You’re walking through gorgeous green fields, the sun is out, your canine friend is bounding around sniffing everything unpleasant, but then he turns rigid, his tail drops, and all of a sudden he leaps across the field to lunge at another dog. Your stomach turns and you charge after your dog, hoping to prevent a battle. It is a wholly embarrassing situation and one that can leave all individuals feeling emotional.
Dogs that attack are often misunderstood. It is frequently fear that drives attacks, but the effects can be devastating. Firstly, your dog or another dog may be seriously injured, causing pain, discomfort and hefty vet bills. But if he attacks other dogs, there is also the chance that he has to be put down. Getting a handle on this behavior is essential for the protection of both your dog and others.
Training your dog not to attack other dogs might sound relatively straightforward, but it can actually be extremely challenging. This type of behavior is often a result of underlying issues that can be difficult to address. Therefore, training involves obedience commands, taking steps that reduce unsupervised physical interaction with other dogs, plus a number of other measures.
Rectifying aggressive behavior in puppies will be quicker and easier than changing the habits of older dogs. But it is absolutely vital if you want to avoid the serious injury or death of your dog and other dogs. Dogs that attack other dogs can even go on to attack humans, so it is even more important you address the issue.
Consistency is key with this type of training, so you need to be prepared to be patient and put in the hours. It could take anything from a couple of weeks to several months to fully train aggression towards other dogs out of your canine friend.
Before you get going with the methods below, you will need to gather a few things. A secure collar and leash will be required. You may also want to invest in a harness and a muzzle, both will increase your control and reduce the chances of injury being caused.
You will also need a quiet place to train, that isn’t densely canine populated and is free from distractions. Treats or your dog's favorite food will also be needed to incentivize and reward him.
Once you have these things and a proactive attitude, you’re ready to get to work!
My friend and I adopted Ophelia a couple months ago. We knew she was going to come with difficulties, expected since she was picked up in middle of no where and put in a shelter till we got her. The only problems she had in the beginning was she wasn’t house trained and she didn’t listen to commands. But, we have got her to sit and lie down now and she is much better on a leash. Unfortunately, last weekend she attacked a dog that previously was a good friend of hers. Given there was a lot of people around she probably was having bad anxiety. Today, she attacked another dog in the backyard wth plenty of space. We don’t know how to go about this, we don’t want to give up on her quite yet, but we can’t keep having this happen.
Hello Brandy, First of all Ophelia shouldn't be outside unless she is on a leash or in a physically fenced in yard - not an electric fence because other dogs can enter that and many aggressive dogs will bolt through them when they see another dog. The attacks are dangerous for other dogs but they are also making the problem worse for Ophelia every time that they happen - you didn't know before but now that you know tackle that first. Look online in your city and see if there is a G.R. O.W.L. Class in your area within driving distance. A growl class is a class for dog aggressive or reactive dogs who all wear muzzles during the class and are intensively socialized quickly with a trainers' help. These classes are one of the fastest ways to address most aggressive dogs' issues. If she drew blood when she attacked either dog, that is a more serious issue. If she draws blood when she attacks, then you may not be able to rehabilitate the aggression but you can work on her focus on your, her response toward other dogs while on leash, and her obedience - making her a lot safer. You can essentially get the aggression under control so that it does not impact your life as much and you can enjoy and live with her more safely, but you should never trust her off-leash with another dog. I suggest attending a G.R.O.W.L. class or hiring a trainer - dog aggression can be hard to tackle by yourself. There is a good chance she was attacked multiple times while on the street and that is the source of her aggression. The aggression could also be a genetic trait or a dominance issue. The type of aggression will partially determine how to treat it. Dominance-based aggression needs respect established without too much confrontation so that she will learn to let you handle problematic situations yourself, instead of resorting to aggression. Genetic aggression can usually only be managed not cured, but you can teach things like high-distraction "Come" and "Leave It" to call her back in emergency situations, and a high distraction "Heel" to keep her focus on you and not other dogs while walking. Fear-based aggression can be managed and you can also work on socialization and changing her emotions toward other dogs so that she doesn't feel the need to defend herself as much and is more tolerant. Fear-based aggression is easier to work with and improve than many other types...A G.R.O.W.L. class will help with that type a lot. You can also check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training. He has a YouTube channel with several videos about aggression. Most of the dogs that come to him have aggression other than fear-based, look for videos where he is working with fearful aggressive dogs specifically - he will address the root cause more in those videos. He can be a bit blunt and gruff in his teaching style but he is very experienced working with highly aggressive dogs that others have not been able to help. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We adopted 2Tamaskan rescue dogs that are grown. They are very strong and have a CRAZY STRONG prey instinct. We bought harnesses to control them better. If they become excited at squirrel/rabbit/cat we stop and make them sit and talk to them calmly. Sometimes we block their view with our body. Sometimes they just go nuts and we have to drag them away.
They are improving but still would prefer to eat everything wild in the park.
Hello Sharon, First of all, spend time teaching them basic obedience commands like come, sit, heel, down, and stay. Once they can do those commands at home where it is calm, then I would highly suggest enrolling them in an intermediate obedience class where there are intentional distractions like outdoor environments, people, and other dogs where you can regularly practice their obedience around distractions. You won't be able to remove their prey drive but you can teach them to be responsive to you around high level distractions which will come through intentionally practicing their obedience, especially "leave it" and "heel". Look for a trainer who also does off leash training and has experience working with more independent and prey driven breeds like husky's, sight hounds, and other sleddog type breeds. Also look for a trainer who uses fair correction as well as positive reinforcement with a lot of emphasis on positive reinforcement. Your dog's would benefit from the premack principle, which is where you teach the dog that the quickest way to get what he wants, ie to investigate a street squirrel, is to obey you first. Training with the distraction as a reward sometimes will create a lot of reliability around those types of distractions. For a class you will either need two people to attend so that one person can focus on one dog or you will need to attend to separate classes, one for each class. Do not attempt to handle both dogs yourself in one class or you will not be an effective trainer during the class time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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