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Dog on dog aggression

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by sianyb, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. sianyb

    sianyb New Member Registered

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    Thank you for all of your words of wisdom. In regards to neutering: he is intact only because our trainer suggested that the negatives of neutering outweighed the positives, including the increase in fear and anxiety when testosterone is taken away. Since we have felt that his aggression stems from some kind of fear, it is a major concern of mine that this would irreversibly aggravate his behaviour. We have thought about it though, and the temporary implant is certainly an option.
     
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  2. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    I can say that in approx 40-years of training other ppl's pets, mostly dogs [plus horses, parrots, herps, livestock, exotics & native wildlife in captivity], plus volunteering in large municipal shelters & doing pro bono B-Mod with dogs in foster-care who weren't yet adoptable, I have yet to see any M dog whose fears "got worse" after he was neutered.

    Since every shelter & rescue i've worked with desexed every pup, kitten, dog & cat B4 they made them available to the public for adoption, & many incoming animals in Virginia [where i lived for about 12-years] were feral or semi-feral strays, A LOT of highly-fearful, extremely-undersocialized young-adult & post-puberty teenaged-M dogs were getting neutered.
    None of the shelters & rescues delayed their desex on the grounds that "they'd get more fearful" - they were snipped ASAP, unless their behavior problems were so severe that there was literal potential that they'd be put down as irreparable or "too expensive to fix". :( Nobody in a non-profit rescue or a tightly-budgeted city shelter wants to neuter an animal, & THEN kill her or him; they want to spend those hard-won monies neutering the dogs who can be placed successfully, not on a corpse.

    Not one of those hundreds of timid, twitchy, spooky dogs worsened after desex; they were all breeds & mixes, scent hounds, gundogs, GSD-Xs, terrier-blends, companion breeds, mostly in the 25 to 70# range of weight, & many of them heartworm-positive & with a gutful of parasites, to say nothing of fleas, ear-mites, & ticks, after running at large for months or even years.
    So they got a lot of vet-handling, treatments, grooming & bathing; they weren't neutered & then immured in a kennel-run for weeks or a month or more, they were vetted & walked daily, given B-mod & basic manners, we checked to see if they had ANY past memory of housetraining or the noises common to household life, etc.

    If any dogs were doomed to be shrinking-violets once their testes were snatched, surely they ought to have been prime candidates - but it never appeared, not once. :shrug:

    Even the worst case of an emotional train-wreck, a 15 to 18-MO male mixed-breed from a hoarding situation in N.C., one of 10 dogs brought back to P.A.C.C. from the same owner in a single trip [he was dumping them all at a small rural shelter, where they'd all be killed in days; they had no resources to spend on such pathetic dogs], got better & not worse.
    Dakota was the only dog i personally have ever worked with in my life, who was literally POSABLE - if U picked up one of his paws, he'd stand on 3 legs 'til his legs began to shake, afraid to lower his paw for fear U'd do Something Terrible To Him - & when he was trembling from muscle strain so badly he swayed & was about to fall, HE'D PUT HIS PAW DOWN & cringe, with his eyes shut & his body contracted. // Cody was a hot mess; terrified of everything, never had a collar or leash on in his life, was never in a car or inside a building, never saw a vet, was never handled. :eek:
    Yet he was snipped, spent several months being reshaped into a semi-normal dog, & was adopted - by ordinary pet-owners, not by a trainer. :rolleyes: When i 1st saw him, i thot there were 2 probable outcomes: he'd be euthanized as hopeless, or placed as a pet-project with a sympathetic trainer for his lifespan. I'm happy to say i was wrong - but he took a lotta work! :D

    - terry

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  3. sianyb

    sianyb New Member Registered

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    Thought I’d give you an update if you are interested! We went out for a lovely long on-lead walk in the sunshine this morning, with a brand new attitude, lots of treats and a simplified goal: to enjoy our on-lead walk calmly at a distance from other dogs.

    We went to some woods nearby where there’s lots of space to get off the path should we come face-to-face with another dog. We began by having a bit of a bark at another dog who got too close so adjusted our distance, and he quickly started to relax (except when we saw a pesky squirrel) to the point where he began busying himself sniffing trees when other dogs were nearby. I took this as a major win - he seemed to be purposely distracting himself, and even allowed a large, placid Spinone I think they’re called to approach whilst he ignored him. This wasn’t ideal as the owner was nowhere to be seen and the other dog wasn’t picking up on our “please leave us alone” cues so we had to fully rely on Leo (ours) to practise his skills of ignorance (something he is very good at when he’s having too much fun to listen to his humans, funnily enough). He got a bit bouncy when the other dog sniffed his bum but no sign of aggression at all. Seemingly with his and our confidence boosted, we were then able to pass several other dogs without reaction - even an off-lead greyhound on a tight path who was staring at him. As we were leaving we were followed by another dog who seemed to make him a bit edgy and he kept glancing back but he still kept going and didn’t react aggressively, but unfortunately we then came head to head with two little staffs as well and being sandwiched between them all with nowhere for us to escape proved too much for him and we ended the walk with an almighty barking and lunging and squirming to slip his harness fit, which is a shame because I worry the spike in adrenalin will eclipse the positive experiences he had!

    Anyway the point of this long account is to let you know that everyone’s advice and experiences gave me the confidence to try again with a less defeatist attitude, so thank you very much! We will try again later or tomorrow, taking baby steps.
     
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  4. PWDmum

    PWDmum Member Registered

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    Brill news, don’t worry if sometimes your walks take a step back, but the more positives you have the better,
     
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  5. arealhuman

    arealhuman Well-Known Member Registered

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    Glad it's working out for you @sianyb :)
     
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  6. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    That's brilliant - and far more positives than negatives so you should be really proud of yourself and Leo!
     
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  7. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    practice a happy Emergency U-turn while U're at home, till it's fluent - out of the blue, with him on leash [indoors or out, doesn't matter; perfect training for a rainy day], announce "Let's go!" in a cheerful voice, U-turn briskly, pat yer thigh on the near-side by the dog, & JOG - don't walk, & definitely don't stroll or dawdle! - in the opposite direction from B4.
    U can incorporate a tug-toy if he's even slightly interested in tug, by doing the U-turn, jogging a random distance [anything from 5-steps to halfway round the garden], keeping up encouraging excited patter - "Good! atta boy, yeah!...", then yank the tuggee out of a pocket & wiggle it under his nose for a brief, enthusiastic game. :)

    Once he's fluent indoors, take it to the garden; as soon as he's promptly following thru with U when U reverse course, take it to the real world, & use it to get both of U outta Dodge when things are too much. :thumbsup:

    The problem with triggers is that they MULTIPLY - they don't "add". 1 trigger plus a 2nd isn't 2 - it's 4X as stressful for the dog, & 3 is 9X the stress. :( If the triggers are stacking up & he's not too huge, i'd just pick him up & get the H*** outta there, as fast as possible. If he's too big to tote, DON'T ask him to hold still! - "sit & stay" in the presence of a trigger is pretty-well doomed, it's easier for him to remain calm when he's moving, so if things are about to go pear-shaped, JOGGING him toward & thru the situation if there's no escape the other way, is preferable to trying to drag him as U walk thru whatever will set him off.
    Most stressed dogs will very gladly hustle past something that worries them, while they will balk or bark if made to *walk* by it at a slower pace.

    - terry

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  8. merlina

    merlina Active Member Registered

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    Really glad things are improving. I can't back up my story with any studies but i have had a large strong reactive dog (lab x whippet x staff we think) that we took on when our neighbour died. He'd had a pretty tough life (he was 6yo un-neutered). He was very reactive on lead and off lead would zoom up to other dogs and bark in their faces. Trying to walk him at first my OH calculated we were getting abuse from other owners every 3 to 4 minutes! In brief we did three things that helped. 1. walked him a lot more than he'd ever had before . 2. got him interested in playing with a squeaky toy at home which we carried with us...when another dog came into view we squeaked the toy and played with him till it was all clear. 3. we found two friendly dog owners with bombproof dogs and we arranged to meet regularly. If Bernie walked past without too much fuss he got a treat. If not we did it again and again till he did. It took nearly a year to turn him into the sweet dog he became. After this he became a model citizen...and repaid us by living till 17. Hope some or all helps. We did have him neutered in the end but that was because he had prostate problems. :(
     
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  9. sianyb

    sianyb New Member Registered

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    What a lucky dog he was to have found you! Thank you for sharing your experience - it’s great to hear other success stories and tips. He loves squeaky toys, tennis balls and treats at home... out of the house he’s intermittently interested, as long as there’s nothing more interesting going on. Another dog, a squirrel, a strange noise, an interesting smell, a rogue leaf in the far distance etc.
     
  10. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    So build his interest. // Teach him "Super-Tug" with a novel toy that is NEVER EVER EVER to be left with him, it is NOT to be trophied by the dog, it is solely & forever for interactive play.
    It takes a week to 10-days to start the process - the teaching protocol is in multiple places on the 'Web, it starts with YOU playing with the toy, & he can only watch. It builds from there.

    - terry

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  11. Michelle monroe

    Michelle monroe New Member Registered

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    I know this isn’t quite the same but given that you’re about to have a baby, you’re going to be very busy and don’t need the stress.
    We have 5 dogs who all play together but one is a big German Shepherd. When we walked him in public places, he’d run up to play with other dogs and the owners who, without exception, went bezerk at him. They’d shout and some would try to hit him which led to huge arguments between me and owners, which would then make my dog show aggressive behaviour because he’s very protective. Thankfully nothing bad ever happened because he went straight back on his lead once the furore started. I was getting so angry and upset about people trying to hurt him that we found some private land to exercise them all on. This was a God send because he could play with the others and more importantly was safe. Private land is hard to find but look for boarding kennels who have their own paddocks as they’re usually quite helpful in letting you use their land or local farmer. We found a riding school with an indoor arena to take them and they love it. As a bonus the owner also breeds whippets so there’s other dogs to play with. That’d be a really good stress free solution for you with a newborn baby. But your dog will need other dogs to play with so take him to a socialisation centre where the staff will understand his behaviour and help correct it and slowly introduce him to other dogs. When he’s become more settled, he’ll be able to play with other dogs in a safe environment and you don’t need to be there. They’ll be used to dogs like yours as it’s purpose is to socialise. Our dogs go to play with other dogs and they love it. There’s only so much you can do on your own. I’m not able to comment on other people’s advice because I don’t know enough about it, except that it takes a lot of work that you’re not in a position to do at the moment. For us, taking them to be exercised on private land has solved so many problems and it’s not expensive. They charge us £8 for an hour. You could take him for a good run without the worry and find a good socialisation centre who can explain to you their process of introducing him to other dogs to put your mind at rest. I would hate it if I had to walk my boy on his lead forever and so would he as he loves a good run around. I’m sure some people will disagree but it’s just my opinion and something that has really worked for us and our Doggy family. Do you live anywhere near Derbyshire/Sheffield as I can give you the names of some places
     
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  12. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    There is a network of enclosed spaces where dogs can be exercised - if you Google for your area you should be able to find something.

    I don't entirely agree with this though. If you can, training him to be dog neutral is an achievement to aim for. Exposing an anxious dog to other dogs to play with could make things worse. If you do feel the need to introduce him to other dogs, I would suggest a good behaviourist, experienced in reactivity, who uses a bomb proof stooge dog.
     
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  13. Michelle monroe

    Michelle monroe New Member Registered

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    JoanneF May well be right. My experience is different as it wasn’t dogs we had a problem with, it was people abusing my dog because of the bad reputation his breed has. I’ve got no experience at all in anxious dogs. All I know is the socialisation centre doesn’t introduce them to other dogs for a while until they’ve worked separately with them. It is run by behaviourists. It’s a process, rather than just putting your dog with other dogs immediately. I couldn’t find anywhere in my area that had enclosed fields to play in. I had to ring round to find somewhere but I suppose it depends where you live. In a big city it was virtually impossible, which was surprising as I thought they’d be quite a few but sadly not. Please don’t take my post as advice for nervous dogs because I have no knowledge of how to help you with that. I just thought that with a new baby, it’d be less stressful for you to go somewhere where there weren’t any other dogs around to worry about
     
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