No we do not reward him for being pushy and by every article I've read he fits the description of pack leader. Further giving him recognition seems to be working somewhat as he has become more gentle since we started this.

    As for the food aggression, he is not food aggressive, a little possessive my comments in my post "even though Boots our mix doberman/rottweiler (female spade) is more food aggressive" is a comment about Boots his sister.

    You question "Why is putting paws on all the dogs...", and "Is wrapping around your legs a dominant trait?" Their are numerous articles about dominance clearly describing these actions as dominance and a statement of pack leadership.

    Recognizing the dog's job is to bark, it is not normal or reasonably acceptable for the dog to stand on the entry gate and continually barking for an hour as another dog sits across the road. But you mention "desensatization and making them feel more familiar with these "intruders."". These intruders are dogs outside beyond our control and who fight with Blue given the opportunity. Under that condition how do you make them "feel more familiar with these intruders?
    To further respond Blue is one of six dogs we have he is always outside.
    JPuckett, when he is excited like this he will not come to the house and the only way I've found was to go with the leash and walk him up to the house and let him know that this is unacceptable. What do you suggest I do?
     
  9. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    What articles have you read?

    Why don't YOU want to be the "pack leader"? Why don't YOU want your dogs to trust YOU enough to feel comfortable in the presence of the other dogs and resources like food. And to obey YOU, not one another. I don't favor either of my dogs with anything... they know that they have to wait, be polite, and eat only from their own bowls. I do not want them to feel that food is something that they need to compete for; that results in big issues!

    He is still a puppy! He's barely a year old! Dogs are not even socially mature until they're 2 years old... much less a pack leader. He's a pushy, obnoxious adolescent dog - like many adolescent dogs. Especially of his breed. Labs and Goldens are very slow to mature, especially if you don't teach them manners and give them boundaries instead of dismissing their rudeness as dominance.

    Yes. You can make a dog feel comfortable under just about any condition, with proper desensitizing and classical counter conditioning. You might have to start the training from a very far distance and very slowly inch closer. You might have to keep your dog contained/away from the stimulus until your training is complete. But if you really want to solve this issue, the core of the issue which is your dog's reactivity, it's going to take time. However, positive training is something that changes your dogs emotions and behaviors, and it's something that lasts through out their life. It doesn't require you to be abusive or forceful, and constantly supress the behaviors, like punishment training. I highly recommend the book Click to Calm, it can really help to cure a reactive dog, if you're down for the training!

    Why is Blue outside only... just curious? It's much easier to train our dogs to do what we want them to do when we're present and able to control the situations they're in.

    You can remove him from the situation without scolding him... you SHOULD remove him from the situation, but scolding him is only heightening the negative associations. Remove him emotionlessly from the situation (or distract him with a verbal scolding, like a "shh" or an "ah-ah"), then walking him to a distance where you can work with him, give him lots of treats & praise for watching you and for looking at the other dog without reacting, and rewarding him heavily for coming to you in the presence of the other dog, is a much more effective way of managing the behavior.

    You will find that many of us on Chaz don't believe in "dominance theory", where every behavioral problem seems to be a result of dominance. Dogs do what rewards them the most, period. If being pushy is tolerated and rewarded, that's what they do. If barking and fence fighting is more rewarding than coming to you, that's what they do.
     
  10. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I posted this on the other thread you posted in. Did you read any of it?

    http://www.chazhound.com/forums/t16165-3/

    In my opinion, (and that of a lot of behaviorists) domestic dogs and the idea of a rigid ranking system, a hierarchy... does not go together. Many people who study dogs see that they are more of a scavanger and not a true pack animal. Familial and social, yes. Operating as a pack animal...primarily a hunter, no. Domestic dogs do not have the organization or rigidity or consistence that a linear hierarchy does.

    Dominance is very over-romantized and misinterrepted by people. Humans make all kinds of assumptions and skip over all kinds of logic to find an answer for their dog's behavior. And the answer is so often, automatically related to.....hierarchy and pack theory. Science states that the simplist answers should be sought first. Using dominance as a panacea for every behavior we don't understand or don't like, is jumping leaps of logic.

    The articles that you read are outdated and old school. Newer scienctific research and better studies debunk dominance theory and pack behavior as being a significant factor in our lives with domestic dogs. I never think of my dogs in terms of rank. It never comes up. And I don't have a lick of trouble with them and haven't for 50 years. LOL. I've had dog breeds that people label "dominant breeds." Working dogs that have forward personality types. "Type A." LOL. I never had one try to stage a palace coupe. They're nothing but juvenile equivilents to wolf pups. (neotenic) Wolf pups don't try to take over their family. Why on earth would they? It's easier to have a mom and dad bring you food. Why would a domestic dog want to be the one to go shopping and buy dog food? It's so easy for them to have their person do it and bring it to them. A "pack leader" has many responsibilities. Neotenic animals don't tend to be driven to do adult things like run for president. They can, however become "spoiled brats" who, like any adolescent learns how to misbehave. It doesn't mean they're trying to be the "pack leader" with all those responsibilites like hunting, breeding, raising young. Wolf pack leaders are merely the mom and dad. Like any species, mom and dad organize certain things in the family. Pack leaders in wolves are not violent or harsh. (or they're ousted from the family) They don't even care about most things that the others do, not nearly as involved as many mistakenly think. They don't get into a frenzy about things. They're not overly domineering. Think Clint Eastwood...He doesn't have to do anything, but walk around looking cool. :cool: And he is respected. (especially in the westerns) :p

    You posted with concerns about behavior in your dog. You're having some problems with your dog. You've been reading these articles touting dominance and pack theory as the place to look for answers. Yet, you are continuing to have problems. That's why you posted, right?

    I don't think the way you do about dogs and hierarchy. I treat my dogs as though they're my kids and I'm the one who steers them in the way I want them to behave. I do this by means of positive reinforcment training. (for the most part) I reinforce behaviors I like, prevent those I do not, I use counter conditioning and desensatization for dogs that have "issues" with up close and personal. I train other people and their dogs with similar problems and worse. This is what I do. I don't talk about hierarchy or pack theory. I talk about how to fix the problem. And as it was mentioned in the above post, the book, Click To Calm would be a great way to get started. It will give you a step by step method that is effective and what most behaviorists would use....or something along those lines. :) In fact, this afternoon I have a consult appointment with a dog that gets into a frenzy at the door when someone comes to visit. He is practically biting the woodwork around the door and clawing, barking frantically. I'm worried that if this continues, he may re-direct onto his owner who is trying to pull him back. While barking at intruders is normal behavior, this over-the-top frenzy can be tempered down. The dog is going to learn to give a few barks and go to his "safe place." He is going to learn that the cue to go to his very rewardable safe place IS the knock on the door. He's going to learn to calm down and that good things happen when his owners handle the situation and he doesn't have to.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2010
  11. Blue one of Six

    Blue one of Six New Member

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    To ihartgonzo

    The internet if full articles with advise on aggression and dominance, that’s were I read it. I must have printed 15 articles all of which give detailed descriptions of the actions of Blue as dominance.

    Blue is not the only dog out side. We have 4 dogs outside, Lucky a female mix about 1 ½ years old who we think is a Geckoes (Greek Breed) and who although spade mothered all three of the other dogs outside. Then came Boots a Doberman / Rottweiler mix female about 13 months old, then Blue, now 12 months old and Tux a black Irish Setter found with broken hip at about 3 months old (now 13 months old) and we nursed him back to health and he is accepted in the pack reasonably well. We also have two Schnauzers inside our home, brother and sister 8 years old. And incase you did not understand we live in a rural area of Greece with a large property so they have lots of places to run and play. All except Tux were found left abandoned at a local beach. Just because they are outside does not mean that they get no attention. My wife and I take specific time several times daily to be with them

    Let talk “pack leader†I am not the pack leader I am their master. This is well proven as although Boots my Doberman Rottweiler mix won’t eat until Blue has his food at least started, and generally lets Blue rule the property, other than her bone. That’s where she draws the line and all other run from her as she is tough. Also Tux is very submissive to Blue. Lucky

    As for training and Blue’s actions at the gate, I originally sprayed him with water. Then I started to walk him on a leash up and tell him no and then tie him for a while. I work with him daily on sit, down, come, stay and other commands. Perhaps this is starting to work as today for the first time when I was far away on the other side of the property I heard him barking at the gate. He came to my call, but following Tux who always comes for attention.

    When I signed up on Dogs & Dog Pictures - Dog Forum - Puppy Pictures - Chazhound Dog Site I was hoping for some positive advice on what or how to handle Blue’s actions. Perhaps I’ve found the way with my working with him


    To Doberlov

    Sorry I did not see your post the last time I looked. I’m also not a master at these forums! Don’t do this regularly. Also we are on much different time zones I’m sure as I am in Greece

    Although I understand your position regarding pack animals it seems to me that Blue is the leader of the pack here. With the dogs that taunt him outside our gate, the leader is Kirky, the largest, the toughest. That said what I am looking for is a response with some direction as you have provided. I will check out and find Click to Calm.

    In the mean time as I said in a response to ihartgonzo I will continue working with Blue

    “daily on sit, down, come, stay and other commands. Perhaps this is starting to work as today for the first time when I was far away on the other side of the property I heard him barking at the gate. He came to my call, but following Tux who always comes for atentionâ€

    .
    Thanks
     
  12. marfak9

    marfak9 New Member

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  13. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    Thank you for that article!

    To the OP. It is YOUR impression the dog is 'leader of the pack" But its not the dog's impression.

    Dogs are not pack animals. (as been observed and discussed and published by many a scientist who has no interest in training animals or gaining fame in the dog community) They do not work that way.

    If you insist on anthropomorphizing this situation you are only going to make resolving it more difficult if not impossible.
     
  14. Blue one of Six

    Blue one of Six New Member

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    Thanks for the article. It describes "Blue" actions in many ways. Related to dominance I see that many here do not like that term as well as "pack" Well you can call it a form of social interaction between dogs or you can call it "dog family" I guess I'm old school in my terms
     
  15. Tsume'sMom

    Tsume'sMom New Member

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    I knew a family with two dogs. As the dogs grew up one became increasingly "dominate" and possessive. The "trainers" advice was to let the dogs sort out who is the "dominate" dog. So they did, and applied the eat first more affection etc. This seemed to work until the dog started "dominateing" the family, growling mounting etc.. Because the behavior was allowed it escalated. The end result was the "dominate" dog had bit every family member and shreded one family members arm. The other dog had been attacked multipule times to the point of needing vet care on at least three occasions.

    My point is that training is a must, and allowing the dogs to sort it out on their own can lead to VERY bad things. I would reccomend to you Ian Dunbars DVDs on fighting and aggression, Patricia McConnels How to be a Pack Leader and Feeling out numbered, and I would also reccomend firm but fair basic training be instilled in each of your six dogs.
     
  16. Blue one of Six

    Blue one of Six New Member

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    Thank you for your recommendations and I will look into them. I have been working with Blue on training and by also giving him more play and attention. It seems to be working in that he is more responsive to commands, less aggressive, more playful with the other dogs, accepting commands to come away from the distractions at the property gate and displays generally more acceptable actions. Hoping that the work with him will continue his progress. Thanks
     
  17. Blue one of Six

    Blue one of Six New Member

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    Click to Calm

    As an update I did get a copy of Click to calm but it did not address the issue of calming one dog while being challenged by another dog. So I wrote to Karen Pryor to get a response that I should be caution as it is unnatural to change the dogs approach under these circumstances
     
  18. TheGoldenRetriever

    TheGoldenRetriever New Member

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    OK, but did you know that "dominance" theory is more than two decades old and has been largely debunked?

    You like internet articles ... here's a few that are far more recent than the at least 20 yr. old "dominance" theory. The following four are what I could find in literally less than 30 seconds. There are many, many more.

    Debunking the Dominance Myth - Dog Public

    VIN News (<--this one is from a veterinary dog behaviorist site, and is circa 2009)

    What&prime;s wrong with using &lsquo;dominance&rs to explain the behaviour of dogs?

    http://www.4pawsu.com/dominancemyth.pdf
     
  19. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    What? It doesn't talk about what to do when your dog is barking at another dog behind a fence?? Maybe I misunderstood, but this is what I thought the main problem was:

    :confused:
     
  20. Blue one of Six

    Blue one of Six New Member

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    Specifics of the problem

    Our dogs are fenced and will not go out. But 4 other dogs not restrained within their property are frequently at our gate as another neighbor across from us feeds them when their owner is gone which is frequent. Blue, protecting our property gets upset, starts barking which now challenges one of the outside dogs. And we frequently have through the fence fights. I have been working with Blue on having him come for a treat, and attention when this barking and challenge starts and it is starting to work. But of course during the time Blue and Kirky (the dog outside) are challenging each other intervention is not something that can be done. In addition, the 4 dogs outside our gate have little training or someone that will do that as they are more like adopted neighborhood strays, let to run when the owner is gone for a week at a time.

    So trying to work the two dog together to overcome aggression is not possible as nobody works with them.
     

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