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Dominant dog aggression -regression, need help!

gaerwen
May 18th, 2008, 07:12 PM
OK, sorry this is sooo long, but I wanted to be thorough..

We got our Boxer,Rico 3.5yrs ago, he was a supposed to be a show dog, neutered at 2yrs, he is now 6.5. He was not socialised, and was apparently kenneled about 12hrs a day... and we were given him in kindof a dishonest deal you might say.We had NO idea what we were getting into, with ZERO support from the breeder, who actually disapeared and was no where to be found after we paid her. Anyway, he is dog aggressive and dominant.He has broken down fences,and gone through a door in our house(when we first got him). We tried the humane society with passive training, it did not work, we tried another class at a pet store and were not successful.We took him to a trainer with 26yrs experience, court certified, police dog trainer..and after about 6hrs of one on one with him we learned to be in charge. The trainer calls him "the big engine", and he suggested we be the only owner to this dog, and that we cannot in good conscience pass him along, as he could easliy become a major problem. He used to duck down at people we passed by and go after them, attack any other dog he saw (or try to) and growled at the kids. Our trainer believes he was TAUGHT to be that dog. Long story shorter, he came a LONG way with training, he was heeling perfectly, I could jog, bike etc with him and pass by other dogs no problem.
I have written about him on here for advise on suppliments etc, as he has a hip injury thats taking a little long to heal. (4months)
He also has osteo arthritis.

What we need help with is this: 2 weeks ago i took him out with my bike, --Keeping in mind, he is only able to go about 15-20 minutes until he limps-- I went slow, took him with me to drop my kids off at school, the fastest we went was a slow trot. He was good for about 2 blocks, the started to bite at the ground, and then his leash. I know that he is escalting at that point. If I cannot get him under control he will take control. I corrected him with his collar. He stopped, untill we went past a fence with a dog, he lost his mind, which he hasnt done for more than TWO YEARS. I dropped the bike, went over and made him down, bum toward the fenced dog. I made him calm down and relax, then we went on our way. I dropped off the kids and headed for home (its 2.5blocks either way) He started again with the biting the ground/leash etc, and when I corrected him with his collar he went to bite me. Yes, I fell off my bike... FYI: We use a Halti most times, but he was on a choker. We tried prong years ago but it made him more aggressive.
When I was on the ground getting my bearings he was still trying to dominate me- not biting, just stepping on me and being an ass..Anyway, I again made him down and submit. I walked the rest of the way. About a block after that we passed an old man (about 15 feet away on our right)out for his morning stroll, Rico ducked down and shot toward him, with the dog on my left and the bike on my right, I had to use my tire to stop the dog.

I understand that the bike ride may have been too much "action" as he escalates very very quickly..however, I have biked with him alot, he was excellent.

I had been painting a few days ago, came out of the room for a break, went to go out the front door...Rico was in the other room,-- I know he saw me and knew who I was--he came out, ducked down BEHIND ME and hit my forearm with his mouth and pummeled me with his feet. This was totally unexpected, and unlike him. He made a noise as well, that gutteral warning noise. He didnt bite, but I must say he usually doesnt, even in a dog fight, he is noisey and uses his feet alot.

My vet suggested heavier pain meds, and we took him off Elk Velvet, as I read it can cause testosterone increase. He isnt allowed on furniture, he has to work for his food and attention. I realise he is like a ferrari and we are driving him like a golf cart, but he is injured..and its not healing... the vet also thinks that if he cannot be managed he will need to be put down, as he will become dangerous... Rico runs "hot" most of the time, we do massage, chiropractic, are calm and assertive, have even tried homeopathic sedatives, which made no difference.

How do we correct this if it is a matter of energy frustration? he needs to run it off, and he is unable to... I dont want to put him down, but he is very capable of becoming dangerous. I will not rehome him, unless its to our trainer, (who is full at the moment)...its too big of a risk.
Im afraid of Rico escalating further. We are waiting a reply from our trainer-- he is out of town.

LavenderRott
May 18th, 2008, 08:10 PM
Are you absolutely positive that there are no other health issues going on? There are several different things, healthwise, that can cause some increased dominance/aggression.

Sounds like bike riding is out of the question for a bit - back to walking and making sure he is completely under control at all times. When he starts getting snappy or distracted, up the "work" part of the walk. Quick about faces, sudden sits and downs, things like that to get his mind back on you.

Since his attack on you was so very out of character, check with your vet and talk to him/her about thyroid issues, Lyme's disease and any other medical issues that can cause aggression.

angeldogs
May 18th, 2008, 08:22 PM
Have you tried Vine for aggression and Vervane for calming?.

As LavenderRott said i would check for other medical issues.have the anal glands checked as well.they can cause agression if they are infected.

gaerwen
May 20th, 2008, 10:30 AM
We are going to have the vet go over him again, we didnt do blood work last time, just x-rays and a physical exam.
I will look for Vine and Vervane today.I will also ask my vet about some kind of sedative if those dont work. We are leaving town for 3 days at the end of the month and will need something for him so he doesnt act out on our house/dogsitter.

He is changing alot.. he isnt very responsive to commands, he waits or looks away when asked to down, until we get up or move toward him then he slowly obeys..

I think I may have to have him out 3-4X a day, with lots of commands and control then a 5-10 minute walk around the block.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Lissa
May 20th, 2008, 12:44 PM
I agree that there seems to be more health issues going on...

Personally, if your dog has arthritis/hip issues and starts limping after 15 minutes of biking, I wouldn't be biking at all... Your dog needs to work on soft ground (fields, sand, dirt) - doing hill work is a good idea (I would avoid concrete at all costs)... Take him swimming if you can and do lots of stretches/conditioning moves. The key is LOTS of short walks (with proper warm up/cool downs) so he doesn't get stiff.

Also IMO, using harsh corrections or being physical with your dog makes things worse. Making a dog submit, especially a dog that is reacting is pointless (not to mention a bite waiting to happen). You are not teaching the dog how to behave. You are telling him that he should be fearful/aggressive towards his triggers and that he cannot trust you. I doubt very much that you will change your methods now but IMO, these methods haven't worked and will not work...

Good luck with Rico.

Shadow's mom
May 20th, 2008, 01:02 PM
We had similar problems with our dog who was also not socialized, just chained to a tree for all to abuse. The one thing that really helped along with consistant training techniques was a good massage after our walks. Not only did this seem to calm the aggression but it also helped us bond with her. This may also help with arthritic problems. But I do agree with others responses that this uncharacteristic change may be due to health problems??? Good luck.

DoubleRR
May 20th, 2008, 07:05 PM
It does sound like an increase in pain issue. Hope you find an answer soon!

gaerwen
May 20th, 2008, 10:06 PM
I agree that there seems to be more health issues going on...

Personally, if your dog has arthritis/hip issues and starts limping after 15 minutes of biking, I wouldn't be biking at all... Your dog needs to work on soft ground (fields, sand, dirt) - doing hill work is a good idea (I would avoid concrete at all costs)... Take him swimming if you can and do lots of stretches/conditioning moves. The key is LOTS of short walks (with proper warm up/cool downs) so he doesn't get stiff.

Also IMO, using harsh corrections or being physical with your dog makes things worse. Making a dog submit, especially a dog that is reacting is pointless (not to mention a bite waiting to happen). You are not teaching the dog how to behave. You are telling him that he should be fearful/aggressive towards his triggers and that he cannot trust you. I doubt very much that you will change your methods now but IMO, these methods haven't worked and will not work...

Good luck with Rico.

I agree about biking, It was a bad choice...I did go slow and it was a few blocks, but yes, I should have simply walked him. I also think youre right about going out 3-4X daily. His hip has a muscle strain from a twist he did on the ice when he was playing.
Im not sure what you mean by "harsh corrections"...We have learned alot about what works and what doesnt for Rico. Years ago we knew very little about dominance and aggression and tried things like the prong collar(on advice of an inexperienced trainer, and against my gut)..with very poor results. Presently, once Rico escalates there is nothing that brings him "down" but a correction..be it a tug to the side with his collar, or using the halti to bring his chin up and his focus back to the handler. We tried a happy change of direction away from whats setting him off and he simply redirects his frustration onto his handler. By escalte I mean he can go from zero to 100 in 0.5seconds. If I see warning signs, I correct immediatly, as there is no coaxing or reasoning with him. Usually a correction as soon as his posture changes etc is enough to remind him he isnt "going there". He is not food motivated at all, and never has been. Correction has been the ONLY thing that has worked. We dont beat him, we arent cruel, and he does come back to earth very quikly. He isnt afraid of us, doesnt duck etc.
By submit, I mean the following:
He tried to attack the other dog thru the fence, I took his lead, physically ( I have to, he is 70lbs of angry dog) turned him away, got his attention on me, said "down" firmly, but without yelling. He dropped. I kindof point at him, then he knows to stay. He generally will relax a bit and the other dog can smell his behind. If he looks with intent, he will be verbally corrected..if he looks long with intent or moves he will be physically corrected(collar or halti) This works. I understand this may not work with most dogs.The very last thing I want to do is hurt him. You are right that harsh treatment, hard corrections can cause more problems like redirected aggression. The methods we are using have been the ONLY ones that worked for over 2 years. He has seen 4 trainers, 2 vets, and a holistic vet.


Im not sure I understand why he wouldnt trust me for telling him he doesnt need to fight, I dont hold him down and let the other dog dominate him, I simply disagree with his desire to kill the other dog. He is calm and relaxed AFTER I have him down. In fact, with practice in the past, he was able to interact at doggie daycare with no problem, and to walk side by side with the neighbors dog who he wanted to get at for a long long time-even when the other dog was "calling him on"--he did not react. That was something I never thought possible for him.
I also realise he needs to be stopped before he escaltes, which we have done in the past, and are having issues with now..he is harder to read and more reactive than, like I said, he has been in over 2 years.

I also understand that the theory is that if he trusts me he wont need to fight, or feel insecure enough to be that dominant...Im not sure what else to do to get us there though. We have two other dogs who are really great, he is an anomally..even to the people who tried to help us train him. I kindof feel like Im missing something..????

In response to the other posts, We do massage, and it works wonders... he will fall asleep standing up.
Last night Rico was up most of the night pacing, licking himself and occasionally complaining. He was very obviously out of sorts. He has also slowed in his eating the last 3 meals. He has an appt with his Vet tomorow at 3:10. I am eager to get him there.

What is VINE? I asked my natpath and he wasnt sure what I was asking for? Same with Vervane???

Thanks for all the advice/support. Keep it coming! Ill post tomorow night if I can!

angeldogs
May 20th, 2008, 10:16 PM
The Vine and vervane.i don't know if i spelled vervane right.they are homopathic.we use them when working with aggressive dogs.we give it about a half hour to an hour before we work with them.the vine is good because you can put it in the mouth on the nose head but you have to get it on the skin.I will try and get you more info one them this weekend.

super_pooch
May 21st, 2008, 01:11 AM
I agree about biking, It was a bad choice...I did go slow and it was a few blocks, but yes, I should have simply walked him. I also think youre right about going out 3-4X daily. His hip has a muscle strain from a twist he did on the ice when he was playing.
Im not sure what you mean by "harsh corrections"...We have learned alot about what works and what doesnt for Rico. Years ago we knew very little about dominance and aggression and tried things like the prong collar(on advice of an inexperienced trainer, and against my gut)..with very poor results. Presently, once Rico escalates there is nothing that brings him "down" but a correction..be it a tug to the side with his collar, or using the halti to bring his chin up and his focus back to the handler. We tried a happy change of direction away from whats setting him off and he simply redirects his frustration onto his handler. By escalte I mean he can go from zero to 100 in 0.5seconds. If I see warning signs, I correct immediatly, as there is no coaxing or reasoning with him. Usually a correction as soon as his posture changes etc is enough to remind him he isnt "going there". He is not food motivated at all, and never has been. Correction has been the ONLY thing that has worked. We dont beat him, we arent cruel, and he does come back to earth very quikly. He isnt afraid of us, doesnt duck etc.
By submit, I mean the following:
He tried to attack the other dog thru the fence, I took his lead, physically ( I have to, he is 70lbs of angry dog) turned him away, got his attention on me, said "down" firmly, but without yelling. He dropped. I kindof point at him, then he knows to stay. He generally will relax a bit and the other dog can smell his behind. If he looks with intent, he will be verbally corrected..if he looks long with intent or moves he will be physically corrected(collar or halti) This works. I understand this may not work with most dogs.The very last thing I want to do is hurt him. You are right that harsh treatment, hard corrections can cause more problems like redirected aggression. The methods we are using have been the ONLY ones that worked for over 2 years. He has seen 4 trainers, 2 vets, and a holistic vet.


Im not sure I understand why he wouldnt trust me for telling him he doesnt need to fight, I dont hold him down and let the other dog dominate him, I simply disagree with his desire to kill the other dog. He is calm and relaxed AFTER I have him down. In fact, with practice in the past, he was able to interact at doggie daycare with no problem, and to walk side by side with the neighbors dog who he wanted to get at for a long long time-even when the other dog was "calling him on"--he did not react. That was something I never thought possible for him.
I also realise he needs to be stopped before he escaltes, which we have done in the past, and are having issues with now..he is harder to read and more reactive than, like I said, he has been in over 2 years.

I also understand that the theory is that if he trusts me he wont need to fight, or feel insecure enough to be that dominant...Im not sure what else to do to get us there though. We have two other dogs who are really great, he is an anomally..even to the people who tried to help us train him. I kindof feel like Im missing something..????

In response to the other posts, We do massage, and it works wonders... he will fall asleep standing up.
Last night Rico was up most of the night pacing, licking himself and occasionally complaining. He was very obviously out of sorts. He has also slowed in his eating the last 3 meals. He has an appt with his Vet tomorow at 3:10. I am eager to get him there.

What is VINE? I asked my natpath and he wasnt sure what I was asking for? Same with Vervane???

Thanks for all the advice/support. Keep it coming! Ill post tomorow night if I can!

I thank God for dog owners like you. You are one of the few dog owners who takes responsibility for their dog and has done everything humanly possible to have your dog lead a happy life while still maintaining control. I want to encourage you to keep at it because from the sound of it, it is working. Hope you can find something to help your pooch.:thumbs up:lovestruck::dog::goodvibes:

gaerwen
May 21st, 2008, 10:25 AM
I thank God for dog owners like you. You are one of the few dog owners who takes responsibility for their dog and has done everything humanly possible to have your dog lead a happy life while still maintaining control. I want to encourage you to keep at it because from the sound of it, it is working. Hope you can find something to help your pooch.:thumbs up:lovestruck::dog::goodvibes:


Thank you ! I needed to read that just now.. Rico slept well but isnt interested in going out thismorning, or even standing up for that matter.
I was starting to feel like this is all my fault somehow.
It amazes me, the love we have for our dogs... we hate to see them suffer.

A friend told me, she had a discussion with a friend who wasnt sure she believed in God, she was quiet for a bit then said, "If there is a God, I know where he is. I see him in the eyes of my Dogs every single day."
Gives me goosebumps.
Thanks again.

gaerwen
May 21st, 2008, 06:06 PM
Rico has had full blood work, and urinalisis, a skin scraping and exam. We just have to wait now.

LavenderRott
May 21st, 2008, 06:18 PM
I will keep my fingers crossed for you in hopes that the tests will provide some answers.

angeldogs
May 22nd, 2008, 01:12 AM
I to hope with the tests that it will provide you with some answers.

clm
May 22nd, 2008, 07:04 AM
I'm not sure that I would leave him in the care of a house/dog sitter either, unless it's someone you know for sure can control the dog if he gets aggressive. Might want to see if the trainer can keep him for you while you're away.

Cindy

gaerwen
May 22nd, 2008, 02:41 PM
I'm not sure that I would leave him in the care of a house/dog sitter either, unless it's someone you know for sure can control the dog if he gets aggressive. Might want to see if the trainer can keep him for you while you're away.

Cindy

Youre absolutely right. We are looking into either taking him with us, or kenneling him with someone who can handle possible problems. Our house sitter knows him and loves him,and doesnt mind looking after him even under the circumstances, but I dont really want to take that risk.
We are staying with Family when we go, but they have 2 dogs and are boarding a pushy little peke, so Im not sure that will work...I dont know what adding stress and travel will do to Rico's state of mind.

Urine was clear, skin showed some bacteria. We are waiting on blood work.

want4rain
May 22nd, 2008, 03:19 PM
:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: i dont really have anything to add.... :grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

-ash

gaerwen
May 23rd, 2008, 03:44 PM
Rico's T4 was low, indicating Hypothyroid, however the vet had to send out for the other thyroid test (TSH?)to check the other thyroid levels to confirm it. We are waiting on results and should have them by sat afternoon. One liver enzyme (alkaline phosphatase)was elavated slightly at 186, but she wasnt too worried and we will keep retesting that one. His red count was high but she figured it was because he tried to get into it with a dog he saw down that hall at the vet..and because he is so stressed.

He has actually improved a bit, not that Im holding my breath, but he's is walking a lot more cooperatively on lead right now.

We are taking him with us on our trip next week and will bring his kennel to my Cousins house. I think he is safest with us.

chico2
May 23rd, 2008, 05:07 PM
Garewen,I just read all the posts,have no advice to give,but I think you are doing wonderfully trying to figure out what's ailing your pup..
Hopefully there is an explanation to his aggressive behaviour and that there is a cure:pray:

loopoo
May 28th, 2008, 12:07 AM
hypothyroidism can definitely increase aggressiveness, and lethargy.. and can definitely be treated so that he is feeling and acting better... good luck with the rest of your tests and with your boy :fingerscr:)

gaerwen
May 28th, 2008, 05:40 PM
Rico's TSH ... was normal. They are sending out one more test to be absolutely sure though. That one takes 2-3 weeks... The vet is still convinced he has hypothyroid. He has regrown some cysts on his head in the last few days too..she feels its related.
We have been walking him at 4:30 AM for 20 min, and 1 hr in the afternoon...no limping! However--yesterday he did what i call the "duck and dart" which is when he alerts, ducks and darts toward a dog/person or object in hopes of anialating it. Yesterday, two kids,twins, maybe 4yrs old ran past us...he did the 'duck and dart'... I sensed his posture change before it happened and corrected him, he did it anyway. He 'ducked and darted' at a person an her bike, at a fence with no dog behind it and those kids. On the walk I was careful to stay calm, assertive, and fair. I felt very in control of my other two dogs, who walked slightly behind/beside me. I am quite confidant it isnt me. He is now NON RESPONSIVE to treats, corrections and to my trying to step in his feild of vision. I had him look up to me, using the halti, and his eyes bugged to the side trying to see a dog that wasnt there.
Honestly as I write this... I am feeling rather defeated.
I have been working with Rico all this week, I no longer talk when asking him to do things, I just move toward him, use my hands and he does what I want. Its amazing. His attention is more on me than it ever has been.

Then that crap on the walk. My husband tries to take him out on his walk with his flat collar, which he can and HAS slipped out of, when he knows he needs a halti...Then gets angry with me when I ask that he use the halti to keep everyone,including the dog, safe. He will take him offleash out the front door to the truck -- last week Rico took off, "puffed up" and wouldnt come to him, I was leaving with a friend, and thankfully he came to me and I put him back in the house..that was totally avoidable, all he needed was a leash on the dog!..He isnt being responsible in my eyes.. Rico is being very unstable and unpredictable...He keeps saying to me... "Well he doesnt do it when he is with me"... thats cause you walk him at 4:30 for 20 minutes, there are no kids, bikes, dogs out then! I walk Rico in the day, I feed him, bathe him, and it was me he snuck up on to bite... its the law of averages isnt it? I spent way more time with him. Not only that, when my husband lets the dog walk ahead, or doesnt "see" it when he is escalating, I have to point it out, so really, the dog might be reactive when he is walking him, he just isnt seeing it.

Does anyone have any advice, please, how do I reach my spouse?! This is extremely serious! My vet called today and has advised that he only be walked at 4:30am, or late at night to avoid a potential injury/lawsuit/etc....he has been to the trainer for a lesson in Rico-ism.

Someone suggested acupuncture, ... what if he bites the Dr?
This is emotionally exhausting.:sad::sad::sad:

luckypenny
May 28th, 2008, 08:11 PM
Sorry you're having so much trouble.

I can't stress enough the importance of every one in your family being on the same page. If you are the only one who has any expectations of Rico, then it makes sense that it is you he is directing any aggression towards as well as not respecting your commands (from your posts, I'm assuming he knows them well).

If there's no medical condition causing this behavior, please seek the help of a qualified experienced behaviorist, not just a trainer. Please research "owner aggression" to learn a little more as to what can be happening with your relationship with Rico. Medication, in this case, more often than not, does not work. In the meantime, if you notice he is acting more aggressively towards you, do not, under any circumstances, confront him (whether it be by commands or corrections) until you've consulted with a behaviorist experienced with this sort of aggression. You may also want to consider de-sensitizing him to a cage-type muzzle for your outings in order to keep everyone, including himself, safe (insist your hubby start this process and not yourself).

I wish you and Rico all the best :fingerscr .

luckypenny
May 28th, 2008, 09:00 PM
I just re-read your last post. Rico may not, in fact, be as reactive with your husband (either on outings or towards him) because he gives him more leeway which is what Rico may be wanting. This is not to say that what you, yourself, are doing is wrong, but may demonstrate that he is not comfortable with your expectations of him (he may consider this a challenge and is reacting). This is why it is so important that all family members incorporate the same training methods and behavior with a family dog, especially one with aggressive tendancies. I think you and hubby, as well as anyone else in your family, sit down and seriously discuss what you all expect of Rico. List all the do's and don'ts eg., walking/training equipment and methods (NILIF, again, a process your husband should initiate consistently), house rules ie. not allowed on furniture, humans cross thresholds first, sit and wait before allowing to eat, etc., etc.. Then insist that everyone study, memorize, and follow this list...it's non-negotiable.

Does anyone have any advice, please, how do I reach my spouse?! This is extremely serious!

I completely agree. I'm sorry, this may sound a little crude :o...ask your husband if he volunteers to hold your dog while he's being euthanized after he seriously harms a child, or you for that matter. Don't plead or beg, just tell him as it is. Then get someone, preferably an experienced behaviorist who has witnessed damage done by such aggressive behavior, to describe it to your husband. I'm sure he'll get the message.

Here are a couple of links that you may find informative. I'm sure you know much of it already, but if there's something that can give you a new perspective, then it's worth a read.

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/dominance-aggression/page1.aspx

http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/aggressionpanel.html

The book, Aggression In Dogs, Practical Management, Prevention & Behavior Modification, by Brenda Aloff is also a very good read.

This is emotionally exhausting.:sad:

:grouphug: I can empathize with you and your situation. Hang in there and try to get the appropriate help.

gaerwen
June 2nd, 2008, 06:53 AM
Rico came with us on our road trip... he did really well and had no major shows of aggression. My cousins wife noticed other ways he is acting dominant, and pointed them out to us... If I got out of our vehicle Rico immediately took my spot and then refused to move, staring ahead as if he couldnt see us... she noted his movements around the kitchen as well, he is constantly challenging us, and I am the only one who consistently "disagrees" with it. I think youre right, Luckypenny, if I am the only one standing between him and his throne, of course he will threaten me!

I am also researching where to find such info as damage cause by a similar dog. I am looking for a behaviorist. I think Hubby needs to be told by a proffessional what "his boy" is really capable of if we all dont do something! (altho, our trainer did tell us, and I made Hubby have a one on one session to really 'get' what Rico is trying to do here)
I think the mental image of himself taking Rico to be euthanised might do the trick.
I also think a muzzle is in order. He needs to go get it, and fit it, and he can introduce it.
Hubby took the dog out to run around, letting him offleash, (I found out from my mom who went with him) I just shook my head when I heard...Ive said it all before. He said "you just cant wait to put my dog in the ground can you?!" ACK! That comment makes no sense!

I really appreciate all the support here. THANKS GUYS!!!

Also: I have been implimenting NILIF for a while with all 3 of our dogs for about 2 months now. There is less competion for petting and attention...no more nose from the lab demanding a head rub! Everyone relaxes before they get their dinner etc.

anna14
June 2nd, 2008, 07:00 PM
After reading all the replies, I truely hope that your situation is getting better!
It sounds like Rico is suffering along with you.
Personally, I don't believe in the choke method and dominant/submission between humans and dogs. These methods do work, but as you know have to be continuesly used throughought the dogs life, mening constant chokes and corrections! I read that you "block" the dog and get him to look at you or you stare at him. This is actually telling your dog that you want to challenge him. By putting him in this train of thought all the time, the more he will feel threatened. I think that you should find a dog behaviour specialist who uses the positive reinforcement method. Clicker training is also one of the most efficient ways of training an aggressive dog. Check out Karen Pryor. I know you mentioned that Rico doesn't take treats in training and that is why it never worked. Have you tried not feeding him, take away his food, and the only time he will eat is when you give him his treats/food in training. I assure you, he will not refuse! Also, make sure it is worth 1 MILLION $ what you give him. Have you tried chicken, liver, etc...

Also, I would suggest instead of so much excercise for RICO, you need to mentally stimulate him too. Minimum 30minutes of excercise/day is sufficient and another 30 minutes of mental stimulation (meaning the dog needs to THINK!) per day will enhance a dog's behaviour and tire him out even more than running!
I have heard one 2 many stories of people using the dominant/submissive method (a.k.a Cesar Milan) with their dog, by putting them on the floor and making them "submit", in most cases, the dogs cannot be rehabilitated and must be euthanized.

I wish you all the luck in the world with Rico, and hope I shed a little light?

gaerwen
June 3rd, 2008, 01:09 PM
We have tried chicken, liver, beef, pork, curry ( he has a love for the hot stuff)... NONE of these things apeal to him. I have taken away his food for 2-3 meals and he still does not respond to food. He may take a few bits until he sees something or thinks he does and then we are back at square one.
We have used a passive training method, with the humane society here, it was for aggressive dogs-using a harness and treats and positive reinforcement. We had virtually no success...we used those methods for 3 months. With the harness he learned to be stronger. We had home visits done as well. We used massage,(still do) and that does sooth him when he is tense.

Anna14, I think youre right about the eye contact, altho that is something we learned in the harness class...I never thought of it the way you mentioned till now. I will stop that now.
The other problem is that he isnt responsive to extensive training...he knows a few things...sit, come, down, bow, shake, wait. I tried teaching "wave", I was told to put out my hand out without saying anything, basicly to psych him out so he waves while trying to shake a paw. then to tell him wave and reward him. He basicly did it once, and huffed when I didnt take his paw and walked away. It seemed like he got pissed off...now he wont shake unless I ask. So as far as making his brain work, Im not sure how?? Do you have any suggestions?