7 Things That Helped My Dog-aggressive Dog.


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note, a BEACH is not the same setup as what i have there,
--------->on a BEACH, it's same as on the street,:(

your dog-aggressive dog can easily run up on the beach and start up some trouble with innocent passerby dogs,
but, if you have a sand bar in the middle of a lake somewhere, which is NOT near a beach,
yet just deep enough for your dog to have to SWIM to get around, this might be worth checking out.

On this sandbar, no one can even tell Buddy is dog-aggressive dog,;)
unless they notice how all the other dogs stay away from Buddy. (Buddy makes faces that the other dogs see, and the other dogs just move away)

Turns out, *my* dog can't really get a full on reaction going in water, who knew?:ROFLMAO:
My dog can barely bark at all if he is swimming...he just can not really get himself fully escalated or upset when he is swimming.

and of course, i play with Buddy, to help him learn, "i can be by dogs and play with mom":D
and i make sure that Buddy realizes he IS getting rewards for his calm, although tired, behavior, to help him make yet more positive associations to watching dogs,
and so Buddy can even observe what dogs are supposed to do when they play!:ROFLMAO:


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Here is buddy near 'dog island', one of the little islands in the middle of our lake in our neighborhood, this island is hard to get on, NOT like a beach spot like most island have. this one has only a few paths to get onto land,
and it is surrounded by DEEP water, (deep to a dog anyway)
so dogs have to swim to even get to the island.

by the time slow-swimming Buddy ever gets onto the island,
any dog ON the island has seen Buddy coming and jumped off, back into water!:ROFLMAO:

dog island.png

But anyway, sandbars in lakes, with NO BEACH around,
are worth exploring as places to work on desensitizing your dog to watching other dogs play.
Being in water sloooows all the dogs dowwwwwwnnnnnnn
and makes them a bit easier to manage.


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/Abby, not to be a wet towel, but, some experts say dogs under about 18 mos old aren't supposed to be running very very far, to protect their joints, which are not yet fully hardened...the concern there is,
that since the young dog's skeleton is not yet fully hardened, til they are about 18 mos old, some say not til 24 months old, some say 12 mos old for some breeds,
that nonstop repetitive motions, like super long walks, or long runs, or jumping, or standing on two legs for very long,
could stress the still-soft joints,
could possibly lead to increased chance of having joint problems in the older adult dog. this may be less of a concern to a smaller breed, though.../

Yep! I have heard that, glad that you brought this up(y) . I waited until he was over 12 mos. old to add in running alongside my bike AND I pay very close attention to his body language. If he is acting tired I slow way down (to a walk) and let him tell me what I need to do.

I have wondered how these people get their herding dogs enough exercise if they can't run until they are 2? And if the dog is a Dane, that is 1/3 of their life. These recommendations, while I understand them have always confused me as puppies run like crazy, sometimes for hours.

My dog hates swimming :(. I wish that he would jump in, but he seems to hate water in all forms outside of his water dish.


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LOL, i guess i still think of Abby as a BABY dog still! I did not realize she was already one year old! or if i knew, i'd forgotten, duh! lol!

//"I have wondered how these people get their herding dogs enough exercise if they can't run until they are 2?"//

nope, no one said a young dog can't run.
It's the nonstop aspect of it that is a concern. Not everyone agrees this is a concern, btw, some ppl do not worry the slightest bit by it,
but, if you've ever had a dog with joint problems,:cry: ever,
it's hard to get over that experience, and you'd do everything you could to reduce the risk of facing that pain again.

but anyway------tying a dog to a bike, is nonstop running,
whereas a puppy running it's own yard,
stopping, running, sitting down for a moment, running a few yards here,
and a few yards there,
then stopping and standing and looking around,
tackling his doggie pals,
and then running a few yards this way or that way,
is not the same thing,
as tying a young dog to bike and having dog's legs constantly running for miles and miles,
see the difference there?

One can have a young dog run,
in spurts, for shorter distances,
off and on through out the day, to wear out the younger dog without stressing it's joints with nonstop repetitive motions of nonstop constant running for long distances.
I once saw a formula to calculate how far a young dog can run, like it's different for 3 month old dog,
than it is for 9 month old dog,
and so on, i'll see if i can find it again. We have a whole other thread on this somewhere...


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//"My dog hates swimming :("//

Lol, call me the eternal optimist, :LOL: but, i always believe that dogs can change their minds.
about many things. My dog once feared water, too, he'd never ever been in it, :eek: and he did not think it seemed like a good idea at all.

It might be, that Abby just hasn't had the right type of experience,
or enough chances to develop a positive association to water. My dog hates mud puddles,
but, loves a beach.
My dog hates sprinklers, and generally dislikes hoses and wading pools, (he'll get in one, but only if asked to)
but loves swimming in lakes. If given the choice, my dog won't go outside if it is raining.
My dog takes a while to get used to strong waves, too, not his favorite thing.

My dog strongly prefers water he can WADE INTO verses human swimming pools that he has to jump into. My dog also dislikes the bleachy smell of swimming pools. Baths are NOT my dog's favorite event of the month...:rolleyes:

To get your dog to wade into water,
start small, keep it brief at first, just paws in water, reward, walk out of water,
repeat, a few more inches into the water, give reward, walk back out,
and so on. It will take a dog many chances to change his mind about swimming is fun, and you dog may have a preference about WHAT TYPE of swimming set up he prefers.

easy cheesy way to get your dog in water, is,
if your dog DOES have a doggie pal,
who likes water,
have the two dogs go to a beach together, wa-la, the one dog will teach your dog how to swim. You can sit back and enjoy the show.


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/It's the nonstop aspect of it that is a concern./

Aha! OK, I totally get this. I often take breaks and never go none stop. I am totally out of shape! LOL! Besides, non-stop does seem wrong. I guess I just didn't understand the recommendations:eek:. Anyhow, Kato turned a year old on April Fool's day. I have had a dog with joint problems. I had a Dane with a bad back and bad knees :cry::love::cry:. I felt so very bad for her.

I am a SCUBA diver and went diving at the local lake last year. Kato jumped in and swam out to me and then tried to use me as an island :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:. I was worried that he was going to poke holes in my dry suit! I don't think that this was the best experience. I hope that this year we can teach him how to swim at a more gradual drop:cautious: off at the lake along with the whole family swimming:sneaky:, rather than diving with super expensive equipment (y).


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Re: the easy cheesy way above,

in reply #45---------even dog-aggressive dogs CAN have doggie pals,
but, lots of ppl don't seem to realize that.

It is not the world's easiest thing to do,
to get a d.a. dog to like a new unknown dog,
it can be done,
one dog at a time.

I've gotten Buddy to like almost all my friends dogs,
all my relatives dogs,
and many of our neighborhood dogs. It just made life easier.
those are the dogs Buddy interacts with most often.

and once your dog has had some desensitization work done,
your dog may have his dog-aggression brought down enough notches, over time,
that your dog will--------on his own---------choose a doggie friend all by himself.:eek: this might not happen often, but, it can happen!! Some dog that your dog will just love on sight, and plays well with, for entire rest of his life ever after.
Once my dog did start making some friends, he seemed way more open to making even more friends. (yet, he still reacts to most unknown dogs if he is allowed to react).

THIS IS BIG EXCITING MOMENT to any owner of a d.a. dog,
that first time your dog ever just "likes" some dog, all by himself!! WOW!!:eek:

I am lucky,
cuz if MY d.a. dog is going to "like" a dog,
my dog clearly signals this, with a soft little whine. My dog ONLY whines at dogs he LIKES, so how lucky am i?? :ROFLMAO: If i hear my dog do his very soft, very quiet little whine, WOW, i feel doing cartwheels,:D
cuz that means, for *my* dog----"Mom, i LIKE that dog, can i go meet him? huh, mom, huh? can i? please mom, i LIKE that dog! let's go!"


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You might find,
over time,
your dog has certain types of dogs that are much harder for your particular dog,
and certain scenarios, that are much more challenging for your particular dog, like
the triggers
listed in reply #7.
(yet many dogs "meet" in doorways...:rolleyes: )

you might find, there are certain types of dogs that your particular dog IS more willing or more likely to accept!!!
and certain scenarios (like in water) where your dog might be more likely to not react.

My particular dog is WAYYYYYYYYY more likely to accept:D
~young dogs of opposite gender-->80% chance Buddy will "LIKE" those dogs
~calm easy going laid back dogs
~small white fluffy dogs:ROFLMAO: (no idea why, but, Buddy likes those dogs, male or female)
~any true alpha dogs, which are few and far between, but buddy is good as gold around one
~rude, pushy, in your face type of dogs, my dog loves 'em.:rolleyes: go figure.
~golden retrievers, some labs, some poodles, schnauzers, pitbulls, but has made friends with dogs of all sizes and from many breeds now.
~Buddy generally likes medium to larger dogs better than smaller dogs, but he has friends of all sizes now
~exxxtremely giant sized dogs occasionally seem to shock Buddy into silence, but Buddy is not quite what i'd call calm, but, the sheer mass of some giant sized dogs seems to cause Buddy to rethink his urge to yell, "Ey, you wanna piece of me!?":ROFLMAO:

My particular dog is way more likely to reject:mad:

~puppies, although buddy just barks overly-loud in their direction and then stomps off, like a grump, usually, for puppies, Buddy turns his own self away:D , but not always.:cautious: He doesn't attack puppies, but, he's also never been given the chance, either.

~all german shepherds, all of 'em, no exceptions, even baby GSDs, elderly GSDs, crippled GSDs who can't even walk, friendly, laid back GSDs, young female GSDs, my dog is totally prejudiced against GSDs....darn shame too, as that is one of my favorite breeds.

~all chihuahuas and min-pins, and all skinny, short haired dogs, = automatic argument from Buddy that these dogs are being allowed to live on same planet as he is on.

~ hyper dogs, spazzy dogs (although he himself is occasionally hyper and spazzy, Buddy dislikes any other dog to be that way)

~GROUPS of dogs, often freak my dog out

~dogs who are RUNNING are very challenging for Buddy to watch, his brain explodes.

~shy or insecure dogs, are THE WORST for Buddy, and he becomes horrific bully if any dog is very shy or insecure or inexperienced dog who agrees when Buddy announces "i am boss". Few dogs ever ever agree with Buddy:rolleyes: , but, the whack dog who DOES agree,
and submits to Buddy, oh baby, now that is just ugly to watch. I have to remove Buddy, as he is now obnoxious and a terrorist.

but overtime,
you may begin to sort out,
that there may be some types of dogs your dog is more likely to react to, and some types of dogs that your particular dog is less likely to react to.


Honored Member
Yeah, Abby, i think having a small, short-legged dog with no water experience unexpectedly suddenly into deep deep water, (dogs have lousy depth perception)
with possibly little waves even, (which are hard for some dogs to manage or anticipate)
where her little paws can not touch the bottom, at all,:eek: and while you are wearing scuba gear and probably look odd to Holly, too, and where ppl may have been all very excited, maybe some loud yelling back and forth just to be heard, etc,
--------while apparently trying to save your wetsuit from Holly's claws, so Holly had nowhere to climb to get some rest or perspective,
and then, getting out and announcing, "My dog does not like water" might not be exactly fair!:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:


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No, he does not like any water LOL. We have tried several different ways, but there is no interest yet. And yes, the scuba gear might have been a bit intimidating :eek:. We are hoping to take him to the lake where all of us swim and there is a much more gradual depth change might make him a bit more accepting of water. The only thing is that the water is super coldO_o until August (and then only the top 3-4 feet are warm). I will go there soon and freeze off my toes. All in the name of helping my goofy doggie learn that there is less to fear in the world than he might think:rolleyes:.


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yeah, i think, for some dogs, who are not super water fans,
that having their feet on the bottom of the water,
in water they can walk around and wade in, and gradually get the hang of it,
is good way to start.
What i did, with Buddy, was first just c/t paws in water, ankle deep,
back onto sand...
a little deeper, back onto the beach.
each time, more and more.

On subsequent trips to the beach, i'd have him step out to where he can no longer touch bottom, reward, and then back into shallower water where he could find his footing again.

Overtime, Buddy came to understand, "over there, i can't touch the bottom, but over here, i can" and he seemed more confident about it all, and gradually, slowly, over many many trips, a few trips each week, Buddy decided this here swimming stuff is okay after all.

I just go really slow with my dog, i am just that way. Maybe i go slower than i have to, but, it's just how i am. I always worry about asking too much of buddy, i always try to avoid asking more of him than he can really do comfortably.
My goal for Buddy, is that he has fun,:ROFLMAO:
that he feels safe and secure,:)
that no one is asking more of him than he can handle.:cautious:

that's it in a nutshell.

I have found, it's wayyyyyyyyyyyy easier to help a dog build a new idea from scratch, slowly,
than it is to UNdo a wrong idea the dog has come up with on his own!!:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:;) SO I JUST GO VERY SLOW, with Buddy, for anything i even suspect might be challenging for him.

oh yeah, well, not all dogs will like ICE water,:ROFLMAO: but, doesn't mean the dog doesn't like swimming:ROFLMAO: , but good luck! i hope you can get your dog enjoy water, it seems helpful to my d.a. dog anyway..so far as a place to observe dogs playing from a distance,
cuz my dog is slowed down by the water.


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@Abby some things that I did to get my dog in the water was get her interested in a toy by playing tug with it than tossing it into the water once she was okay with going after it in the shallow water I threw it further(each time I played a short game of tug before throwing.) Also I went in with her. Another thing is my mom held the leash and I went into the water and called her once she was looking at me my mom let her go and she came to me.


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oh yeah, great tip, SouthernGirl, i'd forgotten, i had brand new SQUEAK toy (my dog loves 'em)
in my hand to lure him in! lol...kinda helped Buddy forget he was even in the water! GOTTA SEE THAT NEW SQUEAK TOY MOM HAS !! YAY!


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^this QUICKIE SHORT LIL video especially inspires ME, as it appears he is taking a dog who JUST reacted, and getting the dog to become calm, around an unknown dog, which is an area i always have trouble with (right after a reaction, my dog is difficult to NOT RE-react, MY own personal success rate goes down :( if my dog has JUST reacted---- so i myself love this video, it seems to show, it CAN be done).
I don't think his "ah ah" are necessary, but, otherwise, i like the video
Hope this helps or inspires someone struggling along..


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Excellent thread TL; I finally found the time to read through the whole thing.

I think Buddy has overall better dog social skills than Veronica; she is really bad at using calming signals or picking up on them from other dogs. That is part of what would get her into trouble. Sometimes when she was a puppy a dog would give her a signal (not even a calming signal, an outright stop bothering me snarl) and she would be totally oblivious to the communication and keep doing with gusto exactly what got her snarled at; then she would get ticked off at the other dog for having an attitude with her :rolleyes:).

But anyway; great recommendations.

In my experience, where I went astray is I spent way too much time on changing Veronica's behavior, watch me, LAT...which worked extremely well to a point...except that she never really changed her internal state. So even when she behaved perfectly, and people commented on how well trained she was and she was a quiet little angel; I knew hshe was breathing faster, she was fixating, her hackles were going up...she was not a calm dog if you looked closely - which was exactly why certain situations continue to trip her switch.

Now I am trying to focus solely on counter-conditioning her response to dogs using treats and praise. Often she offers one of her learned behaviors, such as looking at me; but I am trying not to ask for anything. I am also trying another technique from B&T called conditioned relaxation which is supposed to help dogs learn to modulate their internal state and to calm themselves.

We'll see, it's an on-going process!!


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//"In my experience, where I went astray is I spent way too much time on changing Veronica's behavior, watch me,"//

It was the same for us, but it sounds like you did better than i did.
i wasted an entire year, focusing solely on preventing all reactions, by using "look at me" and similar ideas.
what a waste of time.
I still believe every reaction Buddy has is a bit of a loss, a setback, feeding the wrong loop in his lil mind,
and i still believe we should try to prevent all reactions that we can. I will still do these things, if all else fails, to prevent a reaction.

but, just like you did, i also found that having my dog focus on me, or doing behaviors to just prevent a reaction, did NOTHING to shift Buddy's inner attitude. :( A year later, Buddy was not much better, at all.:cry:

Oh, we got to be masters of "look at me"!!:D:LOL::ROFLMAO:

but my dog's general attitude towards most unknown dogs was not any better.....:oops:

THAT'S when i began to focus the bulk of my efforts on desensitizing Buddy to looking directly AT the enemy dog, and learning how to be calm when he does, and making positive new associations to seeing unknown dogs.
and THAT'S when i began to see some real, actual improvements in my dog's inner attitude!!

//"Now I am trying to focus solely on counter-conditioning her response to dogs using treats and praise."//

I think you will probably also see improvements, too, i am very very excited for your progress, do keep us posted!!


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@SouthernGirl, thanks for the tip. My dog LOVE LOVE LOVES squeaky toys. We will give them a try with swimming this year. Yeah, I know, it is getting late, but here, it takes forever for the lake to warm up. He can walk up to where he feels comfy and then stop while we enjoy the water and squeak! LOL


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I do want to say that our DA dogs were sent to us on purpose. Can you imagine how our dogs would have been at the shelter:eek::eek::eek: ??? TigerLily aside as I believe that she rescued Buddy off of doggie death row(y) . I know that Kato would not do well at all:eek: ! Many owners would have given up on him by now and he is a delightful dog all day unless he has a reaction. I am getting better at working with him and I will be adding in Kikopup's techniques to my repertoire as well.(y)

I just have to remember that my dog was sent to me for a reason. He needs more help than the "normal" dog and I have to learn how to do that. He will make me a better person in the process. ;)


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Am really late to this party, am behind on so many threads - but what the heck? Just read about Buddy's sniffing success with the 3 Chi's - and say a big huge CONGRATS!!! (y):D That's wonderful!! In the Feisty Fido class I went thru with Makena ( I told you our training facility is amazing - every class one could hope for), one of the behaviors we worked on was sniffing the ground. As part of our homework, we worked on 'sniff' and would toss treats onto the ground so they'd naturally search for them. To another dog (either barking, watching, or ??), they appear to be sniffing the ground - and in essence they are (it doesn't matter that they're searching for a tiny morsel or two that's been tossed). I'm not sure she could do it anymore, but a few years ago when we were in class, when I'd say 'sniff', her head started down cuz that's what was coming. We practiced randomly all thru the neighborhood, every day. It's a great behavior to have 'in one's pocket' for such times like with those yapping Chi's. You can also toss a few treats to put your dog in that position (so to speak), which sends the message, hopefully calms the other barking dog down, gets the same result, and in the meantime, you can plan your exit strategy (which is basiclly the intent of the behavior).

Congrats again on the success with Buddy!!!! I can only imagine how you felt -- I've been there when something like that happens, and so many people would never understand, and yet you feel like you want to burst and yell it from the rooftops!!!! I totally get it!!! :LOL:

Had a moment like that yesterday at our nosework trial. My girl was laying in her crate behind my car -- not IN my car with the windows rolled 1/2 way up, hidden away from everyone (translation: other dogs). No, she was laying comfortably and relaxed in her crate, in front of everyone, under our canopy, waiting our turn. There's a rule in nosework that no dog shall ever been within 8' of another dog, and all reactive dogs wear red bandanas, and they're given even more space. She had hers on so we were identified. I had to run to the restroom, and as I was walking back, looked over at her from a distance - she was alone, laying there, totally relaxed, dogs walking by, and I got tears in my eyes. She wasn't worried, she trusted they weren't going to bother her, and she wasn't the least bit bothered by them. I felt so proud of how far she's come, just watching the world, safe, not worried. *sigh* :love: