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Thread: Aggression towards other dogs.

  1. #1

    Default Aggression towards other dogs.

    Hi all, I'm new to the forum, looking for advice or direction.

    We have a re-homed 1.5 year old blue heeler, he is a lovely dog with a temperament like a Labrador, he just fits in so well. Unfortunately the down side is he goes crazy when he sees other dogs.

    When he sees other dogs he rears up, jumps, attempts to pull away, very loud exited barking, tail waging, no baring of the teeth but feels alarming to me. In this state he seams to be oblivious to anything other than the other dog and attempting to get to it, he is totally unresponsive to any human command.

    Some back ground: I contacted the previous owner and she said he was raised as one of 3 dogs in her family, he was excitable towards other dogs from a young age but socialised well with her two dogs. She said she avoided socialising him with other dogs for fear that he may hurt them.

    I have certainly not been game to let him near other dogs for the same fear as the previous owner. On the weekend my friend came over with his 1.5 year old male lab and we harnessed up our dog to see what would happen under a more controlled situation. On cue as soon as he saw the lab he went crazy, they were kept about 3 metres apart and after the initial bark off he lost interest until the other dog barked and then it started all over again, this cycle went on . My friend is adamant that it is not aggression, however I'm nowhere near convinced and not sure of the next step.

    His response to other dogs is the same whether its from the car or them walking past, he can only hear the neighbors dog bark but will be barking jump at the fence trying to get to it.

    Where do I go from here?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    VIC
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    My Australian Shepherd has had issues very similar to this. If he saw or heard another dog he would lunge, growl, scream, bark, and just lose his mind over it. Tail was wagging too. When my boy is pushed over threshold like that he gets so overwhelmed that if he does meet the dog he does become aggressive.

    My suggestion would be to find a good behaviourist who has plenty of experience dealing with reactive and/or aggressive dogs. Seeking professional help is honestly the best thing I ever did for my boy! Helped me to understand exactly what is going through his head in the situations and helped me to implement a training plan that works for him! Behaviourists can be expensive, but if the behaviourist is a good one and you're willing to put the effort into the training, then it's 100% worth it!

    If you're in Vic I would highly recommend Inline K9.

    Also consider muzzle training him. Muzzles are awesome tools for dogs like this as it eliminates the risk of injury and can help boost your confidence in handling your dog. Perhaps this would help you feel more confident introducing your dog to other dogs (a behaviourist would guide you with this though).

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the reply, unfortunately I am in regional WA so a Behaviourists is going to be difficult to get to. Can you recommend a particular muzzle? I have never had anything to do with them before.

  4. #4
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    There some good behaviourists in WA and it may be worth making a trip to have a consult. I also live in regional WA and I did this and it was worth the the effort, often one or 2 consults are enough to get you on track. I had a young heeler that was doing exactly the same. The thing you need to do now is not to put him in a situation where he can reinforce this behaviour. You need to work him at a distance from other dogs where he is not aroused and reward him for being calm and close up the distance gradually over time. You need for him to look at the other dog and immediately look back at you for a reward. I found a consult really helped get me on the right track for what I needed to be working on and practising. Timing is really important and a better understanding or body language and exactly what is going on with your dog. Let me know if you want a recommendation for a trainer. I know one who is good and specialises in working with reactive dogs, especially working breeds.

    A muzzle is fine but you really need to work on what is going on and address those issues if you want things to improve.

  5. #5
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    Do try to see a behaviourist if you can, it really would make a world of difference! Perhaps one that Kalacreek is recommending.

    This is the muzzle my dog wears - https://www.petstock.com.au/products...lle_dog_muzzle

    I like it cause it's easy to poke treats through the holes. It can be a little short in length for some dogs though.

    This is another good option - whatever type you go for, you want one that the dog can easily open their mouth, pant and drink whilst wearing it.

    http://www.thefarmstore.com.au/shop-...-muzzle-size-5

    and don't forget muzzle training, you want your dog to associate good things with wearing the muzzle

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw

  6. #6
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    Southern NSW
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    Go and see a behaviourist dog trainer... just from the things you mention, it sounds more like a young rude dog, who has not been in contact with dogs that react appropriately.

    Too parted from the litter mates and bitch often causes this problem. Too much play and greet as a puppy with no control (the bitch or stronger litter mates) or puppy classes where there was no control and pups just play.

    Also if and when you see other dogs, never meet head on, do several passes... just pass quickly, distance may have to be huge initially. reward any good behaviour, Make the passes closer and closer.

    without seeing the dog it is hard to pick as to wether it could be fear aggression, which often is disguised as "I make a lot of noise and look fearsome first" .... Tail wagging does not always mean friendly. There are tail ways and then there are tail wags. I assess dogs with my own dogs. My dogs will tell me what the issue is.

    Good books on "dog language" which do help if you are remote is books and videos by Turid Rugaas. Dogwise has them, even e books
    Pets are forever

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by newfsie View Post
    Go and see a behaviourist dog trainer... just from the things you mention, it sounds more like a young rude dog, who has not been in contact with dogs that react appropriately.

    Too parted from the litter mates and bitch often causes this problem. Too much play and greet as a puppy with no control (the bitch or stronger litter mates) or puppy classes where there was no control and pups just play.

    Also if and when you see other dogs, never meet head on, do several passes... just pass quickly, distance may have to be huge initially. reward any good behaviour, Make the passes closer and closer.

    without seeing the dog it is hard to pick as to wether it could be fear aggression, which often is disguised as "I make a lot of noise and look fearsome first" .... Tail wagging does not always mean friendly. There are tail ways and then there are tail wags. I assess dogs with my own dogs. My dogs will tell me what the issue is.

    Good books on "dog language" which do help if you are remote is books and videos by Turid Rugaas. Dogwise has them, even e books
    Thanks for the replies, can you explain the highlighted text please.

    He came from a litter with his brother and lived with an older dog. The reason that he was given away was that he became protective of his female owner and wouldn't let the other dogs near her and became aggressive towards his brother when he tried.

    He was fixed up under a year old.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalacreek View Post
    There some good behaviourists in WA and it may be worth making a trip to have a consult. I also live in regional WA and I did this and it was worth the the effort, often one or 2 consults are enough to get you on track. I had a young heeler that was doing exactly the same. The thing you need to do now is not to put him in a situation where he can reinforce this behaviour. You need to work him at a distance from other dogs where he is not aroused and reward him for being calm and close up the distance gradually over time. You need for him to look at the other dog and immediately look back at you for a reward. I found a consult really helped get me on the right track for what I needed to be working on and practising. Timing is really important and a better understanding or body language and exactly what is going on with your dog. Let me know if you want a recommendation for a trainer. I know one who is good and specialises in working with reactive dogs, especially working breeds.

    A muzzle is fine but you really need to work on what is going on and address those issues if you want things to improve.
    Thanks, I will definitely look into behaviourist options, and yes if you can recommend one.

    He gets plenty exited at even 400 metres from another dog, basically if I can see any dog I secure him. So do I give him a treat if he responds to me, and work on getting closer from there? What kind of treats or rewards?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by talon View Post
    Thanks for the replies, can you explain the highlighted text please.

    He came from a litter with his brother and lived with an older dog. The reason that he was given away was that he became protective of his female owner and wouldn't let the other dogs near her and became aggressive towards his brother when he tried.

    He was fixed up under a year old.
    Sorry, fast typing and not checking..... now in a perfect world pups would be allowed to stay with their mother until at least ten weeks old. Now people who are into real training do not like this, they like to get them earlier, but pups who just go to pet homes are better off to stay longer... the littermates and mother do a lot of training. larger litters are therefore better too.

    It also sounds from the quick description here that the previous owner has let the pup/dog rule the roost... So you have a Leadership issue which is part of the dogs behaviour issue. A dog in charge believes he has the right to make all these forward, lets say aggressive or at least protective moves. A dog that has good leadership expect the Handler to make those moves or not.

    I have six huge dogs... they will bark when strangers come to our property, but when I come out and say "thank you" or "enough" they stop. One of my rescues occasionally still moves back and goes on as he still is not 100% sure, we are working on that.....

    Leadership is not Alpha rolls and such, it is training and guiding.... teaching you dog lots of thing and showing your dog you are reliable.

    There are several things I do

    I come home and I ignore all the dogs until they lie down quietly, I will call them at that time and say hello and pet them...The ignore on homecoming is very important with some dogs. This can change when you have settled the relationship with the dogs. My oldies now just come up and get a quiet pet, but my youngster and most recent rescue do not.

    I also never pet a dog that comes up to me when we are in the early relationship building.... I will call the dog when they are calm and pet, cuddle, even lie on the couch with me. Again, my choice not the dogs as to when to be petted.

    I want a good recall and that gets rewarded every time when we are new or young...

    I also take charge of the walk always, I will not allow pulling... if the dog pulls in a direction, we are going the other way. I will change direction lots of time and even go backwards, until the dogs is soft. I will reward that with a soft happy voice and sometimes treats. That means that sometimes you go nowhere.

    I cannot afford to have puling dogs.... my six average between 50kg and 72kg.

    It sounds like you need to start from scratch and get the dog used to you being in charge.

    Personally I think desexing makes no difference, doing it will not help it just prevents breeding, my dogs are entire, I have two. I have bitches and one was just in season. I even took her to training in our Water and drafting group as all the handlers thought it would be good for the males. And it was, they were all well behaved. That is training and building a good relationship with your dog.
    Pets are forever

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by newfsie View Post
    g.

    It sounds like you need to start from scratch and get the dog used to you being in charge.
    Many thanks for the thorough response, do you have a distinct voice for commands versus rewards? does tone play a big roll?

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