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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there all, I'm wondering if one of you can help me please with this problem.

About two weeks ago was the first time my dog first saw the other dog and I had her on the lead and the other dog came up to her and my dog showed no signs of aggression and they were fine, following on from that, three days ago I saw the same dog again when crossing the field and was speaking to the guy and we said we would give it a go letting my dog off with his and they were fine and just played quite happily.

I saw the same guy tonight so assumed that the two of them would be fine together so I kept her on until I was close to the guy and I let her off and they began to play and then all of a sudden she just started to attack the other dog, I managed to get her off straight away and there was no marks on either of them but I just can't put a finger on it why this happened.

Can anybody tell me the likeliness of why my behaved like this?

Now I would like to say that my family has owned the Rottweiler from her being a puppy but I never bothered with it when it was young and I know that my father who used to take her out never bothered to socialise her at all and in all likelihood I'm sure this is why she has turned out the way she has, do you think my assumption is correct?

There has been a few incidents in the past where it has either been she has taken a dislike to a dog straight away and has started to bark and growl and also where she was once okay with the dog and then (why?) decided to attack the dog.

Is the poor socialising more than likely the reason for this aggression?

As you can imagine, I feel very embarrassed for the way her behaviour is and I would just love it if she would play friendly with other dogs at all times and not decided to suddenly go off on one and attack other dogs - I understand dogs are like humans and not all dogs will get on but I mean where she will welcome new dogs approaching her or if she is off the lead she won't just go and try and attack other dogs.

I keep her on the lead at all times but try my best to socialise her by letting her go up to other dogs but for some reason she appears to be nervous around some dogs and gets really defensive and has barked and even tried to attack some dogs, why is she doing this and how can I prevent this and stop it completely?

Cheers, Peter.
 

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A few questions:
At each meeting how were the dogs acting? Were they holding their heads high? backs very straight? Was the tail of the other dog erect?

A dog that is not well socialized doesn't always know how to respond in social situations. Assuming that the other dog is well socialized it may be that she misread some body language on his part. OR it could be that she did not convey to him that she wasn't ready to interact because she has not learned appropriate body language.

I would say at this point, if the fellow is willing you need to work on some reaction/proximity training with her. I say with this dog, because now they have history and being the super smart canines rottweilers are she will build on that.

It is now your responsibility to teach her a differently

Note: When I say proximity I mean the distance it takes for her to become uneasy.
 

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Your dog may be in need of a bit of training for reactivity and such, but if she left no wounds she did not attack the other dog. A dog fight is serious and dangerous and leaves wounds. Without a mark on the other dog to show for it, it was all noise and bluff, which means her bite inhibition is in full working order! If she wanted to bite she would have, and she chose not to!

Which means possibly she wasn't in the mood to play, or she's not feeling well in some fashion (if she keeps acting strangely, bring her to the vet!), or the other dog did something she really didn't like. It might even be that because it was nigthtime, she didn't see all the 'play' signals the other dog was giving off and decided she had to defend herself in a noisily corrective fashion. Her behavior isn't attack but correction. 'Why' is a very good question, and one to be carefully investigated.

I would recommend cautiously reintroducing them during the daytime. Treat for good behavior, separate if you see any stiffness in their body language, and don't do any more nighttime meet-ups.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A few questions:
At each meeting how were the dogs acting? Were they holding their heads high? backs very straight? Was the tail of the other dog erect?
At first they both looked okay and looked as if they just wanted to play with each other. I didn't really pay any attention to the tail but when I first let her off the lead they both were just playing, it was not just an attack straight away.

A dog that is not well socialized doesn't always know how to respond in social situations. Assuming that the other dog is well socialized it may be that she misread some body language on his part. OR it could be that she did not convey to him that she wasn't ready to interact because she has not learned appropriate body language.
The other dog is also young maybe around 2 and is socialised with other dogs as I've seen it play with others.

I admit, the Rottweiler is not socialised and I'm very apprehensive every time she is off the lead which is why I generally only let her off in an enclosed area where no other dogs are.

When she is on the lead, most of the time despite not being socialised she does just leave other dogs alone but there has been a few incidents where she has appeared fearful and has responded with aggression of barking and growling towards some dogs.

I would say at this point, if the fellow is willing you need to work on some reaction/proximity training with her. I say with this dog, because now they have history and being the super smart canines rottweilers are she will build on that.
We both agreed not to let them off the lead with each other as although nothing happened this time, the situation could be different next time (further away from them, actual straight out attack, etc).

It is now your responsibility to teach her a differently
I agree, I hate this sort of behaviour.

Do you put this down to the fact my father never socialised her as a puppy? He used to take her out when nobody else was around and never let her mix with other dogs, now circumstances are different I'm trying to socialise her because I often walk through the park and bump into other dogs and her language portrays a dog that looks very fearful and nervous many times, especially when there is quite a few dogs around.

I know "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" and there is no 'cure' of dog aggression because it boils down to a few factors but is what I have here actually a form of aggression caused by lack of socialisation?

Having said that, there is a couple of dogs she is fine with and can play no problem with off the lead.

Your dog may be in need of a bit of training for reactivity and such, but if she left no wounds she did not attack the other dog. A dog fight is serious and dangerous and leaves wounds. Without a mark on the other dog to show for it, it was all noise and bluff, which means her bite inhibition is in full working order! If she wanted to bite she would have, and she chose not to!
There was no wounds or anything on either dogs, I was right beside it when it happened but when it first happened I was speaking to the guy so I couldn't see what triggered it off.

Which means possibly she wasn't in the mood to play, or she's not feeling well in some fashion (if she keeps acting strangely, bring her to the vet!), or the other dog did something she really didn't like. It might even be that because it was nigthtime, she didn't see all the 'play' signals the other dog was giving off and decided she had to defend herself in a noisily corrective fashion. Her behavior isn't attack but correction. 'Why' is a very good question, and one to be carefully investigated.
She was definitely in the mood to play, when they both caught eye off each other her stump was wiggling and the tail of the others was and they appeared to be fine with each other initially. Could it be the dog may have accidentally nipped her when playing?

The thing is, this is not a singular incident, there has been a couple of times in the past where she has been playing fine with a dog and then for some reason she turns on it, I find this appalling and want to prevent it but is it simply due to poor socialisation that is the trigger of this dog?

Sometimes when I walk past other dogs and there is a few of them I catch her up on the defensive straight away and there has been times when she has barked at other dogs when passing.

I would recommend cautiously reintroducing them during the daytime. Treat for good behavior, separate if you see any stiffness in their body language, and don't do any more nighttime meet-ups.
As I said earlier up, we won't be letting them off the lead with each other again, respectively.

I just want all of this to stop and be able to trust her with other dogs but she seems to have a mixture of defense, fear and general uneasiness among new dogs.

I feel actually guilty on my behalf for not spending time with her as a puppy and socialising her but I was working away for months on end and I assumed my father would have socialised her but this has not been the case and she lives with me so I'm the one who walks her now and has to put up with this behaviour from her, it really annoys me because I just want her to relax around other dogs and play with them but she always seems to be on the defensive and her behaviour is not acceptable to me.
 

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Socially mature dogs often don't have any interest in interacting with other dogs. Some of this is based on early socialization or the lack of, some is genetic and most is a combination of the two.

Saying that her behavior is not acceptable is similar to saying that a parent or guardian will not accept that their child is shy or fearful. These are emotions. We don't dictate what emotions a dog feels. We can change how a dog feels about things he or she fears. That does not mean that you will change a dog into a social butterfly willing to play with all strange dogs. Keep your expectations reasonable.

Take a look at CAREforreactivedogs.com
 

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The thing is, this is not a singular incident, there has been a couple of times in the past where she has been playing fine with a dog and then for some reason she turns on it, I find this appalling and want to prevent it but is it simply due to poor socialization that is the trigger of this dog?

Sometimes when I walk past other dogs and there is a few of them I catch her up on the defensive straight away and there has been times when she has barked at other dogs when passing.


The thing is this is not uncommon. Although they may love to take walks, being on lead makes them vulnerable. Many dogs do not particularly care for being approached by another dog while leashed.


Honestly 99 times out of 100 what we term as aggression in dogs is fear reactivity. If you can work on lessening or even deadening that fear she will blossom into a comfortable, stable walking companion.

This guy has some good tips for these types of issues:

http://shibashake.com/dog/how-to-calm-a-fearful-reactive-dog
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The thing is this is not uncommon. Although they may love to take walks, being on lead makes them vulnerable. Many dogs do not particularly care for being approached by another dog while leashed.
When walking with her most of the time she ignores other dogs but sometimes she sees a dog and just goes off one and her hackles go up and she tries to make a lunge for it.

I can't put a finger on it why she is like this but the main problem seems to be when she's off the lead and playing or interacting with another dog or dogs. There is a few dogs she is fine with but around some dogs and new dogs she gets all defensive.

Honestly 99 times out of 100 what we term as aggression in dogs is fear reactivity. If you can work on lessening or even deadening that fear she will blossom into a comfortable, stable walking companion.

This guy has some good tips for these types of issues:

How to Calm a Fearful or Reactive Dog with Desensitization
Do you think in my case the lack of socialisation is playing the major part in her behaviour?

Practically every new dog she comes into contact with she gets on the defensive and I generally can't trust her off the lead with other dogs.

I really just want to be able to trust her off the lead and for her to interact with other dogs.

Thanks for the link.

Could have just been a simple disagreement.
I'd like to think so but it's not like this is a one off.
 

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If you don't trust her off lead with other dogs, don't let that happen. You're allowing her to practice behavior that you don't want repeated. If she's fearful and defensive, why keep putting her in situations that increase the likelihood of the behavior increasing and even getting stronger.

Why does she need to interact with other dogs? Because you want her to is not a good reason.

I don't mean to sound like a broken record or to hurt your feelings but you're setting your dog up to fail. You're also subjecting other dogs to her behavior and you may find this to be a big liability someday. Turn the tables and ask how you would feel if you had a friendly dog who was attacked by another dog because that owner wanted to have their dog interact with other dogs.

Doesn't matter why she's doing this at this point. Lack of positive interactions with other dogs during critical socialization periods might have made a difference. It's water under the bridge now.

The method suggested in the one link is not counter conditioning. It's a mash up of CC and OC. Make it clear to the dog by not mixing the two. The CARE site explains clearly how to do this properly.
 

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Dogs don't need to be friends with other dogs, so if she isn't trustworthy with other dogs, don't force it. She can lead a happy, fulfilled life without playing with other dogs.
 

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Has she been to the vet recently? How are her hips? Is she structurally sound? I'm wondering if while playing with the other dog something happened to cause her pain and she thought the other dog caused it. If her hips, another joint, or back is bad that could have been it. In the states badly bred rotties are a dime a dozen, not sure how it is in the U.K, and hip and elbow dysplasia are two of the problems commonly seen.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
If you don't trust her off lead with other dogs, don't let that happen. You're allowing her to practice behavior that you don't want repeated. If she's fearful and defensive, why keep putting her in situations that increase the likelihood of the behavior increasing and even getting stronger.
I don't allow her off the lead around other dogs because of the possibility of her attacking another dog, she was only allowed off this time because they had got on when she was on the lead and I clearly falsely assumed she was going to be okay, the guy also thought so as well.

I don't intentionally put her in these situations, there is a few dogs I know she doesn't get along with so I avoid them if I see them.

Why does she need to interact with other dogs? Because you want her to is not a good reason.
I'm not necessarily mean where she has to be off the lead and play with every single dog she sees but rather if a dog comes up to her she will not get all defensive and try and lunge for it. It's extremely embarrassing when she is on the lead and another dog is off the lead and the dog is only coming up to introduce itself and my dog tries to lunge for it.

I know that like humans not all dogs will get on but the way she is behaving at the moment is not good.

I don't mean to sound like a broken record or to hurt your feelings but you're setting your dog up to fail. You're also subjecting other dogs to her behavior and you may find this to be a big liability someday. Turn the tables and ask how you would feel if you had a friendly dog who was attacked by another dog because that owner wanted to have their dog interact with other dogs.
I'm not wanting her necessarily to interact with every dog she comes across, what I do want to achieve is that when she is on the lead she won't try and lunge for dogs she passes and if possible if she was off the lead with me on the field she wouldn't try and attack a dog if it simply comes up to introduce itself.

Doesn't matter why she's doing this at this point. Lack of positive interactions with other dogs during critical socialization periods might have made a difference. It's water under the bridge now.
Although you're right that the cause of it is under the bridge now because the damage is done, I would still like to know more than likely what is the cause of her behaviour.

The method suggested in the one link is not counter conditioning. It's a mash up of CC and OC. Make it clear to the dog by not mixing the two. The CARE site explains clearly how to do this properly.
Dogs don't need to be friends with other dogs, so if she isn't trustworthy with other dogs, don't force it. She can lead a happy, fulfilled life without playing with other dogs.
I know they don't but it's a more positive thought than the negative one where she won't interact with dogs she comes into contact with or where she wants to lunge for another dog for no apparent reason.

Has she been to the vet recently? How are her hips? Is she structurally sound? I'm wondering if while playing with the other dog something happened to cause her pain and she thought the other dog caused it. If her hips, another joint, or back is bad that could have been it. In the states badly bred rotties are a dime a dozen, not sure how it is in the U.K, and hip and elbow dysplasia are two of the problems commonly seen.
She has no health problems.
 

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Your dog needs to behave appropriately for the situation in which he finds himself. That said I agree with one of the first responses, if there were no wounds or hurt feelings it might not have been a dog fight, it could have just been a dominance play.

One of Simbas doggie playmates is a 2 year old pitbull, they're good friends but if we let them of leash to play they are jumping all over each other, snarling, gnashing their teeth and biting at each others necks, ears and ankles. If you weren't that familiar with dogs you might have thought they wanted to kill each other but they've never once left a mark on each other and their tails are always wagging.

I'm not saying that's definitely what happened in your case but keep in mind sometimes what looks like a fight is just play and the difference lies in how the dogs react to each other.
 

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My female rottie has no interest in other dogs when at the park shes just like, 'im going to poop here, here and here, maybe have some water, oh new person! I like people!" lol
 
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