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There is an experiment I want to do with my dog...

(64 Posts)
D0oinMeCleanin Tue 23-Apr-13 11:10:43

Whippy's lead aggression is back worse than ever. We'd almost solved it until training was halted by my broken arm and lead walking stopped.

This means at least once a walk I am forced to shout "Please call your dog back, mine is aggressive" followed by much body blocking by me while they try and fail to restrain their dog, on warmer days this happens on average 5 or 6 times a walk angry

I want to walk her at the same time every day, until people start to recognise her and then walk her off lead, same route, same time, same walkers and allow her to run up to their dogs and note whether there is any difference in the amount of effort they put into restraining their dogs when they believe their dog is danger compared to the amount of effort they put in when it is my dog getting stressed. It would also be interesting to note whether they still believe it is "cute" or "just what dogs do"

Of course anyone who knows me knows that Whippy is the sweetest thing off lead, a completely different dog. They also know I would never do this, it is not fair to allow her lead aggression to go on for longer than necessary for my own amusement. But the mere thought amuses me greatly

PLEASE, PLEASE do not allow your off lead dog to approach leashed dogs, if they can't be trusted to recall immediately, keep them leashed.

duchesse Fri 19-Jul-13 08:52:13

Completely agree with Kittens re dogs creating their own social relationships. They aren't helpless babies, they creatures with their own social norms.

D0oinMeCleanin Fri 19-Jul-13 00:40:28

Exactly, Select.

It's not even the ones who barrel up to us and then make a hasty retreat or amuse themselves with the other dogs when they read Whippy's body language that bother me, so much. They're not exactly conducive to our training, particularly BAT, where the reward is to gain more distance from the object of fear (bit bloody difficult when the thing has me cornered and is insisting on diving all over me and my dogs) but Whippy can cope relatively well with those ones now.

It's the ones that insist on sniffing her arse, while the owner is meters behind yelling "It's okay, she only wants to play" angry While Whippy is huddled as low to the ground as she get, shaking with fear and snarling her tiny wee head off. They are the ones who get me feeling all stabby.

Why should my dog have to say hello to every dog she meets? Why can't people just accept that we might want to be left in peace and respect that instead of forcing us to interact with their ill mannered hounds?

I wonder how these owners would feel if I chased them around the park, asking them to say hello to little Incy, my pet tarantuala or other common object of fear. Incy only wants to be friends after all.

SelectAUserName Thu 18-Jul-13 21:56:37

SelectASpaniel is a rescue dog who has fear-related dog-reactivity. He has never bitten in the three months we have had him but will bark, snarl and lunge at another dog if it gets too close. We are actively working to improve the situation, using counter-conditioning.

Every time some thoughtless person lets their off-lead dog charge up to him out of control while he is on-lead, or has their stupid extending lead at its fullest extent (oh, how I hate those things) so they end up twirling in ineffectual knots while their dog leaps around like a mad thing, it sets back our progress and undermines our attempts to make SAS a well-socialised member of canine society.

If your dog potters along happily with its focus on you, oblivious to other dogs whether they are on or off-lead, fabulous. Enjoy your relaxing walks with your lovely dog. If your dog pricks its ears at the sight of another dog and thinks about investigating further but returns to you with instant recall when you spot these signs and pre-empt a potentially unwanted interaction, fabulous. Thank you for being a responsible and aware owner.

If you think your dog's right to run off-lead trumps everyone else's right to have a stress-free enjoyable walk despite it having an unreliable recall; if you watch your dog hare off towards an on-lead dog and make no attempt to bring it back under control or are completely unable to do so; if you are too busy chatting or listening to your iPod to notice your dog is forcing its unwanted attention onto an on-lead dog - then YOU are in the wrong, YOU are the thoughtless, irresponsible dog owner and YOU are to blame if any injury results. YOU. Not the owner of the under control, on-lead dog regardless of any issues the latter might have.

olidusUrsus Thu 18-Jul-13 21:53:44

No, but at least it would take away the worry that if a dog who can't be recalled approaches, it wouldn't be bitten.

Pawprint Thu 18-Jul-13 21:47:24

Eek sorry for double post!

Pawprint Thu 18-Jul-13 21:46:48

Another professional dog walker here - sorry, I haven't read the whole thread. It sounds like the aggression stems from fear. Having said that, what we call "aggression" is a dog being a dog!

Have you tried clicker training? I've found it useful.

All the dogs I walk (at most, five at a time) walk well on leads and I rarely let them off. Having said that, I own three dogs myself and two of them bark at every dog they see. There have been times when people have allowed their children to rush up to my dogs and I always say, very stridently, not to touch them.

Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own dogs and you are right to keep it on a lead.

If you clicker train, you can then click and reward the dog as another dog approaches, so that it develops positive associations with encountering other dogs.

Pawprint Thu 18-Jul-13 21:46:04

Another professional dog walker here - sorry, I haven't read the whole thread. It sounds like the aggression stems from fear. Having said that, what we call "aggression" is a dog being a dog!

Have you tried clicker training? I've found it useful.

All the dogs I walk (at most, five at a time) walk well on leads and I rarely let them off. Having said that, I own three dogs myself and two of them bark at every dog they see. There have been times when people have allowed their children to rush up to my dogs and I always say, very stridently, not to touch them.

Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own dogs and you are right to keep it on a lead.

If you clicker train, you can then click and reward the dog as another dog approaches, so that it develops positive associations with encountering other dogs.

ihatethecold Thu 18-Jul-13 21:45:01

Can I ask?
What is BAT training?

GrimmaTheNome Thu 18-Jul-13 21:29:46

That might stop her snapping at other dogs, but it wouldn't help with the fact she's stressed by these encounters.

olidusUrsus Thu 18-Jul-13 21:15:48

I'm not saying your wrong, but why can't you muzzle your dog? Did I miss the explanation?

GrimmaTheNome Thu 18-Jul-13 19:47:17

Whole - your lovely well behaved dog doesn't need to be on a leash. It sounds like she's under sufficient control - if she's not going to be bothering other dogs or people she probably doesn't need perfect recall even.

The OP and many of the rest of us walk our dogs off lead - the point is that we know we are responsible for their behaviour. Presumably if someone warns you that their leashed dog doesn't like other dogs you can easily enough ensure she doesn't bumble into them - in the same way you wouldn't let her wander in front of a car or whatever.

Dontletthemgetyoudown Thu 18-Jul-13 18:56:26

My labrador was fine a placid friendly dog until he was attacked by a jack Russell while he was on a lead. We were working on getting over that when he was again attacked while on a lead by a Staffordshire Bull terrier.

He will now bark and growl and warn your dog off if they run towards him when he's on a lead and to be honest I dont blame him. I have my dog under control on a lead walking nicely you have the out of control dogif it isnt iimmediately returning to you. Why should my dog be at fault? My dog still needs exercise and why should he be pts because at least two other dog owners had aggressive dogs with apparently no training.

Its always someone elses fault yes its lovely to habe an off lead walk with a dog that has perfect recall but if yours doesn't you really cant blame the person whos dog is on a lead. I have spoken to the police and dog warden about this and they both said it would be the person with the off lead dog at fault should a problem arise not the in lead dog.

toboldlygo Thu 18-Jul-13 18:43:57

I think you've slightly missed the point, Whole. Nobody is calling for all dogs to be on leads (except for the occasional frothing dog haters) - only those that are allowed to go barreling up to on-lead dogs with the owner miles behind shouting 'it's okay, he's friendly' while one's safely leashed but reactive dog turns themselves inside out with fear at the bristling jumpy maniac that's just beset them.

ImNotBloody14 Thu 18-Jul-13 18:37:18


Your dog has selective hearing and you struggle to understand why you might need to leash her? confused

Ops dog will have a panic attack if approached by another dog. Its possible your dog could be injured if she decided to say hello and ignores your commands to come back to you. Why is tht difficult to understand? I dont want my dog to be hurt so if someone shouts at me to stick a lead on him because theiir dog is fear agressive then i sure as hell will. I have this thing where i dont like causing him pain. Odd i know hmm

Wholetthedogin Thu 18-Jul-13 18:19:06

You may call me a dimwit if you like but I still do not understand why my lovely well behaved dog should be on lead all the time because we may come across an aggressive dog.

My dog is old, she likes to walk along slowly at her own pace. She likes to have a good old sniff about and really isn't interested in other dogs, children or bikes. She is old, has some health problems and has no interest in jumping up on anyone even if she could. She just wants to be left alone to do her own thing. She also has selective hearing when there is something interesting to smell.

Why should she have her freedom leashed because there are other dogs out there that are not socialised?

She also was a rescue dog and had a very difficult start to her life. I believe she has earned the right to have her freedom whilst on a walk.

So go on then, call me a dimwit if you like, but my lovely old dog will be going for her walk off lead. She should be able to do so without the threat of aggression from other dogs.

somewheresomehow Thu 18-Jul-13 17:39:43

put a muzzle on the thing or a halti if it cant be trusted

Turniptwirl Thu 18-Jul-13 16:50:22

I'm glad whippy is doing better

I agree that if you let your dog off the lead you should at least be making some efforts to control it! Of course not everyone has perfect recall and even the best trained dogs may suddenly become selectively deaf and ignore you, but as a dog owner it's our job to try!

One friend has a yorkie who is dog aggressive due to a lack of socialisation, separation anxiety and being generally old and creaky. She is always on a lead of course, but it is annoying when people let their dog bounce up to her then get upset if she growls or goes for them (being an elderly yorkie obv her people are stronger than her fortunately)

Another friend has an overexcitable but very well socialised boxer. She's not aggressive in the slightest but is big, strong, lunges and barks loudly at people and dogs inspire of having has regular training all her life (still goes to school). Off the lead shes submissive but friendly and reads signals from other dogs pretty well, sometimes she stays well clear if a dog without any overt aggression from it, but something must've warned her! On the lead its like she forgets how to speak dog and she lunges and shouts indiscriminately! However, we always make efforts to restrain her and apologise. I do tell people she intends it as friendly but I don't let this stop me holding her back! She is mostly on the lead as her recall is only good as long as nothing more interesting like a rabbit or another dog is around. If she is off the lead or even in a long lead we make her heel if we see another dog on a short lead.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 18-Jul-13 11:36:39

>I has never hears of the yellow lead project either so a yellow ribbon would mean nothing to me.

me neither - yellow tags/leads etc signify that the dog is a rescue from Dogs' Trust to me.

KittensoftPuppydog Thu 18-Jul-13 11:27:53

Hi doin, I have also had this conversation before on mn and got a lot of abuse.
All I can say is to repeat what I said before. Our dog got agressive after she was attacked. She is now completely placid, and will run back to me and hide behind my legs if another dog shows aggression.
All I did was to say a very firm 'NO' and yank her lead if she got naughty, ignore her and take her home immediately. I think that there is a lot of nonsense out there about discipline and how dogs don't understand it. They do, but you have to do it immediately. Usually they will want to please.
I also made sure that she met other very placid dogs for a while and got used to playing with them.
All the best with your dog and the fosters. Ours was a foster who stayed...

megsmouse Thu 18-Jul-13 09:29:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 18-Jul-13 09:23:52

Glad Whippy is making progress, dooin.

Beats me why a few people just don't seem to get that they need to have their off-lead dogs under control. Sure, wanting to greet other dogs is natural - so, for a lot of them would be chasing runners, bikes and small children. You've got to have sufficient control for those situations (I hope no-one disputes that!), so just do the same around on-lead dogs, especially if you've been warned. Simple really.

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 18-Jul-13 09:10:52

Whippy only became fear aggressive being attacked on lead by a JRT, actually KittenSoft. She was and still is, when off lead, very well socialised and interacts regularly with other dogs. She has no choice but to interact with other dogs, we foster for a local rescue, she often has strange dogs trying to sleep in her bed, she has done since she was a puppy, she is fine with this. She panics when she is on lead a) because she was on lead when she was attacked so is often tense on lead and b) she knows she cannot get away if she needs to.

I'm aware of calming signals and often use calmer dogs to walk with Whippy whenever possible, their behavior calms down both Whippy and the on-coming strange dog, which makes things easier for all.

No, she is not currently muzzled, although at the start of our training, before I injured my arm, I used a muzzle to prevent other dogs running up to her. Ime people see a muzzled dog and automatically assume dog-aggressive and make a bigger effort to stay out of our way, even though with a muzzle she cannot hurt their dog confused She does not need to be muzzled, she is leashed and under control, if another owner cannot control their dog enough to keep them out of our space, then frankly that is their problem, as my dog is leashed the law is on my side, although given that she is the size of a large cat and weighs as much as wet dish rag, there's not much damage she could do anyway, plus she doesn't actually want to bite, she air snaps, she snarls, she barks, but she has no intention of actually fighting, all she wants is space to enjoy her walk in peace, which we are both entitled to. If you cannot call your dog back before it says hello to a leashed dog, then you need to keep it on a lead.

This thread was from ages ago. I'm not quite sure why it has resurfaced. After trying and failing with BAT (because the other dogs inevitably followed us) we have gone back to other training methods including me treating her the second she spots another dog, then jogging past while talking to her in a bright sing-song voice and treating again when she has passed without reacting (we still get other dogs following us, but generally because Whippy is paying no attention what-so-ever to them they sod off pretty quickly) and utilising the calmer more confident dogs I have access to (a recently rehomed foster and one of my Dad's lurchers) and getting them to greet the strange dogs first, which gives Whippy more confidence, because as I said, these dogs give out very clear calming signals which calms both Whippy and the excited new-comer along with extensive off lead socialising. We have made massive improvements within the last couple of weeks.

The I Need Space coats look great, though, I will keep them in mind if I ever need one for a foster/sick dog.

quoteunquote Thu 18-Jul-13 08:50:12

how much more control do they want?

Well I hope that you are making sure the dog is wearing a muzzle until you get this under control. If you use a framed one, the dog can still bark, pant and bark, but will be unable to bite.

I would make sure you get some professional, l advice you join a local behaviourist course, and follow the advice to the letter.

It is fairly quick to cure but you do have to be totally consistent, with a relentless program.

KittensoftPuppydog Thu 18-Jul-13 08:30:03

It does seem that mn is populated by dog owners with whose dogs have 'fear agression' and who expect too much from other dog owners.
Dogs are not wolves, they have coevolved with humans for thousands of years, and my experience is that most are excited to see another dog and want to say hello.
Most quickly get the idea when another dog isn't friendly and move on. That's because they can read signals from the other dog as a result of having been properly socialised. This involves interacting with other dogs.

judir Thu 18-Jul-13 08:09:57

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