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S.O.S. How can I help my dog? She鈥檚 gotten so aggressive 馃槗 she bit a friend on the nose, she tries to fight every dog she sees, she鈥檚 so mean to anyone who walks in my door, she can鈥檛 be crated or she will dig/bite/claw her way out to the point where she can hurt herself, she can鈥檛 be left alone in the whole place or she鈥檒l poop and pee on the couches, I can鈥檛 keep her in a room while I鈥檓 gone or she鈥檒l dig at the door and carpet, I use pee pads, I cover my furniture in plastic when I leave, I give her calming treats if she has to be alone, my carpets destroyed, I鈥檓 missing half a door and door frame....guys I rent!!! But I鈥檓 trying so hard to accommodate her. She was a rescue I鈥檝e had her for 3 years she鈥檚 my emotional support animal and I鈥檇 be lost without her...I don鈥檛 know what to do! S.O.S.

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My goodness, it doesn't sound like she is giving you much support.

Has she had a thorough vet check to make sure this is a behavioural problem and not a medical one?

With such a complex range of problems, I wonder if you might need professional help. There are a lot of things to tackle here.

For the aggression can you describe exactly what the circumstances were when she bit your friend? And did she break the skin, draw blood?

For aggression to dogs, you should find it helps to keep well away from other dogs. She sounds anxious, so she has to put on a big display of aggression to scare off the scary dogs. And it generally works for dogs, the scary dog usually does retreat so it becomes a reinforced behaviour.

She will have an invisible radius of space around her where she feels secure - it's called flight distance; anything closer will trigger the fight or flight stress response which you may have heard of. Find out what that is and keep her far enough away from other dogs that she is aware but relaxed. Reward her generously for being calm, you are trying to develop a Positive Conditioned Emotional Response. Google +CER for more information, and this link explains it more.

Gradually, over weeks and months, not days, work on reducing the distance. This may mean you have to be selective where you walk - choose places with good visibility so you can give other dogs a wide berth, or where you can turn and walk away easily. But - be aware that if your dog has had a stressful episode the stress hormone can stay in the body for some time (days) so a distance she was comfortable with the day before might be too close that day. So the safe distance can change, watch her body language.

Trainers describe behaviour like this with reference to the three Ds. Distance, as above but also be aware of Duration (your dog might be tolerant for 10 seconds, but not 15) and Distraction - how distracting the stimulus is; a calm dog might not trigger any reaction at a given distance but a bouncy one might.

Alongside that you could train a 'watch me'. As your dog looks at you, mark and reward the behaviour. Ask for longer periods of watching. Then if a dog approaches, after you have worked on the distance issue, you can get your dog to focus on you and not the other dog. BUT - some dogs find this scary as they cannot see the thing they are anxious about so you need to judge your dog.

For destroying your house, and toileting, that sounds like it might be very extreme separation anxiety. Have a look at this thread and see if that sounds possible.


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Have this been going on for 3 years? The dog is definitely distressed and insecure. It really sounds like you need professional help from a good trainer. Not a trainer that uses alpha-domination methods tho.

Her aggressiveness most likely is based in fear and insecurity. And her destructive behavior and issues with toileting is most likely extreme separation anxiety and/or under stimulation.

With a dog like this you have to make a lot of adaptions to deal with this. For example not having visitors until you鈥檝e dealt with the problem and not leave her alone until she鈥檚 able to handle it. And in addition look over her need for exercise and activity.

How and when is she showing this aggressive behaviors? How have you worked on her being alone prior to this? How much exercise and activity does she get as for now? What breed/mix is she?
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