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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I need some advice about what to do, I will likely call the vet tomorrow and get her opinion.

Around 2 months ago, we rescued a 2-3 year old lab/pit bull mix. He has had some anxiety and behavioral issues but overall has always seemed like a sweet dog. Typically when we walk by a dog who is inside of a fence he will sort of wimper like he is very nervous. We have another 5 year old lab and he interacts well with him. I had never seen him show any type of aggression towards a human or animal.

Earlier today, I was walking both of my dogs and a loose dog approached us. My new rescue started to get very aggressive which caused this loose dog to sort of back off. My dog overpowered me and I lost control of the leash, he ran right up to the loose dog and immediately attacked it, grabbing it by the ears pretty much stereotypical of a pit bull attack. He would not let go and I essentially had to beat him off this other dog. The loose dog ran off but I'm sure he did some considerable damage.

I just don't know what to do next. Is it worth it trying to seek behavioral therapy on an adult dog who we now know is aggressive or is this a classic case of a dog which must be euthanized? The attack was completely unprovoked.

Thanks for your advice.
 

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I would absolutely recommend a trainer or behaviorist, as this is 100% manageable. The biggest issue is that you were unable to hold him, otherwise it might not have even happened. The dog should learn a very solid "leave it" command, and you must be able to hold onto him. If you can't hold onto him and he got away from you, he could do the same thing to another animal or person, or get hit by a car or endanger himself. If you cannot keep hold of him, it's not safe to walk him just yet. The great thing about a trainer is that they can introduce you and your dog into situations just like this, but controlled so that no one gets hurt, but everyone is better prepared. Good luck!
 

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Keep in mind that dog aggression and human aggression are two totally different things. So even if your dog were dog aggressive, he could still be a happy member of your family, you'd just have to forgo things like dog parks and being in close proximity to other, strange dogs. It's not the end of the world.

That said, you won't know what your dog is capable of until you try some behavioral modification yourself. It could very well be that he's just fearful and reactive, and was trying to be proactive with the other dog -- sort of a, "I'll attack him before he can attack me!" line of thinking. Honestly, fear is a very powerful emotion and it can, IMO, be harder to overcome fear as opposed to if your dog just really hated other dogs, but it's not a lost cause and it's certainly worth a try. There are plenty of methods out there to get started!

I'd say your first step should be to get a behavior evaluation from a trainer/behaviorist. Just compile a list of local trainers and check their methods out. You want someone who is a positive trainer - so any mention of e-collars, choke chains, prongs, etc. is a huge red flag - get out of there. Most positive trainers will probably talk to you about counter conditioning, desensitization, and games like look at that (LAT) or protocol like behavioral adjustment training (BAT). These are good things, so look for those especially.

It will also help to build your dog's confidence via obedience training, but a trainer can advise you on that as well.

Good luck :)
 

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It may be worth consulting a behaviorist. Your should also consider the fact that the dog is a "pit bull mix". So I am assuming by that you mean APBT mix and if that is the case you do understand the history of the breed? A dog that was bred for dog on dog combat and even though many are watered down versions nowadays, dog aggressiveness can still present itself in some dogs. It it NOT considered a fault and the dog should not be euthanized for it but proper management is key. Do not set the dog up for failure. I would definitely try the behaviorist though to see what degree the dog is DA and what you can do to help the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice everyone, I will seek out a behaviorist. I lost control because I was trying to control two dogs, I will probably walk them separately until I can get the new dog under control.
 
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