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Socializing an agressive dog

we3beagles
June 10th, 2006, 03:06 AM
:confused: I have a little beagle who is so loving in the home to us and her pack mates. Outside the home though is a whole other story. She is very agressive and barks and snarls at any passing dog (only dogs). It is a lot of hard work to get her to accept a foster dog when we need to. My question is: where would we take such a dog to socialize her. Do you think that socializing would desensitize her to other dogs or should we call in the behaviorist again. Stuffing cheese in her face does not seem to be working after 2 months of trying. Other than this small flaw she is the perfect dog. Loving, snuggly, and she listens really well (inside the house).

pitgrrl
June 10th, 2006, 09:10 AM
For desensitization to work you need to start far enough away from other dogs that she doesn't react. Once a dog is all fired up, good luck with the cheese.
Start teaching a "watch me" command with no distractions at all. Bring a treat up to your face and when you get eye contact, match it with your cammand and treat, asking for progressively longer periods of eye contact.

Once she know the command figure out what your dogs comfort zone is, meaning how far away from other dogs she needs to be to stay calm. Work on the "watch me" command at this distance first, then very slowly getting closer to other dogs. You don't want to rush it, as the idea is that she never starts freaking out.
I also like to ask for a "watch me" on walks or in different situations so that the command doesn't get linked only to other dogs (I have one dog who started to look around of the other dog every time I asked him to watch me, obviously he's smarter than me).
Once you get a reliable "watch me" in pretty close proximity to other dogs, start giving less treats, eventually waiting till you are passed the other dog to treat, rather than doing it while the dog passes.

My experience, though it is with a very different breed, is that you can teach a dog aggressive dog to ignore other dogs and behave around them on leash, but I would expect my dog aggressive dog to mingle freely with strange dogs. To me the deal is I don't let dogs he doesn't know get in his face, but he needs to behave around them.

PetFriendly
June 10th, 2006, 11:15 AM
Doggie day care might help?

Also, is the dog just plain agressive or is it reacting because its scared? Some dogs just need more space than others but don't have the proper comunication skills to say back off without getting in a huff and showing teeth, etc. (Mine is like that and our trainer said daycare would likely help get him a better set of comunication skills)

JessXx
June 10th, 2006, 06:58 PM
Shyla is the nicest dog you'd ever meet when we're home with her... but when we're in a dog park (with Pepper) she is really not a nice dog...
If your dog doesn't like other dogs try going to a training school, that helps sometimes... and sometimes it just best to let the dog be because its better that way.

we3beagles
June 11th, 2006, 03:56 PM
we do sit far enough away from the dogs and she is pretty good up until they are right in front of her. then she goes ballistic. I can control her up until the point when the other dog becomes curious and gives her the look.

Petfriendly, you hit the nail right on the head. Soozie came from the St. John's SPCA and we have nothing but problems with dogs that come from there. They are all agressive if they have been there for more than a few weeks. Unfortunatly, they won't release any of their dogs to us unless there is a firm adoption in place (not even to a foster home). She is really good with dogs she has met up close (even has a boyfriend) and of course her pack.

None of the courses will let me bring an agressive dog into the class. They all want to have a private session with her which I have already had and the cheese thing was what was suggested. I don't think a daycare would allow her in either as she can look and act quite vicious.

Another problem is ignorant people who, while in the midst of trying to control and train her, come up with their dog and say "well, my dog just wants to meet your dog" (how about you just walk on by, bonehead) as well as the people who, in an on leash park, have their dogs off leash. "She just wants to meet your dog", (mine will probably take a good bite out of yours if she gets too close). Honestly, do people not recognize training when they see it?

Bullmastiff
June 12th, 2006, 06:44 PM
I absolutely agree. That is the problem I am having with my dog. He is dog aggressive and seems to be only because of the experiences of people letting there dogs just run up in his face and he has been bit a few times. Now, he is a 130 pound Bullmastiff and if a dog runs up in his face he will fight. I don't understand people either. I always have him leashed (I would love it if he was able to ever go to an offleash park but doubt I can ever get him good enough to do it). So he is always leashed and I walk him in our neighbourhood and even tell people that he is dog aggressive but they seem to be not listening because they let there dog (who is always off leash on there lawn) bolt across the road and run at him...or bolt down five houses on the side walk and then there is a fight......and the people look at me like I am at fault! This has happened more then once with different dogs.
This makes it difficult for me to train him to be more dog friendly. I make headwaves with him and then he gets attacked, fights and I am back to square one. He was attacked a couple weeks back by a golden cross who just charged him from about 6 houses away, ran right up to him, jumped on his head and all Dexter did was get between me and the dog and push it with his chest and paws...the dog bit him in the face though and drew blood. Now I know that was leaps and bounds that Dexter didn't tackle the dog but it is hard to teach him to be friendly with dogs that run up to him because he gets attacked so much AND with his power and size the other dog doesn't truly ever win. The only reason I feel he left that dog alone was because of his obedience training and he knows the command "leave it" and I used that over and over and he left the dog.
People have suggested to muzzle him when walking but that defeats the purpose of my leashed dog being attacked so I would never do that.
I am actually going to call a behaviourist to come in and see if he can help modify Dexters dog behaviour. This is the one I am going to call, not sure if that would help your situation too. There should be classes for dogs like ours I think and everyone can work on it together! Best of luck.
http://www.animalbehaviour.ca/ab2/do.php?target=index

PetFriendly
June 12th, 2006, 07:24 PM
Another problem is ignorant people who, while in the midst of trying to control and train her, come up with their dog and say "well, my dog just wants to meet your dog" (how about you just walk on by, bonehead) as well as the people who, in an on leash park, have their dogs off leash. "She just wants to meet your dog", (mine will probably take a good bite out of yours if she gets too close). Honestly, do people not recognize training when they see it?

maybe be more direct... Instead of saying, My dog will bite yours in your head, say it out loud... Tell them she's a pound dog, doesn't yet like other dogs and might/likley will harm theirs.

PetFriendly
June 12th, 2006, 07:28 PM
I absolutely agree. That is the problem I am having with my dog. He is dog aggressive and seems to be only because of the experiences of people letting there dogs just run up in his face and he has been bit a few times. ... they seem to be not listening because they let there dog (who is always off leash on there lawn) bolt across the road and run at him...or bolt down five houses on the side walk and then there is a fight......and the people look at me like I am at fault! This has happened more then once with different dogs.

Check with your township/City and see what the muzzle laws are. In Ottawa, what your describing would be an unprovoked attacked and all offending dogs (not yours but the other ones) would have muzzle orders on them.

I'm not usually someone who goes to the authorities to settle my neighbourly disputes, but when a neighbours dog attacked mine, on my property (it was on a flexi lead) and the owner made excuses to the effect that Charley and I had startled her dog, so it wasn't hte dogs fault that it bit Charley, I called them in... Turns out the dog had bitten a girl in the face the previous summer and should have been muzzled anyway.

kaytris
June 12th, 2006, 07:48 PM
I think this needs to be required reading for ALL dog owners. As the owner of two dogs with leash issues, nothing makes me more irate than the dogwalkers that let their pets charge my dogs and get right in their face.

http://www.flyingdogpress.com/sayhi.html

(her article on leash aggression is also very useful, on the same site)