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> Final Attempt - Dog Aggressive, Guarding Behaviours Adive Please
Precious Ruby
post 19th Apr 2017, 9:48 pm
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I have 2 cross breed small size terriers aged 10 and 5 the younger terrier has always been a little anxious & not happy around other dogs , we've tried dog socialisation classes ( made her worse) personal trainer (tolerated his small group of dogs sometimes but not reliable ) treat / positive training ( doesn't work if dog in sight ) but things have escalated over the last year with more severe aggression ( now muzzled whilst out but hates it & spends the walk scrapping her head along the floor ) also towards my older dog , fights break out usually about guarding objects , food or people .... doesn't lead for a happy life for all concerned ..
I'm really at a loss as what to do next ,, she's soooo loving & friendly with people , is a great obedient little girl around the house,, I would love to keep her & would be grateful for any advice .
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kilmousk
post 19th Apr 2017, 9:59 pm
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Walk in places and times where there are less dogs around, choose locations where dogs are most likely to be on lead, learn to intercept dogs that arent recalled and use a voice of doom to stop them approaching, avoid meeting other dogs as much as possible. Would walk seperately from other dog which would remove teh need for a muzzle otherwise go back to beginning and reintroduce muzzle slowly and postively. Feed seperately and set up safe place for the dog to go when people are visiting etc. Do not walk after an incident to allow stress hormones to diminish.

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Annieskel
post 20th Apr 2017, 6:33 am
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I have a Romanian dog who has every reason to hate other dogs, he came out of one of their shelters, if they were lucky they were fed once a week, often not this. Dogs would kill one of the dogs to eat, my little boy is battle scared trying not to be killed so obviously, he is really bad when he sees other dogs.

As well as Jamie I have 4 other dogs who were used to dogs coming and going as I fostered, it took Jamie 8 days watching my other dogs behind a tall gate to work out that he won't be attacked and asked to join my other dogs. Since then he is a normal family dog at home, outside is a different matter.

Jamie has improved, he no longer wants to kill another dog, now he just shouts at them to go away but if one came near enough he would attack the dog out of fear. At first once he saw another dog I couldn't get his attention, all I could do is get him past as fast as I could, he didn't need to see another dog before reacting, he always knew there was one round the corner out of site and would be reacting before he saw the dog. I do exercise my dogs with a mobility scooter which helps, I can get him away much faster than if I walked him.

It has taken nearly 3years to get him to the stage he is now, he will sit for a treat when there is a dog on the other side of the road and the treat now holds his attention for a few seconds, at first it was treat, treat, treat as fast as I could give them to him. These treats are very small, I am treating him not feeding him.

I won't muzzle him, that would put more stress on him and he is stressed enough without that, he is not the first dog aggressive dog I have had, Gracie had been practicing her behaviour for at least 12 years but eventually she was able to pass other dogs without a problem. I was able to walk in those days and I taught her to 'watch me'. When another dog was approaching I would take her into a field, up a drive, even hide behind a car if I couldn't get far enough away for her not to react. I would ask her to sit and stand in front of her, she could see through or round my legs but they were a barrier for her. Once in a sit I would ask her to 'watch me'. Gradually she improved and I didn't have to take her as far away as I had to at first.

As she improved and was closer, I would allow her to watch the other dog and if she started to tense, I would ask for 'watch me' this worked well as she wasn't as stressed when she saw another dog by this time. It took me a year to turn Gracie round to be able to pass another dog without reacting.

You do need to understand 'Stress', it will make it a lot easier to turn your dog round so he isn't frightened of other dogs and they first change is you, you will be tensing up expecting trouble when a dog appears, this is sending signals to him that he has something to be really worried about, been there, done that and I had to change as well. You need to stay relaxed, talk to him in a happy voice, keep him at a distance were he doesn't react, this is important, a dog can't learn if they are reacting and has to stay calm to learn.

I will put something about stress in another post, it is very simply put but will give you an idea of how your dog is when he is stressed.

You can turn your dog round, you just need the right way to work with him and to stay calm yourself.






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Annieskel
post 20th Apr 2017, 6:38 am
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Stress levels



Hopefully this will explain a dog’s stress levels easier, we can only teach our dogs if their stress levels are well down, once they start to go up a dog will find it very difficult if not impossible to learn.


You walk your dog every day, starting off with stress levels being well down at zero, this is what happens.


Day one - Your dog's stress levels are at 0, you are having a lovely, relaxing walk when you come across another dog that races up to your nervous dog. Your dog's stress levels jump up to 6.


Day two - After a night's sleep your dog's stress levels have now dropped to 4, so your dog is still stressed from the loose dog you met yesterday. Your walk is a little stressful because your dog is not as relaxed as he should be. You meet another loose dog, your dog's stress levels then goes up to 10, you now have a very stressed dog.


Day three - As your dog was really stressed yesterday his stress levels have only dropped to 8 overnight, still a very stressed dog. Meet another off lead dog and his stress levels go off the scale, he can't cope and shuts down, when a dog shuts down many owners think their dogs have got used to off lead dogs and think their dog is now fine, in fact, in this shut down state your dog is very dangerous.


Day four - Your dog hasn't relaxed over night, he is still very stressed and racing round with stress, you don't know what to do with him or to help him so you take him for another walk, thankfully you don't meet a loose dog and to your dog the walk was a lot better, his stress levels haven't gone up, he hasn't shut down and the walk has helped your dog because it was stress free even though your dog was very stressed anyway.


Day five - After the lovely walk you had yesterday you are looking forward to another today, your dog's stress levels are now down to 10, much better although still far too high. You meet another dog, again he shuts down because he can't cope.


Day six - You are now getting desperate, you don't understand what is happening with your dog, one day he is fine the next he wants to kill every dog he sees so you are also very stressed and many owners give up and stop walking their dogs. You go for a walk and don't meet any dogs.



Day seven - Your dog's stress levels are now down to 10 because he didn't meet another dog yesterday and doesn't today, 2 good days.


Day eight - Your dog's stress levels are now down to 8, so much better even though he is still very stressed, you don't meet another dog again.


Day nine - Your dog's stress levels are now down to 6, you have a much calmer dog although still stressed, he meets another off lead dog and he jumps back up to 10.As his stress levels are now back to 10, including today, it will take your dog 6 days for his stress levels to go to 0 if he doesn't meet another off lead dog.


That is put very simply, it does help us understand stress in our dogs, how it happens and how long it takes for the stress to get back down again. Depending on how long a dog has been stressed will affect how long it takes for the levels to come down again.


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nikirushka
post 20th Apr 2017, 8:07 am
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Muzzle help: https://muzzleupproject.com/


Right now, you need to give her a break from her triggers as best you can. That means:

1) managing the home situation so there is no opportunity for tension - removing food items, toys, possibly separating the dogs completely for a little while
2) walking in empty areas and avoiding other dogs altogether. If this can't be done, then not walking her will be better than stressful walks.

And this is for at least two weeks. She sounds like an intensely stressed dog so you need to get those stress levels as low as possible which means no triggers, no stress. This is not only to give her a break, but to get her into a position where she is able to learn (stress directly inhibits learning). It'll also give you a break, making you better able to teach her!

While she's having her break, and inbetween muzzle training sessions, you can get reading. Brace yourself, I'm going to throw a lot of stuff at you here! You need to get the hang of counterconditioning (changing her associations and therefore her emotional response towards dogs) and desensitisation (very gradual exposure to her triggers at a level she can cope with), the two principles you'll need to follow to reduce her fears about other dogs. You've already tried close exposure which doesn't work (overwhelming); now, you need to back right off and take it very slowly. You'll also need a grasp of thresholds (the point at which she can no longer cope) and body language (so you can identify when she is becoming stressed) and trigger stacking in order to work her sub-threshold (before she becomes too stressed to learn - she must always be kept as calm as possible which means distance from her triggers when on walks - Annieskel's post above explains it beautifully).

NB: counterconditioning is done ideally with her not reacting, but providing you aren't going to lose fingers, it can still work when she's already tense. You are simply pairing other dogs with a good experience (food works best for a host of reasons, including physiological responses within the body and brain and meat/cheese usually works best within that).

If you can, get the help of a positive behaviourist (not a trainer, you need the full scope of knowledge and experience here). They should be able to teach you the above, alongside your own research, and guide you through the process.

If you continue to struggle to make progress after a couple of months, I would also seriously consider talking to a vet - or better yet, a veterinary behaviourist (cover all bases in one go) - about anti-anxiety medication. It's not something I often suggest for this sort of issue but she sounds extremely stressed, most of the time, and at home as well so will be really struggling to both cope and learn. Medication, used properly, reduces the stress by various means but does NOT sedate the dog. It should not make them sleepy or mask the problem, but enable the dog to cope with their world and be able to learn within it.

After all of that, it is also worth mentioning that she may simply never be comfortable around other dogs. It does happen, sometimes. It doesn't mean you shouldn't work on her issues - you certainly can't continue as you are - but acknowledging and accepting this possibility tends to make owners (including myself!) back off a bit and not push so hard, which then actually has a positive effect on progress. It's easy to push our dogs too hard in trying to get them to be sociable and have it backfire!

This post has been edited by nikirushka: 20th Apr 2017, 8:08 am
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Precious Ruby
post 20th Apr 2017, 8:11 am
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Thankyou so much for your replies , it has given me much food for thought ,sadly I had lost sight of how stressed my dog is perhaps & these have been renewed hope .
I do try to go out when it's less busy & go to secluded areas however I too have some health issues & mobility problems so walks can be unpredictable & stressful from the start when I'm in pain myself & I realise I'm not doing the best for my dogs . I'm starting to think the dog walkers I use when I'm totally unable to get out have done more harm than good ? But thought I was doing the right thing so my dogs at least got some exercise . ( I got the dogs before I had health issues)
Annieskel Your post is so very very helpful to me, as you obviously have problems with walking , your perservence is inspirational ! Thankyou you for taking the time to respond at length .

kilmousk thankyou also ,,much appreciated,,I love the voice of doom tip ! I am definitely going to try this , I ask very politely for other owners to keep their dogs at bay but I often get ignored !! Voice of doom it is !!


Any thoughts on the best way to handle a fight in the home ? I tend to shout & make a holy racket to break it up then put them in separate rooms for a while , 10 minutes later they will be laid asleep together on the sofa ! I feed separately , don't leave toys or anything else she likes to guard about , but it can be sparked by something I've missed ( for e.g a tiny tiny smear of food on the side of the fridge ! )

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Precious Ruby
post 20th Apr 2017, 8:22 am
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Nickirushka, I was just posting & hadn't seen your reply ! Thankyou , I will read it thoroughly when I have more time to digest & would like to get back to you if poss ,, thankyou all for being so helpful ,
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nikirushka
post 20th Apr 2017, 8:34 am
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It can be difficult sometimes getting it right with exercise - some dogs are happier and less stressed with regular walks but those walks can involve triggers which then increase the stress again. I have one like that myself - she will never be happy about dogs or people, but being a malinois is also very high energy/drive and as an individual, is less reactive and unpleasant when she's having regular runs - but it's very difficult to get that bit right because of the abundance of people and dogs! And she must be off lead which adds another layer of difficultly. We can manage early mornings fine but the afternoons are always a challenge. Winter especially is a nightmare, because I will not walk after dark (too many people in dark clothes with dark dogs who make no effort to make themselves visible to others) and with working full time, it's a challenge to say the least.


In the home - if fights are starting over triggers that small then I would certainly go for full separation for a little while at least, to allow both dogs to decompress. And get learning that body language - you'll begin to see hints of tension building before a fight actually breaks out, giving you a brief window to distract and diffuse.

Once a fight has actually started, just split them up as best you can and give them a good break, as you are doing. Once it's on, it's just a case of stopping it ASAP. It might be worth having the instigator on a houseline (a light lead for trailing indoors) so you can easily remove her from a situation or a fight more calmly. If they're both fighting (i.e. not just her attacking and the other trying to leave but both going at it) you can move her with the line through a doorway, then close the door between them.

But, it's always better to prevent than interrupt with fighting. I do understand how difficult it is though - that dog of mine can be a sod with my other dogs too, she's a huge bully and has a furious temper on her at times and has flown over the tiniest things before. Like having an itchy ear.

On which note, I forgot to put that in my post: medical. Even with lifelong issues, there can be a medical basis and pain is the usual issue - that dog has some pain somewhere, most likely spine or back end, and I'm just about to start proper investigations with her. And one of my others, who came to me at 13 months as an established bully of other dogs, has a condition she was born with that caused her pain from the start until it was discovered accidentally at 6 years old when she was MRId to look for a possible slipped disc (which she also has). As soon as she went on painkillers for the disc, her reactivity and bullying to other dogs completely stopped - and when the tramadol she was then on began to stop working, those behaviours came back. It can be very hard to persuade a vet to thoroughly investigate when a dog appears healthy, though!
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Annieskel
post 20th Apr 2017, 2:11 pm
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QUOTE(Precious Ruby @ 20th Apr 2017, 9:11 am) *

Thankyou so much for your replies , it has given me much food for thought ,sadly I had lost sight of how stressed my dog is perhaps & these have been renewed hope .
I do try to go out when it's less busy & go to secluded areas however I too have some health issues & mobility problems so walks can be unpredictable & stressful from the start when I'm in pain myself & I realise I'm not doing the best for my dogs . I'm starting to think the dog walkers I use when I'm totally unable to get out have done more harm than good ? But thought I was doing the right thing so my dogs at least got some exercise . ( I got the dogs before I had health issues)

Annieskel Your post is so very very helpful to me, as you obviously have problems with walking , your perservence is inspirational ! Thankyou you for taking the time to respond at length .


I can recommend a mobility scooter to exercise dogs with, they are not as enjoyable as walking a dog in a lovely place but it can be fun. My dogs love going faster than I can, one is getting old now and likes to go at a steady pace, but as long as you go at your dog's pace, it is good exercise for them. My Rommie boy who is really bad when he sees dogs or men, I can get him past very quickly when necessary.

QUOTE

Any thoughts on the best way to handle a fight in the home ? I tend to shout & make a holy racket to break it up then put them in separate rooms for a while , 10 minutes later they will be laid asleep together on the sofa ! I feed separately , don't leave toys or anything else she likes to guard about , but it can be sparked by something I've missed ( for e.g a tiny tiny smear of food on the side of the fridge ! )


Shouting and making a holy racket will make it worse, they think you are joining in. When Dolly first came she would attack Bonnie at times, 2 strong minded bitches are never a good idea, rolleyes.gif I had to find the triggers to stop them. When a mouth is clamped over the other dog I never try to pull them apart, I put a stick or something similar, have used a long screw driver in the past, I put it right through the dog's mouth that is clamped over the other dog and leave the mouth open. I have to be very quick then to grab both dogs collars and part them. Like you I separate them and only allow them together if I am there to watch them, the voice of doom is handy as well if they go to get together again for a fight but that rarely happens.


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Louwra
post 21st Apr 2017, 8:30 am
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You have had already excellent advice in the previous posts, so wont add to it smile.gif With regards to a dog fight, I have had these in the past, with with large dogs it can be quite a challenge! As already said read and learn their body language, soo important! For example any stiffening in body, like they almost freeze in place, any staring at each other ( staring at the other is a challenge to a dog), stiff wagging of a tail (if they have one lol my previous rottie only had a stump, so was difficult to check) these are all indicators something is going to kick of. If you spot this, interrupt! Call that dog over to you, happy voice, keep it stress free ( difficult I know, keep practising) have treats handy, so if the 'aggressor' comes over to you, they can have a treat for coming to you.

If they fight, I have found grabbing the dog by the backlegs, the aggressor, so the dog that will go back for more and usually starts the fight, grab him by the legs and pull back, walk back like that, providing the other dog then doesnt follow you to have another go.

I never had any dog clamping down, so have not had to use any force to wedge them apart.

Hope you get it sorted, its heartbreaking when things like that happen and only fuels your own anxieties as well. Keep practising to be calm, as your stress levels will be noticed by the dogs, and in turn will feed their stress smile.gif

Good luck! Let us know how you get on!

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Precious Ruby
post 21st Apr 2017, 4:46 pm
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FABULOUS replies ,, I am so grateful ,
I really do feel more positive about the situation , it has helped so much to read about all your many experiences & difficulties & in a strange way I dont feel as alone in this ! some of you have gone through & cope with some very difficult dog related challenges !

I have already started putting some of your ideas in practice ,, im looking out for & picking up on those body languages ,, im waiting for them to look at me & praising when they make eye contact with me (as opposed to each other ! ) , taking on separate walks , ( they will both get less but hopefully better quality walks ) Ruby loves to chase/fetch balls & even 10 mins of this on her own was good for both of us ! (she did however growl at my other dog when we came home as soon as we come through the door , I have tried waiting until shes calm, distracting her with something else , keeping her on leash in the house for a few minutes but she insists on rushing & growling everytime )

she does have some allergies & often chews her feet , vet told me to give antihistamine & she has malaseb shampoos/soaks , & shes fed on hypo allergenic food ( tried many many over the years !!!) so perhaps its worth another trip to the vets to discuss any health issues as you mentioned nikirushka

I am feeling hopeful ,, Thankyou All ,, Have a great weekend !
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Dalsmum
post 22nd Apr 2017, 1:31 pm
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There is no universal hypoallergenic food. It depends on what the dog is sensitive to.

I have had one who couldn't have any animal fat so was fed a vegetarian diet

One who was sensitive to wheat gluten

One who was sensitive to lamb

Did the foods you tried all have unique ingredients that were not in any of the foods already fed? e'g did they all have grain in them?

Did they all have rice in them?

If not then look for a food with as few ingredients as possible and none that have been fed before.

There are people on here with experience of different foods who might be able to suggest one if you list what you have tried.






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nikirushka
post 22nd Apr 2017, 4:01 pm
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Indeed. One of mine has food allergies, and thus far I've been able to identify a couple of triggers but some of her reactions are caused by something in processed kibble - I suspect something that's been added at source, which is not required by law to be declared on the bag (manufacturers of kibble must declare what they put in but not what their suppliers might have added). So I've been unable to find a kibble that suits her. I also suspect that simply being processed is an issue, because she is fine with fresk or cooked chicken but not with chicken kibble. I've just started her on raw.
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Louwra
post 23rd Apr 2017, 3:29 pm
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My previous Rottie chewed his feet, vet told me he was allergic to some of the colourings in chews, and it was a yeast infection on the feet, that had spread to ears, as he would be scratching his ears as well. THen chewing his feet agian,bit of a vicious circle smile.gif

I remember giving him some of those coloured chews on a few occassions, so I am thinking thats where it came from. Stopped it straight away, and with medication we managed to get on top of it, just had to be careful with food and treats

With my current three, all they get is a bit of dried jerky as treats and I noticed they react to wheat, so grain free diet it is.

Hope it will improve with yours smile.gif If you are on Facebook, there is a group called NDN (Naughty but nice) and its a nice group, might be worth joining smile.gif All promote force free and reward based training smile.gif

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Auntie Ange
post 13th May 2017, 1:42 pm
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Precious Ruby, I'm wondering how things are with your two dogs.

Reading the latest posts two things came to mind. One of my dogs chews her feet when she has blocked anal glands. Especially if impacted they may be making your bitch grumpy.

The other thing I wondered is if the dog left at home comes rushing to the one returning home as you come in. If mine have been separated for any reason they can be in each others face. So checking for scents on the returning dog and jealousy can cause tension.

Ange
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