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Thread: Dog Aggression

  1. #1

    Default Dog Aggression

    I have a six year Border Collie who has aggression issues towards other dogs. She was very well socialised with other dogs at my local offleash areas from 14 weeks of age almost every day (with no bad experiences). When she was about 18 months old she began snapping at other dogs occasionally. This has worsened since then to the point where I can't take her anywhere offleash unless she is muzzled. She is very obedient and will respond when I tell her NO but sometimes other dogs (and their owners) just don't seem to understand that a dog growling and showing it's teeth at their dog means they should back away, consequently when a dog is getting in her face continually, something in her brain snaps and she attacks and won't stop without my physical intervention.

    She has been on medication for an underactive thyroid since September last year and seems much happier, but she still reacts the same way with other dogs.

    She had Bark Busters training in an attempt to fix this problem when the aggression first showed up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mollinator View Post
    I have a six year Border Collie who has aggression issues towards other dogs. She was very well socialised with other dogs at my local offleash areas from 14 weeks of age almost every day (with no bad experiences). When she was about 18 months old she began snapping at other dogs occasionally.
    S: any idea what brought this on? was she desexed when this started or was there a heat cycle around this time?

    This has worsened since then to the point where I can't take her anywhere offleash unless she is muzzled.
    S: when she is muzzled, does she still react or is she submissive then?

    She is very obedient and will respond when I tell her NO but sometimes other dogs (and their owners) just don't seem to understand that a dog growling and showing it's teeth at their dog means they should back away,
    S: Yes I know what you mean, in fact this is a major issue when trying to rehab any aggressive dog this can be one of the aspects that pull part your rehab.

    We are releasing a harness that has patch on it that says "give me space, do not pet" on each side to help get the message accross, the ones we trialled worked pretty well.

    consequently when a dog is getting in her face continually, something in her brain snaps and she attacks and won't stop without my physical intervention.
    S: it sounds like that you have been able to train a degree of impulse control, but after an amount of time, she feels no other way in relieving the pressure than to react, which of course ends the pressure as you remove her and the other dog is gone too.

    The other thing to consider is that going through this drive process (the aggression) is chemically rewarding too so it can be reinforcing the behaviour so this will influence the dogs desire to react.

    She has been on medication for an underactive thyroid since September last year and seems much happier, but she still reacts the same way with other dogs.
    S: What I was aiming at above was that perhaps a heat cycle or thyroid function had put her in a chemical imbalnce situation that lead to a level of discomfort that pushed her to experiment and come up with aggression and a solution.

    Now that the imbalance is fixed (perhaps?) the behaviour is ingrained and is displayed based on an established operation, it is what she does...

    As she has some tolerance for other dogs, this is the stage of rehab (there are various stages) where I would attempt to counter condition the value otehr dogs have for her.

    There are various methods in doing this from flooding to clicker training, but before the method is chosen, you need an accurate diagnosis on what is currently driving the aggression, is it fear or is it rank (dominance). The therapy for each of those is opposite and you need the right path first.

    She had Bark Busters training in an attempt to fix this problem when the aggression first showed up.
    S: Ok, how did that go? what did they do?
    Steve Courtney, K9 Pro - The K9 Professionals

    www.k9pro.com.au

    Official Forum Trainer and Behaviourist

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by k9force View Post
    S: any idea what brought this on? was she desexed when this started or was there a heat cycle around this time?

    S: when she is muzzled, does she still react or is she submissive then?
    Sh: she still reacts the same (as in growling and snapping)

    We are releasing a harness that has patch on it that says "give me space, do not pet" on each side to help get the message accross, the ones we trialled worked pretty well.
    Sh: In my limited experience even a muzzle doesn't deter some people......

    S: it sounds like that you have been able to train a degree of impulse control, but after an amount of time, she feels no other way in relieving the pressure than to react, which of course ends the pressure as you remove her and the other dog is gone too.

    The other thing to consider is that going through this drive process (the aggression) is chemically rewarding too so it can be reinforcing the behaviour so this will influence the dogs desire to react.
    Sh: I agree with this. One thing I didn't mention in my initial post is that she has attacked my own dogs too. She attacked my old German Shephard 3 times (at ages between 12 - 15 ). The German Shephard was not an aggressive dog at all and would lay on the floor yelping while being attacked.

    She has also attacked my latest dog, once when she was 10 weeks old and then again she tried about 5 weeks ago (unsuccessfully because Molly is too agile).

    Now that the imbalance is fixed (perhaps?) the behaviour is ingrained and is displayed based on an established operation, it is what she does...

    As she has some tolerance for other dogs, this is the stage of rehab (there are various stages) where I would attempt to counter condition the value otehr dogs have for her.
    Sh: Her tolerance has become almost non-existant now. She has even attacked one of her dog friends.

    There are various methods in doing this from flooding to clicker training, but before the method is chosen, you need an accurate diagnosis on what is currently driving the aggression, is it fear or is it rank (dominance). The therapy for each of those is opposite and you need the right path first.

    Sh: What do you mean by flooding? I would guess by the word that you mean exposing her to heaps of dogs at once? If so, I would say that's not the way to go. She hid under my chair at puppy preschool and wouldn't play with the other pups until the last session and there were always heaps of dogs around when I took her out when she was younger.

    S: Ok, how did that go? what did they do?
    Sh: Not well. I had them in originally for another behavioural issue and the individual that did it was fantastic and I was very happy with them. When I had them around for Tasha's aggression I was not happy with the method they used and in the end all it did was make her afraid of me.

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    Sh: Not well. I had them in originally for another behavioural issue and the individual that did it was fantastic and I was very happy with them. When I had them around for Tasha's aggression I was not happy with the method they used and in the end all it did was make her afraid of me.
    S: Thats a shame, the problem with franshises I guess is that some people are great, others are not and they all go by the same name...

    You have to be very careful when you over lay pressure in a fearful situation, the loud Bah or rattle can or throw chain can be a bit loose with a fearful perhaps chemically unbalanced dog.

    Like I said I would be working on upping the value of other dogs with her whilst extending her tolerance time.

    Quick question, does she play with your other dogs or any other dogs?
    Steve Courtney, K9 Pro - The K9 Professionals

    www.k9pro.com.au

    Official Forum Trainer and Behaviourist

  5. #5

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    I seem to have only quoted one of my comments on the previous thread. I did answer all your questions with a Sh at the beginning if you don't mind looking at the greyed bit.....sorry about that

    In answer to your question, yes Tash absolutely adores one of her dog friends who she knew from the day I got her (7 weeks old). She also play wrestled with my other dog (the one she bashed at 10 weeks) a couple of weeks ago, it's the only time she's ever done it.

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    S: when she is muzzled, does she still react or is she submissive then?
    Sh: she still reacts the same (as in growling and snapping)
    S: Ok thats ok, if the muzzle is supressing her reactivity, it can be holding back progress.

    We are releasing a harness that has patch on it that says "give me space, do not pet" on each side to help get the message accross, the ones we trialled worked pretty well.
    Sh: In my limited experience even a muzzle doesn't deter some people......
    S: well they can help I guess lol, but your right, many people are not detered by anything.

    S: it sounds like that you have been able to train a degree of impulse control, but after an amount of time, she feels no other way in relieving the pressure than to react, which of course ends the pressure as you remove her and the other dog is gone too.

    The other thing to consider is that going through this drive process (the aggression) is chemically rewarding too so it can be reinforcing the behaviour so this will influence the dogs desire to react.
    Sh: I agree with this. One thing I didn't mention in my initial post is that she has attacked my own dogs too. She attacked my old German Shephard 3 times (at ages between 12 - 15 ). The German Shephard was not an aggressive dog at all and would lay on the floor yelping while being attacked.
    S: this is the reason that she would really benefit from a diagnosis, there could be various things going on with her, she is "unlikely" to be fearful of your existing dogs but your other descriptions sound like fear aggression.

    Now that the imbalance is fixed (perhaps?) the behaviour is ingrained and is displayed based on an established operation, it is what she does...

    As she has some tolerance for other dogs, this is the stage of rehab (there are various stages) where I would attempt to counter condition the value otehr dogs have for her.
    Sh: Her tolerance has become almost non-existant now. She has even attacked one of her dog friends.
    S: Ok so the problem is worsening, it is time to look into professional services and perhaps a visit to the vet for a thyroid panel is in order also. I normally dont recommend this however you have mentioned thyroid issues from earlier.

    There are various methods in doing this from flooding to clicker training, but before the method is chosen, you need an accurate diagnosis on what is currently driving the aggression, is it fear or is it rank (dominance). The therapy for each of those is opposite and you need the right path first.

    Sh: What do you mean by flooding? I would guess by the word that you mean exposing her to heaps of dogs at once?
    S: yes thats what it means, it isnt something I use very often,it has a high rate of success for many but if it doesnt work the fallout is severe, so it is a bit of a last resort for me.

    If so, I would say that's not the way to go. She hid under my chair at puppy preschool and wouldn't play with the other pups until the last session and there were always heaps of dogs around when I took her out when she was younger.
    S: Looking into these behaviour problems is something that I usually would spend two hours with a client discussing and have the dog there, there could be medical faults or genetic influence. What happened at puppy school may or may not be repeated, she is older now and tehre are more things that play parts in behaviour at certain development times.

    SH:
    In answer to your question, yes Tash absolutely adores one of her dog friends who she knew from the day I got her (7 weeks old). She also play wrestled with my other dog (the one she bashed at 10 weeks) a couple of weeks ago, it's the only time she's ever done it.
    S: Again I would suggest some vet work and a pro looking at your dog, there are a few things that dont add up right now and they might be easier solved sooner rather than later.
    Steve Courtney, K9 Pro - The K9 Professionals

    www.k9pro.com.au

    Official Forum Trainer and Behaviourist

  7. #7

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    Thanks Steve, I was going to get some more bloods done for her thyroid in a couple of weeks time so will see how that pans out.

    You say there are a few things that don't add up, what do you mean?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mollinator View Post
    Thanks Steve, I was going to get some more bloods done for her thyroid in a couple of weeks time so will see how that pans out.
    S: A lot of people have bloods analysed in the US for a little more detail / accuracy, so keep that in mind.

    You say there are a few things that don't add up, what do you mean?
    S: Oh just in that fact that what you decribed is almost text book Fear aggression, but when there has been fights with dogs that she knows this spells the opposite.

    It isnt that dogs cant suffer from both styles of aggression, its that when you have two very different drives and a thyroid history, it may be a medical fault.

    I probably would be speculating if I were to try and go further.

    Good luck with her and do let us know how you go.

    S
    Steve Courtney, K9 Pro - The K9 Professionals

    www.k9pro.com.au

    Official Forum Trainer and Behaviourist

  9. #9

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    Hi Steve, after a few months of trial and error with medication, Tash is a very happy girl. It will take some time to get her re-aquainted with how to deal with new dogs but she is doing so well.

    I also went and attended a seminar conducted by a very well respected behavourist.

    I've also started giving her Vetalogica Canine Tranquil Forumala before she does anything that makes her anxious and it has really helped.

  10. #10
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    S: Sounds great! well done and good on your for taking the time to help her!
    Steve Courtney, K9 Pro - The K9 Professionals

    www.k9pro.com.au

    Official Forum Trainer and Behaviourist

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