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Another aggression thread...

Daisy's Owner
March 14th, 2005, 08:01 PM
I've searched through the forum and have read all/most/some of the suggestions that have been posted here. Here is my issue and here is what I am currently doing, and I would like to know if I am doing this right and / or other suggestions anyone here might have.

Daisy is 7 months old. She has been to a puppy socialization/obedience class. She goes to day care two afternoons a week and we are currently waiting to get into basic obedience.

Because of the winter, we didn't get out for walks much and now that it is getting somewhat nicer, we are going for walks and all heck is breaking loose. She has definitely NOT been socialized with people nearly enough.

Daisy gets crazy aggressive when we come across people. Actually, I am not yet sure if it is all people or just men. SHE HATES THEM!!!!! Barking lunging, growling, hair on her back standing on end. Our neighbor calls her vicious. He would be the first person to call AC. He hates dogs to begin with, let alone a vicious pit bull. She does this in the yard too, if we are just out for a bathroom break. But she doesn't do this at the day care or training.

So here is what I am currently doing. Whenever we go out, I have a pocket full of kibble. If we are in the yard walking around, every once in a while, I will either make her sit or just say her name, and I give her a piece. I figure if she thinks she is going to get fed, she will keep her focus on me. While we are on our walks, I will make her sit and give her some. Then when I see someone walking our way, I will make her sit again. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't, but I think we are making some progress so that is good.

I am hoping that this is just a socialization issue, and that once we get out more, she will be fine.

Any thoughts or suggestions on what I am doing, or how I can improve?


Lucky Rescue
March 14th, 2005, 08:27 PM
This is not good. We can't see her, so cannot tell you if this is fear aggression, or offensive aggression and I would never give advice for this over the net, even if I were qualified to.

You need to get a behaviorist to come and see her in action and advise you.

I can understand why your neighbour thinks she is vicious.

Please have this assessed by an expert, and soon.

March 14th, 2005, 08:44 PM
I'm no expert, but..
IMO it's as if she feels the need to protect you, like she's the leader, She has to know you are the leader and don't need protection.
I don't know but maybe she is at an age where she is trying to establish her dominance and be pack leader.

I would definately get an expert opinion.

March 14th, 2005, 09:22 PM
Here's another vote for getting an expert to look at her in action. Agression is a serious problem. You should not be dealing with this alone. I'm not doubting your motivation and good will but the risk is too great. Get a behaviourist who is experienced and comfortable dealing with cases of agression. She's young, this is the right time to deal with this.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.


March 15th, 2005, 09:09 AM
You can usually tell the difference between fear agression and dominance agression, with fear the tail is between the legs and with dominance it's held high. Also a fearful dog will often back off if the person comes towards them, but will chase as soon as the person turns it's back. But if she doesn't do this at the day care, I would guess that it's dominance agression. Usually a fearful dog will be fearful all the time in different situations. Can other people walk her without a problem?

Daisy's Owner
March 16th, 2005, 05:46 AM
Thanks for your replies.

I talked to our trainer last night, and he is pretty certain that the issue is that Daisy is sensing my anxiety when we are out walking and that gets her worked up, which gets me more worked up, which gets her more worked up. etc. The only viciousness is the cycle. Get it. vicious cycle.

Anyway, he gave me some ideas on how to deal with it, and he is going to work with Daisy while she is at day care. Daisy shows absolutely no aggression at the day care, even when strangers come in. And we are still waiting to see if there are any cancellations for a class, so we can get in sooner than the end of April.

March 16th, 2005, 01:49 PM
That's a relief, her agression is not towards people in general but has to do with something you're doing so it can likely be fixed. It may also still be related to dominance, if she's not getting constant signals from you that you're dominant, she will be inclined to take charge, i.e. get agressive if she thinks it's needed because she doesn't feel you're in charge enough of the situation. Not knowing the whole situation I can't say this for sure. But it's always good practice to make sure you are giving consistent signals that you're the boss, regardless of whether her behavior is problematic yet or not (especially with this breed, who tends to be more dominant anyway). If you establish dominance at this young age you will avoid many much larger problems in the future, and now is the time that she will probably start testing her rank in the pack and seeing how far she can go with you. Making her sit/stay for her food is good (avoid leaving food down all the time), keeping her off the bed and other furniture, especially at night when sleeping, not letting her coerce you into giving her attention, but giving attention when you want to do it, and only giving her treats and/or attention after she obeys a command, you go out the door first, not her, every command is enforced if she doesn't obey right away. If these signals are mixed, she could become confused and/or decide she needs to lead, which could lead to this agression problem.

Also, the trainer working with her in daycare is good, but won't solve this problem because she's not exhibiting this behavior with anyone but you. He can establish dominance over her, but this won't help change her attitude when she's with you.

March 16th, 2005, 04:38 PM
My American Eskimo pup is very sociable with other dogs and people at his socialization class where he goes once a week - and with people who don't live on my street - with good reason actually - for 15 houses on either side, no one has a dog. There are dogs everywhere else in the neighbourhood just not down my street - not "normal" in my opinion. As he has started barking at people more on the street I have started the NILIF recommended standing in front of him, between me and the on-coming person, asking him to "sit pretty" and "no bark" and of course, giving him a cookie when he does as asked. He is a Cookie Monster. Eskimos are alert dogs and he is doing this to protect me. I don't follow many of the NILIF suggestions for training as they are just not me - try telling a Dachshund or an Eskimo to wait to eat his food - but I might put my husband on the program. But I am doing very well with the "no bark" routine.