Aggressive towards smaller dogs

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Aggressive towards smaller dogs

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Old 08-01-2018, 04:37 PM
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Aggressive towards smaller dogs

Hey guys. My dog, former stray that used to be afraid of everything and used to hide behind us when something scary (for her) happened, has become violent towards a few things. First is smaller dogs. Today my sister had her out for her business. A sweet pointer puppy ran away from her owners and ended up right into Allie's mouth. My sister was so scared when she got home, she said that my dog was beyond reason and that she seriously feared for the smaller dogs life. The other thing, she wants to chase the cars. She is leashed all the time, but sometimes when we cross the street, shell start barking lunging and running towards racing cars. It could turn deadly either for her or for us. Can you tell my what is the reason behind her change of behaviour? And how to help her?
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Old 08-01-2018, 07:33 PM
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Fear Aggression

It sounds to me like your pup might be having some 'fear aggression'. She's getting a strong "Fight or Flight" response, and since she is leashed, she doesn't have the option of "flight".

You can combat this with careful, controlled desensitization to her triggers. Make sure to keep an eye on her body language and take a step back if you need to. Only move closer if she is keeping calm, and don't push her. Remember; you always want to end the session with a win. If, during these sessions she is just too freaked out, try getting her tired with some exercise beforehand.

Reward each successful step, no matter how small. I like rewarding with a game of tug. Getting the dog to play in the presence of a stressor helps get them release their stress in a productive way, reassures the dog that you are aware of and in control of the situation, and helps them relate these 'scary' things to fun times. It's also a good gauge for you to tell if the dog is too stressed out, since they won't engage in play if they are overly nervous. Of course, if your dog doesn't like tug/isn't play motivated, you can always use treats.

I'd also suggest teaching strong 'leave it' and 'look at me' commands; these go a long way in training for behavior.

Finally, if the problem becomes too overwhelming I suggest finding a dog behaviorist in your area. They will be able to better evaluate your situation and give you a more comprehensive plan-of-action. It might take a lot of work, but your girl should be able to get over this with some time and dedication.

Good Luck!
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Old 08-02-2018, 04:10 AM
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Thanks for your reply. I don't think it's the fear because she plays with dogs her size and larger, i mean how could she be afraid of something smaller than her? How can small puppy seem threatening to her? Also it's not fully leash reactivity. The day before yesterday, i got a stray dog spayed and before her foster came i brought her home. I put gates in the kitchen so my dogs would not get near the other dog. What she did was truly scary. I had a hard time holding the gate in place. The gate she never gets near to in other cases. I am confused and miss my old sweet dog.
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Old 08-05-2018, 05:31 PM
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I am so sorry, that sounds really intense. In that case I would call your veterinarian and see if they have any recommendations. This is not something I would have someone to handle without professional guidance. It sounds like it could quickly become dangerous.

The steps I would take are vet exam, behaviorist, then last resort the vet may prescribe something she can take to calm her down. In aggression cases it's always good to have a vet exam to make sure they are not acting out due to something medical.

It is entirely possible that a larger dog can fear a smaller one. My 100+ Labrador was terrified when I brought home a chihuahua puppy--- and hid behind my father for the whole week. It is also equally possible that she sees them as prey, or there is a piece of the puzzle we are missing. Regardless, your veterinarian should be able to point you in the right direction.

I wish you and your girl the best of luck. Please keep us updated on her progress.
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