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Dog Aggression

September 1st, 2010, 04:30 PM
I recently rescued a dog and have little to go on for his previous life. He's about 3 and a small dog.

He's a dream exept for walks. I'm working with him on not pulling too much on the lead which seems to be working. Still need to work on not completely ignoring me and coming when I call him but that's a different story.

My main issue is how he reacts to other dogs. I have yet to hear him bark and when we pass a dog that's behind a fence or on the other side of the street he completely ignores them. However, when a dog is on the same side of the street as us he starts growling. At first there was no response period, but over the last few days he's gotten more vocal. Today he was trying to lunge towards the dog.

Any idea WHY it's getting worse? If I see a dog coming I shorten the lead and try and flip him to the other side of me and keep walking confidently. There was a dog coming up behind us and I moved to the side to let them pass us and tried to get Crash into a sit, and he started trying to lunge.


Floppy Dog
September 1st, 2010, 05:13 PM
If I see a dog coming I shorten the lead and try and flip him to the other side of me and keep walking confidently. There was a dog coming up behind us and I moved to the side to let them pass us and tried to get Crash into a sit, and he started trying to lunge.

I think your behaviour (shortening leash & moving Crash) may be telling Crash that YOU are scared of the other dog and he's lunging/growling to warn the other dog away from you, trying to protect you. I don't think it's a coincicence that Crash doesn't react to dogs that are safely behind a fence.

Instead, don't try to avoid the confruntation between Crash and the other dog. Keep walking at your normal pace and when Crash begins to lunge or growl, then correct that behaviour with whatever method that works. Also, if you approach the dog BEFORE Crash does and pet him/her (with permission, of course) he will soon get the message that you like dogs and aren't scared of them.

I used these two methods to re-socialize my dog after a very bad attack from another, much bigger, dog and they worked pretty well.

It also might help if you set up some controlled play situations where Crash sees you playing with and giving attention to other dogs that are not part of his "pack".

September 10th, 2010, 09:28 AM
I believe Floppy Dog hit it right..always 'check' yourself first..are you tense, expecting the worst..the colours of anxiety and tension are easily seen by the dog. This is sometimes the toughest aspect to control for us (our own self control), but it is catalyst in EVERY aspect of your relationship with your dog from feeding to walking to meeting to whatever. Turning and circling to refocus your dog and firm control ending with relaxed leash will get results..if bolting or agitation continues..calmly (yet firmly) circle again just have to let them tire of it before you do ... always win (relative term) . If you continue to control their movement that's a win..regardless if the dog failed to calm..not an ideal win but baby steps are ok..the wins will get better and more toward desired results .. that being a calm sociable dog that looks to you for direction to do otherwise. I have just adopted a new dog, a GSD female of 7yrs who is for the most part quite balanced but has sometimes a 'gruff' greeting response to some dogs. She is progressing positively as a result of the above technique. German Shepherds can be quite strong for the size and getting into a pulling match is simply silly and requires too much energy on my part ..sideways, off balance redirection is key and show them what you want as desired behaviour.

September 10th, 2010, 09:44 AM
Floppydog nailed it. I can tell you that because I am part of the problem with Clark and lately I have been more confident and it is getting better but the problem for me is Clark is very strong and I worry about him really doing damage to a person or a dog. But me being in control and getting him focused on me has helped both of us. Dogs have incredible senses and when that leash tightens and they feel you tense they go on the defensive you have to learn to relax. Trust me I know how hard it can be.

September 10th, 2010, 10:37 AM
You can also try a basket muzzle if you are nervous he would damage another person or dog, if it puts you at ease to know he physically can't harm anyone it would benefit him since you will be calmer and feel better in control. Once you have confidence in yourself you can stop using the muzzle.

You could also try a head harness which would give you control over his face so if he lunges his face is actually pulled away from the other people/dog so he is less likely to make contact.

These tools are really to put youself at ease which is what will help the most in his training, if you are nervous he will be too.

Also if you know someone with a dog that is willing to practice walking past their dog a few times in a controlled mannor (there is usually chaos on the streets) you could see what you can do to calm yourself and your dog down so you will have some practised skills you can use on your normal walks.

September 15th, 2010, 07:38 AM
I have not wanted to muzzle Clark but I have given in to it and hope with hard work we can get him more comfortable with the crowds. I got the basket type and yes he does not like it but I am taking him out with it on for about 15 minutes at a time. Then we come home and he gets treats and lots of praise when I take it off. Hopefully he will stop trying to roll anywhere to get it off. But it keeps him focused on me and the muzzle. But it has made me feel so much better that transfers to him now that I feel more in control. I got a plastic type at Petvalu and it was not to bad 40.00 but worth every penny. If it works and it ends up being something he wears all the time then I will get him one of the metal type for his breed. I know a great site to get ones for every breed if you need it let me know. :pawprint:

September 15th, 2010, 08:04 AM
My little boston terrier does this, only to growl, lunge and carry on and when confronted with the other dog, nothing happens. She just had to meet the dog. But the others take her wrong and are afraid. I'm trying to teach her that she can't meet every dog out there.

September 15th, 2010, 08:43 AM
One of the reasons I am muzzling is because of Clarks issues with other dogs he thinks if a dog approaches him it is confrontational and he goes crazy lunging, barking just crazy. This way I know some owners who will let Clark come over now that he is muzzled and try and help to socialize him. I know there dogs are safe this way and it takes away that stress from me.