Dog aggression getting worse

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Ryan87, Dec 6, 2017.


  1. Ryan87

    Ryan87 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    6
    Hi there, we’re having a lot of trouble with our dog Rudy, he’s just over 2 years old and he’s a boxer cross sharpei, we’ve had him since he was 18 months. When we got him we weren’t told much about him, other than he runs of when of the lead.

    His social skills with other dogs started of ok ish, he always wanted to go up to other dogs in a very excitable fashion, this started of ok until he started to get really boisterous with other dogs, eventually we avoided dogs altogether as he was getting aggressive, growing, barking and lunging and pretty much going crazy.
    Now he’s started attacking me if he can’t go to other dogs, he charges at me and bites my hands and arms.

    A few weeks ago we had a meeting with a dog behaviourist at our local vets who told us to try out a few things.
    The next day we go out and try to put into practise what she said, the first dog we go up to Rudy goes straight for the dogs neck and pulls off a huge chunk of hair...

    We need a lot of help with him as we don’t want this behaviour coming into the house as we have two young boys, Rudy is a brilliant dog at home and out when there’s no dogs around.

    Thanks

    Ryan
     
    Abby Cox likes this.
  2. Sproglet

    Sproglet PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Messages:
    536
    Likes Received:
    994
    Did the behaviourist tell you to take your dog up to other dogs??
     
    Jamesgoeswalkies likes this.
  3. Ryan87

    Ryan87 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    6
     
  4. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Messages:
    3,770
    Likes Received:
    6,448
    Do you know if his behaviour is from aggression/fear, or frustration from wanting to play with the other dogs and not being able to get to them?

    I'd say your behaviourist's advice seems odd. If it was my dog, I would be working on what's called flight distance. All dogs have an invisible radius of space around them; anything that is seen as a threat that enters that space triggers the fight/flight response. Find out what that distance is and keep him far enough away from other dogs that he is relaxed. Reward his calm behaviour. Gradually, over weeks and months, not days, work on reducing the distance. But - be aware that if your dog has had a stressful episode the stress hormone can stay in the body for up to 48 hours so a distance he was comfortable with the day before might be too close that day. So the safe distance can change, watch his body language. If he reacts, you are too close.
     
  5. Ryan87

    Ryan87 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    6
    C
    Thank you for your advice, il will definitely try this. We’re struggling to find the underling problem, wether it’s fear or frustration, as we’re to scared to meet other dogs in case he attacks them, we have tried a few times to introduce him to other dogs but his behaviour towards them is to much so we back away.
     
  6. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Messages:
    3,770
    Likes Received:
    6,448
    If you can find a wide open space with a bench or something you can sit with him and let him quietly observe. As he sees another dog, try to get a 'watch me' and reward. All calm behaviour should be rewarded. Don't rush this, expect it to take a long time.
     
  7. MiffyMoo

    MiffyMoo PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2015
    Messages:
    9,286
    Likes Received:
    14,755
    Try a different behaviourist as well. @Kimmikins has an amazing one for her very reactive dog, and he has got so much better with the behaviourist’s help (large field, tons of treats and a stooge dog)
     
  8. Kimmikins

    Kimmikins PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2016
    Messages:
    2,701
    Likes Received:
    6,151
    I’d definitely look for a different behaviourist, one registered with the APBC. Have a google of CARE for reactive dogs, which will show you some great methods.

    Basically, you need to find his threshold (the distance he can be from dogs where he can see them but isn’t bothered by them) and start from there. You can use food, toys, fuss etc to change his emotional response to seeing other dogs.
     
  9. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    15,124
    Likes Received:
    16,261
    Definitely avoid interactions in that case and work on settling him at the sight of other dogs from a distance and build from that.

    It may well be that he just doesn't tolerate other dogs at close quarters so you will need to find coping strategies to avoid them and be firm with owners of loose dogs to keep away.

    Obviously, if he is likely to be aggressive he should not be loose in public.
     
  10. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    12,326
    Likes Received:
    3,418
    I think you need to think carefully about these introductions though; where they are taking place,who the other dogs is, what you want from the meeting, how long, rewarding your dog for then coming back to you etc rather than just introducing him to random dogs where things can go wrong very easily. It sounds like he has trouble dealing with frustration, is this just with other dogs or is this happening to a degree in other areas? Is he impatient generally?

    It really helps to have some people you can work with who have steady,calm dogs who you could practise with in more controlled environments where you can work at a distance initially; getting your dog to focus on you rather then the other dogs,then build to walking past then allow meetings when he is calmer rather than just letting him go bounding in. Maybe find a good training club near you & ask about any specific classes that might be beneficial, this is quite a common problem so there should be options available to you
     
    LinznMilly, JoanneF, Sproglet and 2 others like this.
  11. Ryan87

    Ryan87 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    6
    Luckily for us we came across a treat that he is obsessed with and will do literally anything for and thats cheese, we’ve taken the cheese out with us and he does respond well to it.
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  12. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Messages:
    3,770
    Likes Received:
    6,448
    Have you discovered the magical properties of squeezy cheese in a tube?
     
    Kimmikins and MiffyMoo like this.
  13. Ryan87

    Ryan87 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    6
    Thanks for your help Will need to find someone with a dog whos willing help lol we’ve got a neighbour who rescues dogs so hopefully she’ll be ok with me asking.
     
  14. MiffyMoo

    MiffyMoo PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2015
    Messages:
    9,286
    Likes Received:
    14,755
    TBH, you would be far better off using a professional.
     
  15. Kimmikins

    Kimmikins PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2016
    Messages:
    2,701
    Likes Received:
    6,151
    I wouldn’t risk that, to be brutally honest. Your dog has got hold of another dog, and has taken chunks of hair out; you need an experienced professional to assess what’s causing his reaction and to come up with an action plan. If anything happens, you could cause some serious behavioural issues for those rescue dogs.

    ^^this
     
  16. Ryan87

    Ryan87 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    6
    Thanks for your help it’s much appreciated, at home he is well behave and brilliant with our little boys, and pretty good with our cat too, he’s never really been impatient at all, he responds to our commands, the same when he’s out for a walk he listens, but when he’s clocked another dog he’s locked on
     
  17. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Messages:
    3,770
    Likes Received:
    6,448
    This means he is too close. More distance and more time!
     
  18. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    15,124
    Likes Received:
    16,261
    And don't fret if he is only truly comfortable without interacting with other dogs.

    My lurcher became BFF's with a fearful greyhound who couldn't tolerate other dogs in her space. She accepted Jack (partly I think because he is totally non confrontational, even submissive, and didn't get in her face). A quick hello, then he left her alone. She hadn't grabbed and pinned another dog though and she and Jack were equal in size so we didn't expect her to go for him, just grumble or bark at him. Luckily, she did neither and fell for him instantly.

    However, she still hated other dogs in her space so avoidance was the key.
     
    #18 Lurcherlad, Dec 7, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017 at 7:58 AM
    LinznMilly, Sproglet and JoanneF like this.
  19. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2015
    Messages:
    3,422
    Likes Received:
    6,876
    Please do not try to cure the problem yourself, as Kimmikins quite rightly says, it could be a recipe for disaster. You need a behaviourist or a professional trainer who knows exactly what they are doing.

    I really can't emphasis this enough!

    I have a 4 year old Shar-Pei who has absolutely zilch interest in other dogs to the point where I think she believes there are only 2 dogs in this world, her and her Schnauzer "brother"! She was used as a "stooge" dog several times by our previous trainer who is an ex police dog trainer and handler and specialises in rehabilitating DA dogs.

    Before my dog was used she had her stress threshold assessed. Stooge dogs need to have an exceptionally high level of coping with stress and even then care has to be taken that they're not used too often or for too long. It's very important as well that their handler is skilled in reading the other (aggressive) dog's body language which is why because I don't have the knowledge, my own Pei was only handled by our trainer.

    You might find these two articles interesting

    https://www.pets4homes.co.uk/pet-advice/constructional-aggression-therapy-for-dogs.html

    http://www.training-your-dog-and-you.com/constructional_aggression_treatment.html

    If it's any consolation as a Pei owner (my second) I've found that as a breed they not only want to be obedient but as extremely logical thinkers once pointed in the right direction they learn quickly!

    Good luck and let us know how you get on!
     
  20. Ryan87

    Ryan87 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    6
    Much appreciated for your info, Pretty overwhelmed by all the responses I’m getting, I think the best route to go down is to get a professional like yourself and everyone else is saying, in the mean time whilst we’re finding a professional we’re going to stick to avoiding other dogs and rewarding his calm and good behaviour