Dog aggressive towards my girlfriend

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Dog aggressive towards my girlfriend

This is a discussion on Dog aggressive towards my girlfriend within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi, My girlfriend and I live together and have a 6,5 months old labrador pointer mix. In general he is a good boy although he ...

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Old 03-22-2019, 10:27 AM
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Dog aggressive towards my girlfriend

Hi,
My girlfriend and I live together and have a 6,5 months old labrador pointer mix.
In general he is a good boy although he is really difficult to handle with other dogs because he gets so excited.

Anyways, with me he is normally obedient and not very aggressive. There were some times when he was aggressive to me as well but as I have put him in his place when that happens (gently, but with force, never hurting him) he has stopped doing it.
This is not as easy for my girlfriend as he now weighs almost 60 pounds and is hard for her to handle.
This is mostly a problem when she is alone with him because I think it is because I am not around and he might have more respect for me. I do not know though, those are my guesses.

Do you have any suggestions how my girlfriend could handle the dog when he starts being aggressive to her, biting her and starts barking at her?
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Old 03-22-2019, 06:21 PM
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Be careful using force to correct a dog...may have bad consequences later

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrjor View Post
.
There were some times when he was aggressive to me as well but as I have put him in his place when that happens (gently, but with force, never hurting him) he has stopped doing it.
This is not as easy for my girlfriend as he now weighs almost 60 pounds and is hard for her to handle.
This is mostly a problem when she is alone with him because I think it is because I am not around and he might have more respect for me.
Hi. Thank you for wanting to help your dog.

I must say after reading your post, I am a bit concerned. Esp since you have a big strong 60lb dog (that is probably not even reached full size) and he is biting. But mostly I am concerned bc you say that you have "put him in his place, but with force" when he was acting aggressively to you. Could you elaborate on this for us so we can help you more and offer you better solutions?

When you say your dog is acting aggressively and biting you (in the past) and now your girlfriend, is he possibly play biting or nipping for attention or barking for attention? Or is it aggression based with growling, warnings, skin breaking bites, negative body language, etc?

Your dog is still very much a puppy and many people think their pups are being aggressive but really it is "normal" puppy behavior that just needs to be worked with using gentle humane compassionate training.

What kind of "force" were you using...and for what types of behaviors were you using this type of correction for?

I doubt this has anything to do with respect or lack of it for your girlfriend. In my opinion, either he is very uncomfortable with her (fearful, stressed, anxious) hence the aggressive behavior.... or quite the opposite---maybe he is comfortable with her and wants to engage her in puppy play. Or is seeking attention/stimulation of any kind.

Who does the training with him? Do you both participate in his training? And are you both very consistent in your training, esp since he is still a puppy and needs lots and lots of guidance to learn beautiful and safe, gentle manners?

I have a strong 54 lb puppy and for me, it is imperative that my Puma pup learns to have excellent, safe, gentle manners. I train her as a pup for the behavior I want her to have as an adult dog to ensure life long success.

All this can be worked on with positive reinforcement methods to teach what behaviors are desirable and wanted.

I do not recommend using any type of force since usually this method tends to suppress a dog's feelings of insecurity, fear, confusion, etc and can later really appear in very negative and dangerous behaviors.

Basically the dog looks like he is very obedient, like you say, but underlying emotions could show he is worried to show you his true feelings of fear or discomfort or anxiety for fear of being punished or dealt with force.


If you can elaborate, I (and others here) can certainly try to help you with suggestions to make your dog's relationship with your girlfriend much better.

Hope to hear from you with more details

Last edited by AthenaLove; 03-22-2019 at 06:24 PM.
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Old 03-22-2019, 06:32 PM
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Need more details to see what type of aggression

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrjor View Post
Hi,
My girlfriend and I live together and have a 6,5 months old labrador pointer mix.

Do you have any suggestions how my girlfriend could handle the dog when he starts being aggressive to her, biting her and starts barking at her?

Hi again,

We need to get more info from you about this aggressive behavior before we can offer you solutions or suggestions. Depends on if this is puppy play or if this is truly aggressive behavior. Or resource guarding, etc.

I just wrote you a more detailed post about this a moment ago asking for more details and info from you so we can offer you appropriate advice.

Since we don't have more details yet and we can't see your dog's interaction with your girlfriend in person...
I just wanted to be sure no one gives you advice that will make your situation worse or dangerous for your girlfriend and others...and your dog!

Waiting for more details so we can help you guys
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Old 03-23-2019, 04:29 AM
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I politely disagree that the op needs to give more details than they are comfortable with. My dog respects me and listens to me and no one else. He will let people walk him and handle him, he's not aggressive or dangerous but he does what he wants.
We passed our AKC Canine Good Citizen test recently and are planning on trying for further levels.
I trained him completely myself, no trainers or classes other than a yearly behaviorist consult for his separation anxiety which was dangerous at first.
I know people here hate the word dominant, but watching him with people and other dogs, that's him. He can be pushy and a bully with big dogs. Little dogs he's gentle.

With my cats, they at first needed to "put him in his place". Repeatedly. With hisses, growls, claws, bites and teaching him that he couldn't go from one room to another without their permission. When one cat turned into a bully I intervened. They're bonded best buddies now trying to save their other cat brother who's suddenly dying of cancer.
He had never had a limit set on him in his life when I got him. I know when a dog is anxious or scared. We worked on that and he's bold and confident now. I also know when he says leave a message, see ya! And bolts and knocks people down or drags me. Or swallows a sharp rock or deadly candy with xylitol when I say leave it or drop it. Or jumps in to a dog fight when he knows I tell him to leave it and he does twenty nine out of thirty times and ignores me that last time after standing there for thirty seconds thinking about it. Then deliberately decides to go do what he knows not to do. Because it's dangerous.

Those aren't fear or anxiety moments. Those aren't lack of training
Some dogs can have great amazing training and be bored or feel feisty and have moments when they occasionally need a reminder of manners and to be put in their place. They earn their keep and they earn their place in the family.

My dog does have to earn being spoiled rotten and hogging the whole bed and my pillows and down comforter every night. Guess what, he actually has to listen to me after three years together. He knows the deal.

There's no abuse. I always have his high value treats with me. We spend one to two hours a day in the dog park. I stalk the owners of his favorite buddies trying to arrange play dates with his favorite dogs.

Being put in his place doesn't convey abuse to me so jumping all over the op seems a little excessive, especially when they clearly stated they in no way harmed their dog. Lol it's a positive forum so why be aggressive with someone asking for feedback?
There's more than one way to train a dog.
I'm glad your ways work so well with your dogs but I don't have the luxury of years when I'm dealing with dogs I watch for days or weeks so I manage what I can.

For me it's really about perfect timing on interventions. I walked the shih tzu who peed all over my house. When he peed outside i made a huge fuss over him with praise until his tail was wagging. Then I'd leave him loose inside. If he didn't pee inside straight to the crate and I'd say bad and rush straight to the crate. There he'd stay to the next walk. It definitely helped.

I have a dog now for a few days who barks and squeals like crazy. Cleared out a crowded dog park because all the dogs and people couldn't handle the noise. I said quiet no barking consistently and praised her for quiet calm behavior.
And played fetch non-stop and my dog only played with her when she was quiet. As soon as she barked he ran away. Even he couldn't take it. Spent over two hours trying to tire her out. The next day barely any barking.
Setting clear firm limits with dogs that need it is a good thing so they learn to respect people and dogs and others. Nothing abusive or punitive about it.
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Old 03-23-2019, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadowmom View Post
I politely disagree that the op needs to give more details than they are comfortable with. My dog respects me and listens to me and no one else.

Being put in his place doesn't convey abuse to me so jumping all over the op seems a little excessive, especially when they clearly stated they in no way harmed their dog. Lol it's a positive forum so why be aggressive with someone asking for feedback?

Setting clear firm limits with dogs that need it is a good thing so they learn to respect people and dogs and others. Nothing abusive or punitive about it.
Oh goodness, this is why sometimes writing online to offer help can be difficult at times. In no way was I trying to be aggressive or negative or hurtful to the OP. Not at all, never, ever my intention. Gosh and to think I spent a lot of time rewriting this post so as to not come across offensive or harsh. I guess it depends on perspective. If anyone took this post this way, I apologize bc it was only meant to help.

Anyway, that being said, I wasn't demanding more info than the OP is wanting to give, or wanting to pry, but I do really think that in this case, we do need more details if we want to really him him/her with his dog. Many times I find people on this forum just write a brief synopsis of the problem in the first post because they feel they may be writing too long a post. I just read someone saying this the other day here, and I actually thanked her for giving us details and writing more so we really understand her problem and thus could help her and her dog.

I feel the solutions differ depending on what the cause of the aggressive behavior is. Like, if it is normal puppy nipping and play/attention seeking vs actual aggression. The solutions or training would differ if it was normal puppy behavior rather than fear aggression or RG or any other type of aggression.

For me, I always want to get to the root of the problem if possible. So that is why I like to ask lots of questions when talking to owners of dogs with any kind of issues. Especially if it is unclear to me what the owner is describing --and we cannot see the dog's behavior in person, since we are only online.

Any heck ya, I totally agree with you, Shadowmom about setting limits with dogs! We have lots of rules and patterns and routines and a huge emphasis on teaching manners at my house with my dogs.

When my Puma pup resists and tries something that she knows is not quite acceptable (minor offenses only) and then whines a bit about it when we tell her to go lay down, we tell her to "Get a lawyer!"

I don't know if the OP is a male or female, but I am going to use the male pronouns here to make it easier to write if that is ok.

So...I wasn't suggesting the OP was abusive to his dog, I am sure he is not. But when he mentioned using force I wondered if he was possibly pinning the dog down in some way. Like certain famous TV trainers have recommended in the past. Hence my concern. Even if this is not physically harming the dog it can be emotionally damaging and end up backfiring.

If the OP is not pinning the dog down, then I am not sure what type of gentle force he was using with his dog. Again that is why I was trying to ask questions to clarify.

For anyone who actually uses the pinning down method as corrections...

Reminds me of this unhappy story...

My friend had a dog and they made it a regular practice of "correcting" by pinning the dog down for certain behaviors. Well, one unfortunate day the roommate came home and the dog instantly peed in the hallway as the guy entered-(probably bc it learned to fear him)
The guy then yelled at the big dog for peeing in the hallway and then pinned the dog down as per usual. Well, guess what happened?? Yup, the dog had enough of this crazy treatment and bit the guy in the face! He couldn't go to the doctor bc they knew that he would have to report the dog and then the dog would tend up having a "dangerous dog" record file with our county. Sigh.

I hope this clarifies my intent on this post.
Again, I hope no one was offended and if so, sorry for the confusion--I was only trying to genuinely offer help for the dog and the owners.

Last edited by AthenaLove; 03-23-2019 at 09:12 PM.
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