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Thread: Aggressive Dog

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Hi Poochlover

    My puppy can recognise dogs by their shape and movement - but she does generalise a bit - at one point she thought all whippetts were scary because one particularily stupid one kept attacking her and didn't back off when she submitted or defended herself. I think now she's much bigger than him - he no longer recognises her as the helpless little puppy he bullied and he leaves her alone.

    She also thought all golden retrievers were great because she had several good playmates who were golden retrievers... She's slowly learning - every dog is a little bit different even if they look the same as a friend.

    I've seen some dogs attack anything bigger than them, other dogs attack anything younger, and still other dogs attack any other dog on a lead. I think this depends on the experiences that each dog has had. I used to live with a dog that thought all dogs with tails that curled over their backs were for fighting.

    I try to make sure that my dog is on lead for greeting all new dogs - just in case. I know lots of border collies that are very timid/fearful and will attack anything that approaches too quickly. I prefer to let the nervous dogs approach mine in their own time, especially since my puppy is usually upside down and grovelling as soon as we get to within a couple of metres. She does this with every dog and every person - no matter age or size. It's very funny when she does it for a toddler or daschund. She's the ultimate in non-threatening greetings.

    As for "tried everything", sometimes dogs are a bit slow and you need to try a little bit often like every day for five minutes and it might take a month for improvement to be noticeable. Find an obedience dog club (ask your vet or the RSPCA), and persist. My club in South Australia is $50 for a single dog and owner for a full year. Loads of training, information, ideas and supervised on-lead doggy socialization. Socialization is ideally an every day, as many different dogs as you can find, thing.

    The following describes my main problem and approaches for dealing with it. And suggestions for you.

    My puppy is terrified of traffic. When I first got her, it was impossible to take her for a walk along a footpath or anywhere a car might go past us. She's still not perfect but she's getting better.

    1. I ignore any bad behaviour by her. I don't reassure her if she hugs the ground and I used to wait until she got up to continue the walk but now I "drag" her (as suggested by our chief instructor). I pull and she gets up and walks normally.

    2. I do praise any good behaviour she does - ie sitting at curbs or if I stop (ie when there is a lot of traffic or oncoming people).

    3. Timing is everything. Either a click (hard to do with your hands full of lead or treats), or "yes" or "good" (high pitched happy tone) for "that's what I want" and "uh-uh" (neutral normal voice tone) for "you got it wrong".
    Clicker Training
    If your timing is off - you encourage the bad behaviour and discourage the good.

    4. All training has to be done over for each new environment. Currently my puppy is best at the place where our obedience classes take place, and next best in the back yard where I practice, and less good at dog oval where we go for walks, and crap on walks along footpaths/streets. Ie at the moment - she's grade 4 in class, and about grade 1 on footpath walks.

    5. Persistance in short doses. Cesare Dog Whisperer has loads of useful tips and techniques. Try for little steps at a time, five minutes or less at a time. Try to finish with a win ie dog doing something that you want.

    6. For back yard training - I have a 1 litre capacity pump up garden sprayer that has about a 10m range. If dog fails to notice me walking up behind her with the "weapon of doggy discipline" she gets it in the head. She actually likes water a lot so this doesn't upset her but it absolutely diverts her attention back to me. I use this to stop inappropriate barking (always check there is nothing to bark at first), and digging and anything else that dog must not do in the back yard.

    Other people use rattles made of chain or tin cans with bolts or tin jar lids or smaller tins inside. I don't know why rattling metal gets the dog's attention but it does. I use pecariously balanced stacks of tins to deter "counter top surfing" ie where dog puts its paws on your kitchen benches looking for whatever. Knocks the cans off - massive rattle - stops the counter surfing.

    Start with stopping the barking in the back yard. Progress to stopping dog to dog aggression in/from the back yard... (although it might be easier in a neutral territory).

    Raising your voice is usually pointless as a correction technique. Especially for barking - the dog will just think that you - as a pack member - are helping with the barking task at hand.

    7. To stop pulling, try a front attaching harness for dog walks - like the one shown here:
    SENSE-ible Dog Harness, Dog Training Equipment | Softouch Concepts, Inc.
    There is also a "gentle leader" version. You will probably need to smear the harness in something that smells and tastes bad - like vicks vapour rub to stop the dog chomping through it until it gets used to it and don't leave it on when you're not there. The front attach harness will pull the dog back to facing you, the harder it lunges - the faster it ends up facing away from where it was trying to go and back to you, and the straps give you leverage making the dog much easier to hold.

    Worst comes to worst - if you see a problem approaching - wrap your end of the lead around a pole or small but sturdy tree once or twice to get extra strength for you to make holding the dog back - easier. Poles attached to no parking signs are handy. So are football goal posts. I've mainly used this technique for horses (fence posts) or run away boats (bollards).

    It seems to me you have a lot of problems. Pick one, and work on that every day for five minutes (or as it occurs). Don't try to cure everything all at once. For training - I read the triangle of temptation, it is good advice. First doggy requirement "watch me - the boss". Use food, distraction noises, toys, play - what ever works to get your dog's attention. I'm still trying to work out what reward/treat my puppy will do anything for - I suspect in her case - it varies depending on what else is around to interest her. If you use toys or play for reward - make sure you have a "working" command and a "go" (release) command to let her know when play stops and starts.

    Most of the training articles I've found - suggest you need to repeat each training task - about 20 or 30 times to start to have an effect. Our obedience dog club - has us doing just "heel and sit" for a whole month before we can progress to "heel and automatic sit and stand" for another month - provided we got "heel and sit" right the first month etc.

    I make my dog pay attention to me when we're doing heel - by changing direction and speed often - if she's not paying attention - I bump into her or she gets dragged back... Try to finish on a successful move.

    I also introduce distractions for tasks like "watch me" and "stay". Ie for "watch" she gets the treat/toy if she looks at me not the treat. Start with the treat right in front of my face, and then gradually move it away each time as she gets the task right, increasing the difficulty/standard.

    And for "stay", I tell her "stay" and hold her while I toss little bits of bread or toys away from her, she gets the treats, toys if she stays put. And she gets "uh-uh" and we start over if she breaks (or tries to). When she gets that right (20 times) - I repeat without holding her...20 more times - repeat then I move in front of her and repeat the task..., then change environments and repeat from the very beginning - stay and hold - with lead on somewhere there are more distractions like other dogs or children. Ie when you go somewhere new - lower the required standard, shorten the time required, and start over from the beginning.

    There are some things that are still difficult for my dog - she doesn't like to go back on the lead at the end of a run on the oval - but she's getting better. Some days I think she understands and some days she relapses. I've trained other dogs and this one I have now is one of the more difficult but if I can get her attention - she's a very fast learner.

    Hope some of that helps and I admire your persistance.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    planet Earth


    Rather then using punishment, use rewards. Try to find a trainer that uses rewards and ONLY rewards. So, no check-chains, no pulling, no yelling cause it doesn't work.

    I can't say, or better, I don't dare to say anything about your dog charging others as I haven't seen it, but I believe it's because she's intimidated and somewhat scared. Loosen the leash, pulling it just encourages the aggressive behaviour believe it or not, and try not to give your dog scares such as the water pump described above. It sucks really.

    Here are some useful clips, and links.

    YouTube - How to train your dog not to pull- Loose Leash Walking

    YouTube - How to teach 'leave it'- without intimidation

    YouTube - Dog Training - Stop Your Dog From Pulling

    Turid Rugaas - Calming Signals Community

  3. #13


    hi there i have the same breed of dog as you and got her from the same place as you did but she is nearlly 3mths old but my problem with her is that she will just bark and grawl at you for u to play with her but when u do she bites and latches on to ur clothes when the kids are playing out the back she barks and latches on to them and nips them im like u im new to this dog stuff lol made its just that type of breeded we seem to have.

  4. #14


    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for your responses. I actually tried doing a post the other day but for some
    reason, the forum keeps timing me out, then i lose everything.

    The latest update is that pooch is making a few good developments. Hooray! We took her to the beach the
    other day. There was a breed of dog "pointer" that looked like it was going to go for the kill and our pooch was going to too. Apparnetly they way pointer dogs (i think that is what the oner said it was called) harks its back up is a normal thing for that type of dog.
    Needless to say, it and pooch got along like a house on fire and just loved playing in and out of
    the lagoon. The other pointer dog looked like it was the same size as our pooch and about middle
    aged. Im convinced now more than ever my pooch hates just older dogs and collies.

    Pooch is also improving with our cat. I also love cats. Initially they hated each other. I actually
    thought pooch was going to kill puss once. Now i thinkof it, puss was asking for it a bit!
    Puss still hates pooch but my little fluffy is learning to tolerate pooch except when pooch goes
    in too close for a sniff. Puss brings out the claws. I'm pleased because Pooch is learning that
    it is ano go to attack puss because attention is redirected to puss. Esp when the poor thing
    looks like she is about to get savaged by a monster dog. I can ussualy feel her heart blow out
    of her chest she gets such a fright.. Pooch now knows if she ignores
    puss and comes when called, then she gets praised, then she gets attention.
    They say animals get jelous. I'm just playing on it. I just cant wait for the day puss and pooch
    learn to be like two sisters should be and learn to be on me at the same time so they both get

    As for leading. DH has been doing some good training with pooch. It looks like DH knows more than
    me. At feeding time (Similar to the triangle of temptation) he waits for pooch to sit and make
    eye contact with him. I can see Pooch immediately respects him. Actually, i would go as far
    as to say that pooch and DH made a connection with DH the first day we brought her home.
    I get a bit upset because they have a very special bond. I wish DH would sometimes rub my
    head so affectionately and gives me some attention when he gets home! lol!
    I teach pooch tricks. DH teaches her respect! I need to get some equal ground. That way we can both
    enjoy her.

    As far as putting something like VICks on to the Halti, I'll give that a whirl. I heard dogs hate
    the smell of citronella. WOuld this be just as effective? The front lead spoken about was entirely
    useless for our pooch. She is just far too strong which is why we moved to the check chain. Out
    of desperation. I hate the check chain though. I cried (yes i'm a sook) when pooch was charging
    at other dogs and couldnt breath. DH couldnt do anything except hold her back. But it seems to slowly work for her.
    I would prefer it if she woluld work with the Halti though.
    DH and i probably could turn into our own pet shop we have so many different
    leads and collars (with pink and bling of course!).

    As for using positive reinforcemetn trainingg. I would love to use this method. It is just
    learning how to be effective with it that is all. Saying a firm "no" when she gets mouthy is starting
    to work though. I oudlnt know how to apply positive reinforcement with that. What i do is say "no" firmly, if she
    stops, I wait for her to settle, then i pat her again. If she mouths again, I say no. Then wait for her to settle again, and ten continue patting pat her. She loves attention. Eventually,
    she just lays her big head into my lap and watches her favourite TV!!!! Her
    favourite add is the one with the german shepard in the car that barks for track number four, which
    is for german shepard. It is so halarious. Pooch tries to play with it on the TV. sHE IS a duffer!

    Thank you also for the resources on Youtube. When my connection speeds up again, i will definatetly
    take a look. Every little thing helps.

    All in all, despite pooch having a very long way to go and needing more training. Like lots more
    training, I am actually feeling a little more reassured that as she improves, our time with her
    will be more enjoyable.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    planet Earth


    Apparnetly they way pointer dogs (i think that is what the oner said it was called) harks its back up is a normal thing for that type of dog.
    It's normal reaction for any type of dog depending on situation. My dog does the same and she's a rottweiler. She never attacks, though.

    The thing with check chains is that it will most definetely increase aggressive reactions towards other dogs when you walk her. Socialising with dogs like you did on the beach is great.

    If I were you, I'd make some aquaintances with people you meet and have dogs your pooch gets along with. Then I'd ask them if I can meet with them for a walk. I'd practice approachingone another on the lead completely loose. Then ask another doggy person to join us. Your dog just has problem communicating with other dogs, she's not really aggressive and I don't think there are certain breeds she hates.

    I would also try and find a trainer who works with positive reinforcement to show you few things and help you out.
    Last edited by Fedra; 09-02-2009 at 02:09 PM.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Western Sydney


    Your dog sounds like my s.tzu cross which i rescued when he was about 1. Mine is only lighter (8kg) and people does not scare of him. They just laugh when he has his episode in public :-( (Trust me. my dog acts like he is possessed when he sees other dogs-his angelic face turns into an alien which i can not recognise )

    I talked about this with vet at the yearly check up a few week ago. She talked medical intervention. And we are really thinking of that combined with training. I would start on talking your vet.

    A lot of information is available on internet but you need to decide on what is best for your dog and hopefully you enjoy the process as well. BTW we all know a tired dog is a good. A problem is we get tired easily than they are....maybe just me.

  7. #17


    Thsi thread is almost 11 months old..

    Pretty sure he/she has worked the issue out.
    <a href= target=_blank></a>

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Western Sydney


    Quote Originally Posted by BlackLexDog View Post
    Thsi thread is almost 11 months old..

    Pretty sure he/she has worked the issue out.
    this shows that i am new what were you doing?

  9. #19


    Quote Originally Posted by hachna View Post
    this shows that i am new what were you doing?
    Wasnt having a go, just a friendly heads up

    What do you mean "What are you doing?"

    What am i doing now?

    Im currently working.. at work.. kind of
    <a href= target=_blank></a>

  10. #20


    One of the main causes of a dog's aggressiveness is usually due to dog owners themselves. The dog’s owner behavior, attitude and the wrong choice of training methods like physical violence, constant reprimands, teasing or ignorance can lead to the development of aggressiveness in a dog. Dogs also tend to develop this undesirable behavior if they are consistently chained, under-fed or excessively punished.

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