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My new dog seems to hate other dogs

Viewfinder
June 2nd, 2005, 12:15 AM
I just recently got my 4+ dog, Charlie, from the Humane Society and everything seems to be going smoothly besides the fact that he isn't eating as much (probably due to stress/picky eater). Anyways, whenever I take him out for walks and he sees another dog he pulls hard on the leash and then when close he goes nuts and ignores my calls. Thing is, he loves me and loves other people, and is damn curious of everything. He's even good with cats.

Apparently his previous owners never sent him to obedience school, so for a dog that is almost 5, that's not great. I've tested to see if it is just some dogs that he shows agression to, but everytime I give a bit of slack to the leash, he goes straight for the other dog's neck, hence he's not just excited. I need to take him to obedience school but I probably won't be able to until next month, and this is an issue I'd like to get rid of...give's me as an owner a bad image.

Anyways, here's some relevant info of his history.
Breed: Jack Russell Terrier/Shepherd X
Weight:38lbs.
Age:4+
Sex: Male/Neutered
length of time spent at Humane Society: 3-4weeks
Previous: Lived with another dog and kids with previous owner (hence confusion of why he's so agressive to other dogs)

That's all thats relevant that comes to mind, but I mean, all I can think of is maybe he think's he is protecting me? or he sees the other dogs as a threat...considering he was in the pound with a lot of other dogs for a long time, but really that should only make him agressive to those particular dogs. He even goes for dogs twice his size!

I'd really like him to be able to play with other dogs rather than have to watch out for him every minute, and keep a tight leash. I'd appreciate any help I could get with this.

Cactus Flower
June 2nd, 2005, 12:57 AM
The previous owners might not have been honest about his living arrangements at home, or reason for dumping him at the shelter. It could be that there was another dog at home, but Charlie was aggressive like this towards him, and that was the reason for the dumping.

Something could have also happened at the shelter that made him aggressive- or at the very least annoyed- by other dogs.

What do you do when he behaves this way? Do you pet him to try to calm him? If so, that is interpreted as "rewarding" his behavior ("this is good because he pets me when I do it"). I would give him a stern "NO!" or similar reprimand when he lunges for other dogs. He has to learn that this is unacceptable.

My Dane used to lunge at other dogs. What I did was find a residential street in our town where there seems to be a dog behind every fence. It was near my son's school. EVERY DAY when I was picking my son up from school, I'd go there early and walk up and down that sidewalk, in front of the fences. The dogs in the yards would bark and lunge at US. I praised her every time she stayed put and behaved, and reprimanded her with a jerk of the harness and a "NO!" when she didn't.
Enough repetition, and she eventually caught on. Now she is completely unphased by other dogs. She hardly gives them a sideways glance.

Good luck with this, and thank you for saving an adult animal shelter dog.

Dogastrophe
June 2nd, 2005, 09:58 AM
Try your dog at an off leash park (keep his leash on him but dangling behind for quick retrieval if necessary)to see if his actions are related to (1) just not caring for other dogs or (2) just not caring for others on walks. My dogs are great off lead and somewhat horrible on lead UNLESS they are in an unfamiliar area - around our normal walking route they tend to think of the area as their property, when we take them elsewhere on lead they are very good with other dogs.

Just a thought

LavenderRott
June 2nd, 2005, 10:08 AM
Try your dog at an off leash park (keep his leash on him but dangling behind for quick retrieval if necessary)to see if his actions are related to (1) just not caring for other dogs or (2) just not caring for others on walks. My dogs are great off lead and somewhat horrible on lead UNLESS they are in an unfamiliar area - around our normal walking route they tend to think of the area as their property, when we take them elsewhere on lead they are very good with other dogs.

Just a thought

Why in the world would you take a dog you barely know that has shown itself to be aggressive towards other dogs to a dogpark!?! While I can understand wanting to find out whether it has anything to do with being onleash but lets think about this for a second.

If this dog really doesn't like other dogs turning it loose at a dog park could turn out to be a nightmare. He could attack and hurt a smaller dog or attack and be hurt by a larger dog.

Viewfinder
June 2nd, 2005, 10:30 AM
Thanks cactus flower, I'll give it a shot and see how it goes...to the disliking of peaceful homeowners :) . But about the previous owners, it could very well be that they were dishonest about giving him up...because the reason was moving to a home where dogs are not allowed...so I'm going to call the shelter again and just see if Charlie came in with another dog.

Basically with what I do, I pull him close to me and try to sit him, because he doesn't respond when in these situations. Then I grab lightly from under his jaw to lift his head, making it harder to lunge forward and say no. but I doubt he listens yet...too distracted. As I said before he hasn't had any obedience training before.

Dogastrophe, you're right...he's pretty bad on leash and good in uncertain areas. But the problem still remains with other dogs wherever he's at. I really wouldn't want to try taking him off leash considering he hasn't been trained properly, so if this situation occurs off leash, I won't be able to control the situation. Plus he doesn't respond to come when he's distracted.
He responds the same way to dogs playing in parks and dogs up ahead on walks.

The interesting thing is, he really isn't an agressive dog at all. Afraid to bite, doesn't chew stuff other than bones. Doesn't even like squeaky toys. However, when he sees a dog, he lunges forward but doesn't growl or snarl nor bark(unless the dog has already passed by and I've constrained him). So it doesn't seem like an aggressive approach until he gets really close.

Dogastrophe
June 2nd, 2005, 11:18 AM
Why in the world would you take a dog you barely know that has shown itself to be aggressive towards other dogs to a dogpark!?! While I can understand wanting to find out whether it has anything to do with being onleash but lets think about this for a second.

If this dog really doesn't like other dogs turning it loose at a dog park could turn out to be a nightmare. He could attack and hurt a smaller dog or attack and be hurt by a larger dog.

I don't believe I advocated "turning it loose at a dog park", but rather under controlled situations i.e. with a couple of dogs you know and not 45 dogs running around. Part of the temperment testing activities I've been involved in have always involved some off leash assessment with one dog known to enjoy the company of other dogs and one 'questionable' dog.

LavenderRott
June 2nd, 2005, 11:50 AM
Try your dog at an off leash park (keep his leash on him but dangling behind for quick retrieval if necessary)

This is far from a controlled situation. While I understand assessing off leash behaviour, an off leash park would NOT be the place to do it. Yes with a couple of dogs that are WELL known in a small yard or large living room maybe. But again, by someone with vast experience reading doggy body language not a novice owner.

Dogastrophe
June 2nd, 2005, 01:11 PM
Yards or living rooms will tend to invite more trouble than a neutral location. When introducing my two established dogs with my newest one the situations were quite different between the neutral location and home (same occured when the first two were introduced. Perhaps I should not have used the words "dog park" as you are taking it a bit too literal. Instead, I will change my comments to say "fenced in neutral area where you are allowed to have your dog off leash but yet can step in to quickly break up a real fight if one occurs".

I disagree that you need to be an expert in dog body language to gauge your dogs reaction. My middle dog and one from up the street do not care for each other and have often got in scraps at the park, most of which is purely noise. This has occured on a few occassion. Both myself and the other owner know that neither dog is "aggressive" as they co-exist quite nicely with most other dogs. We all continue to go to the park, and our dogs tend to stay out of each other's way. We are able to tell by the way they look at each other whether they will just run by or start a commotion so we keep an eye on things ... and we are not 'experts'.

Lucky Rescue
June 2nd, 2005, 01:38 PM
Dogastrophe, if you check other threads here, you'll see there have been a few attacks in dog parks, and this is with dogs who are well known to their owners, and not known to be aggressive.

To suggest that someone take a highly dog-aggro dog that she barely knows to a dog park and drop the leash is shocking to say the least!

This dog needs to be gradually and SAFELY desensitized and taught how to behave in the presence of other dogs. This may NOT stop the aggression, but will stop the dog from acting on it.

Part of the temperment testing activities I've been involved in have always involved some off leash assessment with one dog known to enjoy the company of other dogs and one 'questionable' dog.

This dog is not "questionable" but outright and overtly aggressive,(possible fear aggressive) and NO one should ever be testing an aggressive or even questionable dog in the chaos of a dogpark, where many owners have no clue about their own dogs.

This dog is part JRT, and they can certainly be aggressive to other dogs, but can learn that they are not allowed to attack other dogs.

Dogastrophe
June 2nd, 2005, 02:02 PM
Again, as I said in my previous post "under a controlled situation." Not sure why you would say that the dog is "not "questionable" but outright and overtly aggressive,(possible fear aggressive)" when the owner states that "when he sees a dog, he lunges forward but doesn't growl or snarl nor bark(unless the dog has already passed by and I've constrained him)." This is not necessarily aggressive behaviour. As well, your comment that "This dog is part JRT, and they can certainly be aggressive to other dogs" is about as enlightened as the comments made by the people who demonize AmStaff and the like.

Trinitie
June 2nd, 2005, 02:07 PM
I trust you DID NOT just call the mod unenlightened and akin her to the freaks who side with the PB ban?

You advocated bringing a dog, who lunges at the throats of other dogs, to an off-leash park, leaving the leash on but dangling behind. How fast can you run? Can you catch a dog running away, at full tilt, to attack another dog, BEFORE it actually connects with the other dog? I don't know one person who can. And that includes World competition sprinters.

Lucky Rescue
June 2nd, 2005, 02:17 PM
"This dog is part JRT, and they can certainly be aggressive to other dogs" is about as enlightened as the comments made by the people who demonize AmStaff and the like.

Considering I own a pit bull, I would hardly be likely to wish to "demonize" any dog, especially my own:p.

Obviously you don't know that some breeds, including most terriers, are inclined to be dog aggressive. This is merely a fact - neither good nor bad and easily managed by a responsible person.

And a responsible person would not take a dog who lunges at any dog in sight anywhere and let go of the leash. I can hardly think of a worse scenario or worse advice.

Maybe you don't call a silent lunge at the throat aggressive behavior, but I sure do and I think most reasonable people would.

It seems you also are not aware that not all attacks are preceeded with barking and growling.

Dogastrophe
June 2nd, 2005, 02:22 PM
Absolutely I did, unless of course the purpose of the mod's on this forum are to not allow ppl to express their opinions / experience. A terrier will act like a terrier because it is a terrier! A Lab can also be agressive, as can a Dane, Poodle, etc. Also, it is likely unfair to characterize all the PB ban ppl as 'freaks'. I'm quite certain that you do not know the background of many of these people, particularily those who are emotionally involved. If a school of goldfish killed my child I would likely feel like banning goldfish.

Back to the debate, is the dog lunging at the throat or in the heat of the moment is that what it appears to be doing. If you take the time to read my post I indicated a 'controlled' environment i.e. neutral, enclosed space (obviously if it is such a wide expanse that the dogs can take off out of site that wouldn't be considered a controlled envrionment) with dogs whose personality you know.

Trinitie
June 2nd, 2005, 02:36 PM
Dogastrophe, given the dog's tendancy to lunge at the throats of other dogs, why would you possibly put either dog at risk by allowing such a thing to possibly happen, even if the chance is slight?

This is a dog in a new home, and is very dog aggressive. Nobody, in their right mind that is, would place this dog in a situation where it feels it must defend itself phycially. You may change your wording from "dog park" to "fenced area", but the circumstances are the same. Two dogs facing each other with the great possibility of bloodshed. A leash dangling behind an aggressive dog will do little good once it has another dog's throat in it's mouth.

And, to clarify things a little bit. The role of the mods here, including the one you insulted, are to protect the members here from personal attack and to keep the boards under some sembelance of order. LuckyRescue is VERY well versed in the different breeds of dog, and is quite right when she states the characteristics of the JRT. Even though she chooses not to take offense at the rude comment you spouted at her, I do.

That being said: watch carefully who you insult. They might not defend themselves, but I will.

Lucky Rescue
June 2nd, 2005, 02:37 PM
Certainly you are entitled to your opinion, including saying that I am unenlighted if you wish, and I am entitled to say that the advice you are giving is bad.

My middle dog and one from up the street do not care for each other and have often got in scraps at the park, most of which is purely noise. This has occured on a few occassion. Both myself and the other owner know that neither dog is "aggressive" as they co-exist quite nicely with most other dogs

This is the whole point. YOu know what your dog will do. The orginal poster RECENTLY got this dog from SPCA and does NOT know what he will do. He very well may be aggro only on leash, but again this person does NOT know that. If he rips another dog's throat out, the OP can hardly say, "Oh well I just wanted to see what he would do!", can she?

Gradual desensitization and obedience classes will help with his behavior, but this dog may never be able to be off leash with other dogs.

If you take the time to read my post I indicated a 'controlled' environment
YEs, I noticed that you changed it from "dog park" to "controlled environment" after others pointed out how outrageous your initial suggestion was.;)

Cactus Flower
June 2nd, 2005, 03:22 PM
Your original comment was: Try your dog at an off leash park (keep his leash on him but dangling behind for quick retrieval if necessary)
Nothing mentioned there about a "controlled environment".

I hope that I never - never - find myself walking my dog in the same park as someone who thinks like you.

And I, too, am offended by your comments to LuckyRescue. Saying that JRT's can have a tendency to be aggressive to other dogs is no different than saying that hounds have a tendency to bay, or that beagles have a tendency to pick up a scent and ignore your callbacks off-leash.

Now back to the original poster, who certainly needs more advice than bickering here. Viewfinder, the types of neighbors who would allow their dogs to lunge (albeit from the other side of a fence) and bark at every person who walks past on the public sidewalk will likely not be too upset by you walking by with your dog, for training purposes.
I hope nobody is bothered by this exercise, because I truly think that it will help to desensitize your dog.

I'm sure you'll get plenty of valuable advice on this board from the knowledgable members here. I'm sorry that things got a little sidetracked. We also have a wonderful trainer, named Tenderfoot, who can offer you some professional advice for this problem. She is only online now and then, but I hope that she sees your post when she is. Please keep checking back.

nymph
June 2nd, 2005, 03:24 PM
when he sees a dog, he lunges forward but doesn't growl or snarl nor bark(unless the dog has already passed by and I've constrained him). So it doesn't seem like an aggressive approach until he gets really close.

so lunging = aggressive? even without growling, snarling or barking?

Diego would do that sometimes, to his classmates in puppy school. He would also put his front paws around other dog's neck, but he has never made other dogs barking or yelping, and the trainers assured me that it was OK. He's a 5 months old golden/lab cross. :confused:

LavenderRott
June 2nd, 2005, 03:31 PM
he goes straight for the other dog's neck

If it was my dog he was headed for - I would think this was aggressive.

He would also put his front paws around other dog's neck,

This is generally seen as a dominance thing and certainly not ok. Well, it may be for some, but I am the dominant member in my house hold and the dogs are not allowed to show that type of behavior to anyone or anything in my house.

nymph
June 2nd, 2005, 03:45 PM
so pawing other dogs is OK, but pawing people isn't?

When Diego was younger and we brought in an older female to socialize with him, he constantly lunged at her and tried to nip her neck, and she would get really annoyed and would just pin him down with her paw or hold his head in her mouth without biting down...Diego was a lot better after her stay over.

I am uncertain however if this is normal puppy behavior or this is indeed aggressive behavior. Should I be concerned or he'll grow out of it.

He's finishing up puppy class next week, and we'll take a little break before sending him to basic obedience.

Dogastrophe
June 2nd, 2005, 05:04 PM
Considering I own a pit bull, I would hardly be likely to wish to "demonize" any dog, especially my own:p.

Obviously you don't know that some breeds, including most terriers, are inclined to be dog aggressive. This is merely a fact - neither good nor bad and easily managed by a responsible person.




Given that I presently have a mix bag of terriers and have always had terriers (including AmStaffs) I feel fairly confident discussing my experiences with them. I suppose that I was under the wrong impression about this Board -- as long as you agree with the Mod's or are not willing to offer any suggestions that may be perceived as controversial, particularily when none of us but the person with the original post can truely view the behaviour of their dog and then must try to explain "what" is occuring and requesting some advise, then you are welcome.

Lucky Rescue
June 2nd, 2005, 05:32 PM
so lunging = aggressive? even without growling, snarling or barking?

It depends. IF the dog is a puppy just eager to play, that's another thing.

The dog in question is not a puppy, but is over 4 years old and has been said, may very well have been given up for his aggressive behavior. Growling, etc is usually a warning and sometimes a sign of fear aggression, but not all dogs give one. Pit bulls may attack another dog with no warning, and even with tail wagging in anticipation.

glasslass
June 2nd, 2005, 05:57 PM
I've felt bad that Den-Den has never been to a dog park. Now the idea that some owners could actually, without my knowlege, use my pampered pet as a training tool to correct their dog's aggressive behavior, strikes real fear of dog parks! This is the big reason behind why small dog owners pick up their vulnerable pets when a large dog comes close, especially of a breed known to be dog aggressive. If we don't know the owner or the other dog, how can we trust that our dogs are safe?

Viewfinder
June 3rd, 2005, 01:17 AM
All I can say is this is going to be long.

Wow, I really didn't expect so much controversy from such a topic! Nevertheless, we shouldn't be so conceded as to form opinions as to what method is right and wrong. The purpose of this post was to gather opinions from various perspectives so that I could see what would suit my dog the best. Afterall he's right in front of me so I'm the only one that can really determine what would be best for him. No matter how badly stated one's words may be I'm sure they've got a good idea of how their pets are. Afterall, it's their responsibility as an owner.

So to get back to all of you, probably best in point form coz of all the posts:
1) Charlie went into the shelter with another dog. I called and asked today. So it is not because of agressive behaviour.
2) Charlie lunges forward at people when people get close, just not as strong as he would with another dog approaching. He loves attention from people though. Therefore, in this case - lunging does not mean agressive.

and just to clarify what I mean by lunging - pulling really hard on the leash so that a) he's pulling as hard as he can on all fours; b) he's on his hind legs perched forwards balanced on his neck

It is when I loosen the leash a little bit to see if he's just excited or really attacking. I do this because I don't know Charlie well. And I've got a pretty good reflex and hold so he's within 2-3 feet away when I recoil.

3) I can see Charlie has been taught not to bite, nor nip. If I try to stick my finger in his mouth or open his mouth, he'll close his mouth or shiver, respectively.

In terms of 'nymph's' dog diego lunging at some dogs sometimes, I would consider doing something about it while he's still in his youth. He may just playing agressively as you see how wild cats do on Discovery etc. Nevertheless, from reading a post yesterday on dog fights...I think in General forum, it's true that it is the lawsuits that come later that do the most damage. So in any case it's better to be safe than sorry. So for my sake, I don't want to be up against an insurance agency, and for the Charlie's sake I'd like him to be able to socialize with other dogs. Plus I don't have to keep a tight grip all the time.

I've just bought him a halti and he hates it so much, but damn did he not pull at all, so he knows how to walk well at least. Just we didn't confront any other dogs on the walk tonight.

In terms of methods, I don't think it would be a good approach for this scenario,having charlie and another dog who is good with others in a 'controlled' environment. Strictly speaking, in dog terms there really isn't any controlled area. To them it is all territorial, hence the piss markings, etc. Although painful, ideally it would be good to see Charlie get in a fight where he loses. That way he will learn from experience. However, as stated before, one experience is already one too many. I can't afford to have a lawsuit, nor can I afford to have him sent to ER. Which is why I don't take him off leash. The halti, however acts as if there is no leash...only he hates it because if he pulls it tightens, and he hates the feeling around his snout.

The method cactus flower suggested seems more approachable, in a sense that I can at least try to desensitize him for now before I take him to obedience school. However, I'd probably have to train him better because he doesn't respond to his name all that well or to me if he is focused on another dog.

So thats all I can really spill out for now. Thanks for all the input so far, but if any of you have any extra suggestions feel free to post them. I'll still be reading.

Regards,
Adrian

nymph
June 3rd, 2005, 10:27 AM
Adrian, the halti is great for Diego as well, but it's still a gimmick, it doesn't teach the dog to respect you. There are detailed discussions on leash training in other threads, particularly input from TenderFoot, I suggest you to read some of her suggestions.

We are doing what our trainer calls the "magic walk", basically it involves getting the dog's attention with slight pressure on the leash, when he does look at you, give him a treat; as soon as he pulls, change direction, apply slight pressure, get him to look at you and ultimately to follow you. You may also want to change directions so the dog won't know what's coming next, so that he would have to follow you. It is a lot like TenderFoot's "step dance".

Another mistake the owners often make is not anchor the hand holding leash: the hand should be fixed at one position, if your dog is as strong as my Diego, my trainer suggested me to anchor my hand against my hip, and use the J shape to anchor leash on your hand (not suer if I'm making myself clear). Your hand holding the leash should never move, turn yourself if you need to, so that the dog would always walk on your preferred side.

Prin
June 3rd, 2005, 01:36 PM
Although painful, ideally it would be good to see Charlie get in a fight where he loses. That way he will learn from experience.
I hope for your doggy's sake you don't mean this. Dogs can learn from a fight but they can also become MORE aggressive and MORE afraid of other dogs and LESS social. Most of the time that is what happens. Dominating is not the same as fighting although domination is a part of fighting.

Nymph, if your dog is going from above to put the feet around the other dogs neck, it's domination. If he's going from below in sort of a hug, it's play.

Lunging can mean so many things, if the dog is barking and snapping while lunging, then it's obviously aggression. On the other hand if the dog is lunging with his tail wagging, but not vertically (the more the tail is forced upward the more the dog is displaying dominant body language), then you might be ok. The tail is best (for good interactions) when it's straight out from the hips or lower (but not tucked under).

Here's Boo's hiney normally, see the tail? This is when he's being easy going and nice.

Prin
June 3rd, 2005, 01:38 PM
And this is Boo (on the left) dominating Jemma. You see his tail versus Jemma's? Sort of forced vertical? Keep in mind though that some doggies have screwy body language and this might not work for every single doggy (don't assume that a low tail is a nice doggy-- usually though, up is dominant without too many exceptions).

nymph
June 3rd, 2005, 01:55 PM
Prin: That's a great tip! Diego usually comes from below, like a hug, but usually would end up with his front paws on top of other dog's neck/back. I haven't really paid much attention to his tail.

If he is ineed trying to dominate, is it a bad thing? What do I need to do? Diego has been doing really well in puppy class, responding very well to the trainers (him and another Dobie pup are the easiest trainees). Ever since our vet told us that he's likely to be a dominating dog that I've been on the high alert about his domination issue.

LavenderRott
June 3rd, 2005, 02:10 PM
If he is ineed trying to dominate, is it a bad thing? What do I need to do? Diego has been doing really well in puppy class, responding very well to the trainers (him and another Dobie pup are the easiest trainees). Ever since our vet told us that he's likely to be a dominating dog that I've been on the high alert about his domination issue.

Well, yeah, it is a bad thing.

You need to be the boss, 100%, at all times. No sleeping on the bed, no laying on the couch, no food that he doesn't earn (a sit before putting his dish down is fine), no going out the door in front of you, no getting in or out of the car without your say so, etc.

If you are not the boss, then he WILL be. While that may not be a problem today, it may be a MAJOR problem in the future.