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Antisocial, Dominance issue or Confusion

Boxerlover
July 27th, 2005, 09:27 PM
I have recently moved into a house where I have two roomates. They have an older lab/dalmation scross (6 years). She is great around people, children and people in general. The problem tends to arise when she is around other dogs. She is wagging her tail like crazy, but the hair on the back of her neck is standing straight up and she will eventually go for the other dog/puppy. We have tried her around puppies as young as 8 weeks and she is still very agressive at the slightest whimper out of the puppy. I am looking to get a young boxer as I love the breed, but this can not happen until I figure out where the root of the problem lies. :sad: Any advice or help on this matter would be greatly appreciated. :thumbs up

Thanks,
Boxerlover

Prin
July 27th, 2005, 09:40 PM
It might be that the doggy was removed from the litter before 8 weeks, and was not properly socialized as a result.

As for suggestions, I had a really dog-aggressive lab (she was removed from the litter at 6 weeks after being attacked by the mother), and frankly, we just kept her apart from other dogs.

Maybe others here will be of more help... I just feel that at 6 years old, this doggy, even if she's socialized, won't have the patience for a puppy, especially not a boxer puppy...

StaceyB
July 27th, 2005, 10:09 PM
Has this dog always been this way, if not when did it first start. Lack of socializing as a puppy is one of the #1 causes of aggression in dogs. Post all the details you can about the behaviour.

Prin did you know that a puppy that is left at the breeders too long may also have social issues. You are right being taken from mom and siblings too early keeps them from learning social skills from them, soft mouth is a big one. The key period for learning social skills is in the first 3 months. If they remain at the breeders til they are 12 wks means that they have missed this time. Even many of the best breeders don't spend the time to socialize the pups. They may never leave the kennel unless to go to the vets and even then some vets will go there. When a puppy goes out to their home from the breeders at 8 wks, the new family being so proud and excited to have the puppy takes it everywhere possible. Good social time.

Lucky Rescue
July 28th, 2005, 10:21 AM
She is wagging her tail like crazy, but the hair on the back of her neck is standing straight up and she will eventually go for the other dog/puppy.

As you see, tail wagging (especially if the tail is straight up) can mean a lot of things - some of them not good, like excitement at attacking another dog!

If this dog is showing aggression towards 8 week old puppies, I wouldn't get one if I were you. If you do, be prepared to be on guard all the time, and very vigilant about keeping doors closed and the dogs apart. Just one slip up could result in a dead puppy, or a puppy who will also grow up to be fearful/aggressive towards other dogs.:(

At 6 years old, these behaviors are pretty set but if the owner really wants to learn to manage them, I suggest consulting a good trainer who knows how to deal with this.

Boxerlover
July 28th, 2005, 10:56 PM
The tail wagging is the same as if a human is petting her or even trying to play with her. She is not a very playful dog, but she loves the attention. I don't know a whole lot about the history of the dog, but I know that she has never really been around other dogs. I have tried to take her to a dog park and she is tolerant and curious around some dogs, but goes after most others. It is really wierd though becasue even around the puppies after she went for them the first time, we can stop her without a leash by just saying no, but after that she will ignore them unless they bark at her then she turns her attentioin back to them.

I know that if I want a puppy I am going to have to be very vigilant with the two of them. I will definately get a behaviorist involved before making any such decision though.

Does anyone know of a sucessful behaviorsit in the Houston area that might be able to help me figure out this problem?

Thanks,
Boxerlover

StaceyB
July 28th, 2005, 11:11 PM
I have worked with many dogs with this same behaviour with great success. It takes hard work and should be monitored throughout the training process with an experienced trainer that deals in these behaviours. Choose one that will use positive methods.
A happy tail is all loose when they wag it. A tail that is stiff with only the tip wagging is stress, aggressive sign. But remember it is total body language that with give you a clear picture of how they feel about a situation.

mona_b
July 29th, 2005, 12:14 AM
Have they had this dog since she was a pup?

If dogs as pups are not really socialized with other dogs,they do tend to get aggressive when seeing them.And sometimes owners don't want to work on the aggression.But then again there are just some dogs who want nothing to do with other dogs.


If they remain at the breeders til they are 12 wks means that they have missed this time.

I have to dissagree on this.My dogs have come to me at this age(12 weeks).This is the age my breeder let them go at.I have never had a problem with any of them.I made sure they were very well socialized.This meant with people,kids,cats,and other puppies and well behaved dogs.

Boxerlover,I would definately put off on getting a pup untill the issues with this dog is worked out.

StaceyB
July 29th, 2005, 12:24 AM
You are lucky
Maybe your breeder took extra care into socializing them. It also sounds as if you did.

Prin
July 29th, 2005, 12:59 AM
From what I know, if they stay in the litter too long, it's harder to get them to bond with humans, and if they aren't long enough, they are either dog aggressive or very fearful around other dogs. I haven't heard that longer causes dog aggression... But then there may not be enough studies done on it all yet.

mona_b
July 29th, 2005, 08:52 AM
You are lucky
Maybe your breeder took extra care into socializing them. It also sounds as if you did.

I really wouldn't say I'm lucky,but if I am,than I know may others that are.... :)



From what I know, if they stay in the litter too long, it's harder to get them to bond with humans,

Not really true.All the breeders I know socialize their pups.They have families of their own,and are around the pups alot.Many have kids and family members who are over.They are constinley around humans.Reputable breeders always socialize there pups in one way or another.Many also start crate training.

Many breeders keep their pups longer(till 12 weeks) for this reason. :)

StaceyB
July 29th, 2005, 09:48 AM
I deal with social issues far too often. The areas that affect how social a puppy will be when you get it are how social the mother is. If she is not social herself, she is unable to pass those important skills on to her pups. Next is how early the pup leaves mom and siblings. To many breeders think that once their pups are eating and drinking on their own and barely nursing, are ready to go to new homes but as long as they are nursing once a day, they contiue to get immune protection. They don't start producing their own until they are around 10 wks. From usually 5-8 wks mom starts to teach important social skills. The first 12 wks of puppy's life are the most important time for learning social skills, learning how to deal with the world around them. During this time you want to have them meet and greet as many things as possible. Socializing is with everything they will see in their lifetime, people, kids, dogs, other animals, sounds, smells, and everything else. The first 12 wks is the most important time but not the only time. A social puppy is better equipped to deal with the world. Many puppies that have had few social experiences are more likely to show fear of new things, people, dogs etc.
As I mentioned in the previous post, many breeders just don't give them enough social experiences outside of their own home so a puppy remaining there til they are 12 wks had missed out and puppies may show fear. A puppy that goes at 8 wks is more likely not to show fear.

Two litters of puppies. Both litters have a social mom. One litter goes to new homes at 8 wks and gets the opportunity socialize with all kinds of different things. The other litter doesn't go til they are 12 wks and didn't have the opportuity to leave the breeders during this time. At 12 wks which puppies are most likely to be more social.

mona_b
July 29th, 2005, 11:10 AM
It could go both ways.

I have known 8 week old pups to have social issues.

This is why it is so very important as new puppy owners to do all the socializing with them as possible once you have them.... :)

I'm just saying that it is my experience and families/friends who have gotten pups at 12 weeks,that they are just as social as an 8 week old pup.

My friends Great Dane,Jazz was 12 weeks old.So was my sisters Siberian Husky and Border Collie.My cousins GSD.My friends Dobe(Champion).Friend of the families Afghan(Champion)List goes on. :)

StaceyB
July 29th, 2005, 11:29 AM
I have had thousands of puppies come through classes. Most were quite social including the ones that went to their new homes at 12 wks. It all depends on what is done with them in those 12 wks.
This comment is for how they are when you get them. What you do next is all you. If you spend the time and put forth the effort, you should still end up with a great, socially sound, well trained dog. If they come to you with social issues it just takes a little longer and more work to get there.

doggirl
July 29th, 2005, 11:34 AM
How social a dog is depends just as much on their genetics as on environment. The same way you can't make a dog ball crazy, you only have so much influence on how a dog will be with other animals. People undervalue the genetic effect often.

Puppies learn from their littermates as much as or more than their dam, social behaviors, and this starts around 3 weeks and goes til they leave the litter. Between 8 and 12 weeks is prime time for learning social etiquette with other dogs and they learn this from their littermates, not their dam. They learn by actually playing it out. They act inappropriately, their playmate shrieks and 'ignores' them for a spell. They learn body language and calming signals, etc.

Many many dogs are terrible upon introductions but are fine with dogs that they get past that stage with, they just need specific dog friends that they know. Just like people, there is variability - some people don't want to go to crowded venues or talk to strangers, some dogs just prefer to have their own known friends and leave it at that. Introductions is an area many dogs have weakness in because so many owners interfere and inadvertently create a problem - eg tense leashes, one small thing that can cause one big problem, or jumping in and correcting dogs that are behaving perfectly normally, or allowing dogs to be horribly rude in dog language to another dog. Unfortunately the sad truth is the average pet owner really doesn't have a clue about dog etiquette, body language, social rituals, calming signals etc. Perfect example, a guy I knew whose dog was starting to mature into some hard-wired dog-aggression, I was asking him didn't he think he was putting others at risk still bringing her to the dog park, he said no he'd be able to call her off, she knows to stop when she's told. This same guy let the dog run offlead at the dog park, and she would totally ignore him when he called, one day I mentioned that, if she ignores you when you tell her to come why would you think she'd listen when she's fighting with all the hormonal influences that go with that, and he told me about the recall he has with her - he tells her to come, if she ignores he ups it and puts another verbal cue in, if she still ignores he puts a second verbal cue in with it and then she listens...maybe I'm slow but to me that seems like you have trained the dog to ignore you...and that's assuming she did return when he did his level 3 (which she didn't). And this guy said he had to allow her offlead because how else can he train a recall. The sad thing is this guy was considered one of the real knowledgable people in the dog park. Nice guy but totally clueless about dog behavior and training.

tenderfoot
July 29th, 2005, 12:10 PM
Humble interjection here - and forgive me - I am majorly sleepy right now so I hope I am clear. See - is 'majorly' even a word? - I don't think so!
It's everything and all things wrapped up in each indiviual pup! Every litter has the gammut of personalities and ways of responding to stimulus - they are then helped or hindered by the responses of the mother, siblings, breeder, environment, socialization, vaccinations (they can effect the physical quality of the brains responses to stimulus), new family, pet store, broker, fear periods, food, illness, injuries, etc.
You get what you get - If you are blessed to get a new pup from a breeder then you make the best of what you can do in that prime learning period but it still needs to continue for the life of the dog.
If you get an older dog from a shelter and it has issues - you say "I'm sorry you had a rough start, we are here to help and let's help you get over it".
No matter what - you could get the WORST pup ever from a breeder who charged you $2000 and said they did everything right, or the BEST dog ever from a cardboard box left in front of the grocery.

StaceyB
July 29th, 2005, 12:55 PM
You are right, genetics do play a part. Nature vs nurture, you can't have oone without the other. I believe that too many people put too much into genetics and accept unwanted behaviours thinking they have no control over changing or controlling them. This is why there is such a negative view of the pit bull. Having a retriever doesn't mean that it will ever retrieve, they need to be taught. You could have a litter of puppies that all have the same genetic make up, but since they will all have different experiences they may all turn out differently.
There are many factors, everything that your puppy experiences will affect how they will be as adults. I will structure their training/ socializing (exercise) to form the behaviours I want from them. For example, dogs that have been bred to work may need more exercise and brain stimulation than a non working breed, dogs bred for protection/ fighting may need more positive socializing experiences, etc. All dogs need everything I have mentioned and every dog is an individual and will get what they require as an individual even if they of a particular breed.
I do not use genetics as an excuse for bad behaviour.
Because of all the attention put onto the pit bull I will use it as an example. Some owners of particular breeds think that they need to take precautions to ensure that their dog will not attack so they hold them back from other dogs or people. They may get nervous if strange things approach them. If they had a different breed with them, they may not react this way. By the way they handle situations they can unknowingly produce a badly behaved dog. I am not including all dogs owners in this comment. It is usually those who lack experience.

doggirl
July 29th, 2005, 11:42 PM
I believe that too many people put too much into genetics and accept unwanted behaviours thinking they have no control over changing or controlling them.

-The current view is that genetics play as much a part in behavior as environment...IMO, too many people put too much stock in socialization... :)

Having a retriever doesn't mean that it will ever retrieve, they need to be taught.

-We must be meeting very different retrievers! Not ALL retrievers retrieve but many do, without being taught. Just as most pointers point without being taught, heelers heel without being taught, etc...

You could have a litter of puppies that all have the same genetic make up, but since they will all have different experiences they may all turn out differently.

-Having the same parents is a different thing than having the same genetic make-up. There are certain behaviors that are hard-wired, THAT is the genetic component of behavior. As someone else said, you can get dogs from lousy situations who are spectacular, and we all know someone who's had a dog from a puppy, done everything right, and still have a neurotic dog. THIS is the effect of genetics. Breed traits are an effect of genetics but every individual has their own unique genetic make-up, which is what I'm saying; some dogs just plumb do not like other dogs. Some dogs are just really really good with other dogs. Some dogs are naturally protective because they are guardian breeds, and their aggressive display towards strangers is not rooted in dominance, fear, territoriality, etc.

I do not use genetics as an excuse for bad behaviour.

-I guess I look at it differently; what may be "bad behavior" for one dog may be correct temperament for another - eg, using your pit bull as an example - whereas a Rottweiler may not allow a stranger to do anything and everything to him, a pit bull should, because it's correct temperament for the former (a guardian breed), but being at all sketchy with people in any situation is not proper behavior for the breed. I am in line with the Cheryl Smith school of thought, and feel that breed traits are a VERY relevent and significant factor when looking at a dog's behavior.

Because of all the attention put onto the pit bull I will use it as an example. Some owners of particular breeds think that they need to take precautions to ensure that their dog will not attack so they hold them back from other dogs or people. They may get nervous if strange things approach them. If they had a different breed with them, they may not react this way. By the way they handle situations they can unknowingly produce a badly behaved dog. I am not including all dogs owners in this comment. It is usually those who lack experience.

-I'm not sure how this relates to excusing bad behavior based on genetics, but yes, I agree that most behavior problems we see in dogs were created by the people around them (inadvertently but still). I'm just not sure how that relates to genetics vs environment. Some dogs are just not built to get worked up even on a tight lead with a nervous owner, and some dogs will get worked up even when handled very well. That's what I mean about genetics.

lkdjfpodas

tenderfoot
July 31st, 2005, 02:11 PM
Hi dog girl - I am confused what's "lkdjfpodas"?. I am thinking your fingers were on the wrong keys?
The only posting code I know is LOL and I was even wrong when I tried to guess that one the first time. I thought it was 'lots of love'.