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Thread: Training to cure dog aggression

  1. #21
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    Thanks Nekhbet. They are the kind of techniques the trainer will help me with, I expect. I am currently really bad at dealing with it when it happens. And I have been using trial and error to see if I could find a way to snap her out of it and clearly it resulted in too much error! I trust this trainer knows what she's talking about so will stick to the techniques she will demonstrate and hopefully being consistent will pay off.

    ETA: And yes, she is not dog aggressive, just reactive. And even only mildly so. She doesn't show any signs of stress when leashed dogs pass or when we pass dogs behind fences, etc. We have 3 dogs we've never met in the yard behind us, always hanging around at the fence between the yards and her only reaction to them making noise is a sympathy whine or a wag of the tail. But that is why I want to nip this in the butt now and make very sure that it doesn't get worse. And I hope that I will learn how to prevent it from even getting to the point we're at now with future dogs or foster dogs.
    Last edited by Beloz; 09-24-2013 at 10:44 AM.

  2. #22

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    'Beloz' - Heaps of Good Luck Wishes for you and Banjo for the consultation with the dog trainer tomorrow ! smiley-eatdrink004.gif

  3. #23
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    Thank Riley I'll only know at 8am if she'll be able to come. The strong winds wreaked havoc on her property yesterday, so she had to be sure that wasn't going to be the case today first. And she also had to check if she had any appointments with tiny pups in the near future because of the parvo. Fingers crossed.

    ETA: we're now meeting off-site because of our bleeding parvo infested property. No biggie as we don't have any particular issue that manifests itself more at home. But it is usually better to see the dog at home first.
    Last edited by Beloz; 09-27-2013 at 08:00 AM.

  4. #24
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    So we had a 2 hour session. My first impression of the trainer wasn't all that great. We actually clashed a bit at first. She seemed to get annoyed about me asking why she wanted me to use certain techniques. I also was a bit suspicious when she started with showing me how to take control of a space when you open a door to prevent the dog from rushing through etc. It sounded a bit old-school dominance theory to me, so I got a bit worried that I simply wouldn't agree with her views on dog training and wouldn't get much out of it. But it improved after a bit of a difficult start.

    I reckon our kind of situation could be a bit of a challenge for some trainers too as you'd expect that they would have way more experience with helping people with dogs in an earlier stage of their training or with a lower level of obedience. I assume it is their job to first try to find out if it is something lacking in the general way the dog is treated or trained that is causing that issue. Which wasn't an issue in our case according to her. My dog was actually more obedient than her 3 this morning! Definitely had better recall...

    But she could tell that Banjo did get tense at the sight of another dog at 20 meters away. I'm clearly crap at interpreting my dog's more subtle body language. Must work on that. And then taught me how to 'block her' until she relaxed her body and stopped looking threateningly at the other dog. She also told me that it was very clear that Banjo just isn't interested in socialising with other dogs. She brought out 3 of her own dogs, one by one. And even the one that Banjo liked most, a beautiful, friendly but calm tricolour BC male, and that she eventually started play bowing at when they were both on lead, she completely ignored when we let them off lead. The one she liked least, a big, fluffy, more in-your-face pup, she lifted her lip at, but only once. The advice is to not let her meet with strange dogs face to face for more than 5 seconds. Then I have to walk away, either with her when she's on lead, or without her and then call her when she is off lead. We practiced both and they both worked perfectly. This was only after we practiced slow approaches. Which is a technique I can use with dog owners willing to help, but not overly useful in day to day situations, though the blocking bit could be.

    So the good news is, she's apparently just telling other dogs that she isn't interested in social networking, which is quite normal for female dogs and it should be fairly easy to manage this. The bad news is that it will always have to be managed. I think it will still take some trial and error to work out what works and what doesn't in day to day situations, but at least I do have somewhere to start and I feel a lot calmer about it.
    Last edited by Beloz; 09-27-2013 at 01:15 PM.

  5. #25
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    So the good news is, she's apparently just telling other dogs that she isn't interested in social networking, which is quite normal for female dogs and it should be fairly easy to manage this. The bad news is that it will always have to be managed.
    This is helpful to know. My dog mostly is interested, but not with all dogs ie she's selective. And the ones she doesn't like - I have to spot that and block her. This does seem to work quite well, depending how persistent the other dog is.

    It is interesting when we meet another dog trainer and they try to help and we disagree with their methods. But I have to ask myself - how well are the methods I'm using working? Maybe I need to try something different.

    She should have been pleased you asked questions. The more you understand of the why of it, the easier it will be for you to remember and apply (with good timing) and have confidence about using the methods.

  6. #26
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    It's still sinking in, but what I learned about using body language to communicate with the dog and let them know you are in control over a certain area of their immediate environment was certainly new to me and will hopefully be useful. I'm sure I've been using this intuitively in some specific situations already. But obviously it is way more useful if you're aware of what you're doing and can adapt it. And I certainly wasn't using it when meeting other dogs.

    This trainer bases lots of her views and techniques on her observation of animal interactions. Sheep, horses, dogs herding sheep...

  7. #27
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    So I took the dogs for an of leash walk at our old dog walking spot today. There weren't many people out because it's ridiculously windy here.

    I didn't get a chance to practice the blocking. But I did practice the 5 second rule for the two meetings with strange dogs. And that seemed to work just fine. Maybe all this was, was me giving Banjo the impression that I needed her to interact with other dogs? Now I am aware that she really isn't interested and it has no benefits for her, I'm ok with calling her back before she needs to make up her mind about whether or not a dog is a threat. Quick sniff (she does seem interested in that) and on our way. And hopefully, if we can avoid negative responses by doing that for a while, she'll start feeling more confident about encounters with strange dogs.

  8. #28
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    There weren't many people out because it's ridiculously windy here.
    At a certain time of the afternoon today there was nobody about because of some football match on the telly.

    Susan's latest puppy peaks includes a video where some dog in an "x pen" reacted really badly to Susan's dog being nearby so Susan proceeds to organise to counter condition the grumpy dog to be more relaxed around strange dogs. They didn't video the first two sessions where Swagger was placed quite far away, but did video one where he was in a sort of "pop up" floppy crate right up against the pen and the dog was calmly taking treats while Swagger played inside the crate.

    But again - got to beware the back chaining dog - who will act aggressive then act calm to get more attention and treats.

  9. #29
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    Beware the back chained dog who will act calm to get more treats. LMAO, ive owned one of those!

    Im curious what behaviours you have been suggested to "own" a small space?

    I like the keep the face to face very brief. I did this a lot at Brian's first introductions to new dogs at his frist trip to dog training, even though the greetings seemed friendly in manner. And my trainer noticed what i was doing, and asked if i had concerns about dog/dog aggro. She got brownie points for noticing

  10. #30
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    And i notice you dont want to always be managing banjo's aggression.

    this made me think, a lot. And dont we all manage behaviours anyhow?
    i know im doing it all the time. And sure its not just me.
    e.g. I know, that bernie will 'check' our whereabouts on another dog approaching. If i catch the signal, ears back, circle once on spot for a quick who's where? it alerts me another dog is approaching, he tends to spot this, simultaneously to me. Why? Because im managing my pack, by keeping a eye out all the time. I do it unconsciously. That is part of my managing repertoire. Another is calling the pups back close, so that the teenagers don't have to warn off approaching dogs coming in too fast to pups.

    And latterly, i am super vigilant, as Brian IS the dog that approaches others too fast! And has yet to be reprimanded by a dog he's done this too. But will meet a banjo one day. So he's on that trailing leash i spoke of.

    I loved the analogy of dogs lunging, was equivalent of using bad language. I totally agree. This is not a dog in fight mode, but its on the continuum of approach to fight.

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