My dog tries to defend me

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My dog tries to defend me

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Old 09-08-2017, 02:18 PM
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My dog tries to defend me

My dog is a 6 years old labrador cross. She was rescued from the street when she was 3 months. She's lived with my boyfriend and I since then.

She often barks and lunges at people and dogs who approach me. She doesn't defend my boyfriend in the same way though & sometimes seems to think even he is threat to me. She tries to sit inbetween us and lunges at him if he moves too quickly.

She will also defend food and her sleeping place against our other dog, but she always seems most defensive when I'm there. She has bitten our other dog in arguements over food or the bed, but not seriously. She always seems guilty and frightened after being aggressive. She's never bitten a person, but I'm worried she might. Generally she is timid. When she's out for a walk and she sees a dog from a distance her first reaction is to try to run home.

Should I try and be more dominant around her so she doesn't feel like she has to defend me?
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Old 09-08-2017, 03:58 PM
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Arrow fearful dogs R more-likely to bite than confident "aggro" dogs

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Originally Posted by AnnaNC View Post

My ...6-YO Lab-cross... was rescued from the street [@] 3-MO. She's lived with my boyfriend & I [ever] since.

She often barks & lunges at people / dogs who approach me. She doesn't defend my BF in the same way... sometimes, she seems to think even he is a threat to me. She tries to sit between us, & lunges at him if he moves too quickly.
She also defends food & her [bed from] our other dog, but she always seems most-defensive when I'm there.
She's bitten our other dog in fights over food or the bed, but not seriously. She always seems guilty & frightened after being aggressive.

She's never bitten a person, but I'm worried she might. Generally she's timid. While out for a walk, if she sees a distant dog, her first reaction is to try to run home.
Should I try to be more dominant around her so that she doesn't feel she needs to defend me?

"Should I try to be more dominant?"... In a word? - No.
"Trying to be more dominant" isn't a cure for anything; all this dumbinance, in fact, makes dogs more anxious. Build her trust in U, improve her comfort level around strangers; teach her that she's safe, & that U'll protect her; she can relax, & leave the driving to U.

Working to reduce her anxiety & fears will ease her worries & lessen the frequency of defensive-aggro, but preventing or avoiding the circs that make her feel defensive is best - then she doesn't PRACTICE the behavior. The more often she's done it, the more fluent & habitual her defensive reaction becomes.

What ppl label "guilty" behavior is actually appeasement - meant to reduce or defuse aggro from someone else; "I'm not a threat", or "I'm sorry", are the messages of appeasement; it tries to shut-off aggression or anger.
"I'm sorry" DOESN'T MEAN the dog feels guilty, or 'sorry' for WHAT s/he supposedly did; they apologize FOR EXISTING in the face of someone's anger - it has zip to do with regret for their own actions, & everything to do with what they perceive as someone's anger or aggro, ===> directed at them.

1st thing i'd do? - separate the dogs for meals, so she doesn't feel her food could be / might be taken.
Individual shipping-crates would be my preference; no dog can break into an airline-kennel.

2nd? - I'd pre-condition her to a box-muzzle, so no-one is bitten if Mgmt fails.
here's a video that shows how it's done:

3rd? - I'd start counter-conditioning, to change her opinion about strangers [humans & dogs both].
'Open Bar / Closed Bar' is an especially-good, simple process; very user-friendly & forgiving.

- terry

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Old 09-09-2017, 04:17 AM
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Thanks very much. I'll definitely do what you suggest.

Do you think it's best to start the Open Bar / Closed bar training in the yard first, rather than taking her outside, where she's always anxious?

Perhaps if I can stop her barking at passers-by it will be a good start.
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Old 09-09-2017, 08:51 AM
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Thumbs up Sure! - the yard is great.

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Originally Posted by AnnaNC View Post

...
Do you think it's best to start the Open Bar / Closed bar training in the yard first,
rather than taking her outside, where she's always anxious?

Perhaps if I can stop her barking at passers-by it will be a good start.
Yes!

In the yard at home is *perfect* - just be sure U have her on a waist-leash so U're hands-free, as YOU will be the 'post' to limit her reach, & keep her at a distance that's under-threshold.

IF SHE'S BARKING, feed anyway! - even if she cannot or will not *eat* it, OFFER it, b/c simply sniffing it will release endorphins, & help to calm her.
So she's barking - someone arrived unexpectedly; U back up with her attached to U, offering a tidbit under her nose... keep feeding as U back-up, stop moving when she stops barking, & feed feed feed in a steady stream; as fast AS SHE SWALLOWS, the next pea-sized bit is under her nose.

remember it's not =her actions= that determine "feed / no food" - it's the PRESENCE or ABSENCE of the trigger.
If the trigger can be seen or heard, feed! - When the trigger is out of sight / out of the DOG's hearing, no more food.

- terry

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Old 09-10-2017, 12:45 AM
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Great! Thanks so much.

I had a good chance to try it out last night and it worked amazingly well even for a first attempt.

A group of people came to the house and were talking to my boyfriend in the yard. She'd normally be going nuts at the window, but she hardly barked at all.

I'll let you know how it goes.
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