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Old 02-25-2014, 01:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How would you go forward from this point (dog aggression)

Okay, background... Tygo is a 9 month old neutered dutch shepherd. He is quite dog oriented... very interested and 99% of the time he wants to play. He is not an over the top Dutchie. He is pretty sound and a lot goofy most of the time.

I am the main trainer at home and Tygo definitely sees me as the leader. My husband gets treated a bit like a sibling. Tygo plays ruff with him and my husband up to now encourages some play bites. I have hounded my husband to cap Tygo's energy more with commands or other play behavior, not allowing any mouthing or too over the top play and to disallow it but he (husband) is not very consistent.

Today, husband and Tygo were out for a walk and a young aussie (6 months) was around. Tygo wanted to play and after checking with the owner, Tygo was let off lead. My husband said they were just playing for 3-4 minutes and then he was getting ready to leave. The aussie would not go to his owner and was at my husband's feet while the owner was grabbing for him. My husband reports that out of nowhere, Tygo launched at the aussie and grabbed him by the neck. My husband said he did not want to let go. They got them separated and it appears there are no wounds. Husband said it was definitely fierce.

I have only seen Tygo get mad at two other dogs... one when Tygo was 4 months old at another 4 month old male over a stick. This was more pissy snarls and not anything big. The other is with his girlfriend (owner on here) when their play went over the top. We separated, calmed them down and all was fine after that. Tygo has played with many adult dogs and done just fine.

So, I know at 9 months old I should be expecting some maturing behavior. Where would you go from here? I will continue to work obedience and that is coming along nicely. Would you disallow play with other dogs? I do have a call into my trainer as well but wanted to see how you all would go forward from this point.

Thanks in advance, I really appreciate anyone who takes the time.
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Personally, I would disallow play with other dogs. At 9 months he is maturing and that can be unpredictable. He's also resource guarding (you and to a lesser extent the stick).

See what your trainer thinks but based on the above you need to keep Tygo out of situations where things could escalate. IMO
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It was probably the struggle at the owners feet that caused the attack which doesnt really sound serious as there was no blood. Commotion like that can easily trigger that kind of thing i wouldnt be terribly concerned about it but i also wouldnt allow strange dog on dog meetings.
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Old 02-25-2014, 05:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Tygo plays ruff with him and my husband up to now encourages some play bites. I have hounded  my husband to cap Tygo's energy more with commands or other play behavior, not allowing any mouthing or too over the top play and to disallow it but he (husband) is not very consistent.
He is probably learning he can get away with being out of control without repercussions. You can still have rough-housing, you just need to channel that desire. Use it to enforce obedience and show him that you are in control. Check out this video:

Quote:
The aussie would not go to his owner and was at my husband's feet while the owner was grabbing for him. My husband reports that out of nowhere, Tygo launched at the aussie and grabbed him by the neck. My husband said he did not want to let go. They got them separated and it appears there are no wounds. Husband said it was definitely fierce.
So, this behavior is not actually out of nowhere. He is probably “overly interested” in other dogs, since you describe him as very dog-oriented. I also agree with Bailliff that it sounds like there was some confusion/tension with the other dog that pushed him to behave this way. Ideally, he should be able to turn off his intense interest when you ask him to. It sounds like he might be a frustrated greeter? Some of that pent up frustration can lead to aggression even if he wants to play most of the time. Does he typically jump around and bark when he wants to play? Get overly excited and tune you out? Charge towards other dogs when he is let off-lead? These are all signs that he lacks impulse control, which can lead to a bite if he gets frustrated or over-aroused.

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So, I know at 9 months old I should be expecting some maturing behavior. Where would you go from here? I will continue to work obedience and that is coming along nicely. Would you disallow play with other dogs? I do have a call into my trainer as well but wanted to see how you all would go forward from this point.
I think you need to only allow play with dogs he has met and gets along with. Definitely do not allow play with stranger’s puppies you run into on a walk. You can’t predict how they will behave. He showed inhibition since he didn’t actually hurt the aussie. Now is your chance to nip this problem in the bud before he learns he can bite for real (which is incredibly hard to fix, trust me). I would work on engagement and obedience in the presence of other dogs. IMHO he needs much more practice focusing on you and self-moderating his excitement level before he can be safe off-leash. He needs to learn that other dogs are no big deal and that YOU decide when and with whom he gets to play, and when play stops.

Edit: I also think that dogs act differently around different people. My dog is much more aggressive if my husband tries to handle her. Same deal, he just isn't a consistent trainer and she doesn't view him as a leader at all. So if the two of them can take an obedience class together, that might help.
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Old 02-25-2014, 06:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Good question, is Tygo a frustrated greeter. I guess he is. I just had him in town and he whimpers and has a hard time focusing on me, and dances a bit when there are other dogs. However, I can get him to do obedience especially if I move further away or if I can get him in a heel he does stick with me as we pass the others. If he is off lead I guess he does a bit of charging or will lay down in the hunter's crouch. Then he runs by the dog hoping (my word) that the dog will chase him because Tygo loves to be chased.

Bailiff... I'm trying to sort out how serious this was... no blood not serious? I absolutely know that my dog has a good amount of jaw strength and he could have drawn blood... I guess my concern is that he would not let go immediately. My husband said the whole thing was probably about 6 seconds long but what stuck with him is that Tygo would not let go of the other dog's neck (top part) immediately.

I left a note on the peoples' door so I can talk with them. Does it make sense to ask if I can meet up with them and just do obedience around them (everyone leashed) and see what is going on?
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Old 02-25-2014, 06:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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So to help with this frustration around other dogs, I get the training around other dogs and we do do that. I will keep it up as well. I am also thinking to ask my husband to have more structured play time, lots of "outs" and exercise at capping his intensity. I am in love with Michael Ellis so I will return to some of those videos ;-)
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Old 02-25-2014, 06:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The out come of the "I thought he was friendly??" First mistake (in my opinion) was letting him play with a dog he didn't know. Second mistake is, it was an Aussie (the dog not the people) my experience is Aussies are very high energy, strong willed dogs! My other observations is that most of their owners are not! I have trained a couple of them myself, they learn quickly there owners do not! My time was wasted as soon as the owners got them back!



Aussis owners should have done what I do, my dogs don't play with other dogs don't go to dog parks. I don't raise them to be other peoples chew toys! Most likely the other folks can add "dog reactive" to their long list of behavioral problems?



If your dog has been playing with other dogs and no issues great you can consider yourself skilled or lucky? Most likely he has been hanging out around balanced dogs!
When another Dominate dog shows up on the play ground...good luck with that! I would not put another strange dog in his face. You know he will fail so what's the point?



If you want to have a well behaved dog that you can take everywhere without him going off his nut at the sight of another dog, try this:

If you want to make a "strange dog "friendly dog out of him," I" can learn from others.

Further reading:


Leerburg | Dog Parks: Why They Are A Bad Idea

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Old 02-25-2014, 07:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'd diagnose him as a posessive alpha dog. He could watch aussie at your husband feet, because he just about tolerated a lower ranking dog doing it, but when his owner moved to your husband - he lunged to protect his property. Some posessive dogs treat the other party as he/she belongs to them.He could bite before only because other dogs were getting too close to you. He barks at other dogs for warning them that he is protective. Normally these sort of barks sound like happy ones, thrown high in the air, the dog holds his head up and softly wags his erected tail - ? How he behaves around his toys with other dogs present? You can test him, if you like, "the dog and his bone" testing reveals a lot of truth about the dog sometimes, just take precautions, don't put other dog under the risk. You better diagnose him, test him properly in situatins, then look for remedies. He might feel a top dog, dominant dogs fight only in situations they think worth of and only with equals who threaten them, the beta-rank dogs are the status-seekers, they fight in majority of cases. If he feels alpha around other dogs - he would tend to teach lessons some of them.

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Old 02-25-2014, 07:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I would not approach the other owners except to apologize. If your dog was attacked would you want to be a part of the other dog's obedience sessions? Probably not.

Everything you've just described sounds to me like he is a young dog on edge with a lot of energy. If you keep him around stable dogs he knows, and work on the mild leash reactivity your seeing, my bet is that he will grow out of it (but probably shouldn't be a dog park dog).


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Old 02-25-2014, 07:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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By the way, I don't do dog parks. What we do is walk in the forest and there are other loose dogs from time to time and people recreating about. I know this is a fine line.
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