Dog Aggression

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by freedomdreams, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. freedomdreams Well-Known Member

    Hey everyone !

    So I need some help.
    Aliza my American pitbull terrier is dog aggressive to my dad's dogs when she is crated and when she is outside of the crate.
    As everyone knows she's my most recent addition, and came from a high kill shelter, I do not know of her past.
    She has been here for a bit now and she's been pretty good, she's wonderful with people and absolutely loves them. She's high energy and really enjoys cuddling.
    She doesn't like cats or other dogs and as I live with my dad we have several other dogs.
    I have dealt with dogs that were aggressive to humans and other animals, but I'd love to have suggestions.on how to overcome this with her.

    She gets walked daily, she is free of any health problems (she.came from California and was staying with our.friend who is a vet and ensured they were healthy) so that isn't a concern, and she is also spayed.

    I can tell you her behavior to another dog through a crate and outside.
    When she is in a crate she growls, and will crouch down, wag her tail loosely and bear her teeth. She doesn't raise her hair at all.
    Missy which is my dad's other American pitbull (was Delilah) that came from the shelter as well seems to tease her by walking up to the kennel and barking at her.

    Outside of the kennel we have had her with Missy who is layed back and does get along with our other dogs, Aliza will be sitting with another person and if Missy comes walking up, Aliza will start growling at her and has sometimes lunged. I'm pretty positive it's due to jealousy. Otherwise if Missy doesn't come around her she is generally fine.. she doesn't seem to goto the dogs and try to cause problems, it's only if the dogs come up to her from what I can see..

    I'm still watching her behaviour as she is still very new to the family, I wouldn't say at this point it's because of settling in, but an actual behavior problem. I'm hoping that soon the snow will melt, although we just got a snow storm but then I can start taking her for longer walks more once it goes away.


    Alright, any suggestions or questions ? Feel free to ask.

  2. freedomdreams Well-Known Member

    Hey everyone !

    So when I took Aliza out we thought we could give Aliza the chance to 'meet' Attila.
    So I had her on the leash and my dad held him. I'm very pleased, she was very positive and actually touched his nose. She listened to me and sat between my legs on her choice and she only jumped up once as a sign to play. Although she did decide how much she wanted to react with him, it was a very positive experience and short lived until she was ready to go back. I love the fact that she's paying so much attention to me and looking at me for reinforcement. I feel like with more work like this, hopefully we can make a large breakthrough to her being more socialized.

    I'm not quite sure with Missy though because she is very dog friendly and hasn't had an issue with any of our dogs and never had an issue with Aliza at all, but as soon as Aliza is crated, she starts growling at dogs and cats, but is friendly with people and Missy will bark at her jumping at the carrier. Even without even a sound from Aliza; Missy just does it. I'm not quite sure how this might hurt their friendship if it isn't resolved, and how it might stress Aliza more, or make her more cage aggressive with other dogs.

    Is it because Aliza might have a more 'dominant' personality that she is more comfortable being the one who starts the interaction with another dog compared towhen another dog (only Missy has been tested on this theory) where she starts to growl and become possessive.
    southerngirl likes this.
  3. JazzyandVeronica Experienced Member

    Aliza may be dog selective:

    It doesn't necessarily have to do with dominance; it's just you like certain people and others rub you the wrong way...

    Badrap has a good explanation of dog tolerance levels:
    http://www.badrap.org/dogdog-tolerance

    Smart socialization tips:
    http://www.badrap.org/smart-socializing

    Here's a good reference on monitoring dog play
    http://www.badrap.org/sites/default/files/monitoring.pdf

    My girl is dog reactive. I've had her since she was 10 weeks old and socialized her like crazy. She doesn't really like other dogs and she doesn't get along with them. I feel confident in saying that with her it is clearly a genetic trait. With allot of time and exposure she can get comfortable with and get along with certain dogs; but never to the point that she could be trusted off leash or without heavy supervision, she goes from 0 to 60 in seconds.

    If you are working on socializing Aliza and you aren't entirely sure of her tolerance levels/behaviors, it would be good to have a break stick handy. I know in certain areas they are illegal, in which case a tent stake will also work. I look at break sticks like fire extinguishers. You aquire one in case of emergency hoping that you never ever have to use it; but it is much better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

    Remember pit bulls do have a genetic predisposition to varying levels of DA and when that is the case you can't train that out of them. When dogs are bred for specific purposes they retain some of those genetic characteristics. For example, "Some dogs exhibit breed-specific behaviors such as extraordinary tracking ability, fierceness in the face of ferocious or dangerous quarry, a heightened sense of territoriality, an insatiable desire to run, or an uncanny ability to round up livestock. The American Kennel Club divides dogs into groups depending somewhat on these characteristics: Sporting dogs are those that hunt and retrieve game birds; hounds track mammals by scent; terriers dig into vermin dens; and herding dogs help farmers move sheep and cattle."
    (reference:
    http://www.canismajor.com/dog/instinct.html)

    Pit bulls were bred for over 100 years to fight other dogs. As distasteful as I find that, it doesn't erase the genetic impact of 100+ years of intentional breeding.
  4. freedomdreams Well-Known Member

    That's very true, I don't think I could force her to really enjoy interactions with dogs if she chooses not to, just like I am not always social myself.
    I would like her to at least tolerate some dogs. But if she doesn't that's fine as well.
    I can probably acquire something like a breadstick in case, Beuford our Argentine dogo has started fights with specific dogs of ours (usually all male and once they reach a certain age and arent neutered) and he tends to lock his jaw.

    This is why I am at least happy that she was the dog I got and my dad got the social one, because once I no longer live with my dad, she will be the only dog that is until my dog training cert. Etc, I'd like to get some dogs to show etc, but that will at least until then give me time to understand what her boundaries are before I do that and work with her.
    JazzyandVeronica likes this.

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