Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We have a boxer (1.5 yr old) and a Pug (13 months) who get along great. It's when we go to dog parks or places there are other dogs that our boxer becomes very unsocial. This is odd for us because we've been taking him to dog parks 3 times a week since he was 5 months old and he's been very social.....

As of the past 3 or 4 weeks he's becoming more and more aggressive with other dogs. He's still very good with kids and people, but when he's around other dogs (or when dogs come around to sniff him) he snaps and goes into attack and kill mode.

This is very discouraging for us, and he's such a lovable dog at home it's almost hard to believe.

We were contemplating buying a training collar (electric stimulation) or a muzzle but we're kind of in the dark about how to get rid of this behavior once and for all.

Help?????? PLEASE??????
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Hi, Ray.

I can certainly understand your concern in this situation. First question, has he been neutered? Has something happened in the dog park prior to his change in social behaviour i.e., was he bullied, or did another dog start a fight with him? It would be helpful if you could give us more detailed information of his behaviour and what you do, also, right up to the point where he launches into attack mode and what you do to deal with it. Start from what happens as you enter the dog park to after it's all over.

Some things to consider: Are you a calm person? Do you have him on the lead and is there tension on the lead when he is approaching other dogs. (This can make all the difference between an anxious, but non-aggressive, meeting and a full on dog fight.) Do you have a strong level of voice control over him in general? Does he see you as his leader? Being a good obedience dog doesn't necessarily mean he appreciates you as 'top dog'. Are there dogs there that trigger this behaviour in him?
Are there dogs there which he loves to be around? Does he do this as much with submissive dogs as he does with more dominant dogs? Does your dog behave like this only at the dog park or everywhere he sees another dog?

I guess, without much info to go on, if it were my dog doing this (I have a fairly strong natured Rhodesian Ridgeback bitch), I would ensure that she was iron clad on the 'leave' command, and also I would be training her strongly in the down stay. I would only approach dogs which I knew weren't going to try to dominate her, and I would put her in the down position and ask the owner to lead his dog up to her rear end (proper social greeting for dogs....not nose to nose). After introductions, I would walk the dogs calmly together for a while on lead, and then, if all the signs are good, let them play at the end of the walk (him trailing a long lead in case he needed a strong correction). When (or if) you need to correct him for his behaviour, make it a VERY strong one (preferably with a properly fitted pinch collar as they are safer on the trachea of the dog and work by 'pinching' around the circumference of the neck with even pressure). You want him to mind you no matter what. If you just constantly nag at him with a pull here and a pull there, it is more harm than good. One really fantastic correction will do more than 100 nagging ones. He needs to know this is not acceptable behaviour (oooh, I reminded myself of that British nanny lady who's on the telly when I said that...lol). He needs to know that you alone are leader and if there's any discipline to be dished out, that's your job, not his.

Don't worry, if you're consistent with gaining total control over him when he's at home and then you introduce distractions, making them bigger and bigger (and in different locations) until he is iron clad on the recall or the leave command, then you will conquer this. If your leadership is very strong, he will not feel it so necessary to step on in there...lol. But you have to be committed. All the best.

Michaela

p.s. Just be aware that if you correct him and he is standing beside a dog, it may trigger an attack. So if you do this, make it a really good correction so that he has no hope of redirecting his assault on the poor dog standing next to him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Yes - he IS neutered, has been attacked/Dominated once or twice at the park, and this behavior happens both on and off leash. He does this mainly around dogs he doesn't know regardless of geographical location. Without a doubt he understands that I'm the alpha male. He listens and obeys very attentively, unless distracted (I haven't quite trained him to ignore balls/frisbees whizzing by yet).

When he snaps the situation is usually something like this:

1.)He and another dog run up to eachother out of curiosity. 2.) they both freeze waiting for one of them to jump first or My boxer freezes when the other dog begins to sniff him out. 3.) My boxer freaks out and attacks. 4.) We end up leaving the park ahead of schedule or staying to the far perimeter of the grounds to avoid over stimulation.

When he is on leash, it's just with a normal collar (no pinching or tightening).

Another odd thing is that he does this with dogs that are bigger and SMALLER than him..... so at least he doesn't discriminate....

We do have an electric perimeter around our back yard fencing and an electric collar that has kept him away from the fence (he was digging underneath to escape) and he has responded very well to both the sound warning and the electric pulse he receives if he continues to ignore the sound warning.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Hey there,

I would say those occurrences of bullying/dominance in the park were enough to make a young dog very insecure about being around other dogs. Events like that can really mess up a young dog. He is insecure and his motto now is probably 'get them before they get me'. Dog parks can be ok for some dogs, but I have never really thought they were a great idea in general. I believe that you should keep your dog away from the dog park and give him new and positive experiences with dogs in a controlled emviornment and one at a time with another owner. He needs to relearn how to be around other dogs, and always putting him in the same situation, which he is overwhelmed by, will not allow him to get over his insecurities.

All the best :eek:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
335 Posts
I am not an expert on these issues but it is not uncommon for previously dog-friendly dogs to start disliking dogs once they mature. Which, at 1.5 years of age, sounds about right.

I have a 2 year old female boxer who has been going to dog parks and daycare since she was a puppy, she's always loved other dogs and is very social... but I'd say within the past 6 months or so, she's been getting a little crabbier. She doesn't like on-leash greetings anymore. Off-leash she's okay the majority of the time but if the wrong dog comes up to her and she doesn't want to play, she'll snark at it a bit. She co-exists peacefully with my other dog, so it's not an issue that I'm concerned about.

If the dog park is where the issue is happening most, just stop bringing him to the dog park. DO NOT give any sort of correction, electrical or otherwise. You can't punish him for not wanting to be around other dogs just like you can't punish 2 people for not getting along. It's just how it is and if you correct him for it, that can just make matters worse if he associates the correction with the other dogs.

If I were in your position and I really wanted to work with my dog to overcome the issue, I would find a reactive/aggressive dog class to enroll in, or hire a behaviorist if necessary.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks to "I-Love-Autumn" and "Moluno" = great advice. We would definitely like him to be more social with other dogs, so corrective action is definitely the road to look down for us. The problem then lies with cost?

Any other cost effective ways to work through correction? I just know that behaviorists/trainers/rehab'ers are very costly - and we don't have the $ for that right now.

Any sugestions?????
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,152 Posts
Am I the only one who thinks continuing to take a dog who is becomming dog aggressive to a dog park is a bit, well...stupid... especially since the dog doesn't seem to ENJOY it anymore?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Hey'a Ray,

Just to reiterate; having discovered that it is a fear reaction rather than simple, plain aggression, I really think you need to remove him from the park situation. It is overwhelming for him. It is your job to protect him and not put him in situations he can't handle. That doesn't mean you won't necessarily be able to return to the park after some time, but for the moment, I personally feel it is a definite no-no. I was suggesting correction because I wasn't aware that it was fear aggression and not dominant aggression. I don't think it is fair to correct him if, when you are at the park where he has been bullied before, he reacts out of fear.

I don't think you will instil the love of being social with him if you use correction at this point. I would concentrate more on safe encounters with another dog you know away from the park.

If you want a good tool for correction, I would definitely recommend the pinch collar. Please make sure you know how to fit it correctly (I haven't seen many pinch collars that are fitted correctly), and that you understand the principle behind correction: how to do it effectively, and why you're doing it. You may already know all this, and more, but I'm just not aware of your background, so have to assume, just in case...lol.

Take care. Happy and calm walking... :)

Am I the only one who thinks continuing to take a dog who is becomming dog aggressive to a dog park is a bit, well...stupid... especially since the dog doesn't seem to ENJOY it anymore?
Lol, actually, I don't know if they are a great idea anyway. I see so many posts over the internet of people who take their dogs to dog parks and end up with big problems. And let's face it, there are a lot of unwise owners out there who take their problem dogs to dog parks and upset the balance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
454 Posts
Many dogs once sexually mature, neutered or not, will start to exhibit behavior like this from what I've read. It happened with our lab a little later in life at about 10 she stopped liking all other animals. She would flat out attack if off leash, on leash she was perfectly fine. We never went to dog parks with her to begin with as our family had plenty of dogs for her to play with (she continued to do well with the family dogs it was just stranger dogs). We started taking precautions. We didn't allow her to meet dogs on leash or off though she could walk past them without issue if I stood between her and the other dog (if say we were on a trail or something and I couldn't cross the street ) and we certainly didn't take her to dog parks or pet stores or anything like that. She was a wonderful dog, but I certainly wasnt going to force her to like other dogs. All that mattered to us was that she was good with US and could be trusted with the family dogs SUPERVISED (We'd never leave her unsupervised with a dog period the end) which sounds like your dog is great at that.

it seems important to you that your dog be social. Perhaps you might do this with some professional supervision in an obedience class setting rather than at an over stimulated dog park. Could you make play dates with friends who have a fenced in yard? Our dog recently had some issues at the dog park (she can be annoying to small dogs, she chases them) and we have changed our patterns of visiting which seems to help. She goes on a walk before and after the park and if there are more than 10 dogs there or so we don't go in. If there are small dogs (breaking the rules) in the big dog area, we don't go in or we go to the far fence and usually a big dog or two will come with us and that's just fine by me. I want her to be okay with small dogs, but I'm certainly not going to risk her trampling a strangers dog and injuring it nor am I going to the push the issue. I allow her to meet them on leash and we attempt it off leash but the second she messes with them I put her on leash and take her else where. If she messes with them 3 times we leave all together. That seems to be working well, most the time now I can give a leave it command and she will promptly leave the small dog. We will never own a small dog so I'm not too worried about her issues with them (I assume it's prey drive related since she behaves the same way with small animals in general) but like you I want her to be safe interacting with them on limited basis (if one comes up to her in the pet store or on a trail I don't want her to try to chase it). But the fact is, if these ideas don't work for you, you need to stop going to the dog park as if your dog injures another dog you could risk that owner pressing charges against you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,410 Posts
Am I the only one who thinks continuing to take a dog who is becomming dog aggressive to a dog park is a bit, well...stupid... especially since the dog doesn't seem to ENJOY it anymore?
No, you're not the only one.

OP, whatever you do, please don't use an e-collar on this dog. If you shock a dog that's about to fight/already in a fight, they can attribute the shock to the other dog and end up fighting harder. Not to mention that if this is fear-based aggression, you should not be "correcting" the dog at all. If you do the wrong thing here, you will ruin this dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,236 Posts
Am I the only one who thinks continuing to take a dog who is becomming dog aggressive to a dog park is a bit, well...stupid... especially since the dog doesn't seem to ENJOY it anymore?
I agree 100% this dog doesnt belong in a dog park at all. if you dont have money for a trainer. then you sure dont have the money for emergency vet bills for some one elses dog if your dog rips them up.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top