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how to deal with new aggression

m935
February 5th, 2008, 04:51 PM
I adopted a mixed breed 2 years ago. She is a great dog. She loves people/animals, listens pretty well (more to my boyfriend then myself) and was pretty easy to train.

I understand the important of being dominant - i even took her to an 8 week class. The problem is - i just cant get her to see that I am the boss. Sometimes on the leash - she will jsut stop and refuse to walk any further. I have tried placing her collar behind her ears and walking forward. What was working for me was to place my hand under her belly and pushing slightly - she would always respond to that. This morning she growled and snapped at me. It shocked me. I walked her back into the house and she went immediately for her bed - so i knew she was aware she was wrong. She has growled (not snapped) at me in the past when she tried eating cat poop in the yard. But this was very scary for me. She has never had this attitude with anyone BUT me and in 2.5 years its happened about 5 times.

I know the issue is totally about her not respecting me or her seeing that she is the dominant one - even though I wouldnt think that in any other aspect of our relationship. But i dont know how to keep this from happening again or how to respond to her if it does.


thanks

luckypenny
February 5th, 2008, 07:12 PM
Welcome to pets.ca m935 :) . Your dogs behavior must be both confusing and frightening for you.

Your title says "new aggression" but you mention it's happened 5x in the past 2 1/2 years. Is this indeed a fairly recent happening or something that's been going on since she came to live with you? Has she had blood tests and a full check-up done recently? This is the first step I would recommend to rule out any medical conditions. Is your dog only showing aggression towards you or are there other people she doesn't seem too fond of?

Personally, I feel the "dominance" issue is a little over-rated and the term is often misused. It's really about leadership, communication, and trust.

Please have her looked at by a vet, insist on blood tests including thyroid. If all results are normal, then get some help from a qualified behaviorist experienced with aggression issues. Please do not hire a trainer that believes you have to dominate a dog by using force, corrections, etc. In the meantime, avoid any confrontations with your dog; if you know something will set her off, then don't do it until you get some professional help.

If you need help finding a behaviorist in your area, just ask. We'll try to find you one who can help. Good luck :fingerscr and keep us posted.

m935
February 5th, 2008, 09:16 PM
Thank you so much for your response.

I called it "new" aggression because im terrible with coming up with titles :) and because it is new in that she has never showed aggression when i try to get her to walk - only when i interfered with her trying to eat something she shouldnt- which made more sense to me.
Now Im concerned with this continuing and/or her showing aggression anytime in any situation.
I am the only person she is like this with - but it hardly ever happens. Thats why i said she has shown this behavior 5xs in 2.5 years. Shes usually a sweetheart.

I did just take her to the vet this week actually. I had bloodwork done but only for the heartworm test. I can see if I can have that test done.
thanks again

pitgrrl
February 5th, 2008, 09:17 PM
I couldn't agree with LuckyPenny more, and I'd further suggest not only running bloodtests, but getting a full physical done, as the following, read without the prior bias towards seeing it as a "dominance problem" could describe discomfort somewhere like joints, etc.

Sometimes on the leash - she will jsut stop and refuse to walk any further. I have tried placing her collar behind her ears and walking forward. What was working for me was to place my hand under her belly and pushing slightly - she would always respond to that. This morning she growled and snapped at me. It shocked me. I walked her back into the house and she went immediately for her bed - so i knew she was aware she was wrong.

I also think it's worth mentioning that going to her bed was probably a reaction to your (understandably) being upset. Though extremely hard to avoid, in my experience it does your dog a disservice and only causes further miscommunication when we begin to humanize how we understand dog behavior.

Again, just another suggestion on how to look at it, this below could be resource guarding, something that a behaviourist would be able to help you work through.
She has growled (not snapped) at me in the past when she tried eating cat poop in the yard. But this was very scary for me. She has never had this attitude with anyone BUT me and in 2.5 years its happened about 5 times.


I hope that you can figure out what's going on. It can be really hard to get out of our human heads enough to see things from their perspective sometimes, which is why finding a well regarded behaviourist or trainer might help.

PennyC
February 13th, 2008, 06:02 PM
I will agree that you should get the dog checked but if there is no medical reason for her behaviour, i knwo what to do, i myself have a very aggressive dog but now our stepdaughter who is 3 can jump all over him and he does not reacte in any sort of way. what you can do for the walking is make the dog beside at all tme, even behind you is ok but whatever you do, do nmot let her walk in front of you. if she walks in front of you it indicates that you are the submissive one. you can do this by bringing treats in your pocket, like little peices of hot dogs chopped up or something that the dog loves chopped in little peices, when the dog is beside you give her a random treat, if she walks ahead of you, bring her back and give her a treat. If she decides to stop dead bribe her forward with a treat until she continues walking. if this trick does not work, i would highly sudgest a gentle leader which can be purchased at any veterinary clinic for about 30$ and MUST be adjusted apropriatly therefore a technician must adjust this at the clinic for you. this device allows the dog to walk beside you at all times and you will not have to pull on the leash because it is a very sensitive device. but if the dog stops you cannot pull because if applies pressure to the back of the head you would need to cox the dog forward, all this information will be given to you upon purchase. Another thing is when the dog is in the house relaxing with you, do not allow the dog to sit on you in any way because this is indicating that she is dominant over you, and when you want to punish her you must at all time follow through. eventually once she learns that you are the dominant one then she will start to respect you a bit more, and another trick that i like to use in Teisan(my dog) is give her a smal finger tap on the nose to enforce your dominance over her, if she licks you under your chin she is impling that you are dominant, this is a last resort, it is what i needed to do with teisan but you may not have to. this is how the wolves indicates the alpha wolf over the rest of the pack. i hope this help and if this doesn't let me know i have more tricks this is the best one so far.

Renay
February 13th, 2008, 06:13 PM
i can definately back that story up, I remember the dog penny was talking about before penny even came along, the poor guy had no manners and was very aggressive. Now he is a giant teddy bear. Also, since I seen penny walk her dog with the gentle leader I went out and bought one (on ebay you can get them for like 18$) and it is one of the best investments I've made for my dog. If you are looking to buy something like the gentle leader do not go for the knock off version sold in petstores called the haltie, it does not achieve the same desired effect. Also, the gentle leader is much like a halter is to a horse (looks wise atleast). It makes your dog walk comfortably because he does not feel the impulse to pull as he has nothing pushing against his neck. I HIGHLY reccommend the gentle leader to anyone who has problems walking their dog.

luckypenny
February 13th, 2008, 06:29 PM
PennyC, was your dog's aggression directed only towards you?

PennyC
February 13th, 2008, 06:54 PM
My dog's aggression was directed not only towards me but towards evryone he knew. but especially towards towards new ppl, why do you ask?

luckypenny
February 13th, 2008, 07:09 PM
Although some of your techniques may work with most dogs, not all will respond to them. If it's serious owner aggression m935 is dealing with, her dog may view her as challenging rather than being a "leader." I've met some dogs who would not back down from a challenge and it can result with potentionally dangerous consequences. M935 mentions that her dog is only like this with her.

PennyC
February 13th, 2008, 07:16 PM
I will completely agree with you, they do work on most dogs and some they may not and i realize that the agression can worsen but it is worth a shot, and as you must know i am a fan of the gentle leader which does work miracles and is still soft on the dogs. this is a good way to train a dog also, but even if the dog is only like this towards her then even if she seeks professional help it may not cure the problem because the aggression is on her only. I think that any technic is worth a try if you are willing.

PennyC
February 13th, 2008, 07:18 PM
another possibility is if the dog feels like it must protect one of the other family members, if this is the case then it is the other family member that must do the training to prevent the dog from doing this

ryan
February 23rd, 2008, 07:17 PM
sounds to me like you need to do lots of leadership (alpha) work with your dog, she thinks she is leader and not you. lower pack member would never snap or bite packleader. being the strongest or meanest dose not make you packleader its more of a mental thing get back to me if you need a list of ruels to follow :thumbs up

Rottielover
February 23rd, 2008, 07:29 PM
Back to basics...Do research on NILF....Nothing in life is free....VERY important.
Challenges are not sudden, bur are normally subtle. Which means unless you know what you are looking for things escalate.
I have started the NILF , and back to basics with my dog. I stopped before it escalated.
She seems to be showing no respect to you.
But Go to the vet for a full blood work just in case, make sure they throw in the thyroid test.
But with thyroid normally attitude in a dog will change very sudden, yours sounds like it has escalated to a point where she is queen B.