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Suzie's leash aggression?

July 9th, 2010, 09:57 AM
I have a 6 year old pitbull mix (as some of you may know). We got her from the SPCA when she was 4 months old and she started showing signs of being bossy at about 5-6 months. If you tried to move her from the couch, she would snarl and growl and bite at your hands. We worked with her on that, and she no longer has that issue.

She is an extremely high energy dog, something that I unfortunately have not fully respected.

We used to take the dogs to the school field by our house and play fetch for about 45 minutes and they both loved it. Suzie drained a lot of her energy with this activity. She would run and fetch until she was too tired to run for the ball anymore... It was great until we got busted by a by-law officer for having dogs in a restricted area and offleash. He threatened us with a 400 dollar ticket and we haven't been back since. We had to switch to walks and it has become very obvious that this is not enough for our dear Suzie.

When walking, she is good on the leash until she sees another dog. She starts to whine, her teeth chatter and that quickly turns to growling and eventually she jumps on my other dog Luna and they have this sort of mock fight. Suzie stands up, and puts her paws on luna, growls and waves her teeth in Luna's face. Luna reacts only because Suzie is acting out of control, she almost seems to be trying to tell Suzie to quit it.

I know this behaviour is due to my ignorance and not getting her out as much as she needs... I feel terrible. I am adding a 20 minute fetch session at around 6am before I go to work to hopefully drain some energy for the day, and when I get home, they'll get a walk. I'm considering walking the dogs separatley because they seem to get excited together and that escalates Suzies problems. I also think giving them separate walks will also help me establish better leadership.

Are there any tips to get her to snap out of her fury if she does get to that point?

I am a naturally nervous person and know that is picked up by the dogs when we walk, so I'm going to employ some calming technics for myself to hopefully help them also. The more successful walks we have, the more confidence we will build in each other.

July 9th, 2010, 10:24 AM
She is an extremely high energy dog, something that I unfortunately have not fully respected.

I know this behaviour is due to my ignorance and not getting her out as much as she needs...

The daycare Nanook goes to also uses treadmills to drain the dogs energy, otherwise they would have alot more agression/fights :eek:. You could always get a treadmill. There are all different types. Some have the uphill mode which gives more of a workout. We bought one for Nanook as he is high energy as well. We won't need it as much in the summer, but it will be great in the winter!! :D

July 9th, 2010, 10:35 AM
Oh yeah! I keep forgetting about treadmills; we've talked about getting one for the winter because we've seen The dog Whisperer use them!

I think I will start looking on kijiji for one today :) Thanks for the reminder!

July 9th, 2010, 10:42 AM
Use craigslist Kijji lets people advertise dogs and cats for free. Craigslist has stopped allowing them to post for free pets

July 9th, 2010, 11:06 AM
You can also get bike attachments for running dogs so that your can keep 2 hands on the handlebars which is safer.

July 9th, 2010, 11:56 AM
Our By-laws state:

You cannot cycle, in-line skate or skateboard with a leashed dog its dangerous for you and your dog. $75 Penalty.

It seems unfair if there are proper tools that you can use; however, I can see how a dog could easily get exhausted while running beside a bike if their owners weren't being attentive.

July 9th, 2010, 12:49 PM
Oh yeah! I keep forgetting about treadmills; we've talked about getting one for the winter because we've seen The dog Whisperer use them!

I think I will start looking on kijiji for one today :) Thanks for the reminder!

They are great in the summer as well. Our baby gets over heated so, so easy. When it's warm out, we can still exercise him without the chance for heat stroke. And if he's having an especially energetic day where the walks don't seem to be doing much, the treadmill will wear him out :D

July 9th, 2010, 02:42 PM
sweet! That's awesome :) We will definitely look into getting one asap, thanks again! Such a good idea hehe:thumbs up

July 9th, 2010, 02:45 PM
My GSD had leash of the things I did with him was to carry either his favorite ball and/or treats. These were used to work on conditioning him not to react & to increase the positive feelings when he came across other dogs on walks. When someone was nearing us I would often move aside as I saw them coming, have my dog sit/stay & focus on the treat/ball and then offer lots of + praise and reinforcement. This may be hard to do when your walking two dogs though....
Eventually we got to the point that we could keep walking past & he would look to me for his treat instead of focusing on going after the other dog!

July 9th, 2010, 05:44 PM
I would suggest giving the booklet "Feisty Fido" by Patricia McConnell a read. I found it very helpful with my lab mix who used to bark and lunge at everything she saw. The key with my dog was to practice having her watch me before she got so worked up from the presence of the other dog that she was out of control. Over time, I was able to get closer and closer to strange dogs without her having a bad reaction.

I think you are right on target about separate walks for the dogs for now. It's really hard to work one dog with an issue while you also are trying to hang onto a second one!

July 9th, 2010, 11:09 PM
Jake and CoppersMom, great advice. Feisty Fido is an excellent suggestion. .unknown., if you are unable to locate at a local bookstore, you can find it at .

I guess a treadmill would work for exercise but, it won't do anything to address the on-leash aggression Suzie is experiencing. She needs to positively experience her environment and won't get that running on a treadmill. Focus, conditioning and de-sensitizing exercises will go a much longer way. It can take a while as you work with baby steps but it's a fail-proof way to success.

I can easily get thrown into a state of anxiety as well but, the more I learn, the more secure I feel about how to deal with aggression issues. If you're interested in in-depth information on canine aggression, other fantastic books are AGGRESSION IN DOGS - PRACTICAL MANAGEMENT, PREVENTION & BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION by Brenda Aloff and CLICK TO CALM - HEALING THE AGGRESSIVE DOG by Emma Parsons.

July 13th, 2010, 09:19 AM
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I will look for those books once I have a little extra money :)

July 13th, 2010, 09:45 AM
.unknown. Sorry, I don't mean to take your thread off-topic, I have never heard of such a bylaw before (although, I can appreciate how it certainly can be dangerous!). I wonder if the city I live in has such a by-law... hmmm.

I understand where the law comes from, but it's unfortunate for those of us who do enjoy biking with our dogs, and can do so safely. It's such great exercise for them! But yes, you do need to be careful.

July 15th, 2010, 04:30 PM
I'd get a doggie backpack and start walking her with it on. My dog used to get really distracted when we passed other dogs/people on our walks (not aggressive, just "hey! you look interesting! let's play!") until I started putting his backpack on. He LOVES his backpack and it really tires a dog out, both mentally and physically.

Mentally because they feel like they have a "job" and it causes some extreme focus. Focus = mentally draining = tired dog. Physically because once they get used to an empty backpack, you can start gradually adding weight to it. My guy carries 2 full one litre plastic water bottles (one on each side so the weight is evenly distributed) and he's panting after 20 mins of walking, instead of 60 minutes. If you're going to use the backpack for hiking, I'd splurge and get a good one like the ones from Canine Equipment. If it's just going to be for city walking, an outward hound one should do the trick.

Otherwise I'd say try to do more mental exercise with your girl to tire out as well. Don't get her so conditioned to physical activity as the only way to drain her energy or else she'll get fitter and fitter and you'll find she's requiring more and more physical exercise. Do an hour of obedience training or trick training a day, broken into 6 ten minute sessions and you'll probably have a calmer dog on your, you'll have a super obedient one!

I'd also invest in a food dispensing toy if you don't already have one. My favourite is the kong wobbler, but there's a lot more - the a-maze-ball, buster cube, tug-a-jug, etc. Start feeding her breakfast and dinner in one of those so she's using more mental energy and is engaged for a longer period of time. Instead of scarfing down the kibble in a bowl in 2 minutes, she's going to have to work for 20-30 minutes. Or, just scatter her portion of kibble in a fenced in area, like a backyard, so she has to smell it out and "hunt" for it.

I'd really try the backpack though. My dog used to react to other dogs, especially if the other dogs were aggressive. Our last hike had him wearing his backpack and walking calmly past a dog that was barking and growling at him - they were within 5 ft of each other on the narrow trail and my guy didn't care. He didn't even look at the other dog; he was SO focused on his "job". Here's a pic of my guy, happy to be working:

July 27th, 2010, 04:02 PM
That's also a great idea Flamesgirl! I will definitely get one when I get paid :)