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Hi,
I have a Black Mouth Cur and she is 18 months old.

We've had her since she was about 10 weeks old and she lived with us on a family ranch that consisted of 3 homes and A LOT of dogs, horses, cows... She's always done great- never was leashed- always roamed free, but was trained at an early age and always stayed by my side when i wasn't working. The only animals she was aggressive with was the chickens and rabbits.

We moved from the country into an apartment in town. I know that already had a huge impact on her and my other dog, but she has adjusted just fine there up until recently. We've lived in the apartment for 8 months now, and she's started showing aggression (i would say in a protective way) for a few months now. She doesn't like the pizza guys anymore - (she used to not care about who was at our door) Anybody or animal that walks past our window or door she gets very aggressive and runs to the door, hair stands up, growls, barks, etc... She's even jumped into the window one time.

We take them outside to go potty, and before when she'd see people and dogs being walked she never batted an eye... now she just stops and growls, lunges at people- even kids, barks like crazy, tries to snap at people. I'm so scared she's going to break the leash one day! I have no idea what to do.

She is fine when she goes to the vet- NO aggression what so ever. She'll go to petsmart dog camp for doggie day care for the day and she loves it! No aggression to people or dogs and she plays all day! It does take her a little bit to warm up at petsmart though... she gets nervous and scared at first.
My dogs travel everywhere with us, and we took them to visit my dad who has a huge Boxer, and she had no problems at all with my parents, whom she's never met before, or their dog.
We take Hikes at the local State park, and she sees many people there and never once even tried to growl or show any aggression. (she does growl at the guy who takes our money at the booth though while she's in the car)
She stays in our hotel rooms and goes in and out seeing all kinds of strangers without a care in the world. People knock on the door to deliver food to the hotel and even then she doesn't care.

She absolutely loves to cuddle and is just so sweet. Even tries to be a lap dog. I just don't know what to do and I don't want to lose her.

Sometimes though, she can be barking away and lunging at someone and if we're close to our door I just tell her Inside... and she goes straight to the door... very few times I won't be able to get her to budge at all. She doesn't like any of my neighbors now. Previous tenant next to us was a dog owner, and she played with his dogs many times before and even liked the guy... but now, she freaks out at the glass door if she see's anyone or anything at all the is unfamiliar.

She has bad separation anxiety... she literally cannot leave me alone no matter where I am at home. I used to be able to let her sit outside with me on a leash while I painted, but now I can't of course. She does get nervous easily... and scared of a lot... But she is a very smart dog. easily trained so far (I just don't know how to train/handle the aggression)

Please just let me know what kind of training I can do... or ANYTHING at all that might work to keep her aggression at bay. I love her so much and i can't bare to even think about letting her go! We can't have any people over with out them being scared of her... (other than our family- she likes them)
And i'm scared my neighbors are going to complain to apt. management. They will make me find her a new home with 1 single complaint and our lease isn't up until Sept. this year!
 

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Hi,
I have a Black Mouth Cur and she is 18 months old.

We've had her since she was about 10 weeks old and she lived with us on a family ranch that consisted of 3 homes and A LOT of dogs, horses, cows... She's always done great- never was leashed- always roamed free, but was trained at an early age and always stayed by my side when i wasn't working. The only animals she was aggressive with was the chickens and rabbits.

We moved from the country into an apartment in town. I know that already had a huge impact on her and my other dog, but she has adjusted just fine there up until recently. We've lived in the apartment for 8 months now, and she's started showing aggression (i would say in a protective way) for a few months now. She doesn't like the pizza guys anymore - (she used to not care about who was at our door) Anybody or animal that walks past our window or door she gets very aggressive and runs to the door, hair stands up, growls, barks, etc... She's even jumped into the window one time.

We take them outside to go potty, and before when she'd see people and dogs being walked she never batted an eye... now she just stops and growls, lunges at people- even kids, barks like crazy, tries to snap at people. I'm so scared she's going to break the leash one day! I have no idea what to do.

She is fine when she goes to the vet- NO aggression what so ever. She'll go to petsmart dog camp for doggie day care for the day and she loves it! No aggression to people or dogs and she plays all day! It does take her a little bit to warm up at petsmart though... she gets nervous and scared at first.
My dogs travel everywhere with us, and we took them to visit my dad who has a huge Boxer, and she had no problems at all with my parents, whom she's never met before, or their dog.
We take Hikes at the local State park, and she sees many people there and never once even tried to growl or show any aggression. (she does growl at the guy who takes our money at the booth though while she's in the car)
She stays in our hotel rooms and goes in and out seeing all kinds of strangers without a care in the world. People knock on the door to deliver food to the hotel and even then she doesn't care.

She absolutely loves to cuddle and is just so sweet. Even tries to be a lap dog. I just don't know what to do and I don't want to lose her.

Sometimes though, she can be barking away and lunging at someone and if we're close to our door I just tell her Inside... and she goes straight to the door... very few times I won't be able to get her to budge at all. She doesn't like any of my neighbors now. Previous tenant next to us was a dog owner, and she played with his dogs many times before and even liked the guy... but now, she freaks out at the glass door if she see's anyone or anything at all the is unfamiliar.

She has bad separation anxiety... she literally cannot leave me alone no matter where I am at home. I used to be able to let her sit outside with me on a leash while I painted, but now I can't of course. She does get nervous easily... and scared of a lot... But she is a very smart dog. easily trained so far (I just don't know how to train/handle the aggression)

Please just let me know what kind of training I can do... or ANYTHING at all that might work to keep her aggression at bay. I love her so much and i can't bare to even think about letting her go! We can't have any people over with out them being scared of her... (other than our family- she likes them)
And i'm scared my neighbors are going to complain to apt. management. They will make me find her a new home with 1 single complaint and our lease isn't up until Sept. this year!
Hello,

I'm so sorry about your pup! I would say probably your biggest problem is that she no longer gets the exercise and mental stimulation she was getting. Especially to go from an acreage to an apartment. If she is spending large amounts of time indoors it can get seriously monotonous for an intelligent, active breed. It is not even that she needs to be walked daily, its that she needs something to do most of the day. Maybe before she had more space and was able to run around and entertain herself. Now she can't, and its causing her anxiety and stress and she is focusing her energy on unhealthy habits.

I think the fix to your problem is less about training and more about just stimulation in general. She would respond better to your training and expectations when she is less anxious. All dogs become less anxious when they are just plain tired and have had a busy day. So there are things you can do, like probably sending her to doggy daycare might be good. Finding a doggy daycare that does treadmill training might also be beneficial for her. Or finding someone on an acreage who does doggy day care you can drop her off maybe even just a few days a week.

Also even asking friends or family that she trust if she can spend the day with them and their dog to just get her into a change of environment more often. If you have a treadmill train her to use it. Take her out more often during the day, even if its for less time. Teach her to fetch so you can get her running back and forth during off leash walks.

As for the aggressive habits you need to remind her she can't do that and when she does the consequences are that you are very unhappy. She is a sensitive breed and it seems like you have a close bond so your sincere dissaproval might be what changes her behaviour. She might not necessarily believe you when you yell no at her, so you need to try other tactics. Like for example, keep a water bottle in your vehicle or close at home. When she starts to even slightly growl at the booth attendant, assertively say "no" and spray her with the water bottle. The water bottle is harmless and a lot of the time they are afraid of it. So it lets her know your serious without having to harm her.

Another thing to try is when people come over and she starts to get aggressive, like at the knock or even when you first open the door. You should make her sit and stay away from you. When she doesn't listen or obey you can put her on a leash and have someone like your spouse hold her on the other side of the room. Don't let her greet anyone, even those she knows. Treat it like punishment for not listening to you. She definitely cares about what you think and want its just that she has taken it upon herself to develop some bad habits.

Since she doesn't seem like a naturally aggressive dog you might try other things like redirecting her attention at specific moments when she is behaving incorrectly. Like when she starts to act up when someone is at the door, redirect with a treat in your hand. Make her sit or whatever perform certain commands to receive the treat. Just redirecting her attention with something more positive might be all you really need. Combine that with draining her energy and adding more stimulation to her days and she could easily get over that aggression. My Lab knows the word treat and when I show something in my hand, it doesn't matter what she is doing she drops it and is sitting in front of me. Use that kind of behaviour to your advantage when they are doing something unwanted.
 

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Hello,

I'm so sorry about your pup! I would say probably your biggest problem is that she no longer gets the exercise and mental stimulation she was getting. Especially to go from an acreage to an apartment. If she is spending large amounts of time indoors it can get seriously monotonous for an intelligent, active breed. It is not even that she needs to be walked daily, its that she needs something to do most of the day. Maybe before she had more space and was able to run around and entertain herself. Now she can't, and its causing her anxiety and stress and she is focusing her energy on unhealthy habits.

I think the fix to your problem is less about training and more about just stimulation in general. She would respond better to your training and expectations when she is less anxious. All dogs become less anxious when they are just plain tired and have had a busy day. So there are things you can do, like probably sending her to doggy daycare might be good. Finding a doggy daycare that does treadmill training might also be beneficial for her. Or finding someone on an acreage who does doggy day care you can drop her off maybe even just a few days a week.

Also even asking friends or family that she trust if she can spend the day with them and their dog to just get her into a change of environment more often. If you have a treadmill train her to use it. Take her out more often during the day, even if its for less time. Teach her to fetch so you can get her running back and forth during off leash walks.

As for the aggressive habits you need to remind her she can't do that and when she does the consequences are that you are very unhappy. She is a sensitive breed and it seems like you have a close bond so your sincere dissaproval might be what changes her behaviour. She might not necessarily believe you when you yell no at her, so you need to try other tactics. Like for example, keep a water bottle in your vehicle or close at home. When she starts to even slightly growl at the booth attendant, assertively say "no" and spray her with the water bottle. The water bottle is harmless and a lot of the time they are afraid of it. So it lets her know your serious without having to harm her.

Another thing to try is when people come over and she starts to get aggressive, like at the knock or even when you first open the door. You should make her sit and stay away from you. When she doesn't listen or obey you can put her on a leash and have someone like your spouse hold her on the other side of the room. Don't let her greet anyone, even those she knows. Treat it like punishment for not listening to you. She definitely cares about what you think and want its just that she has taken it upon herself to develop some bad habits.

Since she doesn't seem like a naturally aggressive dog you might try other things like redirecting her attention at specific moments when she is behaving incorrectly. Like when she starts to act up when someone is at the door, redirect with a treat in your hand. Make her sit or whatever perform certain commands to receive the treat. Just redirecting her attention with something more positive might be all you really need. Combine that with draining her energy and adding more stimulation to her days and she could easily get over that aggression. My Lab knows the word treat and when I show something in my hand, it doesn't matter what she is doing she drops it and is sitting in front of me. Use that kind of behaviour to your advantage when they are doing something unwanted.
Thank you so much for your response. I've taken her to 2 extra doggy day care sessions this week, started walking her in the mornings before I go to work (I already walk them each evenings), and we went out of town this past weekend so she roamed free at my dad's shop for 3 whole days! Of course as soon as we got home Monday night, there was our neighbor with her dogs and she was growling from inside of the car. I've been trying the water bottle technique, and it does completely redirect her attention... for a second... but we're working on it, and I think it's only going to get better from here. We're getting ready to look for a house, so come September she's going to have a yard again! I haven't had any company over yet, and we're going out of town again this weekend, but I'm definitely going to try that out when I have some company coming.

She does fetch already, but that's hard to do where we live now... and she is easily distracted with her nose at the parks... but we do fetch indoors every day (lol)! We are going to work on getting a lot more exercise... I know she wants/needs it!

Thank you so much for your input!! I'm going to put it all to good use!
 

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I'm not an expert, just sharing my Black Mouth Cur experience. Gracie is 17 mos., adopted her in Nov. at 10 mos. For the first couple of weeks, we would let her out (large fenced yard,) and she would just run and run. We had a circle around the yard that looked like a race track.

She is crated maybe 3-4 days a week, from 3-6 hours. Although my roommate wants to let her free when we are not here, she still puts everything in her mouth (paper clips, rubber bands, paper, the piano,) so I think crating is for her protection.

She wants to be outside ALL the time. When we are home and not outside with her, I check on her every 10-20 min. or so, cause I'm still a new Gracie mom. She is rarely still, always on the lookout for squirrels, patrolling the yard, pulling bamboo out of the ground - working on that - she likes to run around the yard with a bamboo stalk, roll on it, then start chewing it. She gets so excited when someone comes out to play with her, but she is very good at keeping herself entertained and active, and runs more than walks.

No judgement here about apartment life with an active dog, life happens. It's just that if your dog is anything like mine, walks may not be enough. I estimate my dog runs 3-4 miles a day, more when she goes to the beach or the woods.

She is a herder, after 5 mos. of trying to "herd" the cat, they are now buddies and Gracie has become protective of her when in the yard.

She is also becoming protective of her home and yard, not aggressively, just on alert to strange sounds and people outside.

I don't know what I'd do if I had to move to an apartment with such an active dog. Maybe find a doggy day care where the dogs can run a good part of the day. A typical dog run would be too confining for my dog.

I'm amazed at how fast she learns what we want from her, she is easily the most trainable dog I've ever had.

As I said, I'm not a behavior expert, but I would start with making sure the dog gets enough exercise. Hope I've helped a little.

Edit: just read where you are house hunting, I missed that before. Best wishes on your search.
 

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I don't really agree with a lot of what the first poster suggested- yes, upping the exercise is probably good, but taking an anxious, fearful dog out into the things that excite/scare/trigger her isn't likely to make her more relaxed. By all means, use biddablility (ie, the desire to please the owner) to your advantage if a dog has those traits, but don't base an entire training plan on the hope the dog is looking for constant approval. I also don't think this is a case of a dog not believing you when you say no- she sounds fearful and anxious and not well socialized as a youngest for the kind of life she is now living (apartment, less exercise, needs to entertain herself and settle without constant outdoor activity, etc) and is reacting the way most of her breed would react when anxious. To the OP, this is not passing judgement on the situation. Like the second poster said, situations change. That all her previous experiences have not prepared her for the life she is living- she may not know how to settle, she may well be under-exercised and under-stimulated, she may not really understand what you do want her to act like and is just acting how she pleases, she may have a genetic predisposition towards reactivity, and she happens to be a breed that is known for being a handful if not well socialized and trained.

To my understanding, Black Mouth Curs tend to be considered a fairly intense breed usually suggested for experienced dog owners and were bred primarily as a multi-functional farm dog used to guard property and livestock as well as do some herding work, and I don't think there's a huge amount of separation between a working-type Black Mouth Cur and a show-type (ie, most breeders would be capable of producing both, compared to cases like working vs bench line aussies, BCs, Mals, GSD, Cockers, or Labs/Goldens, for example). That means that most of the Black Mouth Curs around tend to live up to the level of intensity you would expect from a dog bred to guard, herd, and generally help around a farm, making it likely your dog has a fairly high level of intensity/energy/whatever to begin with.

I don't have much personal experience with Black Mouth Curs, but I do have some with Catahoulas, which are also Curs (and I assume somewhat reminiscent of Black Mouths and other Curs).

With the 'Houlas I've met, they tend to have that expected intensity, to have a fair amount of prey drive (ie, the kind of dog in the dog park who plays a fine line when chasing small dogs, has some stalking/herder type behavior and is often reactive to things on the street like skateboards, bikes, scooters, other dogs moving quickly, etc) and be the kind of dog who has a feeling about what things should be where and when things should be moving and when they shouldn't, and they tend to be the kind of dog likely to exert control over their environment when they feel something is out of place.

If you are able to afford it, I would suggest finding the help of a professional of some kind (whether they be a trainer, behaviorist, veterinary behaviorist, whatever) to help- yes you can make progress on your own but ultimately the knowledge of a professional would get you a long way. Boards like this are great for getting information, but putting it into practice correctly can often require practice and experience, and in a case like this its usually best to seek some guidance outside of the internet as a help. This is a Positive Reinforcement based board, so most people are going to suggest that. I would follow in their tread and suggest against the use of force when dealing with these issues. I'm not an entirely force-free trainer, but I also wouldn't advocate correction based techniques for dealing with a fear reactive, anxious dog.

My guess is some of her behavior is coming from a place of limited socialization (from the sound of it she was socialized as a country dog, not a city dog- even a well socialized country dog is going to have different experiences than a well socialized city dog; taking the dog with you into town in a rural setting is different than bringing a dog around a city and will build a dog ready to deal with different things; for example she might be great with large livestock my city dog isn't, but my city dog is likely better socialized to large crowds that might be loud or meeting strange dogs or people when on-leash on a busy street). Some is also probably coming from under-stimulation (it doesn't sound like she's getting nearly as much exercise as she was on a ranch, where she likely could have entertained herself most of the day if she wanted), possibly never learning to settle, as well as a lot of reactivity linked to moving things and dogs/people she doesn't know coming from a place of anxiety and fear and possibly guarding instinct, and also likely with a genetic component. Like I said, this is not uncommon behavior for a Cur who wasn't methodically trained.

I would suggest 1) brushing up obedience (start at the basics and then work on her listening around distractions; this will be good for your control over her as well as be good mental exercise for her), and 2) work on identifying what it is that causes her reactivity and work on training alternative behaviors towards those triggers and changing her emotional reaction to those triggers. For the first, I would suggest looking into B.A.T (which stands for Behavioral Adjustment Training and works on training the dog that offering the desired behavior (ie ignoring/ looking at the handler/ walking back towards the handler, whatever) will make the trigger go away. For the second, I'd suggest looking into Counter Conditioning (which pairs the trigger with a food reward, working to make the trigger become a predictor for a treat, so the dog will eventually get excited to see the trigger because it knows it's about to get a treat). You might also look into the "Look At That" game (https://clickerleash.wordpress.com/...itive-approach-to-dealing-with-reactive-dogs/).

The reason I suggest professional help is that these methods require a certain understanding of dog behavior and stress signals in order to be done in the most effective way that the typical owner usually does not already possess. In most cases, they involve very controlled training scenarios that usually involve a decoy trigger that is added for the sake of the exercise that may be hard for someone to set up without the help of a trainer. Also, they are not super easy to learn to do well/correctly from a book or article.
 
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