Dog Agressive

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Dog Agressive

This is a discussion on Dog Agressive within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello, I have a dog that is dog aggressive but it’s not entirely his fault. He is a rescue that was found abandoned and was ...

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Old 03-21-2019, 09:38 PM
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Dog Agressive

Hello, I have a dog that is dog aggressive but it’s not entirely his fault. He is a rescue that was found abandoned and was then attacked and almost killed by 2 older dogs when he was only a few months old so things didn’t start off too great for him. He just recently turned 3 and made a complete recovery and is the sweetest...when it comes to people.

He is super friendly when it comes to people but doesn’t like other dogs at all. I haven’t seen a person he doesn’t like yet actually. My neighbors around me have small dogs are extremely aggressive and have bitten several different people, that all like to run at him. One house has 4 that do it almost all at once (even though there’s isn’t supposed to be free roaming dogs in my neighborhood but that’s another problem). Others had a German Shepard that was put down for biting a little kid, a husky that came after my dog on my porch (luckily the owner got his dog in time). There’s others but I won’t lost them for the sake of time. Also I don’t live in a rough neighborhood as this post makes it sound lol, it’s actually nice here.

I’m not trying to push the blame on anyone because I should have tried to do something sooner, but in my dogs defense, the majority of the dogs he’s been around have all been none to kind so hes definitely just defending himself but I have seen others walking their dogs on a leash and my dog gets angry towards their dogs from my yard (Barking, growling, hair standing up, that sort of thing).

So my question is: Is it too late for him to get along with other dogs? I would love to be able for him to be around other dogs, but I just wonder if that could even be done at this point. Even if he couldn’t BE around other dogs, is there any way to,get him to atleast not feel threatened by every dog he sees?

Sorry for the long post but I just wanted to explain the situation as best I could.

Last edited by Divine Providence; 03-21-2019 at 09:41 PM. Reason: Updated question
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Old 03-22-2019, 07:29 PM
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Counterconditioning will change your dog's mindset about seeing dogs

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Originally Posted by Divine Providence View Post
I have seen others walking their dogs on a leash and my dog gets angry towards their dogs from my yard (Barking, growling, hair standing up, that sort of thing).

So my question is: Is it too late for him to get along with other dogs? I would love to be able for him to be around other dogs, but I just wonder if that could even be done at this point.
Even if he couldn’t BE around other dogs, is there any way to,get him to atleast not feel threatened by every dog he sees?

Sorry for the long post but I just wanted to explain the situation as best I could.
Hi. First off, please do not apologize for your "long post" at all! Not long. And---the more info we have from you sharing with us, the more we can offer you and your dog help, right?

And YES! Yes, you can certainly help your dog to not feel uncomfortable around other dogs. And I really, really appreciate you thinking of your dog's comfort level and being ok with not forcing your dog to interact directly with other dogs! So many people think their life is over if their dog won't play with other dogs. Nonsense. Great if a dog wants to be social with other dogs, and if not I feel that is perfectly fine as well. My shy Gracie dog has learned to not be hyper reactive upon seeing dogs, but I do not force her to meet or play with dogs. Her comfort level is ultra important to me ---plus it keeps everyone safe.

So, I would absolutely recommend you to study up on counter conditioning (CC) your dog to seeing other dogs at a distance!

This will make a huge difference in how your dog perceives seeing other dogs. If you change his mindset to feel good about seeing other dogs (at a distance) then he will not need to use aggressive behaviors (barking etc) to drive the other dog away. He does not hate other dogs, he simply is worried, fearful, cautious, stressed by their presence---even at a huge distance, right?

So, go study up on CC, always, always, always wear a doggie treat pouch on you when you go out with him that is loaded with super high value food bites and work on changing his mindset about other dogs.

As for all the other dogs that (illegally) run loose in your neighborhood......GRRRRRRRRRRRRR. I would bark at them too!!!!! Or rather at their lame obnoxious disrespectful owners!!!!!

Off leash dogs (illegal) drive me batty, esp since my shy Gracie dog does NOT appreciate dogs bolting towards her or getting up in her face. Argggh. I feel your pain. And your dog's pain.
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Old 03-22-2019, 07:35 PM
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Try counterconditioning your dog to other dogs at a distance he can handle

Hi again. Here is a post I wrote recently in response to a similar situation. Maybe it will help you and your dog.

Here is part of the original post:

"Then a random dog fight happened pretty close to us as we were leaving the park one time and it scared him soooo much. He has totally regressed, he sees dogs now and he barks and barks and doesn’t stop. When he is like this there is no distracting him, I carry really yummy smelly treats in my pockets and he could care less if he sees a dog around."

My response:

I am guessing that like you believe, Max was indeed traumatized by the scary close up dog fight he witnessed! Seems very possible. Dogs get PTSD, just like humans. We certainly don't get over our trauma exposure very quickly right? Dog fights are scary to me, too!

The good news? Since you were already working with him on his reactivity to other dogs, I am betting you can get Max back on track with a little work and lots of patience and understanding. (Which it sounds like you have)

I like to hear that you carry yummy training treats with you when you are out with Sir Max!!! Good job!

If it were me and my dog, I would do lots and lots and lots of counterconditioning (CC) with my dog-- while seeing dogs at a DISTANCE!!!! We have done lots of this and it really, really helps with dog reactivity... and all fears.

And as you know, and have recently seen with Max, dogs don't (or cannot) eat when they are fearful or afraid or highly nervous. So If you are doing CC and your dog won't accept your treats, remember, you are too close! Give your dog distance from the other dog, even if it means hiding behind a car or bush or crossing the street so that you can work at a below threshold point.

I gauge the dog's comfortable distance by if my dogs can a) take a treat and b) do a trick or command for me while seeing another dog c)not reacting or barking

So maybe instead of walking where you may randomly run into another dog that may end up getting too close for Max to handle, perhaps set him up for success with your CC.

You could, for example, sit in the parking lot of a pet store, way away from the front door, and wait for dogs to go in and out of the store... and practice CC. Or sit outside a dog park (if enclosed) at a distance and practice. Or get in your car and park somewhere that people walk their dogs, and practice CC from inside your car. (I have done countless hours of this CC car training game of "Where's the doggie?" with much success!!!)

We have a local dog restaurant here that is fenced and lets dogs play off leash. I take my Gracie dog there and practice CC. BUT---we only do it outside the place! I sit relaxed on a rock there with her and together we watch the dogs playing and barking and running...and the whole time I talk to her about the dogs and I give her amazing treats. But we do not go inside at all. She would not be cool with that--too overwhelming for her. But great for CC!

Anyway, maybe you can be creative and find places to go with Max pup and show him with food and love and lots of CC that seeing dogs is wonderful!
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Old 03-22-2019, 07:53 PM
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You may want to check out this recent thread on our forum:

Fear of Dogs by
@Sydneybear

It is very similar to yours in many ways. She is working on counterconditioning her reactive dog to other dogs in the same manner I advised... and having success. May inspire you!

Plus @Sydneybear's pup, Max, is absolutely adorable! Check out those ears!
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Old 03-22-2019, 08:18 PM
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Use Highest Value Food treats for best results in dealing with dog reactivity

Sorry to bombard you with so much info all at once, but sometimes I get busy at work and cannot post so I figured I best do it while I have the time today!

Here is a thread I just wrote that will also really help you and your dog to be able to handle seeing other dogs.

************


When counter conditioning reactive dogs...use only HIGHEST VALUE food treats!

When working with reactive dogs and counter conditioning them to seeing other dogs... use HIGHEST VALUE food...

When working with our reactive dogs (or shy, fearful dogs) please really consider what food rewards you are using
. This can really make huge differences in the success you have with these special sensitive dogs.

So, when you are working with a reactive dog that is uncomfortable around other dogs or is merely unable to see another dog without freaking out and barking/lunging, etc.... and he/she isn't able to focus/look at you, or is refusing to listen to you, or cannot stop reacting....or is showing negative or aggressive body language AND is not at all interested in your food rewards/treats that you are offering, I always like to ask the question:

WHAT foods rewards are you using??

Are you using dry treats or biscuits or kibble or store bought treats? Most of these dry, non smelly treats simply won't work for reactive dogs upon seeing other dogs, or in fearful situations, or high distraction areas.

I use only the HIGHEST VALUE foods when training super hard situations.... like acclimating a dog to being ok around other dogs .....or helping a dog overcome their fears.

The food has to smell really good to divert their attention away from their fears or worrisome stimuli. Basically I look at at as the food has to be worth the risk in the dog's mind!!

Examples I use regularly are home cooked chicken, meats, cheese, liver, gizzards, hamburger, hotdogs, low fat deli turkey, etc. No dry food for these occasions until they can start focusing on me regularly and easily.

And I give very small pieces, so I can reward, reward, reward all good behavior choices!!!
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