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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for some answers or even some points in the right direction about any info about aggression towards small dogs and puppies.

I've got this client right now who's dog shows aggression towards puppies and small dogs. It's a big enough dog, not sure what the mix is, and she seems like a nice friendly dog and is great with the kids and all family members but has gone after several small dogs and puppies now and actually tore up one puppy pretty bad.

The owners got the dog when she was a year old so I don't have a full history on the dog.

Is this just a form of dog aggression? Is it common? Does anyone have experience with this?

I told the owners flat out I am NOT a behaviorist and am not fully qualified to handle their specific situation, but they also want control over the dog when it comes to basic obedience. So I'll be teaching them that. I do help with general problems if I have the knowledge on it, but when it comes to aggression such as this I really don't have much to offer them other than to keep the dog contained and teach it obedience to gain control.

Any kind of info on the subject would be helpful though, to help the owners out in any way I can and give them SOME kind of answers.
 

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It could be prey drive. Just a thought.
 

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Yes, this is dog aggression and it needs the help of a qualified behaviorist...not just anyone claiming to be a behaviorist....someone with a degree in behavioral science.
In the meantime, no access to small dogs or puppies.
 

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That's what I was thinking too, but the puppy thing through me off a little bit. I would say its fairly common, but something to be very aware of. Mine definitely exhibit prey drive, but not necessarily with all small dogs. We haven't been much around puppies. But, saying that...I don't think I'd let mine offleash with an unknown small dog..just for this reason. HOWEVER, they don't exhibit outright aggression, I would just be afraid of a game of chase getting out of hand with the size difference.

Is the dog exhibiting outright aggression? or chasing instinct? I saw your OP, did the puppy incident (where he tore up a puppy)..was there anything else that could have triggered it (quick movement?) or was it just an unprovoked attack.

Not that I can help evaluate..as I'm not a behaviorist. Just interested.
 

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I always believed it was very abnormal for a dog to be vicious towards puppies... I don't mean growling or air snaps (which are normal puppy-scolding behaviors) but to actually ATTACK and harm a pup? That just doesn't sound right.

Was this dog taken away from it's mother too early or isolated from other dogs during it's formative years? it sounds like it may be a combo of prey drive and lack of early socialization with other dogs, maybe.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I really don't know TOO much about the dog to help answer all the questions. For one, no idea about anything about it before a year old, since this is when the owners adopted the dog.

The puppy thing kind of threw me off as well. Prey drive floated through my mind when she said small dogs but then when she said most of the behavior has been towards puppies I couldn't help but be puzzled. I've heard very little about such aggression.

It is really hard to tell what happened during the incidents. For one, the owner wasn't pressent when the dog tore up a puppy pretty bad (though they did pay the vet bills for it. I thought that was good of them). The dog use to have free roam but now she's on a line in the back yard or in the house. They are going to install a fence this summer.

I have no idea what kind of behavior was show by puppy OR dog when these incidents occured. I did ask the owner what kind of body language her dog shows (as I guess she tends to get "aggressive" towards dogs when they're out on a walk [though specifically small dogs and puppies]) and she said the dog gets big and tall, tail up, hackles raised.

I've come across owners who say their dogs are being aggressive or are biting and it turns out to be normal dog behavior, so I generally have trouble wraping my brain around the aggression thing unless I actually get to see it.

No, I'm not a qualified behaviorist (though that is my ultimate goal) but unfortunately I'm the closest thing to one in this town :confused: I'm extremely interested in behavior but I wouldn't ever tell anyone I'm a behaviorist and have been extremely upfront with these people the whole time that I'll help in any way I can and help them teach their dog obedience but I am NOT a behaviorist who is qualified to deal with aggressive dogs.

There's only one other trainer here and he uses methods that I wouldn't dream of touching (extremely harsh methods) and I'm a trainer who rarely uses treats and has no problem using training collars. I generally use a method that fits the individual dog, but I would NEVER scare or hurt a dog into listening, that's just WRONG and exactly how this other "trainer" works :(

Just to be able to understand reasons behind this behavior to kind of give the owners something to look into or further reasons why they should seek a behaviorist is what I'm looking for. If I can find one in one of the near by cities I will recommend it, but I have a feeling these people won't spend the money to go that far as I was reffered to these people by the humane society after they called the HS looking to rehome the dog... we'll see though.
 

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The trainer I train with evaluated a dog that had killled a puppy and went after puppies. It also seemed to go after any dog that submitted to it. I've heard of a few (3) other dogs who just would go after puppies, no matter what the puppy was doing. 2 got put down as the owners couldn't control them if they were out and the dog saw/smelled a puppy.

Allie will go after small dogs, but it seems to be a prey drive thing with her. Puppies she just ignores.
 
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