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Hi all,

I'm new to the forum, but have been reading around here for a couple of days now. I've been trying to roam around and find ideas about how to curve my dogs aggression, but didn't come up with much. But, from what I have read, there seems to be some really knowledgeable people on this board, so I hope I can find some answers for my boy Bobo (thats my dog). Sorry if this post is long!

First let me give you some background on me and him. I'm 22, and this is really my first dog ever (save the ones my parents took care of and called mine). I live in an apartment, really close to a park, and a dog friendly neighborhood (just about everyone has a dog here).

He is a shepherd mix (not sure of the exact breeds mixed). He is about a year old. I adopted him from the SPCA here in Houston. They said that he was given up by his family because the pet wasn't allowed by the parent/spouse. When I picked him up a week ago, he was really calm. He ended up having a cough, and i took him to the vet. They said he had the beginnings of pneumonia and was put on some antibiotics. He's definitely start feeling better, and even runs with me and plays with me (at first he wouldn't even eat) although he still has a cough sometimes.

OK, now for the aggression. When I take him for walks, he will growl and snarl at other dogs and people. At first I would tell him "NO!" Then, I came and read on here (or somewhere else, not sure) that saying no could end up on more barking. So now I just try to distract him, either by walking to the other side of the road, going the other way, or giving him a treat. Problem is, he won't stop. He will continue to stare them down until they are out of site.

Now, the non-aggression. I've introduced him to several people this past week in an attempt to socialize them. All friends/relatives. He never barked once, not even the beginnings of a growl. Also, we took him to where my mom works (they have a "guard dog" - which is really just an overweight yellow lab that my mom treats as her child and over feeds). He did excellent with that dog! They jumped, we ran, they played. Great!

However, when I came back to my apt, Bobo was back to his old self! Growling, barking, at just about everything. I'm really confused!

Ultimately it makes it pretty difficult to walk him, since this is such a dog friendly neighborhood, everyone is always out running, jogging, or walking with their dogs.

I talked to a behaviorist from the SPCA (where he was adopted from) and she said they would give me a consultation on a donation basis, because they want the dog to stay in a home (and I really dont want to give him up either!). So my plan is to definitely see them and to then go to some group training classes to help socialize Bobo.

Only problem is. I am waiting until his cough is gone (I don't want to get other dogs sick).

Is there anything I can do in the mean-time to help try to train him?:confused:
 

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Here's the problem and the reason why you won't find too much information on this subject on this forum...too much is dependent on the dog's living environment. We could give you suggestions that are rather neutral like practice NILIF, give your dog plenty pf exercise, yada yada yada, but when it comes to the actual behavior modification you need, it's specific and suited only for you and your dog. There is no convienient procedure, and to suggest something can be like Russian roulette. Recommend the wrong protocol and it could make matter worse.

I think you're on the right track with keeping distance and trying to distract the dog. What I would do in the mean time is absolutely abuse impulse control exercises. Read our sticky on Doggy Zen. And I would start rewarding eye contact. Eye contact is very important to behavior modification like the kind you seek. So getting a jump start on those will only help you along your way.

Will the behaviorist do a home visit? A must IMO.
 

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Curbside,

Thanks for the response.

On if the behaviorist will do a home visit, I am not sure. If not, I am sure I can always find one that will (outside of the SPCA).
 
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