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Dog has started attacking other dogs, help!

(14 Posts)
sweetkitty Wed 05-Aug-15 15:39:05

Dog is a 2 year old spayed bitch, she's a timid thing always meets other dogs not head on but circles round submissive down pose tail between legs kind of thing.

She's never been really aggressive with other dogs except for the past few weeks. Today was the worst one and I'm so so upset. Took her for a walk down the park all good met a few dogs she knows all fine, walking her home on leash when we pass a dog she has known since a pup another timid bitch, she just went for her took me by surprise as she pulled free from me to attack the poor dog. Managed to get her back and the other dog was fine but I was so shocked I can't stop thinking about it.

She's been attacked herself a few times, one in a very similar situation where a border collie lunged at her and took a bit out her back. A border collie also bit her a few months ago.

Is this fear aggression where she's thinking I'll get you before you get me. She's also quite fearful in the house terrified of a carrier bag gets left out and barks at every little noise.


Greyhorses Wed 05-Aug-15 19:17:21

I have a dog like this. She is very nervous personality wise and always has been but after being attacked she has become aggressive in some situations where she feels threatened by people or dogs. I think its quite a bit more common in some breeds than others and I have a reactive breed to start with (gsd)

I never take risks with her now. She has a comfort zone and I keep dogs out of it, I block other dogs from approaching and warn owners. I have also has success with some desensitising (treating when dogs are far away where she feels comfortable) as recommended by a behaviouralist. I have also taken her to some play sessions with tested dogs so she learns how to interact with dogs better which has also helped her not to be so reactive.

I find just marching past with purpose (not acknowledging the dog at all) and walking her on a halti for control of her head keeps her calm. I put myself or my other dog inbetween her and the dog that offends her so she dosent feel like she needs to protect herself. If I slow down it gives her more time to think and more time to decide react! My trainer told me it's not something that can be easily cured but it can be managed by reaching the dog it does not need to protect itself and keeping it out of a situation that it might feel threatened in, not all dogs want to make friends and it took me a while to realise this but since I did it's made things so much easier!

sweetkitty Wed 05-Aug-15 19:33:46

This is exactly it she feels threatened so lashes out but today the dog never even came near her (she's a timid thing too). She just went for her. hmmhmmhmm

I think I'm going to have to really control the dogs she's allowed to meet. She's worse on leash as well (she's a fast girl and I think she feels she can run away)

She's a rhodesian ridgeback so not a small dog which kind of makes it worse

SunshineAndShadows Thu 06-Aug-15 08:30:46

Hi OP it's worth getting an APBC registered behaviour consult before this escalates. It does sound like fear aggression. Supplements like zylkene and a DAP collar can help a lot with general anxiety as many anxious dogs will 'trigger stack' so their behaviour is related to lots of previous events rather than the immediate situation. Also if she's food motivated reward her with a treat/praise for passing other dogs calmly - call her to heel and give her lots of reassurance for calm behaviour. Will post some links

SunshineAndShadows Thu 06-Aug-15 08:35:51

ExitPursuedByABear Thu 06-Aug-15 08:40:25

Welcome to my world.

Have had this for five years now. Excellent recall, leashed when other dogs around, warn people to keep their dogs away and develop the hide of a rhino.

Tis shit, but you are not alone.

Elsie212 Thu 06-Aug-15 16:22:27

I'm also in the same situation & it really takes the pleasure out of walking. I now dread it.

I was advised that DDog wore a Yellowdog jacket so we did. It says on it very clearly I NEED SPACE but unfortunately because it was so bold it did the opposite & attracted far too much attentionhmm

The only way I can get DDog to walk past on lead in a sociable way is to put myself in between me & the other party to act as a barrier as well as using biscuits as a distraction.

Off-lead is only an option if I can see through trees, round bends etc.

SunshineAndShadows Thu 06-Aug-15 17:47:26

Elsie definitely look into BAT training (there are lots of books on Amazon etc) you need to keep your dog below their trigger threshold and reward them for focusing on you, and give them the functional reward of moving them away from the other dog. Once these things are paired your dog will relax and trust that you aren't going to take it to a stressy place and that by focussing on you it gets the functional reward of moving away from the other dog. This then allows you to take it past and away from the dog without the stress reaction

Elsie212 Fri 07-Aug-15 21:20:39

Sorry for hijack op.

DDog was attacked today sad He was on the short lead pavement walking & a Great Dane (who we always manouvre away from when they approach us) couldn't be restrained by his owner.

Her reason (excuse?) was that when my DDog was young he attacked the Great Dane. He categorically didn't, I know this for sure.

It happened with DH today. I would have replied that if she knew her dog had issues she should have dealt with it, but it didn't occur to DH to say anything like that. She physically couldn't restrain hers.

I have had behaviour therapists, a calming hormonal release fragrance in the house prescribed by the vet, we changed his diet. My baby boy didn't deserve that which is why we are trying different methods. Ut the other owner did nothing.

sweetkitty Sat 08-Aug-15 09:48:38

Thanks for all the advice funnily enough we have had 2 walks since one for 4 hours and she never bothered with any other dogs, she had her best friend with her a very chilled out Tibetian Terrier who just loves other dogs and is so calm so I think it rubs off on her, she's more stand offish than he is obviously.

I did all the "right" things she was bought from a highly recommended breeder who doesn't advertise, I know both mum and dad both very laid back. She had loads of socialisation as a puppy etc etc she's been attacked a few times though and I think that's where it's coming from.

If the other dog shows aggression to her she's react, but the spaniel didn't do anything at all hmm

ExitPursuedByABear Sat 08-Aug-15 10:31:16

My bastardspaniel once went for an old blind cocker whilst the poor thing was doing a pooh - so absolutely no threat to him whatsovever shock

needastrongone Sat 08-Aug-15 10:57:31

I would still possibly consider doing the things that greyhorses and sunshine have suggested, at least until you get appropriate advice from a registered behaviourist, as it might not be worth the risk of it happening again. Don't forget also that being on lead can also make dogs feel more threatened too, as they cannot react how they naturally would like.

Horrible isn't it, that non of this is your fault? My little gentle cocker spaniel was attacked last year, his personality remains intact thankfully, but his leg was broken and he will develop arthritis at the very least in the future, at worst will have to have his leg 'fused', through no fault of his own.

MarcoPoloCX Sat 08-Aug-15 21:01:38


Have you thought of reporting it to the warden? You were walking on the pavement and the other owner didn't have control of their dog and it attacked yours.

MarcoPoloCX Sat 08-Aug-15 21:10:57

Even if yours did attack the Great Dane. It cannot be used as an excuse. I would be very vigilant and gather any kind of evidence or witnesses if it happens again. I once had some stupid woman blaming my dogs barking to cause her dog to run across the field, not responding to recall and attack my dogs. I reported to the police after the second time it happened. But since there were no witnesses, she denied she ever being there. Now I use a headcam on my walks.

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