Milli Starting To Be Aggressive Towards Excited Dogs...

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by sgtfrog, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. sgtfrog Active Member

    Warning. LONG post... Apologies for my scattered thoughts and potential typos and grammatical errors. I typed this quick =)...

    Our oversized sheltie Milli ( shes really the size of a bordercollie...) doesnt really like other dogs especially excited ones. Milli is 1.5 years old now. Recently shes been showing her teeth, barking and if i wouldnt be holding her back on leash she would probably bite the other dog. It's showing signs of aggression... Now, shes not dog reactive or reactive herself. She's actually not interested in other dogs in general other than a quick sniff. She likes people more in general but shes generally cautious around any thing "new" ( i think this might be a sheltie trait).

    TO give you a background on Milli ,

    We live in South Korea and we brought her home from a small store when she was 3 months old. A week after we brought her home she broke her leg ( we're actually not quick sure what happened one second she was standing the next shes crying in pain but we later found out that she was malnourished , calcium deficient and had really weak bones in general). She needed surgery to put a metal plat on her leg. So between the age of 3-7 months old it was impossible to socialize her with other dogs. Overall , she was never a barker or social dog. I remember walking into the store we got her from and she was the ONLY dog that just sat there calm and didnt bark everytime someone walked in the door. She broke her tibia and it healed perfectly after the surgery but the odd thing is that her Metatarsal / lower foot didnt grow in properly so now she has a shorter leg ( maybe 1 inch) than the other... Which is weird because her tibia healed GREAT and her metatarsal wasnt injured at all Yet its her lower leg that somwhat stopped growing and is a tiny bit bent. Now she walks with a limp BUT this is besides the point.. and not important to the story other than her not being able to socialize properly during her recovery...

    I've been taking Milli outside everyday 2 times a day for long walks and bringing her to parks where other dogs might be walking just to get her exposed to different things , From the moment the vet took her cast off and she could start walking about ... I wanted her to meet as many dogs to socialize and what not. Like a typical sheltie shes cautious about everything and runs / hides alot. From the get go she never really liked other dogs especially dogs with alot of energy , moving quick , trying to jump on her or lick her in the face. Now, dont get the wrong Idea.. I never forced her in anyway to be around other dogs. I've always just took her to an area near other dogs and allowed her to make up her own mind if she wants to go smell there or if she wants to just watch. Most of the times other dogs would try to approach and she would just run away or hide behind me or try to get to a safe distance... Which is fine by me. I respected that.

    She doesnt want to play with other dogs but She does want smell them. If she smelled them once she usually wants to go somewhere else and That's as much interaction as she wants with other dogs and thats totally fine.

    She doesnt mind calm dogs. She'll let herself be sniffed and she will greet and sniff other dogs
    HOWEVER She dislikes playful / excited dogs that are all over her face/ trying o get to her. Before she would just run and hide BUT these days she started showing her teeth and barking. She wont lunge at them and She doesnt try to hide/run anymore. She just stands there really stiff showing teeth and barks and if she could she would probably bite the other dog. I'm aware that those other dogs are rude and I'm not expecting Milli to just stand there and Accept their behavior. In the end We just pull her away and it stops there... The other dogs tend to be younger and just really over excited and full of energy. Milli acts like shes a 10 year old dog But shes actually just a year and a half.

    I'm not quite sure what to think of it. I understand every dog have different threshold on how much they can take from obnoxious dogs BUT I'm just not happy with Milli's behavior. I NEVER tell her "NO" when she does it because I know shes not doing anything wrong. Imagine if someone kept jumping in your face and your mom tells you "no". that would be be totally unacceptable. I should just keep milli away from those Dogs But really it seems like all the dogs at the park want to play , they know exactly how to deal with each other and Milli just doesnt know how. Its partially due to her not being properly socialized with other dogs as a pup...

    I just want her to learn to be around other dogs and be able to deal with annoying dogs without having to go into aggression mode and potentially do some damage to an other dog. Actually, she does just fine/OK around other dogs. Its just sometimes when shes not happy about a dog being in her face or trying to smell her she might start showing teeth. She just doesnt like it... It's weird because shes NEVER EVER EVER had ANY bad experiences with other dogs EVER, at least not the kind shes been injured or bitten or barked at or anything negative like that.. As her owner , I realize that its not her fault really.. She's only trying to warn other dogs and tell them "get out of my face" But YOu guys can probably imagine how that looks to other clueless dog owners " my dog is just trying to be cute and is trying to say hi" but in the end their dog is just being rude and the owner is blaming my dog for being aggressive...

    Plus being in a foreign country where everyone speaks Korean around you doesnt Exactly help... dog classes/ parks / socializing classes dont exist here ( at least not the kind you can get back in the west) , the whole animal/dog mentality here is totally different...
    thoughts? I'd like to put a control on this before It gets any worst .. Right now, its really NOT that bad. I was hoping she would get better with other dogs over the last year ( since her cast came off) and She has in certain aspects. For example shes Not so cautious/ worried so much about other people and Dogs in general BUT now I have to worry about her potentially biting dogs who are overly excited around her ...

    Shes NEVER been off leash with other dogs and shes never wanted to play with other dogs. I really think she needs some off leash exposure with other normal dogs. Living in korea isn't easy for this kind of thing! ITs all Concrete and apartment buildings everywhere. This friday, a local Border Collie owner ( I meet every now and then ) will bring over his Dog And I'll see how Milli reacts. They are about the same age but the bordercollie is a bit high on energy. I'll see if i can start clicker training Milli to calm down and just get used to being around an other dog like this... Best to keep it in a controlled environment...

    Evie likes this.

  2. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Well, my response isn't going to help you very much, and probably won't be what you want to hear - but it doesn't sound like Milli has that much of problem. The problem sounds like it lies with the rude dogs trying to get in her face, lick it, run up to her, and do any other kind of behavior she doesn't like - and she's just telling them so. Here's a wonderful article by Suzanne Clotheir (one of my favs) entitled "He Just Wants to Say Hi", and it pretty much covers it all - the article is long, but she leaves little untouched.
    Milli may not be a really social dog, some dogs aren't, just as some people aren't real social. Some people love parties, gathering, events, you name it, they're there! They never run out of things to talk about, energy, or time to do everything! Know anyone like that? Others would die if they had to do all that, cuz their idea of a good time is a quiet day/night/weekend/week at home with no phone, no interruptions, nothing/no one, and maybe a few good books and/or movies. My boy is a dog-loving dog - he LOVES meeting every dog he sees, while my girl would die if she had to, no interest at all, please don't make her, don't even think about it. And guaranteed, if one were to get in her face, she'd try to rip it off. :eek: It's her, and I have to allow her to just be her. Altho Milli sounds much more polite and forgiving than Makena, she may prefer to not meet and/or interact with lots of other dogs. Keep close watch on her body language and see if she is really enjoying it, or just tolerating it. Sometimes what we want for our dogs isn't always what they really want for themselves (lots of friends).
    Dogster, southerngirl and DevonW like this.
  3. sgtfrog Active Member

    Hey ,

    Thanks for the reply. Yeah I've read that article some months ago! Its a good article.

    I guess I just wish other dog owners would be more aware of this instead of thinking my dog is "aggressive" for not wanting to have their dogs jump in her face. But at the same time, I wish milli was just a tiny bit more tolerant. I never force her to meet other dogs and I dont expect her to like or want to play with other dogs. I just don't want her to automatically snap at dogs. I dont want that to become a habit or get any worse because this is something new that she started doing . I know Dog tolerance levels might diminish as they get older however Milli is just 18 months old =).

    We had a bordercollie come to our apt last week. Milli was just overall Scared But after a little bit of clicker training and rewards to get her to come closer She started feeling alot more comfortable. Since that small training session she's been approaching other dogs on her own in the park. Something she didnt really do before...
  4. freedomdreams Well-Known Member

    Hi there !

    I think you're doing it correctly and have the correct approach. Clicks and treats, don't force her and do it on her own time you want it to be a positive experience for her.
    She's very gorgeous as well, <3

    But since she is younger it should be something that may be fixed with patience, I would forewarn other people to control their dogs because Milli is nervous.

    Have you ever tried that if you come across a dog that's very in your face, on just walking away. What they want is to play, they want attention and if they don't get that just like training a dog they will learn that if they are calm they will get the interaction they want. But I would not treat Milli special, I.e picking her up if she shows aggression or allowing her to hide behind you when growling.

    If she is using you as a safety net and she is hiding and growling by you, step beside her because she won't be as sure what to do, her safety is removed and she wont feel like a bigger dog, do not in anyway allow reinforcement on this behaviour and click, treat once she looks at you and stops. Walk away from the other dog.

    There is another method.
    Have one dog and Milli do a threshold exercise. Milli needs to learn that she does not need to growl and bear her teeth to make this dog away.
    Have the dog walk as close as possible without causing a reaction from Milli, and the dog walks away. When Milli is positive click and treat and start again. GO SLOW. Eventually you should be able to bring the dog closer with her knowing to display a positive reaction.

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