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Fear-aggression while on leash

Schwinn
November 3rd, 2004, 11:27 AM
We've had a problem with Daisy acting aggressive while tied up. When she is loose (such as in the backyard, or on her way into the car), she is fine. She'll see other dogs, run up to them fine (run away with her tail between her legs if they snap at her), and she'll play fine with dogs until she annoys them. But if she is on her leash, or is in her pen, she starts growling and snapping, her back goes up. The place we take her to puppy daycare said that when other dogs come in, she "cage fights". They aren't concerned, they explained it was a fear instinct, basically saying, "Stay away! I'm mean!" because she's afraid. We've been to obediance school, and she's a good girl (albeit a little mischievious), but we're almost embarassed to take her for a walk sometimes. She's a rotti/pit cross (I'm still saying dobe cross, but the vets tell us otherwise). Any advice? I'd like to take her mountain biking, but I clip in to my peddles, and can't afford to have her go rangy while she's tied to me!

heidiho
November 3rd, 2004, 11:28 AM
Lets see pics............

GsdDiamond
November 3rd, 2004, 11:48 AM
What do you do when she acts aggressively while on leash? Are you standing there, ignoring her? Do you bend down, touch her and tell her to hush?

sammiec
November 3rd, 2004, 11:54 AM
When Daisy reacts aggressively due to her fear it's important that you don't baby her. That teaches her it's okay to be scared and her reaction is good. If she is afraid of something it's important to PRAISE the correct reaction (no reaction in this case).

While walking down the road and she lashes out at another dog... try and have her in a sit stay. Have her pay attention to you and ignore the dog. Ask the people to not allow their dog to approach her in an uncontrolled manner. When she is not reacting, PRAISE her! Let her know that what she did was good. If she gives a reaction (growling, snapping, lunging) correct her into a sit stay and try and divert her attention to you (even bribing at first). Do not pull her away and cuddle her for a negative reaction.

I hope this helps a little.

Schwinn
November 3rd, 2004, 12:56 PM
Myself, when she does it, I make her sit. I then use the command, "look at me", which she learned during training. Usually, under other circumstances, she would, but I these times, she won't. I will stand in front of her to block her view. Usually she tries to look around me (which, under other circumstances, would be quite comical). I will sometimes grab her snout and make her look at me while telling her "No!". I won't hurt her, just get her attention on me. She seems to go through phases. In the car, she'll sometimes growl and have her back go up. I'll usually smack her on the hindquarters and tell her "no!" (I'm sorry to say because I am so frustrated! :( ) Again, I won't hurt her (we've done more damage to each other wrestling!), but I'm just at my wit's end. Especially with what's going on, having her act aggressive in public is not good! And it's frustrating, because she is a very gentle and loving dog, and we don't want people to think otherwise. (Side note:she likes to smack me with her rope until I hold onto it for her to pull. We caught the 3 year old smack in her with the rope, and she caught it, and would not pull. She's very gentle with the right people!)

heidiho
November 3rd, 2004, 03:25 PM
Where are the pics??? :eek: :eek: :eek:

Schwinn
November 3rd, 2004, 03:27 PM
I'll have to post them when I get home. Believe it or not, I'm actually at work. (boring job, working on the phones 10-11 hours a day. Surf between calls. I hope I get on the police force before I die of boredom!) I don't know if I have any pictures on my computer. I had a whole bunch on my old one, but my drive crashed. I'll see if I can get one for ya!

heidiho
November 3rd, 2004, 03:35 PM
OK,yeah i do this at work also,but i do get my work done,so it's ok....

Lucky Rescue
November 3rd, 2004, 06:29 PM
On leash and kennel aggression is pretty common. The dog knows it's vulnerable when confronted by off leash dogs, so puts up a big display of aggression to ward off any attacks.

If you can (and I KNOW it's hard) do not tighten up on the leash when dogs approach. If you do, you are sending the signal to your dog - "This is very dangerous. I'm afraid and you should be too!"

Tight leashes encourage aggression. If you ever see police dogs being trained to attack, you'll see it's always on a tight leash.

Schwinn
November 3rd, 2004, 06:42 PM
On leash and kennel aggression is pretty common. The dog knows it's vulnerable when confronted by off leash dogs, so puts up a big display of aggression to ward off any attacks.

If you can (and I KNOW it's hard) do not tighten up on the leash when dogs approach. If you do, you are sending the signal to your dog - "This is very dangerous. I'm afraid and you should be too!"

Tight leashes encourage aggression. If you ever see police dogs being trained to attack, you'll see it's always on a tight leash.

That's a good point, and I wondered about that. I can think of a couple of times where she seemed fine until we pulled on the leash. Usually, we try to ignore the other dog, UNTIL she goes ape. But the one or two times she has moved in that direction, he hackles were down, and she seemed fine until we pulled her back.

Schwinn
November 3rd, 2004, 11:08 PM
Where are the pics??? :eek: :eek: :eek:

As requested. Just some quickies, not very good. This is our little "time bomb". The one where she is tilting her head, I think I just said "truck" (one of her favourite words)

heidiho
November 4th, 2004, 09:56 AM
What a cutie,thank you for the pics.....................

heidiho
November 4th, 2004, 09:57 AM
How old????????????

tenderfoot
November 4th, 2004, 02:06 PM
Lucky's points are well advised. Do everythinng on a loose leash - otherwise you are doing all of the work and she is not learning a thing. A loose leash teaches and gets her to start making choices and using her brain. Always give her the chance to make a better choice. Too often we have one bad encounter with something and then keep walking away (this teaches failure). She has to experience things several times in order to teach her correct behavior and to get past her fears. So try to set situations up (without putting others at risk), and get her to start working around other dogs on a loose leash. Ignoring the other dog is fine, but better that you start helping her before she explodes. Give her jobs - even "Leave it" is a job. Become a bigger distraction than the other dog. Help her get her mind off of the 'scary thing' and onto you.
I am sure Daisy has a great love for you but she has little confidence in your leadership in these situations. Holding her nose, standing in front of her, pulling her back, etc. don't teach her anything - they just force her to do something different and, as you said, not always effectively.
Fear aggression like Daisy's is really a symptom of her relationship with the leaders in her life. She feels that she has to protect herself and you from things that scare her. Fix the relationship and she will gain confidence in you and herself. This is done by taking control of her world and the world around her.
When another dog approaches you and she is fearful - you should give her jobs to do to occupy her mind, correct the bad decisions and praise the good ones. Use your voice (not loud-just intense) and body language to move the other dog away (do not let her think she can move the other dog away - it is not her job). Daisy will look up to you -voluntarily! and say to herself "Wow, your good. You got that scary dog to leave" She will start to look to you when she gets nervous about a situation and if you take charge with confidence the relationship will start to shift. Getting eyes from her (out of respect for your leadership) when she has a decision to make is crutial - then you can help guide her through her choices.
As she is comfortable with other dogs then allow her to meet them but just in short spurts - too long and she could get nervous again. Work with success in mind. Always end on a good note - however small it might be.
By the way, I think it's Dobie too. Heck she could be 16 different things, but that deep chest and narrow face sure look more Dobie than Rottie to me. Both breeds are great dogs so in the end it really doesn't matter.

Schwinn
November 4th, 2004, 02:16 PM
We think she was born in December of 2000. We rescued her from a pound. My wife (girlfriend at the time), wanted something fairly lazy. But we felt sorry for this one (someone had taken her for a week, then brought her back because her family said she'd grow up to be a killer), and instead wound up with what essentially is a 70 lb jack russell! Love her to pieces.
We think someone was being mean to her (they figure she was about 16 weeks when we got her). To this day, she is still afraid of men she doesn't know. Once she knows you, though, she loves you. She's also afraid of boxes and brooms. I think this is partly where her "fear aggression" is coming from around other dogs.

tenderfoot
November 4th, 2004, 02:33 PM
I know her behavior seems to stem from cruelty, but you would be amazed how many dogs we see like this who have never been mistreated a day in their lives. She was most likely born this way - sensitive and defensive. She may not have had much socialization in her critical developement stages and now she is overwhlemed by new stimulus. Also, men often have strong energy and she is probably reacting to that.
This really means that lack of leadership will affect her more intensely than less sensitive dogs. She needs confident parents who are fair, consistent and clear about their expectations. Shy children are not benefited by shy parents - shy kids need help from confident parents who create positive experiences in the world to get over their fears.
Good luck.

Schwinn
November 4th, 2004, 04:18 PM
She's already improved a great deal of her fear of boxes, which is good, considering we lived out of them the first week we moved we lived out of them! And when a strange man comes over, usually I give them her rope and tell them to hold it out for a minute or two. She comes over and starts pulling on it, they make friends pretty fast. It's just this problem on the leash. When I walk her, I won't acknowledge another dog, either by pulling on the leash or saying anything. If gets aggressive, I tell her to heal. If she just keeps walking, I'll usually reward her with a "good girl" and a bum pat.

tenderfoot
November 4th, 2004, 05:34 PM
Sounds like she is making good progress at home.
The thing I would correct during your walk is the asking her to heal when she gets aggressive. That's kind of like asking your child to continue walking nicely as he shouts obscenities at other children. The consequence does not fit the crime. Hopefully, you would take your child aside and give him a strong talking to - just as you should correct the aggressive actions of your dog.
It is best to be able to anticipate the aggression - do her ears change? does her tail go low or wag? Does her head lower or raise? What are her personal signals that she gives you just as she is thinking about mis-behaving? That's when you catch her thoughts and redirect them. If you don't catch her in time and she actually lunges out at the other dog, then you back her bum up and tell her to "knock it off" in a very firm tone, and try again. Usually dogs will only challenge you 3-5 times, so she might test the situation again, but if you respond consistently and she will back off and settle down. When she is settled and behaving herself then you can praise her. But keep giving her more chances to make good choices and lavish her when she does a good job.
A quick note on the "bum pat". People love to 'pat' their dogs and horses. The animals really don't have a frame of reference in their worlds for this action. It doesn't really do much for them - "oh dads doing that banging my side thing again". Sometimes it is way too much energy for a sensitive dog. However, stroking your dog has great meaning. It's just like mom licking them and brings out the alpha brain wave - which is the calming and soothing brain wave. It is a comforting gesture on your part. Especially long, firm strokes between the eyes or a whole hand stroking gently over the eye - like mom washing their face.