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Thread: dog on dog aggression

  1. #1
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    Unhappy dog on dog aggression

    hi. im new here and i needed some advice or empathetic experiences. my two year-old female walker treeing hound, mae, has huge problems with dog on dog aggression. i have another dog, rat, hes 12 and she has never attacked him. i have had her from 8 weeks and shes always been cock of the walk. very alpha female. she even pees like a male. she is extremely possessive over her other dog and me and her toys. she has been socialised from day one. i have done nothing different in raising her than i did with rat. but she is hugely aggressive over toys and me. today, after five months of no incidents and over $500 in obedience lessons, she attacked a goldendoodle. she seems to really dislike this breed. mostly because they try to take her ball. she had just returned to me with her ball, had dropped it and was waiting to have it thrown again. as i was reaching down to get it, the goldendoodle tried to snatch it. now, i made no sudden movements, because i anticipated an attack from mae. which is exactly what she did. she didnt see the dog off, she chased it all over the park and landed a few nips, at least i think she did. i saw tufts of fur flying. the dog retreated, why did mae continue to chase her, all the way back to the other dogs owner? it was awful. my policy when this happens, after panicking and running all over the goddamned place after my dog, is to restrain my dog and then enquire after the state of the other dog. the other owner was so pissed, she just shouted at me to go home.
    to add to my misery, my 12 year-old was cowering behind anothe couple in the park and wouldnt come to me when i called him because he was afraid of me. all the shouting and running frightens him.
    i dont know what to do. i cant afford to go see a behaviourist. i keep a close watch on both my dogs. i am responsible and not careless with my pets, i just dont know what to do anymore.
    i dont want to give up on her. its not her fault i decided to make her my pet and bring her to the city. where, by the way, she is thoroughly exercised daily.
    if you made it through this post, i could really use some help.
    im at my wits end here.
    thanks for listening.
    crazydoglady

  2. #2
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    A couple things jumped out at me when reading this post. First you said "she seems to really dislike this breed. mostly because they try to take her ball." And second you said "the goldendoodle tried to snatch it. now, i made no sudden movements, because i anticipated an attack from mae. which is exactly what she did.

    If you have a dog who has a history of dog on dog aggression and you anticipated her attacking the other dog because it wanted to play with her ball, then 1. why didn't you put the ball away before there was a problem and 2. if you anticipated the attack then why didn't you do something to stop it?

    I have a very friendly outgoing Golden Retriever male (Dusty) but he is possessive of his frisbee and girl dogs. He doesn't like to share either at all. So when I go to the park and there is another dog who wants to play frisbee too, then I put it away. Nobody gets to play, PERIOD! If there is a girl dog he shows interest in and another male comes, I give him commands to let him know acceptable behavior will be expected. I am always on gaurd to have any situation where Dusty will be attacked or he will attack under quick control. A snap of the leash or a forceful down command always seem to do the trick.

    If your dog is not 100% sure of obedience commands and can not do them with distractions, then you need to be even more on the lookout for potential problems at the park. Waiting to find out if your dog will listen in a arroused state is frankly, too late! It doesn't matter how much you spend on obedience classes, it matters that the dog will listen in any situation.

    I'm sorry if this seems a little abrupt and not sugar coated but you are responsible for your dog's behavior at the park and if it does attack another dog, you can be sued. If it happens more than twice (at least where I'm from) then you can lose the dog all together.

    I believe anyone taking their dog to a dog park needs to be aware that not everyone trains there dog to the level of knowing it will listen no matter what. In fact, very few do. It is natural instinct for them to guard something they love so it has to be our natural instinct to protect them from starting or encountering an attack. It has been a long time since I have had a problem at the park with Dusty, just because I'm quick to see the problem before it happens and to take actions to stop it! You need to anticipate a bit quicker and wiser if you continue to take Mae to the park.

    BTW... Welcome to Pet Talk! I hope I didn't scare you away.

  3. #3
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    I COMPLETELY agree with Dixie. . my advice, is to not take an aggressive dog to the dog park. Honestly, it sounds like you've spent a lot of time/money training her, and you are responsible about it, but Dog Parks just are not for every dog! Dogs who are that posessive, dominant, and don't inhibit their bites (which is what it sounds like) do not belong with other strange dogs. I agree, totally, that you shouldn't have been playing ball with other dogs everywhere if she's that aggressive about it. And, if you know she doesn't like Goldendoodles, or that she would've attacked the Goldendoodle if it stole her ball, you should've left the park before this happened. Is there another fenced/off-leash park that you could exercise her and find a time or area where there aren't other dogs around? It sounds like that would be best for her. At our local dog park, there is two sections : one big side for outgoing, big dogs, and one side for shy or small dogs. The small dog side is usually empty, and people with less social dogs are able to exercise there dogs there, usually alone. Maybe you could find a park with that kind of set up?

    From my experience, I would've been angry too if I was the Goldendoodles owner. In february, my dog was attacked by a VERY dominant female Rottie, her behavior sounds a lot like your dogs behavior. She was very possessive, trying to dominate all of the dogs there, and my dog literally did nothing to set her off. She pinned him down and bit him, even though he was clearly on his back and yelping and did not challenge her, then when he was able to run off she chased him down again. Her owner, unlike you, thought there was nothing wrong with that and hardly even came to get his dog. I know I was really, really angry and it generally ruined the dog park for me! I no longer want my dog to associate with dogs/owners I don't know, after 3 years of him never even coming close to a fight, this one experience ruined the dog park for me. He had several punctures on his chest and neck and his mouth was torn up, which cost $100 at the vet and took a month to heal. Put your self in other owners' shoes. . . would YOU be angry if a dog randomly attacked your dog at a dog park, where you expect only friendly dogs to be? The rules of the dog park, I think the #1 rule is, NO agressive dogs. I understand that you have worked a ton with your dog, but that could definitely be her personality in general, training or no training. Some dogs are just 'Alpha', and don't do very well at dog parks, where there are plenty of unruly, hyper, playful, ball-chasing dogs that could easily aggrivate them.



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    Originally posted by bckrazy
    Some dogs are just 'Alpha', and don't do very well at dog parks, where there are plenty of unruly, hyper, playful, ball-chasing dogs that could easily aggrivate them.
    I just wanted to add another 2 cents about Alpha dogs. Your dog may be alpha or it may not be. It is clearly dog on dog aggressive though. A true alpha dog doesn't have to exert force on the weeker of the pack. Just their presence is enough to let other dogs know who is top dog. They are usually secure in their ranking and unless challenged don't have to show force. Aggressive and alpha are two different subjects.

    My Dixie is a very alpha female. I never worry about her at the dog park. She just does her thing (usually marking her territory) and doesn't try to interact with the other dogs. That isn't to say she doesn't greet them. After the usual butt sniffing is over, she goes about her business again. Other dogs never try to mess with her. I just thinks it's an air she puts off telling them she's boss! She never tries to attack other dogs to let them know she's boss. She just is!

    Dusty is not alpha although at one point in his adolesence he did try to challenge Dixie. It was a trying couple of months in our house. However, he lost that battle and realizes now his momma is boss. He is aggressive however over his frisbee and some girls. I don't stay away from the dog park, I just make sure I'm always on guard for potential problems and nip them in the bud before the occur. I am secure though in my dogs obedience and know that even with distractions, they understand they have to listen to me.

  5. #5
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    So when I go to the park and there is another dog who wants to play frisbee too, then I put it away. Nobody gets to play, PERIOD!
    Candy, just out of curiousity, what do you do when other owners have their toys out and do not put them away? Does Dusty do over and try to take them? And if so, what do you do in that situation?

    Duncan is also aggressive at times at the dog park. I don't know why, it appears random though in the dog world I am sure it is not! His "victims" are usually the most submissive dogs there, and although he doesn't always bite them, he does hold them down and they do yelp and cry. It's very upsetting both for me and the other dog and it's owner.
    Bckrazy, I can understand where you are coming from but please do not take it out on the owner. Not all owners are bad and evil and uncaring that their dog exhibits this type of behavior.
    I took Duncan to the dog park a few weeks ago to see how it went. He hadn't been in quite a while and to be honest with you, I have only seen this behavior in him one other time (other than at the water bowl) and the circumstances were different so I thought he would be fine. Well, he did chase down a little yellow lab and I felt terrible. I immediately leashed him up and left but I left in tears. I felt so ashamed and embarrassed and dejected. I thought Duncan and I could make some new friends but instead I felt ostracized and alone and sad.

    I also feel however that people that take their dogs to the dog park have to be prepared for anything. Like Carrie has said more than once, we are thinking like humans but the dogs are wolves living among us (By the Grace of God )and have their own rules. Nothing is guaranteed and the dogs can't read the posted rules. It is up to the owner to be responsible for their dog's behavior but they cannot always predict their dogs behavior.

    I'm sorry you had a bad experience and extremely sorry that your dog was injured.
    Last edited by jennifert9; 04-15-2005 at 04:33 PM.

  6. #6
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    I will answer for Candy here - her Dusty doesn't bother about it because he is focused on her, not the distractions flying about the park - if he does go after it then she calls him back and he responds - it simply isn't a problem.

    The point Candy made either earlier in this thread or on another is one of the most important details of dog training - no matter what method you use to train - get your dog to the point where he/she can obey commands in the house, then move to the garden, then move to the front garden, then practice when you are on the street. Every time the dog reaches 100% reliabilty in response to a command in a certain situation (and you have to start off small - the dog must learn the correct response in a distraction free environment) then you move the situation - tiny steps, more distraction until you can expect a response in a mega-distraction area like the park.

    The other point she made that I think is vital in dog training is the use of correction - if you know that your dog knows the command - and can respond 100% in a given situation ( say at home) then you have to be fair about the amount of distraction you introduce in the next step but you must be prepared to correct a response to a command that the dog knows that it chooses to ignore. It is a fine balance but correction has a place - firm but fair.

  7. #7
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    Thanks Carrie! I wasn't trying to disagree with Candy at all. I was just curious as to how she handles the situation. I know that it comes up all the time at dog parks and ends up with owner on owner aggression!
    Trust me, if it wasn't for you and Candy's advice years ago when I first got Duncan, I would have given up a long time ago! But the 2 of you have helped me deal with so many issues with my "problem" dog!
    I guess I just have one more question and I have a feeling I know the answer but I'm not sure. I noticed that you talked about the excellent training Dusty has and his focus on Candy despite all the other distractions.... I understand the concept of complete control and the importance of the dog realizing and living with the owner as the pack leader. I guess my question is, at what level if any does the dog make decisions on his own? Or does a dog with a clear leader not do that? I do feel that I am the pack leader and the Alpha dog to Duncan. He obeys every command I give him, including coming when called off leash, down stay, and all the basics of course. But occassionally, in like the situation I described above, he made a decision without my input. I was present and less than 5 feet from him when the other dog came over to him and he turned and jumped on the dog. The whole thing took less than 2 seconds or so. I called him, he stopped, came right too me, with that guilty/submissive look and we left. What does that mean? Is he insecure with his position and has to make sure he is "2nd in command?" (Forgive me, I can't express myself as well as you or Candy about these issues, I'm not as fluent in dogspeak!) I understand what you are saying about the human's need to be the leader but what explains this behavior in the dogs? Perhaps I am not alpha and Duncan just humors me? I would love to hear both your and Candy's thoughts on this as well as anyone else who has experience with this situation....Thanks!!

    EDIT: Carrie, I just reread your response and realized that the paragraph about correction may be the key to some of my problems with Duncan. I, like many other owners, I'm sure, have a problem with correction. I'm not sure what is appropriate to be honest. I obviously don't hit Duncan or raise my voice to him. I did read Jan Fennell's book and I have tried the "ignore" It seems to work at times but in situations like this it doesn't seem appropriate? Is it? For a long time, I never corrected Duncan because his problems only affected me: getting in the garbage, chewing something that didn't belong to him, barking at bicycles, stuff like that when he was younger and we lived alone. I quickly realized that I was changing my life "around" Duncan, instead of "with" Duncan. Small things but nevertheless. Since then I have tried all sorts of things and I think that Jan Fennell's approach and your approach work the best for me but I guess I need more guidance?
    Last edited by jennifert9; 04-15-2005 at 07:51 PM.

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by jennifert9
    Bckrazy, I can understand where you are coming from but please do not take it out on the owner. Not all owners are bad and evil and uncaring that their dog exhibits this type of behavior.

    I also feel however that people that take their dogs to the dog park have to be prepared for anything. Like Carrie has said more than once, we are thinking like humans but the dogs are wolves living among us (By the Grace of God )and have their own rules. Nothing is guaranteed and the dogs can't read the posted rules. It is up to the owner to be responsible for their dog's behavior but they cannot always predict their dogs behavior.
    I totally understand what you mean. Gonzo has never gotten into any sort of fight at the dog park, and he had been there hundreds of times before that dog attacked him. I know so many people there are super nice and responsible, 99% of people that take their dogs there are good people. I do not blame the dog in my situation, I blame her owner completely. It's hard to not get mad at a person who sits on a bench, while his dog is plainly attacking my dog for at least a few minutes and just continues to chase him down and bite at him without any provocation. He finally had to grab onto her harness and pin her down, yelling at her did absolutely nothing to deter the dog. She was obviously aggressive and everyone else at the park left right then (the owner of the Rottie did not leave, or apologize, and he definitely didn't leave in tears )!

    I know that the OP, and you, are completely unlike the person I experienced in that you do care about how your dogs act. I understand that dogs can be unpredictable, Gonzo has been a total brat at times and I always leave the dog park if he starts to get growly and mean with other dogs. I think it's an owners responsibility to be able to read their dogs' body language, have off-leash verbal control over their dogs, and just accept if your dog is not a dog-park type. One of my trainers, who is amazing with dog-dog socialization, has to tell tons of owners that their dog is simply not one who will tolerate a dog park situation. . it kind of sucks if youre an owner who wants to exercise their dog with other dogs, but if it is for the safety of the dogs and people there, its in everyones best interest. I've seen a lot of puppies brought to the dog park with absolutely NO manners, that chase dogs and run full speed right into them, and also dogs who enjoy herding/chasing other dogs. To me, for a dog to really be safe at a dog park, they have to be tolerant and friendly enough to tolerate this otherwise rude behavior. I don't think it's right to bring a dog back to a dog park again and again if they continue to dominate, threaten, provoke, or attack other dogs. It's just pointless - obviously the dog does not want to be at the dog park! It just annoys me generally when I see people bringing their aggressive dogs to the park who continue to start fights, when there are plenty of off-leash areas to exercise them that would be safest for their dog and others.

    hm. . . I just rambled a lot. but, thats how I feel, anyway. I know for sure you guys are good people who know about dogs. The people who I have a problem with, are ignorant dog owners who think that because its a "dog park" they can bring their dog in and let them run wild - whether they harm other dogs or not.



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  9. #9
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    What an excellent thread this is - this is exactly what is needed to push us all into thinking more deeply about the issues of the dog/human relationship.

    bckrazy has raised some important points about dog parks in general. In theory I think they are a fantastic idea but in reality they are far too random. In theory it should be a great place to socialise for you and your dog - in reality the vast range of behaviours of both human and canine participants that is deemed acceptable by them is always going to make dog parks less than ideal. That's life, we are all different and expect and accept different things as normal, so in one way the dog park is an ideal experience. In another it is a place where you are going to encounter ideas, behaviours and tolerance levels that don't match your own. Other people will see a disagreeable incident from a vastly different point of view from yours and many are unlikely to be able to look objectively at their own dog's behaviour in a confrontational situation.
    One of the really good theoretical aspects of dog parks is the socialisation element. This falls down in practice, as bckrazy pointed out, because too many owners with young dogs use it a the main or only social interaction for their animals. It is unfair and unreasonable, in my view, to take a young animal into the world of adult dogs without giving it basic, low key experience and learning opportunities first. The pup needs interaction with other dogs in order to learn. It is born with an innate understanding of it's own species, behaviour and language but it needs experience to refine this. For example - the play bite is an instinctual behaviour but needs to be refined by playing with other puppies and with people for the dog to learn what is acceptable. Inhibitions must be learned through experience in order for the individual to function as part of a social group (as true for humans as it is for canids!). (This also brings up the whole issue of terminology - inhibition can seem, to humans, a word that has very negative meaning and many of us spend a lot of our time and money overcoming our inhibitions. In this context, however, it is a vital learning process that is necessary. If certain inhibitions are not in place then we, and our dogs, will be seen as unacceptable and become isolated, unable to communicate effectively - which in turn breeds resentment and frustration - and the dog is likely to become overtly aggressive in an effort to be "heard" or chronically fearful, which is most often seen as aggression.)

    Are you still awake!?!? Sorry for the length of post here, I find this eternally fascinating and can ramble on for weeks before I realise everyone else has fallen asleep!!!

    jennifert9 - in answer to your question about what decisions the dog makes...sorry, it's likely to be another long one!

    The canine mind cannot work the same way as a human one does - it simply isn't built that way. BUT by studying animal behaviour and the brain activity associated with it we can guess at the underlying genetic reasons behind human behaviours. Humans have a huge problem remembering that it isn't very long ago that we were on the same mental and behavioural level as dogs, cats, pigs, mice etc. Our species has evolved and continues to develop at a faster rate than evolution can hope to keep up with- our instincts are still intact and are still working. ( Oh - I could go on for years and years on this subject alone!!) We forget, or choose to ignore, that our behaviour is still driven by our instinct to survive as an individual. This is the cornerstone of life itself, the key to evolution. If there was no instinct for an individual to preserve it's own life then no creature or plant would battle through a life process that ends in death anyway. As humans we are aware that our ultimate destination is to die and yet individuals can find the mental and physical reserves to cope with, rationalise, live with and survive the most horrific situations. We tend to call that "the human spirit". It is special because as far as we know, we are the only species on the planet that understands that every individual is going to die - so why put yourself through so much pain, anxiety and hardship when the end result is the same - you die?
    But this instinct for self preservation is universal - each and every mammal exhibits it - some insects don't...the individual will eagerly put itself in a situation where the only outcome is the death of that individual in order to increase the chances of the community surviving. (This is often the premiss that after self-preservation the next most important instinct is genetic inheritence, and in fact it may be that genetic inheritence is the reason for self-preservation...sounds sensible to me.)

    Your dog has all these things working in his mind and body although he is unable to verbalise it - he feels it, reacts to it, is driven by it and lives by it, although, of course, he doesn't rationalise them or think about them - he just is governed by them. It is his instincts, something you have no control over, you can't change, his genetic inheritence and his experience of the world that governs his behaviour. The only thing, as an owner, that you have control over is the dog's experience. You cannot undo past experience but the good thing is that you can overlay it with it new ones - tiny steps seen as huge achievements.

    Basically what I am saying is that your dog is making millions of decisions every day. Even a dog with a total God of an alpha leader HAS to make those decisions every second of every day to ensure it's own survival. The very second that your dog sees a kink in your leadership is the moment when the dog will start to test the leadership - it has no choice, it simply has to make itself safe. If the dog does not understand that you are making it safe and able to stay alive then it has only two other options - die or take control.

    So, soooo sorry that this is soooooo long.

    Correction is another term that means one thing to dog owners and another thing to behaviourists. The current trend in dog training is for positive reinforcement only. This is an excellent idea and the world would be a better place if it worked. But go back and have a think about instincts and learning - a puppy brought up in a litter with maternal care will play using feet, legs, body, facial expressions, tail position and it's mouth. Anyone with puppy experience will know that puppy bites hurt. As an owner you have the choice to correct that bite or not - to create an inhibition or not. The dog will have an inbuilt, genetic, control switch to inhibit the pressure of the bite but it needs reinforcing to become constant. If the context of the bite is not corrected when the pup is young it is likely to fall back on biting as a means of getting out situations that it finds difficult - the inhibition is still working, the dog does not bite down hard, it usually does not even make contact, but the fact the dog has learned that snapping and appearing to be aggressive is as effective in keeping others away as running away is in avoiding contact is the problem

    Again - we can all see the similarities between canine and human behaviour here.

    Correction can be in the form of a facial expression - those of you with children will know that you only have to look at your kids in a certain way and they get how serious you are!!!! It's the same for dogs - ignoring in the house is all well and good - when your very large animal is misbehaving in public ( I'm still talking dogs here - not husbands!) a look will not do - nor will physical punishment because it looks bad to other people. You need a back up -physical correction .

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by jennifert9
    Candy, just out of curiousity, what do you do when other owners have their toys out and do not put them away? Does Dusty do over and try to take them? And if so, what do you do in that situation?

    Originally posted by carrie
    I will answer for Candy here - her Dusty doesn't bother about it because he is focused on her, not the distractions flying about the park - if he does go after it then she calls him back and he responds - it simply isn't a problem.

    Carries answer was 100% accurate. This is another area of training I have done with both Dusty and Dixie. He is not allowed to take her toys off her and she is not allowed to take his toys off of him. When I "play" with them, he has his frisbee and she has her tennis balls. I specifically got them attached to different types of toys on purpose. They are both VERY familiar with the command "LEAVE IT!" That means don't even think about it.

    Now thats not to say that they don't play together and tug on the frisbee or try to steal the ball from each others mouth during their play. It is only when I am playing with them.

    So at the park, they are familiar with leave it and if Dusty goes after another dogs toy, I immediately call him back to me, give him the command leave it and direct his attention somewhere else. I will go as far as leashing him and putting him in a solid down if he doesn't listen. I am fortunate because our dog park has 2500 acres of hiking trails as well as the community play area where everyone congregates so if I see it's going to be awhile before I can play frisbee for Dusty, I put it in the backpack and we go for a hike and then might come back to the play area later or simply go home.

    BTW...I probably have an advantage in this area over you because I have two dogs at home all the time and have the ability to work on these issues amongst themselves before getting into a park situation. For you, make sure Duncan has a good handle on "leave it" or whatever command you use to tell him not to touch it, and "release". When you want his toy he is too immediately "release" or "drop it" again using whatever words you are comfortable with. Make sure the words are never mixed though because dogs learn through repetition. An obedient dog is a constantly trained, fine tuned work in progress!!!

    Understanding your dogs body language is essential. That is what I was talking about when I said I'm on my guard all the time at the park for potential problems. When his body language (or another dogs body language) gets a little huffy or has the potential to be huffy, then I step in before it has a chance to escalate.

    I love taking my dogs to the dog park. It is a great time for them and I do love making them happy! However, it is always done with caution and control. I realize other people may not have their dogs under control all the time, so I have to have mine under control instead.

    Originally posted by jennifert9
    I guess my question is, at what level if any does the dog make decisions on his own? Or does a dog with a clear leader not do that?
    My dogs make decisions on their own all the time. Everytime they listen to me, they are making a decision. Listen and get rewarded or not listen and get corrected. When I say corrected it should be noted I am not talking harsh corrections. I'm talking time outs, play over, no treat, etc.... I NEVER correct my dogs for something they don't understand and I never yell or use physical corrections. That is why training constantly is important. Only when I know they fully understand something can I correct them and expect them to know they are being corrected.

    They also make decisions on when they want to play, when they go out and every other decision in their lives. It's just that over the years they have learned to make the correct choices with my guidance and supervision. We have had our challenges like any other dog owner but training always prevails!!!

    I believe Duncan is not just humoring you and does respect you as his leader. I just think you need to keep working on his obedience and letting him know you are qualified to make decisions for him on his behalf. He will in return make decisions to listen to you. Pay attention to his body language at the park and always be on guard. Anticipate things happening before they do. Don't be afraid to leash him or look "mean" in front of the other dog owners. You have every right to show others that you care about your dog and have control of him and will go to any length to protect him and others from dog fights.

  11. #11
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    thank you

    wow. thanks for the advice and interest. i dont really know where to start with mae's and my history. it doesnt really matter, because at the end of the day, i do not have her respect as pack leader. she has established somewhere along the way, that shes the pack leader but she is so confusing. i have read books, taken classes, the works. but i think she senses my insecurity about the situation (discipline) and just feels free to take over and do whatever she likes. my initial response to the incident yesterday was that i just cant work with her and that she and i both in our current state, are a danger to others.

    for the record, right before the incident occurred, she had been playing quite vigoroulsy with a nine-month old dog and i felt the need to pull her out of it. she wasnt behaving in a way i felt comfortable with, so i wanted to give her a time out but that just seemed to exacerbate the situation. so i leashed her and removed her from the other dogs, went to the opposite side of the park where she found a ball and began to play with it. we were alone at that point. when she retrieved and returned with it, was the first time i noticed the golden doodle. so i was on my way to doing something about it when all hell broke loose.i was afraid to move at all because i had my head between the two snarling dogs. i just didnt know what to do. i wasnt afraid of the goldendoodle, even though it lunged for the ball, i was afraid of mae and whether or not i could catch her in time. and it does happen in seconds. i did take steps to avoid the situation. we dont bring toys to the park. its just asking for trouble.
    if i see this particular dog on my way to the park, i usually just can the park altogether and go to the reservoir. because its just better for everyone if we arent there. i dont want to be one of those dog owners who expects everyone else to accommodate them and their problem child. i dont like being anxious when im out with my dogs and i dont want anyone else to feel that way either. but youre right, all of you, she doesnt respond to my commands. i think my approach in training her,(which i have now discovered isnt any kind of approach at all), was that she would learn all she needed to from rat, my older dog and all of the other dogs she met. wrong, wrong, wrong. i have never been around a dog like mae. shes aggressive with females but not males. she is terrified of children from toddlers to teenagers. she runs at the sight of them. she behaves with everyone else but me. whenever she has been pet sat or walked or whatever, the walkers rave about how good she is. she treats human males and females differently as well. what is that about? are there any texts i could read, just to better understand her and her personality type? she has a definite personality. i have read that her breed is loyal and eager to please, and i have seen little evidence of both. everyone keeps telling me shes a working dog and that shes going to be trouble regardless of what i do. i dont believe that entirely though. the only trainer i worked with was great but i saw one of his assistants punch an alsatian in the face and that was the last time they ever saw us. i quit the class then and there. i just didnt have the balls to say something to the owner of the business. so maes training was interrupted because i didnt like some things that i saw at school. but i never got any report cards on her either. not for the entire 8 weeks she was there. and all i observed when i would pick her up was her cowering behind the owners desk every night. it got to the point that when i would be getting her into the car to go to school, she would try to run away. she hated that place. i didnt know what to make of her reaction. i brought it up to the assistant and he said she didnt like school because she had to work. frankly, after comments like that, i decided he was a crackpot.maybe i was quick to judge. any thoughts?

    after reading your definitions of alpha and aggression, i dont think shes alpha, shes too insecure.
    i just didnt train her thoroughly enough. i let her sleep in the bed when she was young, although she doesnt really do it now. i let her push rat around, i honestly thought they would work it out, in their own canine way. i dont know what i was thinking. i would interfere and correct only if there was a threat to either of their safety.

    so now, i wonder, is it too late for me to really instill a consistent programme into our lives? if im really adamant and stick with it, will it work out?because i dont want to give her up because of what ive done or havent done. i dont want to use any devices on her or meds or anything like that. it was hard enough just to start using a pinch collar on her. but it has definitely helped. when shes leashed, which needs to be more often now.

    i really appreciate people taking the time to listen and advise. and no you didnt scare me, i just wanted to think and read all of your responses before responding myself. i guess if i am aligned with any type of pet owner mentality its the one that jennifer 9 expressed. they are wolves among us. i really try to avoid anthropomorphising my two dogs. i know better. but i feel as though i really let things go too far with mae and now she just rides roughshod over us all. is there any hope for us?
    crazydoglady

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    3,604
    I agree with a lot of what Dixie and Carrie just said, really good advice/info there.

    I have never owned a headstrong or stubborn dog. . that could be because I am naturally not reserved, I am definitely a leader to my dog and he respects me over everyone. I'm really lucky that he's such a sweet, appeasing dog. I've heard that Hounds can be very independent and stubborn at times, it could be her breed. You might be aggrivating that stubbornness by acting reserved with her, and not establishing a real place in your "pack" for her. This could explain her insecurity. I would start NILIF training, get over being tolerant and middle-of-the-road with her and be a leader. DON'T send her to training school, where some one else is training her (I think that's what I gathered for your last post??). She probably respects other people because they are outsiders, and they are more confident with her. You should find a reputable, positive, extensive training program to enter with her and train her yourself. Practice the training at home. Don't allow her on furniture or to jump up on you. Crate train her, have her sleep in her crate. Be very, very, super consistent with her and use plenty of praise and treats when she does the right thing. . this will build her confidence and make her feel more secure with you. I would not take her to any dog park until she has a very solid Leave it (this is the alpha command), stay, down, and very solid recall.

    Don't beat yourself up at all ^_^ you are a responsible dog owner, you want to improve your relationship with your dog and you want whats best for Mae! It will take work, but it'll be worth it. This is a good link . . http://4pawsu.com/articles.htm !! thats our training school. they are the best! I went there for over a year all together, they're all trained professionals and know what they're talking about. Definitely read through the articles (especially the Dog Park article) and they have book suggestions on there too! You might want to start looking for a very very good behaviorist/trainer in your area

    edit: I forgot what you said about not wanting to spend anymore money on training. . . try to consistently train at home with good books, and begin to work on everything at the park (no dogs/big distractions until she's really solid), then slowly increase distractions and length of time. I would highly suggest a good behaviorist, just to get advice personalized for you. There ARE reputable trainers out there with good intentions. . I saw our trainer for a personal behavior consultation after a big incident with Gonzo, she evaluated him, got into his history, gave me tons of advice, and only charged $75. She also insisted that I not pay her for the extra 1 hour she was there, and said he does not need any more private counseling, he needs group obedience and plenty of practice. . she could've easily gotten $100's more, but she gave me adviced that was honest and totally worked for us. Just keep looking for good trainers, they are out there ^_~
    Last edited by bckrazy; 04-16-2005 at 04:26 PM.



    <3 Erica, Fozz n' Gonz

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    3,875
    Originally posted by bckrazy
    I would start NILIF training, get over being tolerant and middle-of-the-road with her and be a leader. DON'T send her to training school, where some one else is training her (I think that's what I gathered for your last post??). She probably respects other people because they are outsiders, and they are more confident with her. You should find a reputable, positive, extensive training program to enter with her and train her yourself. Practice the training at home.
    Defenitly do NILIF (NOTHING IN LIFE IS FREE) with this dog! Spend the money to continue training her but do it at an obedience school where they teach you how to train your dog. Don't let someone else do it. Training is the bond that establishes you as the leader. Forget the past and work on the future. One last bit of advice.... stay away from the dog park until you get more control over your dog. This is for your sake as well as hers. Find a place to take her where there are no other dogs around. I think you mentioned a reservior. That sounds like the place to take her instead of the dog park.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Syracuse, NY
    Posts
    766
    I swear, I must have read and reread this thread a thousand times already! There is so much information in it! Definitely useful and thought provoking!
    Unfortunately, Duncan and I had an incident 2 weeks ago when we went home to visit my family. I have been hesitant to post about it, probably fearful of the answers/advice...or something...
    So this is what happened: It was early in the morning, around 7am on Sunday. I thought I would take Duncan for a walk around the block for old times sake (we were at my dad's house where we lived for 2 years). We got about 1/4 of the way and a man came by on the other side of the street with his golden retriever. I made Duncan sit while they passed. The golden growled, but just for a second and then stopped and then Duncan just went nuts, barking and leaping, his hackles up. I made him sit and told him NO a few times. After the dog passed, I made Duncan sit for a few more minutes. He kept trying to get up but I just told him to sit again.
    OK, we continue walking. About 3/4 of the way around the block, we see a neighbor standing in her driveway. We exchange hellos and then she says to me, "I can't help but stare at your dog. He looks just like ours." Now I very rarely see dogs that look like Duncan so we started talking, Duncan and I in the street, her in her driveway by her garage. She says, "Let me go get my dog" She goes in the backyard and comes back with her 18 month old bernese mountain dog mix that she adopted from the same shelter where I got Duncan. Her dog is on a leash with a regular collar and Duncan has on his gentle leader and a leash. I said to her, "Is your dog friendly?" and she said yes. So I walk a few steps forward and let the dogs meet. Duncan is 99.9% of the time, great with other dogs as he always wants to play. (There have been times at the park where he wasn't but this was a completely different situation) or so I thought. Her dog growled first and as she was pulling him away and saying "sorry, he doesn't usually do that" Duncan bit the dog in the face. He caught him on the eye and would not let go. The woman was screaming and pulling her dog but that was making it worse because the dogs were still attached. I leaned over and gave Duncan 3 knocks on the nose with my forearm and he let go. The woman took her dog in the house and I told her to please check him over well to make sure he was ok. I turned to Duncan and made him sit. I told him NO and BAD DOG a few times and told him to lie down. He wouldn't!! He was being a jerk to me, all hyped up and trying to ignore me. I wasn't about to give up though after all the discussion here on correction so I literally pulled him to a down position and told him to STAY. He did.
    The woman came back out and said her dog was ok. Later on, I dropped off dog biscuits and a toy for him (his name was Reece) and found out that thye did take him to the vet and he had to get 2 stitches under his eye and be on antibiotics for a week. The family was extremely nice. As soon as I walked in, the woman and I both started crying and hugged as we were both so upset about what happened. And Reece was so sweet, not scared of me like I thought he may be, came right over and let me love on him and apologize. I did volunteer to pay the vet bill and, although, they didn't want me to, I insisted.
    So needless to say, Duncan's aggression is escalating and he will no longer be allowed around any other dogs....it's very upsetting.
    Despite my best efforts, he seems to be going downhill. We went for a walk and to the park last night and practiced our obedience. He did fantastic....didn't miss a beat. I had him on his long leash and walked 15 feet away from him while at least 3 different soccer games were going on and he didnt' move a muscle. I even ran around in circles and went behind trees and there he sat. I dont' think that these aggression problems have anything to do with obedience however...(he's also having problems with Collin but I'll post that in a different thread when I have more time) Sometimes, I think that whatever he went through before I adopted him have permanently changed him. Most people I know are scared of him, except really my father and myself to be honest. And I really dont' know that anyone but me can trust him 100%...Sometimes, it seems like a switch flips in his head and he can't control himself or forgets what he is or what he is doing....I will post more later, I have to get back to work...any help and advice or stories of anything similar and how you handled it would be appreciated.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    894

    dog on dog aggressioon

    I confess I'm new to the forum so I'm not sure if this will help, but I have a dog who can be dog aggressive, she's extremely selective of which ones she likes and doesn't like with no consistancy. For me it's easier to assume she's going to be aggressive and keep her away from the situation completely. I never take her to the dog parks or beach (anywhere where there could be dogs off leash) and when I take her for a walk she's always on a leash and I never let her go near any dog that another person is walking (leashed or not). She may be fine with that particular dog, but I'm not willing to take the chance of causing damage to her or another dog. If it makes you feel better, I've also seen much worse, there's a dog in my other dogs training class that when he first started coming had to be muzzled and wear a pinch collar. He also had to be kept well back from the rest of the class. The owner said he adores her and her husband but won't even let people in the house. Since she's aware of it she usually muzzles him when people come over and she never approaches other dogs. He's gotten better in the past couple of months, she had friends staying over and he was fine, she also removed the muzzle in the last class and joins in with the rest of the group. She's aware she can't fully trust him so doesn't allow him to interact with other dogs beyond just standing and watching during social time, but he can now be around leashed ones without lunging. So I guess my long winded point is that since you know it's a problem keep him out of the situation and know you can't allow him to approach other dogs or other dogs to approach him, it only takes 1 second for him to do something that may have lasting problems. Since you said you've already tried training and it didn't work, I'd just always error on the caution side and assume he's going to be aggressive. It save both you and another owner a lot of problems.

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