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Aggression On Lead


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I've had an ex racing 5yo male (Charlie) for the past 8 months. Recently we've adopted a second dog, same age but female from same kennels (Daisy). I'm not sure if this sudden behaviour change has coincided with our new arrival but our boy has always been a gentleman on the lead which is good as people with dogs often stop and say hello.

 

Recently Charlie become more aggressive on walks, this has started with 'return fire' at dogs through the fence that he used to ignore and barking aggressively at any off leash dogs that come near. Today he snapped at another dog on its leash and when a spaniel came running towards him he bit it's face.

 

While I do think that owners should be careful about letting their dogs run up to other people with dogs, I feel awful about this biting incident (other dog was fine and even came back to say hello again 10 mins later).

 

I'm not sure where this aggression has appeared from, I wondered if it's protectiveness but any suggestions would be much appreciated.

 

M

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My first thought was that perhaps the changes with new dog have strained his normal tolerance levels. This might be worth a read: http://yourdogsfriend.org/spoon-theory-and-funny-dog-gifs/

 

Even if it is something to do with increased stress levels though, the behavior could continue to evolve if he finds it makes dogs stop getting in his face. Here is a piece by Patricia McConnell that deals with leash reactivity that might be helpful as well: http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/dog-dog-reactivity-treatment-summary

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We used a head halter with one of our dogs who was leash aggressive. Treat and reward for good behavior. Ask your dog to look at you when another dog approaches. Reward him with a small treat for good behavior. But, you must be consistent. Soon your dog will look to you before he is even asked.

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My first thought was that perhaps the changes with new dog have strained his normal tolerance levels. This might be worth a read: http://yourdogsfriend.org/spoon-theory-and-funny-dog-gifs/

 

Even if it is something to do with increased stress levels though, the behavior could continue to evolve if he finds it makes dogs stop getting in his face. Here is a piece by Patricia McConnell that deals with leash reactivity that might be helpful as well: http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/dog-dog-reactivity-treatment-summary

:nod My suspicion as well.

 

Time to start restricting his interactions with other dogs and feeding when they're in sight. And for sure if he reacts toward a dog, dont let that dog come back up to him again!

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Thanks. The difficulty is other dogs running up to us on walks. I thought a muzzle would be the best thing for the time being but I hate leaving him defenceless in case we meet an aggressive dog.

I wouldn't muzzle. As you said, it leaves him defenseless if the dog that runs up is aggressive. Are there that many loose dogs where you live? Or are the owners just not being considerate. If the former, consider putting him in the car and driving somewhere nearby that's safer to walk. Also consider buying and carrying some Direct Stop to keep dogs away. If that latter, I've decided to use a phrase that shuts down the "but my dog is friendly", but just saying immediately "I'm sure your dog is friendly, but mine is not." Also, Etsy carries some neat leash sleeves and lightweight jackets with phrases that may deter owners from letting their dogs just rush up to yours. Here's an example.

 

You also just need to be alert and the second you see a dog off leash, you need to turn and high tail it in another direction. It's your job to protect your dog so you may have to be forward with some of these owners.

Edited by NeylasMom

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Guest normaandburrell

I try never to let other dogs run up to my grey. If I can't retreat, I get between the dogs and yell, and the new dog and their owner will usually back off.

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Guest Bean_Scotch

I would be getting some professional help...experienced trainer experienced with Greyhounds. As someone that specializes in working with Aggression, fixing the behavior properly now will make it much easier than trying it yourself and it not working(99.99999% of the time it won't). Leash aggression(also called barrier aggression/frustration) is incredibly easy to fix, as long as your doing the right things. It's more than just 'feeding' the dog. You have to ensure you have the right timing, remaining sub-threshold(finding out the threshold), having the right 'motivator, and doing it under the right conditions. I'm now on my 2nd dog that has 'flunked out of adoption' for aggression issues. I support the groups that gave their dogs a second chance, knew their limits, and sent their Greyhound on to someone that can work with them properly and didn't try to 'fix' the dog themselves...as it's usually disastrous. Their decisions have resulted in one already in it's forever home, and one that's still with me....so get some help before it becomes nightmarish.

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:nod My suspicion as well.

 

Time to start restricting his interactions with other dogs and feeding when they're in sight. And for sure if he reacts toward a dog, dont let that dog come back up to him again!

 

Yes, this. If he is food driven it shouldn't take long getting his attention away from the 'threat'. I'd avoid fence barking dogs as well if possible or give a wider berth to keep him under the threshold at which he barks back.

 

It could be the changes in the living situation, but it also could be that he's had a bad experience and now is on the offensive.

 

We cross the road to avoid on leash meetings and don't walk on leash in areas where dogs are likely to be off-leash. In the event that an off leash dog runs towards us I will try to avoid. If that is not possible I use my happy voice and keep the leash as loose as possible.... In my humble opinion, on-leash dog-dog meetings always have the potential to go bad and the only time I let them happen is with dogs that mine already know, or at obedience class where we are doing the 2-second exercise. In class Mouse is so focussed on me she doesn't even want to investigate the other dogs (who are usually a bit bouncy and young).

 

Managing the situation to avoid overstimulating, whilst working the classical conditioning angle has really worked for us. Once I progressed from just plain old classical conditioning we have introduced more criteria (sits, gives me eye contact, gets treat). Mouse sometimes still twirls and vocalises but she has certainly gotten better control over herself. When I first got her bounced back from her adopter I thought she would need to be medicated and I would not have considered walking her without a muzzle on. She has made so much progress that's no longer an issue.

 

We made all this progress by 'real world' situations, we haven't done any 'set ups' so sometimes yes you get caught out and thresholds are exceeded. I can't say whether or not that has slowed our progress but I am happy with her nonetheless.

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Guest LazyBlaze

Grisha Stewart's 'BAT' methods have had great results with leash-aggressive dogs. I would agree that it sounds as though the change in your dog's circumstances have brought him closer to his stress threshold in general (this should hopefully settle down again, but you don't want him to rehearse and be rewarded for this unwanted behaviour in the meantime). Lots of info and resources on BAT here: http://empoweredanimals.com/

 

Good luck with Charlie, hope he's back to his usual self soon.

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