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Discussion Starter #1
HI, new member here. I've been checking out these forums and have read the very long (39 page?) thread on CM and his methods. WOW, that's a multi-day read right there. :)

I see lots of good people here with lots of different suggestions, techniques, etc.

Here's my situation.

I have 3.5 year old Thai ridge back, a 2.5 year old Shih Tzu and an 8 month old Thai ridge back, all males.

The two older dogs are good, the thai is (and always has been) a shy dog. He was very shy when I first got him (13 months old) and I've worked extensively with him on this issue. He's come a long way, but will always be leering of strangers and takes a decent amount of time to warm up to new people. He will bark upon a stranger entering the house, but will soon lay down and basically ignore them or just keep an eye on the new guest. Often he will approach and allow to be touched, but it's a slow process for him. It's much better than it used to be, but he'll always be a shy guy.

The Shih Tzu is Mr. Outgoing. Loves everyone, everything (human and canine) and loves attention. He will play ball (or fetch any # of toys) until you get tired of it or he falls over in exhaustion. He's a social guy and has always been very outgoing in his way.

The pup thai guy is the one I'm having problems with at this point. He's young, he still has his puppy ways, and unfortunately has been showing more and more aggression towards people and his pack members. I just had him fixed last week (the Shih Tzu has been fixed for over a year and the older thai dog has been fixed for a couple of weeks now) and his surgery went well.

However, he's been very difficult to manage and as stated has been getting increasingly aggressive towards strangers. Anyone coming in to our home and he completely freaks out, barking incessantly, growling and he's even nipped a few people that have tried to pet him.

I will admit I've used some of the dominance based techniques with him (and the other two), matter of fact the Shih Tzu is one of the few dogs I've ever had that has bitten me, twice as a puppy and the alpha role cured that. It's never happened since that day.

(As a note, please do not let this descend in to a CM method bashing thread, I'm open to try anything and correct any mistakes I've made.)

I got the young thai guy at just over 5 months of age and he essentially had no training at all (he was housebroken), but had not been walked much, if any. I got him walking on a leash correctly, at my side and without pulling and taking food/treats from me without chomping my hand. I am currently in basic training with him and he's actually doing very well at that. He likes to work and please, and is very food motivated. He's always hungry and responds well to treats, but the aggression had been growing.

He started nipping at people's heels at about 6 months of age, just started doing it one day towards my friends. Initially, this appeared to him being over protective of me, he bonded very quickly and strongly with me. I have the freedom to take him with me pretty much everywhere I go, to the office, to run errands, etc. and I did everything I could to socialize (and still do) on a daily basis.

The wife and I are religious about walking our pack, at least twice daily. I also take him and the older thai for trail walks to burn up their extra energy and these dogs love being in the great outdoors. It is where they come from and I live in the south, in a tropical environment, which is right at home for them.

We normally go to the dog parks when time or convenience allows, I have been through a few fights with my older thai dog and have learned his aggression triggers as well as his body language. If I see him acting up or any of the signs of aggression, we leash up and leave. I will admit we've had some fights and a few were semi-serious. Nothing fatal, but more than just the noise and posturing that comes with two dogs not getting along. I haven't been going to the parks much at all as of late as it's been really hot during the day and some of the parks are just to aggressive or get out of control due to the dogs and people that go there.

Things have really started to take a turn for the worse and this past weekend was pretty bad. The young thai dog was behaving very aggressively at the house as we had company over. To the point where I had to cage him and finally had to move him and cage in to a bedroom as he was constantly barking. Our company had their children over and the young thai was showing aggression/barking towards all of them. The company are good friends of ours and they're also dog owners, so they understand to some extent.

Young guy is starting to show more food/resource aggression towards the other dogs and started a fight with each of them this weekend that I had to break up. The thai on thai scrap was at the point of getting pretty nasty and I had to grab the young one's rear legs as he wouldn't stop fighting and roll him over. The older thai will respond when I tell him to stop, but the younger was not stopping until I intervened.

All three of our dogs love and respect the wife and I and are good with us as a whole. I would describe myself as a type "A" person and I can at times be aggressive and hard charging. I try my best to convey and carry positive energy in all things I do, but life is life and it often throws curves, ya know.

I'm open to any suggestions on how to use positive reinforcement and tap the young thai's food drive for a positive outcome. I will also use negative punishment if needed as I don't really feel it's good to reward a dog that just started a fight with another dog or pack member.

I've been actively searching for professionals in the dog behavior field locally, but I'll have to admit most of them seem to be more training (obedience or agility) focused and not so much dog behavior or aggression.

I really love this little guy, but I also don't want a liability on my hands as I hate to think of him injuring anyone, especially a child.

If I left any relevant information out, please reply and I'll do my best to answer it honestly. I do see that the terms "Alpha" and "Dominant" aren't liked to much here and it's completely understandable.

Any input from the members is greatly appreciated.
 

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My first suggestion would be to cut dog park visits altogether. Any negative situation that the young Thai finds himself in with another dog can and will affect his behavior. The more fights he gets into, the more likely it is that he'll become full blown dog-aggressive simply because he wants to defend himself before he gets hurt.

As for the issue with strangers, how well was he socialized as a pup? I don't know much about this breed but something tells me they have a predisposition to being aloof or even unfriendly towards strangers. I could be way off though. If he wasn't socialized well, chances are he is fearful of people coming into his house and doesn't know how to act.

If push comes to shove, crate the dog when you are having guests over, especially large crowds.

I'd work on introducing him to small numbers of people (1 or 2) at a time. Have them toss treats onto the floor often so that he begins to associate them with a positive thing.

I don't have much to say about the dog-to-dog Food Aggro, except he may be better being fed away from the others.

Start this dog on the Nothing in Life is Free program as well. There is a sticky in the Training Forum on this topic.
 

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loud noises work a treat to stopping fights, banging a baking tray, and air horn, anything really loud will stop your pup in its tracks. with the food agression you can get some air spray .. that people use to clean keypads .. and spay it on him when he goes to fight, or between him and the dog he is going for

good luck
 

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Using aversives (spray, noise, etc) on an aggressive dog can heighten the aggression and create fear on top of the aggression (which may or may not already be fear based).

I think the better alternative here would be to prevent the fights altogether. Don't leave the young dog with the other dogs when you cannot supervise, and devise some plan for him to eat in peace with no threat of anyone bothering him during his meal. Supervise all play sessions, especially those involving toys.

I do really think you should look for a behaviorist. Perhaps your vet can steer you in the right direction.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
My first suggestion would be to cut dog park visits altogether. Any negative situation that the young Thai finds himself in with another dog can and will affect his behavior. The more fights he gets into, the more likely it is that he'll become full blown dog-aggressive simply because he wants to defend himself before he gets hurt.

As for the issue with strangers, how well was he socialized as a pup? I don't know much about this breed but something tells me they have a predisposition to being aloof or even unfriendly towards strangers. I could be way off though. If he wasn't socialized well, chances are he is fearful of people coming into his house and doesn't know how to act.

If push comes to shove, crate the dog when you are having guests over, especially large crowds.

I'd work on introducing him to small numbers of people (1 or 2) at a time. Have them toss treats onto the floor often so that he begins to associate them with a positive thing.

I don't have much to say about the dog-to-dog Food Aggro, except he may be better being fed away from the others.

Start this dog on the Nothing in Life is Free program as well. There is a sticky in the Training Forum on this topic.
I haven't been going to the dog parks much at all as stated with the heat, although he's been pretty good at those in the past. Until I get all his issues under control he won't be going anywhere near those unless it's just me and him.

He was socialized somewhat, but probably not enough as it's critical with this breed in the 6-16 week period of their lives. He was right at 20 weeks when he came to me and we did everything possible to do the pack introduction correctly, slowly and for the ultimate outcome of success.

All our dogs do NILIF and always have.

Edit: I wanted to add a little more here as I was rushed for time earlier and couldn't complete the post.

I've started caging him more and at this point there's no way I will leave the three of them unattended, the young dog will be caged. I can't trust him to not be aggressive and especially toward the Shih Tzu when someone is not around.

Whenever I feed the three, they all must wait patiently when I prep the food. They must all sit, down and hard stay as I put the food out and then one by one (on who followed commands and complied the best) are called to their respective food bowls. I keep enough space in between them and I stay close and supervise them. The wife does the same, but she's not allowing enough space and we're addressing that as of tonight.

I've always felt they should work for everything, food, fun, affection, the basis of the NILIF that I mentioned we do with them. She hasn't always agreed and has accused me of being a control freak. :( I think she's beginning to see why it's so important, at least I hope so.

I'd also like to add that I'm not a total newb to dog training, it's something I've enjoyed doing with all of the dogs that I've owned. I like an obedient and well minded dog.
 

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I would start with training him to this, using the training to teach him to go to a designated spot in the house when guests arrive
Greeting Politely at the door

I would also train "Leave It" using Doggy Zen to teach self control and that YOU control all resources. The dog should NEVER be allowed to greet guests at the door way PERIOD. To establish you leadership and that YOU are in control of ALL situations use NILIF (nothing in life is free) with all dogs, it will cause the confidence of the older dog to improve and the younger dog will stop trying to control the situation himself. The younger dog is, in my opinion trying to do that due to some insecurity or fear on his part, I WOULD bring in a qualified behaviorist or trainer from one of these organizations www.iaabc.org or www.apdt.com to evaluate the situation and give you some additional guidance. Remember that straight obediance training doesn't fully give you dog the tools needed to live in the human world, it's only a foundation.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
One other ? here about having him fixed. It was five days ago and I know it takes a while for the hormone levels to adjust. He was (IMO) getting to the age of sexual maturity.

Would having him fixed be a cause of some of this behavior in the short term? I don't want that to sound silly, but perhaps his body adjusting to not having the hormones as they just started hitting his system?

I've been checking his incision and there's no sign of infection or anything that might throw his behavior off in that sense.
 

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Of course it could have something to do with it, more because of the pain that anything else though, just like humans. some dogs get a little grumpy when they're in pain. However, I wouldn't take it for granted that is the cause. Like I said, you need to have him evaluated IN PERSON by a professional to watch the interaction and help you to avoid the problem escalating (which it WILL if not taken care of).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Tonight is our weekly obedience training and I'm curious to see how he does this week.

He was fine at feeding time last night (I did it my way, which has been event less thus far) and no problems otherwise.

I'm also going to talk to the trainer after class and see if she recommends someone.
 

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I have only met a couple of Thai's here in Toronto..they are cool little dogs and also have that "aloof" behavioiur common in the other asian type dogs like the Shiba, Jindo and SharPei.

There could be several different things all affecting the situation. The recent neuter, adolescent crazies, fear based issues based in lack of early socialization etc.

I also recommend you look through the websites mentioned above to find a behaviourist, not a trainer, to properly assess the dog, both with and without your other dogs present.

There are plenty of methods out there for dealing with aggression..the difficulty is in determining the SOURCE of the behaviour. It could be medical (reaction to the surgery, early thyroid disease, pain related issues, seizure disorders), fear based behaviour or anxiety disorder. A full health screening and proper assessment of the dog by a behaviourist will help you find the best method to deal with this issue.

For the time being, until you get a behaviourist, management is key. Crating the dog (as you have already mentioned) especially when guests are around is key. Keeping the dogs separated as much as possible is also important. The more he gets to "practice" the behaviour of aggressing, the harder it will be to modify it. I would also, since he's been showing an increase in resource guarding with the other dogs be aware that feeding him AWAY from the other dogs for now would be a good idea and to also think about whether he may be guarding YOU as a resource. Think carefully about the incidents that have occurred and about what was going on at the time they happened...was the other dog near YOU when it happened? Were your guests shaking your hand or hugging YOU when he started the behaviour? Just some thoughts.

Resource guarding is based in anxiety, fear of LOSS of something..be it food, toys, attention etc..some dogs have been known to RG against tissues, space, dust balls etc..sounds weird but it can happen.

Good luck finding someone to help in your area. I do hope you will keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I have only met a couple of Thai's here in Toronto..they are cool little dogs and also have that "aloof" behavioiur common in the other asian type dogs like the Shiba, Jindo and SharPei.

There could be several different things all affecting the situation. The recent neuter, adolescent crazies, fear based issues based in lack of early socialization etc.
They are very cool dogs, but tend to have issues. They are somewhat of a feral breed and the population in the US is still low enough that the gene pool (and some of the breeding) hasn't been that selective in a sense. The two main issues being shyness and/or aggression. I've worked on (and a good part through) the shyness with the older thai (and some aggression, albeit dog aggression and not human). And now I am having to deal with and work with the people aggression from the younger thai.

His behavior last weekend did coincide with the recently surgery and while I don't think that's the true source I do believe it exacerbated the issues. He's definitely showing puppy-ness in that he's very energetic, always wanting to play and such.

He was socialized, but probably not to the level that I started to expose him to when I got him. That may be some of the basis for the issues that are happening now. I don't really feel I pushed him to hard, but there's no doubt that he bonded with me very quickly and very strongly. I can see him being overprotective of me for sure.

I also recommend you look through the websites mentioned above to find a behaviourist, not a trainer, to properly assess the dog, both with and without your other dogs present.

There are plenty of methods out there for dealing with aggression..the difficulty is in determining the SOURCE of the behaviour. It could be medical (reaction to the surgery, early thyroid disease, pain related issues, seizure disorders), fear based behaviour or anxiety disorder. A full health screening and proper assessment of the dog by a behaviourist will help you find the best method to deal with this issue.
I agree and I'm working on identifying his aggression. Fear? Protection? Rebellion (in the young dog acting up sense, that is) or a combination of all of them, which I feel it is at this point. I know these dogs well enough to identify his body language, eyes and movement so I'm actively working to figure out the clues and triggers to the unwanted and unacceptable behavior. This week was our 5th week of obedience training and he's doing fantastic in that sense. Even the trainer commented on how well he's doing this week. I spoke with her after class to get a recommendation for a local behaviorist and she gave me some suggestions on who to talk to about it.

For the time being, until you get a behaviourist, management is key. Crating the dog (as you have already mentioned) especially when guests are around is key. Keeping the dogs separated as much as possible is also important. The more he gets to "practice" the behaviour of aggressing, the harder it will be to modify it. I would also, since he's been showing an increase in resource guarding with the other dogs be aware that feeding him AWAY from the other dogs for now would be a good idea and to also think about whether he may be guarding YOU as a resource. Think carefully about the incidents that have occurred and about what was going on at the time they happened...was the other dog near YOU when it happened? Were your guests shaking your hand or hugging YOU when he started the behaviour? Just some thoughts.
I agree 100% and that's where I'm at right now. I know it will take time, work, patience and assistance to work through this so I'm just dealing with the behavior and doing my best to minimize it and "contain" it, if you will. He has definitely shown his worst behavior at our home. At work is not quite as bad and manageable at this point, much more than at the house. I've upped his exercise level to burn off more of the puppy energy at this point. It doesn't involve anyone touching me, it's just them being in proximity to me or at a place that he may deem as his "own" space. The house, work and my vehicle. All of those places, with home being the worst, are where he shows his bad side.

I was thinking about our evening walk on Sunday after the day of him being quite the bad boy. I was walking the thai's and the wife was walking the shih tzu. As a lady was passing us (walking towards us) she stopped and commented about us having another thai dog. She had seen the older thai before and commented about the new guy and how nice looking they both were. Both the thai guys let her touch them and were being friendly. As the wife and shih tzu approached, I saw the young guy's body language start to change and he appear to be ready to nip at her feet. He's showing signs of overall "pack" protection (wasn't exactly sure if it was because of the little dog and/or the lady approaching), but he definitely triggered on it and was changing his behavior. That was clear to me and I saw it happen.

Resource guarding is based in anxiety, fear of LOSS of something..be it food, toys, attention etc..some dogs have been known to RG against tissues, space, dust balls etc..sounds weird but it can happen.

Good luck finding someone to help in your area. I do hope you will keep us updated.
It's normally recommended to not feed these dogs together and be very careful with food around them. My older thai had food issues that I trained/condition out of him, along with major fear issues, car sickness and dog-dog aggression at certain times or towards certain breeds.

I've found that my way of feeding the pack in a very controlled and supervised manner works significantly better than the way the wife was doing it. She supervised them, but didn't have enough space and the way they were oriented when eating caused tension at feeding time.

I also have identified (and have known for quite some time) that the shih tzu does not have the correct boundaries in place. The wife slacked on that a little and I was busy working with the older thai and it's coming back to haunt us with the young dog. I have to start over in that sense to bring back balance to all dogs involved.

I have started my search for a local behaviorist and honestly I'm going to be very selective in who I choose to help me with this. I suppose in the same sense they are selective in who they help, I too must be selective in who I bring in to my home to help me work with my boys.
 

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I'm glad you are so on the ball here. And yes, be picky. Like anything else there are good and bad in all professions and it is important to find someone that you can work with and trust and vice versa.
 

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Hi A2Z-
I am in S Florida too and am dealing with some aggression issues with my rescued dog.I am looking for a good behaviorist too. Would love to chat with you on who you have talked to. I started calling last week, but have not had time to finish my research. I'm west of Ft Laud in SW Broward.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi A2Z-
I am in S Florida too and am dealing with some aggression issues with my rescued dog.I am looking for a good behaviorist too. Would love to chat with you on who you have talked to. I started calling last week, but have not had time to finish my research. I'm west of Ft Laud in SW Broward.

Thanks
You're a ways from me, I'm on the other side of the state in the TB area.

I have made some headway on training the young guy. We've been working on door manners as that's where it starts and so far it's working. None of the dogs are allowed to come to the door, bark or anything of that nature.

We've also set a new boundary in that they are no longer allowed in the dining room when we eat, they must all go lay down in the living room. No more table side puppy eyes and begging for food.

I've increased his walks, have been putting on his harness and running him (I ride my bike) and have been walking him for 30-40 minutes at Petsmart as often as I can (4 days last week). It seems to be helping so far, I'm burning off his puppy energy and working with him on all aspects of his behavior.

As I thought the Shih Tzu is the one who needs as much work as anyone. He's a very nice dog and loves everyone, but he doesn't listen to well. That is now changing and the lady is beginning to see why it must change.

I haven't brought in a behaviorist yet as I haven't found the right one yet. Unfortunately, I know more about the thai breed that most people here in the US due to their rarity.
 

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I have just gone through a terrible experience with my beloved rescue dog who developed bad and unpredictable aggression. I applaud you for being so thoughtful and careful about this. I can say that one of the problems was my reaction to the whole situation (which I am still dealing with). I would become very, very nervous as soon as a stranger came by or someone came to the house. I stopped asking people over and began to avoid any and all situations that might result in an encounter with my dog and a stranger. It could not have helped him that I was so nervous. One thing that did help me was to have a muzzle for him. I used it to provide some comfort for me (I knew he would be unable to bite) and it gave a bit of a warning to strangers that he was not a dog to just walk up to and interact with. Most people took the hint and would engage in a conversation with me rather than just reach out a hand. It also prevented him from practicing the behavior. When he bit, people went away which, in a way, was what he wanted so it was important to prevent a repeat of the aggression.

Good luck and take care of yourself in all this; it is very stressful and upsetting for the family.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have just gone through a terrible experience with my beloved rescue dog who developed bad and unpredictable aggression. I applaud you for being so thoughtful and careful about this. I can say that one of the problems was my reaction to the whole situation (which I am still dealing with). I would become very, very nervous as soon as a stranger came by or someone came to the house. I stopped asking people over and began to avoid any and all situations that might result in an encounter with my dog and a stranger. It could not have helped him that I was so nervous. One thing that did help me was to have a muzzle for him. I used it to provide some comfort for me (I knew he would be unable to bite) and it gave a bit of a warning to strangers that he was not a dog to just walk up to and interact with. Most people took the hint and would engage in a conversation with me rather than just reach out a hand. It also prevented him from practicing the behavior. When he bit, people went away which, in a way, was what he wanted so it was important to prevent a repeat of the aggression.

Good luck and take care of yourself in all this; it is very stressful and upsetting for the family.
The muzzle would be the next step if his aggression issues go the wrong way, as in get worse.

We've been working with him non-stop and the door manners are getting better (for the whole pack), but once someone is actually in the house he hasn't gotten much better.

Last night I had a buddy over (he's met the young one before) and he was able to feed him some treats, but the barking was almost continuous. I was able to calm him down some, but not all the way.

There's been a little bit of improvement, but it appears that this will be a long process.

On a good note with the additional socialization and trips to Petsmart, the young thai is not barking at people on the street. He sees and takes note of them, but doesn't react to their presence. He's allowing people to approach him otherwise (if they DO NOT crouch down to "be on his level"), so he has shown some improvement in that sense.

On the crouching down thing, I guess it's a natural reaction for a person to approach a dog that way, but it's not (IMO) the way to approach a dog, especially a sight hound such as the thai dog. That's the way they hunt and stalk prey and when they see a stranger doing it to them, they will rarely (if ever) allow the person to approach.
 

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HI
I am a breeder of Thai Ridgeback dogs in Canada. For more info on the breed visit breed info on my website http://www.urbanlegendskennel.ca/Breed_Information/body_breed_information.html

At 5 months of age it is typical for the TR to have socialization issues. One must never be heavy handed when training the Thai ridgeback as they will not forget and completely tune you out. It sounds like you are doing the right thing so far. Who is the breeder are they not willing to help you with the dog? A lot of the breeders in the US are newbies to breeding and just dont really have the knowledge to be breeding a breed such as this. Most have imported dogs from a puppy mill in Thailand. Many of them were turned down by the reputable breeders and went to Thiland to get a pup as this puppy mill pretends to be reputable but in the end if you have the money he will ship to anyone. My point to this is if this is where your pup came from it may also be due to the fact that it is not from a good line or may be very inbred, or was not raised properly before you got it.
We have several TRS going into rescue in the US and Canada because of this mill.
If I can be of any assistance please let me know. I do travel to Florida for dogs shows and would love to meet your Thais.
 

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Urban Legends..your dogs are beautiful! The picture of the blue standing on his hind legs is pretty awesome.
I've only met two Thai's here in Toronto..I wonder if they are from your kennel? I'm sure there are not that many breeders in Ontario.

Anyhoo, I hope you can be of assistance to the OP. He really seems to want the Thai experts to chime in..which can be hard as there aren't that many! LOL
 

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Thank you.

Standing on the rear legs is very typical behaviour for these dogs. If they cant see over tall grass etc they will stand up and look. Thay are able to stand that way for several minutes at a time.

The ones you saw in T.O. may well have been mine or puppies from me. I am the only breeder active in Canada at this time ( breeding, educating, lure coursing, obedience, rescuing, rehoming and showing)
These dogs are certainly not for everyone but many are being sent to inappropriate homes from Thailand and we have to help them and the new owners as they can not send them back. They are registered with a puppymill registry so they are hard to rehome to breeders and we cant be sure of the real pedigrees or where the dog actually came from. Such as beign bought at the market and sent to the US/Canada. So I try to do what I can for owners regardless of where there dog came from and if it is pure bred or not.

If anyone has any questions about the breed please feel fre to ask. I love to talk about Thai Ridgebacks.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I wanted to revisit this thread that I started as the younger Thai dog is right at 1 year old.

So far we've completed 8 weeks of basic obedience, 8 weeks of sub-novice training and 5 weeks of behavior classes. I even had a private session with the behaviorist so she could see first hand his issues in the house.

He has made some progress, but is far from being a "balanced" dog.

He has little (if any) aggression within the pack now, he seems to have outgrown some of that behavior and I've made sure he isn't to rough with the Shih Tzu.

Only one minor dog fight with the older Thai and it was a result of human interaction and mistaken body language.

I've also determined through observation and experimentation that his issues become worse when the older dog is in his presence. When the older Thai gets nervous, so does the younger Thai dog. They deal with their anxiety and fear in different ways, with the younger Thai showing fear aggression.

He's still over-protective of me and the pack as a whole, but I've learned to minimize it and use calming signals when appropriate.

This isn't a "Cinderella Story" as he's still a lot of work and he has still nipped a few people, but I honestly think there's hope. I have also found out that his mother has/had some issues, so some of it may be genetic.

With me and the lady he's a great dog, but still has to be exposed to new things or social situations slowly.

I've considered trying a different behaviorist as the one I have already used wasn't really that experienced with aggressive dogs. I have also been recommended by someone with lots of experience with this breed to check in to protection training for him. The theory is to learn to control or focus his aggression in an effort to contain it. I'm still on the fence with that one.

I'll have to add that he's very smart and in the true training sense (and especially if food is involved) pretty easy to train. While I have used treats/food with "strangers" to help him get over his fear/nipping he's the type of dog that will take the treats as he's barking and/or nip the empty hand when it's presented.

Still lots of work to do, but there is hope.
 
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