Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by bekah1001, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. bekah1001 Honored Member

    I would have posted this earlier but I had exams and started my new semester at school. So ther problem is that Brody growls at other dogs. To be more specific, on walks when he sees a dog he will freeze, with his ears erect. This usually happens when stranger dogs are at a distance. When they are closer (walking by) his fur will raise and he will start whining. If the do meet he will sometimes growl at them.Another time is when a puppy is visiting (one from the litter we had) he would growl at him when he is near. The puppy is a male and I try not to meet other dogs on walks with Brody so I don't know if the other dogs are male or not. I don't know if he is growling if it is because the other dogs are male (Brody is not fixed yet) or if it could be a personal space issue. He gets along with the two females at my moms house (his mom and my brothers dog) He never growls, the only time would be if they try to steal his bone he is chewing on. When we had the litter of puppies Brody would growl at them, we had one little guy named Dexter who we kept a little longer then the rest. Brody finally stopped growly and actually started playing with him three days before Dexter went to his new family.

    I almost forgot. Sometimes when we do meet other dogs he will whine but he sometimes does the playful bow.

  2. bekah1001 Honored Member

    One more thing. I'm going to start the look at that game to teach Brody some impulse control. Do you think that would help him to be a little calmer near other dogs
  3. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    How old is Brody, and how long have you owned him? How old was he when you first noticed he growls for other dogs?
    Is Brody fine with humans? Zero aggression to humans?

    Has Brody ever played successfully with an unknown dog? ever?
    Has Brody ever gotten into any fights?
  4. bekah1001 Honored Member

    Brody is two and a half years old and we've had him since he was born. i think Brody first started to growl around 1 and half years maybe. I knew he never growled as a puppyl. the only time brody would growl at a human would be if a stranger came into the house who he did not meet at all and sometime when people he dosent know as well who were wearing glasses or a hat. He would only give a short growl, with dogs it's more constant. I do remember one time when my mom took Brody to the dog park for the first ( as a puppy) and was terrified. I think he got charged at by multiple stranger dogs at a time and was a poor experience. He got along with other dogs when he was a puppy. One dog was Lucky ( female around 7 years old when they first met) he only met Lucky around 3 times. The last time was in the summer. Didn't growl at all.
  5. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    so Brody doesn't often get to play with many unknown dogs, is that right?
    And seems like the few dogs Brody does get to play with, are all females?

    Hmmm. Well, for real, since you are not entirely sure if Brody is beginning to display dog-aggression, now, don't get upset, it might be Brody is fine, he very well might be just fine,
    but, just in case he is beginning to display dog-aggresion, the best thing you could do, is try to get a half-hour with a animal behaviorists or a trainer to help you discover if Brody is, or is not, dog-aggresssive.

    since there IS some question there, is he or isn't he? You don't want to have a set back, or a dog fight break out, to protect both Brody's lil feeling of safety, and other dogs, and anyone else around. It's hard to explain, but IF IF IF Brody IS beginning to display dog agression, well, you still have a chance to maybe avoid having it escalate by ending up in a dogfight, which could really change Brody's progress, bigtime. Ideally, you want a safe controlled setting for an evaluation by a pro, since so far, it might be, that Brody is just fine!?

    If i were in your shoes, i'd call up a positive only trainer or behaviorist, who has actual hands on experience with dogs with aggression, (for in case your lil Brody IS dog-aggressive)
    and explain to her, that Brody has had limited exposure to other male dogs, and you are uncertain if Brody has some mild dog-aggression beginning to show up,
    and you'd like her to evaluate Brody, and set up some type of interaction with some dogs that the trainers KNOWS are friendly, well mannered dogs.

    Since it sort of sounds a lil border line, it might be best to let Brody have his first playtimes with other males or some unknown dogs, in the most positive manner you can locate.
    You want to give Brody some positive experiences with other dogs.

    (some things you say about Brody, sound marvelous, like the play bow! wonderful sign!:D
    and some things you say about Brody i can see why you have a concern, the growling at unknown dogs:( ) Dog-aggression typically manifests at about 9 mos old, but, if a dog lives a fairly isolated life, doesn't get to play with other dogs too often, well, it can be delayed. Dog-aggressive dogs ARE just fine as puppies.:D You can not tell when they are puppies.

    It's genetic disorder, but no doubt, your trainer will not know that, and will think it is all from having been scared that one day as a puppy, but, it's genetic, that is IF IF IF IF, and that is a big IF there, IF your lil Brody even is dog-aggressive at all. Brody might be just fine!

    He might be fine. He might just need the chance to have some positive experiences with other dogs in a controlled setting. Like, don't take Brody to a dog park, nope, any wild acting dog could give Brody a setback. See, you might still have a chance here, to make sure, Brody's next experience with a male dog, or an unknown dog, goes really well. Last thing you want to do, at this fork in the road, is make Brody worse. (and yeah, it can get a lot worse than growling) YOu want to avoid that happening.

    Get a trainer or an animal behaviorist,
    to supervise Brody's first playtime, to evaluate, if Brody does or does not have issues. NOT ALL TRAINERS have any experience with such things. Specifically ASK if the trainer has any experience with aggression issues. (not like agility stuff, but actual behavioral problems)If they don't, move on, keep searching.
    And go watch her or him in action, before you let them near Brody. Leave your dog at home, and go make sure, the trainer is not yanking at aggressive dogs, and scaring them, and all that nonsense that doesn't even work.:cautious:
    (i've had trainers swear to me they were "positive only" and then when they met MY dog, they yanked him, yelled at him, popped his neck around, tried to throw him on the floor, scared him half to death......etc etc) NOT ALL TRAINERS DO WHAT THEY SAY THEY DO.

    Many trainers might be AWESOME at helping your dog learn tricks or agility or heelwork! but not have much insight about the best approach to managing dog aggression, or have only heard about it or read about it in books.
    ---> (IF Brody even has this, he might not have it, but IF Brody has it, you'll want a pro there to prevent any dog fighting from making Brody worse)

    On the bright side, even if Brody IS dog-aggressive, almost invariably, the dog-aggressive dog loves humans. (it's the shy dogs who bite humans).

    SO GOOGLE YOUR TOWN'S NAME, and "dog behaviorist" and "positive only dog trainer". and try to get even just a half hour sesssion/evaluation.
    Ask your vet, as well, if she knows any to recommend. Also, they'll want your dog given a full health screening, although almost all dogs with dog-aggression are perfectly healthy dogs.

    Probably not what you wanted to hear, but, since you aren't 100% sure yet, what is going on with Brody, it's time to find out.
    in a safe setting, to avoid making Brody any worse.

    and sadly, neutering your dog won't change his growling to other males. They'll tell you it will, but it doesn't. My dog-aggressive dog did not change an iota after being neutered, neither have other dog-aggressive dogs i know of. It's not testosterone....nope.

    Still, neutering IS a great thing to do,:D to decrease the chance of yet another "whoops!" litter in our dog overpopulation crisis.
    Dogster and bekah1001 like this.
  6. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    In the meantime, one of the things you can begin working on, is the cue, "look at me"and "Let's Go"
    All dogs should know this cue anyway.
    If you are somewhere, and your dog does not like another dog, the best thing you can do is “Let’s Go”. That is a trained cue, that you must train into your dog, with click, treat, praise, etc, step by step, so he KNOWS-- like a rock--- that when mom or dad calmly says “let’s go” that you ARE changing directions, now.

    “Let’s Go” is Not something you TEACH while the dog is upset, but teach the dog that cue ahead of time, like any other cue, and practice often, for no apparent reason, so your dog gets a chance to become skilled at that cue. If your dog is dog-aggressive, try to avoid ending up with ‘enemy dog’ BEHIND your dog, if you can. Many dog-aggressive dogs dislike having other dogs behind them, but don’t mind following an enemy dog IF they are far enough back.

    Here is Kikopup demonstrating how to teach “Let’s Go”--------------great videos. Kikopup's series of five (5) videos on barking dogs are excellent.

    However, now and then, you will get trapped with few other options than to have your dog “Look At Me”.
    NOTE: Having a dog-aggressive dog “look at me” does nothing to help desensitize the dog to the presence of other dogs, imo. It DOES prevent reactions, though, and that is a worthy goal.
    Many ppl try to teach OR use “look at me” ONLY while their dog is being freaked out by another dog.

    You can not TEACH “look at me” WHILE the enemy dog is right there, that is going to be very very difficult for your dog to try to learn the new cue in that set up. No one would dream of trying to teach “rollover” while ppl are throwing plates on the floor,:ROFLMAO: but many ppl try to TEACH “look at me” DURING a reaction.
    You have to train “look at me”, just as you would any other cue, slowly, step by step, til your dog knows just exactly what “look at me” means.
    It will still be difficult to have your dog-aggressive dog follow the cue, even if he knows it like a rock, but, it’s near impossible to get your dog to “lookatme”,--- if the dog does not already know the cue very very very well.
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  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Stand up and Hold treat out at arm’s length, away from your face, “Look At me” (I always introduce the cue word right away, from first lesson on, but, everyone says wait til dog knows the cue first, but, I ALWAYS do it wrong way, still works:ROFLMAO: )

    Sooner or later, in confusion, your dog WILL look at your face to figure out why you won’t give him the treat. When he looks at your face, click/treat.

    It is a lil harder to click at just right moment, harder than it sounds. You want to avoid rewarding the dog for looking at the treat. Also, make sure you are not frowning, or squinting, haha. If your dog is a lil shy, do offer slow blinks while dog looks at your eyes.

    Repeat a few times, now play with your dog. Your first lesson is done:D .
    A few hours later, repeat it.
    Repeat this a few times a day, every day, for long long time.

    AFTER he has *that* down pat, then begin to wait just a lil longer til you click/treat, make him hold his gaze on your face even longer til he earns the click/treat. You can do slow blinks if you want to, staring eye to eye is bad manners in dog world.

    Slowly, slowly, build up the time he must look at you, before he earns the click/treat.

    After dog can look at your face, for a longer moment or two, THEN begin to move treats a lil closer to his face, so it is now even harder to not look at the treats. Click/treat when he moves his eyes off the nearby treats to your face. also Praise him for his looking at your face, this step is hard for dogs.
    Again, over time, slowly build up the time he must look at you to get a treat. Try it around mild distractions, and then more compelling distractions. Try it when treats are right by his face. Try it when someone else is squeaking a toy. Make it like a rock.
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  8. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    ON walks, have dog “look at me” for no apparent reason. I praise it every time, and still give sporadic treats now and then, even long after he learned the cue well. DO Practice this with your dog, daily----in all various settings and situations, so it becomes almost reflex for the dog to look at you when he hears, “look at me”.

    If you want to be able to have your dog look at you, when his enemy is nearby, you must practice “look at me” all over the place, for no apparent reason, or else, the dog will think, “Mom said lookatme, must be a dog around here!” and stare around for that dog. If you ONLY or mostly do this when you see another dog, your dog will quickly associate the cue with oncoming dogs, and it no longer works anymore, the cue itself becomes an “alarm” signal.

    You have to keep the dog confused,:ROFLMAO: ha ha, by having him “Look At Me” daily, in all situations, so he never knows if there is some reason, or not!
    I learned that the hard way,:rolleyes: but, I was able to fix my mistake by having dog lookatme, all the time, for no apparent reason. It took me months to UNDO the mistake I’d made, so save yourself from making my mistake.

    Teach your dog, that ‘look at me’ does *NOT* mean ‘dog nearby!’:eek: …Use the cue all the time, or, it won’t work when you need it.

    In real life, when your dog is getting upset about another dog, TRY HAVING YOUR DOG HAVE HIS BACK TO THE ENEMY DOG, as some dogs find it irresistible to look over your shoulder and lose their minds at that terrifying enemy just over there.
    and then you might want to squat down, making it all the easier for your dog to look at your face, since it is right in front of him. I’m not above speed-feeding treats to keep Buddy focused on me, in a jam. Preventing reactions is a good thing to do.

    Anyway, my whole point is, you do not try to TEACH “look at me” while your dog is currently being freaked out about another dog. You train it, first inside your home, then out on the streets, ever building up your dog’s ability to focus on your face, amidst ever increasing distractions,---- so that on some later day, when his brain IS blowing a fuse, your chance of getting your dog’s att’n onto you, is much better.

    Also, be aware, I think this is only a band-aid move, just to prevent reactions. It does nothing to change your dog’s inner attitude about other dogs, *that* is whole Other process, ‘desensitizing’ your dog---- while “Look At Me” is just a move to prevent a reaction.

    Soon, you will want to begin work on desensitizing your dog to the sight of other dogs. THAT WILL make a difference in their inner attitude about other dogs, helps them reduce their aggressive attitude.

    but anyway, that's the "look at me" thing.
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  9. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

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  10. bekah1001 Honored Member

    WOW! Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!
  11. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Bekah, it is not a bad idea at all,
    to hire an animal behaviorists, or dog trainer who HAS experience with aggressive dogs (your dog might be just fine, who knows?)
    to help you evaluate IF IF IF your dog is-------or is not--------dog aggressive.

    It's a good way to start, if finding out IF your dog even HAS this problem or not..........finding out in a safe, controlled manner, to prevent accidentally making Brody worse, in case he does have dog-aggression.
    You could even 'rent' the behaviorists for even half an hour,
    and have the behaviorists bring along some friendly dogs,
    to evaluate Brody's social skills.
    Dogster and bekah1001 like this.
  12. bekah1001 Honored Member

    I just found a dog behaviourist. It's funny because I was looking at the same site when I suggested one of my mom's friend should put her puppy in flyball ( I was looking at classes for them) and I never saw the behaviour counselling.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  13. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    also, DO verify, that the behaviorist is "positive only". Everyone assumes that all behaviorists are "positive only" but, sadly, not all of them are.

    In my country,
    anyone can hang out sign "dog behaviorist", even my plumber can do this. But a CERTIFIED behaviorists DOES indicate the person has had some formal training.

    Also, don't be shy to ask how much experience this particular behaviorist has with aggressive dogs? NOT that your dog is aggressive, we do not know,
    but in just in case Brody is dog-aggressive, it'd be good to have someone there who knows what to do.
    this could be a brand-new behaviorist, or one that has only worked primarily with shy "ppl-aggressive" dogs,<-------NOT the same thing as a dog-aggressive dog,

    or one that has worked with dog barking and digging and licking or other issues, DO verify this person has experience with DOG-to-dog aggression.
    It's also good idea to OBSERVE a person in action, PRIOR to letting them near your dog. I have been fooled by ppl who promised they were "positive only", well, they weren't, at all.

    I HOPE SO MUCH you do get Brody safely evaluated. Who knows? It might be, Brody is just fine!! Until we know for sure, we really just don't know.
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  14. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    KEEP US POSTED BEKAH!! and i've editted up my last comment, don't be shy, do ASK the behaviorist those questions.

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