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Discussion Starter #1
Another thread got me to thinking about Maiyas aggression issues with other dogs.

I've made little progress over the past year.

At home she is doing much better with my other female shepherd although she did pierce my beagle's ear the other day when she jumped on him for no reason. That was the first incident we have had with her in months.

However, when we go out for a walk when she sees another dog she goes psychotic! I mean teeth baring, hackles raised, lunging, crazy growling and barking, slobbering and just plain crazy! NOTHING brings her back. The vet has witnessed this in his office and asked......"Dear God! Is she always like that with other dogs?"

It's really embarrassing and dangerous because people don't realize that she's serious and it's not just a bluff. I have ZERO doubt in my mind that she would bite another dog. She has proved this to me already.

I've contacted several GSD trainers and they want nothing to do with her. That's scary!

She bit my son in one of her aggressive rampages but then again he tried to pull her and my other Shepherd apart and he is 11 years old! I TOLD him a million times not to stay FAR back if they get into it and he didn't listen.

She is not aggressive towards people although she does bark at them. However, strangers can walk right up to her with no problem.

Don't know her history. 2 years old when we adopted her. She's 3 now. She is missing 1/4 of her right ear and it was like that when we adopted her. I can only guess that is a result of a dog fight. She lived with another dog (a lab) prior to coming here.

I'm really scared to take her out because I'm afraid she is going to hurt someones dog. Of course I keep her on a leash and away from other dogs, but you know the ones that come running up to you with their owners in tow wanting to play.

I wish I had a video to show how psycho she is. I have seen dog aggressive dogs and they don't even compare to this.

Anyone have experience with a dog like her?
 

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There was a dog like this in a neighborhood I lived in, a Bernese Mt. Dog. His owner had done a consultation with Patricia McConnell and she had advised a counter-conditioning program. By the time I met the woman the dog would automatically look at her when he saw another dog.

So here are my suggestions:

Buy a wire basket muzzle for her so that you don't have to worry about her hurting another dog. http://www.fordogtrainers.com/

Buy the "Click to Calm" book and work on counter-conditioning her. It will take time but it is possible.
 

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Feisty Fido is the very best book for this situation-- an easy guide that describes a truly workable program for helping your dog TRULY improve! I also have Click to Calm. Feisty Fido is the first I would reccomend-- it has helped HUGELY with Grimm! He flips out because he wants to initiate a party with the other dog (he is überplayful, social-- but frustrated at not being able to start the party rollin') Anyway, http://www.dogwise.com will have Feisty Fido by Patricia McConnel. The program in the book takes months... but after just a few weeks, you REALLY see an enormous improvement already! Incidentally, I hate Haltis, have always hated them-- but a Halti did save this situation for Grimm. It made the Feisty Fido work go faster and much easier, too!
 

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A lady at my old SchH club had a doberman with this problem.

She wasn't interested in SchH per se, she went looking for help with the dog aggression. She herself was a pet dog trainer and she was embarrassed and horrified that she could not control her dog nor teach him to quit it.

She got the dog to accompany her on hikes in the forest here. Well, he was trying to kill every dog they passed, and it isn't uncommon to find dogs off lead up in the forest.

What they ended up doing was teaching the dog to focus on the handler. When a dog approached, the dog was to focus on her and give no attention to the other dog.

In the end, they ended up using electric to teach him to stay focussed on the handler and they nailed him with it hard whenever he took attention off of her and on to another dog.

She never got to the point where she could take the electric off of him, he always had to have it on.
 

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I am struggling with this issue, too. My 16 month old neutered male nailed me in the thigh in a redirected aggression response right after he had attacked another dog. My dog is also leash aggressive.
I am working with a trainer, hoping to get a decent handle on this behavior.
The main thing we are working on is his focus. If he is focused on me when around another dog, he won't have the mental room to react to the other dog.
It is slow work. We are in the beginning stages so far. Having a trainer that is familiar with me and my dog has helped a great deal. He sees things that I miss and he keeps me on track and positive.
My advice is to keep looking for a trainer that will work with you in a manner you are comfortable with. When you're working with your dog, be sure to start in an area where she is comfortable and non-reactive to other dogs. If you find her reactive when you're 30 yards from another dog, start working with her at a 40 yard distance. There should be some area of town where the other dogs are reliably on leash? If not, perhaps you could get together with some dog owning friends or family and have them act as props at the safe distance?
Good luck! This is a very frustrating behavior.
Sheilah
 

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An E-collar can work very well to help correct this if you work with the right trainer. I rescued a 1 1/2 yr old male GSD alittle over a year ago. With in 3 months I had multiple dog fights and gotten bit. He gave my female 40 stitches. With the E-collar and alot of hard work and training he is now fine with other dogs. He is actually a demo dog for the training company I work for. He also goes to a ton of events, including the Super Pet Expo and was wonderful
 

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Originally Posted By: lish91883An E-collar can work very well to help correct this if you work with the right trainer.
I think it's very, very dangerous to use a shock collar with aggression issues. As many times as they work, there are many more times when they exascerbate the problem and make it worse.

Others have suggested <u> Click to Calm</u> or <u> Feisty Fido</u>, either of these are great resources. They are similar in that they use positive associations with the presence of another dog to desensitize and counter-condition, but have distinctively different approaches.

I have yet to meet anyone who has read either of those resources, and tried the techniques, that then decides that a shock collar is a preferable method. However, I know many people who have previously used the shock collar and then converted to desensitization and counter-conditioning.

On a personal level, I simply have a problem with shocking my dog because she's behaving badly. I think it would permanently destroy the relationship I've worked hard to build over the past 6 years.

Quote: I am working with a trainer, hoping to get a decent handle on this behavior.
Just make sure your trainer is a positive trainer and not resorting to aversives, such as shock collars, "hanging" the dog, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks so much for all the advice and links!
 

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With the Dobie I mentioned, the ecollar was used to train the dog focus on the handler long before another dog was brought into the picture as a distraction where aggression might become an issue.

The collar was only used when the dog took focus off the handler for any reason.

I don't know if this would be considered using the ecollar "for aggression issues" since the dog was taught that looking away from the handler (for any reason) was what got him zapped.

This lady in particular was a motivational dog trainer herself. I don't know if she used the clicker, but she was definately into the treats, positive motivation, setting up the dog for a positive experience, etc...These methods were simply not effective when there was another dog present. He needed more than a hot dog (or, I suppose a click) to get him to stay focussed on the handler.

The other dogs were brought in months after the dog had learned the focus with the ecollar. They used the method described, starting with a dog far in the distance and working very slowly over long periods of time until the dog was keeping handler focus with a dog closer.

It wasn't that they started out with 2 dogs and when a fight broke out they zapped the Dobie, no.

Not sure I explained how they used the ecollar clearly the first time around.

I imagine using the ecollar directly for aggression can fire a dog up even more, so I can see why it would be an ineffective tool used that way.

I think it is so important to try the least invasive procedures first and then move up to stronger ones if they are not producing the desired results.

I agree that electric is an extreme measure that shouldn't be taken lightly and shouldn't be used by those who don't know how to use it correctly...which is most of us.

Still, I definately think it is more humane in a very hard dog who would need very strong pinch collar corrections to get a response. A well-timed e-collar correction is way better in this case, imho.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can't use things that wrap around her neck or pull on it because it irritates her esophagus. Yes, it is so big you can actually feel and see it hanging down if you know what your looking for. Most people just think she just has a big neck but that's not the case.

I have to walk her with a head harness or if there's anything else that doesn't go around her throat.

I can't give her treats for good behavior unless someone can come up with something she can enjoy that she doesn't have to swallow. I trained my other GSD with the reward of toys instead of treats because of her Inflammatory Bowel Disease, but Maiya is not interested in toys.

Just some more info on what I can and can't do with her.
 

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To each their own Sue. But I can tell you that it works. I've worked not only with my dog who was aggressive, but many others. And it ranges from dog aggression to people aggression. I've had a hand in saving many dogs, who the e-collar their last chance. To date we've only lost 2. Mostly because there something very mentally wrong with them.

An E-collar could make it worse if not used correctly by a trainer who has knowledge on how to properly use the collar. I would never recommend someone that has never used one to go buy it and try to fix this problem theirselves.

I'm not saying the e-collar is everyone's solution. I can only tell you that it saved Blue. And I can also tell you that my relationship with my dog wasn't damaged. If it weren't for the E-collar I wouldn't even still have Blue and that would have been a shame.
 

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Please, let's not get into another e-collar debate. She can't use an ecollar anyway because it's too heavy for her dog because of the Mega-E.

The dog I mentioned was trained with the techniques used in Feisty Fido. I'm using that plus some of the techniques from Click to Calm and it's working great.
 

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mamagoose, just thinking outloud - this is probably an incredibly stupid idea - but how food motivated is she?

i had a cat w/mega-e, so i know the whole liquifying food routine - i'm wondering if you could carry a little container of liquified food, and then let her have it/some as a treat instead of normal treats?

or is she fed through a stomach tube? my thought might be kind of messy, i don't know, just trying to think of a way beyond praise that you could motivate her. that's hard that she's not toy motivated (though i know i was always terrified georgia would knock off a little bit and i'd end up w/a foreign object issue).
 

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I think a good focus command, motivational work, plus "crittering" work with an e-collar would be good here. The point of crittering work is to do it in such a way that the dog cannot associate the stimulation with the other dog launching an attack- it's not like you stim the dog when your dog is going gonzo two feet away from the other dog. On Lou's site, I believe he details that the stim starts when you're quite a distance away from the other animal.

If weight is an issue for health reasons, that's another thing, but I do think an e-collar would be gentler than jerking on a prong or even a buckle collar when she throws a fit.
 

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Originally Posted By: mamagooseI can't use things that wrap around her neck or pull on it because it irritates her esophagus. Yes, it is so big you can actually feel and see it hanging down if you know what your looking for. Most people just think she just has a big neck but that's not the case.

I have to walk her with a head harness or if there's anything else that doesn't go around her throat.

I can't give her treats for good behavior unless someone can come up with something she can enjoy that she doesn't have to swallow. I trained my other GSD with the reward of toys instead of treats because of her Inflammatory Bowel Disease, but Maiya is not interested in toys.

Just some more info on what I can and can't do with her.
Do you use a gentle leader now? How is that working? I use the Sense-ation harness and I really love it. It clips in front and gives me a lot more control when I need it. The gentle leader works really great for some dogs though and can help calm them down.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ok, going to try and answer everyones questions in this post so forgive me if I leave something out.

Maiya is EXTREMELY food motivated but she is fed through a stomach tube. Sometimes I will give her licks of treats or a crumble of food but as far as giving her actual chunks of anything I really shouldn't. She does REALLY like Nylabones though. Maybe a stupid thought but perhaps I could use one of those. LOL. Whether or not she likes them more than she'd like to kill another dog I have no idea. We'd have to see.

I don't know that weight is as big of an issue around her neck as much as the "tugging" is.

I am using either a Gentle Leader or a Halti right now. I can't remember which one but it doesn't work very well. She tugs on it BADLY and it rubs all the fur off of her muzzle.
I will definately look into that harness you mentioned!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ok this is gross but another thought.

When I feed her I use a couple of wet washcloths to wipe everything off and they usually have a decent amount of food smeared on them by the time it is over. She goes CRAZY for the rags. I always let her lick them before I throw them in the washer. I could carry a food soaked wet rag in my pocket.


Ok, maybe not in my pocket, but somewhere!
 

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How about cheese in a can, comes out in a foamy, gooey substance? Is that something she can take as a treat? It's lickable and easily dispensed, but yeah, not healthy. :p

Or how about natural gelatin flavored with natural beef, chicken, or organ stock? It might be more easily handled, especially if chilled.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Gelatin blocks are a good idea. I know many megaE owners that use them to water the dogs that have problems taking down liquid. I've never tried it with Maiya.
 
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