What am I doing wrong? Dog aggression...

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What am I doing wrong? Dog aggression...

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Old 10-09-2011, 12:42 AM
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What am I doing wrong? Dog aggression...

Ok so my brother and his gf brought their dogs over despite them knowing that sparky is dog aggressive. He has reacted so many times today. Just before I put sparky in the bathroom, window open, a bed, so he could just chill by himself. My brothers gf went in there to wash her hands, made no effort to stop the dogs from getting in or out. Sparky chased georgia, snapped at deedee when I moved her off my lap, and then bit my finger while I pulled him away from the fight, then had to push tinkabelle out of the way because she was fighting back and wouldn't stop. And of course everyone in my family is ceasar salad, punishment is best kind of idiots. My mother will not listen to me, and refuses to look at my links. So sick of living with her.

It's embarrassing. I am the dog lover of the family, I am the one with the training books and who researches dog behavior and training, yet I have the most untrained animal I have ever met.
For months though I have been counter conditioning Sparky so that he likes dogs. Months and months and months. He looks at a dog, I click and treat. Repeat this step a few million times. I walk a little closer sometimes, work on the distance issue, but it's hard when you have to get close to someones yard, they are never happy about it, and there is no where like a dog park where we can work on gradually decreasing distance. But I have still seen an improvement.

But where am I going wrong? Why is it he is still attacking the two gentle dogs, that never fight back, never cross his lines, and we have created positive associations with? Is there a way to stop the redirected aggression, because I am over him biting me when he thinks he is getting someone else.

And question of the day, how do I train my mum to understand dogs, to not want to punt my dogs, and to read links etc. That I give her to prove a point?
I am so over the way she talks about my dogs, it may sound stupid to some, but these dogs are almost like kids to me and it pisses me off when she calls them a psyco (sp?) and says she wants to slit their throats (she never would actually do that btw). I think my parents need to go on a holiday and give me my wanted alone time with the dogs.
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Old 10-09-2011, 04:12 PM
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Your doing nothing wrong. It just takes more time

Chili took a year. If your dog is drawing blood, it may take longer. Also he needs to be introduced to new dogs very carefully. I've taught my dog to target the new dog and then return to me for a treat.

Part of the problem this time was likely him just finding a random "stranger" in his house, along with guests which are exciting in their own right.

If the whole fams not on board, that affects it too


Personally though, if he were my dog I'd just manage him and not let him meet strange dogs, while training him to ignore them on walks etc. His thyroid should be checked also
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Old 10-09-2011, 04:41 PM
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After thinking about it, I think my expectations have just been to high. I am going to just start completely fresh this afternoon and act like I have just learned about this training method. I think yesterday was very stressful fir him. First I had him on a leash in my room when he could hear the people and dogs until he stopped whining. Then I walked into another room and my neice kept trying to steal him from me, making him growl at her. So lucky nobody saw that, they would have blown it out of proportion, and I think part of the growl was a bit more of a winge.

But, he did make an improvement from the last time they were hear I think, but they were here alot longer so there were more attacks. But this time we were able to look at the door with a dog outside, and all but once, he didn't react.

He has a vet checkup in a month, so will ask about his thyroid there.

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Old 10-09-2011, 06:04 PM
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My dog is pretty reactive as well. Thankfully no dog fights though. But she does RG her ball when shes tired at the dog park (no RGing when shes full of energy tho..).

I'm just starting with her training. I know it can be frustrating if your dog does the action you want 100,000 before but the 100,001 time flips out is frustrating. I've been trying to approach each trigger as it is the first time, every time. Starting off at the original distance and then slowly coming towards the trigger after a few rounds of LAT. Its hard to tell what type of day my dog is having some days. Some days, we have managed to get a lot closer than expected. Then two days later, I can't get to half that distance before she reacts.

Keep your expectations low, and your praise high that way, if they'll always feel like they are doing a great job by you.. and making them feel more secure about the trigger is what all this is about isnt it??
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:21 PM
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With my dogs I notice overall stress levels are very important to monitor. If they are over tired, or under exercised, or over stimulated, they handle life's surprises much less gracefully.

If your family is shouting at each other, or the dogs, or spreading any type of salad dressing around, that will likely be extremely stressful on the dogs. I notice our dogs get stressed even if people in the house are just talking loudly, even if its not to the dogs or not even in anger... loud, excited primates seem to be stressful stimulation for setters.

Just my observations to offer, FWIW.

At our house we are always monitoring our dogs' Tetris screens, level 10 being maxed out, level 1 being nearly cleared out (usually a good long run does that).

I second Crio's call for a thyroid check. Last winter when Josey's thyroid was not totally adjusted, it was difficult to keep his Tetris screen cleared, and in fact he had a couple of nervous breakdowns. He's much more balanced now with his meds adjusted.
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Old 10-10-2011, 02:19 AM
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i would add that if he isn't kennel trained, it would be a good idea to get that under his belt too... no one should have a need to enter his kennel for any reason, and you can keep him in a kennel in a room when you can't directly manage him... might cut back on the mishaps...

also, i make it a habit to sorta take over any dogs that are at my house, pretty much from the moment they get there. i have REALLY good stuff, and they want it, so i get everyone's (canine) attention and start rewarding them for the behaviors i want to see in my house. this sorta removes their owners from the picture and makes it much easier for me to make sure that everyone is manageable. i keep leashes on hand, tethered to either end of the sofa, and baby gates and an x-pen for those just in case moments when i need to separate someone. i don't ask about anything except the treats and only have one friend who objects (who is pretty good at managing her dog anyway) anyway, is there anyway you can just sorta start doing stuff with the dogs that visit so that everyone will leave you to it? or would that create more problems than it solves in your situation?

other than that, i agree, you aren't really doing anything wrong, just going too fast for sparky, he needs more management in these situations...
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Old 10-10-2011, 03:30 AM
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Well he still did pretty well today. I mean, he wasn't amazing walking past dogs, but better then I expected after getting into fights yesterday.
I would love to try and work with the dogs together, I mean, Sparky was aggressive, and two of theirs were terrified. But no, everyone would step in. His gf would likely insist that she knows them better. My mum would likely be there basically saying I'm doing it wrong (honestly, Sparky started out as more her dog as far as she was concerned. For the first 2 years of his life, his training was left to her, until I stepped in just over a year ago. Not quite sure why she thinks she is better at training and knows more of the subject. She's always been good at suppressing behavior, not curing it though). I could barely handle Sparky the way I wanted, everybody wanted me to hand over the leash and kept trying to grab it, telling me what to do. Yes I know starting on a leash isn't the best way to introduce him to new dogs, but I had him on one, while inside with me until he calmed down a bit, before he met tinkabelle first, then the other two. I would maybe be able to take a dog at a time and hide in a room while they weren't paying attention... maybe...

Working on getting a crate. My mum thinks it's cruel because we got one when he was a puppy and basically threw him in there and left him, he hated it. And yes that's right, she thinks the crate is cruel, but has no problem with shock collers and smacking (though she doesn't tend to use either of those punishments now, she still does things I don't like, but hey, little baby steps). I don't have a job right now, am working on that. As soon as I have the money he will be getting a crate, as several times a day, the thought of "now if only he had a crate..." goes through my head. Would have been very useful in this situation.

A bit annoyed with the owners to. The gf smacked her dog for crying.... She was scared of Sparky, she didn't need to get smacked when she was already scared of getting attacked. Then they acted like we had the worse trained dog in the world. Fair enough. They probably should have asked before bringing their dogs, but I suppose they didn't expect their dogs to be getting attacked. But maybe they should be paying a tad bit more attention to their own dogs while at somebody elses home, as we had to clean two wet spots in different rooms on the carpet when they left. Sparky was being followed by me the whole time, or confined to a room. Deedee was either outside, or fast asleep. I don't mind but still... at another persons house they should probably watch their dogs a little more.

Thanks everyone
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Old 10-10-2011, 03:01 PM
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yeah, doesn't sound surprising.

not to push the point, but i don't mean take over to intro the dogs. IMO, you should focus on NEVER intro'ing sparky to any dogs until you have very clear and obvious indications from him that he is ready. it could take years i just meant that i carry treats around/station them around the house and just start rewarding everyone for stuff i like. and i don't talk to anyone about what i'm doing unless they ask. MOST people who come to my house are my friends (all now that i don't have roommates ) so they are happy with what i do... but some people are very resistant to the idea of just handing out treats... anyway, i don't make a fuss about what i'm doing. the only dog behavior that i make a fuss about is cat chasing... like i said, their dogs just start behaving how i want them too... and things go well... lol, dogs love to visit me

as far as convincing others, i'd say that a similar approach of just doing stuff with the dogs, not making a fuss/arguing about it, then managing their behavior as much as you can is a good approach. it's hard, i'm visiting a friend at the moment who says "good" or "bad" dog all the time, like these are inherent personality traits the dog has... drives me nuts... and when my dog does something she is very critical of his behavior... but he is generally a "good" dog... anyway, it irritates me, but i've learned that if i don't take it personally, and just focus on what i'm doing with him, my training approach works, and she is often labeling my dog a "good" dog now... does that make any sense?

oh, another thing, in addition to the LAT game, have you done any work with sparky to reward him for being calm/calming himself/relaxing? i've found that it can really help my dog "get a grip" when he is over board. i also make sure to use some anti-anxiety supplements when i know we are going to be a bit stressed. you might consider that sort of approach as well. nothing crazy, just stuff to "take the edge off" which makes it easier for him to stay in his head, thus easier for me to deal with him. i do not deal well with a crazed clover...

gosh, sorry for rambling... hope that helped you at least a little bit...
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Old 10-10-2011, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fawkese1 View Post
yeah, doesn't sound surprising.

not to push the point, but i don't mean take over to intro the dogs. IMO, you should focus on NEVER intro'ing sparky to any dogs until you have very clear and obvious indications from him that he is ready. it could take years i just meant that i carry treats around/station them around the house and just start rewarding everyone for stuff i like. and i don't talk to anyone about what i'm doing unless they ask. MOST people who come to my house are my friends (all now that i don't have roommates ) so they are happy with what i do... but some people are very resistant to the idea of just handing out treats... anyway, i don't make a fuss about what i'm doing. the only dog behavior that i make a fuss about is cat chasing... like i said, their dogs just start behaving how i want them too... and things go well... lol, dogs love to visit me

as far as convincing others, i'd say that a similar approach of just doing stuff with the dogs, not making a fuss/arguing about it, then managing their behavior as much as you can is a good approach. it's hard, i'm visiting a friend at the moment who says "good" or "bad" dog all the time, like these are inherent personality traits the dog has... drives me nuts... and when my dog does something she is very critical of his behavior... but he is generally a "good" dog... anyway, it irritates me, but i've learned that if i don't take it personally, and just focus on what i'm doing with him, my training approach works, and she is often labeling my dog a "good" dog now... does that make any sense?

oh, another thing, in addition to the LAT game, have you done any work with sparky to reward him for being calm/calming himself/relaxing? i've found that it can really help my dog "get a grip" when he is over board. i also make sure to use some anti-anxiety supplements when i know we are going to be a bit stressed. you might consider that sort of approach as well. nothing crazy, just stuff to "take the edge off" which makes it easier for him to stay in his head, thus easier for me to deal with him. i do not deal well with a crazed clover...

gosh, sorry for rambling... hope that helped you at least a little bit...
No rambling is fine! I like all this advice haha!
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Old 10-10-2011, 04:35 PM
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oh good lol, glad i could help...
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