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I adopted a puppy when he was about 8 weeks old, and made sure to socialize him because I wanted him to be friendly, happy and healthy. Anyway, I use to take him to public places, he had a puppy play/training class, and went to the dog park. When he was about 8 months old, I couldn't take him to the dog park anymore because he started being rough with the other dogs, more than just playing.

Fast forward to today, he is horrible. I love him, but he just is not friendly. He doesn't like any people, animals...anything. Which makes living in an apartment nearly impossible, because every time I have to walk him it is like a fbi mission to get him out around the other people and dogs. He seems to just be getting worse, which is probably my fault for trying to keep him away from people now. I did buy a muzzle when he started getting worse but he can still bark in it (a mesh one from petsmart) so he could probably still bite, even though it is tight on him.


Sorry for the rant but I am just not sure how to help him. This morning while getting off the elevator (I live on the third floor) a lady was about to be getting on the elevator, he didn't have his muzzle because I had left it in the car, stupid I know, but I have never seen him try to bite someone that hard before....he actually bit me trying to get to her.


I know if you don't have money you shouldn't get a pet, I have money for his food, toys, and can usually find enough when he needs to see a vet, but I just can't afford special aggressive dog training. Every trainer I have contacted that works with aggression cost 800 - 1200 dollars.



If any one can offer me some advice, I would greatly appreciate it. Sorry for the long rant


(I am trying to save up for aggression training, just looking for things to do and tips on how to help in the mean time. )

(he is a mix, I believe his parents were Lab/pitbull/Catahoula Leopard dog mix, maybe some shepherd in him as well, he is pretty big, about 70 pounds. He will turn 4 in November.)
 

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Dogs Are Only as Aggressive as You Let Them Be

As a dog owner for many years and having lived amongst dog owners, I have seen dogs have a lot of different personalities. Now I consider dogs to be as individual as human beings, but no dog should ever go over a person in terms of the hierarchy that you lay forth. If the dog is dictating your behavior, such as sneaking out at night to avoid contact with others, something is very wrong. You need to establish your dominance and that could mean serious discipline.
 

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Re: Dogs Are Only as Aggressive as You Let Them Be

You need to establish your dominance and that could mean serious discipline.
I'd love to hear some elaboration on this.
 

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Re: Dogs Are Only as Aggressive as You Let Them Be

Bleh, do not take any advice that contains the word "dominant" at all. Unfortunately, it's pretty dangerous to give any advice on aggression over the internet. While you save, all I can say is the relaxation protocol: http://www.dogscouts.org/Protocol_for_relaxation.html

and begin safe Look at That games. You can manage the reactivity in the mean time without actually putting any one else at risk. Also, have you had a full panel of blood work checking for thyroid levels and the like at your vet?
 

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Re: Dogs Are Only as Aggressive as You Let Them Be

Get a different muzzle, like a full leather basket type he can't bite with. Do not give him access to bite, ever. If you are not experienced handling people aggressive dogs, you are in over your head, and need to get the dog with someone who can help the situation. He needs work, and the best thing you can do is preventing him from being euthanized at this point if he were to bite.

If you don't understand what is causing.g the aggression, you will definitely make it worse by doing serious corrections. Some dogs do need corrections with aggression, but you have to know what is going on, why he is behaving the way he is, and if a correction or redirection and exactly when.to apply. Many think to give corrections when showing aggression, and if the dog is acting out of fear, it will make it worse ten fold.

Contact the shelters or humane societies, vet clinics, or rescues to see if they can recommend someone at a.more affordable price.
 

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Re: Dogs Are Only as Aggressive as You Let Them Be

I think you've been given really great advice so far.

I just wanted to say I'm sad for your situation and hope that you and your dog can find a good way to be around others soon.

Sneaking around is definitely a bad idea. I had an animal aggressive foster rescue with no bite inhibition, in a neighborhood where everyone (literally) had a dog. We drove to the cemetery and walked there- usually at 5:30am. The people who adopted her had the time and money to get her help, but she was never a dog that could go to the dog park or be left unattended outside.

Hoping good things for you!
 

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How much time do you have to work with your dog on a daily basis?
Do you have a strong crate for your dog?

The bite to you is a reaction from a dog that is already in high drive and vision to target is blocked. I have seen this before in bite work training , the dog is in full drive and a trainer steps forward unexpectedly before release and is bitten on leg.

I am currently working with a aggressive dog that was pinned up so long without human interaction and food thrown to dog and water poured into fenced area and prolly mistreated also that became a liability to owner.

I agree with Juliemule , you need a properly fitted quality basket type muzzle of heavy duty construction that will not loosen and come off. Your crate will need to be quality construction that dog cannot destroy and get out.

You know full well that this problem did not just appear one day, and , you have been seeing warning signs of aggressive behavior for a long time if dog is 4 yo. Living in a building and having to use an elevator with dog will require you to make safety decisions that will insure the safety of others as well as you and your dog right away.

What types of aggression have you witnessed with dog?

What sets dog off?

What is day like with dog and who besides you can handle dog safely?

What kind of leash and collar do you use?

There are some basic steps you can take to improve in most cases with limited resources if you keep safety first and you are honest with self about your ability to handle dog.
Give as much information as possible.............

oldhounddog
 

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Oh, and I was going to recommend the stairs if you can manage it.....just until your dog gets more comfortable.
 

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Re: Dogs Are Only as Aggressive as You Let Them Be

but no dog should ever go over a person in terms of the hierarchy that you lay forth. If the dog is dictating your behavior, such as sneaking out at night to avoid contact with others, something is very wrong. You need to establish your dominance and that could mean serious discipline.
Or it could be that you need to carefully manage his behavior around strangers, and start setting some rules and controlling his resources so that all good things come from you. (NILIF). A book you might want to read is "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons. Also "Feisty Fido" by Patricia McConnell. It does sound like you could use professional help, and I hope it will come from someone who doesn't ask you to "seriously discipline" your dog - which will leave him with nobody he can trust. By the way, for walks, a basket muzzle is much better than a mesh one. They can take treats and they can open their mouth to pant. This is a nice secure one: http://store.clickertraining.com/baskerville-ultra-muzzle.html
 

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Re: Dogs Are Only as Aggressive as You Let Them Be

This can be treated and fixed. It's really hard to tell what is causing this (owner not taking the lead role, something bad happen, lack of socialization, boredom/not enough exercise) over the internet. Now no disrepect Pawz9, click to calm and feisty fido are good books, but treats and clickers SHOULD NOT be used in this situation. The situation seems past the clicker and treat point, any respected "aggression trainer" won't use either of those training tools. Personally, I think the use of "dominance" from an earlier post was the wrong word choice, you do need to become the leader of your household. You DO NOT need to do that with force. By your dog trying to bite you to get to the lady in the elevator, that shows a lack of respect and trust the dog has for/in you. You need to start running a tighter ship, and not sure if your dog is pulling, lunging and barking on walks, but you need to get those walks structured (at your side, focused on the walk, no need to be sniffing anything). A structured walk is the first step in building a solid foundation with your dog. Best of luck to you! By the way 800-1200 is an awesome price for a board and train. It's a AWFUL price if its one on one training at your house. Do your research on trainers that work with aggressive dogs, a lot say they do, but in reality a lot have not/or would not taken on certain aggression cases.
 

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Re: Dogs Are Only as Aggressive as You Let Them Be

There isn't much more to add onto the advice you've already been given, don't try to "dominate" your dog with force, if he's already bitten you, then you are beyond a point where you can try that. He has little trust in you, and you can't really blame him, taking him out on a walk you're nervous, scared, frustrated, how could he possibly react calmly, when his handler isn't calm. You see a person and you get scared because you're scared he's going to bite, he feels that, he has to control the situation, and then a bite happens, and you get even more scared and he gets more controlling.
You've been in situations where you have stopped him from biting someone, you've survived essentially. Use that to give you confidence and you'll stay calm. You can stop him without freaking out.
Every time he messes up is just a chance for you to help him get it right. When he messes up just try to get him into a sit position and get him to stay in a sit position until the person/dog/whatever can go by, reward him for that. Better he learns to be in a sit position, next to you when something shows up than lunging at it barking. It's not a solution, I couldn't offer one without actually working with the dog, but it's management, until a proper trainer can be reached.

Here are two videos teaching you how to teach your dog the heel command, which would be useful in getting your dog into the sit position next to you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi_WJN8v3ag

This one is by Victoria Stillwell, but it is essentially the same as the other one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYmRaGyqsJs
 

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Re: Dogs Are Only as Aggressive as You Let Them Be

You've gotten some good advice so far.

I would suggest getting a basket type muzzle. Those have absolutely no chance of being able to still bite. Is your dog neutered? Could there be an underlying medical issue that you just don't know about? A lot of times when dogs are sick or in some sort of pain, they become aggressive. Just because he doesn't show outward signs of being sick, doesn't mean he isn't.

I would also suggest a behaviorist. They know what to do with aggressive dogs. I know they are expensive, but this is something that can be dangerous if tried to fix by yourself.

Definitely don't try to assert your dominance. Yes, your dog should know that you are in charge, but you don't do that by being dominant over him. Especially with one that is already aggressive. Since he is also aggressive towards you, he thinks he is the alpha in the house. I would suggest NILIF (nothing in life is free) training immediately. Which means he gets no treats, attention, etc unless he is being non aggressive. When its feeding time, have him sit and wait for his food. Don't let him have it until he is sitting quietly and you say it's okay. Thats what I did with my dog who had food aggression. If you are in charge of their food, they are more likely to view you as the leader. You can read more about NILIF by googling it.

I hope at least some of my advice is helpful. Good luck!
 

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Re: Dogs Are Only as Aggressive as You Let Them Be

You do not need a behaviorist. You need a trainer whose main focus is aggression. Also stay far away from anything Victoria Stillwell, as all trainers should know Victoria Stillwell is not even a trainer. She was/is an actor that was picked out for the tv show, and things took off from there. Google it to see for yourself. Shame on you for even recommending her. I've seen more footage of her telling people to put their dogs down, when in reality 10-15 minutes with a real trainer could have saved the dogs life. You want to see a real trainer in action, youtube Solid k9 training. Jeff Gellman is probably one if not the best aggression/rehab trainer in the country.
 

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Re: Dogs Are Only as Aggressive as You Let Them Be

Actually they are not the same. Behaviorists are different than dog trainers perhaps most strikingly in their approach. Behaviorists look backwards to determine the etiology of the behavior in order to determine which method of modification is best, or to decide, in some cases, that the behavior cannot be sufficiently modified to satisfy the owners and be safe. Behaviorists certainly use classical dog training as an essential technique, but they go through extensive diagnostics first. Dog trainers look forward and set their goal on a particular behavior and then implement standard training techniques. The behaviorist wants to understand the behavior itself; the dog trainer wants to get the dog to do something.
 

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Re: Dogs Are Only as Aggressive as You Let Them Be

You do not need a behaviorist. You need a trainer whose main focus is aggression. Also stay far away from anything Victoria Stillwell, as all trainers should know Victoria Stillwell is not even a trainer. She was/is an actor that was picked out for the tv show, and things took off from there. Google it to see for yourself. Shame on you for even recommending her. I've seen more footage of her telling people to put their dogs down, when in reality 10-15 minutes with a real trainer could have saved the dogs life. You want to see a real trainer in action, youtube Solid k9 training. Jeff Gellman is probably one if not the best aggression/rehab trainer in the country.
I have never heard of the trainer you recommend, but I agree with you on Victoria stillwell. So much drama, and I don't care for her methods.
Any good trainer should know dog behaviour, and how to work with them. If not they aren't a good trainer. Seems likeo now, everyone has to have a title to be something, when the best "behaviorists" are good experienced trainers.
 

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Re: Dogs Are Only as Aggressive as You Let Them Be

This can be treated and fixed. It's really hard to tell what is causing this (owner not taking the lead role, something bad happen, lack of socialization, boredom/not enough exercise) over the internet. Now no disrepect Pawz9, click to calm and feisty fido are good books, but treats and clickers SHOULD NOT be used in this situation. The situation seems past the clicker and treat point, any respected "aggression trainer" won't use either of those training tools. Personally, I think the use of "dominance" from an earlier post was the wrong word choice, you do need to become the leader of your household. You DO NOT need to do that with force. By your dog trying to bite you to get to the lady in the elevator, that shows a lack of respect and trust the dog has for/in you. You need to start running a tighter ship, and not sure if your dog is pulling, lunging and barking on walks, but you need to get those walks structured (at your side, focused on the walk, no need to be sniffing anything). A structured walk is the first step in building a solid foundation with your dog. Best of luck to you! By the way 800-1200 is an awesome price for a board and train. It's a AWFUL price if its one on one training at your house. Do your research on trainers that work with aggressive dogs, a lot say they do, but in reality a lot have not/or would not taken on certain aggression cases.
What is with this thread?

OP: Treats and clicking absolutely can work. I had a severely DA dog (he went through a glass window at another dog. he dislocated my shoulder to get at a dog. he was bad.) that I trained, myself, with treats and patience. I'm not going to recommend you do this yourself (Muggsy was absolutely safe with humans), you do not need to crack the whip or show 'im who's boss or any other silliness. Get a muzzle for now (basket muzzles are best. I used one with Muggsy for a year) and save up for a positive behaviorist.

Oh, and you need to be calm when you're walking the dog. I know, I know, easier said than done, but emotion does "travel down the leash". Your dog knows you're scared, but he will never think that he is causing that fear. He assumes it's that guy walking down the street, or that child riding his bike or that dog over there. So he becomes aggressive towards those things to make them go away.

I'm not saying you cause your dog's aggression, but his aggression + your fear of the worst happening becomes the most vicious of negative feedback loops. You'll need to short circuit it.
 

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Re: Dogs Are Only as Aggressive as You Let Them Be

Prior to the dog going through the glass to get at another dog, what kind of training did the dog have? Treats and clickers do work for "some" dogs, what about the ones those tools don't work for? What about the dogs that aren't treat motivated? Then what? You can save up for a "positive" trainer. Just be prepared to spend some money because to get to point A to point B its going to take some time (plus you more then likely will have to hire someone else, who doesn't take the "positive" approach). Also, don't forget to purchase a tool belt, to carry your clicker and treats, because I'm pretty sure you are going to need both hands to control your dog on the leash. Best of luck!
 

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Re: Dogs Are Only as Aggressive as You Let Them Be

Now no disrepect Pawz9, click to calm and feisty fido are good books, but treats and clickers SHOULD NOT be used in this situation. The situation seems past the clicker and treat point, any respected "aggression trainer" won't use either of those training tools. .
Bunk (I know, too short, but that sums up the above statement) And if you'd read anything by McConnell, you'd know she's not a clicker ttrainer.
 
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