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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone.

I have a 1.5 yr old Airedale named Stella.

She is lovely and sweet 99% of the time and so far all of our home training has been a great success. In general, she has a very quiet/calm demeanor but as she is still a bit of a puppy, she gets (happily) excited with visitors and play time and she LOVES hiking with other dogs and playing in the dog park. She wrestles with her besties and they get a bit rough, but it is definitely still play.

The other 1% is when she randomly FLIPS like Jekyll and Hyde from being perfectly happy and playful into raging frenzy (on another dog). In these cases, her voice/growl changes dramatically and barks, snaps at and tries pin down the other dog. I am quickly able to pull her back, leash her and calm her down, but I want to make sure I am responding properly to send her the right message... and of course I don't want it to happen again!

I don't want her to become known as a risk and I definitely don't want anyone to get hurt! I have been doing some research on obedience training and I see there is a LOT of contradictory information.

I'm wondering if any one has experience with training Airedales and can give me some insight to the best strategies for their type of psychology/personality/needs; I want to nip this in the butt as quickly and effectively as possible!

Thanks all!
 

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What's her body language like before she goes after other dogs? What is their body language like? Stiff, staring, licking lips? Do these dogs have any traits in common (eg little dogs, bigger dogs, intact dogs, other females, a certain breed, etc)? When does this happen- when play is getting rough, when she is greeting the dog for the first time? Is it only at the dog park? Are there resources like treats, toys, or even human attention involved?

If it's when the game gets rough, I've worked at dog daycares for over five years, and I've noticed a dog might overreact to a couple of things during rough play:
1) The playmate takes issue with the rough play and corrects the dog- the dog overreacts to that correction or
2) The playmate matches the dog's rough play/energy, and again, that dog overreacts, he/she might not even realize that the playmate is trying to play.

If you notice that the aggression only happens when play starts to get too rough and escalate, interrupt the dogs before it gets to that point to give them breaks. Once they calm down they can go back to playing.
 

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It's not always about obedience and training. For people that have the high energy dogs, I generally tell them to burn off some of the energy out of your dog before you go to the park. It'll be a much better experience.

Do yourself a favor, spend an hour at the park without your dog, just sit and watch the dogs interact. Find one dog that's amped up, trying to play with all the other dogs. It tends to go from dog to dog without getting that calm down period in between. That's usually the one that starts aggressively playing.

What could be happening with your dog? Maybe your terrier needs a calm down period after a play wrestle. Next time you're out with the dog, try to back her down when she starts playing hard - give her a break, let the brain come back to normal. When a dog is amped up like that - sometimes all it takes is a hard look from another dog - and it's game on. Think about it as the wrong kind of confidence :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks to both of you!

I think the too much energy thing is definitely a factor and I will try to intervene more to give her cool down periods. What is strange is that she gets a LOT of exercise in the day - often going to 2hr hikes with her friends and then home for a nap and then to the dog park in the evening. Maybe I'll walk her the long way to the park from now on to just burn off a little more.

As for WHEN she reacts... it seems different each time. There are definitely a couple dogs that she plays rough with and then do it back to her. When that gets out of hand, both owners grab the dogs for a cool down - but because they're all contributing the same and are the same size, it's not really a big problem and no one really worries.

The worry for me is the other times when it doesn't make much sense.
Twice it has been a reaction to another dog's aggression - maybe a misinterpretation of their message... on both these times the dog was the same of bigger than her and the OTHER dog initiated the challenge.

Two other times, however, the dog was much smaller and doing seemingly nothing to her! She has never been greedy or selfish with treats and is commonly fed treats at the same time as other dogs. She sits and waits patiently. The dogs beside her are doing the same, paying no attention to her. One of these times there was no food, no scuffle, no visible interaction of any kind and Stella just jumped his poor little bichon!

In ALL the cases, she knew the dogs. It wasn't their first time meeting, and they weren't rough-housing.
 

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The worry for me is the other times when it doesn't make much sense.
Twice it has been a reaction to another dog's aggression - maybe a misinterpretation of their message... on both these times the dog was the same of bigger than her and the OTHER dog initiated the challenge.

Two other times, however, the dog was much smaller and doing seemingly nothing to her! She has never been greedy or selfish with treats and is commonly fed treats at the same time as other dogs. She sits and waits patiently. The dogs beside her are doing the same, paying no attention to her. One of these times there was no food, no scuffle, no visible interaction of any kind and Stella just jumped his poor little bichon!

In ALL the cases, she knew the dogs. It wasn't their first time meeting, and they weren't rough-housing.
In the first case a dog reacting to an aggressor is pretty normal. Are those dogs normally rude, aggressive, insecure, etc? If so, maybe just don't let her play with them.

The little dogs, could it be prey drive? I know most terriers have a drive to kill smaller animals and some dogs have trouble differentiating between little dogs and say, squirrels or cats. I never go into the big dog section of the dog park with my little dog because I've seen too many big dogs react to her like she is a prey animal or a toy. It doesn't help that she likes sprinting around and making high pitched noises.

Thanks to both of you!

I think the too much energy thing is definitely a factor and I will try to intervene more to give her cool down periods. What is strange is that she gets a LOT of exercise in the day - often going to 2hr hikes with her friends and then home for a nap and then to the dog park in the evening. Maybe I'll walk her the long way to the park from now on to just burn off a little more.
Another thought- if you think she is getting a lot of exercise already, she might be tired and that could being making her less tolerant of rough play or rude behavior from other dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The little dogs, could it be prey drive? I know most terriers have a drive to kill smaller animals and some dogs have trouble differentiating between little dogs and say, squirrels or cats.
I have a cat at home that she mostly leaves alone. Sometimes she pounces at him but she doesn't do anything after that... just wants to see him run, haha!

I suppose less familiar animals and the open field is a whole different world though.
 
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