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 Help!! My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs

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raynae03
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raynae03

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Help!!  My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs Empty
PostSubject: Help!! My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs   Help!!  My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs EmptyWed Feb 25, 2015 12:46 pm

We do not know what is going on with our boy.  He will be 2 in 2 months.  He is neutered.  A couple months ago he started showing aggression to other dogs on our walks.  He has never done that before.  He has many playmates in our neighborhood.  He starts barking very deep and growls a little bit and pulls like nothing else.  All 4 for the dogs are smaller than him but he is used to smaller dogs.  The dogs he showed aggression towards are half his size or a little smaller than he is.  The problem here is that he plays with 2 Bichons and our neighbor's dog that is literally the size of his head.  I do not know what is going on here.  He also plays with larger dogs and dogs of the same size as the ones he has been aggressive towards.  We did a ton of socialization with him to make sure he was friendly to all he met, and he is!  But there must be something with these 4 dogs.  I know that 2 are male for sure but I don't know if that makes a difference as half of his buddies are male.  He is thoroughly exercised as we walk 8-10 miles a day.  We don't have a fence yet so we do a lot of walking and playing in the house.

This is just so weird to me.  He is the happy guy that wants to meet every person or dog he sees.  He is extremely popular in our neighborhood.  I just don't get what is going on here.  It doesn't happen often, we are usually the only ones crazy enough to be walking in the Chicago winters.  I am posting now because it happened this morning.  He looked like he would tear the head off that dog.  The dog this morning was barking at him.  The other 3 weren't barking when he turned aggressive and one of those 3 he has played with many times before.

Please, please help!! Thank you all so much!!

I hope that this is enough to go on.  If you need more info I can provide it.
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seattlesibe
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seattlesibe

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PostSubject: Re: Help!! My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs   Help!!  My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs EmptyWed Feb 25, 2015 3:36 pm

Well it sounds like this aggression is based in anxiety or fear from everything you've said. If that's the case and everything you've said is accurate then it can be pretty easy to correct this behavior.

A few questions for you though:

What are you walking him on (type of collar or harness)?

When you see these dogs do you tense up or start pulling in the leash?

How do you respond to his outburst? Do you tense up, get scared, correct him, redirect him??

How does he walk with you? Pulling, ahead of you, beside you, heeling??

Is he really impulsive on walks: peeing, marking , sniffing, meandering, lunging, socializing whenever he wants to?
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wpskier222
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wpskier222

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PostSubject: Re: Help!! My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs   Help!!  My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs EmptyWed Feb 25, 2015 4:19 pm

In addition to Jeff's questions, is it only with specific dogs?

How close are you to the others when the reaction is triggered?

How does his body language change as you approach, as in what preceeds the outburst.

Finally, do you know if the other dogs are neutered? Some neutered males can be aggressive to intact males simply because they are so uncommon these days. Even the most well-socialized puppies may not have many (or any) interactions with mature, intact males...
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raynae03
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raynae03

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PostSubject: Re: Help!! My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs   Help!!  My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs EmptyThu Feb 26, 2015 2:28 am

Thank you both for getting back to me so quickly.  I will answer the questions in order.

What are you walking him on (type of collar or harness)?

He is walked on a basic collar.  He pulled more using his harness

When you see these dogs do you tense up or start pulling in the leash?

In this case I did tense up.  I have a slipped disk in my back so I pulled him over to the side so they could pass as we had no other way to go.  He gets very excited when he sees anyone, dog or person.



How do you respond to his outburst? Do you tense up, get scared, correct him, redirect him??

I tell him to leave it or if possible we turn and walk in a different direction. His "huskiness" takes over when he sees anyone, and therefore forgets his commands.

How does he walk with you? Pulling, ahead of you, beside you, heeling??

He walks ahead of us on a loose leash.  He never took to heeling even though we spent a lot of time on it at home and in training classes.

Is he really impulsive on walks: peeing, marking , sniffing, meandering, lunging, socializing whenever he wants to?

This is a tough one to answer, he does meander on walks. Even though we live in a suburb, there are many areas without sidewalks so we are stuck walking on grass or in streets.  He also is EXTREMELY picky about where he poops.  He won't do it in the grass, only on mulch, trees he can get his back legs up on, bushes, plants, and piles of things like snow, leaves or dirt.  He does socialize a lot.  He doesn't like to walk passed people without saying hello to them.  He does sniff a lot and does mark often.  He does listen to his commands, Gee, Haw, On By, and one I made up Potty or Leave It - to stop his constant sniffing of spots and it works wonders. But if there is something he wants his attention goes to that.  For the most part he is an excellent walker.

In addition to Jeff's questions, is it only with specific dogs?

It is not a specific breed. Actually, all of them are completely different. One is a beagle, he used to play with him but the most recent time we saw him about a month ago Blitzen changed and tried to attack him even though the Beagle was being very playful.  Blitzen's friends range in size from a Teacup Poodle to a Great Dane, so I know that he has no issues with dogs of a particular size.

How close are you to the others when the reaction is triggered?

Once he sees a dog he gets excited immediately. When they are within 15 feet, he starts going crazy by pulling, standing on his hind legs and barking.  Normally it is a high-pitched excited bark which is what I refer to as his happy or playful bark.  I typically allow him to say hi to dogs when he barks like that and the meeting always goes well.  But when his bark his deep (which is very, very rare), I know that there is something going on and we try to redirect him by going in a different direction.

How does his body language change as you approach, as in what preceeds the outburst.

He reacts about the same every time - pulling standing on his hind legs.  The only difference I notice is the barking and growling.

Finally, do you know if the other dogs are neutered? Some neutered males can be aggressive to intact males simply because they are so uncommon these days. Even the most well-socialized puppies may not have many (or any) interactions with mature, intact males...

I know that 2 of the dogs for sure are neutered. As for the others, I am not sure.


I hope that this helps.  Thank you both!!
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seattlesibe
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seattlesibe

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PostSubject: Re: Help!! My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs   Help!!  My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs EmptyThu Feb 26, 2015 4:07 am

Ashley,
 
   thanks for answering our questions with so much clarity.  This will be so much easier to address what's going on.

I'll keep your format here and respond to your answers one by one in red.  All I'm gonna do is respond to what's given.   I will make suggestions and maybe clarify some things.  In no way am I judging you or criticizing, just trying to react to what's given and offer ways to help that you can consider.  You can ask more questions or ask for clarifications, etc.

What are you walking him on (type of collar or harness)?

He is walked on a basic collar.  He pulled more using his harness

It's very good that you are not using a harness.  Harnesses in general are not very useful tools at all for walking larger dogs on a day to day structured walk, even less so for reactive dogs like yours.  Basic collars are ideal for ideal dogs who are non-reactive and polite.  Your dog is not either of those, so you need to up your game a bit to properly address his behavior problems.  Have you considered walking him with a prong collar?  

The advantage and benefit of a prong collar for a reactive dog is that it allows you to have a pretty detailed conversation with your dog with very minimal effort and they are very unobtrusive and gentle.  The conversation is basically Yes and No, I agree with this, I do not agree with that.  All you have to do is rotate your wrist and you can give your dog substantial information about his behavior.  

With your dog, the escalation goes from zero to 10 in a split second.  The key to addressing this is prevention, so the split second you see the eyes lock and the ears erect and forward you give a firm correction with prong collar and deescalate his mind from going overboard and causing problems. But, he has to be in proper position to do this.  Your dog is also walking ahead of you, which is not good for a few reasons.  One is that he is more tuned in to his senses and impulses than he is to you.  Two is that once he is stimulated, you are behind him and thus any input you give is strengthening his output as opposed to countering his output.  Three is that any tension you feel or give will translate through the leash and onto his body, making him alert and tense and on the prowl.  

All of this can be prevented and corrected with the use of a prong collar and having him walk beside you in a heel position.  With a reactive dog, treats and praise and basic collars or harnesses won't work because they are too driven by their impulses and once they are stimulated, the draw of the impulses is too strong to counter.  It's time to start preventing those impulses and establishing more boundaries and structure to your walks which can easily be done with a prong collar and a proper heel.  


When you see these dogs do you tense up or start pulling in the leash?

In this case I did tense up.  I have a slipped disk in my back so I pulled him over to the side so they could pass as we had no other way to go.  He gets very excited when he sees anyone, dog or person.



 Again, here is a lot of the same of what I just said, but even more so due to your injury.  Your margin for error with your dog is smaller with less physical strength so you would be better off using tools that require less effort with more results, which is a prong collar.

By pulling him off to the side, you are creating tension and making a bigger deal out of the situation than he is doing himself.

 Eventually, once you achieve a better structured walk with more  boundaries and proper corrections, you won't have to steer to the side.  Your job with your dog should be to walk when walking, that's it.  I think it would be a very good idea to eliminate all socializing on walks until you can walk with him in a solid heel and get to be non-reactive.  You want to narrow his impulses to you and your walk, that's it.  Walking is heavy duty symbolic work for a dog and with your dog you need to reduce his impulses by narrowing his focus onto you and that's it. He should be heeling and *released* with Okay to do anything while walking: sniffing, marking, peeing, pooping, meandering, etc.  Take all of his drive and focus onto you and your walk, give him structure, and give him commands to break from that structure.

Your absolute #1 priority is to stay stable and calm and cool the whole time on a walk.  If you say Good Boy, or say No, or if you pet your dog or correct your dog, it should all be in the same tone with the same energy.  This includes seeing other people or dogs.  If you get excited, so will your dog.  If you stay calm, your dog will too. Nervous? Tense? Scared? Same thing, so will your dog


How do you respond to his outburst? Do you tense up, get scared, correct him, redirect him??

I tell him to leave it or if possible we turn and walk in a different direction. His "huskiness" takes over when he sees anyone, and therefore forgets his commands.


 "Huskiness" is just prey drive let loose because you are expecting too little from him and allowing him to be impulsive.  Once you work on that, your dog can be more of a dog and less of a "Husky."  That sounds horrible, but if you think about it, it's true.  We use breed to justify bad behavior, brattiness, disobedience, and impulsiveness all the time.  It doesn't have to be that way.  You just have to counter that Huskiness with stronger boundaries and structure and expectations, and it will go away.  I promise you.  You should be able to walk your dog calmly and you can if you create more rules and enforce them, because walking an impulsive, reactive "Husky" kinda sucks.  With a dog like this you absolutely have to have accountability for all commands.  Correct your dog for breaking command.  A command does no good whatsover if your dog can break it as he pleases.  Once you give him this structure and these expectations his mind will settle, as will his impulses, and he can start acting more like a dog and less like a "Husky."

How does he walk with you? Pulling, ahead of you, beside you, heeling??

He walks ahead of us on a loose leash.  He never took to heeling even though we spent a lot of time on it at home and in training classes.


More of the same here.  His Huskiness has taken over you and your walks and I'm going to assume you attended positive reinforcement training classes, yes? no?  The problem with this type of training with a Husky is that the rewards you offer do not outweigh their impulses and without corrections and proper structure or rules the impulses run wild, rendering your commands and rewards irrelevant.


Is he really impulsive on walks: peeing, marking , sniffing, meandering, lunging, socializing whenever he wants to?

This is a tough one to answer, he does meander on walks. Even though we live in a suburb, there are many areas without sidewalks so we are stuck walking on grass or in streets.  He also is EXTREMELY picky about where he poops.  He won't do it in the grass, only on mulch, trees he can get his back legs up on, bushes, plants, and piles of things like snow, leaves or dirt.  He does socialize a lot.  He doesn't like to walk passed people without saying hello to them.  He does sniff a lot and does mark often.  He does listen to his commands, Gee, Haw, On By, and one I made up Potty or Leave It - to stop his constant sniffing of spots and it works wonders. But if there is something he wants his attention goes to that.  For the most part he is an excellent walker.

 You should get the drift by now in terms of his escalating excitement, impulsiveness, and why he ignores commands.  When I, and Jen below, walk our dogs they do not socialize with any dogs or people.  Why?  Because it causes excitement and impulses and detract from our mission, which is to walk with a dog engaged to us.  Your dog socializes a lot because you let him, and socializing gets him in trouble because he has not been trained how to properly handle it.  So, don't allow him to socialize on walks, especially by his own solicitation or impulse.  Get him walking engaged to you with a prong collar and in a heel and narrow his worldview and his stimulation, and you will transform his mind and his emotions into a calmer, more balanced state.  THEN, when you wish to allow him, you can release him with Okay and let him socialize when you want on your terms.  This will calm him down, teach him to trust you and defer to you, and teach him that he needs to filter his impulses through you.  These are the foundational steps needed to combat this aggressiveness you are seeing, which is really just pent up anxiety and frustration because his impulsiveness is driving him into a state of imbalance. Now, you need to balance him and calm his impulsiveness down.

I'll stop here and let Jen respond to her questions. She's going to give you excellent tips and suggestions and really enjoy responding.   But, knowing what she will say, I hope with her and I's responses you see a pattern here for your plan of action and have gotten to know the root of the problem you are seeing a little bit better.   Let me know if you want more details about anything or if you have more questions.


Here's a great video about introducing a prong collar

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Nf0bA9sudM

And one on the benefit and method of a proper heel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kv75lADEbRM
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SDSiberDog
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SDSiberDog

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Help!!  My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs Empty
PostSubject: Re: Help!! My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs   Help!!  My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs EmptyTue Mar 24, 2015 4:21 am

Thank you so much for all of this wonderful information. I just adopted a 2 year old "bad breed" husky and have been experiencing all of these problems. I have tried treats, stop and go, praising, harness, normal collar, I was at my wit's end. I will buy a prong collar tomorrow and give that a try. I really hope that is the solution.

I realized it was time to start looking for help when she tried to eat my Grandmother's dog yesterday.

Concerning sitting, staying, etc., does the prong collar help with that as well?

I assume that the prong collar on twice a day walks will help her overall state of mind and relieve issues across the board. Like crying in her crate when she can't see me, or running off the moment the door opens. (She stops and slowly walks back to me if I yell her name and clap twice.)
I didn't realize she was telling me she had to pee tonight when she licked my arm, she usually does that anyhow, so she had her first accident. To date, she always pees outside. (Thank god for tile.)
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lillith87
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PostSubject: Re: Help!! My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs   Help!!  My 2 yr old is showing aggression to other dogs EmptyTue Mar 24, 2015 9:14 am

SDSiberDog-I am not well knowledged on a prong collar, but in my opinion, they are more so used for walking. For teaching basic commands, you might benefit from an E-collar? When used correctly, they can be an amazing training tool. I would hook up with a trainer that specializes in that so they can teach you how to use it properly.
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