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Barrett, who is 4 now, has a pretty high level of dog aggression, especially toward dogs on leashes. He has now attacked 3 different dogs while the owners were walking by with their dogs.

Before I get flamed for not having my dog under control, I take full responsibility for the incidents. Two times, the gate was open and I just didn't realize it. The other incident was a friend leaving the gate open. He has a Golden, so it didn't even occur to him. But still, my dog, my responsibility.

He is obsessive about chasing things. From shadows caused by birds and bugs, to squirles, cats and airplanes flying over. He doesn't hurt the dogs when he attacks, but it sure looks like he's going to and it scares the dog walker to death:eek:

So, I desperately need some ideas for training methods that will stop his aggression towards other dogs:confused: Other than this issue, he's pretty spot on with everything else.

Dog in question for you picture lovers:)
 

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Have you been working with a trainer or behaviourist? I'd start there and get professional help that can physically be there to work with you

He's very handsome, I'm glad you're willing to work with his issues and hopefully it will pay off.
 

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Very nice picture :)

Is this a training issue or a management issue? I know that most people with dogs that are aggressive to other dogs just keep them away from them. What exactly do you want to train your dog to do? I don't think you'll ever train him to be friendly to other dogs. The most you can hope for, IME, is to train him to ignore them. And each time he's had the opportunity to confront them (mistake, but still...) is a setback.
 

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Have you been working with a trainer or behaviourist? I'd start there and get professional help that can physically be there to work with you

He's very handsome, I'm glad you're willing to work with his issues and hopefully it will pay off.
No, not yet. I will consult one if necessary, but I'm hoping to correct the problem myself if at all possible.
 

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Very nice picture :)

Is this a training issue or a management issue? I know that most people with dogs that are aggressive to other dogs just keep them away from them. What exactly do you want to train your dog to do? I don't think you'll ever train him to be friendly to other dogs. The most you can hope for, IME, is to train him to ignore them. And each time he's had the opportunity to confront them (mistake, but still...) is a setback.
It seems like an odd behavior to me because he's not really a very aggressive dog. Not even to other dogs once they've met. Most of the time he'd rather play. But, when they are walking by on the leash, his first instinct is to attack. Almost as if he's establishing dominance, or perhaps protecting the property. I have no doubt that after the attack is over, he'd have no problems running around and playing with the other dog.

I would be happy if he would just ignore other dogs.
 

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First as you say you must work on improving your dog management skills like keeping your gate closed and making sure everyone around you knows their responsibilities. People being what they are, you have a four legged lawsuit and citation waiting to happen unfortunately.
A trainer can help teach you off lead recalls. Enough that (maybe) you can call him back from chasing or intercepting another animal. You won't be successful if your dog is really high prey drive and doesn't respect you. You can train in the presence of other dogs to desensitize him to them, and you can arrange positive socializing sessions with other dogs. Your trainer might recommend using tools such as an e-collar to reinforce your commands off lead. I recommend a large fenced in training area where access to other dogs can be controlled yet still allow your dog to learn how to behave himself off lead at a distance from you.

And I would like to add like others have mentioned, if your adult dog shows aggression towards other dogs, don't expect to turn him into a social butterfly around other dogs.
 

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OK, two websites that can get you started.

BAT (Behaviour Adjustment Training)

Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) | Official site for BAT: dog-friendly training for reactivity (aggression, fear, frustration) by Grisha Stewart, MA

LAT (Look at That)

Leslie McDevitt: Control Unleashed®: Home Page

I would still encourage even getting a consultation from a professional to try and pinpoint the cause. One or two sessions could be invaluable.
I agree with everything in the quoted post. First, management so it doesn't happen again. A practiced behavior just becomes stronger. Second, get someone in who can help you determine the motivation behind the "attacks" so you can better go about correcting it. BAT and LAT are great resources to work with.
 

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I had this same issue with my dog. I took him to a trainer that kept him for 5 weeks. He was a completely new dog when he came home. First thing I would suggest is to buy a metal prong collar. Some people think it's mean to use these because they look scary but they do not hurt the dogs at all. I swear by this collar! Second, take him for walks around other dogs that are also on leashes. When he starts to go toward them, tell him to leave it and bring his attention back to you. It can be a very long process to do this including many walks and a lot of you saying " leave it" but eventually he will get the point. You are in control, not him. When you tell him to leave it, give a slight pull on his leash toward you. At some point, you can start working with him off leash. My dog despises cats but if I tell him to leave it, he listens. Honestly, I never thought I'd see that day. He was very aggressive with them. He'd still like to eat them for a snack but if I call him off, he listens. Also, I would suggest that you train him to not go out of your gate in the case that it gets left open by accident. They can learn to stay in their territory by leading him around your property on leash and showing him the "do not cross" lines. Give him treats often when he does what is asked of him. I hope this helps....Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the comments and I will check out those links that shade posted.

Yes, better management is in order, but I want to feel more secure in case mismanagement occurs.

I have no doubt that I could recall him if I were there. All 3 times was when I wasn't around, which unfortunately is why the events occurred.

+1 to the 4 legged lawsuit waiting to happen. The first incident was particularly scary for me since it was an elderly lady that fell down during the scuffle. Her screaming brought the entire neighborhood outside. She sprained her wrist, but lucky for me, she refused any medical attention. I visited her later in her home to express my sorrow, concern and to let her know that I would gladly take care of any of her or her dog's medical bills. Lucky for me, she was scare more than hurt. Probably only slightly more scared than I was.

I do use a pronged collar and a e-collar when I'm training him. He behaves perfectly when I'm using either. In fact, I have no doubt that in my control, no restraint is needed at all. He minds very well when he's at heal and recalls very well too.

This is literally his only bad trait. Well, that and sloppy drinking, but I can live with that.

I agree with GSDmommy's suggestion of more(controlled) interaction with other dogs. I have already started training him to stay within the gate, even when it's open. All 3 incidents happened on the sidewalk in front of our property, but outside the gate. He is already picking up on that, but I know that right now, the temptation to chase a dog would be too great for him. At least if I'm not around. I don't think he would consider it if I was around, but I haven't found anybody willing to be a Ginny Pig just yet :)

I'm not opposed to consulting a trainer, so it very well may come to that.

I might add that he becomes very protective of the family when he's on his leash as well. Not really overly aggressive, but definitely quick to warn people. Has anybody else experienced that?
 

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Mismanagement cannot happen EVER. Three incidences are three too many. Mismanagement could cost your dog his life. If this occurred because of your kids or spouse not being responsible, then they don't handle the dog. When you are not there, the dog needs to be in a crate or secure kennel. The gate must never be left open. You need multiple safety nets.

Our new dog is a hound mix. Unlike our shepherd, he has little to no recall. He follows his nose. If he were to get out, he would be gone. I have a gate to keep him in the kitchen away from the front door. There is a new safety lock on the back door and a new gate on the deck. The deck gate is always locked. The 6 foot gates to the fenced yard are always locked.

The reasons for keeping my dog in may be different than yours, but both of our dogs need to be managed in the same way. Our dogs must never be allowed the opportunity to get through that gate.
 

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Just some addition of mine to everything other people have already said. When you are in the street again with your dog, please, don't forget that there is air of exhibitionism in every sort of dog's attack. It happens very often that the males won't attack when they go at each other, if only their owners turned their backs to them. They want to create a show, besides their own reason dogs like to impress. I knew a dog, who was running back to his owner wagging his tail, his big smile was telling:" I managed to scare him! That old bloke has pissed his pants!"
 

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I too had this issue with my dog and we are improving every day. It takes work, and we have good and bad ways BUT Gunner is becoming a more balanced dog because of it.

GSDmommy11 said:
First thing I would suggest is to buy a metal prong collar. Some people think it's mean to use these because they look scary but they do not hurt the dogs at all. I swear by this collar!
Agreed!
Prong collar is doing great for us. Our trainer told had mentioned a prong collar by Hallmark K9. Ordered this prong collar . Works great and highly recommend them.Use the prong on him as a tool. The prong collar is a tool and many people use the prong and slowly work their dog into a regular collar. Just make sure you hook the leash with out the triangle.

GSDmommy11 said:
Second, take him for walks around other dogs that are also on leashes. When he starts to go toward them, tell him to leave it and bring his attention back to you. It can be a very long process to do this including many walks and a lot of you saying " leave it" but eventually he will get the point.
Agree and
I would suggest working him first before presenting him around dogs right away. Next is the routine I do with Gunner and I believe it is working for us. Work on obedience around the house. Work on focus, recall, heel, sit, stay, and a strong down. Reward for the good behavior. This will all play on when you are out and about with the dog. Make your dog patient and relaxed by making them wait for their dinner. Make him look at you. Have him lay down and stay. Only release him when he puts his head down for a little bit. Soon he will learn ' once I lay down and relax, I will get to eat sooner '. Next take a treat or a bone of his and put peanut butter on it. Place it on the floor and let him roam freely. Use the word ' Leave it ' if he gets close and is about to eat it ( or stares way too long at it. ) Reward on the good behavior with other little ( and few ) treats. Then after awhile pick it up and put it away until the next feeding. ( I tend to put that in Gunner's morning breakfast. A gift for 'leaving it '.)

Of course you can walk him outside, just with Gunner I would try to avoid those situations because I wasn't ready to set up for a failure. I made sure I had better control of him first.

I then was taking Gunner to Petsmart on days where it wasn't so busy and work on obedience with him around other dogs. Continued using ' leave it ' when walking past dogs. Correction and saying ' leave it ' at the same time at first. Slowly work to where you only have to say ' leave it ' and he will look away.

Gunner loves to stick his head out the window of the car, and if there is a dog outside, he will get huffy puffy towards the dog ( even with the windows up ). I continue to use ' leave it ' with him.

Make sure the gate is closed and everyone does their part when they are around your dog. It does take work but it is worth it! I hope this helps too!
 
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