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Rescue dog aggression towards other dogs?

(13 Posts)
bellasuewow Wed 03-Jul-13 17:07:52

just read idirdog post and that is excellent advice

bellasuewow Wed 03-Jul-13 17:06:24

i think it is early days and she may be feeling a bit insecure and perhaps a bit overexcited about walkies and her new home, In the rescue centre the dogs may have been quite sorted in terms of who is in charge so no issues but outside other peoples dogs can be a pain and maybe she is tellin them off a bit. Advice to just walk past other dogs until you know who the good ones are is good i don't think dogs head to head is very good maybe is they pass she will calm down a bit. Maybe you are subconciously giving off a bit of stress because you are a new owner? good luck and i think you will be fine labs are lovely training classes will be great and hopefully the rescue centre will be able to help.

idirdog Wed 03-Jul-13 17:00:07

I would actually avoid all dog greetings for the time being.

Before starting with BAT I would work on LAT. "Look at That" ever time you see a dog in the distance get your dog to look at the dog then reward with the best treat ever. Do not then approach the dog but turn away in another direction.

The reason I would start with LAT is that some dogs do not have a mega inbuilt fear, just anxiety and it is quicker to progress than with BAT. However if LAT does not work then move to the BAT which is gentler but not needed by all dogs.

When you dog starts to look at the other dog and then to you, you may be able to approach the other dog.

If you are doing first greetings I would never go more than 3 secs, keep your dog moving and keep the greeting up beat. so approach, if your dog is not reacting, say hello, eg one sniff and then move away. If your dog reacts in any way, eg sniff, refuses to look at the dog, a lip lick, a yawn turn away it is too much for your dog at the moment.

Your dogs reaction at the moment is one of insecurity and maybe fear. If you go gently and work at your dogs pace this will not escalate. If you force meetings and keep the greetings long your dog will have to work out her own solution which usually involves lunging, barking and trying to be scary to make the dogs go away smile

Rotkehlchen Wed 03-Jul-13 16:49:59

Thanks for the responses. It's comforting that others have had this as well and it isn't something that will last if addressed properly. I will have a look for a suitable training class and keep working on the recall.

All her greetings have tended to be nose to nose, despite our efforts to approach side on. Perhaps we live in a town that doggy etiquette forgot?! I will persist with the short greetings, although 30 seconds sounds too long for her ; 10 seconds is about her limit at the moment! Thanks again for the advice.

Confusedandfedup Wed 03-Jul-13 15:17:07

We let our rescue doggie off the lead after 3 weeks in an area that was relatively safe (no roads, few people or dogs). It was a little scary but she was fine and we haven't lost her yet. I use a whistle for recall...mainly cos I didn't want to be one of those owners that has to continually shout at their dog to get them to come back - blowing the whistle is a lot easier. Wave a tennis or a piece of cheese and she comes anyway.

Scuttlebutter Wed 03-Jul-13 15:13:36

5 wees on a 40 minute walk is quite light actually.

OK, a few things. It's simply bad manners of other dog owners to let off lead dogs come bounding over and bounce all over her. Have a look at this wonderful article -[[ ]] - it will shift your thinking. If there are lots of these poorly mannered bouncers, I'd seriously consider changing where and when I walk to somewhere a little quieter.

I'd take her to regular, positive dog training classes so you know that you have rock solid recall and a really fabulous bond between you - look on the APDT website for links to a trainer near you.

You could also consider her wearing a yelllow bandana or ribbon on her lead - or you can even get vests etc. which say things like Dog IN Training - Please Keep Clear - see the Yellow Dog website for more info.

I'd also keep greetings on lead very short and brief - thirty seconds tops. You stop, say hello, one quick sniff and move on. More time can lead to more problems. I'd also spend some time looking at and understanding her body language - there are a couple fo very good books on this which show you very clearly that your dog will in fact give you very clear warnings when she is not happy or comfortable - look at "Calming Signals in Dogs" by Turid Rugaas (available on Amazon) and there are several others.

Finally, there's a wonderful technique called BAT which helps reactive dogs cope with other dogs - there have been lots of threads about it on here and many of us have used it to very good effect.

Good luck. smile

Magicmayhem Wed 03-Jul-13 15:04:49

My rescue dog was like this as well. I think it's definitely a fight or flight action. Off lead they would be more in control, and could run off. My dog is great with other dogs now, except if the keep on sniffing her or if they sniff her face or mouth, which apparently is really bad manners in dogs and she feels she must put them in their place and will growl then if they continue pin them too the floor... Lots of noise and growling but not harm done to the other dog... Just embarrassing for me...
Do you have a long training line?

Rotkehlchen Wed 03-Jul-13 14:58:29

Another thought is that she is 'marking' her territory a lot at the moment (5 times on a 40 minute walk this morning) Could this be linked?

Rotkehlchen Wed 03-Jul-13 14:55:42

I hadn't thought to see whether it was dogs or bitches! I will start checking...

Rotkehlchen Wed 03-Jul-13 14:54:35

Thanks for the responses. Definitely food for thought.
confused. I did wonder about the lead. I'm just nervous about letting her off lead as it's such a leap of faith. her recall seems ok but I've only tested her where there are no distractions. I'm just worried that she might keep running if she's scared.

Mistlethrush. I suppose it might be bigger dogs. Not always though, although the smaller dogs she has gone for have sometimes been a little persistent, you know, chasing her and not backing off?

mistlethrush Wed 03-Jul-13 14:38:49

My bitch has a tendency to tell dog dogs that she doesn't want any of 'that' sort of thing rather dominantly when she first meets if there's any chance that they might try it on - but having established the ground rules, she's fine to play with them. Can you see a pattern - is it dog or bitches, large dogs, black dogs or any other similarity?

Confusedandfedup Wed 03-Jul-13 14:35:47

My rescue doggie is much more 'barky' towards other dogs when she's on the lead. When she is off lead, she'll either let them sniff, play or run off...depending on how big/aggressive the other dog is.

Rotkehlchen Wed 03-Jul-13 14:11:26

Hi, first time dog owner here desperate for some advice please...

We adopted a lovely lab X about 2 months ago. She's 3 years old and adorable. She's settled in really well and we love her to bits.

Her only problem is when we walk her. The first few days she was great when out, meeting other dogs, having a sniff and moving on after. The rescue assured us she was great with other dogs and it seemed to be the case. I'm not sure what happened to change this, but recently she has been having a growl and a snap at some of the dogs we meet.

Sometimes it's not her fault - just now I walked her and a great big retriever type dog came bounding up to her, jumped on her (despite me warning the owner) and needless to say she reacted to it) but there have been too many other occasions I can't put down to the other dog's rudeness.

For example the other night we saw and elderly lab approaching...I called out to the owner that I was worried about her and he said it was ok as his dog was very gentle. As my dog was lying down wagging her tail at it (sometimes she does look fearful around dogs so we avoid them, but on this occasion she seemed relaxed) I decided that I would risk letting her have a sniff. All went well for a few seconds - my dog seemed to be relaxed, I took my eye off the ball, and next thing I knew she was snapping at the other dog.

I have tried the rescue we got her from, but the behaviourist is on holiday, so I'm looking for some short term advice. What would you do? I'm sure it's fear based as she really is such a gentle dog otherwise. However, what is confusing me is that often she appears to really want to meet the dogs.

I'm just concerned that I am somewhow exacerbating the situation. At the moment I am keeping her on lead, and to be honest just try to stay away from other dogs. however, it's not always possible so then I usually shout a warning to other owners. Sometimes they are really good and let her have a quick sniff and then I drag her away before anything starts, (when she does this I praise her like crazy.) Should I continue doing this or is the lead adding to the tension? Why does she appear keen to meet other dogs if she is scared of them? I feel like we must be doing something wrong as she was considered by the rescue to be the model of good behaviour around other dogs.

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