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Duke's Dark Side..

March 24th, 2007, 12:05 AM
Well as some may know, Duke, who is a Rotti/GSD/Collie has had a few issues from puphood that we have been trying to sort out. These mainly fell under dominance and resource gaurding (me).

He is now in his second level of obidence ( well it's basic but he already graduated puppy obidence before it) and has been doing wonderfully and responds very well to me. He has also been going to the supervised dog park near my house and has literally gotten 200% better. Last sunday was his first time playing with the other dogs. After 5 months of going once a week he has gone from standoffish and defensive ( running away from other dogs, cowering and growling if they came to close) to actually running around with them and playing fetch and just normal dog play behaviour.

He has also improved on gaining confidence away from me which has lessened his resource gaurding behaviour towards me ( by having sleep overs with my friend and his best dog friend or just staying home with my parents without me) and I thought I had almost completely eliminated it..that was until last night at least.

As we do at least once or twice a week we went over to my friends who owns Gypsy, his best dog friend for a forest hike. During the day he was great, he was offlesh the whole time and his recall times have been getting faster and faster. When joggers ran by I simply told him to sit and stay and he completely ignored them until they were out of sight and then we continued. Later on that night after it had gotten dark we went out again, not in the forest due to predators but instead to the park.

On our way back we stopped on the picnic table so my friend could have a smoke when two people approached on the trail a few 30 feet away with two large dogs. Duke who is always more alert at night, perked up and started watching them intensly and let out an alert bark which all is normal for him. I said, "enough" as I always do to let him know I know something is coming but he dosen't need to bark anymore. They got closer and Dule remained watchful until they were about 7 feet away with us when his hackles raised and he lungee out on the lesh doing that maniac german shepherd bark. I unfortunatly didn't have his head halter on which would have worked much better as I could have taken his eyes away from the situation and instead only had his choke on ( dosen't need it on walks I just have it for extra control in a "just incase" situation. I immediatly gave him a correction and firmly said, "Duke enough" but he completely ignored it. My friend and I turned him away from the people ( who's dogs were now barking and growling back as Duke has sparked them) and showed him a biscuit to get his attention back on us.

It was like he was completely phased out as he wouldn't respond at all, he was literally just going nuts trying to kill either those two dogs or the two people walking them. I've never seen him do anything like it before in the end I had to physically restrain him while my friend held his muzzel closed until they passed. After they were gone we left and encountered another person up ahead with a dog. I told the man my dog wasn't friendly and to not let his dog sniff mine but it was on one of those stupid extendo lesh's and bolted over to Duke. Again Duke raised his hackles and lunged doing the maniac German Shepherd bark and I managed to hold him away while the guy got his dog under control.

Then just like Jackall and Hyde today on our morning walk he met a total of 7 foriegn dogs, two which were offlesh and bolted over to him ( which I really hate as Duke does not like other dogs in his face) and sniffed them politely until we walked off. It really seems to be at night when we are stationary as it seems his protective instincts really get thrown into over drive. Tonight I actually remembered his head halter and when we stopped for a smoke and he began alert barking( which is nothing similar to the attack mode he went into the night before) I simply stood up and pulled his head up right with the gentle leader and gave a firm enough, which immediatly stopped him.

Regardless I will ask my trainer who runs the obidence class to see what he thinks and if nessicary get him to do an evalutation as he is a certified behavioralist. I also intend to keep a good record of how he reacts around other dogs, onlesh, offlesh ( at the dog park) and the difference between night and day and stationary and moving.

Just wanted to share as it was a little but unnerving but regardless I'll stick with Duke regardless of what trainging approaches and so on need to be tried.