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Dog starting to get aggressive and disobedient!

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Molly77, Apr 5, 2011.


  1. Molly77

    Molly77 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi everyone

    I'm new here and hoping some of you can help/advise with issues I'm having with my dog... I apologise in advance for the long post.

    She's a 12 month old collie cross - we're not sure what she's crossed with, just that her mum is a collie... they thought labrador when she was a pup but definitely not so sure now.

    In the last couple of months she has started to get aggressive with new dogs. She will either run up to them or allow them to come to her, have a sniff and then snarl/growl/snap at their face/neck area and she has pinned some dogs down before, especially the smaller ones. It used to be now and again but now it's almost every dog we meet - apart from a couple of the regular dogs that she knows, she doesn't attack them, just ignores them. I thought it used to be possessiveness over a ball or stick or whatever she had at the time, but she seems to be doing it even when she's not playing with anything now. If any dogs come up to her when she's on the lead, she's really bad.

    More recently she has started getting aggressive with humans. She's fine with me and my partner at home, but if any strangers come to the house, she barks non stop at them and will snarl and snap if they try to fuss her. The same thing happens when we're out and about if strangers try to say hello to her.

    We have been to puppy classses and socialisation, she's very good at tricks and things like that. She used to be good at recall but now that has gone completely out of the window so I don't feel I can even let her off the lead any more which is a shame because, as a young collie, she has a lot of energy. She pulls on the lead too sometimes which we can't seem to stop, we've been trying to train this for months and nothing's working.

    Even our regular friends who dog walk/sit for us occasionally don't want to do it any more in case something happens.

    If you have read this far... thank you. I just don't know what to do!
     
  2. Helbo

    Helbo PetForums VIP

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    Didn't want to read and run but I'm not sure how helpful I'll be - I seem to just have more questions...

    Did your dog go through a teenage phase? Could your dog be having hers now?

    I've never had a female dog - but could she be acting this way due to seasons etc?

    You say you did socialisation etc but how many new dogs has she actually encountered during her puppy "too confident for my own good" stages before reaching this "I'm unsure of anything not fully understood" age?

    Perhaps you need to go back to basics and make meeting new dogs as positive as possible with calm slow introductions (perhaps ask people if she can sniff their dogs butts first - this seems to calm dogs down rather than face to face interactions first), with treats for good behaviour.

    Sorry I don't think I've been very helpful - hopefully someone will have been through this and can give you some proper advice soon.
     
  3. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    Welcome to doggy adolescence :) And to the forum!

    It's natural for dogs' behaviours to change as the grow into adulthood. There's a lot of similarities between humans and dogs in this respect. You may have trained your dog well when she was a puppy and socialised her with other dogs, but as she develops in adolescence, her adult interests will begin to show as well as her mistrust for new areas and people/dogs. It is imperative to maintain socialisation with an adolescent dog to make sure that no fears are formed and your dog is still happy in the environments and positions she's put in. Here's two useful links from a very useful site:

    Adolescent Changes | Dog Star Daily

    Preventing Adolescent Problems | Dog Star Daily

    I would start doing positive reinforcement based training with her, if you are not already. When out on walks, you need to build the association between other dogs and people to be positive experiences for her. The same goes when people come into your home.

    Bring some tasty treats on walks with you (cheese, chicken- keep them finger nail size) and whenever another dog comes into sight and she spots it, say "Good girl!" and deliver the food. If she is OTT and turns reactive, just walk away. It means you are too close to the other dog and any attempt at getting her attention will very ineffective. Overtime, other dogs will become to be precursors for positive experiences, like food or toys. You can begin to phase out using food altogether and simply saying '"Good girl!" will be a positive experience in itself due to the association you've built between this expression and the food, the 'reinforcer'.

    At home, set-up situations where friends come in. Let them walk into a room where the dog is (but not too close to her and not too many people) and just drop some food on the ground near her. This is a great way to greet a dog and strangers will not be seen as a scary stimulus to her.
     
  4. Molly77

    Molly77 PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you so much for your replies.

    Helbo - she could well be going through the adolescent stage. She came into her first season in January and we are planning to get her spayed at the end of April/early May.

    Rottiefan - we tend to try and use various types of treats (cheese, sausages, chicken, random ones from the pet shop) most of the time but sometimes, if there's something else she's more interested in, you can put it right under her nose and she will just turn her head away and carry on staring ahead. Will definitely keep trying though and your suggestion about visitors is good so will be trying that too and having a look at those links shortly.

    I'm considering getting one of the long training leads so I can keep control of her but she still has a bit of range to run about. My partner suggested putting a muzzle on her but I'm not sure I want to do that yet!

    We are trying for a baby at the moment so I really want to get things sorted before there's a child in the house as I really really don't want to give up on her.
     
  5. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Collies do have a reputation for requiring more socialisation effort than many breeds, bitches especially seem prone to nervousness more commonly to dogs but can also be people, men for example.

    But the description of both dog & human fear-aggression, goes beyond in my view typical adolescent issues seen. Someone putting a foot wrong could easily get bitten here. Most of the bitches that are nervous, are only snappy and fearful of dogs not people to.


    Now this part is more worrying! I would have her checked by a Vet for health & underlying hormonal issues, unfortunately spaying is unlikely to help with any aggression. To me this sounds beyond "adolescent" issues, and into the behavourist territory, where professional help is needed like many of the less sociable rescues. I would be particularly concerned if you did socialise, and she's had regular contact every week with new dogs & people since puppyhood.

    People should be ignoring your dog, not approaching closely, and try to allow her to distance, a retreat as she is most likely fear-aggressive. You do not want her to escalate from snapping to a bite, which may happen if they get close into her space and she cannot flee because of controlling restraint by leash.

    You may very well be advised to muzzle, but they need proper habituation so don't just buy one and try and fit it.

    Perhaps you should take a look at this post, and make note of the info about selecting behaviourists Husky Attitude - Resource Guarding as well as the Sticky. You may if you have pet health insurance be able to get a paid for referral from the Vet.


    Finally to help control & distract when out, you might like to create a Super Toy, as an emergency attention getter to focus her and lead her away from situations. This recent thread contains a suggested application Dogs and Object Posession aka Resource Guarding
     
    #5 RobD-BCactive, Apr 5, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  6. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    This is typical Border Collie behaviour! If she's stressed by say an oncoming dog then taking food won't happen because of fear; but if she's interested in work-play then food has little value to, even though she may just be sniffing the opportunity for the activity, not actually doing it.

    Today our guy ignored my Sister & Niece pretty much, as he was "working" at a fetch game in the park. 5 minutes later they ran off jogging.. no sign of any interest from him. At least 3 minutes later, I put the toy away saying "That'll do!", and suddenly he switched and chased after after them, despite them not being visible for a long time. I was on a bicycle and called to him when he went the wrong way, but soon he left me for dead, I never saw him run so fast. He was not tracking, it was the chase, and he just got quicker when he spied them in the distance.

    He really wanted to be with them, but his work-ethic meant he just shut that out, till I said "That'll do!".
     
  7. gizzmo341

    gizzmo341 PetForums Junior

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    my bitch dose basicly the same thing but only to dogs (m or f) but i can't use treats but she will blank them tried squeky toy and there her fav but she will blank it so i don't know what to do with that
     
  8. Molly77

    Molly77 PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you - taking the super toy out is a really good idea and I will definitely be trying that one.

    The aggression thing is a real concern, having read your posts I've contacted a local trainer who's actually been recommended to me by a couple of other dog walkers.... she specialises in dogs with aggression issues and is coming out to do an initial home visit in a couple of weeks.

    I will also speak to the vet about it when I take her in to be spayed in a few weeks time.

    Thanks again for all your responses... I love this forum already :001_smile:

    Molly
    x
     
  9. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    The consensus opinion on the forum, is to check your behaviourist's methods and qualifications carefully. Beware of "Dog Whisperer" types, who may be initially impressive and appear to acheive a quick result, but are just self proclaimed.

    They should have advised you to have Vet health check to rule out an issue, and given precautionary advice to avoid escalation along lines given in the thread, till your appointment.

    If they intend to "fix your dog" for you, rather than observe and work with you, I'd be very worried Especially with a Collie prone to nervousness!
     
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