Is my dog a bully?

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by jennyw, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. jennyw Well-Known Member

    We are having a lot of difficulty dealing with Jessie's dog aggression. The trainers at our obedience class say it is fear aggression but she seems anything but! She looks for other dogs constantly when we are out, if the other dog is walking calmly I can usually distract her with "watch me" or touching my palm for a treat but if the other dog is running for it's ball for example Jessie goes ballistic. She leaps and jumps and squeals and barks, desperate to get to them. When I used to walk her without her lead she would run excitedly to other dogs but then she tried to dominate them by putting her paw on the back of their neck and then the other dog gets annoyed. Then there's usually a scuffle and I have to apologise to the owner. I only walk her off the lead now if there is no one else on the beach and I'm constantly looking around for dogs.She seems desperate to play with other dgs but has no idea how to do it. The other issue is she seems to bully timid dogs. My next door neighbour has a very gentle collie who tried to play with Jess and submit to her, Jess had her on the ground by her throat, it was horrible. The neighbour also has a Jack Russell who Jess keeps well away from as he exudes a very confident "don't mess with me" vibe. I've also seen her do this with a couple of other dogs who have tried to say hello to her in a submissive manner. I'm really concerned that she is just a bully, as when she meets confident dogs she seems very unsure of herself. Is she going to spend the rest of her life walking on the lead only?:dogsad:

  2. snowblind New Member

    By this description she does seem fear agressive. She has alot of the same behaviours as my doberman and I know she is fear agressive even though the fear part is not obvious when she jumps any strange dog she sees and not in a "put my paws on your back"-manner but "grab you so the hair fly"-manner. She hasn´t drawn blood form the other dogs but it is pretty terrible to watch. I have gotten in between the dogs and have pretty nasty scars to show for it. But it still is fear agression that I actually brought on by forcing her to interact with other dogs but she felt uncomfortable around them and found a way to make them go away. She is perfectly fine with dogs she has been introduced to (can´t post a link to a picture :( ) but has the same problems of bullying the very submissive ones.

    My dog is on leash everywhere where there might be other dogs. I go to woods with her or on the beach and on the sea in winter (on the ice) where I can see far and get her before she bolts at someone. It is a recall issue really. We have been improving but still have a long way to go.

    But when your dog can´t play with other dogs then it is just fine. Dogs don´t need to play with other dogs. If you find a dog she can get along nicely then great but if you don´t then it is ok too. Just be your dogs best friend. For one of my dogs that was fear agressive (not as bad as the dobe) it was enough when I started to protect her from other dogs. She trusted me to stand up for her so she didn´t have to and started to see that the other dogs are not that dangerous until she was fine in events running around among several strange dogs. She and my dobe are (were) "second-hand" dogs.

    I would listen to what the trainer has to say.
  3. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Sounds like a dog lacking in "doggie etiquette."
    You say she used to run to other dogs wanting to play, and then rudely display dominant behaviors. After so many dogs telling her off, she may have developed fear aggression. Dogs have to learn how to interact with other dogs, respectfully. If Jessie didn't get enough dog-to-dog interaction as a pup, she may not have learned doggie etiquette. If that's the case, she's probably pissed off numerous dogs by being(in their mind) rude and disrespectful. She may not have gotten the point, and instead became fear aggressive because she thinks playing gets her attacked by other dogs.

    Just one possibility of what Jessie's aggression could be. Fear aggression does not look frightened, often fear aggression is more vicious than aggression of a more dominant nature. You say Jessie seems to look for dogs everywhere you go--definitely could be fear aggression. She's looking out for herself, keeping a wary eye on her surroundings.

    I would say you need to find a positive behaviorist. Fear aggression can definitely be helped and some dogs can become "normal" again. With dedication, a good training/reconditioning/rehabilitation plan, and lots of TIME, Jessie can learn that she doesn't have to act out towards other dogs. :)
  4. jennyw Well-Known Member

    Thank you both for your advice, it's much appreciated! It can sometimes feel like we are the only people who have trouble controlling their dog, we see so many well behaved dogs walking off the lead and listening to their owners! I've actually started to write down every time I manage to stop her chasing another dog or reacting to them so I feel as if we are making progress. Some people have told me to give her 6 months and if she's no better then to send her back to the dogs home but I would never do that. I've heard about a dog behaviourist working locally so I will get in touch and see what they offer. Here's hoping!
  5. snowblind New Member

    Now that is a really good idea- positive reinforcement not only for your dog but for you too :) That is great idea to keep you motivated because there is no hope for a dog whos owner has given up. I have to do that too (I haven´t given up but feel terribly discouraged sometimes). Thank you for the idea!
  6. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Jenny this IS a tough problem, my own dog is much like yours. Many people, trainers, and online advice sources(but not this one) told me Buddy might not ever be 100% right. Some people think dog-aggressive dogs, like inheritantly shy dogs, can get better, but, might not ever be 100% right.

    but, Buddy is getting better.
    And it might very well be, your dog just needs more practice at social skills, and some guidance. YOur dog's problem might not be exact same thing as my dog has.

    HOW OLD IS JESSIE? (I am guessing you will say about 9 months old?)

    That is great you have a solid, "Look at me". WONDERFUL! That will help. Tx has told me about a book she is reading, in which the human YAWNS at the dog, which IS a known calming signal from 1 dog to another. (sometimes, a YAWN is just a yawn, but, it can also be used as a calming signal, "CAlm down, just chill already!")

    Tx, what is that book? WITH THE YAWN THERAPY? Jenny, i've tried many many things, many things. This yawn therapy seems to be most effective for my dog, in getting him to shift his attitude.
    Oh, i can distract Buddy, yes, i can. I can make Buddy smile up at me while enemy-dog goes by. But, the second Buddy looks away--he immediately resumes his cujo imitation. :dogmad: His inner attitude did not change--i only interrupted it.


    but, this yawn thing, seems to REALLY HELPING my dog!! Finally, something that really really works!!:msnohyes:

    so far, i have only used it on walks, and i've only used it when i see Buddy's FIRST EARLIEST initial beginnings of a reaction. I'm not sure it will work once Buddy has crossed over into the zone.

    Anyway, Buddy DOES INDEED bully dogs who are not confident. Like your dog, my Buddy WILL respect a confident dog, but, the slightest sign of inexperience/insecure, and Buddy does his "Ey! YOu wanna piece of me?":dogmad:

    My Buddy has a few other catagories that he feels need a good hollering out, including ALL german shepherds, all puppies,(how embarrassing, right?) and all chihuahuas. The reaction to each group is a lil different, though. To you, Bud's reaction might look just the same, but, i can spot the differences to the 3 groups.

    But Buddy can play and actually LOVES a few dogs, but, he's got isssues!!
    I'm horrified anyone suggested you swap out a dog with issues!! Wha? Nah, this lil dog might have more issues than Nat'l Geographic, but he is MY lil messed up dog, and i love him. "I need him, and he needs me."
    and, he is getting better.
    HANG IN THERE!!
  7. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals--by Turid Rugaas.
    Really need to do some learning on canine body language, and figure out what Jessie does before she goes into lunging, barking, etc. You need to do something before Jessie is above threshold(barking, lunging, etc).

    A behaviorist can help you see these warning signs and retrain Jessie's brain to thinking that other dogs are a good thing, and she doesn't have to react.
    Good luck to you!!
  8. jennyw Well-Known Member

    Thank you both. This week has been very tough with Jessie. she started off really well with her first session at fun agility where she barely reacted to all the new dogs but it all went downhill from there. Every walk has been awful as she has barked and lunged at every dog we have been seen (and there were MANY! You don't realise how many until you are trying to avoid them!) She paid me no attention whatsoever, she wouldn't look at me or touch my palm, she had me in tears a few times as the thought of going through that twice a day for the next ten or so years seems very grim. She also managed to hurt me a few times clawing at my legs to get past me to the dog.The trainers at obedience class say it is all my fault as I give off a nervous vibe which she picks up on. This is partly true as I do get very anxious when we see other dogs but it sometimes feels like when we are at obedience class and I start to relax thinking she is ignoring the other dogs, that is the moment she decides one of them winked at her or breathed too loudly and she goes mental.

    Tigerlily, Jess is roughly 2 and a half according to the vet and as she was a stray we can only speculate as to what has caused her fear aggression. She may have been attacked, we will never know. She does seem to be lacking in "doggy etiquette" as she always goes in face first to other dogs who may come up to say hello. It is the same with Jess and the passing dog, if I do succeed in getting her to look at me, it is only a very brief interruption.
    The main body language I see is her ears prick right up (she has very expressive collie ears), sometimes she will lower her body as if she is herding the other dog. I try walking in another direction but she keeps bouncing on the lead and looking over her shoulder.
    I'm very intrigued by Yawning, I'm constantly at the library borrowing dog books so will be ordering everything suggested. I won't be smacking her like some of my elderly relatives have suggested!
    Anyway, enough complaining, she is still my little sweetheart and it is up to me to figure out how to help her, with the help of the lovely people here!
    Tomorrow is another day!
  9. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Oh Jenny, i so so understand, and hearing it is YOUR fault is NOT helpful. Ha, that is one thing i grind my teeth about dog whisperer for, is his convincing america that all dog issues are tied into their owner. Some issues, like inherit shyness are not, and i also personally believe, that it's counter part is inherit aggression. I do, i do think some dogs are just wired this way. Yes, we can make it a lil better or worse, but we aren't the reason the dog isn't right.
    In "click to calm" a dog behaviorist raised a pup who turned out dog-aggressive, dispite being well socialized, etc etc. I do think some dogs are born with a wire crossed inthere, just like the inheritly shy dog is born that way.

    It'd also be interesting to hand the leash over to your teachers and see what they can do. Might wanna try that sometime, Jenny.

    DO HAVE HOPE. My dog is getting better. He might not ever be 100% right, but, he is getting better.

    ONe thing i've done, that makes my walk a lot easier, is, i wear one of my BFs belts, over my lower waist, like where hiphugger/low rise jeans would sit..........and i slip the extenda leash onto that belt. I shorten his leash up if i see an oncoming dog, cuz, Buddy can really pack a wallop if he has a full 20 feet to get a good lunge going!! So i shorten it. I carry a lil flashlight to wrap the leash around to reel Buddy in if i had to, to save my hands.

    Putting a regular leash on a belt could be done too. Frees up both my hands.


    And Jenny , your instincts are right--you do not want to hit your dog, not ever. It will only make him MORE fearful "Every time i see a dog, i get hit."

    Tx once told me that "Gentle Leader" head harness is good thing, google that. Tx says some dogs who wear that can--over time--- even get better attitudes/more confidence, and might be able to be weaned back off the GL.

    I got one, and i must say, WOW, Jenny WOW!! It is like walking a whole other dog when Buddy has his GL on. He does hate it, and i've sorta resisted using it, but, i might start using it more.
    When Buddy has a GL on, he doesn't even aggress, he realizes he can't unless i want him to, so he gives up. He ignores other dogs, it is as if Buddy says, "well, if i can't YELL at this dog, i'm not even going to look at him then."
    Jenny, when a dog has a GL on, there is NO WAY he can lunge. He doesn't even get to LOOK at anything if you don't want him to. YOU have complete control of his head and which way it is going to point to.

    DO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS or the online video about GENTLE LEADER head harness, on how to properly introduce the GL to your dog, don't skimp on any of the steps. Use meat treats, too. Like lil SMALL bits of cut up hot dog or chicken or some meat. Not biscuits.
    when i put Buddy's on, i immediately take him outside for his walk. I have everything ready, my walking shoes on, i got my bug repellent on, i have my bag and my flashlight, and THEN i put his GL on, and out we go. Otherwise he tries to rub it off his head while i put my shoes on.

    DO INVESTIGATE GENTLE LEADER head harnesses, Jenny, this might be a real good help for you for now!!! AND GET THAT BOOK TX DISCUSSES!!! (u can get it at Amazon)
  10. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    OH JACKIE!!! (i think we did a simultaneous post, lol)
    I'M SO STOKED FOR YOU!! KUDOS!! :yipi: WOW!! I can't wait til i can afford a class like that, hearing your story inspires me !!! I"m so stoked for you!! Really, your dog can now walk by an oncoming dog, like, just across the street, and not react now?

    Also Jenny, HERE'S A TIP: sometimes, when i want to let Buddy run free, off leash, with no dog around, (cuz your dog and my dog are so NOT welcome at the dog park, lol) i find a local school yard.

    Go scope your local school yards, Jenny. Especially look for high school or jr high school yards, those often have running tracks for you to walk, while Jesse explores around.
    Most school yards are fenced in. Most of them do NOT lock all gates. so you and Jesse can go walk the track and Jesse can look for bunnies and run free. I bring a bag, of course, and leave the school yard as clean as i found it.

    School yards = it is easy cheesy way to wear a dog out!!:msngiggle:
  11. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Ha, i just reread the "My dog loathes the Rottie next door" thread, and i smiled, cuz i so remember that, and now, Buddy watches that rottie calmly. No more barking or flipping all out, not at all.
    Buddy and the rottie rarely meet face to face, but, on the few times they do, Buddy is fine now.
    Couldn't have imagined THIS back then!!
  12. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Know that with training, there will ALWAYS be progression and regression. So even when you and Jessie do get on the road to recovery, don't get discouraged if she has a bad day. Regression doesn't mean ALL IS LOST! Just means she had a bad day. Move on and just keep at it!

    Gentle Leaders are GREAT. My formerly fear aggressive boy is almost completely weaned off of one. I didn't get it FOR his fear aggression, as I really pretty much got him over it before finding the GL. I got the GL because NOOOO leash training method known to man worked on him. GL CHANGED HIM, am SO happy to have found it. They really don't like it at first, so you do have to spend some time creating a positive association with it. He loooves his GL, but like I said, he is almost completely weaned off of it. I've been working with him for a long time, and he would probably be fine without it, but I'm a pansy, so I still use it a little bit. He pretty much doesn't need it now though.
    Click to Calm, On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals, Calming Signals: What We Tell Our Dogs (DVD), Feisty Feido, Cautious Canine, sooooo many others...all great sources. Check out Amazon.com--all of these books/DVDs are available there, sometimes for as cheap as $0.01!!!!! Shipping is usually $4.99. I have bought MANY MANY books there, and usually spend more on shipping than on the actual book. Some great deals there.

    Definitely, how you act will impact your dog. But it is not ALL YOUR FAULT. If someone had told me that about Zeke, I probably would be very tempted to hit them. Z came to me at 3 months old and already had problems. I'm not perfect, so I know I probably made many mistakes, but I certainly did not skip on socialization and training--I did everything I could to avoid any issues with Zekers, and he still developed problems. But fortunately, we've worked through everything, and are currently still working on getting him to trust people. Every day is a step towards a better, happier, more confident dog!
  13. jennyw Well-Known Member

    Thank you everybody, it really helps knowing that other people understand. We had a good day today, I let her loose on the beach as the rain had kept most people away (wimps!) and I managed to call her back from running at the two dogs she saw in the distance. A tick in the box marked "success"!
    Jessie does wear a Halti head collar on the advice of the obedience trainer, it looks similar to the gentle leader from what I saw on the website. We both have a love/hate relationship with the Halti, I don't like it as the vast majority of people who see it assume it's a muzzle and ask if she bites. But it does give me a lot more control over her and at the moment I would never dare walk her without it. she hates wearing it but knows that it means a walk so wears it grudgingly. As soon as we pause near grass however she starts dragging her head along trying to get it off. I might not be using it properly though as she can still lunge with it on, then she tries to pull backwards out of it like she knows it is what's stopping her getting to or away from the other dogs. She seems oblivious to the discomfort it causes. Maybe the gentle leader is better, I will look into it.
    I'm not really happy with the methods they use at our training class, as soon as Jessie has passed her Bronze good citizen award I think we will stop going. The trainer seems to use very old fashioned methods. It is reward based but if Jess starts barking the trainer yanks her around by the lead growling at her to leave it. she can control Jess but I'm sure it's fear I see in Jessie's eyes as she looks up at the trainer. Unfortunately because we live in quite a rural area it's this class or nothing, I left the other class we went to as I didn't like how rough they were with the dogs. This is why the trainer likes to accuse me of babying Jess and not being firm enough with her, just because I don't like yanking her head round.
    I am on the case with the books, they seem to be more expensive here in the UK but I will request them from the local library. I've already gone through all the dog books in two libraries!
    Thank you all again, I'm passing on what everyone is telling me to my husband as he is finding Jessie's behaviour even more stressful than me. Trying to convince him that even though it looks like Jess is the aggressor, it's because she is frightened.
    Staying positive, roll on tomorrow!
  14. jennyw Well-Known Member

    And I will give school yards a try!
  15. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Ah Jenny, i think you have a very lucky dog to have such a compassionate human to help Jesse develop and grow. I totally support your positive only goals. Ha, my teacher did same thing to Buddy, after explaining she was positive-only, when SHE had the leash, she did yank it and scold Buddy. Buddy did stop lunging around, but looked afraid and uncomfortable, kept licking his lips and i could see the whites of his eyes.....and it confused me very much, i wasn't as smart as you are about following your instincts to stick with positive only. I was like, "Wha?"
    I"ve made some mistakes along the way, i have, but, luckily, my dog keeps givng me more chances to get it right!!

    Jenny, you are SO right, about trying to explain to your husband that Jesse IS doing the best she can for right now, and it isn't something she could help, at least not yet. It'd be like scolding an epileptic for having seizures.

    My buddy is 50 lbs and can NOT lunge, not at all, in a GL. Or, maybe he actually physically could lunge in a GL and i just don't realize it?, but something about the GL makes him not want to lunge?


    ha, many of us have made that same complaint about ppl misunderstanding a GL as a muzzle. Once when i was asked if i have that on Buddy's head so he won't bite people-- i replied, "Oh, no, Buddy could indeed bite you in this leash." :msngiggle:BAH HA HA!! (not the most stellar reply...)

    but, ppl say worse things when Buddy is doing his famous National Geographic "whale breeching" imitation at the end of his leash, or his famous "Cujo Gone Wild":dogmad: routine..or his "Ey! You wanna piece of me?!" routine. Buddy has a quite a repertoire...sigh.
    (if it's any comfort to ya, he has mostly lost the cujo one, and saves that one only for chihuahuas now. He snaps for chihuahuas...all of 'em. And min-pins.)

    but, i don't see the reactions as often, and the visciousness is WAY muted compared to a year ago. (Buddy does regress every winter, cuz Buddy sees zero dogs in the winter, so come spring time, he has to kinda start all over again..learning how to meet dogs...)
    but Bud's reactions are WAY better, less frequent, less powerful. He doesn't have that "life or death" quality to them anymore.

    I kinda laffed the other day, and said to my guy, " i am kinda getting to know ALL of Buddy's barks, just like new mommas know all of their baby's various cries." :msncry:

    My guy initially kinda thought we should just yell and scold Buddy for reacting to other dogs...men. However, he has better understanding now, i pointed out, near as Buddy can tell, YOU are joining in barking alongside of him, and YOU are very worried about and afraid of the other dog, too!!:msngiggle:

    BUT GLAD YOU HAD A GOOD DAY!!! I did laff, i'm just like you, a rainy beach is best of all!! Those wimps don't know what they're missing!!!
  16. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Now Jenny, I probably shouldn’t try to nutshell a book I haven’t read for myself yet, but, I feel so bad for you that I am going to try. Cuz I am so excited with what is going on with Buddy lately.

    No he isn’t cured. I've accepted he might not ever be 100% 'right'. BUT, I’ve been told about something, and i tried it, and it is working.

    Like I said, Buddy goes bonkers for Chihuahuas. Just bonkers:dogmad:.
    So IF you have a solid, “look at me” going with your dog, you might be able to try this, but, Tx will say you still need to read the book.:msnohyes:

    I start at Buddy’s EARLIEST signs of excitement/aggression. We were walking along, and WA-LA!! A yard with three-------- COUNT THEM----- THREE barking Chihuahuas all jumping around yelling at Buddy to get away from the edge of their yard.

    Bud starts pulling, ears fwd, and is even beginning to lower his head. I make him stop, sit, and look at me. We are still far enough away, he can easily do that.
    I yawn a big, obvious yawn. Buddy looks away, which could be/might be? a return calming sign, as I am leaning over him a bit as i yawn at him.

    Then I wait. Buddy stood up, and started doing the phoniest sniff you ever saw. Just stood there, in a sniff 'pose', with his side towards the other dogs. He is not sniffing around to different areas, just sniffing the same exact spot, as if he is “posing”. I do nothing, just waiting quietly. A sniff can be a “calming” signal from one dog to another.

    AMAZINGLY, the all 3 chihuahuas sat down and shut up!!!:msnhugegrin:

    Then Buddy started walking along, as if following a scent, right past all 3 sitting, silent, Chihuahuas. Bud never even looked at them. :msnhugegrin:

    Jenny, that has never ever happened, ever ever before, not with 3 chihuahuas.
    I was so excited, I was almost trembling, but, I tried hard to hide it, cuz it didn’t seem right to be hyper-stoked when I am trying to send calming signals to my dog!!

    I ran home and told Craig, “Honey, I think I just talked ‘dog’ to Buddy, and I think he agreed with me!!” Craig couldn’t believe:dognowink: I got Buddy to walk by 3 chihuahuas.

    See, near as I can tell, my yawn to Buddy gave “calm down/chill out” signal, and Bud’s fake-sniff pose told other dogs, “I’m no threat, I’m just over here sniffing.” The Chihuahuas understood Bud’s msg, and agreed, and sat down and let him pass.

    I could be wrong. BUT IT WAS STUNNING, SIMPLEY STUNNING TO ME!!:surprised:
    Imagine----- MY dog----- MY DOG of all dogs, calming down some other dogs, and staying cool himself!!:msnhugegrin: I can't even explain how stunned i was!!!

    True, to any onlooker, it looks like a normal moment. A dog walking by 3 dogs. No big deal, but TO ME, it was like watching a dog play the piano or something!!!!!!!!!:msnohyes:

    I have replicated this several times since, so far, Jenny, i've only used it with dogs we can see ahead of time, at the EARLIEST possible moment.
    hA, just got back from walking Buddy, just right now, and, we were passing by CrazyCujo dog's yard, i told Buddy sit, and look at me, and BUDDY LOOKED UP AT ME AND HE YAWNED!!!! He musta known i was going to yawn at him, so he beat me to it!!! :ROFLMAO:
  17. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Don't be afraid to tell off your trainer. When it comes to them being too aggressive with your dog, absolutely stand up for your dog if you do not believe in those methods. I stood up for someone ELSE's dog in a class that I was in with Zeke. The owner wasn't listening to the trainer and was using Cesar Milan-type methods, and her dog was suuuuper timid. I nicely told her that she would get more out of her dog and have a happier dog if she changed her ways, and explained some things, and although she improved she never completely stopped but did get much better after some convincing from both myself and the trainer. The trainer even ended up telling her that if she didn't stop treating her dog that way, then she would have to leave the class.

    If I were in a class and the trainer tried to physically reprimand any of my dogs, I wouldn't hesitate to tell them off. I'm paying to be there--if I'm not getting something out of the class then I don't have to be there. I'm certainly not going to pay to have someone physically correct my dogs. Especially when I KNOW that I can get the desired behavior out of them WITHOUT corrections.

    Unfortunately, with both the Halti and the GL, you will get the "Your dog's wearing a MUZZLE?!?!" reaction. But usually, once they realize your dog's a sweetie, they are much less discriminating. In time, a dog can be weaned off of either one of them. I wouldn't even start that just yet with Jessie, but just know that there are blue skies ahead, and in time she will be able to NOT use the Halti(with your help, of course!).

    Do loooots of searching to find a positive behaviorist in your area. Sounds like your trainer isn't qualified or knowledgeable enough to help Jessie on the road to recovery. You need to do lots of research on dog body language so you can learn Jess's pre-lunge warning signs. This will help you learn to calm her down before she gets above threshold. You also need to figure out where Jess's comfort zone is---is she COMPLETELY non-reactive to another dog 10 feet away? 100 feet away? A mile away? Doesn't matter how far it is, just find out WHERE it is. Work on staying in this comfort zone AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Understand that EVERY reaction is rewarding her and ingraining her aggression deeper in her brain. So if you have a friend with a completely DOG FRIENDLY dog who is willing to help, get to work! On your own--BAH on your trainer. Lol.
    Definitely check out the "My dog loathes the Rottie next door..." post. My reply is the second one, explains how I would go about getting your dog to GRADUALLY decrease her comfort zone, until she is comfortable with a dog right beside her. Will take a while, but will work. And to add to that: don't just have the other dog pacing parallel, but have other dog's handler toss treats on the ground, so that other dog appears to be sniffing the grass. This is a CALMING SIGNAL from other dog to your dog, that can help Jess chill out. Sometimes it takes a while, sometimes it's immediately effective. Just depends on the dog. Always end on a good note, and don't push her too far. Don't get overzealous and keep working because you want to. Know when your dog gets burned out, and stop before that point. (SOOO hard, because if you're as hooked on training as I am, you could go forEVER! Lol!)
  18. jennyw Well-Known Member

    Thank you, I will be so glad when Jess passes her bronze award and we don't have to go to obedience any more and be shouted at! Their methods really don't suit me at all but I do want her to get her bronze before we quit.
    She was very snappy at the other dogs at agility last night but I found out from the vet that she is having a phantom pregnancy and I read that that can make them even more irritable so that might explain last night's performance! But she is booked in to be spayed next month so no more seasons for us!
    This morning was great, she saw a collie on the other side of the road, and then sniffed the ground and had a wee instead of trying to get to it! I tried to praise her without getting too excited and working her up too much but it was such a relief not having to drag her away.
    One of the assistant trainers said another assistant had seen me walking Jess and that I don't trust Jess to behave or have any faith in her. Well neither would they if they had seen her pin a dog down by it's throat. I'm sure they think I have Munchausen's or something, as if I make up stories about her behaviour to get attention. They see her grumble and get snappy in training but her behaviour in real life is much more extreme. I don't see how it can all be my fault as I've only had her a few months and she had 2 years to learn to be fear aggressive. But I do know that I'm not helping her by getting stressed and frustrated with her. I just want her to be happy and trust me so that we can enjoy being out together.
    Thankfully one of the assistants has offered to bring her 2 German Sheperds for a walk with Jess so she can practice being near calm, relaxed older dogs. Fingers crossed! I will be putting all your advice about dogs meeting each other into practice!
    The stories about Buddy and Zeke are very inspiring, they give me a lot of hope. Her passing the collie this morning shows me that she can relax and let the rest of the world get on with their business. And she was awesome on the agility course, definitely born to do it!
  19. jennyw Well-Known Member

    Just thought of a question that I definitely don't trust my trainer to answer! When we are walking along the pavement and we see another dog quite far ahead but obviously going to pass us sooner or later I never know what to do for the best. Should I cross the road or is that telling Jess that we need to avoid dogs? Should I turn around completely so she can't see them and find another route, this can be tricky as that's when she starts turning round to look at them. Should I pause and make her sit and watch me and wait for them to pass us? Usually she will watch me until the second they are passing then go nuts. Or just walk briskly past the other dog whilst trying to keep her focused on me and a treat?
    I just don't know which is the most effective, I've tried them all with varying degrees of success and failure (usually failure). Ideally we would be able to walk past with no reaction but that is asking far too much of her at the moment. What technique is best for setting her up for that in the future though?

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