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Thread: Recent Dog Aggression

  1. #1

    Default Recent Dog Aggression

    Hi all,
    I'm new here and need some advice. I want to know if it is possible to re-socialize a dog that has recently become more dominant and potentially dog aggressive? I have done a bit of reading, and it seems relatively common that dogs go through behavioural changes at around her age, 18 months, but I want to ensure that this is not permanent. She used to play and interact with other dogs really well, and went to dog day care at least once a week since she was 6 months old. She has always played roughly due to her size (large), but recently she has started growling, getting her hackles up and batting smaller dogs with her paws. She hasn't bitten, but that may be because I haven't given her the chance as I remove her from the situation when this happens. She has always been insecure (was petrified of almost everything as a young pup) and been a bit of a challenge to get her to focus on me (although food is always a winner!). I have worked really hard on her training and exposure to different places, people, situations as she has grown up and now is generally great on walks through busy places etc. Also taken her to puppy school and dog obedience classes. However her behaviour seems to have gone down hill since we moved to Australia from NZ in March. We moved in with another older dog. She is great with the other dog, although they seem to have developed their own territories- she outside, him inside, where one is more dominant over the other. We often walk them together and they really enjoy each others company. We also have a friends dog that Bree gets along really well with and they have play dates once a week. George (other dog in the house) is generally fantastic with other dogs, and I would like to be able to take them together to the dog park again, but I just don't trust Bree at the moment so wonder whether taking her on a muzzle might be a temporary solution? I would like her to get the interaction, without the worry. We are going to further dog classes at a dog club and she is fine there as I distract her with food and only allow her to interact with the other dogs when she is calm. Basically I want to be able to take her out and about without any hassles like avoiding other dogs etc. I don't have the money to pay for a dog behaviouralist (uni student) and am prepared to put the time into her to get where I want to be with her. Help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Canberra
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    Default

    My old dog never got on well with most other dogs (except those she knew well). She actually hated certain breeds! It was rare for her to meet a dog she didn't want to try bully. I regret not working with her more to get her out of that behaviour but she was my first dog, had a very strong prey drive and I made quite a few mistakes with her training.

    I solved the problem by putting all my effort into a reliable recall. I would always watch her carefully when she approached another dog and at the first sign of trouble I'd just call her back. But it obviously wasn't an ideal situation. (I must add that she never actually bit a dog, but she would stand over them in a very intimidating way.)

    But when I was doing my research on clicker training now I'm training our new dog, I noticed there are quite a few resources out there about using clicker training to cure or prevent dog aggression.

    Your dog's behaviour doesn't sound out of control yet. If you feel comfortable with doing it, you could continue to remove her from the situation if she gets too rough, but then let her go back once she is calm and to keep repeating that?

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bree's mum View Post
    Hi all,
    I'm new here and need some advice. I want to know if it is possible to re-socialize a dog that has recently become more dominant and potentially dog aggressive? I have done a bit of reading, and it seems relatively common that dogs go through behavioural changes at around her age, 18 months, but I want to ensure that this is not permanent. She used to play and interact with other dogs really well, and went to dog day care at least once a week since she was 6 months old. She has always played roughly due to her size (large), but recently she has started growling, getting her hackles up and batting smaller dogs with her paws. She hasn't bitten, but that may be because I haven't given her the chance as I remove her from the situation when this happens. She has always been insecure (was petrified of almost everything as a young pup) and been a bit of a challenge to get her to focus on me (although food is always a winner!). I have worked really hard on her training and exposure to different places, people, situations as she has grown up and now is generally great on walks through busy places etc. Also taken her to puppy school and dog obedience classes. However her behaviour seems to have gone down hill since we moved to Australia from NZ in March. We moved in with another older dog. She is great with the other dog, although they seem to have developed their own territories- she outside, him inside, where one is more dominant over the other. We often walk them together and they really enjoy each others company. We also have a friends dog that Bree gets along really well with and they have play dates once a week. George (other dog in the house) is generally fantastic with other dogs, and I would like to be able to take them together to the dog park again, but I just don't trust Bree at the moment so wonder whether taking her on a muzzle might be a temporary solution? I would like her to get the interaction, without the worry. We are going to further dog classes at a dog club and she is fine there as I distract her with food and only allow her to interact with the other dogs when she is calm. Basically I want to be able to take her out and about without any hassles like avoiding other dogs etc. I don't have the money to pay for a dog behaviouralist (uni student) and am prepared to put the time into her to get where I want to be with her. Help!
    On a budget you can try the book "Click to Clam" look it up but really to use that book you need to have apretty good understanding of doggie body language. In all honestly a behaviouralist is your best bet, trying to do it yourself (it isn't re socialising by the way it is called remedial socialisation and remedial socialization is VERY VERY HARD without someone to guide you) can end in disaster.

    The other thing you have to accept is that some dogs are just Dog Aggressive or Dog Intolerant no matter how hard you work they just are not that interested in other dogs. If this is the case do not mourn the fact your dog cannot socialize because guess what your dog doesn't, your dog in that situation would find socializing with other dogs extremely stressful. In this case what you need to concentrate on is training your dog to ignore other dogs so that you can continue to walk in areas where others are walking their dogs without your dog reacting. It is not the end of the world to have an anti social dog, I have one and I deal with it. She is even anti social with my other dog, I deal with it. But in the end she loves me and she loves spending time with me and my family and that makes her happy, she does not miss interactions with other dogs because she does not find them pleasurable.

    Best of luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Sydney
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    1,210

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    I have pretty much a very similar Problem with my Bulldog.

    See Thread -

    http://www.dogforum.com.au/restricte...y-out-now.html
    Rubylisious


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    2,388

    Default

    Sorry, can I just clarify why you think she is aggressive?

    Because she growls, gets her hackles up and bats the other dogs with her paws?

    My dog plays exactly like that.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Adelaide
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    Bree's mum

    That would be "click to calm".

    I think you're mostly on the right track - you just need to persist through this adolescent stage without giving in. Definitely prevent as much as possible any unacceptable behaviour. And like K&P said - it may be you never get to "relax".

    seems relatively common that dogs go through behavioural changes at around her age, 18 months, but I want to ensure that this is not permanent.
    Good but you will need to take action to make sure your dog learns what is and isn't acceptable in a safe environment for her.

    She has always played roughly due to her size (large)
    I don't accept that large means a dog will be rougher. My dog is medium sized and will play super gently with old dogs and small dogs and puppies. Dogs can adjust to the needs of the dog they're playing with but some dogs need to be taught to do this - ie only allow them to play while they're gentle and remove them if they get too rough.

    Growling, hackles and batting - isn't always a sign of aggression. My dog will also do this with certain doggy friends after they have play bowed to indicate all that follows is "just pretend". The other dog (and owner) has to agree. If they run away with their tail between their legs, it's probably too much for them and time to call your dog away. If your dog won't come away from play - you've got some work on recall to do before you let your dog off lead.

    Three dogs your dog gets along with - does not equate to a well socialised dog. One rule of thumb from Ian Dunbar - is 50 dogs, 50 men and 50 women - a week! Ie you need to get your dog lots and lots of practice with other dogs and people and children. Amateur football games are great for this. Keep your dog on lead and work on keeping her attention, only let her greet if she can be calm and polite, start at a distance and work out how far away she starts getting distracted - and stay on the edge of that gradually going closer then further then closer then further in randomish increments.

    Adolescent Dog Training (18 weeks - 2 years) | Dog Star Daily

    Have you talked to the instructors at your dog club - there are lots of different ideas and experiences there, some of which may help you.

    Muzzles are good for preventing your dog from doing extreme damage should she escape your hold. But they're not a substitute for paying attention. A dog with a muzzle can still traumatise and damage another (smaller) dog or child and freak out the owner or parent. Dogs with muzzles on tend to strike fear into the general public who assume the muzzle is on a dangerous killer attack dog.

    So a muzzle might not achieve what you want and may aggravate the problem by frightening people. If you feel your dog needs a muzzle you definitely cannot let it run free in any public space (off lead allowed or not).

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