Let’s be honest for a moment. As humans, we often meet people we dislike or that rub us the wrong way. Part of being able to function in society, go to work and be social, however, is learning to get along with other people. The same can be said when it comes to training your dog to get along with other dogs. Even as an only dog in a household, Fido will often have to interact with other dogs when they visit the vet, go for walk,s or if they want to enjoy dog parks or other social and fun pet-centric events. Learning good doggy social skills, therefore, is a critical part of your dog’s core training.
My partner is due to move in with me and he has another male dog my dog is aggressive towards him and the other dog is aggressive back when my dog starts being aggressive my dog is neauted and the my partners dog isn’t
Hello Nicola, First, for this need I do recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression and will come to your home to help you in person right away. Second, I would begin desensitizing both dogs to wearing a basket muzzle for safety and training purposes. To introduce the muzzle, first place it on the ground and sprinkle his meal kibble around it. Do this until he is comfortable eating around it. Next, when he is comfortable with it being on the floor with food, hold it up and reward him with a piece of kibble every time he touches or sniffs it in your hand. Feed him his whole meal this way. Practice this until he is comfortable touching it. Next, hold a treat inside of it through the muzzle's holes, so that he has to poke his face into it to get the treat. As he gets comfortable doing that, gradually hold the treat further down into the muzzle, so that he has to poke his face all the way into the muzzle to get the treat. Practice until he is comfortable having his face in it. Next, feed several treats in a row through the muzzle's holes while he holds his face in the muzzle for longer. Practice this until he can hold his face in it for at least ten seconds while being fed treats. Next, when he can hold his face in the muzzle for ten seconds while remaining calm, while his face is in the muzzle move the muzzle's buckles together briefly, then feed him a treat through the muzzle. Practice this until he is not bothered by the buckles moving back and forth. Next, while he is wearing the muzzle buckle it and unbuckle it briefly, then feed a treat. As he gets comfortable with this step, gradually keep the muzzle buckled for longer and longer while feeding treats through the muzzle occasionally. Next, gradually increase how long he wears the muzzle for and decrease how often you give him a treat, until he can calmly wear the muzzle for at least an hour without receiving treats more than two treats during that hour. Muzzle introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=6&t=0s Third, check out the article linked below and following the Passing Approach method until they dogs can do well with that, then switch to the walking together method, starting far apart again, until the dogs can finally walk together. I recommend starting this process now if you live close enough to your partner, because this will probably take a lot of walks, getting gradually closer overtime to get to the point where they are ready to walk together and greet. Passing Approach and Walking Together methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Once in the home together, the dogs would need to be crate trained and to know a solid 1-2 hour place command. Life would need to be very structured and dogs played with and fed separately, to avoid competition early on. Basically home would be very obedience class-like when they were together, to prevent potential fights. I would work on building trust and respect for you and your partner with each of your dogs ahead of time also so that the dogs are not making and enforcing rules for the other dog once together, but looking to you to do so. You want to add in a lot more structure and boundaries for now, working on things like the working method linked below, teaching both a 2 hour long Place command, directional commands like Off, Out (which means leave the area), Down, and Leave It, so that you can tell them where they should and should not be in relation to being pushy with you or instigating with the other dog, and both should be crate trained and crated when not supervised, especially when you leave the home. Working and Consistency methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Keep a drag leash on pup when you are present (and crate when not present) if they won't listen to your directional commands once learned well. Calmly lead pup where you tell them to go as needed by picking up the end of the leash. Have your partner, start teaching their dog Out, and Leave It right away too. If specific items are being guarded right now and that item can be removed, remove it at first. If either dog is guarding something like the Bed or couch while on it, teach Off and the new rule is 'no dogs on the couch or bed' until all aggression between them is improved and a good amount of time without fights or attempted fights or tension between them has passed. They don't have to be best friends right away, but they do have to learn that every dog abides by your rules in the home, and no fighting or doing things to instigate a fight is allowed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Trying to introduce our dog Odin with my boyfriends mums dogs as there gonna be seeing each others often, the meet and greet went well they walked well together, but at the house odin snapps at the other dogs, ( unprovoked) we have made him wear a harness and muzzle at all times around the dogs
Hello Angelina, I would continue the walks together often, doing that initially is a good way to introduce, but continuing walks often like that can help them build their relationship further overtime. In the house, the muzzle is a good precaution. I suspect there may be some resource guarding or pestering going on. Are the other dogs respecting his space, staring him down, or trying to take things from him? If so, their behavior will need to be addressed also, for them to learn to respect his boundaries via your rules for all the dogs and you calmly enforcing those rules on the dogs' behalf. If there is resource guarding happening, I would hire a professional private trainer, who specializes in behavior issues like aggression to work with you in person there. A combination of building pup's respect for the humans in the house, mostly through obedience practice and consistent rules being calmly enforced, and activities like structured heeling walks where pup walks slightly behind you and is taught to pay attention during the walk, or stay on a Place bed for up to an hour calmly, and desensitizing pup to the other dog's being near something pup wants. The respect building helps pup learn to respect your rules about what types of interactions are allowed between dogs, helps pup listen to you better, addresses pup resource guarding you from the other dogs if that's an issue, and helps pup generally defer to you a bit more, instead of trying to control the actions of the other dogs. Desensitizing pup (also called counter conditioning) to the other dogs being around, helps pup feel less stressed about them being there and thus less defensive. Pup can also be taught specific things, like moving away from another dog when they feel uncomfortable instead of using aggression to make the other dog move. You can also learn how to read the dogs' body language more, so you can tell when the dogs are being rude to each other or tension is building before there is a lunge or larger aggression, so you can address the issue sooner - like telling one dog to leave the are if being pushy, taking away a toy being guarded, making pup get off the couch if guarding that space, interrupting a dog that's staring another dog down, ect... Not all trainers specialize in behavior issues or aggression, so be sure to look into any trainer's specific experience with that area of training and their previous client referrals and reviews. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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This is buster and he's 14 weeks old. He's lovely natured but seems to have a problem settling in his new home with new dogs and doesn't get on with the dogs he lives with. Is there anything that we can try to do with him?
Hello Laura, I would need a bit more information about Buster's behavior around the other dogs to help with anything specific. The following can help facilitate good relationships between dogs in general though. 1. Reward Buster whenever you catch him being especially good when another dog is in the room. Try to do this without the other dogs seeing, so no one else rushes over for a treat also - because others rushing over could cause a food fight and make things worse. 2. Structured heeling walks with two people walking each dog is a good activity to help dogs bond calmly. Practicing obedience exercises with the dogs with two different people, like Down-Stay, Place, Heel, and Sit-Stay to give them something calm and focused to do together, without crowding each other. 3. Give clear boundaries between all the dogs and you be the one to make and enforce rules. Things like no hover around another dog while he eats, no pestering another dog when he wants to be left alone, no stealing another dog's toy, food, or bone, no pushing another dog aside for attention, climbing on top of you or being pushy with you for attention, no intimidating another dog in general, or keeping them out of a space or certain room, no growling or acting aggressive toward another dog, or bullying another dog. If you catch any of the dogs breaking a rule, you be the one to enforce the rule by doing something like making the offender leave the room, give you a stolen toy to be returned to the original dog, ect... 4. Crate train pup, and ideally all the dogs. Give a dog food stuffed chew toy in the crate and have pup spend time there or in an exercise pen when you can't supervise interactions between the dogs right now. 5. Teach Place, and work up to the dogs being able to do a 1 hour Place on separate place beds in the same room, for calm co-existence. 6. Enroll in a puppy class that has time for moderated off-leash play if pup is lacking social skills. Puppies tend to learn best from other puppies. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi. Gunner is very lovable, well-behaved for the most part, very friendly toward all humans, and gets along with our two cats well. However, he doesn't get along with other dogs. When he was about 5 months we took him swimming and there were two other full-grown dogs there. He played in the water fine with them. But since then every time he encounters another, he jumps on them and growls. His tail is not wagging (as if playing) we we quickly pull him back. He has been exposed to my son's bulldog twice, my daughter's golden puppy twice, and all of my neighbor's dogs numerous times, and it's always the same result: we have to restrain him.
Gunner began having seizures at 10 weeks old and is on medications to control them. He has not had one in over 6 months. Could the medication cause his reactions to other dogs, or is this something that we have to keep working on?
Since that first swimming meet and greet, he has not been exposed to any dogs bigger than him. Should we try doing that?
Your thoughts are greatly appreciated!
Hello Tony, For further exposures, I would only work on that in the safety of a training set up that keeps all the dogs safe, like a G.R.O.W.L. class. If you can find a class in your area, one of those could be very beneficial for him. They are classes for dog reactive/aggressive dogs who are intensively socialized in the structured environment of the class with each other while wearing basket muzzles for safety and supervised by the trainer. I can't say whether that particular medication could have side effects that show up as aggression. Some medications can cause side effects that lead to increased anxiety or aggression in general but I am not a vet. I would speak with your vet about whether that specific medication could have any side effects related to that. I would also ask your vet if the seizures themselves or any underlying abnormalities that the seizures are a symptom of also may be related to the behavior, and if so, whether that could be addressed with your vet. I am not a vet, so I can't speak toward how the medication or seizures could be related to aggression in your case, but I would ask your vet if I were you. If sounds like either way pup is lacking in socialization, so even if the medication or medical condition is making the aggression worse, a lack of socialization is likely at least part of the issue. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Our dog does not like other dogs bigger than her. We would really like to adopt our foster puppy (lab/hound mix) but Leia growls and snaps every time he is near.
Hello Sara, Whenever pup enters the room or your older dog is being especially tolerant and calm around him, give her a treat while puppy isn't watching - you don't want him running over and starting a fight. If your older dog doesn't listen well to you, I recommend working on building her trust and respect for you so that both dogs are following your rules for interacting with each other and letting you handle the any issues instead of resorting to aggression or feeling bullied. Check out the article linked below for some ways to build her trust and respect for you. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you I also recommend you be the one to manage pup and help them learn to respect her space and decrease the stress of their interactions. As part of that, if you haven't already done so, I highly suggest crate training the puppy. Use the Surprise method from the article linked below to gradually help him learn to be calm in the crate and to relax by using rewards for being Quiet. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Crate pup at night and when you leave, and you can use an exercise pen with some toys in it also. When you cannot directly supervise the dogs together, puppy should be crated or in the pen. When you are supervising, teach both dogs the Out command (which means leave the area) and make whoever is causing issues leave the area as needed. You want to reduce some of the stress involved in pup being around. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Decide what your house rules are for both dogs and you be the one to enforce the rules instead of the dogs. No aggression, no pushiness, no stealing toys, no stealing food, no being possessive of people or things, or any other unwanted behavior - if one dog is causing a problem you be the one to enforce the rules so that the dogs are NOT working it out themselves. For example, if pup comes over to your older dog when she is trying to sleep, tell pup Out. If he obeys, praise and reward him. If he disobeys, stand in front of your older dog, blocking the pup from getting to him, and walk toward pup calmly but firmly until pup leaves the area and stops trying to go back to your older dog. If your older dog growls at your pup, make her leave the room while also giving pup a consequence like leaving if needed. Be vigilant and take the pressure off of your older dog - you want her to learn to look to you when there is a problem, and for puppy to learn respect for your older dog because you have taught it to him and not because your older dog has had to resort to aggression. If you want pup to be free but don't want to chase after him while you are home, you can also clip him to yourself using a six-foot leash, so that he has to stay near you and not wander near your other dog. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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