Dog-aggression In Newly Adopted Dog

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by Elli, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. Elli New Member


    We just adopted a 6 year old cattle dog this year and after 2 1/2 months, we are struggling with his dog-aggression. When we adopted him, his Petfinder profile said he "loved dogs" which I never thought to question, but after some research I believe he has never been around dogs too frequently and did not have much contact at all for the last couple years. I'm concerned that he really wants to attack other dogs (doesnt seem fear based at all), and unfortunately we live in a complex filled with dogs around every corner and popping out of the elevators in the lobby. It has been very stressful to be constantly on guard - and just when I think we made good progress, a dog pops out the door in our face that I could not foresee - ahhh!! :confused:

    He is a very hard-headed cattle dog, and Ive learned that leash corrections don't bode well with him (loses his trust in me fast and will get bitey in general towards me). On the plus side I also have found he can be easily distracted with treats and he has now been able to sit even when he has begun barking. If I haven't been able to catch him in time, then I will make his sit right and usually he will. I've also learned to avoid high intensity encounters if possible.

    We dont know many people with dogs unfortunately, but my sister has a dog that he has met twice. The first time he barked/lunged/snarled at her, but calmed down and was distracted once we were on the hiking trail. The second time we met on a bike trail and initially he barked but he got over it fairly quick and they were able to eventually walk side by side (yay!) on the walk, not really interacting much, but not much aggression either. That was a promising sign. Other than that though, I have never seen him happy to see a dog. Usually he reacts/barks, or at best he sniffs them if they meet and he quickly turns away. Sometimes he will sniff and then snarl/lunge.

    Im considering seeing an animal behaviorist if this doesn't make steady progress because I want to know if he is simply going to always be an aggressive dog that I cannot expose to other dogs or drop off at the day care if I ever need to. We just started a basic obedience class this week, to try to desensitize him but it was a chaotic environment so Im not sure if that was the right move.

    Ive read from various books and sites, and I really liked the thread here for 7 Things to help dog-aggressive dogs. I was wondering if anyone here may have any opinions on whether we are stuck with an unsocial dog considering his age and history?

  2. Anneke Honored Member

    He's not hard headed;) He is a typical cattle dog:D
    2 1/2 months is not long to have a dog. It could just be, that he is still adjusting to the situation.
    You say his profile said he loved dogs. Well it might just be, he is not comfortable enough yet, with you. Not trusting you enough to let you take the lead, so to say.
    Taking him to an obedience class is a good idea, but be sure to explain to your trainer, what you want to accomplish. Why you are there. A reactive dog should not be thrown into a group. You need to work him on the sidelines, untill he is comfortable with all the distractions. A good trainer will help you with that.
    If you feel you are not being helped at this place, then please go to a behaviourist. And try to find someone who does positive training. No physical corrections(since you already mentioned he does not respond well to leash corrections;) )

    Remember: ANY dog can learn, no matter what age he/she is.
    As for the dog-aggression, some can be cured, some can only be controlled.
    With the information you have given, I can't tell you which will apply to your dog.
  3. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    i think you have a valid concern, that in two and half months, your dog has not liked even one dog he's met.

    I have a gangsta dog, too. It's genetic. we can make these dogs better or worse, though. It's possible, that the previous owners, felt that because Elli got on fine with his housemate dogs, they labelled him that way. Or, perhaps his barking was missed in the settings of a dog pound, where lots of the dogs bark around, or,
    are too overwhelmed to be their real selves.

    BUT THERE IS GOOD NEWS! We can desensitize such dogs to "like" and even LOVE other dogs, one at a time.

    You will, overtime, begin to realize, it is the UNKNOWN dogs that Elli is honked off aobut, and once Elli ever does truly to get "know" a dog, and sniffs him, and allows to be sniffed,
    the worst is over,
    and from there,
    they can become friends.<------NOT that i am saying to just go do that, not at all, see the thread below. My point is, you CAN get your lil gangsta to like your friends dogs, and your relatives dogs, and your neighbors dogs, etc etc,
    one at a time.

    You are right, the dog-aggressive dog does NOT usually seem fearful. at all. I hear you, i know juuuust what you are saying.

    Few if any ppl understand DA dogs, so be braced for years of "Well, if you just show him leadership, he'll calm down" :ROFLMAO: and "If YOU were calm, your dog would calm down.":rolleyes:
    and lotsa stuff you will come to realize is not true. It's not your fault. It's not something you are doing wrong. It's his wiring, but, you can make this dog better, and help him become his best possible self.

    My dog reacts when i am so calm, i wasn't even paying att'n:ROFLMAO: .
    My dog can stay calm, when i am scared.
    My dog is, his own separate being, not an extension of me.

    Also, stay away from dog whisperer tv show,:cautious: ("the dog is manifesting your own secret inner issues",:ROFLMAO: rolf, and all that kicking and yanking dogs around,:mad: etc)
    and DO watch "it's Me of The Dog" with Victoria Stillwell.:D

    Below is a thread i wrote, which is overwhelming if you try to read ti all at once. It's just my ideas of what has helped my DA dog get better (and he IS better!! wayyyyyyy better. nope, he is NOT cured, but he is better). I'm just some dog owner, so there's lots of other ideas out there.

    here is 7 things that helped my dog, who does have actual canine friends now,:D and can often be helped to walk by dogs, even reactive dogs, without reacting.
    but he is NOT "cured". He is just better, much better. <-------all those things, get easier, for you, and for the dog, too, the more you practice them.

    KIKOPUP BARKING SERIES of five videos on youtube is strongly recommended, too.

    GOOD LUCK!!!
  4. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    not sure if i mention in that thread, the DA dogs like ours reeeally need to be exercised, a lot. (IF IF IF your dog IS even a dog-aggressive dog, can't evaluate a dog online)


    Any DA dog who is chockful of unspent energy, is gonna be wayyyyyyyy harder to manage. mmmHmm.:rolleyes:

    also, since dog is new to you, do aks vet ot help rule out any health conditions contributing to this, but, the overwhelming majority of DA dogs are totally healthy.


    in more ways than i can explain, but do get started. Whatever else you decide to do for this dog, tricks training helps DA dogs:
    ~it helps the dog learn to follow your cue easily
    ~it helps the dog develop a strong ability to focus on YOU when you need him to
    ~it gives the dog a chance to feel successful and "good"
    ~it helps wear out the dog, by giving him mental stimulation/stuff to do, a "job".
    ~it increases the bond between you and the dog, in both directions
    ~it helps YOU become more adept at learning how your particular dog learns, and helps you become adept at teaching dogs things.

    whole long list of bennies, so go on, grab a trick, and begin teaching Ellie a trick!!! Keep beginner lessons short, like 5 -10 minutes, stopping before your dog zones out....

    ignore wrong moves,
    reward correct moves, or moves in the right direction,
    and lavishly praise dog.

    HAVE FUN!!!!!!
  5. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Getting professional help is great idea,
    only take this dog to someone who has actual experience with DA dogs (IF your dog *is* a DA dog)

    not everyone knows the first thing about it, or, they've only read about it. It is sort of a "specialty" area, imo.

    A trainer might rock at teaching Ellie agility,:D or elaborate tricks, or masterful heelwork,
    but be clueless about how to get Ellie to calmly walk by an unknown dog. Until you have gathered some skills at managing Ellie, she does not belong in any groups of dogs, esp not now, and probably never ever. It's asking too much of Ellie.

    Make SURE the trainer or the behaviorist are postive only, and go WATCH them, in action, with a DA dog, prior to letting them anywhere near your dog.

    i learned this the hard way.:( I took my dog to some trainers, who had tons of certificates alllllll over the wall,
    and "said" they were positive only,
    but had no experience with DA dogs, they'd just seen them on dog whisperer, and used those lousy techniques on MY dog!!!:eek:

    so when Buddy did his gangsta routine, they yelled at him, yanked him all over, jerked him all around, intimidated him, scared my dog half outa his mind, and my dog was freaked out for a week or more afterwards, that realllllllllly set him back,
    and i was appalled, that i'd let my beloved lil gangsta get treated like that.

    that was the last time they ever got near my dog, and after that, i decided to figure it out on my own. but there are ppl out there who DO know about this, but you have to specifically ASK if this IS their area,
    or not............
  6. sara Moderator

    Not ALL DA is genetic, and at 6 years old, you have no idea why he is the way he is. However, have you tried him off leash with other dogs? I would consider getting a basket Muzzle (you should have one anyway) and letting him off leash with calm dogs, see how he does, he may just be leash reactive.

    I would find a new obedience class, one with non reactive dogs in it. If it's too hectic, then he'll be above threshold, and unable to learn.

    I have a seriously DA dog, with strange dogs, but he's perfectly awesome with dogs he knows, and dogs I bring into the house.

    For the most part, I avoid other dogs. But I just recently started taking him to classes. He is fine as long as no dog is looking at him, and I keep him doing tricks the entire class.

    Ollie is also aggressive with people he doesn't know, but that was my fault, as I corrected him for jumping up on people, and now he thinks people attack him, and he needs to get them before they get him. But as long as people completely ignore him (no looking, no talking, nothing), he's perfectly fine.

    Cattle Dogs are very hardheaded, for the most part :)
  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Sara's dog, Ollie, is a shy dog, and they are different than DA dogs, shy dogs can be brought to like other dogs, (IF they've ever even developed aggression to other dogs, not all shy dogs do)
    but shy dogs have more problems ever getting used to unknown humans touching them.

    that's why Sara is able to take her dog to a class, he has an entirely different thing than DA dogs have.

    DA dogs usually love strangers:D but not unknown dogs.:mad: DA dogs primary target IS unknown dogs.

    Shy dogs usually get on well with other dogs:D , but dislike unknown humans touching them.:cautious: Shy dogs primary target IS unknown ppl.

    it's two different conditions.
    what is okay for the one condition,
    can be a nightmare for the other type of dog.

    It's why DA dogs CAN be therapy dogs, for strangers in nursing homes, and be hugged all day by unknown humans....
    and why shy dogs CAN usually be fine in rooms full of unknown dogs.
    it's two different disorders.
    yes, there CAN be some crossover, in some dogs, but usually, IF IF IF either type of dog ever does develop a secondary target, that spillover target is way way easier to rehab out.:D (worst is a shy dog, and a da dog, living together:rolleyes: )

    Ellie, if your dog actually *is* a DA dog (no way to evaluate dogs online, really)
    a classroom of other dogs will not be the next best move for a DA dog.................A shy dog who has been helped to drop his secondary target, sure!!!!!
    but a classroom of unknown dogs is not a good 1st move for an owner still trying to find how to manage her DA dog.
  8. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Ellie, i just didn't want you to think, "oh, i'll bring my dog to a classroom of unknown dogs". A private lesson would be better, or a lesson with a dog specially trained to work with DA dogs.

    but not a room full of dogs at this point, if ever.
  9. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    but Sara makes a good point, for now, avoiding unknown dogs IS probably your best move til you figure how to desensitize the DA dog, how to prevent reactions,
    and how to interrupt a reaction.
    if you don't even try,
    working at subthreshold levels,
    the dog can't ever improve or get better.

    don't give up on your dog, these dogs CAN be helped to get better!!!
  10. Amateur Experienced Member

    All that aside ... he's adorable !
    tigerlily46514 likes this.

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