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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My fox terrier mix Jemma has just turned 4, Jemma lives with my mum. i haven't lived at home for almost 2 years but she still knows im her mummy, she misses me and i miss her a lot.

later this year i hope to be able to move into a place where i can have Jemma come and live with me. but the only problem is my mum says she attacks other dogs. in the two years i lived with her i never had any problems and still don't have some of the problems my mum says she has when i visit Jemma. But i haven't taken her around other dogs recently.

my question is how to assess the situation, how can i find out for myself if she is DA?
she has always seemed to get along with males better than other females.
my only idea is to take her for a walk on the beach and from a distance assess her reaction to the other dogs. is this a good idea?
she gets along with some dogs but they have since moved away or passed, how can i find out whats going on?

any advice would be great
 

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As you suggested, meeting on neutral ground is the first step but, determining whether it's really dog aggression, fear based reactivity or guarding takes some knowledge of body language. Ideally, you would have a knowledgeable trainer on hand to guide you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks for the advice she is always better with me as i think she trusts me as the leader.
i don't know any other dogs we could meet, and i have no money for a trainer at the moment but it seems like thats the best option when i have some money?
 

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In the meantime, you could research a few books...a couple are Canine Body Language by Brenda Aloff and Dog Language by Roger Abrantes. That will certainly help but the environment also plays a big part ie; food present, stressors (crowds/kids/noise, etc.).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for the advice :) ill try get a hold of one of those books
i really hope we can do something about her little bit of aggression.
i think its mostly guarding, she doesn't trust my mother much and feels she has to take charge. its very stressful for her, she only really relaxes when ive been around for a bit or take her away for a bit.
 

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Do you have a friend or a neighbor with a dog who wouldn't mind taking a short walk/maybe sniff and greet with you? When we introduced each of our dogs, we took one on the lead and walked a few feet ahead of the other. Slowly we caught up and walked side by side, keeping the dogs on opposite sides of us and watching how they reacted. If the walk went well, we'd take a moment to stop and let them meet each other before quickly moving on again.
 

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If she never did it with you before but does it with your mother it could be that your mother is handling her differently than the way you do. Your mother needs to handle the dog the same way you do.

Example: Lola will stay in her crate and be calm before I let her out. I can have her wait with the door to the crate wide open. If my father comes over to walk her (when I was at work) she would not be calm before he let her out she would get really excited. Same thing happened when a neighbor would take her out for her walk. They did not have her calm and relaxed before they took her out and they were not firm enough with her so she would take advantage of that. Now I could tell my father do not take her out until she is calm but he would not wait for that even if I told him because he doesn't want to wait.

It is quite possible that when you do get your dog back from your mother to live with you that she might go back to her old ways when she was with you. The only way to tell though is to approach another dog on leash that is coming toward you and see what the dog's reaction is from a distance and see if the intensity gets stronger as you are getting closer to the other dog . Just because she might show a reaction to one dog does not mean she is DA. You should judge it on several dogs and see if their is a pattern. She might only show DA when she is near black dogs, big dogs, small dogs or all dogs etc. If she shows DA with a particular type of dog, small, large etc then I would work on her desensitizing her to that type.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks for the great advice, she hates other dogs coming onto our property, but thats not too bad.
the other times i have had the experience with it with her is with a foster i had fro a while. we took them for a walk together and they seemed fine Jemma wasn't even interested. but as soon as they got close enough to sniff noses Jemma tries to attack the other dog. then we take them a couple of feet away from each other and its all fine again. i don't really understand this.
the other times it can happen is if they are playing fetch on the beach and Jemma sees another dog she can go running off to this dog and sometimes it ends up with a little fight apparently. so no more off leash at the beach.

so what could this mean? she never seems to have a problem until a dog gets really close?
im worried she will pick a fight with the wrong dog and get really hurt, she is so little, no bigger than my cats
 

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What you could try to do is divert her attention to the other dog. Have her focus on you and when she is focused on you give her a treat.

If you have a friend that has another dog they could help you do this. Have the 2 dogs apart from each other and do as I said above. Bring the dogs closer and repeat the process. Do it in small steps until the dogs are close together and if you can do this and have the dog focusing on you and not paying attention to the other dog then you have solved the problem. It will take some time to resolve the issue completely.

Make sure all dogs involved are on a leash for better control before doing the above.
 
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