Please Help with Great Pyr territorial aggression
Hello - I hope someone out there can offer advice, I don't have experience with aggressive dogs.
I have 2 cattle dogs and I just took my friend's Great Pyr 5 days ago as she was having trouble keeping him from running off. She has 3 other dogs. She said he was submissive to the other dogs, all small dogs, at her house and no behavior problems. She purch him as a pup from a breeder who raised him as a livestock guardian. He is 4. We live on a farm. Now he seems to be trying to rid the area of my dogs and particularly seems to be guarding me. He will go after a dog if they are coming toward me or him and stand over it barking aggressively - no injuries - yet! I have started walking him Cesar Milan style and am teaching him basic commands, and using what I know about how to be pack leader. But I need more HELP! When he runs the dogs off, should I bring them back and make him move away? Not sure how to respond to that. I don't think he should be allowed to claim whatever space he wants. He is very submissive to me and when I yell NO! (out of panic) he usually drops to the ground. If I am nearby and i see it start, I just block him and say no and make him sit, then I stand there til he lies down and relaxes, then I say good dog. Am I even in the right UNIVERSE with what I am doing?
Thanks for any advice.
oh! Poor you!
Let me dissect your message, ( by the way, I work with highly assertive/ aggressive dogs).
>>>I have 2 cattle dogs and I just took my friend's Great Pyr 5 days ago as she was having trouble keeping him from running off.[/I]
Bad sign #1. You've taken in a dog with an existing issue that was never corrected by the previous owner. So that's issue #1.
[I]She said he was submissive to the other dogs, all small dogs, at her house and no behavior problems. She purch him as a pup from a breeder who raised him as a livestock guardian.[/I]
Every pack is different and small dogs "think" they control large dogs, who most often are simply not intimidated by them. If he was raised as a livestock guardian, then that is what he is, and just given his breed, it would be a mistake to try to turn him into anything else. He's not a house dog, and guarding his "flock" is what he was bred to do. Clearly he's made you and your home area part of his "flock". The two other dogs are offering him a very adversarial relationship, there are TWO of them so he is outnumbered, yet... he inherently has a job to do, and you are not going to change who he is. It certainly would be a mistake to.
What you can try to do is develop a stronger working relationship with him so that he isn't taking the same charge making these decisions, Ultimately you want to make those decisions, but I unfortunately have to tell you that you are going to have to work with somebody. I seriously doubt that you are going to be able to achieve this on your own without help that can get the timing right, the signals right, and the interpretation correct.
Start with your working relationship. It will help if you take this dog to a group session with other dogs, so that he learns his basic obedience and learns to work together with you in an environment with other dogs and loads of stimulus. You may find, just there, you'll make great achievements with him.
Secondly, try to create the environment that he needs. Pyrs are working dogs, he needs to work. I'll agree that he needs to work under your rule, if he was better focussed on elements that drained him mentally he would more than likely be easier to deal with on many other fronts. People seem to be of the mindset that just because they can run around a lot, means they are tired, or getting needed exercise. It's kind of true, but not necessarily a suitable replacement for positive mental stimulation, or physical exercise that requires concentration will help as well.
Thirdly, how is the Pry with the two cattle dogs in other scenarios??? Is he always aggressive with them??? Can they function side by side at any level?
Hope this helps!
I agree with MerlinsHope.
Great Pyrennes are by nature watchdogs - livestock guardians. They will guard their "flock" or "pack".
Obviously you need to be seen as the leader, which it doesn't sound like the way things are now. If the Great Pyr is guarding YOU, he must feel you are weak and need guarding. You need to get WAY more confident and into a good leader-mode. You need to go to a class or have a lesson where your techniques can be observed - there are probably some things you are doing inadvertently that the dog is interpreting as weakness. A fresh pair of trained eyes will work wonders.
Also, never trust what people say when they give you a rescue dog. This is a hard lesson learned thru years of foster work.
[QUOTE]Also, never trust what people say when they give you a rescue dog.[/QUOTE]
What a terrible thing to say.
It serves no rescue any purpose to lie about the dog, because in the end, if the dog is not placed in a suitable environment, the rescue will have to take back the dog, and each time a dog goes out into the "field", and is subsequently returned, there is an impact on the dog.
It's possible that you fostered for a rescue of ill repute. Like dog breeders there are good rescues and very poorly run rescues, but don't put us all in the same basket because there is NOTHING farther from the truth - and a dog given to someone else, by someone else isn't a "rescue dog". It's someone trying to dump their problem onto someone else, which is most likely what happened in this case.
On the contrary, in my rescue experience I have met too many people who "think" they have dog skills, and "think" they know about dogs, until the finally get a dog that proves them wrong. This person should consider getting into school to learn some training techniques and should read up on the breed to develop a finer understanding of the dog they adopted - and work with the two existing dogs so that they develop a better sense of social concepts with the new dog.
[QUOTE]Start with your working relationship. It will help if you take this dog to a group session with other dogs, so that he learns his basic obedience and learns to work together with you in an environment with other dogs and loads of stimulus. You may find, just there, you'll make great achievements with him.[/QUOTE]
Merlinshope gives fab advice here - I REALLY like this advice about group obedience training because it also gets experts (choose a RECOMMENDED trainer) looking at the situation and they often see aggression patterns first hand. You also get to ask for advice and have the benefit of the trainer's connections. It will be VERY interesting to see how the dog reacts with other strange dogs.
I also agree that you should seek professional help. Many times, no matter how hard a person tries to describe the issues they are having with a dog, many key signs are overlooked. Most of us are not professional dog trainers, nor have we studied dog behaviors, so overlooking posturing or something else is not unlikely. The people on these forums can only suggest actions to take based on your description. Aggression and territorial issues are two behavior issues that I think relying on the advice of forum users is really not the best action to take. Please hire a professional. Maybe your friend will help you pay for it since the dog is essentially [I]her[/I] problem sloughed onto you. Thank you for trying to help the dog! Seek a trainer that specifically works with large dogs, and has a particular interest in aggression and territorial/protection problems. Whatever you do, make sure you're there training the dog, don't send her away to a trainer.
MerlinsHope - That's not what I meant. I meant never trust someone who gives you a dog - [U]the owner[/U] who is surrendering the dog. They are always "the most wonderful dog, no issues" then we get them into the rescue and find a whole host of issues.
I'm sure as a rescue you have found this too. People surrendering their dogs tend to lie about the dog in case the rescue may refuse to take a problem dog. I'm not saying ALL surrenderers lie, but I take it all with a very large grain of salt when someone is surrendering a "perfect" dog.
[QUOTE=Sabian;1036699]MerlinsHope - That's not what I meant. I meant never trust someone who gives you a dog -[/QUOTE]
Sabian, your reply sure didn't read that way, but sometimes the internet has a way of doing that.
Yes owners will tend to polish up their dogs to make them look better in some cases (not in all), - we do that with our used cars too when we are trying to sell them :) That is why we keep them here for at least 10 days and test them throughout that time, so that we know who they are, ( as much as we can).
Two mistakes were made here, JK11 truly meant well by taking in the dog, but doesn't have enough breed experience to deal with the issues at hand, and didn't check the dog out prior either. Hopefully something good will come out of all of this - which is more than plausible :)
Anyways, I do hope you get the help you need JK11.
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