Training/dealing with jealously/protective behaviour
I've got a ~21 month old, spayed GSD. She's always been an incredibly friendly dog (to both people and animals), but in the last few months there have been numerous jealouly/protection incidents. I'm hoping for some advice on controlling this and hopefully training it out of her.
She has gotten fairly posessive with her toys (especially the "fetch" ball) and will growl when most dogs come near it. (She's fairly easy going about dogs she knows well, letting them get away with a lot more.) Additionally, she growls at any dog near me - it's usually just a short and quiet "warning" growl, and I've never really taken it seriously until today.
Just a half hour ago we were at the local park playing fetch with another dog (whom she knows very well). Everything was great, and then another neighbour and her dog came over. I started petting the new dog (whom my dog has previously seen on numerous occasions, but never really played with) and my dog (Liza) very quickly gave off a growl. I playfully pushed her away and she went behind me - everything seemed to be fine for a good 15-20 seconds, and then Liza launched at the other dog (from behind me) with no warning. She bit right through the other dog's lip and left a good sized mark/scratch on the neck, too (I obviously gave my contact info to the other person and will cover any vet expenses).
I had an electric collar on Liza so I got her off the other dog very quickly, but this was still a very serious (in my eyes, at least) situation. Obviously I made a mistake in brushing off her warning growl as nothing serious, and that won't happen again.
She's not normally "reactive," at least not in a negative way. She does always want to pull or otherwise run towards other dogs (or people that call her), but always in a very friendly way - there has never been anything but playfulness.
As far as training this jealousy/protection response out of her (before it gets worse!) - what kind of techniques can be used? The only thing I've thought of is tying her up to a tree, playing with other dogs right in front of her, and rewarding calm behaviour. Any other ideas?
First I'd Ditch the ecollar or at least find a trainer to help you use it.
If you use it to stim the dog off a bite you better be dang sure she knows the reason she's getting stimmed is because of the bite. If she thinks the stim came because of the other dog then of course she would growl if one got near you or her. Not saying this is why she behaves like this but using the ecollar like this isn't helping the situation.
I won't tie her to a tree and play with other dogs and reward her for being quiet. I think that will make her behavior worse. Sure, she may quiet, but then there would be the risk of her attacking the other dogs when she is free to do so. I do agree with Simba that the use of the e-collar in this situation can cause her to associate the shock with the other dog. I suggest that you consult a trainer to see if this behavior can be changed. At 21 months, she is mature now, and may no longer want to play with other dogs. I would avoid dog parks and not have her in situations where is is free to play with other dogs. I would not want to take the risk of her injuring another dog.
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