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Dog started to be aggressive on the lead

(10 Posts)
KinkyDoritowithsparkleson Tue 04-Feb-20 08:19:29

Just to start by saying I have sent an enquiry to a behaviourist and plan to get some help, he's just shaken me up a bit and it will possibly be a few days until we can see someone.

Cockapoo, 2 years. Always good on lead and good off, although wilful and quite stubborn at times in his manner generally.

He was attacked when on the lead in autumn. He was bitten and shaken up but no injury. I wasn't walking him at the time.

After this, he would start barking at other dogs. I suspect he was a bit nervous before this happened as he would often submit to other dogs if they approached.

Anyway, the barking has become more aggressive and he's started lunging.

We've been stopping him, feeding him treats whilst the other dog passes and this generally works, but not every time. Unfortunately, someone passed us very slowly last night - I think their dog wanted to say hello - and he really leapt at them. This shook us all up. I had him on the lead, he didn't get near, but it was awful.

For information - he is walked on a harness. He has always been excellent on the lead prior to this so we used the harness rather than a collar as it was easier to get hold of when working on recall.

He loves balls so I'm wondering about seeing if he will carry one as he does seem to lose interest in everything else when he has a ball in his mouth.

I'm also worried that it is general frustration. He isn't getting much time off lead (he is playful off lead and not aggressive) and we do walk him about 1-1.5 hours each day in 2-3 walks but he hasn't socialised much through winter and pavement walks probably are a bit boring. I do take him into the countryside when I can.

I'm also planning to up my general obedience training as this could be better.

Hoping for any advice- thanks in advance 😊

OP’s posts: |
lotsofdogshere Tue 04-Feb-20 08:29:52

I empathise, my cockapoo had a similar experience, attacked twice on lead, both times by German shepherds (dogs I love by the way) and once off lead by a Staffordshire who ran out of the woods and had my dog round the neck, leaving 11 puncture wounds
He was about 18 months at this stage, became very reactive, especially The behaviourist I saw wasn't that good but the 1-1 trainer I worked with, along with the training classes I continued going to got us through.

I taught "watch me" , high value treat under dogs nose, treat taken to your eye, dog will follow s say "watch me" and give the treat. Start at home with no distractions. We reached the stage where if he saw another dog approaching he'd immediately watch me and we could walk past no problems. The other thing was "hide", he'd go behind my legs -

It took a while to help him overcome his fears, he was never like any of my other dogs, who walk smartly past but he was a lovely boy. My experience of cockapoo's is they can be sensitive and need gentle, calm and consistent handling to a greater degree than my other dogs have. Best of luck with your dog, I'm sure you can help him.
(sadly my boy died just a year ago, aged only six, he had an aggressive, inoperable tumour)

KinkyDoritowithsparkleson Tue 04-Feb-20 10:47:57

lots thank you so much for this. You've given me some places to start - this is a big help. I'm so sorry you lost your boy flowers.

We will be starting 'watch me' today smile

OP’s posts: |
LochJessMonster Tue 04-Feb-20 10:51:33

My dog also developed this. He always had 'lead frustration' where he so desperately wanted to meet the other dog he would lunge at them. Then it turned into lead aggression. He did get attacked my an offlead dog once which i think contributed to it.

We do the 'whats this' or 'me' command now, distracting him with a treat whenever there is another dog but we have to give distance to walk past.

Behaviourist is your best option as it can escalate and make walking a bit of a nightmare.

KinkyDoritowithsparkleson Tue 04-Feb-20 17:16:29

Thanks Loch. I did watch him off lead today and his greeting generally has got a bit boisterous so it could well be frustration. I think he's missed socialising through the winter months. Behaviourist is booked and I'm looking into things I can try until she comes. My DSis's dog has never settled with other dogs - lead aggression - and she's had 11 years of this so far, so I'm really keen to try and get it sorted if we can.

OP’s posts: |
adaline Tue 04-Feb-20 17:35:38

Ours can be leash reactive.

We use treats - to try and distract him BEFORE he starts with the reactivity. It generally works.

JKScot4 Tue 04-Feb-20 17:41:14

www.dogwalkingfields.com/findafield
If you want him to get a good run safely, also on FB.

KinkyDoritowithsparkleson Tue 04-Feb-20 18:38:37

adaline thanks for this. I think my problem was starting before but with one and I should have just kept going. I tried to hold his attention with one which usually works but last night the dog passed so slowly.

Thanks for the link JK.

OP’s posts: |
frostedviolets Wed 05-Feb-20 08:50:48

Dont let him interact with others. Seriously.

I'm unclear from your posts if you are letting him meet certain dogs or not, there was one where you said his greetings had become a bit more boisterous which suggests you are letting him meet others?
If so, STOP.

IMO, there is zero point in desensitisation training if you are going to allow him to meet others because guaranteed sooner or later you will meet one who will fuck up all your hard work and your dog will be even worse than before.
Been there so, so, SO many times.

The best thing to do in my opinion is teach the dog to heel past other dogs and really work on recall and recall each and every time you spot a dog in a distance and heel away.

FacesLookUgly Wed 05-Feb-20 11:09:15

Be careful how you are using treats - your behaviourist will help you with how and when.

used before he sees the other dog means food results in the other dog appearing = possible risk that he starts to mistrust food

used to distract = possible risk that he is not actually doing any counter conditioning because he is effectively 'blocking out' the other dog so the food and the other dog are not linked

used before he reacts but when he has definately seen the other dog already and is a distance away from the dog that he will not react = best chance of getting the result you want

Stopping him to treat him risks him feeling trapped in one place and thus upping his anxiety levels. Only do this if you are confident that is not happening (if he reacts then it is).

The Number One very best thing you can do right now is not allow him to get close enough to another dog that he reacts. About turns, dive into hedgerows, cross the street, walk at quiet times, walk in places you can make a quick get away (e.g. fields). Do whatever it takes but do not put him in a position where he has to react. This will have the greatest positive impact on his reaction to other dogs because, over time, he learns that just seeing another dog does not mean he has to get close to it so all his "keep away!" communication is not needed. Once he has learned to trust this then counter conditioning and desensitisation processes have a much better chance. THEN you will be able to work on getting closer to dogs. If he ever lunges or reacts then you are too close to the other dog and need to increase your safety distance in future.

If you absolutely MUST pass another dog, do it quickly and brightly. No saying hello (even if he looks like he's going to be fine). Straight past.

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