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Thread: Is this aggression?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Northern California

    Is this aggression?

    I just don't understand what is going on with Ivy. She's barely 6 months and already displaying what looks to be some type of aggression. Since her first day, I've been socializing her heavily. She's been to dog parks, schools, downtown, pet supply stores, etc. She does absolutely fine at the dog park. She sniffs butts, she lets them sniff hers, everything is fine.

    However, when we go for walks, she tugs and lunges and snaps at my neighbor's dogs. In another incident, she was at a dog park and I let her drag the lead. Another dog ran up to me for treats. Ivy saw and 'attacked' the other dog. Today, we gave a friend and her dog a ride. Ivy was also in the car and decided to growl/snap at the other dog. Later on, we were playing around with the weaves and the other dog was standing a few feet from the weaves. Ivy weaved as she was supposed to and then lunged and 'attacked' the other dog. Neither dog was on lead. The dogs she snaps at have never displayed any type of threatening behavior.

    This doesn't make sense to me. I've been around truly aggressive dogs to know that Ivy is not dog-dog aggressive. However, this doesn't sound like leash aggression either since half of her incidents were either on a very slack/dragging lead or she wasn't on one at all. I've e-mailed several behaviorists, but I was hoping some of you would have an idea of what this is and what to do. Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Oh wow Sophie. I did see a little of this when we met you at the park. But it sounds like it's gotten worse. I do remember when a dog came to you for a treat and she went at them. It didn't seem like it was out of control or anything. And she seemed to stop when you stepped in.
    I'm sorry. I do not have any suggestions for you. I assume you've taken her to obedience training, since you are already working on agility. Maybe she needs more obedience training. Maybe we could take our dogs together to that, because I KNOW Zoee needs another class.
    Our goal in life should be - to be as good a person as our dog thinks we are.

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    I've been Boo'd!!!

    Cindy (Human) - Taz (RB Tabby) - Zoee (RB Australian Shepherd) - Paizly (Dilute Tortie) - Taggart (Aussie Mix) - Jax (Brown & White Tabby), - Zeplyn (Cattle Dog Mix)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Rhode Island; USA
    Is it possible she is jealous and protective of YOU? If she is OK at the dog park UNTIL a dog gets near her mum, maybe consider that aspect?

    Just a thought.
    I've been BOO'd!!
    Thank you Karen, for fixing my siggy!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Northern Canada
    Is there a pattern to her reactions---bigger dogs, other females ect?

    Some dogs go through a stage almost like a baby making strange. Usually happens at about Ivy's age. They develop all sorts of new fears, behaviors, reactions. Most dogs outgrow it and move on. Some will keep those behaviors for life if they aren't handled right.

    I'd get her to a class with other puppies. Do you have a Puppy Kindergarten class around? Or a really basic obedience class? It's more for the socialization than teaching her to sit!

    One thing that I do, especially with some of my more reactive dogs, is to never let a strange dog approach them directly. I always get between my dog and any approaching dog--even if the approaching dog is being polite and has good doggy manners. My dogs need to know that no matter what I will protect them. They do not need to protect me or themselves. I am the pack leader and will handle those things for them. Franklin used to be just like Ivy--randomly attacked other dogs, especially loose dogs. Since I started doing this, his reactions have decreased substantially. He has no need to worry and react, Mom has it under control.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    NorthEast, now in the Northwest
    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom
    Is it possible she is jealous and protective of YOU? If she is OK at the dog park UNTIL a dog gets near her mum, maybe consider that aspect?

    Just a thought.
    I agree with the possible jealousy and protectiveness of you. Noba does the same thing at the park and with other dogs. If I so much as touch another dog in his presence (exception is my boyfriend's dog Sadie), he goes crazy and chases the other dogs down until he gets them. He stops when told. And when it comes to walks, he always makes sure to position himself between me and any other dog that comes our way. Sounds liek you have the same problem I have... now how to break it????

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Northern California
    Thanks all! Nope, there is absolutely no pattern to the dogs she picks on. They range from a Corgi to a Golden to a black Lab. Most were male, but I think one of them may have been female. I don't think it's a gender issue, though.

    Ohh, I never considered the fear stages, Glacier. But that's really weird because she doesn't act submissive or shy. In fact, I think she's actually coming out of her shell. I was thinking about enrolling her in puppy ob. classes for the socialization, but I've seen some pretty incompetent trainers and I have a feeling she'd be deemed "dog aggressive". We're starting a pre-agility puppy class next week, though, and I'm starting to take her to puppy playgroups on the weekend.

    We took her to the dog park today and she did okay. She did have one incident though. Again, she was fine with the dog until I came near her. Then, when we came back home, my neighbor's dogs were sitting outside their house (on lead). I decided to try to desensitize her and walked her until we were about 20 ft away. She started tugging on the lead and growling maliciously. I'll try using my body as a barrier, but I don't know how I could put myself between her and the other dog without working her up.

    *sighs* In the meantime, I've been talking to a trainer and we're seeing what can be done to curb this.

    ETA: Oh, right, the protection issue. I was also thinking that and the incident at the dog park today really reaffirms my suspicions. How would I go about curbing that protective instinct, though?

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