Some Dogs Are Born Dog-aggressive, Imo


Staff member
It would take me weeks to respond to the whole lot of questions and rebuttles you asked, Tigerlily, and I really dont have time to respond right now (besides my hand and elbow are killing me today, and I cant type much LOL) but I wanted to say this, I also like and respect you and seriously appreciate the factual unemotional debate :) People usually get so worked up when someone argues their theories.

But maybe we should tone it down to one question at a time? I cant research 25 points at once... I'm not that good LOL.:notworthy:

We've confused alot of people methinks:oops:, and maybe streamlining it will be easier for others to get involved ;)


Honored Member
To Tx
//" I am simply saying that I know human behavior can have an effect, whether large or small, on an animal's behavior. "//

I SO AGREE!! i completely agree 100000000% with this. I've taken great efforts to make sure i do point out, my shared agreement with this, ----------we can make our dogs-with-issues, better OR worse, i so agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I also readily agree it seems ppl find rehabbing ppl-aggressive dogs easier than dog-aggressive dogs, like i said:

I repost my earlier words above, in part, to call att'n to the ? at the end, to gather everyone's ideas on that question.
//"But, i also agree rehabbing ppl-aggressive dogs IS easier than DA dogs, but still, there are tons of ppl who have NOT been able to rehab their shy dogs, or ppl-aggressive dogs, despite being able to ask the ppl to do this or that. Even years of this, the dog is still shy/fearful, or shy/aggressive, or just plain ol human-aggressive. (I do not know if *all* ppl-aggressive dogs are also shy dogs??? do you know about that? i don't know..just now crossed my mind as i am typing....)"//

Congrats on Zeker's new friend! Buddy has a brand new pal, too! His first new pal in some time! WHOOOT! And the other day, out in the woods at our bonfire site, towards end of the day, Buddy took a nap right beside his pal. (*that* almost NEVER happens to Buddy, he usually moves many feet away to snooze).

//" A confusing topic for myself. I know that many many many traits are inborn,...."//

Yes, this is something i find remarkable, in discussing the notion that aggression or shyness could be on the dog's genes-----
that most ppl---
---both the experts/bloggers/authors,
dog owners,
and dog lovers,
and vets
(even those who know almost *nothing* about dogs),
all seem in agreement--------------that MUCH of a dog's behavior IS genetic,
like a dog's herding ability, tendency to chase prey, tendency to dig holes, tendency to be happy on ppl's laps, tendency to retrieve, whatever-------------that *THAT* behavior IS on a gene, that THAT behavior, however complex----that much of dog's behavior *IS* determined by the dog's genetics........

and no one says, "Well, SHOW ME the exact gene that causes most border collies to herd, or i can't believe it's possible that a behavior that complex is already inborn, on his genes."
no one says that.....


Honored Member
Running dog, i am fascinated by the 'levels' thing in your theory, i think i like it, i think most of it makes a LOT of sense anyway. I loved your whole post, and it sure gives me much to think about!!

//"For arguments sake lets say that there is a relationship between high levels of serotonin in the brain and dog aggression"//
Science agrees------------- see post #118, saying it IS a very consistent finding in both "anxious" dogs (when the geneticists say "anxious" dogs-------do they refer to what WE call shy dogs?????) ------- as well as consistantly abnormal in the aggressive dogs, only, in opposite directions. See link in post #118.

//"The chances are that there are not alleles for "high serotonin levels in the brain" and "normal serotonin levels in the brain.""//
Most geneticists disagree with that statement.
Well, for humans anyway. (well, in reading link in post #118, i guess for DOGS too)

The footnotes in THIS next article may be interesting to further study how genes do determine our baseline serotonin levels in humans: (i just did quick google of "alleles for serontonin" and grabbed first ones, tons showed up)

//"This gene encodes an integral membrane protein that transports the neurotransmitter serotonin from synaptic spaces into presynaptic neurons"// ----------------->

also, google "Rage syndrome" in dogs,----thought to be controlled by genes, and these dogs, which affects some purebred cocker spaniels---------- all have abnormally low serontonin levels. Rage sydrome in some cocker spaniels, and some springer spaniels, (as well as some other dogs, too)
is thought to be, (or perhaps KNOWN to be) inherited, controlled by the dog's genes. It wasn't that some dog stared at them when they were puppies, or they were abused, etc was on the dog's dna........

but THIS next 'summary' article does agree with much of what you put forward, RDog,
although, *i* can not access the few footnotes offered) still, it sees it very much the way you do: (i bet i *could* find better linked, foot- noted, articles though)

Scientist who agrees with some of Rdog's idea.

Rodg says: //"A dog with the highest levels of serotonin would never be rehabilitated whereas the medium high dog might be with careful handling"//

I would so LOVE TO hear of such a case!! If anyone knows of a dog-aggressive dog who was cured, i'd like to hear of it. I now have heard of 100s of stories of D.A. dogs who have been made 'better', also, of supershy dogs who have been made "better", but, like i posted in earlier post above, only two(2) stories of a dog being cured, or 'almost' cured.

Millions of dogs are put down each year for aggression, is #1 reason for euthanasia, more than ALL other diseases combined-------------------and i have one (1) vague, second-hand story of a puppy who was cured of "aggression", (puppy nipping?? i have no idea what all was encompassed by this person's use of the word "aggression")

and another , of a dog who is now "almost cured" from use of shock collars. (also, i am not well versed on THAT dog's level of aggression, she said he barks at dogs passing by his yard)

that's it, that's all i got. None of the 100s of ppl who are on the dog-aggression support websites that i belong to, have made claims of a's not impossible, that all of us, are all doing it wrong, though, i suppose...

but otherwise, i loved your post,
and plan to reread it yet again and again, to furhter mull it over, very thought provoking and very interesting!!! THANKS!


Honored Member
To Sara,
Thanks for your reply and thoughts, i agree with them!!!

you are sooooooooooo right when you wrote: //"People usually get so worked up when someone argues their theories."//
yes, i so agree, almost a heresy to say, that inapproriate aggression, like so so so much of dog behavior, is also on the gene.

Someone once suggested to me, a reason some ppl get upset, is, dogs are idolized almost like angels in their minds, and thus,
they see the suggestion (or actual data) that dogs can be born less than perfect, is close to heresy in their minds. Not sure if there is anything to that person's remark or not, but, maybe there is something's almost as if i have insulted dogdom or something.

Plus, new ideas almost always go over like a lead balloon....
(not to suggest a dog-with-issues is less than perfect to the human who loves him, is clumsy wording there, sorry)

Yes, i so agree, respectful, factual discussion is the way to go! (high-fives Sara).:)
I think it is entirely possible to have a disagreement on something, but not attack the person, and even still like the other person, still respect the other person, even if they disagree.

ha hah, yes, Sorry for my multiple replies,
i also agree, it can be overwhelming, especially to ppl who do not read books. I read entire books, so to me,
reading a few paragraphs is not a challenge to me.

ha ha, yes, yes, i *did* get quite excited to find actual research, posting so many links in one post, on the efforts to discover the exact gene that causes dog-aggression. If it makes you feel better, i left out many other, similar links!!!!!

one thing that stunned me was: Some the data is DECADES OLD, not new at all. How have we never heard of this, i wondered. HOw is this research never even referred to, or even mentioned, by top authors or dog-bloggers?? Maybe they are not much into science....???

I tried to reply to each of your mulitple posts, all of which were very very interesting, and do have validity to them, so that is why i had multiple replies.

I'm open to narrowing it down to one (1) question, pick one!:)


Honored Member
Ok tried to read all of this....:eek::oops:O_o It is so interresting!!! And yep I have a dog agressive dog:D
Was mine born this way? No clue. He was a dominant little thing when I got him, my trainer mentioned that to me.
And I did struggle a little to get him to accept the fact that I was the leader, not him. Anyway, we went to the dogschool every week. Where he played with pups and grownup dogs of all ages. No problems there.
Of course there were some disagreements when he reached puberty, with other dogs the same age. I call them disagreements, because there was no real fighting involved, and with this I mean, no blood. But this was in a controlled area, where the dogs were watched and stopped before it really got out of hand.
Anyway to cut a long story short, I think my dogs DA comes from a selection of things. He had growing pains, so playing with other dogs hurt him. He was/is a little macho(wants to be the boss), he was attacked by two dogs, while he himselve was on leash at about one year old, he got into a couple of fights and won(not all of those fights were started by him, but he did win) and... my state of mind did not help. As I became more and more insecure of his behaviour around other MALE dogs, I have corrected his behaviour the wrong way, causing him to react even stronger. Then before his worst incident, I was depressed, insecure and not very reliable in my reactions, so I think he was trying to take over the lead position. So when I tensed up, when seeing another dog approaching, I often would hesitate in my action. Doubting wheather to walk by them or to turn around and avoid them.
So from my experience with Cooper, I would say we will be able to rehab him. Unfortunately for us, this is a slow, slow, slow progression, because of my mental state. Only Yesterday he tried to attack a dog(no he wasn't off leash, he was on the flexi and I was just stepping out of my front door, turning my back to close the door, and didnot see the man and his dog coming. A thing like this sets me back, just as I was gaining my confidence, and was thinking that Cooper was doing great!

In my childhood we had a dog. I remember getting him and taking him to the vet for his shots. And the vet wouldn't touch him, saying he was a MEAN dog. I remember my mother staring at the vet in utter surprise, because our dog was just 8 weeks old and absolutely lovable. When asked why he thought this, he said: the dog has a red nose and red eyelids. As it turned out, the vet was a little right. Now this dog wasn't just dog agressive, he was also human agressive at times. A think I saw the red-eye thing come by in this thread and I think that is what he had.
He could go into this trance like mode, where he couldn't be reached. One time we came home to find our housekeeper in the bedroom, sitting on the bed, with our dog lying by the door. Growling at every move she made. My mother(sorry but it was the only way:oops:If she had grabbed him by his collar he would have attacked her) kicked our dog and you could see the red fade out of his eyes. The look in his eyes changed and he walked up to our housekeeper and licked her hands... He could be so terribly unpredictable. For no reason he could go into that trance.
What i am trying to say with this, is that I truly believe this was inborn. Some kind of genetic defect. He always needed a strong hand(we didnot hit him or anything, he wasnot abused) and he could have easily been turned into a vicious dog, but to us he was great. He was very, very territorial, was agressive to most other dogs, accept for two others(a stray he accepted and our neighbours gsdmix) but got along perfectly with our three cats.

From what I have experienced and what I firmly believe is that there ARE dogs who just are this way.
I haven't read any of the links in this thread, but I do know that in humans there is a gene(or whatever it is called) that can cause people to be more likely to be agressive, or to get addictive, or te be overweight. So why not with dogs? As modern dogs get modern diseases these days, like allergies to pollen, etc.
I believe that with our breeding, come defects.

I remember a conversation I had with someone who breeds briards. And she was very perticular in which dogs to use for her breeding, as the breed was getting more and more agressive. Over the years the breed(here in the Netherlands) has become less agressive due to more selective breeding. Only breeding with balanced dogs. All the dogs bred by her(as far as she could tell of course) were balanced social dogs. But in her last litter there was one male pup who displayed agression as early as 5 weeks old. Really biting his brothers and sisters and going after the grown up dogs too. When put in place by his mother at 8 weeks he actually went for her:eek: and bit a piece out of her ear!
She put the puppy to sleep, because she felt that it was impossible to place this pup. All the other pups were "Normal"

I think there are extreme animals in any breed or any type of animal. Wheather it is extreme shyness or agression, just as there are animals that are smaller than usual or bigger. Or that have a different coatcolour.


Honored Member
Anneke, i myself don't think you 'caused' your dog's aggression. Neither do many scientists and geneticists. It *IS* hard to stay calm when you expect a dog reaction. Before i accepted that Buddy would not ever be 100% cured, i used to have feelings of failure, lol, i did. He'd be "good" for so many days, have some remarkable moments, and i'd think, "wow, we are getting there now!"
and then, he'd do his gangsta routine, and i'd realize, "nope..." and i did feel crushed, as i had set myself up for false hopes.

For me, thinking Buddy's brain is wired that way, has removed a lot of the stress of his reactions. I really DO feel entirely differently about them now, sometimes, i am almost amused at my lil gangsta's displays. I chuckle and shake my head as we walk away....lil nut.
He is doing the best he can with the brain he has. One other thing i do, if i do ever feel fear, is yawn. Yawning can flood your nervous system with calming chemicals. worth a try next time you feel your heart starting to pound away at an oncoming dog/possible reaction.

I rarely feel fear anymore, as Buddy HAS progressed to the point, he himself----------now so thoroughly accustomed to "Let's Go" if he loses it---------he himself now takes first steps AWAY from enemy dog, even before i have given cue!
doesn't sound like much, but, to me, it's VERY helpful that he KNOWS we are leaving, instead of my pulling his leash, draggin him away as he yells at enemy dog. Only time i feel fear is an off-leash dog, and evne then, most dogs,---------even off leash dogs------ have enough sense to back away after they've sized up Buddy's lack of social graces.

If Buddy loses it, and he will now and then, we do "Let's Go" and leave. simple. Well, it's simpler than anything else i've tried, and Buddy IS now verrrrrrry well versed in knowing we are going to change directions if he hears "Let's Go", so less pulling/dragging away is involved nowadays.

I've also found, using only a 6 foot leash, (not an extending leash) totally curbed Buddy's lunging down by like, 90%. Teaching Buddy to walk in a heel, has helped Buddy not lunge much. Buddy knows he does not have enough leash to do his full-on breeching whale imitation on a short leash, he usually doesn't even try to lunge now, bark maybe, but no more lunges.

Google Kikopup "loose leash walking", she has several videos to help you get started. Try two months with no extending leashes, (hide them altogether so you don't forget)
and look at the difference, bet your dog won't be lunging too much after 2 months. If your dog is still lunging, you can always go back to extenda-leash, if you don't find walking in a heel, on a 6 foot leash, helpful, you can go back to extenda-leash.
I tied a knot to mark where Buddy should be beside me, and the leash is slack. It's totally ruined Buddy's hobby of lunging...(sorry Buddy). It took Buddy a while to get hang of heel, but, he's got it now.

but, sorry for derail, lol.

Yes, i agree, i do think even very complex behaviors are born in, like a border collies who herds. That very complex behavior IS widely accepted to be genetic, even though, no one has located "THE" exact gene or genes, and even though, that herding behavior might not manifest until pup is a lil older. No one points at the border collie, and says, "Well, probably he saw a dog herding when he was in his formative stage of puppy hood"......

by the way, there is a genetic syndrome in some dogs, called "Rage syndrome", i've heard some of those dogs have red eyes, (not sure)
and tend to be way more unpredictable than other forms of aggressive dogs, no obvious warnings given prior to attacks.
What breed was your mom's dog there? It can hit many breeds, but tends to run in some spaniel breeds more than other breeds. (btw, that vet sounds kinda odd to me, lol!)


Honored Member
He was a mutt, totally unrecognizable breed. He looked a bit like a yellow lab. His mother was half his adult size, but his father was a stray, they had never seen before or again after the "accident" happened. We were living in south america(Surinam) back then and people don't treat dogs well over there. Strays would run around in packs, terrorizing the neighborhood.
We got the dog to be a familydog, first, but he turned out to be a good guard dog als well. But he would have never been able to live in our western society.
I remember that it was really scary to see him "tune out" into his rage, for no reason. It could be triggered by anything. From me getting up off the sofa, to closing a kitchen cabinet. My mother was the only one who could control him.
One time he was angry at me. I wanted to get out of the yard, but he wouldn't let me. He grabbed my hand and I started crying(I was 8 years or so). My dad came running and we could see him going into his rage. So he pulled Rakker(dutch for rascal) away for me. And Rakker went for his throat. Fortunately my mother came home at that time and actually kicked him of my dad. He never ever went for us, after that, but we could not trust him with other people in the house.

I realize I am telling you, that my mother kicked our dog. Believe me, we DO NOT have the habit of doing that. It was the only way to snap him out of his rage. More than once he bit my mother, because she touched him or wanted to grab him by his collar, to get him out of his rage. And when you see your dog attacking your child or spouse, or anyone, you will do something like that. Especially when you know he will not respond to sounds, or that he will redirect his rage to the other person. He was brought up and trained in the old fasioned way, since i am talking about a dog that lived over 30 years ago(GOD I am OLD!!!:D)
Just a little background info, so you won't think we smack our animals around. Coz we don't!


Honored Member
I have seen the loose lead vids by kikopup. It is very similar to the way we do this at my dogschool. But I could never get the Let's Go to work with Cooper.
But my boyfriend is working with him and he listens to him. So the lunging hardly ever happens anymore. I guess that is why I didn't expect it. I let my guard down a little too much. Cooper is a lot better with most dogs, but he really hates this one for some reason. He has never actually met this dog up close, so there were never any incidents. He just hates the looks and smell of this dog.
It set my mind straight, though. I realized that I let the rule of me getting out the door first, slip. And I let the dogs out first. So that rule is back!!!
And I will watch the loose-lead vids again and see if I can get it right this time. I am not giving up on my boy, although it is really, really hard sometimes.:confused:
I sometimes think we are a complete mismatch. But that is only when I am in my "down"moods.
I think Cooper can't cope very well with my depressions, I sometimes feel I drag him with me, because he is always at his worst when I am not feeling good.
Jinx handles it in a very different way and tries her best to get me out of it, by asking me to come play. She will be so annoying that I will give in and go do something with her.
But Cooper shuts down. For the last 6 months or so, I have been doing a whole lot better, and with the support of my boyfriend, his behaviour has improved.
I know he will never be able to go to a dogpark and that is ok. I have had a hard time changing my expectations with Cooper, but I have accepted that he is never going to get along with male dogs. He has some male friends and I am glad about that.
My goal is simple now. To achieve more selfcontrole when passing a dog at a certain distance. And changing my state of mind from fear and expecting him to lunge, to confidence and expecting him to JUST walk past. So from expecting the negative to expecting the positive.;)
And I feel excactly like you said, every time he does his thing. Crushed! I am still working on that.


Honored Member
It helps if you practice "Let's Go" for no reason, so dog understands concept while he is still in his right mind, ha ha. Like any other cue, so dog knows, "Oh, mom said "Let's Go", she's gonna turn now! i KNEW it!" kinda thing.
It's almost pavlovian for Buddy now, bark-LEAVE.
I sometimes worry he *might* see the LEAVE as a reward for the bark....not sure.(n)

so you are NOT using an extenda leash, right? Just ordinary 6 foot cloth leash then? Loose leash was kinda hard for Buddy, after too much extenda-leash for way too long.

It sounds like you are doing a lot of things right!! Hang in there! We can make our dogs better!! Your dog is lucky to have someone like you!!
I've learned a lot having a gangsta dog, more than i ever did with normal dogs. Honestly, when i *can* successfully walk Buddy by his enemies (using kikopup calming signals) i get huge thrill, more thrill than i ever got walking my normal dogs:D.

I don't get crushed anymore, about my dog being a gangsta, but i USED TO, when i thought he could be cured, but, now, i do believe, his brain *is* wired wrong. ..... so my dog is sort of "disabled" and he needs "special parking" spot at the dog park, =),............ like, 500 feet away,:) still, he's my dog.

NOW i'm just going for managing it, not curing it, so the set-backs don't bum me out the way they used to.
I *do* expect, that now and then, Buddy is going to lose it, so it's not that big of deal now, no big surprise, it's who he is. He is in the work-release gangsta-reform program, ha ha, he'll always be a gangsta.

I can be happy about Buddy, whether or not Buddy is cured or not, i decided. I can enjoy him otherwise. And actually, i think Buddy is most remarkable dog, the best behaved dog we've ever ever had, ever. He is just a perfect lil guy,,,,, til he remembers he doesn't like other dogs, ha ha!!
I wouldn't trade Buddy for any other, he needs us, and we need him.*
(*someone here, Jackie maybe,(?) said that, and i loved it and stole it, cuz it's true for us too).

But each of us must find our own ways to deal with, or process our dog's behavior. For me, accepting it is permanent, made it easier for me. I'm no longer bummed cuz i can't 'cure' him. For those who do want to go for cure, press on!! Go for it, if thinking of it that way is best way for you.

Maybe for some, the thought the dog will not get 'cured' is a bummer, but, for me, it set me free. It's a done deal. No more let-downs when he continues to be a gangsta, it's just part of the deal. I can focus on other things with Buddy and be way more relaxed:D about 'finding the cure'.

Oh, i still work on helping him stay under control, it does not mean i've given up on helping him, nope nope nope. I just feel wayyyyyyyyy less pressure about it all now.
My nephew is severely permanently disabled, my brother knows the boy can't read, but, my brother enjoys showing him the ABCs and stuff, but because there is NO expectation = there is NO pressure/NO disappointment,
my bro knows the teen can't do it,
so my bro is not bummed about it anymore.
the child is who he is, and my bro can enjoy interacting with the child without any disappointments, Nor any feeling of failure that he was unable to get the teen to read back to him.
The teen is doing the best he can with the brain he has. However, if my bro DID believe, that his teen *could* learn how to read, ----------if only my bro tried this or that-------, THEN it *might* become frustrating or disappointing for my bro-- *if* my bro *had* false hopes that were beyond *his* child's ability........then my bro would be setting himself up for a let-down, again and again, over and over.
but since my bro does not *expect* any reply, my bro much enjoys his often humorous and always one-sided conversations and 'lessons' with his much-loved son.

That is kind of how i see *my* dog's aggressiveness now, too. My accepting that Buddy is who he is, took off the pressure as well as the bum-outs when Buddy DOES acts up. I am even starting to see a funny side to it all, being able to chuckle over my own silly dog, rating his reactions on 1 to 10, etc etc, which i never thought i would be able to chuckle over his lil mess-up self.


PLus, i have control of Buddy-----the worst that can happen is-----------he barks, + i get dirty looks. :p Maybe we honk off some other dog, too, who barks back. (I might not have control of Buddy's mind, but, his lil body is going with me, hee hee!!)

that's it.
that's the worst that happens.
no blood.
no violence.
no fights.
all it is IS:
an ugly bark, and possibley, a dirty look for me. We leave before Buddy gets any uglier about it all. (and he would, probably, still do his impression of a full-on rabid dog, ha ha, *if* we hung around, and he can't reeeally breech on the short leash)

how bad is that? It's not dangerous, not with my dog on leash, so there isn't much to fear with *my* dog on's simply disconcerting to the other ppl......... who all think i must not have "leadership", :ROFLMAO:etc etc (aka dog whisperer). I just smile and keep going, i don't get upset. My lil mess-up dog's fighting days are over.

That's the worst it gets, (cuz i don't have Buddy off leash around other dogs.)
I understand about your dog who shuts down, we had a dog who was like that, he'd only be as lively as we were. Buddy is not like that, Buddy WILL get us up and get us going, if we are trying to be boring. LIke a lil cheer leader, i guess, ha ha. And walking is sooooo good for both ppl and for dogs. Is a good plan:).

Don't forget to try a YAWN for your own self, too, if you are worrying about your dog might react, a yawn can cause relaxing chemicals to flood your system. Worth a try, fake it til you make it into full blown yawn...

and practice "Let's Go" all the time, so your dog knows it like a trick or a cue.

Or, maybe trying a Gentle_Leader, or a "Black-Dog" head halter, is a better option for you?


Honored Member
I usually walk the dogs on an extenda leash. This is because that way they still have a little room to play. But when I need them to be close to me, I lock the handle so I can walk with a loose leash.

I do have a gentle leader and I have used it. But I don't use it much anymore. Mainly because Cooper really hates it, but also because I don't run into many other dogs, since I walk my dogs at different time, than anyone else.
I do use the gentle leader when I know I will be running into other dogs.

I have been thinking about your last post for a while. I do use a cue for him like you said. My problem is, that as soon as I use it, he starts looking around for a dog. Even when there is no dog around!
Turning away from the approaching dog only results in me dragging him after me, untill he can't see the dog anymore.
We have been training this for a long time, since it is what my trainer told me to do.
No matter what kind of treat I bring along, no matter how hard I try, he just will not look at me, when there is another dog around.
People tell me, he is really focused on me, but I know he doesn't make eyecontact with me. Yes he walks besides me, but he will still be staring at the dog.
Anyway, I have stopped using a cue. I have tried another cue, one he knows well from training obedience. Look at me, but... again, he has figured out, I mean the same thing, so he has started to do the same thing. When I say look at me, he will first scan the area, before looking at me. I have been rewarding him looking at me heavily, but I can't keep him from scanning around.

You are so right when you say, you have learned so much from having a difficult dog. It is the same here. Because of Cooper I have been reading up on dogtraining, have been attending workshops about problemdogs and even started a course to become a trainer. (haven't finished it though. I failed the practical part, as I am not comfotable in front of a group of people) But I have learned so very very much from all this.

My trainer tells me, Jinx is a tough little dog. But I am not having any problems with her. I think this is because of my struggles with Cooper. I recognize where the problem may be and I am able to fix it before hand.
Training Jinx is a breeze compared to training Cooper:D
When I think back I remeber all the struggles I had with a puberty dog...And Cooper went through all of the well known problems... Jinx didn't have them. Well she did, but she dot no result, because I knew how to handle them.

If anything I am gratefull for having Cooper, because he has tought me so much and still does.
But sunday I had a proud moment with him!!!
My friend has kept a male pup from her last litter. Her first male. Cross is now 16 weeks old and he is the cutest!
Anyway, she had been asking me if she could let him meet Cooper. I didn't want to, because I don't want Cross to have a bad experience.
She wanted me to take some pictures of her three Goldens for her website and offered to take some pictures of me and my two. I didn't want to take Cooper at first. Because is was hot weather, so if he couldn't get along with Cross, he would have to stay in the car.
But my boyfriend offered to come along. So he could keep Cooper at a distance if that was neccessary.
But... Cross ran out to him, when I got too close(I had Cross on lead, y boyfriend had Cooper on lead)
Cooper looked at him annoyed, thinking, whoa go away you little thing! He sniffed Cross and desided he wasn't a problem.
Yeah!!! Maybe things will change when Cross gets older, but for now, Cooper was great!!
The pictures were great too, by the way:D I finally have the first picture of us and our two dogs together!:LOL:


Honored Member
Lol, Anneke, i so recognized so many things you said, so many things were same for Buddy!

Re: the "Look At Me" ---> dog thinks this means there is another dog around. I made exact same mistake, exactly!! When i turned to Buddy, and said, "Look At Me", he too, glanced around for another dog.

It took me a month or two, of frequently asking "Look AT Me" on walks, for no apparent reason, over...and over....and over.........
and over............. undo that mistake, of only asking Buddy to LookAtMe only or mostly when other dogs were around.

My dog thought same thing as your dog-----------, "Mom said LookAtMe, must be a dog around here.."

NOW, after many months of sporadic, no-dog-around "Look At Me", finally, Buddy NOW looks straight at me upon request, so i can offer him slow blinks, yawns, deep sighs, etc to get him calm for oncoming dogs. So even if your dog got same idea as my dog, it CAN BE undone. Took my dog a good month or two, til he finally decided, "Mom says LookAtMe for no apparent reason..."

Just got back from walking Buddy, he was hepped up, he'd apparently barked his head off in the car with another family member, when he spotted a dog in other car at a ver very long stoplight.
Ooh, Buddy was hepped up, all full of adrenaline. We started to walk, but, Buddy kept pulling, cuz he was still outa his mind from barking at dog in other car.
So i made him sit, Look At Me, yawns, slow blinks, more yawns, deep sighs..........slow blinks.....i kept it up as long he would look at me. He kept watching it all.....then, he finally finally yawned back, and looked away.
THEN when we walked, he was calm again, in control, and no longer pulling cuz he was outa his mind.

I'm telling ya, that stuff does help.

Maybe just TRY tossing out the extenda leash for two months. TRY getting your dogs, especially your dog-aggressive dog, to learn to walk in a heel. I could NOT GET OVER :eek:how much difference that made to Buddy.
It is NOT the same as shortening up the extenda-leash, well, at least, it wasn't for my dog.

In exchange for no extenda-leash, on walks, I DO take Buddy somewhere so he can run. An empty fenced-in school yard or cemetary, or the woods, somewhere for his full-speed RUN.

for real, just TRY teaching Cooper to walk in a heel. I'm not kidding, i didnt' believe it either, and i thought, "Oh, but on extenda-leash, he gets more steps per walk, and has more fun." and i would not even try teaching Buddy to heel....seemed ridiculously hard anyway. I truly saw no harm in letting Buddy run all over on our walks...i did not realize the overall impact that had on his mind, Buddy seemed to think he ws a scout, looking for bad guys, and the shift to a shorter leash, when a bad guy was spotted------------was not the same as walking next to me, all along, for the entire walk. I think it makes no diff for 'normal' dogs, but, for dogs with issues, it can make a difference for *some* dogs.

It's hard to exlain, but,
if you do teach Cooper to walk in a heel, you *might* see what i mean.

I'm tellng you, if you DO want to witness a dramatic change in Cooper, teach him to heel. And have him walk in a heel every time. Even one breech on a long leash is very self-inforcing.
and take Cooper somewhere else for full speed runs for 'extra excercise', besides his walk.

check out kikopup's vidoes on loose-leash walking to get started. worth a try. Just two months, no extenda leash..none, not at all...............if you don't see dramatic improvement in Cooper's behaviour overall, in 2 months, well, no harm done, right? YOu can get your extenda-leashes back out of the closet and return back to how you walk Cooper now, no harm done, if i'm wrong. And i could be wrong, but, it might be worht a try.


Honored Member
//"No matter what kind of treat I bring along, no matter how hard I try, he just will not look at me, when there is another dog around."//
Have you tried, having your dog's back to the other dog?
This goes against common sense, so it might not work for your dog,
but, it works for Buddy.
I can hold Buddy's att'n on me, wayyyyyyyyy easier, when his back is to the enemy.
Otherwise, glancing over my shoulder, at the enemy dog, is too irrisistable for Buddy sometimes.

Also, DO practice "look at me" in other areas of distraction, like just outside on walks for no reason, in front of other ppl, or a hot steak on the floor, or whatever is a distraction to Cooper---- not just dogs, so it becomes easier for Cooper to follow the cue. Also, practice it, so Cooper can look past a yummy treat, and put his eyes onto your face. NOt the treat, but you.
It's VIP to use a clicker, imo, for "look at me". We have to take care, to reward dog for looking at us, not for looking at the treat, easier to say than do, ha ha.

Have you tried, moving even a few feet up into a nearby lawn of grass? For some reason, that helps Buddy a lot. For some reason, if Buddy is still on the street, Buddy seems to think there is still a chance, he could have encounter with enemy dog. However, a few steps up into the grass of nearby yard, reeeeeally helps Buddy if it is a particularly scary dog to Buddy.
I have no idea why that helps, but, it does.
My guy thinks it's rude of me to step onto someone else's lawn, but, so far, no one has opened their door and yelled, "Ey lady, get off my lawn!" lol. :ROFLMAO: And that is worst thing that could happen, is someone yells at me. big deal. I'd smile and nod, and stay where i was, til other dog passed by anyway, ha ha, IF it ever happened.

However, i imagine, if someone DID see me in their lawn from their window, they'd realize, "She is in my yard to keep her dog away from that other dog." and they'd realized, i'm leaving soon enough. No one yells.

Buddy feels so much safer up in someone's grass, evne if it is only a few feet further away----- that i can sometimes turn him around, and reward him for watching the enemy walk by.


Honored Member
Have you tried rewarding Cooper for calmly looking directly AT other dogs? He might be ready for that, sort of 'desensitizing' him to the sight of other dogs. Me and Buddy back way up, to wherever Buddy IS comfortable, and he has to sit, and then lie down, (for reasons i can't explain, buddy "can't" react if he lies down, he HAS TO stand up to bark at all).:ROFLMAO:
and then Buddy gets treats, backrubs, massages, yawns, etc, while enemy dog walks by.

Rewarding a dog for looking at YOU,
and rewarding a dog for calmly looking at other DOGS,
have two different purposes, and uses, imo.

To me, rewarding a dog for looking at YOU has ZERO impact on the dog's inner attitude, none, nada, zip. I did that for a whole year, not one bit of improvement, none. Oh, i prevented reactions, but, my dog was not one inch closer to accepting other dogs, not a drop better.
Rewarding a dog for calmly looking at DOGS, at whatever distance that takes, DOES help a dog re-adjust his inner attitude about dogs.
Buddy and i started doing this type of desensitizing at 500 feet Buddy is down to about 5 to 10 feet away, and sometimes, no reaction at all!!!


Honored Member
AND HUGE KUDOS TO COOPER for his tolerating the puppy!! WHOOOT!! HUGE ROUND OF APPLAUSE for Cooper over here!!
oddly, Buddy often weirdly accepts social-misfit dogs who don't know anybetter than to run up to him, nose to nose. All the dog expersts say, "That is bad manners in dog world, could start a fight", and all the experts recommend having dogs meet in an arc. And maybe, for normal dogs, this is true, but, oddly,
buddy tends to accept rude dogs who run up to him nose-to-nose. go figure. I'd never recommend this in a million years, but, most dogs who do that to Buddy, (these would be weirdo or immature goofy dogs who have NO social skills either, ha ha) he accepts instantly. weird, eh?
I still get heart-stop when that happens, always by accident, some off leash dog or something....but, so far, Buddy always says, "how do you do" and acts right to weirdo dogs with no, maybe buddy is happy to see he isn't only weirdo dog in the world, ha ha. (talk about anthropomorphizing, right? but, it's only ajoke)



Honored Member
Also, re: "Let's Go", do you practice this for no reason?? So Cooper knows, "Let's Go" means we are changing direction? Do it all the time, with no dogs around. Kikopup's 3rd barking video shows how to train that cue. For Buddy, i've found out, if i can turn, (IF i have that option) so dog is NOT behind Buddy, that is better for Buddy, who very much dislikes an enemy dog BEHIND him, but, doesn't mind following an enemy dog)
I THINK YOU ARE DOING GREAT, it's impressive that your trainer finds Jinx a hard dog to train, but YOU don't!!! whooot!!:D


Honored Member
To Sara, dispite our derails here and there, if you ever do want to jump in, with your one specific question, about dogs being born dog-aggressive, go right ahead, i can discuss two things at once, with 2 (or more) different ppl, in same thread!!


Honored Member
Staff member
Okay, I've been so so so so enthralled by my classes I really haven't been on here much. But I am LOOOVING what I am learning.

Just an idea, I am not sure all the specifics just yet, and I plan to talk to my Breeding & Genetics teacher about it, but I did learn something interesting the other day...

Has everyone heard of Klinefelter's Syndrome? This is where there are two X chromosomes and one Y. (Typically you have an X and Y or X and X.) The child is male with female characteristics. Well, scientists have also discovered that there are "SUPER MALES," who have one X and two Y chromosomes. Super males have an unusually high level of aggression--they are genetically predisposed to be aggressive. A study was conducted of high risk prisons in the United States, and they found that a large percentage of the men in these prisons were Super Males. This all came from my Breeding & Genetics professor, so I don't have the study information but I can get it.

What I don't know is what other factors go along with Super Males besides the chromosome differences, or if it's possible in species other than humans. Nonetheless I thought this was really interesting.

This is something I'd like to look into further, just thought I'd throw it into the conversation and see what everyone else thinks. :)


Honored Member
TX_cowgirl, i had never heard of it, but I can believe it.
And I do think it possible in other species, after all, we are animals too;)
I think it is very important to know where the agression of the dog comes from. And if it comes from being a Super Male, perhaps the agression can be toned down by medication.

Tigerlily, I just have to say how much your advice is appreciated! It makes me smile how enthousiastic your responses are.
It shows how much you care about your dog, but also how much you care about others. Had to say that.

A lot of the thing you said, I have already tried. And I have taken a long good look at myself and I have realized that I have not followed through on my actions.
I can keep up being concequent in training for a few weeks and then let things fade. This is percistent in my life aswell.
Shame on me...
So, like I said, I have tried them, not followed through on them.
Just about everything you said, we have learned at our dogschool. We call it checking in, voluntary or by name.
We say the dogs name, then hold the treat in front of our nose, so the dogs looks at our face and then treat. This keeps the dog from looking at the hand or treatbag and makes him really looking at you. Especcially if you treat when there is eye contact.
Also we reinforce the voluntary check in. Which means you treat every time the dog looks at you, without being asked.
This is the very basic of our training program.
With Cooper this has been a huge problem from the get go. I remeber being in puppyclass and spending a complete hour just waiting for him to check in. It did get better over time, but I have noticed that I have to call him 3 times before he looks at me. Meaning I have not been taking action quick enough.
So that problem will be fixed. From now on it wil be like this. Call him, no look, I turn around and walk away. If he is on lead, he will have to follow me. I will go back to the place I started and do it again.
If it is in the house I will leave the room and ignore him for a few seconds, then go back and do it again, or just turn my back and ignore him.
That will be our first step.
And I will walk my dogs separately in the afternoon, so I can get some real quality training time with Cooper, without little miss I want do do it too and I do it better than you!:D
I will keep this up for a whole week and see if there is some improvement. And I will switch back to my regular lead, like you said, and make him heel better.


Staff member
HOLY CRAP you all went nuts again... I really, really dont have time to get as involved as you guys, but I wanted to say one thing. Tigerlily, you once made a comment about if I feel better thinking Ollie was made DA not born DA... etc. I want to set you straight on that. I KNOW Ollie was made people aggressive, it was totally my fault, ase Oliver is NOT aggressive, he is FEAR aggressive, and MOST dogs that are aggressive, are actually driven by fear. I caused his fear of strangers, (well I had a little help from a couple of little girls who scared the crap out of him) But Oliver is not DA, he is FA, and that looks like DA. He is perfectly fine with dogs he knows wont hurt him. I had him out playing with 8 dogs over the weekend with nary a growl or a snap, just a great game of swimming for balls.

Ollie has friends, and the more friends he meets, the more he'll be able to trust other dogs. I could probably take him to an off leash park, and he'd be fine, however he would never be fine ON leash with strange dogs, but I'm too much of a worrier, and would never try it at this stage. He loves to play with other dogs

So no, Oliver does not fit into your catagory. The only DA dog I know that does not fit into the fear catagory is a dog who was perfectly fine until the age of 3, when she started unprovoked attacks on foster puppies... However, her owner is a Cesar fan, and "Dominates" her dog... I truly think that is the root of the issues, often the bullied becomes the bully.

Rage syndrome is an example of "born aggressive" and is very, very scary, yes there is definately something wrong with the brain there.

Otherwise, I think that mostly, DA dogs are fearful, and respond with aggression due to fear. They're possibly born more prone to act aggressively to a fear stimulus, but I think, most often dog aggression is caused by something causing a fear response that works, the fear goes away and a behaviour is born.

I am not against your theories, I just think you are putting this on way too many dogs, I know we're splitting hairs, and I want you to know I do believe that a very small minority can be born DA, but it's highly unlikely, I believe that the vast majority are DA due to fear, and learned responses to alleviate that fear.

I have rehabbed DA dogs before (Rez dogs int he rescue I volunteer with), and once they're no longer fearful of other dogs, they're perfectly happy to play. and oddly enough, Oliver is much more comfortable playing with other fear aggressive dogs than he is with confident dogs, and the other dogs are the same... go figure.


Honored Member
@Tx, that is exciting, however, it would not explain the aggressive female dogs, though, i don't think, unless i am misunderstanding it all. Still, becoming aware of the power of our genes on one's behavior, is fascinating fascinating fascinating!!
and no doubt, there are many forms of mental illnesses in humans, so it seems reasonable to assume, there could be many ways genes could have a role in the various forms of human mental illnesses.
Also, Tx, so so so glad you are getting a break in your breakneck speed of your life!!?? ENJOY!!

There are indeed, many many fascinating studies on genetic tendencies in humans towards aggressiveness.
Many many studies on this topic! I just saw one yesterday.

Along same lines, Like i keep saying, There are known human mental disorders, like some forms of schizophrenia, and some sociopaths, and some other mental disorders, who are born that way, yet, it does not fully manifest til they approach maturity. (certainly, not all schizophrenics nor sociopaths are aggressive, but, i point it out to make point, those ppl's inappropriate behavior/mental disease, although not necessarily aggressive, IS genetic). I actually know a 4th generation schizophrenic. sorry, i've forgotten which type of schizophrenia it is that runs in that family. (and it could be 100th generation, but, 4 gens is as far back as *i* know of) and no, few of the succeeding gens were raised by their schizophrenic parent, most were raised by others, not the parent. It's on that family's dna.

I think, humans and dogs share somewhere in the 90th percentile of our DNA, so, it not impossible, that many characteristics of how mental disorder inheritance can happen in humans, could also present in dogs.

Tx, i'll be so interested to hear more of your research into this topic, of the role of genetics in aggresssion, if it interests you!! I am kind of a research fan, myself.