Agressive dog(24 Posts)
Please dont be mean to me, please offer polite helpful advice.
I have a cocker spaniel who is very dominant and agressive with other dogs.
Is completely fine with people, runs away when our friends toddler enters the room because she hurt her once, when she yelped and ran away, so i am not worried for my kids.
My dog hates having her bum sniffed and there is someone else on the only off the lead dog walking route (and schedule ) as me and our dogs do not get one. He claims my dog attacks fiirst i can never see as my eyesight isnt very good and it is too fast.
Because of this i keep my dog muzzled when off the lead, she is very fit and it would take a 3 hour on the lead walk for it to be enough which i just can not fit into my day.
Is muzzling her enough?
You need to address the training issue with your dog attacking other dogs. Where are you based, I can wholeheartedly recommend my dog trainer if you are near me, pm me if you are interested.
Dominant? You do know pack theory has been overturned?
Is she well socialised?
I'm sorry but if she is attacking other dogs you do need behaviour help
No, sorry but putting a muzzle on an offlead dog that you think is attacking other dogs and that you can't supervise isn't enough.
Dogs can still cause pain with a muzzle on and can still behave in a way that will upset other dogs and owners.
Dogs should be under control - even offlead and yours isn't.
You need to get professional help to work on the issue, but in the meantime you need to manage your dog better.
I do think people use the word 'dominant' to describe the behavior rather than them referencing actual pack theory so I don't think there is any need to jump on the OP's use of terminology, having said that I do agree that the OP needs some skilled help with this issue.
If she was a human her behaviour would be called dominant.
She is 9 years old and i stupidly got 2 puppies together (so they had company) i found this made training really hard so gave up.
Had her done as i realised she wasnt suitable to breed from, and hoped it would calm her down, it didnt.
How am i supposed to exercise her?
Use a longline, change where you walk for somewhere quieter, run with her, cycle with her...anything that keeps her from causing hassle for other people.
Sounds like fear aggression. Get yourself a good, registered behaviorist and work with them. We are doing this with our dog (snapped at someone in doggie daycare) and it's a total revelation, he's explained so much to me about behavior, what's behind it, body language etc. I'm reading loads, working with clickers, mat training etc and I have a much more settled dog as a result.
I would say you need to put her on a line and work to replace the action of attack when she sees another dog with something else so as soon as you see another dog you get her to focus on you. Lots of 'watch me', and then a command to sit/down, the action you want is that as soon as she sees another dog she looks to you instead of rushing over to the other dog.
The line will help you keep her within your sight, if you do lots of training with her then the actual off lead walking won't be as important as she'll be mentally tired.
Look at this link for info on over exercise/excitement
No, it isn't enough. If your dog isn't under control she shouldn't be off lead.
You need to train her.
Muzzling is a good start but as mentioned a muzzled dog can still do a lot of harm.
Having a fear aggressive dog is hard to live with and manage but it can be done. Is this the only area you can walk? To start with I would walk in a place away from dogs as much as possible - you need to bring the stress levels down in your dog. If this is not possible then you need to prevent dog interactions between your dog and another dog. This may mean just turning around when you see a dog coming or moving off the track and then coming back on the track when the dog has passed.
I would not use a look at me command for a fear aggressive dog. (although a good command to have otherwise) If you can imagine that you are worried by something and someone else prevents you from looking at it - in your mind the object would get bigger and scarier. So the watch me command is better used for other things.
What I would teach is the Look at the dog command. From a long way away get your dog to look at the other dog - this needs to be from a position that your dog is not reacting and click and treat your dog or just feed the best treats ever. Over time your dog will associate other dogs with yummy treats from you and will come over to you if he sees another dog. This does all have to be done under threshold and with your dog not having an negative interactions with dogs.
If there are days when your dog has to be on a lead there are ways you can tire them out without a three hour hike - yep even spaniels .
Spaniels love to sniff - encourage her to sniff things out - does she like toys or food or both. Hide food for her on the walk let her sniff to find it, hide balls for her to find and then have a short came of chase with it. Teach her a wait and you hide and then she has to find you - games like this will tire her out much more than a long off lead walk. I would also get using a clicker and teach her a new trick on her walk - you will find 10 mins of clicker training out and about will have her as chilled as she can be.
As I mentioned above having a fear reactive dog can be alienating for the owner - I would strongly advise you to contact a APDT trainer who can help you over sticky areas, give you encouragement and maybe able to get you dog mixing with relaxed dogs when the time is right. Most owners need support to start with but over time you will have a more chilled dog and you will enjoy walks again with each other.
I have a fear aggressive dog, and I have sympathy for you. It is a very isolating position to be in as people are very judgemental. I particularly resent the whole 'well you should have socialised your dog properly' line. Mine was socialised within an inch of his life, and lives with another dog. It hasn't changed him.
First port of call is a proper behaviourist. They are eye wateringly expensive though and some are better than others. It you don't gel with your trainer, and feel your dog isn't responding to them, try a different one.
I have spent well of £2k on trainers, and put in hours and hours, days, months, years of work. He is still fear aggressive, and it is a genetic trait in many of his breed in this part of the country. The best solution for me has been to keep him busy and occupied, training him to do tasks, and throwing a ball for him in a large field so he gets lots of mental and physical stimulation. It keeps him calm and happy. I longer walk him where we will meet other dogs, it's too stressful for him.
Spaniels are a working breed, so keep your dog busy. It will help. Train her to seek and find hidden objects around the house and garden. Play fetch if she enjoys it. Work on heel work, beg, lie down, anything really to keep her brain ticking over. It'll stop her over thinking things, and will be a good distraction when you get into a situation she might find threatening.
Thank you all.
What harm can she cause without her mouth?
As someone who regularly encounters an aggressive, muzzled, off lead dog, no it's not enough. My big dog doesn't tend to attack, but she will fight, and when confronted by a loose, snarling JRT whose owner can barely drag herself away from her phone enough to yell that he can't do any damage because he's muzzled, it's all I can do to stop big dog ripping it to shreds! My puppy is fear aggressive and I'm investing in a behaviourist
once he's recovered from having his nuts removed to try and tackle this.
What harm can she cause without her mouth?
Well for a start, she runs the risk of being seriously hurt if she starts on a dog that will fight.
I realise that, but i thought from peoples wording that she could dmg the other dogs
If she launches at an elderly or already injured dog and knocks it off its feet, then she could do some damage. If you encounter someone, like me, who has two slightly delinquent dogs, and tries very hard to keep them away from dogs they are not comfortable with, as I'm trying to teach them that not every dog is a threat, then you potentially set that dogs training back by weeks by allowing your dog to lunge at them.
Just keep it on a lead and pay for a decent trainer, or keep her away from other dogs.
If she likes a toy/ball then teach her to search for it while on a long lead by dropping the toy behind you, walking on a few paces and getting her to go back for it. This stops them constantly racing on ahead plus gets them to use their brains. Also there are several good FB pages for positive training. Try not to get too tense as she will pick up your worry and it will make her more worried and fearful. Chin up, you're not the only one to have this issue and it can be worked on but takes time and commitment.
I wouldn't let the dog off the lead. I have two aggressive dogs and we cannot let either off the lead. Muzzling is not enough.
She could damage other dogs, a muzzle ramming into a smaller dog could still cause a fair amount of damage and bruise a big dog.
Muzzles have gaps, it's still possible for a muzzled dog to manage to bite, less effectively yes, but still.
I muzzle my dog, but that's not instead of working on his issues or managing him so that he's not able to attack other dogs, it's as a last minute failsafe for when a dog approaches him and I can't stop it happening.
Mutty's advice is spot on.
The damage a muzzled dog can do to other dogs is enormous - I know of small dogs who have been killed by muzzled off lead dogs. More likely is emotional damage - if you met someone in the street who was abusive and threatening, but handcuffed, you'd still feel anxious. It's completely unreasonable to expect other dogs to face her and to have her completely out of control.
A 15m long line costs under a tenner and gives plenty freedom on a walk (I've had a previously untrained and very energetic adolescent dog for a month now, all walks have been on a lead so I can control her interactions with dogs and people while letting her run and sniff. It's really no more effort than walking off lead and it helps build a bond and good recall.
A 9 year old cocker, in my opinion, shouldn't need 3 hours walking a day. Occupy her mind and you can spend less time trudging after her while she terrorises other dogs. Food toys at home and lots of training on walks to keep her focused on you. And get help - proper help from an APDT or APBC member.
I have a dog aggressive dog, although he is only with some dogs. The difficulty is that it is not always easy to tell which dogs he will be ok with. I walk in areas where it is very quiet, or at times which don't seem to be popular with other dog walkers (can you do that?). His saving grace is that his recall is 99% so if I do see another dog I just pop him on the lead and distract him with food until the other dog has passed.
I feel your pain, it makes dog walking stressful when it should be a pleasure.
I have a friend who had a dog, he was a sighthound and had relatively good recall until he spotted something to chase. He was kept muzzled and one day he managed to pounce on a pidgeon. He battered the pidgeon to death with his muzzle. My friend has limited mobility and it took her ages to hobble over to where he was to get him away, which is why he managed to kill it.
That is how a dog can still cause damage with a muzzle. They also have claws.
I've been in the same place before, had a 14 stone dominate dog aggressive cane Corso. He was muzzle and kept on a short lead when walked and usually walked in a field with easy escape ways so if I had to we could leave the field when we saw another dog getting close as he could still do damage. You dog can still injure, if a dog is that determined to get through a muzzle it will.
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