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Dog aggression - just when we thought he was calming down

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by myshkin, Mar 31, 2011.


  1. myshkin

    myshkin PetForums VIP

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    My two and a half year old BC has always been a bit, erm, vocal, but it's always been aimed at people he knows and has been more of an excited greeting (which unfortunately gets rewarded too often by people feeling flattered that he's so happy to see him). We've been working hard at calming him down and got firm with people about not giving him any attention until he's quiet, and recently we've been pleased with his progress because we can calm him after one bark, and sometimes even go for a walk without any barking at all.

    We've had a 10ish year old JRT for 3 months now, who is not at all friendly to other dogs. He's happy to walk by and ignore them, but if they approach he snarls and snaps. That's the easy part, his recall is so patchy he doesn't go off the lead anyway, and I warn other dog walkers about him. If they choose not to listen because he's titchy that's another story!
    But.....recently the colllie has started to go nuts when he sees other dogs - hackles raised, jerking his head away from me when I try to calm him down...then of course he sets the little fella off growling too.

    The collie has never had a problem with other dogs, he's more interested in the human than the dog, but has no problem greeting and playing (as long as it's chasing, not rough and tumble).

    We are fairly convinced that this is related to the JRT's dog aggression, that perhaps the collie is somehow feeling he has to protect him, and also we're thinking that separate walks are the answer unless we're out together and can have one dog to one person - are we way off here? Does anyone with more experience have any thoughts, or can tell me if we're completely not getting it?

    Any tips would be appreciated, it was a rubbish walk this morning :(
     
  2. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    Do you know if your Collie has started to exhibit this behaviour when your JRT is not about? It could be because your Collie is sensing that the JRT is nervous around other dogs, making your Collie nervous in turn.

    I would personally walk them separately, and practise similar routines, e.g:

    1) Every time the dog comes into view, praise and treat immediately before your the dog gets anxious and begins to show signs of anxiety and/or aggression.
    2) Encourage focus whilst the dog passes by using treats, your voice or maybe a toy (squeaky toy for your JRT and maybe a tug for your Collie?)
    3) When the dog is passed, give more praise.

    This is simple counter-conditioning, i.e. changing the association in your dogs' mind to, in this case, other dogs. Eventually, you can bring the dogs closer to other dogs, until you can keep their focus with other dogs passing by closely. The process of meeting other dogs is going to a much more enjoyable experience for both dogs and, when both have improved, they can walk together again.
     
    myshkin likes this.
  3. myshkin

    myshkin PetForums VIP

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    Would love to see this, in the past few days it's all got a bit tense for all concerned. Thank you! I'll give it a go.
     
  4. LostGirl

    LostGirl PetForums VIP

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    Same happens with my boys

    Bear has no problems with any dogs (he ignores people) loves to play with other dogs e,t,c
    Zeb loves most dogs but is fear aggressive slightly on lead

    if zeb sees the other dog first and growls this causes bear to get scared and growl aswell

    take yesterday we met a very excitable Dally, this would normally send Zeb into a state as hes not keen on other dogs in his face, but Because he didnt see him and Bear did-bear greated him very friendly and they started playing (on lead fun not lol!) so zeb was fine with the dally aswell the positive meeting rubs off on zeb just as a negitive meeting rubs off on bear

    walking seperate is good, also we Always let Bear say hello first and reward zebs good positive behaviour this seems to be working pretty well
     
  5. myshkin

    myshkin PetForums VIP

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    It sounds like we need to put more thought into walks, the separate walks are quite easy (we both work from home), but if we want to work towards happy 2 dog walks we need to put some thought into it!
     
    #5 myshkin, Mar 31, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  6. LostGirl

    LostGirl PetForums VIP

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    We take a dog each, I now take zeb as we also think that zeb because he's been attacked on walks with my oh that h
    When oh walks him he feels slightly more threatened so I walk him and he's alot better with me
     
  7. myshkin

    myshkin PetForums VIP

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    There doesn't seem to be a pattern that either of them are worse for one of us, I just see it more because OH takes collie on his own for 10 mile + runs. I walk them both in the morning, but run a few days a week for a few miles with collie - so those days I do two "walks" in the morning, so it's easy enough to do it every day. It's not like walking in the countryside round here is a chore :)
     
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