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HELP! My lovely friendly happy dog turns into a savage snarling beast near some (mostly smaller) dogs.

(9 Posts)
BluddyMoFo Sun 05-Jun-11 19:51:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

minimu1 Sun 05-Jun-11 20:07:30

Ok there are many reasons for this but none of them really matter just getting a solution that works is the way forward.

I would expect that it is a fear response. Do you use a clicker?

If you do, you need to let her see dogs at a distance that she does not react to. So if she sees a dog across the field and starts barking, lunging etc go back a bit until she is calm.

At this distance when she sees a dog , say "look dog" click and treat. Use yummy treats really special ones hot dogs, cheese etc.

What you are trying to do is to change her emotional state around dogs instead of dogs are scary I will bark until they go away you need to say dogs are great. BUT do not push her too far - I doubt she will ever be a dog that will love all dogs but you want to get her to the stage where she can tolerate dogs at a comfortable distance.

This is going to take time and you will have to do it daily at the pace that she can go with the aim of gradually seeing a dog and she will come charging back to you for a treat. It will be then up to you to keep her safe and away from other dogs in her face.

This is an incredibly successful method of getting dogs over aggression. As her owner though it is your responsibility to keep her out of situations that she finds difficult as she begins to realise this she will also relax and become more relaxed. So at the moment do not force her to meet other dogs keep your distance, if you see a dog approaching stand between your dog and the approaching dog to prevent it coming too close.

Good luck with this - it is a long hard path BUT you will get your dog in a better place.

BluddyMoFo Sun 05-Jun-11 20:23:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Threadworm8 Sun 05-Jun-11 20:38:44

I have this problem too, and I certainly haven't nailed it yet. But it did help me a bit recently when the penny finally dropped that I had to stop taking my dog beyond his comfort zone. I had the daft mentality that if we were walking on a route with an oncoming dog I should be able to get him to walk past the dog,so that I could keep on my intended route. That meant that he would be successfully calm for a while as we approached, and I would reward him and keep going until we had got beyond his tolerance and he lunged/barked.

Now I have decided to just walk away or make a huge loop as soon as he has had a reward for seeing the other dog.

My dog is extremely toy motivated, so a ball for reward/distraction is helpful.

I still feel pretty despairing, though, And it is so sad because I know he would be fine with some dogs, and I also know that after an initial snap and snarl he would settle down and tolerate the other dog well. (I think he just wants to set boundaries with an initial display.) So in some respects being offlead with other dogs would be helpful, but of course I can't risk that at all.

chickchickchicken Sun 05-Jun-11 20:44:18

do persevere with the clicker training. it is fabulous when it works. fwiw i have taught my dog to fetch certain medications on command, empty the washing machine etc but by far the most difficult thing i have ever taught him was 'lie down'. he loves to do things and doing nothing doesnt come easily to him. even now in the 'lie' position he will try to get away with not being completely down

he will 'settle' easily now after lots of practice at the vets, public transport, etc but this allows him to sit or lie as long as he stays next to my feet and he finds this a lot more doable (in his mind!) than 'lie down'

like all things dog training i know its to do with my technique and not the dog. that doesnt help though grin

minimu1 Sun 05-Jun-11 20:56:28

I do know exactly how you feel. I have a fantastic agility dog, the best I have ever had easy to train fast accurate BUT he can not tolerate other dogs sad.

However taking it slowly and look dog and as Threadworm you have found not pushing over the comfort zone he has chilled out. He now knows I will not put him in a situation he can not handle, we often change direction on walks and I often ask owners to call their dogs if they are bounding over too close to him. He plays happily with my other dogs but he just does not want to have anything to do with other dogs - that is fine by me and he is one of the most loving dogs you could own.

Do try to concentrate on what your dogs can do - (I think my OH would have preferred me to be a barrister but got stuck with a dog mad wife but I hope he still loves me!). I have no scientific evidence but have seen some many fearful dog aggressive dogs are the most loving dogs and adore human company even more.

You will find with the look dog regime that you will get to a stage where you can let the dogs off lead with selected dogs. This may take many months but you can get there. It may be a first you need to muzzle your dog (again take advice on this as muzzles can make dogs worse)

I have also used the look dog regime on many foster dogs that have been given to rescue as aggressive and lost cases but with time and patience they do change dramatically.

I have mentioned about a very sad collie the worst case I have ever seen who was dumped on my doorstep a few months ago, the difference in him is amazing. We can now walk with selected other dogs and he is able to attend an outside obedience dog class (indoors at the moment would be too much), he can watch a dog do agility with no reaction at all. He tolerates my other dogs at home with no problem at all so it really does and will work.

LetThereBeCupcakes Wed 08-Jun-11 18:38:02

I can't add anything more to what minimu1 says so I won't even try, but I will say that £300 does seem a lot. The trainer I used to take my boy to charged £70 for the initial consultation, and he was APDT, COAPE, everything else accredited and absolutely amazing. Have you tried the COAPE website?

Winetimeisfinetime Wed 08-Jun-11 19:56:08

I have a very similar behaving dog too Bluddy. He is the most loving dog with humans but unpredictable with other dogs so I have to keep him on the lead a lot. I have tried various things to no avail - he does have a neurological problem which I think impairs his ability to learn, but I will have a go at the clicker training as it would improve our walking experiences immeasurably if he could be let off the lead more.

Is there any advice for what to do when your dog is on the lead and another dog, not on a lead, comes over for a friendly sniff and your dog is lunging at them wanting to mix it !

dinamum Wed 08-Jun-11 20:04:44

Winetimeisfinetime I agree that dogs coming over is a nightmare. I tend to try to stand in front of my dog and between the approaching dog and if you put your hand out in a stop postion and say away most dogs will slow down, many will turn away but some will always continue to approach.

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