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Thread: Obedience for an aggressive dominant terrier

  1. #1

    Default Obedience for an aggressive dominant terrier

    On trips to the dog park my terrier has become aggressive towards other dogs. Particularly non desexed males and any puppies or younger dogs.

    After a number of embarrassing encounters I have realised I have a problem - which I'm fully aware is my fault through lack of training and obedience.

    So I've been reading everything I can on dog obedience and training. It's sounding like underlying the aggression in an obedience issue, I have a dog who doesn't recognise me as the boss.

    I have been reading the K9pro site and trying the NILIF method. I've been able to get my dog to sit and wait for food, entry to the house, attention pats etc. however I took him for a walk to the park (I realise it was probably too soon for this) and tried to get him to sit at the gate before entering. He would not sit. I stood at the gate asking for sit for 5 minutes, he would not even look at me. So I took him home.

    Again I know it was probably too soon for this activity, but I'm interested in what was actually happening. Was he simply too distracted and his obedience not yet developed for such an activity or perhaps it was an act of defiance?
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 03-11-2014 at 01:40 PM. Reason: para spaces so I can read

  2. #2

    Default

    How old is your dog?

  3. #3
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    Default

    Probably need a bit more background information on the dog and how long this has been going on for. When he wouldnt look at you what was he doing? was he more focussed on and excited by his surroundings or was he deliberately averting his eyes from you?

    When you say lack of training and obedience what have you been doing and have you had him from puppyhood. Is he desexed? and how old is he.

  4. #4
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    Connorsc89

    Please don't take your dog into a dog off lead park - or anywhere off lead where there are other dogs while you still have this problem.

    Retraining or desensitising is all about working on the edge of your dog's attention/excitement threshold - if he can't pay attention to you - you're too close to the exciting thing. Ideally you want to be the most exciting thing in your dog's life - so he will always pay attention to you, and work for more attention from you.

    You can also work on the edge of his ability to pay attention to you while he's excited ie aim to get so that he can be really excited and still pay attention to you. It doesn't really matter what he's excited / emotional about. It could be aggression, fear, friendliness, movement sensitive (wants to chase) - any excitement - you work on it the same way.

    Key things to google are
    "look at that" (LAT) - there's a book by Leslie Mcdevitt called "control unleased" that describes the "look at that" game. The key with this is to only reward when the dog is calm and paying attention to you while in the presence - close enough he knows it's there - of the exciting thing (trigger).

    My mistake with that - and I'm better at it now, was to use my dog's favourite thing (food) to lure her attention off the exciting thing (lawnmower man). So she actually got more excited - because she knew seeing him - would mean food treats and she went from excited to ballistic. So I cut the food. Increased the distance, and worked with calming pats and attention as rewards. So now she can lie down and go to sleep while I'm chatting to him. We still haven't got her calm around the machines but I pick my battles, she goes inside for that.

    The technique - almost the same - to google is "Behaviour Adjustment Training" or "BAT".

    If you need one on one help - if you say where your nearest capital city is - we can recommend someone - and they could recommend someone closer if that's what you need.

    I am glad you took your dog that was over the top excited - home without going into the dog park... It might be tedious for both of you but it's probably for the best.

    What I think could help - is some nice easy games with skills he knows well (like sit/drop/shake hands etc) and rewards that calm him down (for some dogs this is food, for some dogs, it's ear pats and rubs and butt rubs and long stroke pats). At home get him to practice controlled behaviours like sit-stay around things he normally finds exciting. Don't ask for much when you start.

    Eg my dog is not much into fetch but she does like to chase the ball and she will yell at me and jump on me to get me (or someone else) to throw the ball, but I ask her for a nice steady sit in the heel position before I will throw the ball. And sometimes I don't release her until after I've thrown the ball. sometimes I ask for a drop-stay, and walk a few steps ahead before I throw the ball.

    She's quivering excited but she holds the stay because she knows that's the only way I will throw the ball for her. And she's totally focussed on me and the ball - to the point that I have to check for obstacles where I want to throw the ball or she will prang into people or dogs. It does help if she's facing the same direction as the throw though.

    Hope that makes sense.

    I do have a slight problem at the moment with something called "the opposition reflex" where if I'm holding my dog by her collar, she gets more wound up about what she's looking at instead of calming down. It's not usually an aggressive excitement but it can sound horrible - because she talks and the collar interferes with her voice box when she's pulling. If I let her go, she will run up to the whatever it is at speed and then stop - usually another dog that wants to play but sometimes a cat. She will bark at the cat, if it stands it's ground that's all she does, if it runs, she chases it but so far - never tried to catch it. I don't like giving her the opportunity to chase cats but - holding her collar winds her up which is the opposite of what I want to happen.

    So if holding her back is winding her up and I can't move away for whatever reason... I stand between her and what she's looking at to block her view. And wait until she looks at me and then I give her a pat for paying attention, and try to get the calming pats going.

    It's not perfect but it's better than risking a dog fight or misunderstanding.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    Connorsc89

    Please don't take your dog into a dog off lead park - or anywhere off lead where there are other dogs while you still have this problem.

    Retraining or desensitising is all about working on the edge of your dog's attention/excitement threshold - if he can't pay attention to you - you're too close to the exciting thing. Ideally you want to be the most exciting thing in your dog's life - so he will always pay attention to you, and work for more attention from you.
    This post I think answers everything - train your dog to pay attention to you and your commands. I like Ceasar Millan's training and the pack leader mentality.
    I had an issue with Zeus towards younger dogs and other pups. I previously used Choke chain to train him, but I think it is a bit cruel when you hear them. So
    im back to square one. Then I used a body strap which IMO worked well for me plus giving him treats. In addition if you can afford 1 on 1 obedience training, do it.
    m<(o.o)>m

  6. #6
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    pbk1776

    bizarre we agree - except about the choke chain and Cesar Milan - I don't use either with my dog - massive fails the both of them.

    What is a "body strap"?

    For me a flat collar attached to a horse lead with knots in it for grip works fine - or sometimes a front attach harness if I need a bit more power or leverage. If a dog is pulling the end of the choke chain - it's not a useful tool. All the value in that thing is in the release so if you never release - the dog never learns anything. All my dog learned from it was to hate going for walks completely.

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