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Need some help with escalating aggression

This is a discussion on Need some help with escalating aggression within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Oh, that's fine that we might disagree but I am basically describing a method of training a dog which is problematic after being relocated or ...

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Old 01-31-2018, 03:10 PM
  #51
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Oh, that's fine that we might disagree but I am basically describing a method of training a dog which is problematic after being relocated or just simply starting with a fresh canvas regardless of any problems. One has to start somewhere and resetting a dog in its new environment with indifference by the new human is a way to start anew and perhaps leave the past behind. The dog has some issues for whatever reason none of us shall know. I'm just describing a training reset process that's all. Whether it is needed or not is unknown by the two of us because neither of us have seen the dog in question. I'm just reading the OP and trying to help in the understanding of WHY the trainer is having him do this. I have at least twice suggested that the OP follow their trainer's instructions to a T instead of trying to sway the OP from the trainer's advice as some in here have done.

We all have our stories of how we have overcome situations with our dogs but the common answer to many posts is "Get a trainer". So, now the OP has a trainer and done exactly what many suggest, so I see no reason to tell a person who has a trainer anything other than " DO what your trainer is telling you to do"

So, the only disagreement we might have is, I am saying to follow the trainer's instruction and you are suggesting that the OP shouldn't.
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Old 01-31-2018, 03:58 PM
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I find the tethering method interesting, does it only work when you first get a new dog? My dog is a mix of anxious and bold. We've come a very long way with bonding and training and recall but his recall needs to be perfect when I'm at the stable with my horses.
He always wanders off sniffing things and does come back when I call him now but I want him to stay put. Same thing loose in a field with other dogs. He used to take off now he does stay near but doesn't come back immediately consistently when distracted.
At home he always comes back.
Alone in the fenced dog park with no distractions he comes back.
The only places i can work on it are the places he doesn't listen if that makes sense.
I fixed his reactivity with strangers by lots of praise and bacon treats in public with strangers around.
He went from barking and growling and sometimes lunging at strange men, especially with hats to now he eagerly goes to everyone in public seeking pats and butt rubs. He even gives cautious licks and puts his head on people's legs. He seems out other people and approaches them. At the dog park he first greets every new dog then has to go greet every other owner.
It reinforces itself since people pet him and scratch him and the other owners at the park will give him treats as well as their own dogs.
He only barks now if he hears sounds outside the apartment or thinks someone is threatening us in the car. Or as soon as it gets dark at the park he patrols the fence watching every new person and car and will bark but comes to me when I call him back. If someone yells or acts aggressive or violent he'll bark and get upset at that too. I don't correct or try to change any of those behaviors, I like a large protective dog in the city. He's never inappropriate anymore with his reactions.
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Old 01-31-2018, 04:20 PM
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I find the tethering method interesting, does it only work when you first get a new dog?
Not IME. I've used it while also using the NILIF method for dogs that need their boundaries reestablished, especially obnoxious adolescent dogs that developed "selective hearing".
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Old 01-31-2018, 04:27 PM
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Lol he's always had selective hearing. He's three I got him as an adolescent but no one ever told me about this method before.
His selective hearing has improved but not as much as I'd like in high distraction areas. Does the dog have to be tethered all the time or can it work just in areas like the stable where they don't listen?
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Old 01-31-2018, 06:17 PM
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Lol he's always had selective hearing. He's three I got him as an adolescent but no one ever told me about this method before.
His selective hearing has improved but not as much as I'd like in high distraction areas. Does the dog have to be tethered all the time or can it work just in areas like the stable where they don't listen?
Experiment with it and certainly use it in the areas where your dog is more challenged by distractions but I'd acclimate the dog to the process in an environment where the dog will cooperate with minimal distractions. The idea is that a typical leashed walk is predictable but tethering a dog to your belt loop and going about your normal everyday activities conditions the dog to move with you as a team but you are always leading and therefore it is significantly more unpredictable to the dog compared to a structured walk with leash in hand. The dog has to focus and key on you much more than a leashed walk.

You move and the dog moves with you, you do not yield to the dog, the dog yields to you and you migrate together as one but you are always leading. Many times people will cave in and coax the dog to follow, you just lost and the dog won. I've had a belt loop or two snapped but no big deal, my jeans have more than one. You have to move about like normal without consideration to the dog attached to you. You sit for 10 minutes, the dog will learn to settle, the phone rings and if you get up to get your phone you do as such, the dog follows, you just go about your normal life with the dog attached to you. This video is somewhat the idea but I might not use the treat bag and rewards but that is up to the individual I suppose. This dog is following, not like most dogs on a leashed walk and that is where much of the difference and benefit is gained. A dog tethered to us is much different than a leashed dog out for a walk as long as we go about our normal daily life when they are tethered to us. Believe it or not, most dogs find comfort in a suitable and adequate leader, am I allowed to say that in here ?

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Old 02-01-2018, 08:31 AM
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Chance still reacts to me if I come home in my work clothes, but doesn't seem to mind me coming home in just my regular clothes. If I try to throw a stick for him in work clothes he thinks I'm trying to hit him, if I try to play he thinks I'm attacking him, complete opposite in other clothes.

My girlfriend took him to training last night and the trainer was impressed with his progress. He sits when told to ( on leash), waits when told to and goes down when told to, the whole time he whines and growls and has trouble focusing on her instead of all the dogs and people in the room. She actually suggested another month of tethering him to us, basically he is leashed when we are with him. He also has started calming down at night, but if those darn beagles start howling next door he still has to answer.
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:54 AM
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I LOVE tethering. When we get a new dog I keep it tethered to my hip almost constantly as I go about my normal business at home. For like, several months. Of coarse it doesnt apply to training and free play time....but I've found it to be a VERY good way for my dogs to learn the routine, learn from me how to behave.....and they dont have the freedom to constantly get into stuff they shouldn't.
The other plus I've had with this, is that since I literally clip a short leash to my waist as a tether, down the road, it makes formal heeling and leash training much easier. The goal I shoot for with my dogs is being able to walk them with the leash clipped to my waist instead of always in my hand. The tethering seems to build one heck of a foundation for that among other things and has worked really really well for me.
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Old 02-01-2018, 01:29 PM
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Thumbs up Seconding *PoppyKenna*...

Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppyKenna View Post

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree here.

I see the point in having the human initiate play in a strong-willed, pushy dog. But this dog isn't strong-willed, he's fearful. Fearful of the OP in particular.

I'd personally reward any positive interactions (including initiating play) from the dog toward the people/ things he's afraid of.
It just seems risky to shut down any attempt at a happy interaction - especially the one the dog initiates... I'd rather have a dog that initiates or even insists on play, than one that's afraid of me. I've found that sometimes with fear you kind of have to handle some things in a roundabout way, and deal with the lesser issues later.


For example, Chisum used to be terribly reactive to boxes. We turned it into a game. He'd bop the scary box, he'd get a treat.
Turns out, that kind of transferred over to scary people - when he's brave enough to go near, he'll bop them with his paw and look to me for a treat. Obviously not ideal but so much better than his typical response.

So, we're working with that - working on different behaviors when meeting scary boxes (and eventually scary people). For now, he only meets strangers under very specific conditions, and they all get the warning that he'll try and bop them.
.

As above.
Like aggression, it's easier to install brakes than to put in the whole drive-train & engine; i'd much-rather have a confident dog who's aggro, even with a bite Hx, than a spook who snaps-out.
The confident dog will show warnings, & will usually have specific triggers - situations that might be risky will be predictable. A spook will just freak-out, & will often have multiple triggers or even develop new ones - plus, a deeply-frightened dog will lose their bite inhibition & deliver a much-more forceful bite.
Confident dogs generally bite judiciously - pi** them off a little, & they air-snap or snap with no pressure, & no mark left. Push their buttons, & U get a more-intense reaction, but they're not crazed by fear - they're responding.

Play as therapy:
The semi-feral, abused, neglected basket-case that came to PACC from a hoarder in N.C. was terrified of EVERYthing - & i'm not exaggerating.
At something betw 15 & 18-MO, he'd never worn a collar, been on leash, been inside a house or, as far as we knew, any building - even an open run-in stock shed... traffic sounds, human voices, human FOOTSTEPS approaching from BEHIND him, could all cause either a total freeze, where he locked up, or a sudden bolt, where he'd hit the leash-limit like a pile driver.
Luckily, he only weighed about 20#, but when he bolted, it sure didn't feel like it!

Dakota spent 10-days with me at one point early on in his B-Mod; i used DAP, i moved quietly & predictably, i didn't corner him, i used an Anxiety-Wrap, we went for endless walks when i allowed HIM to lead ME in any direction, & at his own pace...
but the single biggest change-maker [aside from the Wrap, which was a miracle] was my playing hide-&-seek, around the wt-bearing wall that separated the living-rm from the pass-thru kitchenette.

The 1st time, i simply acted "sneaky", cringing & tiptoeing, glancing nervously side to side as i went away from him, & still 'creeping', disappeared around the wall's edge.
Then i waited, squatting with my back against a cupboard [so if he came 'round the corner, i'd be at his level, not standing]... a minute, two, 3... no sound, no dog face peeking cautiously.
I stood very quietly, went to the SAME side where i'd vanished, & peeked around the wall in slow-mo --- & as soon as i saw him, I RAN back behind the wall, into the kitchen, with a look of alarm on my face. // This time, it took only 30-secs for him to gather his nerve & tentatively step onto the lino, then peer around the corner.
Again, I RAN in a seeming panic, with a smothered "eek!" for sound-effect, & now he toddled after me. [U could hardly call it 'chasing', it wasn't a trot, but a moderately-quick walk.] As soon as he cleared the sofa's edge & i could see him, "eek!...", & into the kitchen. // Now, he trotted, purposefully, & his tail - for the 1st time ever! - was not clamped to his belly. It wasn't out behind his butt, but it wasn't seemingly glued to his abdomen, either. U could see daylight.

For the next 2 days, i enticed him to chase me - often in slow-motion, but he moved with increasing confidence, if not speed.
By day 3, after 8 or 10 brief chase-sessions, always with me as the 'victim' while he played the 'monster', he INITIATED a game... by peeking from the kitchen, & RUNNING AWAY! - I was seated in the living-rm reading, his small foxy face slowly peeked out from the kitchen, & as soon as my eyes met his gaze, he spun & ran - into the kitchen, stopped dead, & waited for me.


Very few dog-moments in my life quite match that one for sheer joy - he had literally turned a corner.
We made rapid progress indoors from then on; the outside world was still very scary, but i finally had hope that he might become an adoptable dog, instead of a pet-project for life. I was thrilled.

To this day, Dakota is the worst of the worst IM-personal-E; i've never seen another dog who was so frightened that U could pose him like a jointed doll - lift a leg, & he'd STAND on the other 3, looking increasingly terrified, until his legs shook with strain & he had to put that foot down, or fall over.
Then he'd put it down & stand there, all FOUR feet in precisely the same place as he'd originally stood, like a little statue - only his eyes moved, looking at U with a sort of sick fascination, as if U were about to kill him where he stood.


I have wonderful memories of Dakota's recovery, but frankly, i hope i never see another dog so damaged in my life. // He sucked-up more time & resources than any single dog, ever.
I worked with him pro-bono, & had to buy 11 Anxiety-Wraps in assorted sizes to get the wholesale price, among other things. He taught me a lot, but the lessons were hardly 'cheap'. I wouldn't have wanted to miss Cody, tho - even with the bills, which were a big dent in my earnings.
He taught me just how resilient dogs could be, even after Godawful puphoods & young-adulthoods.

- terry

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Old 02-01-2018, 01:51 PM
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Here is a picture of him when we first got him and he discovered how comfy couches are, we don't allow him on it anymore ( but I think he sneaks on it during the day). You can see how alert he is, that him pretty much all the time. I'm glad progress is being made though.
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Old 02-01-2018, 09:20 PM
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Heís very cute.

Iím going to just bow out now. Iíll leave by saying that based on my experience with fearful dogs, this is not the route Iíd personally take. Especially a dog that has been so afraid he has bitten or defecated on himself.

Iím a big believer in in-person help, but I think we can all agree not all trainers are created equal. Iíve met and worked with several, both with my reactive dog and with my non reactive one, and there are some out there (even those that claim to be positive) that are just bad. Sometimes you need to research for yourself, get opinions, and go with your gut. Thatís why the forum is here, isnít it? To give people access to othersí experiences and opinions?

OP, I wish you the best of luck with your handsome pup. Hopefully you make great strides.
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