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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had Liisi outside to potty last night (the last one for the evening), so I didn't bother to leash her. She's been very good about staying beside me off leash and since I live off of a country road, the traffic is all but non-existent after 6 pm. Anyway, back to the story, there was a stray dog across the street from us just standing there. He appears to be a harlequin Great Dane mix. He is perfectly harlequin, but looks kind of like a really large boxer. Maybe a boxer-Dane mix? Well, Liisi ran to the edge of the yard, raised her hackles and did the deep, big girl bark. Said doggie did not move. His ears did sort of wilt, though.:wild: Liisi came back to me and I praised her for being a good girl. Well, the stray moved a bit, so Liisi tore off out of the yard and ran to him. I called her (several times) but she totally ignored me. I walked out into the barren road and watched to see what she'd do. All she did is hackle again, lunge in his direction and run AT him barking, but she didn't bite AT nor did she bite him. She then returned to my side and just watched him. In the land of the two legged, I would call that a huge bluff. So is this aggression or is this her way of protecting me? I'm unsure.
 

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I wouldn't call that aggression maybe just uncertainty!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Miss Molly! :) All this time I've been convinced she was super dog aggressive, but I'm really starting to wonder now. I had her at the vet recently and a small dog came in, leashed, and Liisi didn't utter a sound. A few minutes later a very large older dog came in and she raised her hackles, looked at me, looked at the dog and started barking furiously. The owner suggested he go out and walk toward his car and I come out behind him and then go to my car. When I walked out with her, she didn't even look in his direction. So I'm still just wondering... if it's more uncertainty as you said, protection toward me, or aggression toward other dogs. Argh. Maybe I should video it the next time and show you guys.
 

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Uh, well it's defintely a bit of a human wish that she was protecting you. Feeling territorrial, maybe.

Either way...all that reeks of is insercurity to me. "bark bark" get away "AHH" why aren't you getting away? "Bark Bark!" Essentially she wants to pick on other dogs unless the other dog doesn't give a hoot. If she was dog aggressive, I have a feeling that you would have had a NASTY fight on your hands. Although it sounds like the stray has some balls. Did he stand his ground the whole time? I'd watch out for that if you have loose dogs around. Something like that could get bad, REALLY quicky.
 

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From what you describe about vet...definitely dog reactivity/insecurity. Have you ever had her FIGHT or GO AFTER another dog? I had to classify anything but TRUE TRUE dog aggression as such, because I feel like there really aren't a lot of dogs out there that are truley dog aggressive...and the ones that are, REALLY dog aggressive.

Hackles up...barking at other dogs in her space...lunging, but not "going all the way..."...all seems reactive, not aggressive.
 

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I agree, it is uncertainty, reactive behavior due to being insecure. If she were "aggressive" she would have chased the dog off or fought it. She was telling him to stay out of her territory.
How old is she?

I wonder more about the stray...do you have stray dogs around, poor thing! I would try to catch him and find the owners or get in touch w/ a rescue for him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the advice! To answer the questions, Liisi is 6 months old today. We've only had her for a month.

As for the stray, I did call him and tried to get him to come to me to at least try and find the owner, but he would not come. He stood there barking at me. :( I didn't see him today though. So, maybe he made his way back home. To the question about him standing his ground, well I dunno how to really explain it. He stood there with his ears perked until she started barking at him, then his ears wilted down around his head. When she ran at him, he just stood there, then sat down - sort of like "what the heck?? I'm just sitting here, see?" When he sat, she didn't show anymore aggression - if it's aggression.

My neighbors two doors down have three little ankle biters that they let out from time to time without collars and leashes. Several days ago, they let them out and the little terrier ran to the edge of his yard and barked at Liisi. Liisi barked back but didn't offer to pull on the leash to go after him.

There have been no dog fights, but I can't say there wouldn't be. I just don't know if she'd actually bite another dog or if she's just warning them, being territorial or protective or just plain bratty. Like I said, she doesn't act that way with all dogs, just certain ones. Large ones. The neighbors on the other side of me have two Dachshunds and Liisi hasn't offered to go after them either. They've come running and barking in my yard and she barked back, but didn't lunge.

*scratching head* I just dunno what to make of her.
 

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Indra did the same thing to my neighbors dog at that age. She ran off and barked at her with hackles up and everything. It's typical for that age and they will test you of how far you let them go. So you need to take control back.

It is insecurity and if I were you I would put a stop at it.

Socialization and Obedience are the key. Whenever my husband is out with Indra she will bark at another dog because he ignores her behavior. I put a a stop at it by correcting her because one thing you really don't want is a dog that barks any time a dog walks by.
 

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At 6 months she doesn't know what to make of her either!
Do you have her in any classes?
I don't have my dogs interact with dogs they don't know, but want them to be non reactive when they do see dogs. Classes are a good way to teach that. Ankle biters just ramp up our dogs with their barking, the way they move...it is such an invitation to attack.
Have treats or a toy with you and redirect Liisi's attention back to you when you see other dogs(do it before she begins to react) and praise/reward her when she focuses back to you.
I wouldn't correct her as she may see the correction as coming from what she is reacting to and that will just want her to get at the dog all the more.
 

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I wouldn't correct her as she may see the correction as coming from what she is reacting to and that will just want her to get at the dog all the more.
I should add not correcting as in physical correction but in distraction as you described. It's all correction of the dog right there and then before they can even react.
 

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Molly was kinda like that when she was younger. By the time she graduated level 2 group obedience classes this behaviors totally disappeared.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Unfortunately no, I don't have her in any classes, but am starting them next week. The original "trainer" I had gotten a business card for was too flaky for my tastes, so I drove 30 miles away to Petco today. They have classes starting next week and I'm enrolled with Liisi. She definitely needs it.

I also wanted a good socialization exercise for Liisi. I figured with it being Saturday, there would be a lot of folks out with their dogs. I was right. The local shelter was even out with dogs and puppies, as well as cats. Liisi got a super overdose of new sites and smells. She experienced an automatic door and was scared to death at first, but got better. At first she hid behind me and had her tail between her legs. But I reassured her and had her walk all over the store with me. She was reactive with the first set of dogs we came across but very quickly calmed and ignored everyone throughout the store. We got her dog food and browsed the toys, treats, and collar sections. She was absolutely perfect with people! Most dogs she did just great with, but toward the end of the hour visit, she saw a set of Lhasa Apso (spelling?) dogs and raised hackles and barked. We were positioned near the door. It opened and an African American lady brought in the two of them. It occurred to me that I haven't had her around any other races really. So I'm unsure what triggered the "aggression". But, I also decided that she needs to smell and see people of every race, as well as dogs of every breed.

Due to her reaction, I decided to go to the feed store near my house and walk around. She did absolutely perfect with everyone of every race that she met.

I also called my vet and asked if it'd be okay if I come in on Monday and sit in the lobby for half an hour or so and let Liisi see and meet other dogs. They were agreeable. :)

Then I went to the grocery store and had my daughter hang out near the automatic doors with Liisi (on leash of course). She met every age group and every race and did fantastic. Everyone stopped to comment and talk, as well as offer hands to smell. She never growled, barked, raised hackles or anything. I was very proud and gave her some yummy smoked ham hocks as a reward.

So given this information, perhaps it will shed a light on the question. :) I guess I just keep doing what I am doing and she will eventually be desensitized, right?
 

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First of all, I wouldn't go to the vet for socializing. There is an air of stress and the dogs can scent the pheronomes that go with that.
And some dogs go to vet because they are ill or have parasites.
I don't let my dogs do much at all at the vet other than go in for a weigh in and we are right back out after a treat(if we are there to get dog use to the vet)

Are there any other options to training than a big box store? I don't think the trainers go out of their "box" to help with issues that arise.
I remember recently a dog was placed behind a partition at one because it was reacting to other dogs. The trainer should have used that as a way to work with the dog, not separate it!

Sorry to sound critical, but smoked foods can cause digestive upset and splinter, so don't be surprised if Liisi gets runny poo or barfs from that ham hock. A fresh from the grocer beef knuckle bone or soup bone would be better and won't splinter like smoked bones can.

One other thing and I'll be done, do not reassure her if she is acting fearful(at the automatic door) just act confident and keep moving so she feels your confidence down the leash. If you reassure her when she acts fearful, you are supporting her feelings.
Sounds like a great day overall, I bet she'll sleep well tonight!
 
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