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Thread: Barky Dog-Aggressive Terrier

  1. #11
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    Jul 2012
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    Perth, WA
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    I don't see anything strange about this. Even you are more comfortable with your friends than with scary looking strangers. And it may take you a little while to get used to a new person who is scary looking - and they'd have to do all the right things and make no scary moves and not be pushy at all.
    Yes, you're right Hyacinth. I suppose we only think its strange in the sense that its easy to believe that he just 'hates dogs' but I can see this is a very simplistic view of things. He doesn't hate dogs, it seems is is anxious about unknown dogs and this is how he deals with it by trying to scare them away.

    With my dog - and random cats - If I spot it or signs that she's spotted it, I would shorten up the lead and bring her right back to me - so she couldn't lunge to the end of the lead. Ie if you have a 10cm run up, you gather much less speed and do much less damage than if you have a 2m run up and come to a sudden halt (by the neck). We've gotten to the point that if she spots the cat first - she sits and looks at it (called "indicating" by the sniffer dog trainers). Which saves us both a lot of grief. And helps the cat calm down too. She gets treats for this. And a tonne of my best treats if the cat decides to come up and check us out. And then I hold by my dog by the collar.
    Thanks for that tip. I tend to walk with him on a fairly short lead but there is always some slack in it. He walks well on a loose lead and doesn't pull unless he sees a dog. I always used to shorten his lead when I saw a dog coming so that I felt more in control but someone else advised me that by doing this I was almost 'priming' him for the meeting with the other dog and that it was sending the message that I was anxious or that the way we were walking needed to change when we saw one. Would you disagree with this advice Hyacinth?

    I'm going to read Kathy's article, thanks for that. I've just looked at her website. Her intensive workshops sound like they are aimed for dogs just like ours. I'll give her a call though because it might be that he needs a one to one session, I don't want him making other people's dogs worse by going for them.

    Border Terriers are extremely bright - as a breed - they're one of my favourite terriers and they can be extremely easy to train
    He does learn really fast - he has that in his favour. He's got a long road ahead of him, so let's hope he can do it!

  2. #12
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    Aug 2009
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    Adelaide
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    Loose lead vs tight lead...

    If you are going to let him greet another dog - it's important to have the lead loose and that he knows it's loose. Same with the other dog. If it's not loose - a dog will assume their option to flee is not available and that only gives them the choice of freeze (not popular with terriers) or fight.

    But if you're not going to let him greet another dog, best is to keep as much distance as you can, even if this means stepping along a drive way and waiting for the other dog to pass or crossing the road (though often the width of the road is the trigger distance, but it's the best option we have sometimes). And keep the lead ultra short. In this case if the other dog approaches anyway, you need to block it with your body and keep between your dog and the other dog. Sometimes yelling at the other dog and making a stomp towards it - helps give it the idea to back off. But better you do that than let your dog do it.

    My dog is an uber friendly dog - and great for helping other dogs with fear aggression. So if we're trying to help - we do it in a large open space. She drops and sometimes rolls over. The other dog - we make sure is on a loose lead, and as long as it doesn't pull to the end of the lead - the owner can take a step towards us. If that dog goes behind the owner - that's a clear signal that it's not happy so we don't force the issue. We either go our separate ways or have a bit of a chat about it and wait and see if their dog calms down looking at my dog with her paws in the air. And then the approach is entirely on the fearful dog's terms - keeping the lead slack. It does require some bravery on the owner's part but it's always worked for us.

    We've only had problems if the approaching dog's lead manages to go tight. Which triggers the aggression. Ie I can't escape now my lead is tight - so I'd better be as fierce as I can be (including using the teeth). My dog also being on loose lead - clears out pretty quick and I block. So nothing major has happened.

    But again - might be best to try with a professional supervising - until you've got a good idea of what all the signals are.

    And I don't do this with dogs that just hate all dogs ie doesn't matter how far away - they're at the end of their lead barking and growling with their teeth barred and they never calm down when other dogs show "no threat" behaviours.
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 07-30-2012 at 04:44 PM.

  3. #13
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    Very useful advice Hyacinth, thank you for taking the time to respond. The fight/ flight reaction makes perfect sense. It is also worth mentioning that when he is off the lead with our friend's dog at their home he is calm until we put his lead on to go home. He went from being completely calm and lying with the other dog to barking and lunging at it the moment the lead was clipped on. Our friends thought this was bizarre but it does support the idea that once he knew he was unable to get away if he needed to, the fight reacton set in. This is the first time we have ever started regularly socialising him with another dog (other than friends dogs every now and then here and there) because since his behaviour worsened we haven't wanted him to upset a social situtation with his barking and carrying on on meeting the dog and I find it really stressful. Luckily these particular friends are very patient and understanding and have a very patient and understanding dog! I'm hoping that socialising him more and more with known dogs will help him but its hard to know whether I'm being brave or irresponsible sometimes and I don't ever want to be the latter. He has never attempted to bite our friends dog thankfully, just bark bark bark. Anyway thanks for all your help and I'll let you know how I get on!

  4. #14
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    Interesting he is that sensitive to having the lead clipped on around other dogs.

    You might want to try some de-sensitisation exercises involving the lead...

    test whether it is something to do with other dogs - ie clip the lead on, un clip the lead and see how he reacts to that when there are no dogs around.

    If you want to avoid the problem when there are your friends dogs around - separate them eg one inside and one outside before you clip his lead on. And maybe also try when they can see each other but they're far apart or separated by a window or similar.

    You could also feed him a treat every time you clip the lead on - and this will give him something else to focus on that's more pleasant for him.

    And you could try lead clicky treat associations. ie you can use the lead clip as a clicker - click the clip without attaching it, and feed him a treat. Do this a few times at home eg ask for a sit, click the lead clip, give him a treat... so he gets the connection...

    and then do it when you're having a doggy play date at your friends place - but way before it's time to go home. Ie do the lead clip click treat game two or three times during the time you're there: go up to him with the lead, ask for a sit, click the lead, give him a treat. If he's calm about that you can add a very gentle collar touch and then even a slight collar wiggle with it and eventually clip the lead on - then treat then unclip and let him go again... make a game out of it.

    If your friend's dog is a bit of a treat monster - it might be a good idea to have them catch their dog first so it can't ask for treats at the same time - which anxious dogs or food guarders can find very upsetting. No treats for anybody if there's any sign of doggy discomfort or anxiety (lip curls, eye rolls etc).

  5. #15
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    test whether it is something to do with other dogs - ie clip the lead on, un clip the lead and see how he reacts to that when there are no dogs around.
    No problem at all with being on the lead, only when other dogs are around. Before a walk, he reacts to the lead with normal waggy tail excitement and will sit and wait for it to be clipped on without any fuss. Since the first time that he reacted badly with the other dog, we wait until we get outside the house before we put his lead on (not on the street, in the enclosed yard) so it isn't causing a problem for us but thought I'd mention it. The very fact that we have to avoid that shows that its a problem for him though, so I think the desensitisation game you suggested would be a good plan when we are around the other dog.

    I wouldn't say our dog was a food guarder - he will let us take food out of his mouth (bone etc) - but I will watch out for that around the other dogs and keep an eye on the behaviour of both of them when treats are around.

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