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daycare and aggression

1321 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Sookie's mom
Does daycare help correct aggression?
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I probably should have gone into more detail.....
She is always very people friendly and okay with some dogs. She's a 2 and a half year old spayed lab/pit. (I'm familiar with the pit side. I had a boxer/pit several years ago.) I also have two other dogs. I took her to our local Woofstock (sort of a dog fair with vendor booths, a concert and such). She was absolutely wonderful. Walking around the area, like it would be if we were on a walk, she was fine. But when it's just the two of us, she's different. Pulling, growling, barking, and she's very, very strong.....so much so that if I miss that first second of trouble, she's nuts. I use a prong collar that will have almost no affect until she starts calming after I pretty much sling her around. (as a last resort) When I see a dog approaching, we cross the street, or make a u-turn, over and over again....depending on the setting. I try to be very calm and do my best not to send off any vibes that would trigger her. She gets so focused that she is very difficult to redirect. When it's possible I give her lots of treats and I might say "look a doggie". In our SUV, she'll be in the wayback and if she sees a dog I say that again and toss handfuls of treats back there over my shoulder while driving. (I must look awfully silly) There's always a bag of treats on the passenger seat.
So......knowing her background, do you think that being around others for hours at a time will help to desensitize her? She's been to one well established and large daycare site a few times, for daycare and once being boarded for 2 nights. One of the workers told me that when she would first arrive she would "posturize" with some dogs. He said usually with the cranky ones that always do that. They would do some growling, wrestling, some drama, but no blood. The difference is, with me her reaction seems so much more extreme than two dogs approaching each other with hackles up, etc, sizing up each other then moving on. I don't know how far she would go. I'm sure I've left out some important details but I guess my initial question should have included this info.
Thanks for your time. :)
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sometimes dogs act differently WITH the owner present, and in the owner's absense. However, with your description of the 'fixation' and going nuts at dogs..it doesn't sound too promising. Is your dog acting aggressive, or just pulling trying to meet and PLAY with the dog?
There have been a few times when we were in a situation (like waiting at a crosswalk) where someone would walk up beside us with their dog. She would pull and look pretty scary but after the initial sniffing she would want to play. I have quickly sped off when there are any negative signs. This also happened at the vet's a few weeks ago. (she's not at all leary of the vet's office.....there's treats and belly rubs.) We were suddenly in the midst of half a dozen dogs. She looked very seriously at the others, then she became the happy non-stop tail wagger again.

I'm beginning to think it has something to do with me on the other end of the leash. I think I'm a mellow handler that doesn't react to our surroundings...unless they're good ones. Is she being protective? But it doesn't seem that simple because of her other scary times.

When I adopted her at 5mons she already knew basic obedience and was housebroken. Boy, did I luck out. Anyway, I hired an at-home trainer to find out more about her. He told me that a lot of trainers won't work with pits. He also told me that her temperament is 99% lab. So maybe the rest just doesn't like other dogs. (and that she was very smart!)
Dang it! I wish she could talk! :eek:

That's why I thought maybe the daycare pack atmosphere would bring out the playfulness in her and help her to like other strange dogs. Is is too big of a risk because she is so strong and determined in the outside world? This seems to be an un-answerable question I guess and must be based on the individual dog and daycare. I wonder how many dogs in daycare are the same as mine but the issue has never been considered?
I think I think too much. :eek:
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YAY! I took my dog to daycare yesterday for a few hours. She had never been there and the owner knew her story. When I came to pick her up, the owner said she was wonderful and immediately found some yellow labs to pal around with. When she came out, she was accompanied by a little cocker-ish and the biggest dog I have ever seen. Maybe part St. Bernard, Pyrenees, and horse. They all seemed to be buddies and my dog had no problems at all. I just dropped her off again today and she ran in wagging her tail. :)
I'm really thinking that the trouble is all on the leash. I'm going to call our trainer and see what we can do. (when there's room in the budget)
Thanks for all of your ideas and info.
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