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 Possessive or Protective, or Something Else?

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dahowlers
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dahowlers

Female Join date : 2012-01-30
Location : Wisconsin

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PostSubject: Possessive or Protective, or Something Else?   Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? EmptyWed Jan 09, 2013 6:57 pm

Sorry if I ramble, I want to give you guys the clearest overview possible. I know how hard it is to try and understand a situation through a post versus actually experiencing it, and I want to avoid as much confusion as possible. So I'll start from the beginning.

When I picked up Snoopy I was warned that he was protective, which didn't bother me because I grew up with dobermans and German shepherds. However, I'm starting to think it's more of a possessive issue.

Introducing Snoopy to Nunya on our property I wasn't concerned about. Nunya doesn't have a territorial bone in his body, and I was new to Snoopy so he wouldn't feel defensive for me.

Anyway, the first maybe fifteen minutes of the car ride to bring Snoopy home, I was sitting in the back and he constantly tried to hump me. He was way to excitable from being locked in a kennel basically 24/7 and was having outbursts, but he did calm down eventually. In total the car ride was a little less than 45 minutes.

When we got home, I snapped on the new invisible fence collar and hooked the 100' long line to his regular collar to walk him around the perimeter. He jogged around but stayed close. After I was confident in his understanding of the fence, we let Nunya out and they immediately began to play and played for the next four hours, with some excited humping from Snoopy (which has stopped presently). The effects of being locked away for long hours was evident after the first hour, (very wobbly back legs and stiff forelegs, didn't really know how to run) but they wanted to keep playing so I let them.

He's super friendly with everyone and loves to interact with strange people, however he isn't as accepting of strange dogs.

When I took him to the vet the first time, he immediately went hackles up, growling, and forged ahead at the first dog he saw. I told him no while giving him a leash correction, turned around and took a few steps the other way, made him sit, praised and treated. It was a few times of this before we could stand in line with the rest of the people and their dogs without him getting all growly. He stayed focused on me, held eye contact and performed commands splendidly, and I got to polish his down that he was still learning. (He came to us knowing sit)

So long as no other dog tried to come by me or him, he was fine. It wasn't much of a problem because most of the people by us had little dogs and they were holding them. However, there was a small dog that walked toward his back foot while he was laying on his side and dozing and he gave a short growl, whipped around and snapped at it. I had his leash so I corrected him mid-snap, moved him to the other side of me, put him into a down, praise and treat, and he went back to sleep. People thought it was hilarious that he was sleeping and everybody commented on how mellow he is for a husky. We were in line for at least an hour, and after a while he got sick of treats because I fed him so many and just did commands for praise. I'm assuming he was telling the little dog to get out of his bubble, so to speak, but this is one of the things I wanted to double-check on.

For New Years, we ended up only having two extra dogs over instead of three, one of which, Molly, was in heat and Snoopy wasn't neutered yet so he was separated. Nunya got to play with Molly and Snoopy was going to play with the other dog, Lisa, and Nunya, except Snoopy was very aggressive toward her. I assumed a large part of it was he was frustrated because he could smell Molly, and he could be territorial, that I wasn't positive at the time but I didn't think it odd if he was.

I snapped a leash on him and walked him around the yard while Nunya chased Lisa while she played fetch with someone. When I brought Snoopy over to them, Nunya kept himself between Snoopy and Lisa as a buffer because he doesn't let Snoopy play with his friends if Snoopy isn't being nice. He tried to challenge Lisa, who is completely oblivious to every thing when there is a tennis ball present, and Nunya kept pushing him away.

Now, I believe that there is a point where dogs need to be dogs and sort things out among themselves, but I was afraid that Snoopy would draw blood. I'd seen him do it with Nunya when I missed a bone when I combed through the yard because I already knew that Nunya resource guards against other dogs, and apparently Snoopy does too. It was only a little tooth mark, but still. Anyway, Lisa's owner wanted me to just let him push Lisa a little because she was confident he would leave Lisa alone after that.

Well, Lisa, lab-husky cross, matched his growly pushyness and then some and pushed him to the ground, then went back to her tennis ball. Snoopy stopped harassing her. He followed her around and growled softly, but he stopped going after her. He played with her for a little after a while, but then she had to leave.

Three days ago, my boyfriend brought his seven month old border collie-cattle dog cross, Rocky, over to play with Nunya. Like with Lisa, Snoopy was very dominant and challenging toward him, it seems territorial. So Snoopy stayed on a leash while I redirected his attention to me and Rocky was on the long line tied to a post by the barn. We walked around with Snoopy focused on me for about five minutes before I didn't realize how close I had gotten to Rocky's area and he barreled over and body checked Snoopy in a playful manner. Snoopy didn't like that so he growled and snapped. I corrected him and we walked away, he was still growling until we were a good ten feet away and Rocky was play bowing and spinning in circles. I worked on having him focusing on me for about five more minutes before we went in the house, I didn't want to end on a bad note.

Eventually we brought Nunya and Rocky in the house too, and Snoopy was fine until Snoopy dropped a treat I gave him and Rocky ran over to snatch it up. Snoopy growled and grabbed Rocky's ear and tried to flip him over but I separated them. Then Snoopy was fine unless Rocky came over to him. I assumed he was being territorial but this doesn't seem like a territorial behavior to me. He didn't try to protect the house, just his personal space.

Finally, yesterday I took Snoopy with me into town and then I went to my boyfriend's house. We both wanted to see if Snoopy would act differently on strange territory, and he wanted help taking Christmas decorations down. I thought he'd be a little open to play, like when I brought him home the first time, but he exhibited the same aggressive behavior as before, while Rocky play bowed and yipped and begged to play. It wasn't his territory so he wasn't territorial of the land. I couldn't tell you if he's better or worse when I'm not there so I don't know if I'm a trigger. How would you categorize this behavior? Should I be doing something besides correcting and redirecting? Thoughts?

Again, sorry for the rambling.
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MayaAndSophie
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MayaAndSophie

Female Join date : 2012-08-30
Location : Ohio

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PostSubject: Re: Possessive or Protective, or Something Else?   Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? EmptyThu Jan 10, 2013 1:09 am

I'm not much help but it sounds to me like rocky is still acting very much like a puppy, at 7 months old he should be acting more like an adult. I know Maya wouldn't like it if a dog body checked her without her knowledge, she would give the other dog a good telling off.
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Tika
The Long-Winded Canadian
Tika

Male Join date : 2011-08-11
Location : Montreal, QC

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PostSubject: Re: Possessive or Protective, or Something Else?   Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? EmptyThu Jan 10, 2013 5:05 pm

Day slowed down and I could finally sit down and collect my thought on this post. I've read the post a few times.

Obviously your very best course of action would be to seek out and train with a specialist. Myself, or others, can read anything we want into what could be causing this but without being there and actually seeing all circumstances for ourselves all we can do is make educated guesses at best. The following is just want I have taken out of it and what I would do if it were my pups.


Quote :
I'm assuming he was telling the little dog to get out of his bubble, so to speak, but this is one of the things I wanted to double-check on.

I would tend to agree with you but it is something you should be working on. You'll never be able to control other handlers, and they won't listen to you anyways, so trying to limit the problems are the best way to avoid it.

Socialization is key here. Maybe a muzzle at first, maybe a controlled area with handlers and dogs you know, but really getting some positive experiences in are your best bet I would think.

Quote :
I assumed a large part of it was he was frustrated because he could smell Molly, and he could be territorial, that I wasn't positive at the time but I didn't think it odd if he was

Yeah Heat does funny things to dogs.... The altercations always seemed to escalate on the farm when one of our chow bitches was in heat. They were obviously separated at all times, but it did seem to spike during those times and you had to really start thinking who you would let out in the field or run together.

I would chalk it up to that as well.


Quote :
Now, I believe that there is a point where dogs need to be dogs and sort things out among themselves,...Anyway, Lisa's owner wanted me to just let him push Lisa a little because she was confident he would leave Lisa alone after that.

I would have done the same thing. Keeping two strong willed dogs separated by a leash for any length of time is only going to make the meeting that much more intense when it does happen.

That being said I do ask my girls show respect before meeting another dog and at least sit politely until released.


Quote :
Well, Lisa, lab-husky cross, matched his growly pushyness and then some and pushed him to the ground, then went back to her tennis ball. Snoopy stopped harassing her. He followed her around and growled softly, but he stopped going after her. He played with her for a little after a while, but then she had to leave

Quote :
He stayed focused on me, held eye contact and performed commands splendidly,...

These lines are VERY interesting to me. What I get from the text is that Snoopy is very respectful of positioning. He however is VERY unsure of himself.

If I had to peg him fast just based on this post alone it would be that he is somewhat of a dominant behavior dog, I say somewhat because he surrendered very fast to Lisa. In a bigger pack however I think he lacks the skills, and more importantly the confidence, to be a leader. He would probably be a lot more comfortable following a leader that could show him socially how to be a dog.

He however is probably more dominant than Nunya, and because of this he is leading but without the skills to do so. Don't miss understand this as me saying he is Alpha of your household. I don't believe in what that term has come to mean and the way in which it is thrown around. Dogs however do have a clear chain of command. Ripley is dominant over Tika, as much as I'm guessing Snoopy is dominant over Nunya.

Again the best medicine for this in my eyes would be socialization.



Quote :
So Snoopy stayed on a leash while I redirected his attention to me and Rocky was on the long line tied to a post by the barn

Quote :
I snapped a leash on him and walked him around the yard while Nunya chased Lisa while she played fetch with someone.

Second time you had an altercation or build up of emotions while using a leash.

Some dogs, Ripley included, have a very hard time meeting other semi dominant dogs on leashes. If they aren't confidant and socialized dogs there are only two possibilities for them to take.

They can flee from the encounter in some way (It doesn't mean running in fear just avoiding it), or they can Fight. With the leash you are blocking both possibilities. It can cause a build up in stress and anxiety because they can't get away but they can't defend themselves either.

As scary as it is you might have better luck removing the leash from the whole encounter.


Reading body language and getting in there before the fight breaks out will be your best bet on this one. Knowing how he stands right before the fight and when he is unsure of himself and redirecting for a short time.

Snoopy is also trained with invisible fences, so maybe an E-collar or Vibe-collar could help too? Just that added level of security if you can't reach him at that second. There is also nothing wrong with muzzling if the need is there, it is a wonderful training tool that is often overlooked because of the negatives associated with it.


Quote :
How would you categorize this behavior? Should I be doing something besides correcting and redirecting? Thoughts?

To me it just reads like you have a dog with somewhat dominant tendencies, but is unsure of himself. He just lacks that level of socialization that he should have at this point and when met with dominance the only thing he knows is to fight back.

Because it has happened a couple of times you are also projecting a bit of stress when the encounters happen, it's only natural. If he picks up on that it can trigger a mess of responses, many of which can appear protection or possessive based.

He has been put into a leadership role in the dog world but I would guess he would be much more comfortable as a follower. There isn't much you can do about that because that is the dynamic you have, It is all about desensitization at this point.

I would socialize him a lot more. A lot of people avoid it when fights start because they don't want them to happen again, but it is the best thing for them. Being able to be around other dogs is fun and they should all get to experience it.

Until he could do it safely I would probably invest in a muzzle and maybe even an E-collar. Stop the fights before they happen and redirect into anything else that is fun. Separate the dogs for a couple of minutes and go back at it if you can. If it continues find a new dog and try again.

Avoiding contact with other dogs will only escalate the issue in the end.


Anyways that is just what I got out of it. I really don't feel you have a possessive dog... I just think he might be a bit inept socially, and that is his one outlet.

If I helped great, if not I wish both of you the best of luck Smile

~Chris~
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Koda
Ms. Amicable
Koda

Female Join date : 2009-05-20
Location : Glenville, NY

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PostSubject: Re: Possessive or Protective, or Something Else?   Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? EmptyThu Jan 10, 2013 5:24 pm

I was hoping you could reply to this, Chris, as I felt you could put it a bit more eloquently than I could. However, I agree with everything you have written.

Snoopy sounds a LOT like Koda. We are constantly working on his socialization skills and have had to invest in a muzzle ourselves to use until we can trust him around other dogs.

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Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? Hailey10
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dahowlers
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dahowlers

Female Join date : 2012-01-30
Location : Wisconsin

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PostSubject: Re: Possessive or Protective, or Something Else?   Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? EmptyFri Jan 11, 2013 6:29 pm

Quote :
I would have done the same thing. Keeping two strong willed dogs separated by a leash for any length of time is only going to make the meeting that much more intense when it does happen.

That being said I do ask my girls show respect before meeting another dog and at least sit politely until released.

I guess I didn't really think of that. I know a tight leash intensifies a situation, but I was hoping that his loose leash walking wasn't going to do that. It's very possible though. I didn't want him to run into the situation unbridled because he doesn't know how to be polite yet.

Quote :
He however is probably more dominant than Nunya, and because of this he is leading but without the skills to do so. Don't miss understand this as me saying he is Alpha of your household. I don't believe in what that term has come to mean and the way in which it is thrown around. Dogs however do have a clear chain of command. Ripley is dominant over Tika, as much as I'm guessing Snoopy is dominant over Nunya.

Again the best medicine for this in my eyes would be socialization.

He is definitely the alpha dog when it comes to Nunya, and don't worry, I understand that dog to dog relationships are different than dog to people relationships. Snoopy is very respectful of people, for the most part. I believe Snoopy is gaining confidence in himself because he doesn't explode at Nunya anymore but it's something I want to keep working on with other dogs. I just need to figure out how I'm going to do that. I don't know many people that would be able to work on it with me and there are a lot of wild cards at the dog park that might set him back at this point.

Quote :
They can flee from the encounter in some way (It doesn't mean running in fear just avoiding it), or they can Fight. With the leash you are blocking both possibilities. It can cause a build up in stress and anxiety because they can't get away but they can't defend themselves either.

At the house, if he had wanted to flee I had planned on dropping the leash. I wish that had been his reaction. That I can work with easily because Nunya was very fearful of strange dogs around that age. Regardless, I'll find a way to work with it.

Quote :
As scary as it is you might have better luck removing the leash from the whole encounter.
Quote :
Because it has happened a couple of times you are also projecting a bit of stress when the encounters happen, it's only natural. If he picks up on that it can trigger a mess of responses, many of which can appear protection or possessive based.
Quote :
Snoopy is also trained with invisible fences, so maybe an E-collar or Vibe-collar could help too? Just that added level of security if you can't reach him at that second. There is also nothing wrong with muzzling if the need is there, it is a wonderful training tool that is often overlooked because of the negatives associated with it.

My biggest fear is that he will bite and break skin, and it stresses me out. I know he picks up on that and it's not helping. If I didn't think he would break skin, it wouldn't be that big of an issue. I'll start working on him with the muzzle if I can find it. We have two from our last dog, who had really bad human aggression. Just having it as an option will help me not stress out, even if I don't use it.

Quote :
I would socialize him a lot more. A lot of people avoid it when fights start because they don't want them to happen again, but it is the best thing for them. Being able to be around other dogs is fun and they should all get to experience it.
Quote :
Avoiding contact with other dogs will only escalate the issue in the end.

I completely agree. I want to help him get over his problem so he can experience being around other dogs, and so we can feel better about letting him play with the dogs that come over occasionally. It would be a little different if we never had other dogs over.

Thanks Chris, I really appreciate your help and knowledge. I'm sure you've helped me, and I don't think I missed anything in my responses.
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dahowlers
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dahowlers

Female Join date : 2012-01-30
Location : Wisconsin

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PostSubject: Re: Possessive or Protective, or Something Else?   Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? EmptyFri Jan 11, 2013 6:50 pm

An update that I forgot to add:

I took him to the vet on Wednesday for his booster shots and our place in line was between a cat on a leash and a ferret in a crate so he stayed relatively calm. He was more excited than the last time we went, but he was a lot less dominant. He growled a little when we got close to the line, even though he couldn't see anybody yet. So I turned around and made him sit before proceeding.

Originally there were two dogs in front of us and he growled at first as we faced them, but I walked backwards to get his attention to me and had him lay with his back to them.
The lady with the cat came and stood in front of us. A beagle came up after the ferret and Snoopy just sniffed the air in its direction so I praised him and gave him a treat. Every time he opted to sniff instead of growl he was praised and treated. He quickly learned that this was a fulfilling game.

There wasn't any fuss until a German shepherd got there and was running through the store aisles, dragging a screaming child who's parent was on the phone. There was conflict between it and a golden retriever and Snoopy stood and growled. I made him lay again. By the time it was his turn to get his shots he had touched noses with one of the dogs that was in front of us without issue. I smell progress Very Happy
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dahowlers
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dahowlers

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PostSubject: Re: Possessive or Protective, or Something Else?   Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? EmptyThu Mar 28, 2013 1:04 pm

Another update:
Snoopy has two new friends that he likes to play with. He does try to guard me from them occasionally but he can't guard me if I walk away. When he gets pushy when I'm at a distance, I found out that he'll blow me off if I use a demanding tone, but if I call him with a gentle voice he'll come running all excitedly and wide-eyed.
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TwisterII
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TwisterII

Female Join date : 2013-06-14
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive or Protective, or Something Else?   Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? EmptyFri Jun 28, 2013 12:14 am

ok, I'm going to try to resurrect this thread since it's very close to what I'm now dealing with. Kenzi is great with people, no problem at all. The day we got her she met a lot of dogs and was fine with all but one, but it seems the longer we have her the worse she is getting with strange dogs and it seems to be directly tied to us. There's some dogs allowed to run loose that wander through my neighborhood and she's gotten out and ran around with them before, but if I'm out with her and these same dogs come by she's instantly on the defensive, growling, teeth, hair up and lunging, regardless of if they come to our house or if we are just out walking around nowhere near home. I take her a lot of places and she is around a lot of dogs but the way she's started to react to them it's starting to be a pain. The leash being on could be the cause of issues with the roaming dogs but I don't know how to get around that. I can't just let her run free and she needs exercise. Muzzle? I would really hate to go there though, I'm sure there's a better way. I'm not scared of dogs at all so it's not like I'm sending off a nervous vibe about the strange dog, though the worse she gets the more I might send off an oh-crap-here-we-go-again vibe.

A different incident without a leash. All alone in the backyard the neighbor's dog runs up to the fence and they jump around playfully and sniff each other and are fine for at least 10 minutes while I just watch out the back door. All was peachy until I walked onto the back porch then Kenzi grabbed Sally (other dog) through the fence in the face. Sally of course yelped and ran off and that was the last time Sally came over. I didn't say anything to the other dog, I didn't walk toward the two, what happened? Is she possessive or just have something to prove?

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dahowlers
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dahowlers

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PostSubject: Re: Possessive or Protective, or Something Else?   Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? EmptyFri Jun 28, 2013 10:59 am

Since these dogs are loose while you're on YOUR walk I would not have her wear a muzzle just because if a dog does decide to attack her she needs a way to protect herself. I found that a lot of Snoopy's aggression is linked to insecurity, he needs to attack before they get the chance so they can't hurt him. I've had a lot of success with him using positive reinforcement training. While this doesn't sound like Kenzi's problem you could try working on her with focusing on you when stimuli enter her environment. This thread could help: http://ultimatepitbullforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2292

If she's being insecure on a leash or trying to protect you, using force to correct her could send mixed signals and make the problem worse. For instance, dog acting aggressively because it's uncomfortable in a situation (like the presence of another dog) and wants the other dog to leave + forceful correction = pain being associated with the situation. This means that the dog understands that the other dog means pain, they did NOT connect the pain with the behavior they were doing. This creates a dog that will react more violently the next time because since the other dog means pain from correction the other dog needs to leave faster because less pain is likely to occur, in the dog's mind.

If the Kenzi is trying to protect you then adding a force correction can still make her associate pain with the situation, so now you'd have a dog that is trying to protect you AND fearful of the situation, creating worse aggression.
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Possessive or Protective, or Something Else?   Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? EmptyFri Jun 28, 2013 11:32 am

Focus I think would be great for her when on walks and I will work on that. Yeah, I wasn't a fan of the muzzle idea. Was only considering at like the vet or petco. While most dogs I have met before and know that they are far less threat to Kenzi than she is to them, sometimes a new one sneaks in that it's hard to be sure about. Case in point, huge mastiff mix came to see us last night and is a good foot taller than her and she went for his throat. Luckily we had a hold of her and he was a big baby of a dog. We don't usually yank her lead much or hit her in these cases. We try to make her sit, keyword being try. If the other dog is willing to not pester us we make her walk on. That works with big dogs. Little yappers won't just go away though.

When she bit Sally I yelled at her and she turned and looked at me. Since I wasn't near them it was the only correction that I had access to at the time. Should I test the yell on walks too? She doesn't listen as great when I'm right next to her but if I growl at her to leave something on the table alone, she will do it. She seems kind of inconsistent which makes consistent training difficult.

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dahowlers
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dahowlers

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PostSubject: Re: Possessive or Protective, or Something Else?   Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? EmptyFri Jun 28, 2013 12:40 pm

On walks I would focus on keeping other dogs away. I have kicked dogs that were a threat, especially small dogs that run up snapping and growling, when I had my doberman and in return she potentially saved my life from another dog that snuck up behind me and was literally sailing through the air to get at the back of my neck while I was riding my bike.

Focus training would be perfect here. Snoopy would attack and there was nothing I could do about it but try to pull him off. Now when I see him tense up and getting ready to attack I can call him and he'll shake off the tension and trot over to me with a submissive grin, ears back, and relaxed. At first I tried yelling at him, before I realized he was only aggressive in situations where he was insecure or he wanted to control. Me being aggressive made him escalate QUICKLY. The moment I yelled or tried to approach him or yank him off if he was leashed, he attacked. I realized I needed to switch his mentality without making him MORE insecure. I couldn't force him to listen to me or focus on me, so I worked on rewarding him, on leash, when he gave me attention around other dogs instead of fixating on them to show him that that is what he should be doing. Like I said, he can be teeing off with a dog, tighten his lips forward, lick his lips and puff up, getting ready to attack and I can call him and he'll turn around and trott over to me in a completely different mindset and return to the situation relaxed, crisis diverted haha The most important thing to remember is that if the dog is already reacting then you're to close to te stimuli.

I don't think it's that she's inconsistent, but more that she doesn't know how to be consistent. Yelling will only work for as long as she thinks you're a threat to her, once she's desensitized to the yelling it won't work anymore.
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TwisterII
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Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Possessive or Protective, or Something Else?   Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? EmptyFri Jun 28, 2013 1:07 pm

Thanks for the advice. I think it will really work for her. I read that thread you posted and it had some great stuff to try. She LOVES treats so I know I'll have her wrapped around my little finger with that tactic. We usually run a blocking pattern on walks with other dogs. My husband takes Kenzi and I intercept since potentially aggressive dogs tend to respond better to me than him and I'm used to taking a dog bite in order to put a dog in its place. The stupid packs of little dogs are the hardest to block and bug her the most though.

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Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Possessive or Protective, or Something Else?   Possessive or Protective, or Something Else? Empty

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