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Discussion Starter #1
I have a few questions, but my biggest concern is this:

My 1 year old female Labrador, Belle, has always been so sweet towards humans and other dogs. But today we took her to a park she has never been before (more like a trail), and she tried to attack every dog she saw!!! After the first two we held her back very tight away from the other dogs. She got very poofy, growled, barked and lunged at dogs. This has never happened before.

Could it be because we were in unfamiliar surroundings? Could it be because we just got another puppy a few weeks ago (we left her home though) and that makes Belle act weird? Could it be because she is no longer a puppy herself but an adult dog? I'm really upset over this :(

What should I do about it? Should I correct her? Should I just see how it goes in the future? Should I not let her see other dogs anymore (besides the puppy and the neighbor dog who she plays with all the time)? :(

Now some other questions that aren't as important:

As I mentioned above, we got a 2 month old lab pup, Penny, a few weeks ago.

Belle plays very rough with her, sometimes the puppy whines...should we correct for this or just seperate the two for a moment and let the puppy work thru it on her own? Visa versa as well, sometimes Penny will grab onto Belle's extra skin on her neck and not let go and Belle whines. Should we corret the puppy for this?

Also: toy taking. Belle always, always takes toys away from Penny. Hubby and I just take them away from Belle and give them back to Penny and telling Belle "no". We do the same the other way around, if Penny tries to take a toy away from Belle, we tell her "no" and give it back to Belle. Is that ok to do?

Sorry it was long...I'm just so upset over Belle being aggressive...:(
 

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My 1 year old female Labrador, Belle, has always been so sweet towards humans and other dogs. But today we took her to a park she has never been before (more like a trail), and she tried to attack every dog she saw!!! After the first two we held her back very tight away from the other dogs. She got very poofy, growled, barked and lunged at dogs. This has never happened before.

Could it be because we were in unfamiliar surroundings? Could it be because we just got another puppy a few weeks ago (we left her home though) and that makes Belle act weird? Could it be because she is no longer a puppy herself but an adult dog? I'm really upset over this :(

What should I do about it? Should I correct her? Should I just see how it goes in the future? Should I not let her see other dogs anymore (besides the puppy and the neighbor dog who she plays with all the time)? :(
no. do NOT correct her. Also do not just ignore it. You need to actively work with it.

When she flips don't freak, don't panic and don't react. Move away from the other dog and try to get her attention. Keep a favorite toy or some good stinky treats on you for this purpose. lure her into a sit and tell her to stay. reward her for it.

Pay close attention to her body language. Look for a point in her behavior where she isn't barking, snarling or freaking but she is aware of the other dog. that's going to be the point you are most likely to get her attention.

You also want to work on self control with her.Look at a thread called "My dog has been banned" I posted a self control exercise there.

Also look back over the stickies in the forum

If the behavior escalates or continues, take her to the vet first and then head to a behaviorist.


As I mentioned above, we got a 2 month old lab pup, Penny, a few weeks ago.

Belle plays very rough with her, sometimes the puppy whines...should we correct for this or just seperate the two for a moment and let the puppy work thru it on her own? Visa versa as well, sometimes Penny will grab onto Belle's extra skin on her neck and not let go and Belle whines. Should we corret the puppy for this?

Also: toy taking. Belle always, always takes toys away from Penny. Hubby and I just take them away from Belle and give them back to Penny and telling Belle "no". We do the same the other way around, if Penny tries to take a toy away from Belle, we tell her "no" and give it back to Belle. Is that ok to do?

Sorry it was long...I'm just so upset over Belle being aggressive...:(
sounds like play. Dogs play rough. Some dogs even play rough enough to draw blood and it is still just play, though with Belle showing signs of being leash reactive(not aggressive..aggressive is something different) I wouldn't let it go to far. Walk in call their names and ask for a behavior they know and have them stay for a minute, reward and them let them play again.

DO NOT take the toy and give it back. that could very easily create problems where there are none. toy swapping is normal. this is the one Id say just leave'm be unless a problem actually shows itself. like if they start fighting over toys...then you start only giving toys when they are separated.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My husband suggested heeling her passed the dog at a reasonable distance......?

About toy taking- I should just allow Belle to take every toy Penny tries to play with? If that's what we're suppossed to do, I'll do it...I'm just making sure. I think that's why she chews on the furniture...Belle always takes the chew toys away from her whenever she has one, lol.

Thanks for the comment :) It's very helpful.
 

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My husband suggested heeling her passed the dog at a reasonable distance......?

About toy taking- I should just allow Belle to take every toy Penny tries to play with? If that's what we're suppossed to do, I'll do it...I'm just making sure. I think that's why she chews on the furniture...Belle always takes the chew toys away from her whenever she has one, lol.

Thanks for the comment :) It's very helpful.

When Belle takes Penny's toy...What reaction does Penny have?

If Penny doesn't care and immediately finds something else to do, don't sweat it unless she starts eating socks or something similar.

If Penny gets upset, don't freak...it kinda sounds like Belle is saying "Hey you are the new kid around here" kind of thing... just give her something else to do. One interesting trick I've seen work is when the bully dog steals the toy, call the other dog to you and give her some attention...there's a good chance Belle will drop the toy and come looking for attention as well...when she does; immediately tell her she's a good girl and give her a rub...

Sometimes (i think I mentioned this in another thread you posted) when a new dog comes into the home, it takes the first dog a bit to adjust. the first dog may act out, become bossy, even possessive of its toys or even owners..My guess(only a guess) is Belle is realizing Penny isn't just a visitor...

Id really just for the most part let them sort it out as long as Belle doesn't get violent with Penny. Do some reading on Dog body language so you can distinguish what is what. Then if they do get violent step in. Though periodically breaking up rough play with a quick training session can help everybody stay level...

With the leash reactivity..like I said...don't freak, don't yell or try to punish her...leash reactivity is often a result of some form of insecurity..like a new dog in the house taking up her attention, toys, etc...so don't react in a negative way. Act calm, quick and self assured. You want to redirect her attention before she hits her threshold. Threshold is her breaking point...the point where she just can't stand it anymoreand feels like she has to react..try keeping her attention on you consistent during walks...

Heeling work is good but id put some other stuff in there too. Keep her mind focused on tasks and getting rewarded for being a good girl. it will help in several ways. Building confidence, enjoying the attention she gets from you, keeping her focus OFF other dogs...

I like a sit or a down when the trigger(in this case dogs) appears. I tell my girl to down, then focus and then make her stay focused on me until the other dog passes.

You have several options..just be attentive to the different behaviors...do some reading...just be watchful...if they actually fight, you want to get a pro in to help you out...
 

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Just a quick thing here.. If the dogs get to fighting.. any dogs... you break up the fight by grabbing the hind legs and wheel barrowing the dog backward. This keeps you as far from the "business" end of the dog's teeth while taking the wind out of the dog's sales for fighting.

I am not so much thinking of this with the young dog and the puppy (tho it is good to know in case they really get into it) but if the older dog should get loose or there is some problem with a strange dog when you are out walking.

Zim is right.. redirecting the dog and changing the dog's focus is the real way to deal with this.. dogs are a little like Male Homo sapiens.. they cannot think about two things at the same time. So, you get your dog to think about food treats and he just cannot also engage other dogs.. and use only little pieces of something very good (like 1/2 dime size bits of hot dog). Feed little but feed often to keep the dog's attention.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys.

I have another question in relation to my other one. How do I tell people who let their dogs come up to my dog? Like, ok, I'm at the park, see another dog, put Belle into heel, get out a treat, and keep walking...the other dog owner brings their dog up to sniff-whatever Belle. Should I say "Sorry, we're working on her aggression issues?" Or let the dog come up to Belle.

I really wish I grew up with dogs instead of cats :(
 

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I wouldn't volunteer that you're working on an aggression issue. Just say you're in training and move away to a safer distance. You do not want to put your dog in situation where she is not ready or warmed up to meeting another dog, or worse, cause the other handler to tense up by the information you give them. In fact, you might even want to get your dog a vest that says "In Training".
 

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In fact, you might even want to get your dog a vest that says "In Training".
Good idea!! My hubby bought little kids t-shirts that we'll sometimes put on her, lol, I'll just put a big piece of tape on it and write it on there.

The worst (ok time for a little vent) are the people who always say "why don't you let her off her leash? I'll help you watch her." Umm.....no! She'll take off after a squirrel or a kid (she's not aggressive towards humans i've noticed) or another dog or a bird...lol. We go to the park across the street a lot, and sometimes there is this guy or his wife and their lab-mix, Jackson. Jackson is a great dog, always stays by his owners, fetches the ball everytime it is thrown and brings it right back, walks without a leash just great. And they ask me this EVERYTIME we meet at the park. Argh!! Annoying. Ok, end vent, lol. :p


I had an idea today. It was brought up that Belle may has some self-confidence issues, which really upset me...since I love her. So, would it help if I trained with her more often? Just at home, maybe 4 or 5 times a week for 15 mins...doing heel, waits, stays, comes, and some funner tricks? Would that raise her confidence by making her feel....important or like she has a job to do in the house? I want her to be a happy dog :(
 

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I Do and I don't....depending on the situation.


If its just someone meandering up expecting a doggie meet and greet I just say "we are training right now." and sometimes if the person seems dog knowledgeable, I ask for them to be a practice trigger, one that I can control the placement of.

if it someone ignoring their offleash dog that's barreling straight for us I do warn of her aggression potential because it spurs them into action to get their dog away and leashed. Plus there is a certain implicit liability you avoid by warning the owner right off the bat.

Building confidence in a dog means one thing.

setting them up to succeed. not expecting too much or pushing them too fast...and they make little strides, receive rewards for those strides and to semi anthropomorphize here...take pride in being "a good dog".
 

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Building confidence in a dog means one thing.

setting them up to succeed. not expecting too much or pushing them too fast...and they make little strides, receive rewards for those strides and to semi anthropomorphize here...take pride in being "a good dog".
So would training more often be a good idea? She knows all the commands very well (inside the house at least, outside is a different story). I feel like I tell her she's a good dog all the freakin't time, lol.
 

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Dogs do not generalize behavior. If she knows commands in the house, she has to be re-taught at the park, in the yard, in front of the grocery store, in front of the dollar store, at different parks etc. etc.

I have heard it said that it takes 20 different places for commands to be taught for the behavior to be generalized.

So, I would work on training her every where. At the park, in the yard, in front of the grocery store, in front of Walmart, at different parks and with different distractions.

I also suggest you get a little booklet or DVD from www.dogwise.com called 'Really Reliable Recall.' This will help you learn how to teach your dog to come to you when it really really matters. It is a great tool!
 

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Ok so here is something you might want to think about

Are you telling her she's a good dog for her responces to you cues? Because that is rewarding her for actually being a good dog.

Are you telling her she's a good dog just whenever you feel like it? Because that is rewarding her for doing whatever she wants. If you are doing this, I would stop.


IMO Training sessions should be short and sweet and sporadic, ending on a high note...like

Belle, sit
she sits
Good Girl!
Belle, down
she downs
Good Girl!
Belle, Focus
she focues
Belle, Stay
She holds the focus
Good Girl!

end when she has succeeded. And if you see her getting frustrated, take a break THE INSTANT she starts getting frustrated and come back later.


and Elana gave you some good advice. I say take it.
 

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This sounds more like leash reactivity to me than any kind of aggression....I don't know for sure, but that's what it sounds like. I've been working with Ripley on this for a while and even had a couple of sessions with a trainer, and I was amazed at what just working on commands outside the home did for him. We run through different commands ever time we walk now and I carry a pocket full of kibble (started with higher value treats, but my boy is prone to weight gain and we were going through alot of them).

This is a really short summary, but when I notice another dog coming our way on leash I stop, put him in a sit, and run through a few commands treating the whole time, sit, shake, down, sit, or just sit stay...and when they are past we walk again. For dogs in yards that he likes to strain and bark at, I get his attention with a treat and heel him by. I've gone from him growling/barking/lunging on leash so much that people were commenting on my "aggressive" dog, who is btw fine off leash with dogs, to a dog that automatically sits when he sees another dog approach on walks. Sometimes he'll bark once or twice, but I'll give him that.
 

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I like what sheltiemom said. Just be aware that this is not usually a "quick fix." It can be super frustrating and you may have many failures before you ultimately have success. Stick with it!

Another option along the same lines is to take your dog to a group obedience class. They are usually around 60 bucks for 6 weeks or something like that. Even if you take one at Petco or Petsmart (which may not always have the best trainers) the experience of working the commands in this new enviroment with other distractions (dogs, ect) is super beneficial. This can be one of the 20 places that you train to get your dog to generalize! Plus you always learn little tidbits that are helpful.
 

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Just be aware that this is not usually a "quick fix." It can be super frustrating and you may have many failures before you ultimately have success. Stick with it!
Absolutely...it was months and months, if not close to a year, between the time we started and the first time Ripley sat on his own when he saw an approaching dog....but it did start to get better before that, don't give up if you have set backs. As for other people, I like the idea of saying the dog is in training, but sometimes I say he's not friendly, like when people see us and instantly let out their retractable leashes so their dog can rush over to mine.

I also forgot to comment on your other issue, the toy hoarding...interestingly Ripley has the same issue with that as well. One thing I do is give the dogs some alone time each day...I'll put three of them in the bedroom and take the fourth downstairs and play one on one with toys and balls. I do this in the evenings after my kids are in bed. I also crate or separate them if it's something good like a kong or a new bone. I don't really interfere too much in play though, or if they're just lounging and Ripley takes someones toy...I let it go unless someone snarks, then I'll put away all the toys or separate the dogs....normally there is no snarking though. When we first got Scarlett I would put her in an ex-pen with some toys so he couldn't take hers.

With the rough play, is Belle stopping when the puppy yelps? If not I would break it up by clapping or stomping or something. Dogs play rough, but any time you are uncomfortable with the play it's ok to break it up, distract them, separate them, whatever.
 

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Thanks everyone for your advice, I will read over it more closely.

Now I have another problem/question....sigh...lol. Last night, Belle (1) was really tired, and Penny (puppy) wasn't so much. So hubby and I were laying in bed and had the dogs get on the floor. Belle was laying down semi-sleeping, and Penny went over and tried to play with her. Belle barked and snapped at Penny (meanly, not playing). I can understand why Belle did this, I am cranky when I am tried and hubby isn't letting me sleep too, lol. BUT, this is scary because hubby and I want to start a family sometime next year. I will not tolerate that kind of behaviour around my children.
 

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Thanks everyone for your advice, I will read over it more closely.

Now I have another problem/question....sigh...lol. Last night, Belle (1) was really tired, and Penny (puppy) wasn't so much. So hubby and I were laying in bed and had the dogs get on the floor. Belle was laying down semi-sleeping, and Penny went over and tried to play with her. Belle barked and snapped at Penny (meanly, not playing). I can understand why Belle did this, I am cranky when I am tried and hubby isn't letting me sleep too, lol. BUT, this is scary because hubby and I want to start a family sometime next year. I will not tolerate that kind of behaviour around my children.
I would watch this closely. Puppies sometimes need to be warned off by an adult that enough is enough. This can kind of even be a good thing, it is like Belle is discipling the puppy for you! That is completely normal behavior. On the other hand if this starts to get to be too regular of a thing or gets to be more than just a "grrr-arf snap" and Belle pursues the puppy after the initial "warning" then she might be in need of stroger leaderhsip because she is taking matters into her own hands because she doesn't feel she has a leader to do it for her. At this point it sounds pretty normal and dare I say acceptable, but it never hurts to do training with down stays and impulse control to reafirm who is in charge of taking care of the house.
 

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Ok, that's what I figured it was. It worked too, Belle barked, snarled, and snapped at her and Penny left her alone. Then Belle went to sleep...I feel better now :)
 

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GREAT NEWS!!!! We took Belle and Penny to a dog park today, and BELLE DID AWESOME!!! Absolutely no snarling, growling, barking.....she did get puffy a few times, but that's it. There were probaby about 8 dogs there total.

I am so happy :D I think it's a leash thing...she feels confined, whereas at the dogpark she is free to run around. What a good girl I have! :)
 

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One thing that might help is walking her on the leash along with other dogs instead of always face to face meetings and then moving away after a little sniffing.

Walking together is a very natural instinctive cooperative social activity for dogs, a pack activity and and less confrontational than always nothing but face to face meetings.
 
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