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Major shifts in behaviour (LP - would especially love your insight here!)

Chaser
May 16th, 2011, 10:14 PM
Okay, so Chase is the bigger problem here, but Kailey certainly plays a role. They're both going on four years. We've been in our current house for one year with no major changes...but the behaviours have been especially bad in the past six months.

1) Counter Surfing - This has been an ongoing battle with Kailey (with the whole history of homelessness and emaciation), but a new behaviour for Chase over the past six months. We have always avoided the obvious "don't leave food on the counter". But Chase - I swear out of nowhere - started stealing off the counter and coffee table recently. A muffin, bowls of fruit salad....they will both pick dirty dishes out of the sink if they don't make it into the dishwasher. But Chase is even ballsier than his sis and he will steal as soon as you turn your back.....she at least waits until we leave the house. Bear in mind she was homeless for a while, so the battle is a little more understandable with her - though still not okay. But Chase? We used to be able to leave him in a room with a plate of food for 20 minutes and he wouldn't dream of touching it. Two months ago they plucked a dozen thawing pork chops out of the sink and went and ate them in our bed!!!! Chase was also making a habit of sneaking to the basement and eating the cat's food (dish kept up on top of a workbench). We had to put up a baby gate to keep him out of that room.

2) Aggression - This is ALL Chase. He was well-socialized as a pup and actually was more comfortable with males dogs than other females. When we adopted Kailey he could get a bit snippy with intact males - seemed protective of his new sis. It's only gotten worse :( We had a friend's GSD for a day in January and Chase tackled him! Pinned him against the shed, snarling and snapping. Then they got in a fight over a stick (DH had to step in). I had to tie Chase to me the rest of the day. And poor Kailey was so upset! She liked Dexter, but when the boys fought she laid down in a corner of the yard with her paw covering her eyes. Seriously. Now SHE, the former rescue who was terrified of everything and always lashed out, can go to a dog park yet there is no way on earth Chase can now (not that I really like dog parks....but you know what I mean). He will tolerate two males that we are neighbours with...but there is a chain link fence in between. But then there are two intact bassetts that just moved in behind us and he despises them....charges the fence whenever he see them. BTW, Chase was neutered at 6 mos and Kailey was spayed as soon as we rescued her at around age one. Dexter, the GSD, is about one y.o., neutered, a tad dominant but generally well-tempered. Chase will submit to Kailey in a second, no question - he always has. But any other dog....he's become a dominant little jerk. Last time we went to a dog park (like two years ago) an intact male Setter kept bugging Kailey and Chase tore out a hunk of his fur! We though intact males were the only problem....but then he went after Dexter. Who is over twice the size of Chase by the way...

We're having a couple other issues, but these are the main two. I'll leave it here for now. PLEASE, any advice would be so appreciated. I always felt capable and in control of my dogs....but this has just become terrible. I do think exercise is part of it and I admit their walks have been lacking between winter and me battling tendonitis in my hips and a pretty nasty dout of depression. But still.....both these issues came on pretty surprisingly for Chase and I just don't know what happened to my sweet, obedient boy!

Please just ask if you need any info or clarification.....I need to figure out where I'm going wrong here. I want to foster again but there's no way I can if I can't even control my own dogs! And no way on earth I could have a male in the house, that's for sure.

chico2
May 17th, 2011, 07:58 AM
Chaser,when it comes to dog-behavior,I have no clue:shrug:
I just wanted to say I am sorry this is happening with your wonderful dogs..
I hope it is something like needing more exercise and things will change,if the weather ever turns.:pray:
Or could it be he senses your health-problem and depression??

Chaser
May 17th, 2011, 10:35 AM
:(Chaser,when it comes to dog-behavior,I have no clue:shrug:
I just wanted to say I am sorry this is happening with your wonderful dogs..
I hope it is something like needing more exercise and things will change,if the weather ever turns.:pray:
Or could it be he senses your health-problem and depression??

Thanks Chico. I honestly have no idea what has gotten into him :( Maybe he's too spoiled? But they've always been spoiled to be honest....:shrug:

luckypenny
May 17th, 2011, 01:42 PM
I'm going to apologize in advance for the length of this reply :o.

Chaser, I wish I had some easy answers for you but, we too have been having our share of serious troubles with Penny. I can only tell you what's been working for us so far and hopefully some of it can be of some use to you.

For your first scenario, the only thing that will work, imo, is to never ever let the dogs have a chance to get at food on counters, sinks, etc. If they only get lucky once a month, the fact that they do is extremely reinforcing and, you can bet they will keep trying (sort of how people get addicted to gambling). If they never find food over a long period of time, the behavior will extinguish. You can teach a 'leave it' but, it really wouldn't help for those times you can't supervise. Penny doesn't take food but Lucky might on the odd occasion. We now put food in the oven to thaw. You can use a pantry, the microwave, a cupboard, etc..

For your second issue, which is obviously serious, both management and training are what's needed. I'll let you know what we do here at the moment.

Neither dogs are ever out in the yard unsupervised...and that doesn't mean we watch them through a window. We have to physically go out with them. Unfortunately, that means they are also never out at the same time as Penny now re-directs aggressively if anything excites her in the environment (whether it be negative or positive). So, what's working for us so far is that we try prevent her from getting to that point at all (but she's a little loopy so sometimes it can just be a bird in a tree that'll turn her into Cujo). If there's a dog, horse, people walking by, we try to re-direct her attention to us or even physically block her and then give her something else to do. We're fortunate that we have no neighbors in the back and both sides of the property are well covered so that the dogs can't see what's going on in those yards. For the front yard though, we're planting cedar along the fencing this Spring and will try to figure out something to cover the gates (we have a chain link fence). In your case with the Bassets, is there anyway you can block the visual access into their yard? Do the Bassets come right to the fence?

So, although stressful at times, the management is the easy part. The training part not so easy for me but, we have noticed improvement. We do a lot more recalls and, slowly try to build up Penny's tolerance to stressors and that's by reconditioning her to see them as positive things, not things she has to be afraid of or aggressive towards. I think in Chase's case this is what he needs too.

I'm going to pm stinkycat and millitntanimist as I believe they can explain the "how-to's" much better than I can.

One thing we tried that didn't work, actually made the situation worse, was set down a whole bunch of new rules all at one time (we too thought that perhaps they were too spoiled). So suddenly everything was NILIF, no dogs on the bed, furniture, etc. I can't tell you what a mistake that was as it only increased the stress and anxiety Penny was feeling. However, our issue was that Penny started attacking Lucky and Nukka whereas that's not the case between Chase and Kailey, thank dog.

Increasing their exercise did help dramatically, especially for Lucky. We started cycling with them (20 minute run is the equivalent of a 1 hour walk) and Lucky needs about 45 minutes to an hour of running per day. Problem now is, Lucky pulled the bike right out form under me and I got hurt :o. Dh is the one who takes him now as he outweighs me by 100lbs and Lucky isn't strong enough to unbalance the bike. Does Chase lunge after other animals/people when you're walking with him? Is your dh able to cycle with him (using an appropriate attachment of course) for about 20-30 mins. per day? If not, is there any way you can hire an experienced dog walker? I know without the exercise, it would be hell here...I'm already dreading next Winter :o.

Oh, another thing, we no longer feed our guys out of bowls at all. Everything gets stuffed into their Kongs and is frozen/semi-frozen so that it takes them between 30mins. - 2 hours to eat each meal. It keeps them super busy and prevents them from getting into trouble out of boredom.

I hope some of this helps you. I know too well what it's like to have everything suddenly go to hell in a handbasket :o :grouphug:.

SamIam
May 17th, 2011, 02:45 PM
Although it's on the older side of average, Chase has just gone through social maturity, and is challenging other dogs because of it. It seems that so far he has not lost a fight, so he is thinking he's pretty special and can win them all.

As LP has said, counter surfing is a learned behaviour, and whatever started it is long behind you. Although you can do some things to train a dog not to touch edibles in your absence, the effort involved is high, and the success rate low. You are probably better off making the counter physically inaccessible to the dogs, so that you can continue to use your kitchen as you like. For the cats you could also consider putting a cat flap on a closed door, as you may at some point have your baby gates jumped.

I disagree with LP on the likelihood of leadership to help you, but if you need to be 100% committed to it and not give up if the initial response is negative. Regardless of your decision in that area, I would book in a short obedience session with Chase every day or every other day. My focus for the sessions would be:
Distance SIT with distractions - if you haven't trained it yet, add distance and distractions to a reliable sit slowly; if you have, practice it to reinforce. Sitting is a neutral behaviour, neither submissive nor dominant, that communicates between dogs, I don't want to fight, but I am not bowing down to you either. You need to reach the point where you can get a sit during the initial posturing, growling, or circling that precedes biting.
COME with distractions - again, increase the difficulty slowly or if already trained, practice to reinforce.
WATCH me - Fighting cannot start or continue without eye contact with the opponent. Having Chase look at YOU is incompatible with him looking at the other dog. His gaze towards you should be soft and non-confrontational, but his focus should be strong.
LEAVE IT/OKAY - This can apply to anything, food, toys, other dogs. It does not necessarily mean touching is permanently forbidden, but it means you have veto power over his desires.

For management, if you know a dog who can win against Chase but fights using skill and not injury, it would help him to lose a fight. Other than that, avoid further interactions with the type of dog that is setting him off at this time. Build up slowly from dogs he is fine with, to those that cause a small reaction, to those that get under his skin even more. Accept that he will have a limit that you will not surpass.

Fence-running is quite instinctive for a shepherd, but if allowed to do so with neighbours, his level of excitement will increase, and he will begin to do it for the adrenaline rush. Work on your obedience towards this, and also teach him that the neighbour dogs are good. Pet them and talk to them, if Chase shows any sign of neutral or friendly behaviour towards them reward and praise him for it. A common mistake is to react by yelling or punishment, but these tend to increase aggression and animosity.

luckypenny
May 17th, 2011, 02:56 PM
I disagree with LP on the likelihood of leadership to help you...

:confused: Where did I say that? Of course leadership helps. What I said was, "One thing we tried that didn't work, actually made the situation worse, was set down a whole bunch of new rules all at one time." In our case, with our particular dog, too much at one time is too much for her.

SamIam
May 17th, 2011, 03:03 PM
:shrug: Misinterpretation of that statement I guess! :)
Can you elabourate on how you would use leadership with Chase but not risk making things worse the way that happened with this one dog you mentioned?

luckypenny
May 17th, 2011, 03:14 PM
To avoid that, I usually give my own opinion/advice directly to the op without trying to interpret what others are saying. Otherwise the gist of the thread tends to steer away from the help they are looking for and I hate it as much as the op when that happens :).

Management, teaching, re-conditioning/de-sensitizing, and exercise should help Chase. Above all, support for Chaser and working within her limitations.

TeriM
May 17th, 2011, 03:35 PM
When Riley approached two years of age it seemed as though he finally figured out how big he was and proceded to become a major jerk. He was bluff charging other dogs and basically being a bully as well as totally blowing me off. This is quite common when dogs mature.

What worked for us was tightening down the rules and working regular obedience sessions etc but that was combined with lots of positive reinforcement for his good decisions. I worked hard on developing a better relationship with my dog by doing lots of obedience/recall "games" with lots of reinforcement. This causes the dog to look to me for all the "fun stuff" as well as for leadership. When you have that it becomes easy for the dog to look to you for permission to go see other dogs etc. It is also really important to work on lots of self control.

Once you have a history of bad reactions it also becomes very hard for us to maintain that calm behavior that helps our dogs in stressful situations. For a while every time we approached another dog on leash I would sing the "I'm a Little Teapot" song in my head to keep my body language loose. I would use calming signals and also be very positive, treat lots and keep the visits short. Riley loves to tug so often once we passed I would often do a quick game of tug to help us decompress.

I would also strongly suggest that you purchase a few books on dog body language. Learning to read your dog's behaviour is a huge help in heading off bad situations before they develop. I personally love http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB527 which is also available now as an ebook. I still will use some of these signals (head turn, yawn) etc. in times where Riley might seem a bit uncomfortable with a crazy approach from another dog.

The good news is that we were able to work through the situation within months. The only time I ever really need to watch Riley now is if he is super excited or if a strange dog approaches him very close to our vehicle. I was luckier then LP in that he had a strong basis to start with as we had him from a puppy and we just needed to head off the "ass" phase before it became totally ingrained behaviour.

Good luck :goodvibes:.

Chaser
May 17th, 2011, 03:37 PM
For your first scenario, the only thing that will work, imo, is to never ever let the dogs have a chance to get at food on counters, sinks, etc. If they only get lucky once a month, the fact that they do is extremely reinforcing and, you can bet they will keep trying (sort of how people get addicted to gambling). If they never find food over a long period of time, the behavior will extinguish. You can teach a 'leave it' but, it really wouldn't help for those times you can't supervise. Penny doesn't take food but Lucky might on the odd occasion. We now put food in the oven to thaw. You can use a pantry, the microwave, a cupboard, etc..

We've definately been doing all this...especially since Chase got sick from the rishness of the prok chops and we caught Kailey with steak knives :eek: It's even more of a challenge having an open concept house. I suppose I've been stuck on thinking "but he used to be fine"....but you are very right about how reinforcing even getting the food is. Hadn't thought about it like that.

For your second issue, which is obviously serious, both management and training are what's needed. I'll let you know what we do here at the moment.

Neither dogs are ever out in the yard unsupervised...and that doesn't mean we watch them through a window.

Good point.

So, what's working for us so far is that we try prevent her from getting to that point at all (but she's a little loopy so sometimes it can just be a bird in a tree that'll turn her into Cujo). If there's a dog, horse, people walking by, we try to re-direct her attention to us or even physically block her and then give her something else to do.

I can try this....it will take some trial and error I think. Chase has that Border Collie intesity so when he fixates, good luck! But I'll play around with it.

In your case with the Bassets, is there anyway you can block the visual access into their yard? Do the Bassets come right to the fence?

I think DH could rig up something.....our yards meet corner to corner. And yep, they come to the fence too. They are rather aggressive as well.

So, although stressful at times, the management is the easy part. The training part not so easy for me but, we have noticed improvement. We do a lot more recalls and, slowly try to build up Penny's tolerance to stressors and that's by reconditioning her to see them as positive things, not things she has to be afraid of or aggressive towards. I think in Chase's case this is what he needs too.

I'm going to pm stinkycat and millitntanimist as I believe they can explain the "how-to's" much better than I can.

I agree with the reconditioning......we lapsed on hsi socialization when Kailey came into our lives with all her issues, and this is what we get for our lack of attention to it. But I know he is capable. I just don't really know what the approach :looks" like exactly, so I'd love the others' input.

One thing we tried that didn't work, actually made the situation worse, was set down a whole bunch of new rules all at one time (we too thought that perhaps they were too spoiled). So suddenly everything was NILIF, no dogs on the bed, furniture, etc. I can't tell you what a mistake that was as it only increased the stress and anxiety Penny was feeling. However, our issue was that Penny started attacking Lucky and Nukka whereas that's not the case between Chase and Kailey, thank dog.

So true! This is always DH's reaction! It's all of a sudden: "They're too spoiled. No more couches or on the bed" That lasts all of two days and all we get is two dogs slinking around, confused and trying to figure out what exactly they did wrong.

Does Chase lunge after other animals/people when you're walking with him?

He sometimes gets excited by other dogs, but is never aggressive on leash and is pretty easily redirected. He has never shown an ounce of aggression towards a person.

Is your dh able to cycle with him (using an appropriate attachment of course) for about 20-30 mins. per day?

He used to rollerblade with him sometimes and I know Chase loved that....I'll ask him to try that. And although not the same as a walk, I can at least spend more time with them playing feach and such in the yard.

Oh, another thing, we no longer feed our guys out of bowls at all. Everything gets stuffed into their Kongs and is frozen/semi-frozen so that it takes them between 30mins. - 2 hours to eat each meal. It keeps them super busy and prevents them from getting into trouble out of boredom.

I like this....they're rarely alone more than two hours at a time....but it would be great for mental stimulation regardless and would certainly slow down Kailey the Inhaler.

I hope some of this helps you. I know too well what it's like to have everything suddenly go to hell in a handbasket :o :grouphug:.

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond! i've been thinking of you for a while and knew you'd likely have some good feedback for me. I don't expect miracle answers....I know they don't exist :(

Chaser
May 17th, 2011, 03:47 PM
You are probably better off making the counter physically inaccessible to the dogs, so that you can continue to use your kitchen as you like. For the cats you could also consider putting a cat flap on a closed door, as you may at some point have your baby gates jumped.

Would if I could...too much open concept.

I would book in a short obedience session with Chase every day or every other day.

We have lost some focus on training lately....certainly would not hurt.

For management, if you know a dog who can win against Chase but fights using skill and not injury, it would help him to lose a fight.

NO is all I can say to this.

Fence-running is quite instinctive for a shepherd, but if allowed to do so with neighbours, his level of excitement will increase, and he will begin to do it for the adrenaline rush. Work on your obedience towards this, and also teach him that the neighbour dogs are good. Pet them and talk to them, if Chase shows any sign of neutral or friendly behaviour towards them reward and praise him for it. A common mistake is to react by yelling or punishment, but these tend to increase aggression and animosity.

Kailey is the shepherd....Chase is actually border collie/lab. But reasonable points. I do think he quite enjoys charging to the back corner to seek out the bassetts.

SamIam
May 17th, 2011, 03:50 PM
To avoid that, I usually give my own opinion/advice directly to the op without trying to interpret what others are saying.

That's exactly what I was suggesting - that you might have some suggestions as to how leadership would be best applied to this situation.

Chaser
May 17th, 2011, 03:53 PM
When Riley approached two years of age it seemed as though he finally figured out how big he was and proceded to become a major jerk. He was bluff charging other dogs and basically being a bully as well as totally blowing me off. This is quite common when dogs mature.

Hmmm....well it's nice to know it's not just me :rolleyes:

What worked for us was tightening down the rules and working regular obedience sessions etc but that was combined with lots of positive reinforcement for his good decisions. I worked hard on developing a better relationship with my dog by doing lots of obedience/recall "games" with lots of reinforcement. This causes the dog to look to me for all the "fun stuff" as well as for leadership. When you have that it becomes easy for the dog to look to you for permission to go see other dogs etc. It is also really important to work on lots of self control.

This approach is something I'd be really comfortable with. i feel like he does need rules and limts....but also believe positive reinforcement is crucial. Did you find they work well togather? I think I have thought it's an "either/or' situation.

Once you have a history of bad reactions it also becomes very hard for us to maintain that calm behavior that helps our dogs in stressful situations. For a while every time we approached another dog on leash I would sing the "I'm a Little Teapot" song in my head to keep my body language loose. I would use calming signals and also be very positive, treat lots and keep the visits short. Riley loves to tug so often once we passed I would often do a quick game of tug to help us decompress.

Chase is actually quite good on leash....but Kailey still has a bit of her leash aggression. I like your strategies! She will do anything for a squeaky ball so I've been meaning to try that.

I would also strongly suggest that you purchase a few books on dog body language. Learning to read your dog's behaviour is a huge help in heading off bad situations before they develop. I personally love http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB527 which is also available now as an ebook. I still will use some of these signals (head turn, yawn) etc. in times where Riley might seem a bit uncomfortable with a crazy approach from another dog.

Excellent idea....I do find him hard to read sometimes but never thought to educate myself more on the subject. I'll check it out!

The good news is that we were able to work through the situation within months. The only time I ever really need to watch Riley now is if he is super excited or if a strange dog approaches him very close to our vehicle. I was luckier then LP in that he had a strong basis to start with as we had him from a puppy and we just needed to head off the "ass" phase before it became totally ingrained behaviour.

Good luck :goodvibes:.

Thank you for the encouragement. There is hope after all!!!

chico2
May 17th, 2011, 03:58 PM
Chaser,hope all this good advice will help you and the puppers:dog:

Chaser
May 17th, 2011, 03:59 PM
Oh, one idea I was considering is to build a small agility course in our yard. Chase has that awesome border collie speed and agility - loves to jump and weave and spin. I thought it would be great for exercise, mental stimulation AND to make our yard time more productive than "let's go out and charge the bassetts"

Thoughts????

Also, since we don't seem to have problems on leash, would it help to introduce him to more dogs on walks? We usually just ignore them, since that is better for Kailey due to her leash issues.....but I don't know that it has done Chase any favours. I usually walk Chase and DH takes Kailey, so they could carry on while I let him socialize a little....? I don't know....too much too soon? I think he's at his worst in "his" territory.....neutral seems to be okay, unless there's a male humping his sister that is :rolleyes:

Chaser
May 17th, 2011, 04:00 PM
Chaser,hope all this good advice will help you and the puppers:dog:

Well I'm feeling less hopeless about it all....which I think is a pretty positive start :)

SamIam
May 17th, 2011, 04:19 PM
Oh, one idea I was considering is to build a small agility course in our yard. Chase has that awesome border collie speed and agility - loves to jump and weave and spin. I thought it would be great for exercise, mental stimulation AND to make our yard time more productive than "let's go out and charge the bassetts"
Thoughts????
Exercise and mental stimulation are definitely plusses to improving overall behaviour. In addition, you will improve your bond and control from teaching something fun and directing which fun obstacle comes next.

Also, since we don't seem to have problems on leash, would it help to introduce him to more dogs on walks? We usually just ignore them, since that is better for Kailey due to her leash issues.....but I don't know that it has done Chase any favours. I usually walk Chase and DH takes Kailey, so they could carry on while I let him socialize a little....? I don't know....too much too soon? I think he's at his worst in "his" territory.....neutral seems to be okay, unless there's a male humping his sister that is :rolleyes:
Research the canine behaviours first. Displacement signals as well as dominant/submissive gestures. You will want a good idea of what Chase and the other dog are saying to each other using their facial expressions, body postures, stance, tail, etc.

luckypenny
May 17th, 2011, 04:32 PM
What worked for us was tightening down the rules and working regular obedience sessions etc but that was combined with lots of positive reinforcement for his good decisions. I worked hard on developing a better relationship with my dog by doing lots of obedience/recall "games" with lots of reinforcement. This causes the dog to look to me for all the "fun stuff" as well as for leadership. When you have that it becomes easy for the dog to look to you for permission to go see other dogs etc. It is also really important to work on lots of self control.

I love how all this really does improve the relationship. I still remember the first time Lucky looked to me for direction in a potentially dangerous situation...it's moments like that where one realizes how important working on trust is.

I can try this....it will take some trial and error I think. Chase has that Border Collie intesity so when he fixates, good luck! But I'll play around with it.

It's the training sessions that will help here and perhaps on-leash at a safe comfortable distance for Chase is the best way to start. Don't leave anything up to chance and manage the environment as best as possible.

I think DH could rig up something.....our yards meet corner to corner. And yep, they come to the fence too. They are rather aggressive as well.


It would be nice if the neighbors would be willing to work with their dogs too, huh? I can't even talk mine into putting collars on their dogs, nevermind containing them to their yards and training :rolleyes:.

What kind of fencing do you have? Maybe a tarp or something attached to it and then another small fence a foot or so away (we temporarily used a strong chicken wire type galvanized fencing at our old home. Inexpensive and found at a hardware store) to prevent Chase and the Bassets from meeting nose to nose. If you need ideas, maybe you can take pics of the area and we can help out. It's not a permanent solution but I think management is key while you're working on teaching new behaviors so that you're setting yourselves up for success.

luckypenny
May 17th, 2011, 04:46 PM
Oh, one idea I was considering is to build a small agility course in our yard. Chase has that awesome border collie speed and agility - loves to jump and weave and spin. I thought it would be great for exercise, mental stimulation AND to make our yard time more productive than "let's go out and charge the bassetts"

Thoughts????

Absolutely great idea!

Also, since we don't seem to have problems on leash, would it help to introduce him to more dogs on walks? We usually just ignore them, since that is better for Kailey due to her leash issues.....but I don't know that it has done Chase any favours. I usually walk Chase and DH takes Kailey, so they could carry on while I let him socialize a little....? I don't know....too much too soon? I think he's at his worst in "his" territory.....neutral seems to be okay, unless there's a male humping his sister that is :rolleyes:

I'm afraid I see two potential problems with this. First, if they're both being walked together (even with two separate people) and Kailey is uncomfortable, she's giving off all sorts of signals that Chase can read. If she's anxious/fearful/aggressive, he's going to feed off of it and may not react as if he were on his own without that influence. It's exactly what happened with Penny and Lucky when we used to walk them together when they were first adopted. Lucky being terribly fearful of approaching strangers made Penny wary of them. And the more we kept it up because we had no clue at the time, the worse it got before it was pointed out to me.

Second, dogs meeting face-to-face (especially on leash) is not safe as it's not how they would naturally greet. You could unknowingly be forcing a confrontation between two dogs.

14+kitties
May 17th, 2011, 09:35 PM
LP has the best training info, doesn't she? And TeriM - she's done so much work with Riley lately I'm sure he's taught her something!! :D I'd take their info and run with it. Just on a personal note - I know LP is glad to help out anyone she can by pm or emails. She's such a wonderful person that way!! :thumbs up :angel:

TeriM
May 18th, 2011, 01:03 AM
This approach is something I'd be really comfortable with. i feel like he does need rules and limts....but also believe positive reinforcement is crucial. Did you find they work well togather? I think I have thought it's an "either/or' situation.

Yes, they definately work well together. It is not enough to just tell the dog what he can't do you also need to teach them what you want them to do. The biggest key I find to training (excluding special cases) is remembering that dogs do what is reinforcing for them. Reinforce the behavior you want and the dog begins to really understand what you expect from them.

When I refer to rules in home I am talking pretty basic stuff. Wait for permision before going outside, getting off the bed it told, doing behaviors/tricks for treats and meals etc. I walk Riley 1-1.5 hours daily with the bulk of that off-leash but we do all sorts of drills/training/rewards during those walks so he keeps focus with me.

Excellent idea....I do find him hard to read sometimes but never thought to educate myself more on the subject. I'll check it out!

It will make things sooooo much clearer for you :thumbs up.

I'm afraid I see two potential problems with this. First, if they're both being walked together (even with two separate people) and Kailey is uncomfortable, she's giving off all sorts of signals that Chase can read. If she's anxious/fearful/aggressive, he's going to feed off of it and may not react as if he were on his own without that influence. It's exactly what happened with Penny and Lucky when we used to walk them together when they were first adopted. Lucky being terribly fearful of approaching strangers made Penny wary of them. And the more we kept it up because we had no clue at the time, the worse it got before it was pointed out to me.

Second, dogs meeting face-to-face (especially on leash) is not safe as it's not how they would naturally greet. You could unknowingly be forcing a confrontation between two dogs.

I agree with this advice from LP. It is something to work towards but you are interested in baby steps for now. I would try to find someone with confident, balanced dogs and set up some really positive on leash greetings first. Set your dog up to succeed is training advice given to me that I have found useful.

SamIam
May 18th, 2011, 02:25 AM
Chaser, when I teach obedience I use lots & lots of praise, and sometimes treats, toys or other rewards, too. When working and learning are fun, your dog will learn faster and more reliably. You are dealing with some very frustrating behaviours which are self-rewarding and to counter that you need to offer Chase a bigger reward than those bassets do, just for something simple like sitting when he approaches them, coming back when called, or even just looking away from them and breaking that intense border collie gaze. He likes to play, to win, to focus, to be excited - redirect those desires to doing things for you.

Chaser
May 18th, 2011, 01:58 PM
It would be nice if the neighbors would be willing to work with their dogs too, huh? I can't even talk mine into putting collars on their dogs, nevermind containing them to their yards and training :rolleyes:.

What kind of fencing do you have? Maybe a tarp or something attached to it and then another small fence a foot or so away (we temporarily used a strong chicken wire type galvanized fencing at our old home. Inexpensive and found at a hardware store) to prevent Chase and the Bassets from meeting nose to nose. If you need ideas, maybe you can take pics of the area and we can help out. It's not a permanent solution but I think management is key while you're working on teaching new behaviors so that you're setting yourselves up for success.

The neighbours control their beagles by yelling at them :yell: So they'll be no help. Odd how we have three other neighbour dogs that aren't an issue though :shrug:

If DH can't rig something up once the weather improves I'll upload a pic for sure!

Chaser
May 18th, 2011, 02:04 PM
I'm afraid I see two potential problems with this. First, if they're both being walked together (even with two separate people) and Kailey is uncomfortable, she's giving off all sorts of signals that Chase can read. If she's anxious/fearful/aggressive, he's going to feed off of it and may not react as if he were on his own without that influence. It's exactly what happened with Penny and Lucky when we used to walk them together when they were first adopted. Lucky being terribly fearful of approaching strangers made Penny wary of them. And the more we kept it up because we had no clue at the time, the worse it got before it was pointed out to me.

Second, dogs meeting face-to-face (especially on leash) is not safe as it's not how they would naturally greet. You could unknowingly be forcing a confrontation between two dogs.

I have actually found Chase is far better behaved if he only walks with me....but I feel so much guilt for leaving kailey at home :( But DH works 12 hour shifts, so he can't always take Kailey if I were to take Chase. So maybe I just need to give her a stuffed kong and get over it? :o

But when he is NOT with her, he really is amazing on leash. He's been to events before with hundreds of leashed dogs and he's calm and friendly....sniffs, quick hello, moves on....

I'm going to take TeriM's advice on researching body laguage too.....but I really do feel confident with him on a lead.

It's almost like he's worse as part of a pack than he is on his own....does that make sense?

SamIam
May 18th, 2011, 02:22 PM
It's almost like he's worse as part of a pack than he is on his own....does that make sense?

Absolutely!

Luvmypitgirls
May 18th, 2011, 07:16 PM
Edited by Mod

"a dog that would wrestle but not injure or become injured", having two dogs challenge each other is a situation that could easily become out of hand, and both dogs could become injured. I think it's irresponsible to suggest to have two dogs challenge each other and think that neither would get hurt, it's risky and not to mention even done with good intentions (if setting up a fight is ever done with good intentions) could result in both dogs and handlers getting seriously hurt.

growler~GateKeeper
May 18th, 2011, 09:33 PM
Let's move on and keep to suggestions regarding the issues Chaser has asked for help with in the original post.

Thanks

luckypenny
May 18th, 2011, 10:41 PM
Chaser, upon 14+'s suggestion, here's something pretty (and a fun project to boot) that might serve well for that corner of the yard :). Maybe a couple of them side-by-bide.

http://lifeonthebalcony.com/how-to-turn-a-pallet-into-a-garden/

TeriM
May 18th, 2011, 10:48 PM
It's almost like he's worse as part of a pack than he is on his own....does that make sense?

Definately makes sense. When we had Lucy she could be a bit of an instigator and Riley always felt the need to defend her bad choices. When we have my mom's dog Sam (littermate to Riley) I am always way more careful about other dog interactions. It's to bad you don't live closer because Chase would really benefit with a group walk that a dog class I attend does monthly. All dogs are on leash and walking forward in a brisk positive motion. It is amazing to see the confidence this gives to fearful dogs and also to dog agressive dogs :thumbs up.


"a dog that would wrestle but not injure or become injured", having two dogs challenge each other is a situation that could easily become out of hand, and both dogs could become injured. I think it's irresponsible to suggest to have two dogs challenge each other and think that neither would get hurt, it's risky and not to mention even done with good intentions (if setting up a fight is ever done with good intentions) could result in both dogs and handlers getting seriously hurt.

I Agree. I know that you would never do that anyway Chaser :thumbs up. It is important to prevent things like dog agression wherever possible because each time it happens it reinforces the behaviour. Studies have shown that brains create pathways each time a behavior is successful and then the behavior becomes automatic as the dog just reacts and doesn't think.

Chaser
May 18th, 2011, 10:53 PM
Chaser, upon 14+'s suggestion, here's something pretty (and a fun project to boot) that might serve well for that corner of the yard :). Maybe a couple of them side-by-bide.

http://lifeonthebalcony.com/how-to-turn-a-pallet-into-a-garden/

Ooh, that would definately look better than tarp over a lattice! (Yeah, I'm not exactly creative when it comes to the outdoors :o)

Chaser
May 18th, 2011, 10:57 PM
Definately makes sense. When we had Lucy she could be a bit of an instigator and Riley always felt the need to defend her bad choices. When we have my mom's dog Sam (littermate to Riley) I am always way more careful about other dog interactions. It's to bad you don't live closer because Chase would really benefit with a group walk that a dog class I attend does monthly. All dogs are on leash and walking forward in a brisk positive motion. It is amazing to see the confidence this gives to fearful dogs and also to dog agressive dogs :thumbs up.

Oh something like that would be SO good for him!

I Agree. I know that you would never do that anyway Chaser :thumbs up. It is important to prevent things like dog agression wherever possible because each time it happens it reinforces the behaviour. Studies have shown that brains create pathways each time a behavior is successful and then the behavior becomes automatic as the dog just reacts and doesn't think.

Yeah, that suggestion got a giant NO from me. I'll keep my other thoughts on it to myself.

Interesting about the neural pathways....I really haven't thought about the physiology behind the behaviour before. I think I can definately find opportunities for him to build confidence and have positive interactions. It will just mean splitting him up from his sister more often. Though to be honest, I've wondered for a while now if they've become too intertwined....perhaps they would benefit from more independent activites to break up their pack mentality a bit and re-train Chase's responses.

SamIam
May 19th, 2011, 12:00 AM
Chaser, two dogs together will be more confident than each one separately. So either of your dogs may not have the confidence to start a fight or even counter surf without the other one there. It is the same as with teenagers, when they cause trouble it's most often with a friend or in a gang - split them up and they don't separately add up to the trouble the group of them are. Unfortunately, bad behaviour seems to have a stronger influence, so if one dog is misbehaving and the other is not, you will more likely end up with the naughty one influencing the good one, rather than vice versa. You don't have to separate the two permanently, but in each situation where your dogs act badly together, work with them each separately until you get good, solid acceptable behaviours. Once they are back together, you may also need a little more reinforcing due to adding the complication of a buddy.

Stinkycat
May 19th, 2011, 11:05 AM
Okay, so Chase is the bigger problem here, but Kailey certainly plays a role. They're both going on four years. We've been in our current house for one year with no major changes...but the behaviours have been especially bad in the past six months.

1) Counter Surfing - This has been an ongoing battle with Kailey (with the whole history of homelessness and emaciation), but a new behaviour for Chase over the past six months. We have always avoided the obvious "don't leave food on the counter". But Chase - I swear out of nowhere - started stealing off the counter and coffee table recently. A muffin, bowls of fruit salad....they will both pick dirty dishes out of the sink if they don't make it into the dishwasher. But Chase is even ballsier than his sis and he will steal as soon as you turn your back.....she at least waits until we leave the house. Bear in mind she was homeless for a while, so the battle is a little more understandable with her - though still not okay. But Chase? We used to be able to leave him in a room with a plate of food for 20 minutes and he wouldn't dream of touching it. Two months ago they plucked a dozen thawing pork chops out of the sink and went and ate them in our bed!!!! Chase was also making a habit of sneaking to the basement and eating the cat's food (dish kept up on top of a workbench). We had to put up a baby gate to keep him out of that room.
Counter surfing is a pretty simple problem to fix, Yes management is number one, you need to NEVER leave anything up on the counter that the dog can get, this involves clearing the counter everytime you're not home (and the sink) if the dog surfs and there is nothing there...it's not rewarding, you can use negative reinforcement through sound (line the edge of the counter with two pop cans filled with coins attach them together with a string (booby trap) if Chase puts his paws on the string the cans will fall making a loud noise.
It's easier to manage when you're home as you can show him the appropriate behaviour, everytime he's in the kitchen and his four paws are on the ground, CLICK and reward, if you see him walking in the kitchen click and reward, you have to show him that there are rewards when he's not jumping up and when he jumps up he gets nothing. Consistency is key here.

2) Aggression - This is ALL Chase. He was well-socialized as a pup and actually was more comfortable with males dogs than other females. When we adopted Kailey he could get a bit snippy with intact males - seemed protective of his new sis. It's only gotten worse :( We had a friend's GSD for a day in January and Chase tackled him! Pinned him against the shed, snarling and snapping. Then they got in a fight over a stick (DH had to step in). I had to tie Chase to me the rest of the day. And poor Kailey was so upset! She liked Dexter, but when the boys fought she laid down in a corner of the yard with her paw covering her eyes. Seriously. Now SHE, the former rescue who was terrified of everything and always lashed out, can go to a dog park yet there is no way on earth Chase can now (not that I really like dog parks....but you know what I mean). He will tolerate two males that we are neighbours with...but there is a chain link fence in between. But then there are two intact bassetts that just moved in behind us and he despises them....charges the fence whenever he see them. BTW, Chase was neutered at 6 mos and Kailey was spayed as soon as we rescued her at around age one. Dexter, the GSD, is about one y.o., neutered, a tad dominant but generally well-tempered. Chase will submit to Kailey in a second, no question - he always has. But any other dog....he's become a dominant little jerk. Last time we went to a dog park (like two years ago) an intact male Setter kept bugging Kailey and Chase tore out a hunk of his fur! We though intact males were the only problem....but then he went after Dexter. Who is over twice the size of Chase by the way...
Now you have to take a step back and think....when did the behaviour START, what did you see first? Border Collie's tend to be possessive about objects and people, its' in their blood to control (thats how they move sheep and they've been bred to do for YEARS), alot of it's MINE! Much like fast movement, they feel that need to control it like they control the herd.

I need to know what type of training you have used on both dogs, domination/alpha? Ignoring behaviours? Sounds a bit like Chase is dealing with alot of stress, you need to:
#1 - STOP taking them to dog parks to let Chase fail. Everytime Chase is involved with a dog in a negative aspect, you're TEACHING him that. He doesn't learn anything good from it, it's the exact opposite, whatever his fear is he's confirming it by fighting.
#2 - you need to have more positive interactions in order to change Chases thought process

I would for the next while, have the girl close to you, since she tends to be linked with the fighting other dogs. Have Chase close, get a whistle (police whistle on the lowest setting) look for those tell tale "calm before the storm" body signs (stiff legs, ears up, tail with a slow wag, hackles sometimes up) You need to watch him like a hawk, as soon as you see these you need to divert him by blowing the whistle and redirecting him. The whistle will stop every dog and give you those few extra seconds to let his brain think.

We're having a couple other issues, but these are the main two. I'll leave it here for now. PLEASE, any advice would be so appreciated. I always felt capable and in control of my dogs....but this has just become terrible. I do think exercise is part of it and I admit their walks have been lacking between winter and me battling tendonitis in my hips and a pretty nasty dout of depression. But still.....both these issues came on pretty surprisingly for Chase and I just don't know what happened to my sweet, obedient boy!

Please just ask if you need any info or clarification.....I need to figure out where I'm going wrong here. I want to foster again but there's no way I can if I can't even control my own dogs! And no way on earth I could have a male in the house, that's for sure.

Shoot me a pm if you would like help with other behaviours, but definitely need to know what type of training you have used.

millitntanimist
May 19th, 2011, 11:20 AM
I think seeing a qualified veterinary behaviorist or positive trainer who specializes in aggression is always your best bet.

but for what it's worth . . .

Block off the fences, all of them:
I think blocking the bassetts is good but I would also block the two males next door and/or visible access to the street and here's why: even if he is not reacting to them directly now, both could be creating barrier frustration which may be making him more reactive or increase his reactivity in future. It will help if you are out with him to re-direct any reaction and reward his non-reactive behavior, but the best situation for you to start working with him on his reactivity will be one where you can control all the variables. It doesn't have to be ugly. When we moved and we wanted to cover one of our fences (to prevent any barrier frustration before it even started) we picked up some willow fence from our local garden center and just laid it over the chain. :thumbs up
Many neutered male dogs develop inter-male aggression to entire dogs, it's really common. Other than desensitization there is not much you are going to be able to do to.

Shaping the absence (for this you will need an under control dog that Chase will react to):

What you are going to be working with here is your dog's flight distance. All animals have a radius of reactivity to a stimulus (with wild animals this radius is much larger). You need to find the edge of your dog's flight distance, this is where looking at body language will be helpful to you. Chaser will probably start signaling long before he is about to become reactive. The sweet spot will be where he can acknowledge the other dog he dislikes but still be responsive to you. Build up his non-reactive response slowly from this point by shaping the absence of the behavior you don't want: his reactivity. Every positive response (looking at you, looking at the other dog with no reaction, looking away or offering another calming signal) gets a reward (something reeeeeally yummy). Any negative reaction means you try to re-direct with a “watch me” until he stops reacting or move him back until he can focus on you again. Over a period of sessions you will try to decrease this distance until he can greet the other dog politely – obviously you should never move him directly toward the trigger, come in sideways, circling. If he wants to interact let him, but always try to end things on a positive note. Safe greeting and avoidance should be your expectation here, not sociability.
Here is a video of this procedure by Dr. Sophia Yin. Please note, as she says in her narration, she is using -R in the first demonstration because Podee is over-threshold. This is exactly what you don't want, dogs who are this aroused are incapable of learning. My personal preference is to achieve your focus without using a head halter - it disrupts a dog's body language and you really want your dog to be able to offer you their full attention without coercion - but it may be necessary if you are worried about your dog biting in excitement.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUCl6ndLN7Q
Chaser has hit adulthood, he may have decided that he does not want to interact with other male dogs, and that's ok. He needs to learn to exist with them when necessary, and to avoid when he would otherwise become reactive. Anything else is a bonus.

Depending on his drives, one strategy you could also try would be to work with him playing a focused game like fetch or doing obedience work he enjoys around his triggers (obviously not in a situation where the game could be interrupted, like the middle of the dog park). This will help him learn a positive avoidance of the things he doesn't like, teach him to focus on you, and build a better association with those triggers because they are the predictors of good things.
Playing fetch (a game she will perform any of her behaviors to initiate) around her triggers drastically improved our shiba-malinois' reactivity. However, this will not work for every dog! It has the potential to make them more reactive if they get over-aroused by the game. It just boils down to what will work best for Chaser.

A word on NILIF

NILIF is a great tool, but it I think where you can run into problems is if you start utilizing it in the abstract. Your dog will never understand that they are allowed on the couch (for example) one day and not the next. They will, however, understand that there is an expectation of them if you start asking for a good behavior (like sit) before you invite them on the couch – or, if they are on the couch already, it could be asking for an “off” whose compliance is then rewarded with couch access. The point is not to earn privileges (privilege is a human construction, your dog does not understand “ I have been good all week so I am allowed on the couch now”) or remove access to resources until they “learn their place” but to have your dog offer good behavior for the things they want of their own accord. NILIF practiced this way will instil a level of self control in the dog and associate you with all of the resources they want.

Exercise (this one's more for LP, but they would work for for you too :)

One thing you could try with the bike would be to find yourself a springer (http://www.springeramerica.com/). They were originally designed as shock absorbers for police officers in the UK to prevent their dogs from pulling their bikes off balance while on patrol. Also, if your dogs are pullers, you could consider investing in a few X-backs and a kicksled for next winter :D. Seriously, its a lot of fun and a great workout for everybody (Moro is only about 35 pounds and she can pull me and the sled with no problem, but sometimes you have to run :P)

Two books I think might really help

http://www.amazon.com/Click-Calm-Healing-Aggressive-Clicker/dp/1890948209/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1305806333&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Fight-Practical-Treatment-Dog-dog-Aggression/dp/0970562969/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305806641&sr=1-1

Good luck :)

14+kitties
May 19th, 2011, 11:20 AM
For management, if you know a dog who can win against Chase but fights using skill and not injury, it would help him to lose a fight.

I am going to try to respond to this statement as well as I can without getting my butt banned and/or having this edited. :rolleyes: I have already pm'd my concerns to Marko about this but ...........

So, let me just say this particular statement is wrong in so many ways IMO. How many dogs do you know who "fight with skill"? Me personally, I know none. And I know a ton of dogs!

Dog fighting is banned/outlawed for a reason. Remember Vicks? It is abhorrent. It is dangerous. It is/can be deadly for the combatants involved. It can turn a previously happy dog around other dogs into a dog who is snappy, snarls, and goes for the throat. Even without provocation. It is plainly and simply wrong. I won't/don't feel I should have to provide proof of what I say as to most it is just common sense.

Now I'd like to share a story with you. This story is about a dog who would never consider harming another animal (besides field mice). Other dogs were welcome around her. She even put up with cats. She loved everyone and their dogs. Everyone and their dogs loved her.
One day about 10 years ago she was on the porch of her own home. Her own home folks. She left the comfort of her porch for some reason. Maybe to pee? I suppose the shepherd that was watching her from a distance felt she was fair game. Maybe he felt she was going up to his "home". I don't know. I'll never know what set him off. Anyway, he attacked this beautiful dog. This gentle dog. During the attack his partner (female) joined in. The gentle dog's owner was trying to get to her while screaming for the GD's owner to come get his dogs. By the time this attack ended this girl was left with so many injuries it took a long time for her to heal. There were around 270 stitches to various bites, tears, etc. on her body. Her chest was bruised from stem to stern. She was left a terrified, fearful dog.
Since that time this dog will not let another dog, besides ones that live with her, near her. She snarls. She snaps. She goes for the throat if not pulled back.
Why do I know this story so well? This dog is mine. I inherited her when I moved in with her owner. This incident happened just before I came to her home for the first time. I got to see first hand the damage a dog fight can do to a dog. I get to live with those results every day.
Many members and past members of Pets have met my dog. They will tell you Sammy is the most gentle, loving dog they have met. They love her. So do I. They have not seen her around another dog. I have.
Please, I beg you, before making a statement such as the one that was made - think about the possible outcome. I live with it daily. Thank you for letting me state my piece.

BenMax
May 19th, 2011, 11:26 AM
I guess good thing for the editing as I just walked into this. I am not going to provide any training techniques, tips nor suggestions. There are so many to sift through, and some suggestions are just way off.

Regardless, I will say that dogs do not always sort things out in a controlled manner. With my experiences, I can assure you that there could possibly and more than likely be one loser. That loser would be the handler as the vet bills will climb and also, the handler will have alot more problems in handling other behaviours which would manifest from dogs 'sorting things out'. To be honest, they do not sort things out the way we 'believe' they do.

That is just my :2cents: - 1 cent.

marko
May 19th, 2011, 12:55 PM
I'm not convinced we need to focus on the 1 unpopular opinion that has already been rejected by the op. It need not become the focus of this thread imo. ...unless members choose to make it the focus... and if you do please be nice to one another.
Personally I'd rather have the thread move forward.
Thx - Marko admin

SamIam
May 19th, 2011, 12:57 PM
I could tell Chaser open-concept houses are a terrible idea. You need to put up some walls and close all the doors so you can put in the cat flap and physically block the dogs from the cat food. But you know what? I made a suggestion, Chaser said no, that one doesn't work for me. I respect that. No means no.

This thread was started so that Chaser could get some situations on how to deal with some problems that have come up with her dogs. Let's focus on what she does want to try, shall we?

Luvmypitgirls
May 19th, 2011, 01:15 PM
I'm not convinced we need to focus on the 1 unpopular opinion that has already been rejected by the op. It need not become the focus of this thread imo. ...unless members choose to make it the focus... and if you do please be nice to one another.
Personally I'd rather have the thread move forward.
Thx - Marko admin

I disagree on the premise that that one unpopular suggestion, could be read and applied by a novice dog handler. I also disagree on the premise that putting two dogs at risk of injury in a situation that could easily become something it wasn't intended to be needs to be disputed. Dog fighting for ANY reason should not be condoned.
I hope I was able to articulate myself in a manner which is more acceptable this time.

marko
May 19th, 2011, 01:20 PM
I think you articulated your point in a perfectly acceptable way.
Thx - Marko

Chaser
May 19th, 2011, 02:53 PM
Militnamist & stinkycat - thank you VERY much for taking the time to reply!

I'm doubtful I will have a chance to answer the extra questions you've given to me until tomorrow....but just a couple quick points:

- we haven't taken Chase to a dog park since he took a chunk out of that dog over a year ago....we weren't about to take risks with his or anyone else's well-being, and I do believe that dog parks can be very bad places where you can't control the environment. So no worries, we haven't been doing that! But we HAVE been isolating him, and I don't know if that's much better.

- my yard is BIG.....and to block all dogs I'd have to cover two whole sides of it. If we owned our home we wouldn't have chain link fence in the first place....but it is what it is. Weird thing is he will outright play with the Aussie directly behind us (a younger neutered male). He's not so good with the husky/lab on the one side though (neutered but a few years older and about 20 lbs. bigger).

Sorry if this seems jumbled....but I guess in addition to assistance i'm looking for the WHY in all this. Why is he fine with a few male dogs? Why can he be calm and friendly on leash surrounded by hundreds of dogs at a fundraising walk? But then try to beat up on a dog over twice his size? Or turn into a snarling beast when a male tries to hump Kailey? (who takes care of herself just fine I might add) :shrug:

But anyway, I will come back as soon as I can with a little more info. This thread is giving me a lot to chew on to say the least. Thank you for all the support!!!! :)

SamIam
May 19th, 2011, 04:01 PM
Sorry if this seems jumbled....but I guess in addition to assistance i'm looking for the WHY in all this. Why is he fine with a few male dogs? Why can he be calm and friendly on leash surrounded by hundreds of dogs at a fundraising walk? But then try to beat up on a dog over twice his size? Or turn into a snarling beast when a male tries to hump Kailey? (who takes care of herself just fine I might add) :shrug:

Kailey is "his" girl. Even neutered males will form a pair-like bond with a female they live with. Every cell in Chase's body is a male dog cell, neutering reduces the amount of testosterone he has, but does not eliminate it. It is not every dog that will be quite so protective over his girl, but yours is certainly not the only one.

Some of his behaviour is related to his need for excitement. Working border collies work hard and they are intense. In fact, many farm-working bcs are kenneled at all times when not working stock, rather than any effort being put into breeding into them the ability to just relax. Even though Chase is a mix, he has some and possibly all of that intensity and need for excitement and energy release. Offering him more exercise or more vigorous exercise may help, but it will not eliminate his desires completely.

Some dogs develop a dislike for certain breeds - black dogs, poodles, tiny dogs, and Chase may have certain neutral criteria - one being large size - that he associates with a dog he wants to challenge. In addition, he will watch for the other dog's behaviour. He may use body language to say "Hey, wanna fight me?" and then watch for the answer. Most dogs would fight if the other dog says yes, though some are bullies and prefer to take on a dog who won't do much to defend themselves.

In a crowd of dogs there are so many signals from so many dogs that if he gave out the dominant ready-to-fight signals, 4 dogs might accept his challenge at once and he knows better. Taking on just one, even a big one, he considers a safer bet. Maybe two at a time, but with the bassets he is also very well aware that the fence will protect him.

I hope I did not frighten you with my suggestion to put him in a situation where he will lose. I am rather surprised that no-one commenting here has met a large dog who can do the job safely, as I was quite clear you would have to be confident in the other dog's behaviour. In the end your own inhibitions are probably more on the lines of a protective mother, and that I understand completely. However, please understand that every time you step in to break up a fight, it is very likely that Chase sees this as back-up and support in helping him win, no matter what you say to him while you are doing it. In his mind, he has won every single fight. Be very vigilant to prevent these confrontations before they start, rather than depending on stepping in half-way.

You will see improvement when you have established
Come when I call you no matter what you are in the middle of
Sit is the appropriate greeting for a dog you don't like
Don't touch unless I say it's okay
Watch me rather than eying those other dogs

His challenges are new because he has reached social maturity, a natural point of development that all dogs go through. He will never be the same dog he was a year ago, but he can and will improve from what you are seeing today.

free
May 19th, 2011, 04:24 PM
chaser the why is a million dollar question. i had an 70 lb airedale my sis had 2 mini schnauzers the male one was alpha, not aggressive with other dogs but if another dog tried to approach either my dog or my sisters other schnauzer he would step in the way to protect them.
milan has said to watch the body language and how the other dog is approaching if it is looking straight eye to eye that would be challenging your dog and he could be reacting to that challenge

millitntanimist
May 19th, 2011, 09:41 PM
I've agreed with many of your points regarding this post but . . .

He may use body language to say "Hey, wanna fight me?" and then watch for the answer. Most dogs would fight if the other dog says yes, though some are bullies and prefer to take on a dog who won't do much to defend themselves.

Animals do not do this.
Most dogs are capable of killing each other very easily (even our chihuahua/dachshund can crack cow bones with his teeth), thus, they have a whole system of body language and social cues to prevent real fights from starting. In the wild, any fight for any reason usually means the death of one of the participants - even a small cut can fester and kill. Most aggressive display is posturing to say "hey, i'm not worth getting into so back off." There is a lot of air snapping and grappling but usually very little real body contact. There are always exceptions, but almost no animal will willingly start a fight without trying to resolve the issue another way first, they will not risk being injured or killed.

It may be that the dogs Chaser is reactive to are sending body signals that indicate they will not respect his boundaries, so he pre-empts. It may be that certain dogs are harder for him to read and that makes him nervous, so he pre-empts. It may be that he is being possessive over resources. Regardless of the reason your strategy will be the same - teach him a better reaction.


In his mind, he has won every single fight.
Animals don't care about winning or being "better" than other animals, that is a human construction.

SamIam
May 19th, 2011, 11:42 PM
In his mind, he has won every single fight.
Animals don't care about winning or being "better" than other animals, that is a human construction.

What I was getting to with that comment was that he has a history of reward. Coming out on top is rewarding; losing is punishing. Breaking up the fight will stop any possibility of injury, but IMO he will still add one more rewarding experience to his bad habit. So, important to avoid the start of the physical conflict and also the initial posturing/growling that leads up to it. Does that make more sense?

reanne
May 20th, 2011, 03:55 AM
I just wanted to let you know that overcoming counter surfing is possible!!! Ridgebacks are professional counter surfers, and Whistler was the best of the best when he was younger. He not only ate everything off the counter and took things out of the sink, but he also opened up cupboards, including the high ones, and stole food out of there. Now, I could leave a pile of steaks on the counter and leave him alone with them and he wouldn't touch them. However, this was a behaviour he came with, not one he developed later. I unfortunately can't really tell you why he stopped-I can't really remember what I did except that I did have a stay out of the kitchen rule for a long time.

Good luck!

millitntanimist
May 20th, 2011, 07:25 AM
What I was getting to with that comment was that he has a history of reward. Coming out on top is rewarding; losing is punishing. Breaking up the fight will stop any possibility of injury, but IMO he will still add one more rewarding experience to his bad habit. So, important to avoid the start of the physical conflict and also the initial posturing/growling that leads up to it. Does that make more sense?

Ah, yes it does :)