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Old 12-01-2013, 04:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 14 month old bully

I know there was a thread earlier about this, but I'm not sure if it's still being answered so I'm posting here.
My 14 month old boy is aggressive towards certain dogs. Its the unstable, fearful, "weaker" dogs. It makes me feel so upset that all those months of socializing him at the dog park for several hours a day during his puppyhood months seem like a waste. He was so well-behaved and extremely socialized. I get so angry whenever people tell me I should have socialized him. I DID!! He's also been through all his classes, from beginners to advanced.
At 8-9 months, he kind of "snapped" and started this behaviour. It might have been triggered by me having to move several times. Or because he began his teenage years. I'm not sure.
I've noticed that he plays nicely with stable, confident dogs. But once they show fear, he will go into "attack mode" and get really rough. He's never hurt another dog but it just looks/sounds awful and I have to break it up. And usually he tries to go back for more. However, when a dog actually stands up to him, he runs off. But its rare to find a stable confident dog that will stand up to him. Especially when he charges at them to say hi, sniffs, assesses whether they are "weak", then either plays/walks away/or attacks. But even when some dogs are not afraid at first, when he charges at them, even just to sniff, they start getting scared because of his size/energy. And that's when he pounces.

His recall is great UNLESS hes in "attack mode". Generally in dog parks or around other dogs, he comes when called. It's only when hes fixated that he won't listen. He turned into such a bully, and I've stopped going to dog parks because of it. But it doesn't really help because the problem never goes away. I just avoid the problem by not going. But because he likes to swim, I take him to the off-leash beach where there are other dogs and this problem occurs again.

I also have a private trainer for him that tells me to do the pennies in a can trick to startle him. Or making him sit and telling him "NO!". It all doesn't work. After sitting or being startled, he goes back to the same dog.

Any suggestions?


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Old 12-01-2013, 04:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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But once they show fear, he will go into "attack mode" and get really rough. He's never hurt another dog but it just looks/sounds awful and I have to break it up. And usually he tries to go back for more. He is definitely a bully, and I had to stop going to dog parks because of it. However, when a dog actually stands up to him, he runs off. But its rare to find a stable confident dog that will stand up to him. Especially when he charges at them to say hi, sniffs, assesses whether they are "weak", then either plays/walks away/or attacks. But even when some dogs are not afraid at first, when he charges at them, even just to sniff, they start getting scared. And that's when he pounces.

His recall is great UNLESS hes in "attack mode". Generally in dog parks or around other dogs, he comes when called. It's only when hes fixated that he won't listen. Not going to dog parks doesn't help because the problem never goes away. I just go to where the problem happens.
You have to start seeing it coming and stopping the behavior escalating. Sometimes you need to get mobile and go and catch the dog and correct it or warn it from going for the other dog.

A long line can be used if you are not that agile. Allowing him do it is getting him in the habit of doing it. On leash don't let him stalk other dogs and start to get him used to you telling him what to do rather than doing what he likes.

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But because he likes to swim, I take him to the off-leash beach where there are other dogs and this problem occurs again.
With training and retrieving and tug you can get your dog to be so focused on the games you play that he can ignore distractions around him. It takes time and a bit of effort but is really worth it.

It is hard to explain but when you get the dogs really focused and make it work to get what it wants it then is more interested to play with you rather than to go picking on weaker dogs.
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good that you stopped with the dog park. I would work with him in very structured environments and let him mature some.
I've found with my 'bully' Onyx, when I corrected her for posturing or reacting to other dogs, it just ramped her up....so I chose to be proactive, not let her get into that zone/over threshold. Redirection and management is key, but try to stay calm and let your dog know you are the one who controls his world(so he doesn't have to be 'on' all the time). What you feel will go down the leash. Stay in some classes and don't get discouraged!
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm 100% with Onyx'girl on this. NO dog parks, you need to stop him continuing to get grow this very bad habit and management is key.

Dog classes would be the best way to work on your leadership role. Once he really knows you are his boss, then he won't pull this crap just cause he knows you won't stand for it and what you want goes.

He's still young (just big) so you really can fix this. And all the early socialization IS a huge benefit and why if you continue to be proactive, set him up to succeed by not being in a position to be a bully, and continue to get the leadership role thru any and all formal training you can take, this will get better.

Good luck.
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