A Small Brag And Some News

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by charmedwolf, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. charmedwolf Moderator

    So lately I've been working with Isis more than the others to not only reduce her reaction to most every day objects but also to get her to calm down faster when everything is said and done. I took some of tigerlily's advice for some calming signals and FINALLY!!! Isis understood and calmed down within 3 minutes of reacting to the cat outside.

    All it took was a big sigh and yawn as I was cooking before she let out a giant sigh and laid down on her bed. I'm so proud of my little girl. One more step closer to our goal.

    And some news! After talking to at least 5 other trainers, we've all come to the conclusion Isis likely has predatory aggression and Jinx has territory aggression. Basically this means that both can be worked with though it will take a while. Isis aggression will probably never be fully solved, she'll always need to be onleash and watched. Jinx however should be perfectly fine after enough time. After 2 years we finally have some answers and it's great. It no longer feels like I'm fighting the invisible but something I can predict and face easily.
    tigerlily46514 and tx_cowgirl like this.

  2. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    HUGE ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR YOUR PROGRESS!!!! Isn't it most heartwarming to help a dog calm down??

    Does Jinx react to unknown people, is that it? But only at her home, but out in public, Jinx DOES allow strangers to pet her?
    Is that right?

    and Isis chases prey/attacks prey? Is Isis friendly to unknown dogs?
  3. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    btw, using those dog-language calming signals, works better on my dog-aggressive dog Buddy, than anything else i've tried.
    I have a multi-pronged approach to managing Buddy's aggression, but that 1 tool, "calming signals"-----really helped me make progress to help Buddy calm down.

    I'd love to take credit, but, it's not really "my" idea, i learned this from Tx_cowgirl, and Kikopup, and Turid Rugass.

    But, lol, since i found out how effective using "dog talk" can be-----telling a dog something in his OWN language--------------well, since then, yes, i sure do promote the idea for others to try it.:ROFLMAO: "Pass it forward" i guess, someone else helped me learn about it, and it helped my dog, so maybe i can encourage yet another person to try it, to help their dog..
  4. running_dog Honored Member

    That's great news Charmedwolf... I know how great it feels when you make that breakthrough to get a dog out of it's demented "wanna chase, wanna GET that cat/dog/rabbit/deer/aeroplane" state more quickly... after beating your head against a brick wall seemingly forever suddenly almost anything feels (and probably is) possible.
  5. charmedwolf Moderator

    Jinx reacts to unknown people and dogs at home but when she is out in public she isn't aggressive though still suspicious of others. She isn't happy about petting but she will allow it. Hers is more based in fear then wanting to attack. A family friend has been on of the only people outside of immediate family to be able to pet her in the house.

    Isis' precieves most animals as prey to her. She can/will chase and kill prey if she is let loose. She is only friendly to dogs her size or bigger never smaller though she grew up with 3 smaller dogs. She wasn't allowed around Tre as he was growing (She'd growl and snarl when she seen him) but when he reached her height we tentatively introduced them to have her happily playing with him. I just have to work on changing on what she precieves as prey.

    It's definitely a great feeling to even get a little further towards your goal. Baby steps are good enough for me right now!
  6. running_dog Honored Member

    That IS a tough one with Isis... especially as it isn't a simple need for desensitization. But the calming down is such a great step in the right direction. Zac has never been aggressive with his prey drive - he just wants to chase and playfully kill all these amazing squeaky toys :eek: but that calming down was the first step in the right direction of our ongoing journey to steadiness with prey... a calm Zac can actually hear what I'm saying!

    Poor Jinx. It seems like your house is her den and all these strangers are trying to get inside. I guess even generally friendly dogs get stressed and grumpy if you try to crawl inside their kennels with them.
  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    YES! YES!! BABY STEPS ARE HUGE PROGRESS!! We who love a dog with issues, can find great joy in the smallest progress with our dogs! I tell ya, Cwolf, i feel such great joy when i hit a "breakthrough" moment with my dog, that i never felt with my 'normal' dogs!

    So Jinx is a shy dog, then? but maybe Jinx is only a mildy shy dog, since Jinx DOES allow strangers to pet her? wow, very good for a shy dog!!! :eek:

    There are many levels of shyness, from mild, to severe. but still, a shy dog who DOES allow strangers to pet her, is very very good!!! :D:eek::) wow and wow!!! Many shy dogs are fine walking by strangers -----so on the street, on a walk, no one would ever say, "That dog is aggressive!"-----------if the shy dog IS aggressive, the typical shy dog often aren't aggressive unless the unknown human gets too close, or leans over them, or reaches for them, or pets them, and not all shy dogs are aggressive.

    Typically, the shy dog has problems with most UNKNOWN humans, but usually get on well with other dogs. But some shy dogs also escalate to aggression about dogs, but that is usually easier to resolve, IF it even occurs. Some shy dogs, when living side by side with a dog-aggressive dog, CAN imitate the DA dog, and also react to dogs, as well.

    I also feel HUGE HOPE that you WILL be able to get Jinx to be calm, with strangers in her home, i really do!!! Like you say, it will have to be done in baby steps, but, it can be done, you CAN get there, slowly, at a pace in which Jinx is comfortable, at subthreshold work and desensitization....i have HUGE HOPES for ongoing progress with that goal.

    Maybe maybe your Jinx may never ever enjoy unknown ppl fawning over her in her home,
    but, you CAN get to having Jinx sitting calmly on her mat while you visit with unknown people in your home.
    Does Isis often get to see many unknown big dogs?
    Isis is okay with unknown dogs????, but only if they the size of mastiffs? is that right? Do you all get to see a lot of mastiffs where you live? Does Isis get to see many unknown mastiffs? Or usually the mastiffs are dogs that Isis DOES know?
    Isis *might* be a dog-aggressive dog, hard to say, but, if so, usually the dog-aggressive dog is fine with humans, it's just UNKNOWN dogs that set them off.

    My dog is definitely, undeniably dog-aggressive,:rolleyes: but with dog-aggressive dogs, it is most (not all, but *most*) UNKNOWN dogs that bother a dog-aggressive dog. Buddy is FINE with dogs he KNOWS. :) (lol, it takes a while to get Buddy to like a new dog, oh it does!)
    Buddy does have some doggie pals now, and he LOVES dogs he KNOWS....

    If there is a specific unknown dog that you wish you could desensitive Isis to being around, i have HIGH HOPES you can succeed at that, too!!!
    With Jinx reacting to unknown humans in your home, has Isis also begun to do that, as well? If so, you will have MUCH SUCCESS getting Isis to be cool with unknown humans in your home.

    The prey thing, yes, that can hit any dog, of any type,
    whether shy dog,
    dog-aggressive dog,
    or normal dog,
    chasing prey-----------that is a whole other issue, getting a dog to stop chasing a/or killing prey.:rolleyes: that is actually separate issue than Isis's dog-aggression, IF Isis is dog-aggressive, (not sure, really).

    I DO HAVE HUGE HOPE for you, Cwolf, and i think, you are about to embark on one of the most fascinating, heart-warming, and amazing of all dog training 'seasons' of your life, and i know you can and will make HUGE PROGRESS!!!!! And keep your chin up, and hang in there, and it DOES get easier!!
  8. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    A "shy" dog simply means-- a dog who does not enjoy contact with (most) unknown humans.

    there is a huge spectrum of shy dogs, from mild to severe. Not all shy dogs escalate to aggression, and it usually requires close proximity to elicit aggression in most shy dogs.

    Other words for "shy" dog include, "anxious", "fearful", "timid", "nervous", "reticent", "bashful" and so on, i just use "shy" cuz that is old school word for it.

    Many shy dogs, also seem to have more severe object fears than other dogs, as well. All dogs can have object fears, all of them, even 'normal' dogs,
    but it seems more strong of an issue with many of the shy dogs.
  9. charmedwolf Moderator

    I am perfectly fine with Jinx not loving humans as long as she tolerates them. That's fine with me! I would consider her more aloof than shy. If we're out together she's more than happy to be away from everybody and that's fine as long as she doesn't react.

    Isis gets to see unknown dogs when I have to board for other people. If they are bigger than her she seems fine. She's rather tall and lean for a Boxer. She regularly plays with the neighbor's dog (LabxShepherd) when she gets into our fence. They are about the same size. She also doesn't react when we walk by the Newfoundland a couple of houses down but smaller dogs than her seem to fall under the prey status.

    The problem with Isis' prey drive is that she views everything as prey if she didn't have a previous encounter with it, humans including. So when Jinx reacts so does Isis. With the way that I'm thinking if I get Jinx to stop reacting to people, Isis will be easier to follow suit.

    My vet and I have been talking about doing a MRI or CT as well as a couple of blood tests on Isis as it is really really uncommon in pet dogs to have predatory aggression to such an extent.
  10. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Yes, i think you will have much more success getting Isis to stop reacting to humans, and getting Jinx to stop reacting to dogs(IF Jinx does).

    It always seems wayyyyyyyyy more complicated, when there is both a ppl-reactive shy dog, AND a dog-aggressive dog,
    both growing up side by side.
    that DOES make it wayyyyyyyyy harder to sort it all out.
    that is IF IF IF Jinx is a shy dog, and IF IF IF Isis is a DA dog.

    Both the shy dog, and the DA dog, can end up sharing the OTHER type of dog's target as well.

    I think your attitude towards being accepting of Jinx maybe not being "Miss Social Butterfly" is wonderful!! Yes, most ppl do swap out the old school word, "shy" for a more modern sounding word, but, all "shy" means is, a dog a who does not ENJOY contact with unknown humans. It CAN escalate from there, in some dogs...
    But an aloof dog does not aggress to strangers touching them, not even inside their home, that is more a hallmark of the "shy" dog. Maybe Jinx was fawned over and petted by strangers she did NOT want touching her, so often in that home, since no one recognized she IS a shy dog, that now, she automatically figures, "game on, i know they are going to allow me to be handled by strangers in my house..grrr"
    and now, Jinx may have this whole loop going in her mind, even long after you have forbidden strangers to reach for her anymore.
    But there is MUCH HOPE this can be fixed!!!! ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!!!

    and there is MUCH hope to help Jinx learn to go to her mat for visitors. To help Jinx learn to be calm while strangers are in her home. this can be helped. If you haven't yet taught "go to your mat", that is something you can begin to work on right away, you'll need it later, after you have defused and de-escalated the whole "stranger at the door" thing.

    With Isis, it is hard to tell, by your descriptions, if your Isis is, or is not, dog-aggressive, since probably the overwhelming majority of dogs are smaller than Isis, i'd think.
    Well, one can hardly tell online anyway, but, it is usually more a matter of knowing a dog, than a dog's size, but, some dogs do show preference for sizes of dogs. True enough.

    i really think, if you got help, or learned quite a bit, abouthow to desensitize Isis to a smaller dog, you might be surprised, to find out, it CAN be done.:D Have your trainers help find an laid back small dog, and have them begin to teach you how to begin to do subthreshhold desensitization. If they do not know, find a new trainer with actual “hands on” experience with aggressive dogs. Most dog-aggessive dogs tend to respond better to alphas, and tend to be worse with insecure dogs.

    Many dog-aggressive dogs are "alpha-WANNA BE" dogs,:rolleyes: and if a super-submissive or insecure, inexperienced dog, agrees they are the king, it feeds the wrong loop in the DA dog's mind, and it's ugly to watch...

    btw, not all trainers know much about aggression,:rolleyes: many trainers mightrock at tricks or agility,:) or separation anxiety type of behavior problems:D , but might not have had much success stories to refer you to, on rehabbingAGGRESSION. It is aspecialtyarea, that most ppl just read about in blogs or books, or go to a seminar, and think they are now knowledgable about aggressionO_o . DO ASK for references with clients who had AGGRESSIVE dogs that they worked on. Of course, ensure they are positive only EVEN when they work with aggressive dogs,
    and do not be shy to ask how much actual experience, hands-on experience they have had with AGGRESSIVE dogs. Don't be too shy to ask for references on their successes with aggressive dogs. DO CALL those ppl to hear if these trainers WERE successful, and hear what problem their dog had.

    I just wonder, since these trainers seem to have not much discussed Jinx might be a shy dog, (that insight can or should change everything in their approach to her rehab)
    and Isis is showing regular episodes of whatsounds like dog-aggression, and instead, relabel hisdog-aggression as prey drive. Dogs can tell bunnies from Westies, they can.

    I do not think prey drive, or even strong prey drive, is "uncommon" in dogs.:ROFLMAO: there are a ton of squirrel chasers out there!!!!!!!!
    But, if i took my dog Buddy's dog-aggression,
    and re-labelled THAT as "prey drive outa control" then, my vet might also think "HOw odd, to have such an overwhelming prey drive!":eek:

    but, if i tell my vet, my dog, is plain ol dog-aggressive, he knows right away what it is;) .
    sometimes, labels and words do matter.

    I myself do not see prey drive as "aggression" and am slightly surprised your trainers do. (?)
    I do not see a lion making his dinner out of a deer as "aggression", it's nature. If a dog isgenerally out of control, and often in hyper excited and upset state of mind, and reacting a lot, and living with another reactive dog, well, that state of mind can spread a lil bit to other areas, as well, and the sheer size of your dog, probably makes him chasing your cat around as a pretty dramatic event.

    Mind you, dog-aggressive usually don't react to ALL dogs, but most UNKNOWN dogs. I've always tried to point that out, same for shy dogs, even a shy dog, may occasionally accept a new person every once in a blue moon if their approach is right.
    It us usually *most* and hardly ever "all"unknown dogs or ppl.My dog also accepts some unknown dogs on sight, not often, but sometimes. Even my gangsta dog can still respect a real alpha when he meets one, and gets on best with confident, easy going dogs. My dog also tends to be slightly less aggressive to super huge dogs. Slightly larger than Buddy, up to 80 lbs or so, Buddy still aggresses, :rolleyes: but once the dog is much over 120 lbs and upwards, if the dog isnear, well, Buddy is a bit quieter to that dog, thank goodness!!

    Some ppl say, "My dog is not dog-aggressive, cuz he likes my sister's dog!" or whatever. and it may be, that Isis is NOT dog-aggressive, but, it is something to consider.

    With Isis, you may have to work on both his dog-aggression, and his prey drive thing. but, it is two different things. A dog can be dog-aggressive, and not chase cats or bunnies,
    and a dog can chase and kill squirrels, and get on FINE with other dogs. It's usually two different things.

  11. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    If you can get an MRI of either dog, please ask them to also scan carefully, the surface of the cortex, and the size/shape of the amygdalla, and have them draw serotonin, dopamine, zinc, and adrenaline levels. To establish a baseline for your dogs, this involves several draws over time.
    I can send you PUBMED veterinary links to show your vet on the consistently abnormal levels found in shy dogs, in dog-aggressive dogs, as well as the normal ranges found in all 'normal' dogs,
    so he can compare your dogs finding to those dogs. Interestingly, the shy dogs and the DA dogs, BOTH have abnormalities, but not in the same direction.

    But the thing is,
    dog-aggressive dogs, can be brought to be calm and LOVE all humans,:D
    and it is easier to get a shy dog to stop aggressing to dogs,:)
    when the two types of dogs grow up together, side by side, it is way harder to sort it out,

    and harder to get each dog to stop feeding off the other dog's issues.

    and you CAN have both dogs lying calmly on mats for visitors. And Isis will probably much enjoy petting by the unknown humans, but Jinx, not so much.
  12. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Here is some ideas you may want to mull over: ( i guess you could also use most of these methods for squirrels, too)

    I hope anything there helps you, or inspires you, i KNOW you can help these dogs, Cwolf!!! i know it!! Like reply #8 on that thread above says, you will want to learn 3 different things----

    ~how to prevent reactions,
    ~ways to interrupt reactions,
    ~and ways to desensitize a dog.

    It's three different things. It's not hard, really, just takes persistence. but we DO need all three types of training, not just preventing reactions.

    and don't make mistake many of us new to working with aggressive dogs, is trying to TEACH the cue while the dog is upset. We teach cues like "look at me" or "Let's go" same as any other cue, when dog is calm :) so that we CAN use it when they ARE upset.
  13. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    so, my two cents theory is,
    you have a shy dog, who has developed a whole thing now about strangers in his house,

    and a dog-aggressive dog, with spillover aggression to humans. (And the DA dog, also has prey drive about squirrels, cats, etc. which is whole other issue).

    I could be wrong, not sure about Isis is a DA dog or not, but it is possible.

    both shy dogs, and dog-aggressive dogs, are genetic problems, and often recessive genes. the parents, and rest of the litter, might be fine. It's not "your fault", it's on their dna. We can make these dogs better, or worse, but we can't create the neurobiology of the DA dog nor of the shy dog.
    I can send you tons of pubmed and other scientific research links on the genetics and physical abnormalities found in all dog-aggressive dogs, and of the abnormal neurobiology and physical abnormalities found in all shy dogs. It is two different disorders.

    Your trainers will balk at this info, as they might not read much actual scientific research on it, and instead, like most dog lovers, they probably mostly just read blogs or books with zero footnotes or research or data, and don't even know what pubmed even is.

    It is not unlikely, that if your trainers heard anyone say your dog's problems are genetic, your trainers may react like post #16 of this thread: (it's considered heresy in the dog world, an "insult to dogdom")

    but shy dogs primary target is unknown humans,
    and DA dogs, primary target is unknown dogs,
    but either type of dog,
    can develop a "secondary" target. but the "secondary" target in either type of dog,
    is usually wayyyyyy easier to fix, than it's primary target is.

    "Spillover" aggression, is when a dog is severe case or poorly managed, or lives with other dogs with issues,
    and develops diffuse generalized "spillover" aggression past it's primary target.

    Then you end up with a shy dog who may aggress to not JUST humans, but also to dogs!!
    or a dog-aggressive dog, who may aggress to not JUST dogs, but also to humans!!

    but that "spillover" secondary target is much easier to rehab,:D than it's primary target is.

    Really, it is amazing, that Jinx does not also react to dogs, living with Isis!! wow! It really is impressive, as some shy dogs, when they live with a DA dog, do begin to develop a secondary target of reacting to dogs, too.

    but anyway, i guess it doesn't matter if you realize or agree there is a good chance both of these dogs have a genetic neurobiological disorder, or if you or your trainers agree, what matters is finding the best approach to help them become their best selves. THEY CAN GET BETTER,
    MUCH MUCH MUCH BETTER!!!!!!!!!!! You won't believe how much better your dogs are going to become!!!!!!!!!
  14. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    So, when you get a visitor, i take it, your dogs go crazy, leaping about, and if the dogs had the chance, they would even bite the visitors?

    YOU MIGHT HAVE TO START FIRST, with distance work, outdoors,
    with one dog at a time,
    staying at whatever distance your dog needs to be calm, rewarding calm behavior, and leaving the unknown person. That's it, no contact is involved, no real close proximity is involved, and it might be 50 feet away for your dog to be calm. You are just working to help the dogs, one at a time, reduce their aggressive reactions to unknown ppl, and gets rewards for calm behavior at the sight of unknown humans.

    while ongoing desensitizing work is in progress, if you get a visitor,
    One thing you could try, is having dogs not by the doorway.
    Doorways can be triggers for many dogs.

    Have dogs in shut door room, while you let in visitor. You might need Isis and Jinx is different rooms than each other, to reduce re-directed aggression onto each other as visitors arrive.
    (later on, after progress has been made, you can work on dogs being cool near a door opening to a visitor, but, for now, just keep it simple, and skip the whole doorway scene for now) We can get to that one later.

    While dogs are in other room let in visitor, and have visitor seated, in chair, side of visitor facing the door where dog will come from, and far from that door, too, across the room. Tell visitor to not look at dog, ignore dog completely. I'm sure you know, Cwolf, no forcing contact onto a dog, it works against your progress.

    This visit won't be that be much "fun" for the visitor, so you will need volunteers who WILL follow your instructions.:ROFLMAO: You will have to buy them a dinner for all their help!

    For working with Isis, have no dogs, or only dogs Isis likes, in the room.

    Bring in one dog, start with Isis, she will be easier at this human thing, as i suspect Isis is dog-aggressive, not shy. Go into room with Isis, close door behind you, and give her calming signals. A slow blink, a yawn,...........a deep slow sigh.
    Get Isis as calm as you can to bring Isis in...take your time, is no hurry. Your visitor knows the deal.

    Bring in Isis, from across room, keep Isis on leash, and if Isis growls,
    you can do "The Bathroom Trick" which is detailed in post #6
    in this thread:
    "The Bathroom Trick" is done calmly, and silently. It works great on my aggressive dog.

    if you dog is NOT the kind to lunge towards humans who are NOT touching them, it is fine to drop the leash, cuz you will not be allowing anyone to touch them. You may need muzzles for first exercises, that is your decision, based on however aggressive your dogs are.

    Once Isis ever can be room, and not reacting, which, really, if Jinx is not in room, you might be pleased to find is not extremely difficult to get Isis to settle in a room with unknown humans. Don't push it, don't egg Isis over to anyone, your goal is just calmness, not contact.

    It might take any number of these lessons, to successfully get Isis to be calm with a stranger in her house. It might not be something you can get done all at once, even with Isis, who i am hoping is going to be the easier of your two dogs to learn to be calm by strangers.

    but once you can bring in Isis, and no reactions occur,
    You have many options now. Reward non reactions. Calmly praise the dog, and give yummy treats for nonreactions.

    You can ask Isis to go to her mat.
    You can have visitor do a big yawn,
    and then glance, not stare, but calmly glance at Isis with soft eyes, offer a slow blink, glance back away, and toss a treat for Isis in a gentle smooth motion, not an aggressive fast toss.

    Later, visitor can do a deep sigh, and toss another treat towards Isis.
    I'd keep these first lessons short, and have them occur frequently, like every other day. Make these fun for Isis, not exciting, she is excited enough already, but fun and pleasant.

    I really think, you will meet great success with getting Isis cool around humans.

    Then, you'd have to work with Jinx, also separately, and i'd strive towards having Jinx go to her mat, in another room, as her final goal, but Isis may be calm across the room from visitor. Since both dogs have bitten ppl, i would not want either dog close to an unknown visitor, if the visitor suddenly spoke loudly or animatedly or gestured, and dog is close, it could be too much for a dog close by, you probably should strive towards "go to your mat" as goal.

    I think having BOTH dogs in room together greeting a visitor, i'd think i'd wait on that exercise til you are very confident that each dog was solidly okay and calm by their self, before even trying two at once, and i'd think, you'd need help, as well. That is for further on down the road.

    There are many many other approaches, to getting dogs to stop reacting inside a home, but, that one is worth a shot.

    ALSO, are these boxer dogs getting at least two good long walks a day???
    or some running time daily?? Earlier i had thought it was your mastiffs who were aggressive, but, it is your boxers, right?
    Exercise does not cure aggression, but lack of it can add to the whole mess, if the dogs are boiling over with unspent energy. Boxers are higher energy dogs, and the dog breed info thing says that they might not be great to leave alone around prey..
  15. charmedwolf Moderator

    Yep, it's the two Boxers that have the issues. They both get a long walk in the morning and a bunch of play time in the yard (I constantly throw a ball for Isis, not just toss them out there). I'm upping their exercise though and adding more mental exercise in hopes that it will help a little more. They've never been high energy but more than happy to sleep all day.

    All 5 dog trainers are actually close friends and 2 of them were the ones to bring up getting Isis a MRI because "sumtin ain't right here". They were the ones to bring it to my attention that it could be genetic. They're used to Schutzhund dogs and personal protection dogs. They're used to bringing the aggression out and are more than willing to help me bring it back under control.

    Predartory aggression isn't aggression in the truest sense of the world like you said. It's apart of nature and the dog doesn't have that much of a change in emotion so most people don't consider it aggression. Dogs rarely view humans or other dogs as prey which is why it is considered rare. The other trainers and I agree that advance obedience would help Isis along with desensitization.

    My brother and his girlfriend actually agreed to be my helpers if I'd make them my homemade banana bread. It's good to have family motivated by food! :D I'll definitely have to start outside and only one at a time. Our end behavior (which will take a long while) is hopefully dogs calmly in their crates with visitors in the house.

    I just started working on "Look at me". They have a nice eye contact but I've never worked on distraction really. They both know "Let's go!" and Jinx works fine with it but Isis tends to look back and I'll have to repeat a few times. Just have to work on desensitizing to catch up.

    I remember telling somebody about how both dogs feed off of each other when they reacted at Petsmart and his response "What do you think you have the dog mafia or something?" Yea, yea that's pretty much my house.

    Regardless of whether or not they can be "cured", they'll still be my girls and I won't be giving up on them anytime soon.
  16. charmedwolf Moderator

    And I forgot, if you could send me those links if not just for my vet but also for myself. I actually plan on becoming vet sometime in the future. So this could help a lot.
  17. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    //"I just started working on "Look at me". They have a nice eye contact but I've never worked on distraction really. They both know "Let's go!" and Jinx works fine with it but Isis tends to look back and I'll have to repeat a few times"//

    EXCELLENT, this ARE cues, that you will want to have solid like a rock, even more solid than "sit", and these are cues you train like any other cue, not during a reaction,
    but when the dog is calm, on a walk, calm. In your kitchen, calm. Calm, in your yard, calm, you continue to make this response to either cue, solid like a rock.

    Trying to TEACH these cues DURING a reaction, is almost impossible.

    You would not try to teach any other cue, during a reaction.

    These cues must be done ALL THE TIME, on walks, so you won't make mistake i did, by using them ONLY in the presence of a trigger, or else the dog will look around, "What! Where's the dog? What'd i miss?"
    instead of coming with you, or looking at you, the dog will hear "Let's go" as an alarm.
    Must be done alllllllllll the time, randomly.

    You want to teach your dog, "Let's go!" so when your dog hears it, he anticipates, or begins to turn, on his own, to follow you in a new direction. Practice this all the time, all the time.
    MOST PEOPLE DO try to TEACH these cues while their dog IS upset.
    No one would dream of trying to teach "rollover" while ppl throw plates on the floor,
    most owners of aggressive dogs DO try to teach what "Let's Go" means, while the dog is out of his mind.

    Makes it harder to teach.:ROFLMAO:

    You will also want to advance that "Look at me" so dog can look at you when yummy food is being held by his face,
    when ppl are squeaking toys behind him,
    and so on.
    I used only "look at me"
    for a whole year,
    and during that year,
    my dog's inner attitude did not improve much.

    oh, we got to be masters at "look at me",
    both me and my dog got to 5-star great at it,
    it does NOTHING to help shift his inner atttitude. A whole year later, my dog :mad: STILL wanted to kill all unknown dogs.:rolleyes:

    "Look at Me" and "Let's Go" do prevent reactions,:D which IS great goal,
    it does nothing to desensitize a dog to the presence of his "enemies".
    I hope you do look over this thread:

    Re: your trainer friends. Training dogs to attack on cue,
    is whole other skill set,
    than teaching a frustrated, overwhelmed dog owner how to bring in strangers to her home when she lives with an aggressive dog.

    But the fact, that they have apparently not identified Jinx as a shy dog,
    and the fact they are lumping Isis chasing squirrels with Isis biting unknown dogs, all together as "same thing", as "prey"(????)
    is a concern to me.
    and to me,
    their attitudes on both of those remarks, indicates they have only a limited understanding of aggressive dogs.
    The fact they seem to suspect a brain tumor, with an out of control aggressive dog, is also a sign they have not had a lot of first hand experience with aggressive dogs. They apparently have not even seen this before. It IS pretty dramatic stuff, yes it is,:eek:
    but, they would not be so completely baffled by it,
    IF they'd ever even seen this before.
    Buddy's reactions, back in the day, would have brought the vision of rabies to mind. :ROFLMAO: But, trainers who had worked with aggressive dogs, recognized Buddy had plain ol dog-aggression.

    Dog aggressive dogs, (like Isis may be) are all pretty much the same. They are quite dramatic, prior to any rehab efforts, and they can be brought down many many notches with rehab efforts. Shy dogs, (Like Jinx my be) however, DO run the gamut, from mild to severe. Most of the other owners on my dog-aggression boards, say their shy dogs are much more likely to react, INSIDE their homes, than out on the street, too.

    Schutzhound dogs are NOT aggressive dogs. They are normal-brained dogs, trained to attack. Is a whole other thing.
    Just like professional boxing men, or football players, may not have aggressive personalities. It is a whole other thing. A coach may be brilliant at helping a football player know best way to take down a 300lb opponent, but may not know anything to help a violent man stop fighting with his neighbors.
    It's two different skill sets.

    I know, if i had trainer pals, i too, would hesitate to risk hurting their feelings, and go for a trainer who DOES have an understanding of how to manage aggressive dogs. I would hesitate to risk hurting a friends' feelings,
    but, have you asked your pals, if they have ever successfully rehabbed a dog with aggression issues? Even 10 or 20 dogs with this exact problem? Is IS a specialty area, and not ALL trainers know anything about it, at all.

    If they have not,
    they may not be well equipped to help you help your dogs. If they are your pals, i hope they would be willing to refer to you to someone in the dog training who DOES have experience rehabbing aggressive dogs. It IS a specialty area, and i bet they do know that.

    I have HUGE HOPES for much progress for Jinx and for Isis!! I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT!!!
    Yes, training, even tricks training--------- is GREAT for aggressive dogs,

    it helps them become more adept at following cues from you,
    it increases their trust in you,
    it increases your ability to understand what motivates each individual dog,
    it helps you get to know your dog even better,
    it reduces mental boredom and a content dog is easier to manage,

    it strengthens the bond of the dog onto you,
    and it strengthens the bond of you towards this dog,

    it increases your confidence in managing your dog,
    Learning tricks helps the dog become more likely to follow your cues when you reeeally need him to do so.
    and this next one, you can roll your eyes, cuz it is SEVERE form of anthropomorphism, but, i kind of, sort of, kind of, half believe, that when a dog learn tricks, it helps him change his own inner attitude towards being a more "Yes, i AM a good boy!" kind of mindset, but, i realize as i type it out loud, it is kind of lame, but, is no harm in teaching dogs tricks, it helps in every single way,
    and it might even help in ways we do not yet fully understand yet.

    so DO pick out some tricks, ANY trick, it does not matter,
    it does not even matter WHICH trick, it is the PROCESS that helps both YOU and the DOG,
    and do teach both of these dogs tricks, one a week, for life. This does help, both you, and the dogs, in some hard to explain way.

    but i do suspect, you might want to find trainers who HAVE worked extensively on rehabbing aggressive dogs,
    but, there is MUCH you can do ON YOUR OWN:
  18. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    btw, i am not 100% sure your dogs are as content to lay around all day as you are. Boxers are listed as needing regular exercise, as being higher energy. Although, i sort of think Boxers do somewhat resemble Mastiffs in some features,
    they are not the same as mastiffs.
    Their energy needs are different.

    True enough,
    a dog WILL accommodate and adjust to whatever amounts of exercise he is offered,
    and most breeds do not get as destructive as say, a border collie, if their energy needs are not siphoned off.
    Some breeds tolerate frustration better than other breeds, border collies are sort of notorious in how poorly they tolerate boredom.:ROFLMAO: but even if a dog is NOT digging holes all over your yard nor chewing up your sofa out of frustration, doesn't mean you can feel 100% confident that the dog doesn't need his daily walks or runs.

    Most dogs, will lay around, if no one gives them anything to do.
    Even my high energy dog, will indeed,
    lay around, for long periods of time,
    if i don't give him much to do..... doesn't mean he is not needing his daily run.
    some ppl on DTA were just remarking last week, on how much energy boxers have.

    but, is no harm in walking these dogs at least twice a day,
    and giving them a chance to run full speed each day,
    even beyond just fetch for a while.
    It might be interesting tool for you to use, to evaluate, if these dogs might benefit from some regular vigorous exercise and longggg 2X daily walks. Of course, you will have to slowly build them up so they don't pull a muscle.
    worth a try, anyway.

    AND YES, i will post the links, soon, on what to look for in MRIs of aggressive dog brains.:)and the blood tests, too. There is no "cure" for it, for either the shy dogs, or the dog-aggressive dogs, it is like diabetes, we learn to manage it, and we CAN manage it,
    and wowza, do we learn a lot along the way.:D WE CAN MAKE EITHER TYPE OF DOG
  19. running_dog Honored Member

    A thought on the "predatory aggression"

    I don't think high prey drive dogs actually growl much at their prey. My dog is obsessed with chasing things but I've never heard him growl at them. He'll chase and play growl at other dogs and sometimes give warning growls at other dogs (especially Gus :ROFLMAO:) but not at prey. To me the growling kind of puts this behaviour into a different category that can be classified aggression BUT may not be predatory driven. I'm not sure why a dog would give a warning growl to prey? Or is the growling caused by frustration? Or trying to panic the prey into movement? :confused:
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  20. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I'd have to agree with RDog on the prey drive thing. Zekers has crazy intense drive, primarily towards livestock and cats. With livestock it is termed "stock aggression," typically as a positive term, but it is not exactly correct in its labelling. He has a very intense stare for both cats and livestock, and if allowed to go after livestock he will nip--but it is to make them move, to herd them. **"to make them move"--move in a certain direction. An aggressive dog's nip/bite would be to make them go away. If he were "aggressive" it would be a more of an attack, less controlled, more intense, etc. It's hard to explain without seeing it, but Z's reaction to livestock and cats is really no different than most dogs' reaction to prey(bunnies, etc). Anyway, he never growls at stock or cats. He is crazy high drive, and does have a high prey drive, but no growling at prey.

    A Schutzhund-educated approach would probably be helpful in controlling her aggression, but not solving it. Controlling it and finding the root of the issue to work with it are two different things. :)

    Regardless, we don't know your dogs, or your trainers. :) Just some things to think about.
    So excited for you that you are getting to work towards improving both dogs!! Congrats and good luck!!

    Although it would be more helpful for Jinx than Isis, do check out "Bringing Light to Shadow" by Pamela Dennison. Shadow was very aggressive towards people and moderately aggressive towards dogs if I remember correctly, and Pam took him all the way to his CGC. The book is sort of a mix between a diary of her progress, and a "how-to" for owners of aggressive dogs. It's an excellent read, and has some great info in it for exercises with aggressive dogs. Do check it out. :)

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