Ideas On Helping The Dog-agressive Dog.

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by tigerlily46514, May 24, 2011.

  1. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    This is a thread on ideas on helping dogs with dog-aggression. This site is A TRICKS site, not a dog aggression site, but, since it came up, here is one(1) thread on the topic. I hope i do not annoy the admins of this TRICKS site, away from their focus on TRICKS training, but, dealing with dog-aggressive dogs, really IS also a form of training, and i intend this to be only thread on this topic.

    I feel bad, that I gave impression, on another thread, that Buddy is ALLOWED to behave in that manner. (My dog IS majorly severely dog aggressive)
    But I left out saying Buddy does not get the chance to react, not too often, not if I can help it!!
    My motto is, “the less time he spends in that mindset--- the better and I do not allow him to even focus in a negative way on other dogs like that, and he rarely gets chance to react nowadays. Oh, he still would, if left to his own choices, but, I interrupt it, or avoid it.
    I just do not believe he can not be helped to get better, maybe not cured, but I just am not in that “Nothing can be done!! He’s too far gone!!”:oops: boat. Nope, not me, not Buddy. I *like* working with him on this stuff. I find it both fascinating, and extremely rewarding!!:)
    Buddy hasn’t had a full blown reaction..i can’t remember last one. OH he would if I allowed him to, ha ha, make no mistake, Buddy is STILL a gangsta at heart, totally would love to go lunge and scare some innocent passerby dog, but, he just isn’t allowed to anymore.
    And he is better. He has even recently started ending his own reactions lately. That is huge news. What I am saying there, is, he himself, stops the hubbaloo reaction and walks away. Huge step. (i used to drag him away, still arguing over his shoulder at enemy dog) NOw, even if he does bark, or even react, he stops his own self more and more often!!:LOL:
    I’ve tried many things, I’ve made some mistakes here or there, but, Buddy always gives me another chance to do better for him.
    And I use a multi-prong approach. What i do to prevent a reaction, varies depending on the situation, but avoid them, i do!!!
    I don’t feel angry like some ppl do about this issue, I’ve heard others who do on the dog-aggression help sites. I’ve never so much as raised my voice to my dog, nor have i ever even felt the urge to. I feel compassion, and I feel absolute heart pounding joy, when we do succeed.
    I avoid confrontation when I estimate it will set him off. Below in comments area, I will post a few things, that HAVE helped (or not) with my dog. Each dog is unique, but, maybe someone will feel inspired to at least TRY to help their dog get better.

    we might not be able to cure some of our dog-aggressive dogs, but, we can almost always make them BETTER. Oddly, once i accepted Buddy might not ever be 'right' i felt less disappointment at set backs. Odd, but, that is how it was for me.

    CAVEAT---i am not a pro, i am only sharing what helped my dog get a lil better. Safety first, of course!!! And all dog-aggressive dogs should have vet exam to rule out illnesses, of course.
    And consult a behaviorist, too. (mine threw buddy out, ha ha, he *is* THAT bad, she even YELLED at him, she just lost it, she could not believe she could not control him, and she lost it, and she even yanked him around, so we were done) but i hear most are great.
    But, "consult a behaviorist"
    This thread is only to inspire those who have given up. Lil miracles can happen!!

  2. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    I spend time, desensitizing him to various dogs in our hood, that he is not yet comfy with. I start way back, wherever HE is comfy, and we sit there, he gets treats for looking AT the enemy dog, and then we go away. Each day closer. (this is very much the method i used to get him cured of people aggression, too, more on that later)
    To me distraction is waste of time, and I only use that for emergencies. Distracting your dog to look AT YOU when he is mad at Fido over there, does not help your dog change his inner attitude whatsoever. Well, it did not help mine, anyway. I wasted a whole year doing that, and I could just kick myself. What a waste of time. But, alllll the sites, and my dog trainers, said to do that. *sigh*
    Yes, yes, I can distract Buddy to look at me, while enemy dog goes by, but, Buddy did not gain any confidence or ability to handle looking AT his nemesis. He made little progress in the year I wasted distracting him from looking AT the enemy dog. Sigh.
    But, if all other options fail me, that is what we do. Is only a bandaid.
    Rewarding, (calmly rewarding), with a party in his mouth, for getting your dog to look AT the other dog, without reacting, even if you have to start a block away, THAT helps. I am not above speed-feeding to help prevent him barking, if i have to.
    Looking at his mom did NOT help *my* dog make ANY progress AT ALL for this issue. Learning to be calm, and look directly at the other dog DID help desensitize him to most dogs in our hood.
    On walks, I taught him, “Let’s go” and we turn away if I estimate there will be confrontation if we continue down that street. My goal is to have zero reactions happen.
    He is used to that, “Let’s go” and easily follows me away from enemy dog. Sometimes it means I take Buddy up into other ppl’s yards, :pwhile enemy dog goes by, but, it’s better than letting Buddy spend one moment reacting. Each time he gets to display his gangsta self, the circuitry is reinforced, imo.
    Like most da dogs, Buddy is VERY unhappy to have a dog BEHIND him, but, enjoys following the dog. After enemy dog has passed by, (I’ll have buddy look at me if he can’t cope, but I strive for a “party in the mouth” while enemy dog goes by, but, if I am starting to ‘lose’ him, he has to look at me then)
    And then we sometimes follow after them, and have Buddy follow along about a block behind enemy dogs, so he can safely observe the dog, smell his footprints or pee-mails, etc. It helps him learn about dogs, get used to looking at dogs and still feeling safe.
    Also, if I do ‘lose’ Buddy, and he does react, barking or lunging, I know, we are done for the day. Now Buddy is chockfull of adrenaline, and he WILL react to ANY and EVERY dog for next 20 minutes, guaranteed. Even his best friend, Buddy will bark at him,:mad: too, for next 20 minutes.
    sara likes this.
  3. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    I also use calming signals. These are only good if I have notice we are about to pass a dog. So far as I know, these are useless if the dog has “crossed over”/begun to react. These calming signals are ONLY good PRIOR to the interaction, so far as I know. Once Buddy has started into a reaction---> we CALMLY leave, we exit, we are done, there is *usually* no sure-fire way to interrupt it successfully. My goal is prevention. Best move, imo, if my dog reacts, is leave the scene, “Let’s go”
    But wow, I’ve got some miracles to report using ‘dog language’.
    THANK YOU TO TX_COWGIRL for helping me on this!!!

    Buddy has several different types of reactions, his most dramatic, show stopping one,:rolleyes: is his “Chihuahua Reaction”. Buddy gives this most theatrical display to any small, skinny type of short haired dog, like Min Pins, etc etc.
    Buddy grew up in a cage, 24/7, in a dark, rat infested barn.(puppy mill) I suspect, the rats were his ONLY entertainment, ever…for his whole entire life. *Maybe* to Buddy, who probably never ever saw a Chihuahua before, maybe they remind him of rats, being small and short haired and all. Who knows?
    But Buddy does NOT seem "afraid", at all, but crazed/intensely excited beyond description/just literally BLOW A FUSE and explodes into this breeching, screaming, wild eyed, foaming mouthed, leaping and crazy behavior—he is outa his mind----just over the top excitement outa control, when he gets within 100 feet of a Chihuahua. (used to be blocks away):eek:.
    Even his GSD (fearful) reaction does not hold a candle to his world famous Chihuahua reaction.
    So here we are, walking down the street, and we come around a curve, and there, in the front yard, are THREE, count them THREE Chihuahuas. All 3 dogs are leaping and screaming about Buddy, running around, and really carrying on over there, okay? Buddy starts to excite, and I make him stop, sit and look at me.
    He does, he knows the drill. Then I yawn at him, and offer slow blinks. (“calm down”) Buddy yawns back at me, (GOOD sign) and then turns his side toward the dogs, and does a fake sniff. (all calming signals)
    I stand there and wait, if you ever try this, and your dog then assumes a sniff pose, let him alone, he is doing the right thing. Do not interrupt this, just wait quietly. { You can tell is fake sniff, cuz, they do not even inhale, and do not move, they ‘pose’.}
    Buddy held the fake sniff pose for some time, just had his side to the dogs, and his own nose pushed into the grass. Buddy is now signaling to the other dogs, “calm down, I am no threat.” My heart is beating wildly,:ROFLMAO: cuz I know what he is saying, and I’ve never seen him say it before, especially not to a CHIHUAHUA!!!
    Then, all 3 dogs observe Buddy’s msg, and all 3 screaming running dogs, all 3, sit down, and watch respectfully and silently now, NOT A PEEP. THEN, Buddy started to move…he kept his nose down into the grass for quite a ways,
    and Buddy walked calmly by THREEE Chihuahuas, who all sat down silently and quietly and watched Buddy go by. Buddy never so much as glanced at the 3 dogs, not even a peek.
    Now my heart is beating so hard, there are not words, I feel like we climbed Mount Everest or won the Olympics. I am so excited, MY hands are trembling, ha!!
    I ran home, and told my sweetie, “Honey, I just talked ‘dog’ to Buddy, and he agreed!!!” and he could NOT NOT NOT believe OUR Buddy, walked by three Chihuahuas!!
    Now to anyone else, it looks like some lady walking her dog, and 3 dogs are watching. But to me, it was as momentous as a symphony playing great music. I was so stoked, I can’t even tell you!! See, when I had ‘normal’ dogs, I did not get THIS big of rush from walking the dog!! Ha ha!!
    See, he IS getting better. I do not LET him misbehave, nope. OH he WOULD, but, he rarely gets a chance, unless we are surprised by unexpected dog.
    And even when he’s had chance to bite a loose dog who rushed him, he didn’t. Buddy is getting better.

    I hope, if you are in love with a dog-aggressive dog, you can feel some inspiration to at least TRY to help your dog, they CAN get better!!! And *some* forms of dog-aggression are curable:
    http://www.dogtrickacademy.com/memb...orn-dog-aggressive-imo.3586/page-4#post-24881
  4. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Outa time, i also helped Buddy with a whole ton of issues (he HAD more issues than Nat'l Geographic, ha ha)

    and helped him with his people agression, and i had way way better luck with that problem than i have had with his dog-agression. Buddy now LOVES LOVES LOVES all people, all of 'em, no exceptions, he is happy to meet anyone, is outgoing, very very much enjoys all humans,
    quite a turnaround from the gangsta who used to bite everyone he met, ha ha!! He has come a long way!!

    Buddy is VERY tolerant and very respectful of all humans now, even kids, (although i would not dream of leaving him unsupervised with kids, to protect HIM) and now, if anyone ever said Buddy bit them, i'd have trouble believing them. He is 100% fine with humans now. Even if they hurt him, like at the vets. He is fine.

    ....just he doesn't like most dogs yet.

    later i can say how i did it, (all by myself, really, cuz trainers threw Buddy out) and maybe it will work for your dog. My way is not stressful, nor dangerous, is kinda fun even. Took a while, but my dog was total gangsta, but, it worked for him, anyway, but each dog is unique, but worth a shot, it was kinda fun, imo.
    sara likes this.
  5. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Nice thread Jean. :) Well put and I think it will be appreciated my many members. (y)
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  6. sara Moderator

    I could not have said it better myself!!! I also made the mistake of trying for eye contact first, then was given the advice to play the "look at that" game... things got alot better quickly!

    Another thing that has helped Ollie is to get him on a combo front-clip harness and head halter. when we see another dog, I make sure there is no tension on the head halter, just the harness, but if we need to turn away (ie the dog is getting too close to threshold) I use the head halter to get him to break contact. there's alot less stimulation on that then when pulling him away on a collar... it made a big difference!

    but we had a serious set back last year. A friend of mine, who is a dog trainer tried to give me advice. she said that I needed to give him a "touch" on his side to break his stare, as the stare is "dominant" I told her that I do not use any physical contact or corrections on Oliver, as it makes him way worse. so she stepped in and did it for me :eek: I could not move fast enough to stop her, and THANK GOD Oliver was wearing a muzzle!!! or she'd'a benn needing a few stitches!!!! She used to be someone Oliver trusted, now, he HATES her, all because of a tap (seriously, all she did was tap him with her fingers, and he EXPLOADED!!!) on his side... Ollie's threshold doubled after that :cry:

    I could have shot her for that!!!!

    I told her that she is to NEVER touch my dog again, she just undid a YEAR of training! She never even apologized.

    the moral of the story, when a dog is at the point of almost reacting, do not touch the dog, he WILL react! and you can make it ALOT worse! The less stimulation on a dog already stressed, the better!
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  7. charmedwolf Moderator

    Jean, how bad was buddy with people? As you know I have two human/dog aggressive Boxers which we are slowly working on. Dog aggression I'm used to working with, human aggression not so much so any idea you may have are well appreciated.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  8. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Well, Charmed, Buddy was people aggressive, but not the worst case i've ever heard of. He glared at everyone. We had Buddy many months til we ever saw him smile, btw.
    He growled and snarled at anyone who got too close, or reached towards him,
    and he bit anyone who touched him.
    Even us.

    It was NOT the worst bite, i always sensed he was holding back a bit, it was more like a nip, well, sometimes more like between a nip and a bite, depending on if the nip worked to back you up or not.. He never did a full on, "i'm going to kill you" type of attack, but, we always stopped when he nipped. Perhaps, *if* we had continued touching him or whatever we were doing, he *might* have escalated to such an attack. but, we always stopped touching him if he nipped.
    He eventually, over time, with many many treats, learned to accept us sitting next to him, in ever shortening distances. We kept our sides towards him, not facing him, and tossed treats. We did this frequently, slowly, over time, closing the distance.
    If i had known about the Yawn, and the Slow Blink back then, i would have used those, too, but, back then, i'd never heard of using dog language.

    I can't quite recall now, how many weeks or months it was, til he let us pet or touch him without first nipping us.
    and then..... we had to get him to like "other" people at a very reliable level, once he ever fully trusted us.

    We had lots of people toss him treats. We are extremely fortunate, that Buddy is HIGHLY interested in treats. :) We had every visitor toss treats to him. (we didn't quite trust to have treats handed to him by strangers yet.)
    For whatever it is worth, i always spoke to strangers we passed on walks, in calm relaxed voice, too. NOt sure if that helped, or not, but, i did it. So Buddy could hear, "Mom is not worried about that guy." Ha, i am very outgoing person, i can talk to anyone, absolutely anyone, and can make calm sounding small talk at drop of hat.

    If Buddy growled at visitors, we removed him, silently, calmly, from the room, into boring empty room, for 30 seconds. He learned quickly enough, "If i want to be in here with everyone, i have to be a gentleman.". He is very bright dog, and figured this out fairly quickly, that growling got HIM removed. NEVER but NEVER ever correct nor reprimand a growl.
    All the dog learns is, "don't growl", and might skip that VIP growl, and instead go straight for a bite.

    We found most ppl were extremely compassionate to help out a dog in rehab. No one ever minded tossing a treat to our dog. No one, never had anyone say nope, too busy. {But i always looked for ppl who did not appear to be in hurry}
    Our dog took every treat. I do think he began to associate ppl = treats.
    I am not a shy person, it was not hard for *me* personally, to ask strangers to toss my dog a treat. For some, that might be difficult. Buddy had humans he didn't know, raining treats on him for his first year with us!!

    We took him to places with crowds, and rewarded calm behavior, with treats and praise. We stayed at HIS comfort zone, ever shortening the distances towards the people, each day. We did this every day, even if we only had 10 minutes, we tried to never miss a day.
    The crowds thing, had added advantage, of Buddy didn't think, "Okay, this ONE guy here is okay, but only him." kinda thing.
    then, when Buddy had quit growling and snarling at everyone, and seemed kind of used to ppl, and thought humans rained treats, then i had other ppl, like my best pals, give him treats AND touch him, on his back or chest, not his head, not at first. If he had growled, i would have removed him, calmly, and silently, from the room into boring room for 30 seconds.
    (although nowadays, he is to point, anyone can touch him anywhere). When that went okay, i had other ppl do the same.
    All our friends think we swapped out Buddy, all of them say, "THAT is not the same dog you once had!!"

    I guess each dog is unique, but, working by crowds worked for *my* dog, and i will say, i watched Buddy closely, with "SAFETY FIRST" as my motto, never advancing closer than he was ready. If Buddy tensed up, we were moving too close, too fast. It did take some time, but, it was neither difficult, nor stressful.

    As he got better, i raised the bar some, and found basketball courts, with running screaming young ppl there, and Buddy got treats for watching. This was very challenging at first for Buddy, we started wayyyyy back.
    I kept Buddy at HIS comfort zone. We would move closer each day. Even if we only had time to stop by and spend 10 minutes there, it helped...... or sometimes i brought book, and i'd read, while Buddy studied running screaming humans and got treats for looking at them. Buddy would even kinda sorta fall asleep, with running humans there, if we stayed long enough!!! It was one of many daily outings i did, to get Buddy desensitized to every kind of human activity i could think of.
    Over time, as we moved closer to the basketball courts, the players got to know Buddy, and tossed Buddy treats, too, and said they hoped he gets better.:)

    I enjoyed this method. IT WAS NOT HARD, NOT STRESSFUL, AT ALL.
    It might not work for every dog, but, that is what we did.

    I AM NOT SURE, BUT I THINK THE DAILY-NESS OF THIS EXCERCISE WAS KEY. Not just once a week, or every few weeks, but daily. Every day, i'd either take him places with crowds, have someone over to my house to toss treats to him, even sitting in cars outside stores, and giving treats every time someone came out of the door. Just whatever i could think of.

    It was NOT stressful, cuz i only slowly advanced along, as Buddy got comfy at 100 feet....90 feet.....80 feet...and so on, it was DAILY excercise, to find crowds, or groups of humans, like outside of stores, even, and let Buddy watch them, get treats tossed by strangers, it was not stressful, for either me or my dog, i thought it was kind of fun, watching how Buddy began to decide humans were not nasty after all.

    We did this with children, last of all. I would take Buddy to playgrounds, or outside of schools having recess, and stop way back, lay out blanket, and sit there with him, giving him treats as he observed all those small, screaming running shouting children. I got impression, at first, he'd never seen kids, ever.

    We moved closer each day. He was not stressed, i stayed at his comfort zone. He got treats just for looking at kids. OVer time, we moved closer to the groups of kids. Over time, much much time, we got closer, and i allowed kids to toss him treats, but never touch him.
    then i began working with kids in my hood, asking them to toss Buddy treats. Over time, with some kids i got to know, i had those kids hand Buddy a treat and later, they gave treats if he would sit when they asked. I was watching close, and right there, and Buddy was enjoying the att'n, and not afraid of the kids.
    To this day, kids in my hood, stop their bikes, "Ey, do you need me to give Buddy a treat?"
    I always say yes!!

    In the 30 months that we've had Buddy, he has not bitten anyone nor reacted to anyone, not anyone, for geez, in past 24 months.
    Well, no, i later realized, Buddy is afraid of ppl with furry trimmed hoods, growled at them, acted afraid, etc etc, just this past winter, so we had to work on that one.
    forgot about that one. Now he is okay with furry trimmed hoods, too.

    To me, Buddy is "cured", not a sign left of his ppl-aggression, to anyone now. NOt even the vet drawing blood, nope, he is cool now. But, we were very very careful of him, til we were bone sure he was safe. But all dogs have their own inner clocks, their own inner issues, their own histories, etc etc. If you are reading this, and your dog is still ppl-aggressive, do not feel discouraged, but i hope you feel HOPE. I do think dogs can get better about this.

    NOw, he is very very tolerant, actually fully enjoys ppl, all of them, just all of them are A-OK with Buddy now. NOw i just would have trouble believing Buddy bit anyone, without some provocation. I never ever leave Buddy around kids without me there, to protect HIM, ha ha!!!
  9. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Just this month, he got to sniff his first ever baby. He'd always wanted to smell one, he'd seen a few in ppl's arms now and then, and he seemed curious, "what is THAT thing!!??" but, we don't know any babies, didn't want to risk a thing, didn't want to stress a germ conscious young mom, etc etc.

    But Buddy finally got to smell one of those things!! He sniffed it, and sat down, lost interest after a moment or two of looking at it... layed down while we chatted then. Buddy has only had limited exposure to toddlers, though, and i would be very alert to have any toddlers around. He has got to smell a few, but, toddlers are not part of *my* life at this time. Buddy has seen a few toddlers on walks, etc, and did fine, but no playing with toddlers has ever happened for him. I might be nervous wreck, no idea. I know i'd be right there, right there. I might even convey fear to Buddy, ha ha, and it would not be good. who knows...

    That seems it'd be tough one, haven't had Buddy around toddlers much. Don't really care to, either, really. To me, that is whole other ballgame, toddlers....out of my league for sure, cuz toddlers can't be trusted not to scream in dog's face, poke his eyes, whatever. We do not have access to toddlers to train Buddy with, either.

    Lucky for Buddy, we just don't have any toddler visitors right now, so is not issue right now.
    mewzard likes this.
  10. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    whoops, i left out a part, prior to taking Buddy where he could watch crowds of humans, i wore him out. I had him go on long walks, vigorous play session, tricks training, whatever, to get him half sleepy/tired/relaxed.

    i think that is helpful. Taking pent up dog, who is antsy for excercise, seems like that is not helpful way to approach the issue. A TIRED DOG IS A GOOD DOG. ha ha!!
  11. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Oh, one other thing i did, and i don't know i'd recommend this, even my own family thought i was nutz to do this, and many ppl reading along can agree with my family.
    After we'd had Buddy about a year or more, i realized, if i leaned over him, he still growled. Well, i wanted to change that.
    NOw, by now, after a year, Buddy fully accepted us, etc etc, but, he still had boundaries, not wild about his head being touched, or anyone, not even US, leaning over him. We'd all been tiptoe-ing around Buddy's rules for a year.

    well, i don't recall exactly how i did it, i *think* i just leaned over him, til he stopped growling. Stupid thing to do, but, i knew my dog by then, i knew he would not bite ME. I somehow knew this. However, anyone who wants to argue how foolish this was, is welcome to do so, and i will not disagree, it sounds very stupid. I so agree!!

    So, i began leaning over Buddy, til he gave up, til he quit growling. I did speak to him calmly, etc. When he relaxed, i got up and left him be. I repeated this many times a day.

    After only a week or two of this, Buddy now accepted me leaning all over him. I got him on the floor, and leaned wayyyy over him. I spoke calmly to him, i yawned at him, i slow blinked him. I kinda 'made' him go along with me leaning all over him. Buddy did not get to choose if we would do this excercise or not...nope.

    anything i found my dog objecting to, well, then, that is what we worked on next, ha ha!!

    but, like i said, somewhow, i KNEW somehow, Buddy would not bite ME. i knew it. can't explain how but i knew it. And i did have my face away from his face, and my hands at the ready to grab his head back down, the first few times i tried this admittedly stupid move.

    then, one day, i called my family in to see what i'd gotten Buddy used to, had Buddy lie on floor, and they gasped in fear:eek: as i layed down over Buddy. My guy cried out, "don't do THAT!! He'll bite you!" at which point, i said, yelling around is not helpful, now plz stand silently and just watch.
    (not my weight on him, but over him just the same). They all got bug-eyed and afraid, but, Buddy was now used to this "Mom's doing that ridiculous smother me thing again...sigh."

    i can now do anything to my dog, anything, and have zero fear of growls or bites, and Buddy has now learned, "Even if mom is doing that goofy smother-the-dog thing, i am safe." Never know when that might come in handy. And i think it added to his feeling he does not need to worry about ppl, could be wrong.
  12. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    oh, also, when sort of forcing my dog to accept my leaning over him, besides the yawn, very slow blinks, talking calmly to him, also, the deep sigh. Is calming signal to dogs, the deep sigh. This might be why i didn't get bitten, when i told my dog, "That's it, hon, we are not tiptoe-ing around this issue--don't touch my head!! don't lean over me!!---- anymore. It can go into the trash with all your other old issues..."

    not sure if it was all these calming signals, Or maybe it was, my dog noticed how i was positioned, and realized, i had him.
    He could not get off a good bite to me...i had my face away at first, and my hands ready to hold his face down, if i'd had to. so Buddy got to experience, repeatedly, my leaning over him, and i guess he realized, "it happened, yet, i continue to live." who knows? but, it is no big deal at ALL to him now.

    but, that was that. Yet another issue, yet another thing that Buddy was no longer in charge of deciding...
  13. charmedwolf Moderator

    Thanks for writing me a novel! No sarcasim intended.

    Isis right now is the one everybody thinks is the worse case they have ever seen. Though I highly disagree, she is more willing to focus back on me when she is distressed. Jinx on the other hand has a more extravagant reaction and doesn't want to focus on me. They both have around the same comfort zone about 20 ft. Isis reaction is to lunge, hair raise, bark and snarl while Jinx is lunge, spinning lunges, hair raises, barks, snarling, and redirection of her aggression.

    I usually go on people hunting walks as I like to call them ;) I guess I should head to the Walmart parking lot for more practice with them.

    We don't, thankfully, have a problem with them against us. Jinx is the only one that doesn't want me to trim her toe nails though she will let my mom without fuss which I'm more than willing to compromise with.

    Thanks for the advice and ideas, hope is never gone for me with these two.
  14. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Sorry, i type at almost 100 wpm, so in only moments, i do have a long post!! And i actually DO read entire books, so to me, a thread is nothing to read. But most ppl today like "only a paragraph", sorry. I think being a book reader is drawback for me at times, i think being a book reader makes me overestimate how much others read, since i *can* read for a long time. (lol, i actually enjoy reading)

    I'm so glad you do not lose hope, and stay inspired to continue trying to work with your dogs. Too many ppl DO give up, "my dog is too far gone/too afraid/too reactive" whatever.
    I can't imagine trying to work with two at once, or, do you work with them one at a time? Yes, for me, and for my dog, working with groups/crowds seemed to help a lot, starting at the point before Buddy reacts, and moving closer each DAY. Was daily thing.
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  15. charmedwolf Moderator

    I'm also a book reader, even finished the HP series in just 2 days so reading that much doesn't bother me. I just can't type that much.

    I work with the girls alone. The only time I worked with them together is when I had another trainer with me and he had Jinx who was muzzled. It was still rather crazy.
    abby_someone likes this.
  16. DuncansMom Well-Known Member

    "We had lots of people toss him treats. We are extremely fortunate, that Buddy is HIGHLY interested in treats. :) We had every visitor toss treats to him. (we didn't quite trust to have treats handed to him by strangers yet.)
    For whatever it is worth, i always spoke to strangers we passed on walks, in calm relaxed voice, too. NOt sure if that helped, or not, but, i did it. So Buddy could hear, "Mom is not worried about that guy." Ha, i am very outgoing person, i can talk to anyone, absolutely anyone, and can make calm sounding small talk at drop of hat.

    If Buddy growled at visitors, we removed him, silently, calmly, from the room, into boring empty room, for 30 seconds. He learned quickly enough, "If i want to be in here with everyone, i have to be a gentleman.". He is very bright dog, and figured this out fairly quickly, that growling got HIM removed. NEVER but NEVER ever correct nor reprimand a growl.
    All the dog learns is, "don't growl", and might skip that VIP growl, and instead go straight for a bite.

    We found most ppl were extremely compassionate to help out a dog in rehab. No one ever minded tossing a treat to our dog. No one, never had anyone say nope, too busy. {But i always looked for ppl who did not appear to be in hurry}
    Our dog took every treat. I do think he began to associate ppl = treats.
    I am not a shy person, it was not hard for *me* personally, to ask strangers to toss my dog a treat. For some, that might be difficult. Buddy had humans he didn't know, raining treats on him for his first year with us!!

    We took him to places with crowds, and rewarded calm behavior, with treats and praise. We stayed at HIS comfort zone, ever shortening the distances towards the people, each day. We did this every day, even if we only had 10 minutes, we tried to never miss a day.
    The crowds thing, had added advantage, of Buddy didn't think, "Okay, this ONE guy here is okay, but only him." kinda thing.
    then, when Buddy had quit growling and snarling at everyone, and seemed kind of used to ppl, and thought humans rained treats, then i had other ppl, like my best pals, give him treats AND touch him, on his back or chest, not his head, not at first. If he had growled, i would have removed him, calmly, and silently, from the room into boring room for 30 seconds.
    (although nowadays, he is to point, anyone can touch him anywhere). When that went okay, i had other ppl do the same.
    All our friends think we swapped out Buddy, all of them say, "THAT is not the same dog you once had!!"
    I guess each dog is unique, but, working by crowds worked for *my* dog, and i will say, i watched Buddy closely, with "SAFETY FIRST" as my motto, never advancing closer than he was ready. If Buddy tensed up, we were moving too close, too fast. It did take some time, but, it was neither difficult, nor stressful.

    As he got better, i raised the bar some, and found basketball courts, with running screaming young ppl there, and Buddy got treats for watching. This was very challenging at first for Buddy, we started wayyyyy back.
    I kept Buddy at HIS comfort zone. We would move closer each day. Even if we only had time to stop by and spend 10 minutes there, it helped...... or sometimes i brought book, and i'd read, while Buddy studied running screaming humans and got treats for looking at them. Buddy would even kinda sorta fall asleep, with running humans there, if we stayed long enough!!! It was one of many daily outings i did, to get Buddy desensitized to every kind of human activity i could think of.
    Over time, as we moved closer to the basketball courts, the players got to know Buddy, and tossed Buddy treats, too, and said they hoped he gets better.:)

    I enjoyed this method. IT WAS NOT HARD, NOT STRESSFUL, AT ALL."




    How do you approach the other people? When Duncan sees a person he pulls really hard toward them, and usually starts jumping and barking which tends to scare the people away. How do you manage to hand treats to passersby to ask them them throw them to your dog? I tried this yesterday but no one wanted to come near us.
    Today, we met one really nice man on our walk who saw Duncan pull toward him and bark but wasn't afraid of him and very nicely stopped to chat with me and ask what breed Duncan is. I got Duncan to sit for a little while and calm down a little and the man petted Duncan very nicely, and Duncan licked his fingers. (I didn't have the treats with me on this walk) We all made friends, but as soon as the man started walking away, Duncan started barking and pulling like crazy all over again. So Frustrating.
  17. running_dog Honored Member

    I hope this isn't going off topic but what about when the worst happens? It is happily for most of us a rare event but lets say you've been oblivious to the warning signs or otherwise caught off guard, and yes you're going to beat yourself up over it for the rest of the year but in the mean time two unleashed dogs have reached a warlike state and you have to deal with it... when and how should you intervene?

    Now I know there are lots of suggestions, obviously it isn't a good idea to stick your hands in the way (my brother was bitten by our old border collie when he tried to pull him out of a fight), in the 1970s my father used to protect the family labrador from packs of street dogs using his spiked umbrella as a barrier... and there is the standard advice that you tip a bucket of water over the combatants, well that's great if you happen to have a bucket and water... personally it isn't part of my normal walking kit :ROFLMAO: There are of course potentially bully/victim, attacker/victim as well as attacker/attacker scenarios. I'm guessing that ideally there would be different responses, but I don't have any practical way to intervene that I am happy with :(. Looking at what happened with Ollie I can see that physical intervention could undo a lot of remedial work.
  18. mewzard Experienced Member

    Running_dog....short sharp sound "HEY"? Not really thought about it myself either.
    DuncansMom... I understand how frustrating things like that can be! Oka went through a phase of jumping up at people, even though she'd been taught from day 1 that this was not allowed. I managed to remined her that sitting got her petted, we'd approach, she'd sit, then 1 minute later she'd jump, this is where treats are handy as you can lure them into the sit with thier nose and they are more apt to stay where they are put if there is food coming. But really it's just repetition, i would have got him into a sit again, then walked off when he was calm. Treats are your bargaining power!! I never go anywhere without them!
  19. charmedwolf Moderator

    Jean- I just wanted to post a slight brag. Jinx was able to be within two feet of a friend of my father and he was able to toss treats to her. Isis was able to be about 3 feet from him as well. Jinx got startled when he repositioned himself in the chair and barked and grumbled but that was the extense of her noise. Isis was more scared then anything. She was shaking and whining from further away but she worked up to being closer with peanut butter. She did a couple of deep breathes and inhales like she does before she starts to bark but decided against it.
    Overall, it was a good practise for people on the porch and near the house.
  20. DuncansMom Well-Known Member

    Yea, we have been training Duncan to sit throughout walks and he is getting quite good at sitting. I'll have him sit and watch other people and dogs walk past us. He still jumps I think he's getting less aggressive.

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