Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Breed specific dog aggression!

  1. #1

    Default Breed specific dog aggression!

    Hi All,

    I was wondering if anyone might have any tips or advice for a behaviour problem our dog is developing.

    We have a beautiful 2 year old kelpie cross (we think – he’s a total mix rescue dog). He is the most beautiful, gentle loving dog. Great with kids, generally perfectly behaved. We’ve taken him to obedience training, he’s smart, learns things really quickly and eager to please. The trainer even commented on how good he is and that he is what they call a ‘stable’ dog.

    HOWEVER, over the last six months he is developing a real breed specific aggression against cavalier king spaniels, specifically black and white ones! It started as I would sit out the front of our house and a lady who lives up the road would walk her dog past and he would get a little woofy and bark. It’s now reached the stage when this dog goes past the house he growls, bares his teeth, his back bristles and he generally makes an all mighty racket. When he gets like this he totally snaps into a zone which we find impossible to get him out of. He is like another dog. SO now, whenever he sees any dog that looks like this dog, he is totally uncontrollable.

    Today we were at some markets and there was a lookalike and he was like a monster! He was on a lead and a halti so he couldn’t get at the dog but he made quite the scene and frankly it’s pretty scary! We try when this is happening to get him to ‘relax’ (he knows this command) and refocus his attention on us but he just goes into a zone and wont relax until the dog is gone. As soon as the dog is gone he immediately calms down and often looks ‘sheepish’ for want of a better word. When he’s making this scene, he can be all bristled and growly but often his tail is wagging the whole time.

    In the last month this breed aggression is now spreading to boxers (?). No where near as bad as with the spaniels but I’m worried it will escalate. In the park the other day he charged right at a dog, making a growly noise, but as once he got there he just turns around and runs off. Because of this incident I now wont let him off the lead, and it’s making me nervous when other dogs run up to him and sniff him.

    I’ve been researching how to deal with him when he gets into the zone, and I’m really confused! We have been telling him off but then I’ve read that this can make the problem worse? We’ve tried distracting him, which can work if we see/hear the dog coming before he does, but he seems to have a sixth sense and knows when this dog is coming from a mile away! Or like today, the dog just appeared in a busy crowd.

    So we are looking at getting a dog behaviour specialist in to work with him, does anyone have any recommendations? We are in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. I looked at bark busters but I don’t agree with their training methods, and our vet recommended someone but it was nearly 700 dollars for one 2 hour session! We don’t mind spending money but that is a lot for a one off lesson!

    We are going to take him for another lot of obedience training soon, and ask the trainer there but it is hard for people to imagine until they see it themselves as he is such a well behaved friendly dog 99% of the time.

    Arghh, sorry for the essay. This is all stressing me out loads! We love him to pieces and just want him to be happy and confident and not a grumpy dog. I feel like we have let him down letting it get to this stage. Any advise or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011


    I can so totally relate to this because my previous dog was totally like this! She hated all Spaniels, labs, retrievers and maybe a couple more. In contrast, seemed to always get on with JRTs and foxies and most Staffies!

    My dog died last year and before I joined this forum and started doing more reading and learning on dog training. I had kind of given up on ever trying to fix this and just worked on recall.

    If I could do it over again, I would really work on this in a completely different way with what I have learnt on this site and others.

    There is lots of advice and useful links to information about these types of issues here. You will need to learn about LAT and BAT. I just tried to do a search, but that doesn't work! Found this post though, which has some of the info in it: There are other similar posts and some success stories too here, but I'm afraid that I cannot find them now.

    I know the stress that situations like that cause. But don't despair, you can improve this if you set your mind to it by doing lots of reading, asking questions and believing that you and your dog are capable of changing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    If I was you, I'd contact Steve Courtney at and ask him for advice and to recommend a trainer near where you live if you can't make it to his place (Hawkesbury area).

    A dog's tail wagging does not mean he's friendly - there are other reasons a dog might be pleased to see something. Ie dinner. Or a job to do - like stopping a thief.

    If he is a farm dog bitsa - both kelpies and cattle dogs can have a very protective streak in them. My dog is fine with everybody and dog down the park, at the beach, out and about. But not so great at home. Door to door sales people are in serious trouble according to her and I admit I haven't done much to discourage that. She also likes to tell off (scare the shit out of) any dog that goes past our house on the footpath. Though - at the moment - it's all talk and no bite.

    If I stand between her and the target of her objections - and ask her to do stuff like sit, watch me etc... she calms down pretty quickly. The best thing I can do is show that I'm not concerned about the whatever - I'm so not bothered I don't even have to look at it. I look at her. And I keep my voice calm and neutral. If I stand next to her and hold her collar - she gets more and more excited - possibly because of something called the opposition reflex ie the more you pull on the collar the more the dog pulls in the opposite direction - and the more excited the dog gets. If I stand in front of her and block her that way, there's not so much of the "opposition reflex".

    You may also want to look up "LAT" and "BAT" dog training.

    Some dogs have a very long memory for particular dogs that have offended them. In your case - I don't think these other dogs have done anything in particular wrong, your dog has been allowed to be excited and aggressive and somehow encouraged in this by something you do or don't do. Ie your dog may blame the other dog for any discomfort he experiences when he spots the other dog... hence the need to get a professional in to observe what you do and suggest doing something different.

    Steve will suggest a variety of different methods and develop a strategy that works with the methods you are comfortable using.

  4. #4


    Firstly thank you both so much for taking the time to respond, it's a great help and I really appreciate it.

    Beloz - thanks for your kind words, it's so stressful isn't it! I'll get reading into the LAT and BAT and trawl through old similar posts.

    Hyacinth - thank you for your advise. I agree that this dog has done nothing wrong, there was definitely no 'incident' or anything that trigged it, we just have let it get out of control. I think that's why I feel so bad, he really is a great dog, we have just been inconsistent with our training and approach to the issue. He is a rescue 'camp dog' from the northern territory, who was poorly treated as a puppy. We got him at about 6 months old.

    I like your suggestion on standing between the dog and Cooper, facing away from his 'nemesis'. I will try that while we sort out an expert to come and see him. I'm definitely guilty of getting too worked up when he get set off, so i'll try and start over with a calmer approach. I'll contact Steve and see if he can suggest someone, it's great to have a recommendation because google produces so many results and it's hard to know without a starting point.

    Once again, thank you both for taking the time to reply. I'll keep everyone updated.


Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts