You’re walking through gorgeous green fields, the sun is out, your canine friend is bounding around sniffing everything — but then, they turn rigid, their tail drops, and all of a sudden, they leap 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 everyone involved feeling emotional.
Dogs that attack are often misunderstood. Fear and protection instincts often drive dogs to attack, but the effects can be devastating. Firstly, your dog or another dog may be seriously injured, causing pain, discomfort, and hefty vet bills. In some states, dogs that attack other dogs or humans are required 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, successful training involves obedience, 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's absolutely vital if you want to avoid serious injury to your own dog and others. Dogs that attack other dogs can even go on to attack humans, so it's even more important you address any signs of aggression as soon as possible.
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 anywhere 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'll need to gather a few things. A secure collar and leash will be required. Make sure the collar is comfortable. You may also want to invest in a harness and a muzzle; both will increase your control and reduce the risk of injury. However, if you're planning to use a muzzle, you'll need to ensure your dog is comfortable wearing it before starting your conditioning training.
You'll also need a quiet place to train without too many distractions that isn't overpopulated with other pups. Treats or your dog's favorite food will also be needed to incentivize and reward them.
Once you have these things and a proactive attitude, you’re ready to get to work!
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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Hello, so my dog used to be very good and friendly towards other dogs we would take her to dog parks and she would run around with the dogs happily.
Recently she has just been really aggressive towards other dogs and try’s to nip or scratch them. She usually wants to say hello and is okay with them for a minute or two, then out of nowhere she gets really aggressive. I really don’t know what to do about it and what I can do to help her.
She is always really friendly and sweet to any human and loves playing with anyone, what do you suggest o do
Hello Zoe, First, I would ask your vet if there could be something like arthritis going on that's causing her pain, discomfort, mental issues, vision or hearing issues, or something else that could put her on edge. If the behavior is only recent, then it could be related to age, and addressing the cause is important with your vet. Once the cause is addressed, advocate for your dog. She might be snippy with other dogs because she feels overwhelmed by them now. Don't let every dog greet her, limit it to dogs that are polite and calm, and be the one to end interactions after 3 seconds by having her follow you away. Absolutely don't let younger dogs jump on her, pester her, or not leave her alone when she indicates she wants to leave. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Shamus (2 years old. Lab-Collie-Australian Shepherd-Husky mix)
Our dog Shamus tries to viciously attack any dog he sees that he does not know. He's a good dog that listens well and loves people, kids and even gets along with our cats and bearded dragon. We adopted him and his brother Angus as puppies from a shelter. He gets along with dogs that he has met before but that's it. He doesn't trust any new dogs.
When Shamus and Angus were younger we did everything we could to socialize them with humans and other dogs. They went on tons of walks, did doggy-social events, and went to doggy daycare regularly and played with the other dogs. They did that for several months until one day Angus got spooked and bit another dog causing both of our dogs to be isolated when they played. At around the same time they often got into fights with each other at home over random things like toys, food, or even when they were just tired and cranky. We also noticed during this time they started snarling at other dogs when we took them on walks which was unlike them. Since they were not being allowed to play with other dogs at daycare we stopped taking them and decided to just let them have regular play dates with our friends dogs.
Over the last year Shamus and Angus have learned to respect each other more and their aggression towards each other has stopped. They love going places and on walks and swimming, but their hate for other dogs has seemed to grow. We tried introducing them to a new dog belonging to a friend and Angus nipped at the dog while Shamus repeatedly tried to attack and wouldn't listen to us at all.
Here's what's weird... on walks they won't bark at other dogs they see, even if they get barked at. Shamus will just ignore it and behave. Unless the other dog is approaching him. If another dog on a leash approaches him he will snarl and try to attack. When he gets in that mode there is no listening to us. We've tried to train them to associate positive things with behaving around other dogs but it doesn't work as they are not food or treat motivated dogs. If they are offered treats they don't take them.
I'm writing this mostly about Shamus since he is the most anxious of the 2. He is also the most aggressive. Angus generally will trust other dogs until they give him reason not to, but Shamus goes straight into attack mode. If we were ever to take them to a dog park Angus may nip at other dogs but Shamus would try to savagely attack every other dog he sees. We have just generally accepted that they don't get along with other dogs so we avoid unfamiliar dogs for safety. His anxiety and aggression toward unknown dogs seemed to pop out of nowhere. Is there anything we could try to get him to trust other dogs again? (that doesnt involve treats as rewards).
Hello Justin, Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training and Shaun O'Shay from The Good Dog. Both trainers have free videos and information online and specialize in anxiety and aggression. You need professional help from a trainer who is very experienced with many types of aggression (not just fear-aggression, although that too). You need a trainer who uses a combination of positive reinforcement and careful corrections, to be able to interrupt his arroused state (carefully) and also reward a calmer state when his aggressive state has been interrupted. This should involve a lot of obedience work, boundaries, and generally setting the tone for calmness and following you first. This has to be done very carefully. Done wrong, many dogs will transfer their aggression to whatever is nearby or in their space (another dog or person) and you or Angus could get bite. You also need some new structure for both dogs around the house so that they are generally calmer there too and looking to you for directions instead of each other. I suggest getting him used to wearing a muzzle for your safety, so that you can use it in certain training scenarios to be safe. Use a basket muzzle so that he can still open his mouth while wearing it. Use his own dog food to get him used to it over a couple of weeks slowly, letting him eat his food off of it, get a piece of food when he sniffs it or touches it, and eat food from inside it when he puts his face inside. You want him to like the muzzle before you try to buckle it, so that the muzzle it's self will just be like a harness or collar and not stressful. Go slow and make it fun for him. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi! My fur baby is a Lab/Pit/German Shepherd mix and was the runt of his litter so I’ve had him almost his whole life. The mother rejected him so for all intensive purposes, he sees me as his mother.
I spent the first few years of his life socializing him to death! I took him everywhere and he was great with all kinds of people and other dogs. I should also add, my roommate got his sister so he always had another dog around at home.
I moved back home with my parents who also had a dog and a large fenced in yard. However, I then moved to Florida and it took me nearly 2 years to move him down here with me.
My parents are wonderful animal owners, but they did not socialize him. Their dog passed away so eventually it because him alone with the same people, in the same place all the time.
He was thrilled to be back with me when I brought him to Florida but his social skills have vanished. He barks and sometimes growls at women. He chased my female friend out of my house and recently had an aggressive dog park experience.
I must note he has NEVER so much as put a scratch on a person or dog but his breeds make his bark quite intimidating.
He was doing better at the dog park with a decent streak of successful visits but after the most recent one I’m afraid the anxiety of the situation will return for both of us if we go back.
He needs the exercise and the socialization badly but I live in a part of the world where people have a lot of pride and money and I’m terrified he will have a bad day around the wrong people. I’ve had him here for a year now and while there are some improvements, the lack of playtime with other dogs and real exercise has me concerned for him.
I want my dog to have his best life but I’m stuck! Any advice?
Hello Kelsey, First, I suggest looking for a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area. This class is designed for dog reactive and dog aggressive dogs to help with social skills. All of the dogs wear basket muzzles to prevent fights and they are intensively socialized together to really speed up the training process. Second, I suggest teaching him to use a treadmill in your home, to simply help take the edge off exercise wise. Check out the video below for information on how to teach this. You may even be able to find a second hand treadmill for less money somewhere like a thrift store, craigslist or Facebook trading group - of course take safety precautions when meeting someone unknown to buy second hand if you go that route. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ5l5LEBYD0 Check out the video linked below to work on reestablishing trust and respect in your relationship and lay the foundation for dealing with the aggressive outbursts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxEfqnuN0ic If there is fear aggression happening in general: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A I highly recommend not returning to the dog park. Social interactions with people and other dogs is important but for some dogs the highly arousing environment of a dog park, where there are often other unsocial dogs, pack mentality, highly exciting and anxious energy, and an almost complete lack of control of the dogs by the owners because of the environment. All of these things can make a dog that is struggling worse. Instead, see if there are meetup.com or obedience club groups that do structured walks or hikes together, where you can practice a structured heel, dog training classes, or canine sports you can attend. Attend with a basket muzzle if needed. Think about how Service Dogs are well socialized with other dogs, but their interactions after puppihood are calm, structured interactions to maintain their socialization. The treadmill should help with some of the daily energy needs. Teaching new commands, working on structure, obedience, and tricks can help wear a dog out also by stimulating them mentally. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden,
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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 just moved Charlie away from the rest of our family dogs (including his brother) and moved to another state. The house we moved into already has another dog living there. The two dogs seem to be perfectly okay with one another outside but as soon as we go into the house, Charlie will attack, lunge, and bark at the other dog. I hold him back and try to get him to focus on me, but as soon as the other dog comes near him he looses it. We took him to a dog park and at first he was okay, but when a dog came to sniff him, he would growl and attack again. I need help knowing what to do when he acts out and how I can train him to be calm around other dogs that try to interact with him.
Hello Katie, I suggest hiring a professional trainer who can work with your dog at your home around the other dog, and also at a facility around lots of new dogs. Look for someone who is very experienced with aggression, comes well recommended, and has access to lots of well behaved dogs for training sessions (such as several of the trainers' dogs who work there). Since the behavior is only happening inside and not in the more neutral territory, part of the issue is probably possessiveness and anxiety - which is being handled through him trying to control and behave aggressively to get the other dog away. Even though he has been with your family's dogs, if he is not used to meeting strange dogs, then he probably doesn't know how to respond correctly and feels nervous around them, or was dependent on other dogs in the family to make him feel secure. If other dogs are being pushy and rude toward him or subtly threatening him through stares and posturing, then he also might be reacting to that - since he doesn't have the experience to know how to handle that situation correctly. Pay attention to how the other dog in the house behaves toward him and what the body language and energy is. Be sure to teach both dogs to give each other space - especially when one indicates they want to be left alone; teaching a Place command for this and have both dogs practicing staying on Place around each other and simply being calm. Check out the video linked below for an example of a nervous dog being socialized. I recommend NOT going to the dog park with him anymore. Dog parks are often full of rude, pushy dogs, who can make nervous and aggressive dogs even worse, or if your dog is a bit of a bully, your dog will have the opportunity to practice bullying there too, which makes things worse for him and the other dogs. Dog parks can be fun but only for dogs who have the temperament and socialization to be able to handle them. Some dogs simply do not do well there. You want to practice calm, structured interactions with other dogs, like obedience classes, structured heeling walks, three second sniffs, and simply getting used to coexisting in a room with another dog with both dogs doing something like a Down-Stay Nervous - aggressive dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTwNWWFhkAs Place command: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-place-command-the-good-dog-training-tips/ Without witnessing your dogs encounters with other dogs in person, seeing his body language, and what the other dog was doing, I cannot give accurate training advise. I recommend hiring a trainer who is very experienced with aggression to evaluate what's going on and develop a training protocol for you, who also has access to a lot of other dogs that your dog can practice the training protocols around. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crttenden
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We adopted Brisa when she was 4 months. She was a really sweet dog that loved to play with other dogs in the park. But around the time when she was 1 year she started fighting with other dogs and now we can't take her to the park because she attacks every dog. She has a few dogs friends whom she loves, also, in the school she behaves correctly and loves every dog, it seems that she has those behaviors when she is with her family
Hello Salome, Dog parks are very unstructured and highly arousing. They promote a pack mentality - where dogs gang up on other dogs. Some dogs are socially intelligent enough or calm enough to do well there, but dogs that tend to lack impulse control or have stronger temperaments often shouldn't go. The more opportunities she has to practice aggression, the worse it will get. At the school she is being given consistent leadership, is kept calm, and isn't allowed to practice her aggression. If she does well around other dogs when firm leadership is present, then she simply needs to only interact with other dogs in that way with leadership. One-on-one walks, heeling with other dogs. Obedience drills with other dogs, and structure when simply hanging out with other dogs, like both dogs being on a Place bed, being told where to go in the room, and any possessive or dominant behavior quickly dealt with before it can escalate. She should never go back to the dog park and shouldn't be allowed to play rough with other dogs. Instead, she should do calmer, more structured activities around other dogs with people present who can provide calm leadership. Dogs do not need to play rough to be happy in life. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hey there, we just adopted Audrey about two months ago from a previous owner. At first she couldn’t be left alone in the house and would scratch the door but then she calmed down when our roommate got his dog! She’s very territorial of toys. She won’t let our other dog get them when we play fetch and she runs after them. She will even try to fit two toys in her mouth at once so our other dog can’t get them. We have taken both of them to the dog park and when our other dog plays fetch Audrey just runs behind him and bites his ankles. Whenever Audrey sees another dog on the street she gets up on her back legs and scares the other dog. Recently we went to the dog beach and when we took them both off they leash she ran after a smaller dog and when we called her she ran back then did a circle and went after the small dog again this time nipping at it’s foot. It was really embarrassing and I’ve noticed she doesn’t listen when she’s outside. Her previous owner said she was more of an inside dog but I’m trying to socialize her and take her out more. Any ideas on how I should go about training her as it’s been a tough time getting her to listen mainly outside.
Hello Madi, For right now I would avoid the dog park with her. I suggest joining an intermediate obedience class and work on commands using long leashes, around other dogs. For practice, take her places like parks and areas with people and dogs and using a long leash practice commands like Come, Heel, Watch Me, Down-Stay, and Sit. Reward her for ignoring others and focusing on you. A basic obedience class teaches dogs the meaning of commands. Intermediate and Advanced Obedience works on teaching the dog how to do a command around distractions like other dogs, then off leash during advanced. You have to work up to advanced though - practicing using long training leashes first - so that your dog can get further away, you give a command, then reel the dog in and enforce the command if they disobey. For the chasing behavior it sounds like a combination of possessiveness of the toys and possibly herding instinct. Some dogs are also just bullies quite honestly - they think it's fun to pick on other dogs. A Solid Come, Out command, and Leave It command should be practiced. You can also practice teaching her how to honor another dog's retrieve - something that's done in hunting dog training - where one dog has to stay seated and watch as another dog fetches something, this is called "teaching a dog to honor a retrieve". I would work on teaching that and letting the dogs take turns fetching - this is going to take a lot of practice and a very solid Sit-Stay. Teach both dogs to only go when their name is called so that they can take turns fetching. I wouldn't let them run after a toy together though - that's only tempting a fight. Work on teaching skills to better manage their interactions so their are more boundaries, like leaving other dogs alone and coming when called. Out command - which means get out of the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It command: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Come command using the Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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She has attacked both are older dogs to the point 1 almost died she got him by his jugular, now he’s at my moms for good but now she’s attacked are 10 year old basset as soon as we come home from work 1st my husband came home and as soon as he walked in door she attacked him , then I came home an hour later and she tried but had muzzle on other wise she would, she will also try and attack the cat you see in picture that just started also we’re at a loss on what we can do
Hello Careen, You need professional help from a trainer who specializes in aggression. I suggest looking up Jeff Gellman from solidK9Training and seeing if his training facility is within traveling distance from you for the aggression rehabilitation board and train. If he is not close enough to travel too, then check out Jeff's youtube trainer and videos on aggression and see if you can find someone with that level of experience close enough to you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We got him a little over a month ago. He was a hyper dog when we got him. We have three other dogs that he lives with. Recently the smallest dog has been growling and bearing his teeth at Apollo which leads to Apollo reacting. But as soon as Apollo starts to fight for some reason the alpha female joins in and takes his side. Apollo recently injured the small dog and I think he didn't mean to because he's so big. I want to be able to train him so he stops before it happens. He's a bigger dog more hyper and maybe it could be pent up energy I just don't know how to stop the dogs from fighting and picking sides. The only time they really fight isn't with me but when my mom is watching them with me they usually stop fighting one I'm outside but with my mom they all go after the smaller dog which is hers. I don't know how to fix the situation where they fight when my mom's around because I can't always be home to fix it. What should I do? Should I train Apollo a command so my mom can stop him. I just don't understand why they fight only with my mom and stop when I walk outside. Except for the fact that I give them food and watch them more often.
Hello Ivie, They may not fight when you are around because they respect you more and trust you to handle issues between them. When your mom is around they may view her more as an equal and feel like they can get away with bullying and making their own decisions. If your mom is willing, have her work with the dogs on commands that help build their respect for her, so they don't feel like they can just do whatever they want when she is there. The small dog is likely antagonizing the other dogs or giving off nervous energy, then Apollo is bullying and teasing because he finds it fun, and your third dog is jumping in and "correcting" whoever she feels is the least worthy of respect - your small dog due to his behavior and energy. Dogs tend to gang up on one another during a fight - that's one of the things that makes large groups of dog's playing together dangerous when a fight breaks out - everyone tries to join in. First, work on teaching the dogs the following commands - more on why in a minute: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Out command - which means leave the area - read the entire article: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method for teaching Leave It command: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Crate training - Surprise method combined with crate manners video linked above too: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Have your mom help with the training to build their respect and trust for her. The dogs really need structure. You need to keep Apollo from bullying your small dog so he doesn't feel like he has to use aggressive to get Apollo to leave him alone - you be the one to handle any issues so the dogs don't, and especially help your mom. Decide what your house rules are for the 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 and your mom be the ones to enforce the rules so that the dogs are NOT working it out themselves. For example, if one dog comes over to your other dog while he is trying to sleep, tell the dog who came over "Out". If he obeys, praise and reward him. If he disobeys, stand in front of your sleeping dog, blocking the other dog from getting to him, and walk toward pup calmly but firmly until he leaves the area and stops trying to go back to the sleeping dog. The Out article linked above has a section on pushiness that details how to do this. If your small dog growls at Apollo, make your small dog leave the room while also disciplining Apollo for antagonizing him if needed. Be vigilant and take the pressure off of your smaller dog to handle things himself - you want him to learn to look to you when there is a problem, and for Apollo to learn to stop bullying because you have taught it to him and not because your small dog has resorted to aggression. Have all dogs practice being on separate place beds in the same room and staying on them for 1-2 hours calmly - this should be very helpful for your mom when things are tense. You can give them a food-stuffed chew toy on the place bed and they can move around to get comfortable but they can't get off until given a release command - don't put the bed too close together with food present. They need to have time where they are simply just calmly coexisting, and Place is also a good way to teach them impulse control and calm respect for you and how to cope with the other dogs being around better. When Apollo gets too excited or agitated around your smaller dog, give the dogs a break by either tethering him to yourself with a 6-8 foot leash or crating one or both dogs separately. Feed both in separate locked crates so there is not competition for food or anxiety from the other dog hovering nearby waiting. If Apollo is hard to physically handle right now, keep a 4-6 foot drag leash on him while you are home to supervise, so that you can simply pick of the end of the leash and enforce his obedience if he ignores you without drama. Check out VirChewLy leashes for a chewproof leash if he chews normal leashes. Your attitude in the household needs to be very calm and confident. You should mean what you say and enforce the rules but be very calm and not angry, anxious, or loud - I know that's a lot easier said than done! You and your mom's attitudes help set the tone for the dogs being calmer and feeling like you are taking care of things and leading though. When the dogs are being calm around each other and relaxed, you can give them a treat but try not to let the other dogs see you doing it so they don't rush over too. Simply place the treat between their paws while they are lying down, then walk away so they don't get super excited. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Our sweet 3 year old boxer/pit mix Murray jumped our fence yesterday and attacked the neighbors 7 month old pup they rescued a week ago. We have 2 dogs, Murray and then Monty who is an 8 year old beagle mix, both rescue dogs we've had since they were pups. They get along great and Murray is the most loving and affectionate dog towards people.
I had let the dogs both out like normal, they were out there no more than 15 minutes when the neighbor came running to my door because he jumped our 6' solid wood fence and was attacking their dog. I ran over and got him off the dog, had to carry him back home, and put him in his crate. They took the other dog to the vet and thankfully he was ok other than cuts and put him on antibiotics. I'm not sure what made him do this. She was out there with the pup so saw it happen and reacted immediately, thankfully or it could have been so much worse. Now I can say that he has had a few incidents with squirrels in our back yard and even a cat but he's never just gone after something like this and the fact he jumped over the fence. I'm scared to death now on what he'll do or how we even go about helping him. It breaks my heart, he's like one of my kids. We do have 2 boys, 11 and 13, which they adore their dogs. We aren't letting him out in the backyard without a leash for now but any suggestions on what we can do? We do have a harness that I had on him with a tie out. I was standing out with him, he wouldn't move on the tie out, when our other dog started barking and ran to the fence. He bolted and somehow got out of the harness. Luckily I was standing right there and grabbed him quickly. He will be on a leash from here on out, I don't think I can even trust the tie out with me being right there. I hate to get rid of him but I also don't think I can live with the fear of what might happen next. Please any advice would be appreciated.
Hello Sarah, I am so sorry this happened. It could be prey drive, territorial behavior, or dog aggression you weren't aware he had (getting along with another family dog doesn't really effect whether a dog gets along with dogs outside the family). Without working with you in person and evaluating him in the situations I can't say for sure what's going on. You need to hire professional help for this. What I generally recommend for dogs that will go over a six foot fence is two fold. First, work with a trainer who uses remote collar training, a lot of structure and boundaries, as well as positive reinforcement combined with it. Ask questions and read reviews or ask to speak to their previous clients. Make sure this trainer is very experienced with different types of aggression and with behavior issues - many only focus on obedience and the skills and knowledge are two different things, so you need a trainer with both types of knowledge. Second, I suggest an electric fence - not in place of your 6 foot fence but in addition to it. I suggest burying an electric fence two feet in front of your regular fence so that the dog is corrected if they approach the regular fence. For many dogs this does two things. 1. It interrupts the dog during their aroused state when they start charging the fence. 2. It keeps the dog far enough back from the fence that they can't try to climb it. This works for most dogs but could fail without additional training. With additional training to deal with the real issue, so the dog's desire to go after the other dog is lowered, the electric fence will normally be enough of a deterrent for the dog not to even attempt an escape from the yard. I really believe you need someone to help you in person but James Penrith from TaketheLeadDogTraining and Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training are good resources to learn more about teaching avoidance, dealing with aggression, and remote collar training. They both have channels on YouTube with tons of videos on aggression, cat chasing/killing (prey drive), ect... Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I was wondering if these methods work for an older male dog who is extremely dog aggressive?
Hello Sellene, In your case, I absolutely would NOT recommend any of the methods from that article. Instead, hire a professional trainer who specializes in aggression and behavior issues and comes very well recommended by previous clients' whose dogs also struggled with aggression. Look for someone who has access to lots of other dogs and probably a at least one other trainer or staff member to facilitate the types of interactions you will need to practice. Getting your pup used to wearing a basket muzzle is a good idea however. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training. I do not recommend doing the training yourself though. Many aggressive dogs will redirect their aggression to whoever is close-by if you are not careful, when the dog is in a highly aroused state, so aggression needs to be worked with carefully. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Whenever we go to the dog park in our building where we live, he’s on edge. We know shyness is indicative of their breed. He’s accepting of most dogs as long as their calm, the ones who run up and try to play, he lashes out at. He’s very much a “do it at my pace” kind of dog. A huge hurdle and one that really bothers us, is when other dogs are either playing fetch or walking out of the dog park with their owner, he’ll lash out at them. We know some of it is learned behavior from his sister who is a husky, but is no longer in the picture.
We know this is a complicated situation given that Klee Kais are such difficult breeds. What are some things we can do to try to eliminate this learned behavior?
Hello Austin, First, this won't be what you want to hear but you need to stop going to the dog park when there are other dogs there. That environment, the opportunity for him to practice his aggression, and the types of interactions he is having with other dogs is very likely making the aggression worse. Also, his reactions toward the other dogs can actually cause fear-aggression in other dogs, not to mention potential injury. Some dogs shouldn't go to the dog park period. Dog parks are also never a good place to deal with aggression issues for a variety of reasons. With that said, there are other things you can do with him to socialize but it's not going to look like a dog park. First, see if there is a structured obedience class you can join or a group of friends who want to create their own. Practicing structured obedience around other dogs would be a good way to socialize him. The following commands could be used to create your own obedience class with a calmer atmosphere and more structure (or just join a current class that seems calmer and more structured): Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo 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/ Once you have done some foundation work via a class, see if there is a dog walking or dog hiking group in your area that you could join with pup for regular socialization and exercise. Having him practice a structured, focused heel, where he is walking behind your leg and focused on you in the presence of other dogs would probably be really good for him, something less stressful and very enjoyable for him, and at the same time - socialize him around other dogs in the way you want him to be - helping him associate other dogs with pleasant, calm things. You could also see if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area, which is a structured class for dog-reactive and dog- aggressive dogs who all wear a basket muzzle during class for safety, and are intensively socialized around each other. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I’ve had Jaxson since he was old enough to be away from his mother. I always had him around other dogs and people, and he never seemed to have an issue. When we moved in with my boyfriend, he was put in close corridors with two other dogs. Tanner, a 5 year old German Shepherd, and our Shepherd puppy. He will go long periods of time being okay with both of them. He will play with the puppy all day, and the older Shepherd and him are fine being around one another. However, every once in a while he just snaps on either of them. I’m not sure what is causing this or how to stop it. He’s a great dog, he just can’t seem to figure it out.
Hello Katie, Unfortunately, without being there to ask a lot of questions and see the dogs interact together I can't really tell you what's going on either. You need someone who is very experienced with behavior issues and aggression and really good at reading canine body language to work with you in person to figure out what the trigger is. It might be a resource guarding issue - of people, food, space, or objects. It might be pup is telling the other two that he wants to be left alone through stares or body language and they are not honoring that. He might have a really low threshold in general. The attacks could be coinciding with something else and he is redirecting agitation or fear of something else toward the other dogs - such as seeing another dog outside that's he is aggressive toward and turning on your dog instead. It could be a lot of different things. I suggest finding a trainer with lots of experience in this area - ask questions about how they train and their experience ahead of time so ensure they are a good fit for your needs. Have that person come to your home and evaluate the dogs together, asking you lots of questions about their interactions to give clues. You may even be able to use someone remotely if there isn't a good person in your area, via Skype and you taking videos and sending them to someone. In person will be best however - expect it to take a few sessions for the trainer to get a good in-person evaluation in since the dogs will be focused on them when they are new at first, and not each other. The first sessions will probably be mostly talking about the issue, evaluating and offering advice to try, tweaking the training advice as you learn what signs to look for in pup, and see how pup is responding to the training. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I have an 18 month old Beardie called Howie. He is extremely friendly with 99% of other dogs and loves to play. He is neutered.
lately though he has been showing random aggression. I don't know what is triggering it but he will say hello to another dog, they will sniff each other and then out of the blue Howie will lunge and snap at the other dog.
This usually happens when he is on a lead and the other dog is not.
Any advice would be appreciated as I am really nervous he will hurt another dog.
Hello Sarah, First, understand that the situation is a lot of the issue. When a dog is on leash it can create frustration and make it so that a dog can't greet another dog in a proper-dog way. Direct face to face interactions without the dog being able to turn sideways, walk away or sniff another dog's bottom is very confrontational. A dog who runs up to your dog and gets in his face when he feels trapped is acting very rid in terms of canine social order. Your dog's anxiety level is probably high in those situations, his ability to manage the interaction very low, and he may have a low threshold and tolerance level in general. Him acting that way now might be due to that type of situation being repeated often and changes in mental maturity that takes place between 1-2 years and can include more territorial behavior, dominance changes, and wanting to play and interact with other dogs differently than he used to (puppies play differently than dogs). With all that said, the first order of business is to try to advocate for him and prevent other dogs running up to him as much as your can. Avoid areas where that is constantly happening and never take a dog on-leash into a dog park - that is extremely dangerous! When he does have to meet another dog and it can't be avoided, try to relax as much as you can and give slack in the leash to reduce pup's anxiety. Let the dogs say hi for two seconds, then quickly tell your dog "let's go!" In as cheerful a voice as you can and start walking away. As soon as pup follows praise and give a treat - carry treats in your pocket during walks. This is called the 3 second rule. Keeping greetings under three seconds can help prevent aggression by letting the dogs say hi just long enough to remove curiousity but ending the encounter before either dog can start competing or getting pushy. The other dog may follow for a bit but just keep moving and try to stay cheerful, since the other dog alread yet your dog he will typically get distracted by something else after a bit and leave. Work on teaching pup to look to you to handle things instead of handling it himself. Protect him from other dogs in bad situations when you can (going on structured heeling walks with other dogs with space between them is a better way to socialize). Check out the videos linked below. Work on teaching pup a structured heel. Start your walk off with pup paying attention to you and calm, waiting at the door threshold before going outside, walking slightly behind you at heel and focused on you, interrupt any staring at other dogs, not heeling, ect... When you pass another dog, calmly praise pup and give a treat when he looks at you for direction, ignored the other dog, or generally stays calm and doesn't fixate or tense up - don't reward if staring, tensing up, ignoring you, pulling ahead, or acting aggressively - interrupt instead until he is doing better and you can reward. Place - good for building respect and trust for you in general: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Some examples of more extreme issues if needed. If pup is behaving aggressively when just passing another dog also, I suggest hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues to help also. Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A More aggression videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIJoEJfTS-E Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Dali is a sweet dog, we adopted her at 4 weeks (she was left outside the dog shelter). At 1yr old, I had her off leash to take the trash out and practice commands. She saw a small white dog walking with owner and ran after them and attacked the dog; she broke skin and the dog bled near its neck. I was able to quickly grab her collar and take her away.
We started dog training, and that seemed to help, although we have two other dogs (Australian shepard, now 11 yrs, and a mini australian shepherd, now 6 years old; they lived together previously and are very attached to my partner), and a cat, and there are dogs that live on every side of our property (we are fenced in, but they all tend to run along the fence and bark at each other -- we have trained her to stop when we call her, but she will still go other times and start barking).
Around age 2 year, she started playing rough/attacking our mini aussie. She would nick her ear and cause it to bleed sometimes. It is clear she is anxious about being left out, the two aussies are a pack and she is only sometimes part of that.
This past year, our older Aussie has been diagnosed with a heart valve issue, and is clearly aging and slowing down. The cardiologist says that she has 8 months to a year left.
Dali has attacked her several times. Drawing blood by nicking her ear or near her eye.This past week she has attacked her three times, with the last time being vicious with multiple wounds near the eye, paw, and face.
We have implemented a muzzle, and at first she seemed to like it as we gave treats as it was put on. She now is not interested in it even with a treat. She looks very sad and nervous about being around the other two dogs, she knows she has done wrong.
She weighs nearly 70 pounds compared to 40 pounds and 18 pounds with the other dogs. Her weight alone is intimidating to the other dogs and when she attacks very hard for them to defend themselves.
The three dogs have played with each other, best when we are in an open park and chasing balls.Although we are now in the position of keeping them separate throughout the day, and slowly reintroduce going on walks together before we let them together again and risk another injury to our older dog.
Looking for suggestions on how to best use the muzzle, how often; and, strategies for the three dogs living together.
Hello Holly, I suggest having pup work for her food by having to interact with the muzzle and earning a piece of food each time she does. Over the course of a couple of weeks (how fast you go will just depending on how she is responding - that's just an estimate of time), gradually work her up to wearing it more and more using the technique I go over below. The goal is to desensitize her and to motivate her with her own hunger. If she is an extremely picky eater and has weight or blood sugar issues you will have to do this differently, but I am assuming those things aren't an issue. Also, purchase a silicone basket muzzle for her to wear. That type of muzzle will be more comfortable and still let her open her mouth up while wearing it - if you don't already have that type. To introduce the muzzle, first place it on the ground and sprinkle her meal kibble around it. Do this until she is comfortable eating around it. Next, when she is comfortable with it being on the floor with food, hold it up and reward her with a piece of kibble every time she touches or sniffs it in your hand. Feed her her whole meal this way. Practice this until she is comfortable touching it. Next, hold a treat inside of it through the muzzle's holes, so that she has to poke his face into it to get the kibble. As she gets comfortable doing that, gradually hold the treat further down into the muzzle, so that she has to poke his face all the way into the muzzle to get the treat. Practice until she is comfortable having her face in it. Next, feed several treats in a row through the muzzle's holes while she holds his face in the muzzle for longer. Practice this until she can hold his face in it for at least ten seconds while being fed treats. Next, when she can hold her face in the muzzle for ten seconds while remaining calm, while her face is in the muzzle move the muzzle's buckles together briefly, then feed her a treat through the muzzle. Practice this until she is not bothered by the buckles moving back and forth. Next, while she is wearing the muzzle buckle it and unbuckle it briefly, then feed a treat. As she 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 she wears the muzzle for and decrease how often you give her a treat, until she can calmly wear the muzzle for at least an hour without receiving treats more than two treats during that hour. In the meantime I suggest crating her and only letting her out when the other dogs are put away - rotating who is out to prevent fights. I also suggest teaching a Place command and working on some structured obedience with her. It sounds like she lacks impulse control and bite inhibition, which is obviously very dangerous for your other dogs as you know. I would hire a trainer who specializes in aggression and uses both positive reinforcement and fair corrections to help you. Check out Sean O' Shea from the Good Dog and Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training on YouTube for videos talking and showing work with aggression. I would hire help before implementing what they do on your own though. \ Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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She is so loving to people. I adopted her from an animal control Two months ago. She had a URI,25 lbs under weight, and has heart worms. She didn’t seem to have a problem with the dogs at the shelter or the vet that treated her and two weeks later spayed her. When she first got to my house she was fine with my old big dog but then attacked him twice in 24 hours. She growls at my other two. I keep them all separated at all times, but it is so exhausting!!!
Hello Tamara, I highly suggest hiring a professional trainer who specializes in aggression, comes well recommended by their previous clients whose dogs dealt with aggression, and can come to your home or work with all of the dogs together. Hello Isabel, First, I do suggest hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues and aggression to help you with this. Look for someone who has a lot of experience in this area, comes well recommended by previous clients, has a staff of trainers or assistants who can practice the training with pup as "strangers", and who has access to other well mannered dogs - such as the trainers' dogs. To help manage the dogs together, you can start by teaching the dogs the following commands. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Check out Jeff Gellman from solidK9Training, Thomas from the Canine Educator, and Sean O Shea from The Good Dog Training. These trainers have their own YouTube channels and all specialize in aggression and reactivity and fear. Be aware that an aggressive dog can redirect their aggression to whoever is closest while highly aroused. Working with pup while he is in an aggressive state is a bite risk. I do recommend hiring a professional trainer with a staff of trainers who can practice being "strangers", and who has a lot of experience with aggression and comes well recommended by their previous clients. Feed all the dogs in separate locked crates as well. No free feeding or feeding without confinement when Mazie is around. I wouldn't even leave food bowls down between meals. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I'm crate training pups and every time I return from walking one, the other attacks their sibling. There's only one of me so I can't handle taking both at once. What might be the cause, and how can I stop it.
Hello Dan, I suggest hiring a trainer who can evaluate the situation in person to watch pups interact. This could be aggression, but what is super common at this age is for one pup to jump out at another and want to wrestle with the puppy who just came in - it's a game, and many pups get great enjoyment from ambushing the other puppy who couldn't see them coming because they were outside. If that's what's going on and it is playful (even if rough play), it is completely normal and nothing to be concerned about - pup's are practicing hunting skills, social skills, and entertaining themselves. However, if might not be fun for you to have to deal with each time, so I do suggest teaching each pup an Out, Place, and Leave It command and working on building the pup's ability to obey those commands with distractions around. Once the pups are good at those commands you can decide when it's okay for them to rough house and when they need to be calmer around each other and not wrestling and running through the house. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo If there is true aggression going on or you are unsure, hire a professional right away to evaluate what's going on, see the situation to figure out the triggers, and work with pups with you. If there is real aggression, don't wait to hire someone since aggression is best treated early. Watching videos of dogs playing together might be a helpful way for you to get an idea of whether pup's are playing rough (mock fighting) or truly fighting. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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When we acquired Max recently, he was terribly overweight so we need to walk him to lose weight. There are a lot of dogs in our street either behind fences or on the street. When we walk Max and these dogs start barking and acting aggressively, he wants to fight! I can't hold him as he is too heavy and too strong! Have tried controlling him on a choke chain and using treats if he sits but he still wants to fight everyone! So I can't walk him and he isn't losing weight!!!
Hello Judi, For dog reactivity I would hire a professional trainer who specializes in aggression and leash reactivity to help you with this because there is a risk of a dog redirecting aggression to whoever is close-by while highly aroused, and thus a bite risk to you even though pup may not normally have any human aggression - that's always a risk with aggression while a dog is highly aroused. With a qualified trainer's help, first work on teaching pup a structured heel. This can be started in your own backyard or quiet culdesac. Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo When you begin your walk, work on pup's respect for you, following and calmness before you ever leave the front door. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Once pup is outside, he should be behind you and not allowed to be scanning the horizon, tensing up, and moving ahead of you. Those things will get him more aroused and more likely to react. He needs to be in a following, relaxed state. This means his muzzle should be behind your leg during the walk - it might seem strict but dog's who struggle with leash reactivity have to have structured walks. Finally, he will need to be interrupted at the first signs of a bad reaction. That means as soon as he stiffens up, starts to try to pull ahead, stares intensely, growls, ect...Don't wait until he has a full explosion or it will be harder to regain his focus. Teach him while he is still in a mindset to make the switch back to calm. Practice at first from across the street - not right next to the fence, and when he finally gets to the point (through probably a lot of repetition and practice for a while) where he can remain calm while walking by THEN you can reward focus on you, calmness, and tolerance to help desensitize him more to the other dogs emotionally. This second part is important for desensitizing and gaining lasting results but often the interruptions and structure are needed first. Again, hire someone qualified who can do this training with you to ensure it's all done effectively and safely - once pup is doing better, you can probably continue a lot of the training on your own to fully desensitize pup. Here are a few examples of interrupters and dog aggressive or dog reactive dogs being worked with - different tools often work for different dogs. A good trainer can help you find what works best for you guys. Reactive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8s_MlqDNE Aggressive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfiDe0GNnLQ&t=4s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZbdrQd--wo&t=316s I will say I do NOT recommend a choke collar. I prefer prong collars, gentle leaders, halters, martingale collars, and e-collars all over choke collars when those tools are used correctly. The reason is, a choke collar is hard to use effectively for training results and can easily damage the dog's trachea because of the way it puts hard pressure on the front of the dog's throat. A prong collar looks more harsh but when fitted and used correctly is actually a lot safer because it distributes the correction all the way around the neck and requires a lot less pressure for the dog to respond. A gentle leader can also be a good option for many dogs but isn't necessarily less adverse than a prong collar because some dogs find their vision being interrupted more adverse than other methods - it depends a lot on the dog what tool works best. The videos above will give some examples of some of these tools being used. Fitting a Prong collar properly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23zEy-e6Khg Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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