We have often heard it said that dog is “man’s best friend”, but in the case of an aggressive dog, not so much! Most dogs will bark to warn you when a stranger approaches, this is a natural part of their role as a member of your “pack”, and most pet owners appreciate that it is part of their job as your pet and companion. However, some dogs take this protective, warning behavior too far, showing aggressive behavior towards, and even attacking strangers.
Unless you live in an extremely remote location or are a hermit, your dog is going to come into contact with strangers on a regular basis, on walks, in public, and having people such as servicemen and delivery people approach your home. If your dog attacks strangers, this is going to be a serious problem! Not only is it dangerous for the innocent stranger that you come into contact with, but most municipalities have laws against having aggressive dogs, and a dog that attacks strangers can be apprehended and euthanized if it becomes a problem. Getting control of a dog’s aggressive behavior towards strangers is a critical safety issue for others and for your dog.
Why do dogs get aggressive towards strangers? Sometimes it is due to territorial or protective tendencies--the dog is attempting to protect his territory, which could include your premises, your home and yard, and you. This can cause them to react aggressively to strangers approaching you while on walks, at home or away from the home. Other dogs are aggressive towards strangers because they are anxious and fearful. These dogs perceive the stranger as a danger to themselves, or you, and are attempting to defend themselves by lashing out and attacking the source of their fear, a stranger.
You can often determine which type of aggression your dog is manifesting by observing their body language. A fearful dog will adopt a submissive stance, may often tuck their tail, crouch or otherwise try to avoid contact with the stranger, then suddenly lash out quickly, at an ankle or from behind. A dominant, territorial dog will adopt a dominant stance, lunging towards visitors, barking, making eye contact. Before corrective training for aggressive dogs begins, owners should rule out medical conditions that may be contributing towards aggression such as endocrine conditions or medical conditions causing pain, which may be contributing to aggressive behavior.
The best way of treating aggression towards strangers is to prevent it by socializing your dog when they are young, exposing your dog to lots of different situations and people in a safe, controlled environment, and teaching your dog that strangers are not a threat to you or him. If an older dog exhibits aggression towards strangers or has attacked someone, immediate training and work to prevent someone being hurt is required.
You may need to engage a professional trainer if you have limited experience in training dogs, as this behavior is critical to stop for everyone’s safety. Training to curb aggression involves desensitizing your dog to the presence of strangers and establishing control and leadership of your dog so that you can direct your dog to respond in a calm accepting manner when a stranger is present.
Many trainers working with aggressive dogs use a head halter, which allows the handler to control the direction of the dog’s attention and direction and exert authority and leadership over the dog without causing pain to or injuring the dog. If using a head halter, you will need a short lead, as a dog using a head halter with a long lead can get a neck injury if they run and are suddenly stopped on a long lead. A well-fitting collar that will not slip over the dog’s head or a choke chain may also be used.
Also, when working to teach a dog not to attack strangers, you may want to use a basket muzzle, which will prevent the dog from biting anyone during the training period. A basket muzzle may not work if you are desensitizing a frightened dog and using treats as positive reinforcement. The tools you use will depend on the training method and the risk of harm to handlers in the situation in which training is being conducted.
This type of training should take place in a controlled setting; having an unplanned stranger approach during a training session can sidetrack your training. You will need to establish firm control, so ensure you have a plan before starting a training session to keep yourself, your dog, and everyone else safe.
My dog is not Sociable not friendly at all aggressive barks at any and everything needs training bad
Hello Rachonne, I highly suggest hiring a professional trainer who is very experienced with a variety of types of aggression and comes well recommended or has great reviews. Check out the two videos linked below. One of the videos shows someone practicing training with an aggressive dog and a person that the dog does not know - (notice the backtie and line on the ground that keep the dog from being able to get to the person doing the training, so that they cannot bite them). The second video talks about other things they practice with the dog to earn the dog's trust and respect. Be extremely careful when working with an aggressive dog. The dog in the video is not aggressive toward the trainer - your dog is so that training will have to be modified to keep everyone safe, which may include the use of a basket muzzle during training: Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A General training: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-VJXhM0iJo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog is 3.5 years old and he is now lashing out at random people on our walks/in the elevator/ at restaurants. Especially maintenance men. He is a pretty anxious dog he is scared of loud noises and shy. This problem is getting worse and worse this year. It is now hard to take him in public places because I am worried he will lash out at people. Otherwise he is a very sweet dog and he has never bitten anyone.
Hello Jessica, It sounds like Pablo probably needs a lot of structure and boundaries to teach him to depend on you more for how to respond in situations where he feels nervous. He needs more structure to keep him from becoming over aroused and help him stay calm and focused on you. Heeling right beside you and focusing on you during walks is a must for him, and generally improving his focus on you and communicating with him what is and is not acceptable and being consistent with your rules for him. Also, don't comfort him when he gets anxious or aggressive, instead correct him to interrupt his mindset gently then give him something else to focus on like a command that he can do. Check out the video that I have linked below for an example of another dog with aggression issues and some of the tips the trainer has for that owner as well: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/good-dog-transformations/the-good-dog-minute-111913-kellan-nervous-fear-aggression-case-comes-for-rehab/ Check out this walking video also: https://youtu.be/OTiKVc4ZZWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Koa is very sweet and very energetic. He knows most commands and is getting better. I have trained 2 previous border collies that were not as aggressive/ territorial as him. He is ok in public/ at coffee shop etc... and loves people. My concern is when a stranger comes to house or near RV. He’ll take off or squirm past me and run aggressively toward person barking and growling. He hasn’t bitten anyone but it is embarrassing for me and frightening for them. He does come back when called but obviously not soon enough. I don’t have a lot of people coming to door but he does not do this with roommates or girlfriend. I like that he alerts me to people coming I just want to stop the territorial behavior/ aggressiveness unless it is a danger/ prowler. Worried for girlfriend cause we have had a few weird people casing houses in neighborhood.
Hello Brian, I would recommend hiring a training group with multiple dog trainers who can rotate who does the training with him. The goal should be to get him used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle and have various trainers come to your home and work on desensitizing him to the presence of strangers by not backing down when he barks, being calm, and rewarding him as soon as he gives correct responses, like becoming quiet or stopping his forward movement for a couple seconds. Practice with one trainer until he gets comfortable with that person, then transition onto a different trainer in that group to practice the same thing. You want him to begin to believe that the people who come to his home are generally pleasant and bring good things. This will not decrease his protective abilities against intruders. A well socialized dog can actually better tell when a person is acting unusual because they will have learned what normal human smells, body language, and behavior is, to know when something is different. True protection dogs are very well socialized as puppies. Because you will need a lot of different people who are calm around dogs and willing to be near a barking dog, even with him muzzled, it will be hard to find enough friends who are willing to help you. If you can find such people and can get him used to wearing a basket muzzle, then you may be able to do it yourself. Be extremely careful though and do not skip the muzzle even though he has not bitten yet. It only takes one time and every dog is capable of biting under stress. To get him used to wearing a muzzle show him the muzzle and give him a treat. Repeat that until he enjoys the appearance of it. Next, touch it to his face briefly and give him a treat for every touch. Practice that until he tolerates the touches happily. Next, Hold it on his face briefly and give him a treat through the muzzle's holes while you do so. Repeat this until he is comfortable with that. Next, hold the muzzle on his face for longer and feed him a few treats through the muzzle's holes while it is there. Repeat this until he will put his face in the muzzle or at least hold still for you to put it on him and feed him the treats through it. Finally, attach the muzzle to him for a few minutes and periodically give him a treat through the muzzle's holes. As he gets more and more comfortable wearing the muzzle, gradually increase the amount of time that you have him wear it for and space your treat rewards further and further apart until he does not need the treats to feel safe with it on. Make sure you choose a soft silicone basket muzzle because that type will be more comfortable and will still let him open his mouth to bark and eat treats that you pass him through the holes. While he is wearing the muzzle, when he behaves correctly around the stranger, either pass him treats through the holes, give the "stranger" a long thin stick or straw type object with peanut butter on the end and let the stranger gently poke the straw through the muzzle and let Koa lick the peanut butter off. Keep a small amount of peanut butter nearby to dip the straw in again. If anyone is allergic to peanut butter, then you can use liver paste or squeeze cheese. With the help of a trainer I would highly recommend electric collar training for better off leash control. Either that or do not have him off leash. E-collar training and working on Koa's respect for you and general intermediate and off-leash obedience should help with him bolting away from you in disobedience too. Look for a trainer who uses high quality e-collars like E-collar Technologies, Garmin, SportDog, or Dogtra. Someone who also utilizes a lot of Positive Reinforcement in his training techniques, has a lot of experience using e-collars in training successfully, and knows how to find a dog's working level, which is the lowest level that that particular dog will effectively respond to. James Penrith from TaketheLeadDogTraining on Youtube and Jeff Gelhman from SolidK9Training, also on Youtube and online are both good resources for the type of training you want to look for with e-collars. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog has many instances of fear-based aggression toward people, but has usually shown signs that she's prepping to lunge. She growls, her hackles go up, her tail is down, and she's either fixated on the person or turns away. I trusted that she'd warn me if anything (or anyone in this case) made her uncomfortable. But yesterday, we were on our usual evening walk when she went from sniffing the ground to lunging and trying to bite a little girl. The girl was walking relatively close to Lucy, my dog, with her father when it happened. Luckily, the girl's father pulled his daughter away in time to avoid a bite. It was the first time that Lucy attempted to bite someone, without a warning. And it is scary. I'm hoping to get tips to address this, in all honesty I feel quite overwhelmed and afraid that my dog will attack someone soon.
Hello Michelyne, Lucy needs to see a professional dog trainer who can assess her in person ideally. This is not something I would recommend doing by yourself. Look for someone in your area who uses fair corrections and positive reinforcement and has a good reputation for managing and improving aggression. Check out Jeff Gellman on YouTube to learn more about managing aggression. For now, get Lucy used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle. She will need to wear this during training and it can be used while out in public with her until then also. To get her used to wearing a muzzle show her the muzle and give her a treat. Repeat until she is comfortable looking at it. Next, touch it to her and give her a treat each time you touch her. Repeat until she is relaxed and happy. Next, hold the muzzle against her face and give her a treat each time you do so. Next, hold the muzzle against her face for longer and give her treats through the muzzle's holes while you do so. Repeat this until you can hold it against her for a couple of minutes while feeding her. Finally, put the muzzle on her and feed her treats through it's holes while you do so. Gradually increase how long she wears it for, starting with just a couple of minutes and working your way up to an hour. Also, gradually space your treats further and further apart as she improves. Jeff Gellman SolidK9Training YouTube channel training,https://m.youtube.com/user/SolidK9Training Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We found Pixie hiding under our house when she was ~7 weeks old. She was covered in cigarette burns. We live out in the country 5+ acres and rarely have visitors. When taking her to th vet, we have had to muzzle her from the beginning (she has never forgot or forgiven him giving her shots).
Well, we had a friend come visit yesterday, and pixie tried to attack bite her!
Is it too late to take her to a trainer to try and avoid her biting people in the future?
Hello Beau, Honestly, the answer is that I cannot say. I would highly suggest trying and doing it right now while she is only around seven months old. Your chances of success go way down the longer you wait. You will definitely be playing catch up with her socialization since he only interactions with strangers have been scary. I.e. going to the vet. She is likely convinced that all strangers will harm her and there is fear aggression. She needs intensive socialization and the aggression addressed from a management standpoint but also from a root cause standpoint. The root cause likely being a lack of socialization and fear. She needs to relearn what strangers are like to help her overcome her aggressive tendencies. Look for a highly qualified trainer in your area with a lot of experience dealing with aggression, get Pixie used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle by pairing the presence of the muzzle with food, and then have the trainer evaluate her while she is wearing the muzzle. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I was a dog park with my dog.I had a muzzle on her cause my trainer told me to try to open her up to dogs and people.We rescue her when she was 4 months old,she was abused as a puppy. There was a guy there with his dog he was okay with us bring her in with his dog as long as she had a muzzle. He kind of tripped and it trigger my dog to attack him but she didn't bite him cause she had a muzzle on but someone see it. Could I get my dog taken away for it.
Hello Irene, Unfortunately, you would need to ask a lawyer from your state that question. Different states and regions have different laws and liability standards. Did your dog injure the person when he attacked or simply scare him? If your dog did not physically injure the person in any way, then it is more likely that you would be given a warning if it is reported and if another incident happened, then the dog might be taken away. The fact that your dog was wearing a muzzle will help a lot because you were trying to take the proper precautions to protect the public from your dog and your dog thus was unable to do serious damage to the person. You might be required to confine your dog better and limit public exposure if someone reports it. I cannot guarantee it, but it is not very likely that the dog would be taken away for his first offense under these circumstances. For a more accurate answer, consult a lawyer in your region though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We adopted our sweet pup a few weeks ago from shelter; he has a very sad past. He has done so well settling in, and had no issues when we introduced him to friends (cautiously) in our house. When we went to the vet, he was not so great: he growled and attempted to bite as she was examining him (we have him in a muzzle in public).
We are taking him to a dog trainer, so I guess really my question is how comfortable are any dogs with the invasive aspects of a vet examine (looking deep in ears, temperature, etc) and what is the ideal reaction to those sorts of things?
Hello Megan, Ideally a puppy is introduced to the vet while young and taken there just to be given treats and learn to relax there, so that the vet is generally a pleasant place and the unpleasant exam is the exception instead of what happens every time. Puppies should also be handled a lot the first year of life. People should practice touching an area gently and giving a treat (ears, paws, opening mouth, touching tail, ect...). You can get dogs comfortable with being touched, so that touch is normally a good thing and it's easier for them to relax even when things are more invasive. For dogs that are adopted as adults the opportunity to do this is lost, so the vet is a scary place and scared dogs tend to either behave submissively, aggressively, or try to escape - depending on temperament and history. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog is the sweetest dog. Unfortunately, over the past month, we have noticed a change when walking him. Usually when we walk him, he is very hyper. He looks at everything and everyone. He barks when a motorcycle or a bicyclist passes by him. Overall, he is too aware of his environment. But 1 week ago, my husband walked him and Hunter tried to lunge at a man. He managed to just nibble on the man’s hand. And today, my oldest daughter walked him; and a young teenage girl walked past them and Hunter angrily lunges at the girl and grabbed her jeans by her leg and then tried to grab her sleeve and he was growling at her. The thing is we know her and she has petted him before! Also, every time my daughter walks him, Hunter barks at everyone in sight. But when my husband and I walk him, Hunter in spite of being so overactive, he behaves very good. But how can we stop this barking at everyone in sight. I also noticed that he doesn’t walk beside us; he tends to pull on that leash very hard and walks ahead of me or my daughter when we walk him. Help please.
Hello Sandra, For the aggression you need to hire a professional trainer to help you in person, and you need to start as soon as possible. Also, check out this person's YouTube channel for general information on respect, aggression, leash pulling, and rude behavior. Your issue is likely related to more than just the walks, but is showing up during walks because of all of the stimulation and because of leash reactivity, caused by build up frustration and over-arousal. You need an over-all training plan, that probably works on creating structure and building trust and respect for your family, in addition to having someone help you specifically on the walks. https://www.youtube.com/user/SolidK9Training Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I got my dog from the Humane Society back in April. She has always been wary of strangers but seemed to warm up after about 10 minutes of them being around her. I moved back in August and ever since there she has gotten fear aggressive whenever strangers approach her. I try really hard to slowly introduce her to strangers but people get afraid when she starts growling and barking. It's gotten to the point where I've had to stop taking her to dog friendly events because she gets afraid and anxious and this causes her to lash out. Any advice? I know she is a sweet dog but when she does things like that it makes other people think she is an aggressive dog.
Hello Jessica, I suggest hiring a local professional trainer to help you. Choose someone who is part of a larger training group, who will incorporate lots of different trainers in different sessions, to practice being "strangers" and to spend quality time giving her lots of treats and time to overcome her fears with them. They can also show you in real time how you should respond when she starts tensing up or lashing out. Beetle has likely learned that she can get people to go away by acting scary. Her attitude is likely "Get them before they get you". She needs to have lots of patient, calm people meet her from a few feet away, and whenever she is calm for even a second, toss her treats over and over again, and let her decide when to approach the person while the person ignores her other than tossing treats to her. As she gets ready to approach, the person can gradually increase interaction by talking to her, moving a little, and eventually touching her when she is completely relaxed. You need people who are calm and willing to follow these steps. If you have lots of friends or family members that she has not met yet, who can do this, then you can very carefully do this yourself with the proper precautions, but a training group will have the resources that you need and be able to help a lot more quickly. Also, do not assume that she will not bite. A fearful dog typically does not want to bite, but a scared dog will, to keep what he or she sees as a threat away. It's self-defense in the dog's mind and any dog has the potential to bite, so don't rush her when doing this with friends. Let her have the chance to relax before making things harder. She is also not ready for large crowds right now. They will likely make things worse. Work on calmer environments and a few people at a time, starting with individuals first, until she is consistently successful with those, then you can increase the difficulty with other scenarios as she improves. I can tell that you love her very much, and you are not alone in this problem. It is extremely common, especially with an unknown history and possible lack of socialization. I wish you the absolute best. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog is a very sweet boy but he has recently begun to show aggressiveness towards strangers when they come in our house. We had someone come to our house and sit on our couch at first Jackson seemed fine he laid on the couch next to the man and tried to lick him on the face. Then all of a sudden he lounged at him aggressively and tried to bite the man I love this dog but he almost bit my mom a while ago when her and my brother were wrestling. I´m not sure how to fix this problem.
Hello Jocelyn, I am guessing that when the incident with the guest happened that Jackson was standing over the person in an attempt to get to his face, and when the person did something to try to move that was when he attacked. If that was the case, then although Jackson appeared to be acting friendly he was probably asserting himself dominantly and the lick was more controlling and more about claiming that person by being in his space than being friendly. This is a dangerous situation. Do not handle this on your own. You need professional training help. Find a trainer in your area who can work on the aggression, boundaries, and respect in a fair and intelligent way. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Inu is a very sweet dog, he acts well with strangers and other dogs. One problem that Im having is that every day when he sees my dad he is very aggressive with him, to the point were he actually attacks him. Since I've adopted him from the shelter, he has never liked my dad. My dad cant really get near the dog. His bread is a Chow chow mix with Jindo.
Hello Eric, This is a serious issue and you need to hire a professional trainer who specializes in aggression to work directly with you, your dad, and your dog. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My wife and I rescued Cooper about two years ago. We believe he was beaten whenever we rescued him, so he already had a rough start to life. Fast forward to today, whenever we get home we take him and our weenie dog outside. Lately, anyone he sees outside of our house he sprints towards them and seems to want to hurt them or let them know not to mess with him. Today he snipped at our neighbor who was walking away from us. He is starting to scare me with his aggressive behavior. I just need to know where to start. Should I leash him now? Is a shock collar with treats as reinforcement good?
Hello Dalton, Cooper 100% needs to be leashed. He absolutely should not be outside unless he is on a leash or in a physically fenced yard. Do not use an electric fence alone either. Because the aggression is probably fear-based, using a sock collar can actually make it worse if the shock is paired with him seeing a person. That can increase the fear and thus increase the aggression. Shock collars can be used for management when it comes to obedience. To teach an emergency recall, but that is done over a longer period of time, with a qualified trainer, so that the correction is associated with clear disobedience for something the dog 100% understands, and is not associated with a person. I suggest using getting Cooper used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle and using positive reinforcement to help him learn to like the presence of people. Start by praising him, giving him a treat, and acting silly by dancing around and being happy whenever he sees a person walking by at a distance. Reward him before he has a chance to respond poorly. Stay far enough away from people at first that he can respond to you and simply notices the people. As he begins to like the appearance of people through practice, then you can practice the training gradually closer and closer to people. Recruit lots of friends and family members that Cooper does not know to act like strangers once he can handle someone walking by on the sidewalk without reacting poorly. Have your volunteer walk by, stop without saying anything, then toss tons of treats toward him while you praise him, and continue walking again. Practice this with different people until he likes it when people stop. When he can handle a variety of people stopping, then gradually decrease the distance between him and the treat tossing person more and more. You can also add a bit more difficulty by talking to the person or having the person act slightly excited. Progress very gradually though. Don't overwhelm him. When he starts to act like he wants to meet the people and can handle being just three or four feet away, then have him wear the muzzle that you have been getting him used to since this all started. Tell him to "Say Hi!" in a happy tone of voice, then let the person feed him treats through the holes of his muzzle. When he is completely relaxed, then the last step is for the person to feed him a treat while she gently touches him somewhere at the same time with her other hand. As soon as the treat is gone, she should remove her hand though. Practice the touches with just one person at a time, until he relaxes when she touches him, then practice with a new person also. To get him used to wearing the soft silicone basket muzzle, feed him his kibble, one piece at a time, whenever he sniffs the muzzle, lets you touch it to him, and finally lets you put it on him. Work on just touch and sniffing until he enjoys the presence of the muzzle because of the treats. Next, hold the muzzle against his face while you feed him treats through the holes. Let him decide when he wants to stop though. When he is relaxed about that, then finally put the muzzle on him all the way and feed him treats through the holes while he is wearing it, then take it off again. Repeat this over and over, going slow enough for him to remain happy. Overtime, you can gradually increase how long he wears the muzzle for, and space the treats further and further apart. Finally, don't hesitate to hire expert help if you are not seeing some improvement. Get recommendations and ask questions though, to find the right person, who is very experienced with fear aggression and has clients who are satisfied. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Griff is a big sweetheart, but he doesn’t like men specifically. I suspect he was hurt when he was young by a man.
He can be territorial as we used to live on a big block but now live in a unit complex.
He doesn’t like strangers coming in to pat him and if he off leash around the unit complex he will attempt to attack both men and women that live here.
He won’t bark at them, only through the door. But if there is no restriction he will lunge at them out of nowhere and bite them on the leg or the hand if they try to pat him. It appears to be out of fear and when I tell him no he stops immediately and comes back to me. He doesn’t break the skin but definitely gives people a fright and would leave a little red mark where he tried to bite them.
If I am walking him on leash and we are not on the property he is fine and doesn’t try to attack people walking by, only if they try to pat him and catch him off guard (because he’s small and cute everyone assumes he is ok to pat). If he is off leash he will try to run at men aggressively from behind but not women.
He is very obedient but what can I do to train him to understand that I am the leader and while I’m around he does not need to be fearful?
People that he’s “attacked” in the past I have ended up training him to like them and after around 5 mins of getting some nice attention he loves them and is there best friend and this can apply to men as well. So I know he has the potentially but I’m not quite sure how to train him in an off leash scenario. Even when I say no (generally very firmly, as he is sensitive to voice commands, both good and bad) and he retreats immediately and then I will praise him once he’s settled down, I’m not getting any consistency in his behaviour and he just does it again.
Hello Kathy, First, I suggest that you purchase a vest for him that says "In Training - Please do not touch" and have him wear it when you are not prepared to train him and get people to work with him the way he needs. Essentially, you want to stop the random petting when you are not watching - that is making the issue worse. Next, practice desensitizing him to people that you know or meet who are willing to do it correctly. Have the person stand far enough away that he notices them but can still obey you and remain calm when you are telling him how to behave. When he is calm for a second, have the person toss him lots of treats or favorite toys -if he prefers toys. Practice this until he warms up to that person. Practice this with as many people as you can in the locations where he struggles the most- the apartment property. Next, check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training on Youtube. Watch his videos on structure, boundaries, and fear aggression. He has a ton of videos. Focus on the videos that teach boundaries and deal with fearful aggressive dogs the most. You can use the search feature on his channel to find various videos to watch. Watching those videos should help you learn how to generally interact with him to earn his trust and respect, and how to manage the aggressive outbursts. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Bessie is my mothers dog, she lives on a small Scottish island. Bessie and my mothers other dog, Rocky, a 3 year old Jack Russell have freedom to run around the croft and come in and out of the house whenever they please. She is not often taken out on walks on leashes, but when she is, she pulls but is not aggressive, as she knows who is the leader when on the leash.
Bessie is used sometimes as a sheep dog, but only for very basic tasks, which she performs okay and seems to love.
However, when not on the leash (most of the time) and not with a known person beside her, Bessie is very territorial and her aggression towards visitors and strangers is escalating.
My mother has a croft house, with the main road being approx 100m from the house. Whenever Bessie sees a walker or cyclist going by the road she has always frantically barked. This is likely learned behaviour from the older Jack Russell who also barks.
However,this has recently escalated with her running down onto the main road, with her fur standing up, showing her teeth and trying to nip their ankles. The Jack Russell (Rocky) remains up near the house. It takes multiple attempts to call her to come back before she does, she then runs straight into the cage in the house (her safe place).
My mother does not have access to a behavioural specialist (none on the island) and is worried that Bessie will hurt someone if her behaviour does not change.
What steps can you suggest for a collie who is outside free to roam a lot and rarely on a leash? Thank you
Hello Carol, Since she does not have access to a trainer and Bess does not behave aggressively when your mom is around, I would suggest remote electric collar training to teach boundaries and interrupt the herding desire to control people, as well as lots of positive reinforcement and treats from people walking and jogging past. To help Bess feel less suspicious of strangers near the property, your mom should recruit lots of her friends that Bess does not know, to pass the property as if they were strangers. Start with Bess on a fifty-foot leash that's coiled up, to give her about four-to-six-feet of length at first. Have your mom tell Bess to "Say Hi", and when she is not barking or growling have the 'stranger' toss her treats. Practice this until she is comfortable around that person. When Bess can handle the first person, then practice with a new person the next time. As she improves and can relax around people when your mom is close by, have your mom back further away so that Bess is closer to the road and the strangers than your mom is. Repeat the interactions the same way she did before, having the strangers toss Bess treats when she acts calm. Practice this until your mom can stand fifty-feet away with Bess on the very end of the long leash, and Bess will stay calm around the treat-tossing 'stranger' volunteers. Also tell your mom the following: Purchase a high quality remote electric training collar, also known as e-collar. You want one with at least sixty stimulation levels so that you can use the lowest level that Bess will respond to. Many Collie's are sensitive and will respond to the lower levels well. Garmin, E-Collar Technologies, Dogtra, and SportDog are high quality brands. Do not get a cheap brand. Poorly made collars can be dangerous and abusive. E-Collar Technologies has collars called the Mini Educator and the EZ-900, both would be a great choice. Fit the collar high on Bess's neck, making sure that both metal prongs are making contact with the skin. The collar is more fair to the dog if it does not move up and down too much - which would make the corrections inconsistent. Let Bess wear the collar around while it is turned off for a week during the day, to let her get used to it and so that she will not learn to connect the training with the collar. After Bess is used to wearing the collar, go somewhere boring with Bess, with no one around, and set the collar to the lowest level. Push the button to stimulate the collar on the lowest level and watch Bess for any type of reaction. You are likely looking for a small reaction like ears going back, acting like a bug is on her, looking around, shaking her head, scratching, or getting up and moving away. Repeat the correction three times and watch for a reaction. If there is no noticeable reaction, then increase the collar's stimulation level by one level and repeat pushing the button for a second and watching for a reaction. Push the button three times, watching for a reaction in between, before moving onto the next level if there is no reaction. Gradually go up in levels, watching for a reaction, until you see some type of response. If you feel like you are getting high on levels, then pause and make sure that the collar is turned on, on the right channel, making contact with the skin, and working properly. When you finally get a reaction, pay attention to what stimulation level it is set on. That number will be Bess's working level that you will train her on. Once you have found her working level, walk Bess around your property on a long leash. Whenever Bess approaches the boundary line, tell her "Out", and if she does not move back to where she should be immediately, correct her by pushing the stimulation button. While you are pushing the stimulation button lead her back onto your property with the leash quickly, and stop pushing the button as soon as she is on your property again. If she obeys your "Out" command immediately without having to be corrected, then give her a treat. You are teaching her that off your property is a 'hot' zone and on the property is safe again. The long leash is important for this. You need it to guide her where to go to help her learn right now. When she seems to understand where the property line is, then walk across the line while telling her "Out". If Bess follows, correct her with the collar remote while you also walk toward her to show her where she should be --On your property. As Bess improves, have practice running across the boundary line, with Bess staying behind on her property, and act silly. Recruit more friends to walk past while Bess is on a long leash and you are closer to the house. If she tries to bolt past the boundary line, you should correct her with the remote collar. If she behaves, have the friends toss treats into the yard for her. During all of this training, Bess should not be allowed to roam free and react toward people. First, it is dangerous. Second, it will keep the training from working. Bess needs her environment controlled better until she learns how to behave while she is free. Eventually Bess will hopefully learn that walkers are nice and not suspicious and that rules will be enforced even if your mom is not there -- Your mom will need to practice the training out of Bess's sight when Bess has mastered walkers passing by while she is on the fifty-foot leash. When your mom gets to the point where she can practice the training where Bess will not see her, then Bess will hopefully start to understand that the training and rules are the same even if your mom is not there to enforce them. Also, the long leash is important for this training because your mom needs to make sure that Bess cannot actually get all the way to the walkers -- to keep the walkers safe from Bess. The above methods are what I suggest trying first. There are a couple of other options for management if Bess needs other options. Even though there is not a trainer your mom can hire to come work with her in person, there are trainers like myself who will do more in depth Skype or phone consultations. If she needs help, she may want to at least work with someone like that who can talk her through what to do, how to do it, and how to change the training based on Bess's response to it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Malon is a sweetheart at home and has become pretty well behaved especially after we went through obedience class. She is very smart and did amazing with the trainer however after talking with my trainer about some things I have noticed (territorial behavior against strangers in our home, and most recently she showed aggression when a man leaned forward and tried talking to her, something she never did before) as a puppy I thought I did socializing right considering she would approach people and let them pet her etc. But I suppose not. I want her to be comfortable and accepting of strangers but I dont know to teach this. I'm scared to use a muzzle cause I fear it will make things worse and make people more scared of her. My questions are these: what some drills or activities to encourage my dog to like strangers and accept their good intentions? Also, how do I ask or convince others to assist me in teaching my dog to be nice? I love her very much and do not wish to ever get rid of her. I'm worried she will become more aggressive.
Hello Amanda, There are two likely reasons why aggression might be going on with her and it can be both reasons. The first is fear and a lack of socialization, like you mentioned. The other is simply a lack of respect and rudeness (when the man leaned over her, she simply may not of liked it and was just not tolerant and told him so - opposed to reacting to feeling threatened and insecure when he did that). The fear and socialization can be addressed by having friends come around and pretend to be strangers and toss her treats whenever she is calm around them (while she is on a leash -possibly with a prong collar, to give you control). Also, work on you touching her places on her body while you are feeding her treats (if you can do this safely with her yourself). Touch an ear - give a treat, touch her paw - give a treat, lean over her - give a treat, open mouth - give a treat, touch tail- give a treat, touch collar - give a treat. Practice this with every area of her body, and especially take extra time and be extra gentle with areas that tend to bother her. When she can tolerate you handling her and is happy when people come around because of the treat tossing they have been doing, then get her used to wearing a soft silicon basket muzzle by introducing it gradually while you feed her treats over a couple of weeks. Have her wear the muzzle and have someone she is comfortable with due to practicing treat tossing with her previously, practice the handling exercises very carefully with your help while they feed her treats through the muzzle's holes (a basket muzzle will let her open her mouth inside the muzzle still). Have her practice the touch and treats until she is happy for that person to touch her. When she is comfortable with that person, then move onto another volunteer and practice it while she wears the muzzle with the new volunteer. Practice this with as many volunteers as you can. Your best bet for finding people to help you is to get connected with other dog owners who are interested in training. Instagram, Facebook groups, clubs, meetup.com events, and friends who you already know who love their dogs and are interested in training them. If you can't find people that way, then you will need to go to a training group that has multiple trainers and works with lots of different types of aggression, and have the various trainers practice this with your dog until she is comfortable with the staff...You also want trainers to practice this at your home or at public locations (rather than only the training facility) to help the training be generalized to other things in your dog's every day life. Explain that the muzzle is just a precaution. If you ask the right people and they know that you are being careful and considerate of them, then you won't have to convince as hard. Trainers who have dealt with these issues will also not be discouraged by the muzzle. In fact many won't train with you without it in close quarters (they have families and care about their safety too - a good trainer takes precautions not to get bit while working). Up close interactions are the main places you need the muzzle if her aggression has never drawn blood and is very infrequent. Random people should not be approaching her right now though. You can tell people she's in training and please don't pet, or she's in training, please don't touch her but you can toss these treats on the ground for her to help her get used to people. She should not be off-leash around people right now without the muzzle on unless a trainer is working with her in a safe manner. For aggression that is just rudeness and her using intimidating to get what she wants, you will need to work on the above handling and treat tossing, but you will also need to learn how to correct her appropriately for it, give her more structure, obedience, and boundaries in general to build her respect for you without being too harsh, and teach her new rules for what's acceptable and not acceptable around people. Australian Cattle dogs are sometimes a pushy and controlling breed because they need to be in order to herd stubborn cattle without getting trampled. She may need more structure and boundaries in her life. Check out the article and the trainer that I have linked below to learn more. Respect article. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Jeff Gellman aggression specialist. He can be a bit abrupt in his tone but is knowledgeable. https://www.youtube.com/user/SolidK9Training Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I rescued my dog Skye six years ago from an abusive home she was locked in a crate 24/7 and constantly attacked by other dogs or hit and kicked by her owners in the home she has become an amazing dog and is very trusting of strangers she is not good with dogs in the home other than the two we have she gets very scared and attacks them how can I control this?
When we leave the house she is extremely aggressive towards anyone that isn’t immediate family even if she has met them before and other dogs so we are finding it difficult to walk her we can’t get a trainer in due to her aggression when we leave the house she will follow commands and walk well on a lead until she sees someone then she will lunge for them snarl and try to attack what do I do?
Hello Audrey, It sounds like she may need to go somewhere that specializes in aggression. There is not a simple fix for this. You need the help of a professional who has the right resources to safely work with her around people and other dogs. Most trainers do not specialize in aggression, which is why many are refusing to come to your home probably. You need to find someone who does and to get her used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle before the trainer comes so that they can safely start working with her. A basket muzzle will let her open her mouth still so that she can receive treats through the muzzle (eventually - at first she will probably be too tense to want to eat), and so that the muzzle is more comfortable. Check out Shaun O'Shay from the Good Dog and Jeff Gellman from Solid K9Training. I don't know where you are located but they both specialize in aggression and do intensive therapy to help with various types of aggression at their own facilities. They also have a lot of free videos on Youtube and other places educating about aggression. If you can get her used to wearing a muzzle, you might have better luck finding a trainer in your area who is experienced and can work with her, but she probably needs to visit a facility also (even if just during the day) so that she can be exposed to more dogs and people in a controlled setting that the trainer can set up. It would be ideal if you could participate in these sessions at least part of the time, so that you learn how to manage her aggression as well. To get her used to wearing a muzzle, show her the muzzle and give her a treat every time that you show it to her. When she is comfortable around it, give her a treat every time that she touches it. Next, smear a little bit of peanut butter on the muzzle, far enough in that she has to poke her head into the muzzle to lick it off. (Check the peanut butter and make sure the is NO Xylitol sweetener- It's TOXIC to dogs!) Praise her while she sticks her head inside the muzzle and licks it. Next, hold a treat in the muzzle so that she has to put her face into it get the treat. Gradually hold the treat for longer so that she has to keep her face in the muzzle for longer before you give the treat to her. When she can hold her face in the muzzle willingly for a couple of minutes, then buckle and unbuckle the muzzle, giving her a treat through the muzzle while it's buckled and after you remove it. Practice keeping the muzzle buckled for longer and longer before taking it off, while you feed her treats through the muzzle's holes. Practice all of this until she is comfortable wearing the muzzle. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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my dogs name is alpha. he is 1 year old. he is a mix breed. he is pretty gentle and sweet and never has he attacked or bitten anyone. the only time he ever sort-of lunged at someone was when someone stepped on his tail, even then he just jumped up or when someone hit him, then he would snarl, snap and growl at them. im basically a hermit we dont have many people over rarely any. he used to be pretty good with people coming over. he just used to get overly excited and hyper and thats it. and now when someone comes over he gets angry and part of the reason is my neighbours (they annoy/ try to hit him a lot) that was fine i didnt care but now my friend came over he was ok with him but when his wife enterd he lunged at her legg grabbed in a position that looked like as if he was gooing to hump her but he was barking at her. i quickly grabbed him and scolded him and put him in his cage. before another woman tried to pet him and he lunged at her put i pulled him back.he never bit anyone. but he hates when our door bell rings he barks really loudly and he hates when workers come to replace the water bottles or the gas cylinders. i have no idea what to do and i dont want to abuse my dog into obidience like the friend of my father is suggesting me to do. he is preety gentle when ever i give him food he never snatches it, he alwasy comes grabs it softly and takes it he has never bit any one and im scared because he likes to run awazy from home because he is bored and i dont want him to attack anyone.
Hello Halima, I highly suggest hiring a professional trainer to come to your home right away. Preferably someone who works with several other trainers so that the trainers can switch out who comes and let your dog practice with a new person each time. Do not follow your father's friend's advice. That is probably what caused this issue to begin with with the neighbors!! He is afraid of people and reacting defensively - 'hurt the person before they can hurt you' type of thought process. He does need rules and fair discipline to let him know that he is behaving unacceptably, but that needs to be paired with training to teach him commands so that he knows how he should respond. What he probably needs the most is to re-build his trust of strangers again, which is done with treats and rewards given by strangers - to show him that they are trustworthy. Look for a trainer who is extremely experienced dealing with aggression issues - both fear-aggression and other forms of aggression. Ideally this trainer should use corrections appropriately to help with management but they should also use positive reinforcement to build trust - this is most important for fear-based aggression, which there is a good chance is what's going on because of the neighbors teasing him...The neighbors need to stop teasing him if at all possible or the problem will only get worse, even if it gets better- he could revert back to aggression if the teasing continues. If you have a fenced-in yard and that's where the teasing happens, you may need to only let him out in it while you are there to supervise, or to put up a different type of fence or barrier. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Our dog Baloney is a 2 year old, 35 pound pitbull mix (don't know what he could be mixed with to make him such an itty bitty pitty. Possibly French Bulldog? Your guess is as good as mine). We adopted him 6 months ago. He is a cruelty survivor, being rescued from a dog fighting ring where we suspect he was used as a bait dog based on his small size and his scars. Despite this however, he is so incredibly loving and gentle with me and my boyfriend, and surprisingly enough other dogs as well. But it's meeting new people he is struggling with lately.
When we first brought him home he was great with meeting new people, and having guests come over to the apartment. He would great them the same he would great me and my boyfriend when we come home from work - all tail wags and kisses. We even threw a party with 10 or so people and he was good as gold!
But a few months into having him in our lives, he became less and less tolerant of new people. It feels like he flipped a switch we haven't been able to flip back. He's become territorial, getting very stiff and growling when he either sees people outside the window or people enter our apartment. Even people he's already met before, and previously had great interactions with. Half the time he will growl and lunge at people that surprise him or are too close when walk him, the other half of the time he will ignore them and be fine. Sometimes he'll even let strangers on walks approach him and he'll be friendly! He seems to have good days and not so good days and it's very hard for us to judge how he will react on walks. He seems to do best with meeting new people when he sees that there are other happy and healthy dogs around. He will calmly allow a stranger approach and pet him if they have another dog themselves. He does extremely well at dog parks, pet stores, training classes, my parents house where they have a dog he plays with and even the vet.
But he will consistently growl and get stiff and lunge at anyone who enters the apartment. We try to have people over as little as possible while we are devising the best course of action to correct his behavior.
He also seems to be consistently afraid and reactive of children. Not any time soon, but someday my boyfriend and I would like to start a family. So I would really like to work with him on this while ensuring everyone is safe.
Another really important key piece of information is just a little after he started displaying this change in behavior from when we first adopted him, he was diagnosed with heartworm disease. He contracted it before we adopted him, and we found out after. He is currently undergoing treatment, which requires restricted exercise. Before he was diagnosed, we took him out for 30-45 minute long walks everyday, 15 minute walks in the morning and before bed. Sometimes longer. Before the party I mentioned earlier we took him on a 2 hour hike. Now under vet's orders we haven't been able to take him on longer than 10 minute walks at a time. He also has a cracked tooth that the vet will not remove until his heartworm treatment is complete. I am uncertain if it is bothering him or not, he's a big chewer.
He has never bitten anyone. Only growled and lunged. So far everyone he has been reactive towards have been understanding and moved along but as a pitbull owner I fear the day he growls at the wrong person.
We are working with a professional trainer, having completed a beginners obedience course and are in the middle of an intermediate course. But in short now that I've given you some background story is what I want to ask:
1) People always say the earlier you work with your dog on these aggressive displays, the better chance for success. Obviously we weren't able to work with him as a puppy. But is 2 years old, is it "too late" to reform him?
2) Do you think once we are able to regularly give him longer walks and get him exercising again once his heartworm treatment is complete we will see some improvement in his behavior?
3) Could the cracked tooth also be a factor?
4) When he feels he needs to react, it's very hard to redirect him and get him to relax into his usual calm and happy state. When we tried having a stranger toss treats he won't take them he'll just keep growling and won't relax until we remove him entirely from the situation. What can we, or the stranger do, to better relax him and communicate that the stranger means no harm and can be a good thing?
5) What is the best way to work with his fear of children in particular? This part is so tough since kids tend not to take direction as well and there's so much risk involved. And we don't know any friends are family with young kids we could ask.
Despite his issues, he's a beautiful dog with a lot of potential. When it's just me and my boyfriend, or there are other dogs for him to play with, he's so gentle and loving and playful. He's had a lot stacked against him, between abuse, neglect, and a lot of change as he moved from shelter to shelter to rescue to our lives. He deserves a chance at a long and healthy life but we need to work on these issues before they get worse. We are hopeful we can get him back to the way he was 6 months ago when we first brought him home and he was happy to make new human friends and have guests over. We just need as much help as we can get helping him.
Hello Sally, 1.whether you can completely reform him depends on why he is growling. If it's being caused by a medical problem and he is otherwise very tollerant personality-wise then when he finishes treatment and the tooth is fixed, he may revert back to before and simply have some anxiety that needs to be addressed. If the problem is showing up because of age (sexual and mental maturity can bring things to the surface around 1.5-3 years, you may not be able to completely reform, but there are ways to more safely manage it. 2. Possibly...I suggest asking about side effects of the heartworm medication. Hormonal or mental affects could be a side effect, and that should hopefully imporve after treatment if so. The exercise could make it worse, but that alone wouldn't cause it. The lack of ongoing socialization could bring it out, but if that happened he was likely already prone to the aggression (which wouldn't be a surprise with his background). 3. The tooth could definitely be an issue if it causes a lot of constant pain...the pain could keep his cortisol and adrenaline levels high which adds to stress, anxiety and aggression. Time will tell after treatment is finished and you can address the tooth. 4. Check out Saun O'Shay from the Good Dog Training. He has a YouTube channel also. 5. Check out Saun O'Shay and Jeff Hellman's fear-aggrrssion videos on YouTube. He needs to get used to wearing a basket muzzle and the training needs to take part with a VERY experienced trainer's help. It can take place at your home (something it sounds like you need) but a trainer who has experience with aggression and Knows how to take precautions. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We live in LA and got Gus from Ukraine. When he arrived off the plain he was so happy go lucky and hanging out with us... not a single bite. Once he met some of our friends he started growling. We went to the beach one day and he bit a man... it broke skin. So please help us.
Hello Gina, Without a lot more information I am not able to help because the bite could have been caused by several things and treatment will partially depend on what led to the bite and other things that need to be evaluated by a trainer. I highly suggest finding a trainer who is very experienced with aggression, treats various types of aggression, including fear-aggression but also other types, uses positive reinforcement and fair corrections and structure and boundaries to help you manage his behavior but also get to the root cause of why he bite someone and deal with the underlying cause - such as genetic, fear, dominance, learned response, medical issue, or someone else. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello. I adopted Brad on December 1, 2018. I don’t know his background, he was found in the woods. He lived with a foster for 6 weeks prior to my adopting him. The first 3 weeks were great. He was accepting of everyone he met in public and in our home. After 3 weeks the honeymoon stage was over. He became extremely aggressive when someone came to the house, even those he met before. In watching his behavior and reading up on aggression he appears to be dominate, territorial aggressive. He will stand his ground, lunge, growl, and look guests in the eye. I spoke with a trainer, did the basic manners class, he’s great with that. My nephew recently came over (whom he has met before). Brad was put in his kennel, along with our other dog in her own kennel. My nephew approached the cage, was speaking kindly to the dogs and not looking him in the eye. Brad lost it. Barking, growling, trying to break out of his cage. He eventually settled down but if my nephew moved he would start up again. I worked on our “watch me” with rewards, that started to work, he settled down. I need to know how to correct this behavior, I cannot have this. I don’t have many visitors but I do not want to put ANYONE at risk. I want to be able to have family over, neighbors knock on the door, get deliveries, etc. He is my 4th rescue so I understand that it takes time for them to feel safe and comfortable, that I understand. I just need to correct this aggressive behavior ASAP for everyone’s sake. What advice can you give me?
Hello Jennifer, This sounds like far more than just adjusting. You need to hire someone who specializes in aggression. Many trainers are only experienced with fear-based aggression, or are not experienced with aggression at all. This does not sound like fear-based aggression (at least not just fear-based). You need a trainer who deals with highly aggression, dominant, territorial, and reactive dogs. Who also has experienced with powerful breeds and dogs that are genetically prone toward aggression because this could be an inherited temperament trait not knowing his background or family. Check out Shaun O'Shay from the Good Dog and Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training. I suggest looking for someone with that level of experience, who comes highly recommended from previous clients whose dogs struggled with aggression. I agree that this sounds like a dangerous situation for guests so please be careful. If he does fine with you, getting him used to wearing a muzzle using his food to make the muzzle pleasant very gradually overtime would probably be helpful for training practice to keep those involved safe. You need more than just the information in the article in your case. You need a trainer. An obedience class and typical positive reinforcement training will likely not be enough. You need lots of structure, management, and behavioral rehabilitation. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We recently adopted Ricky from a shelter. We have had him for about 3 weeks now. When one of our close friends,Johnny, comes over Ricky lunges and tries to bite. He only reacts that way to Johnny . I would love to find a way to correct this behavior. He also got snippy when I tried to take a sock away from him. Usually when he behaves these ways we put him in his cage. The shelter that had him trained him on a shock collar (Which they told us we should keep using) . I do think he may have been abused when he was younger, because he also snips if you tap on his butt as a form of discipline. Do you have any pointers?
Hello Valerie, Is there something different about the way Johnny looks or acts than the rest of your family? If Johnny looks different than those Ricky is familiar with, the issue could be a lack of socialization and thus suspicion. Dogs are not prejudice the way people are but they do get used to certain things, and people who look different than what they are used to can cause a dog to get defensive and suspicious. Johnny also might remind Ricky of someone who used to mistreat him if Johnny looks different from the rest of your family in a certain way, carries himself similar to someone Ricky used to know, or does something unusual. If the issue truly is related to just Johnny and not others in your experience, the first thing to do would be to figure out what it is about Johnny that bothers Ricky. For example, when I adopted by Border Collie ten years ago he was suspicious of an Asian male friend and an African American male friend of ours because he grew up in a household with only Caucasian women. In this case, we made the person who seemed strange to him fun by having the person toss him treats when he was calm around them - while the person ignored him, by having my dog spend calm time around that person while the friend ignored the dog (in your case this should be done with a muzzle or leash on for safety), and having the person do something with him that my dog enjoys - like a walk or game of fetch (also with a muzzle in your case. You would ease into this gradually, with you being the one to take the ball from Ricky and hand it to Johnny while Johnny was somewhere safe that he could throw the ball from, or having Johnny walk parallel to you from a distance and gradually decrease the distance as Ricky relaxed, until Johnny was close enough that you could hand the leash off to him while Ricky is calm - while Ricky wears a basket muzzle for Johnny's safety. I suggest hiring a trainer to help you with this. Try to narrow down what about Johnny might bother Ricky and get Ricky used to people with that characteristic, and work on desensitizing him. I also suggest having a trainer who is experienced with aggression help you with his tolerance level and possessiveness also. Not all trainers are experienced with aggression, and even fewer are experienced with different type of aggression, so read reviews or ask for client recommendations, and ask the trainer questions about their experience and success working with aggression. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I got my dog from a woman who did not socialize him with people when he was a puppy. He also had one previous owner before me who gave him back to her and who I am pretty sure abused him. He is extremely anxious all the time. He is the sweetest dog in the world, who loves attention, pets, and cuddles if he knows you. However, he is extremely distrustful of new people. You can tell he wants to be their friend and tries to go up and sniff them and will even lick their fingers, but it's like a switch gets flicked in his brain and he'll just start barking aggressively. You can see the moment he starts to second guess it. He's definitely gotten better the couple of years I've had him. He used to give warning nips, never drawing blood, but had not done so for a while, although the barking still was an issue. Any time he nips, he has instant regret and knows that he did something wrong. Almost like he's embarrassed. Interestingly, when I have big groups of people over at the house he usually has little problem with aggressive behavior and a lot of his anxiety subsides. Because of this, I decided I was going to try to take him to the office to desensitize him to new people further, because he has extreme separation anxiety, and the situation is better for the both of us. I do have him wear a yellow vest that says 'Nervous' on it and let people know to approach him slowly and how the best way to gain his trust is. Since doing so, he is warming up to people faster who come up to him, but he has nipped a couple people seemingly out of no where and does sometimes still have that switch flip where he starts barking aggressively. I know his nips are coming from an expression of him being overwhelmed and not understanding what the person is doing (they're usually just standing too close for his comfort or make too sudden of a move for him) but any advice on how to help him curb his aggressive behavior stemmed from past trauma and anxiety?
Hello Carly, Check out this video by Jeff Gellman, who specializes in aggression. Here he demonstrated safety measures (a back tie), when to have people reward a dog (during calmness and not during aggressive displays), and how to appropriately use punishment when treating aggression (with good timing, calmness, and in combination with positive reinforcement for calm behavior and with the appropriate safety measures for your guests). Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A I suggest watching videos on canine body language online to help you know when he is tense and about to nip and give him direct before he gets to that point. His signs might be very subtle, like staring, stiffness, lifting a foot, ears back, mouth tense, drooling, shaking, eye-contact avoidance, or trying to escape. Knowing what to look for helps you learn how to better adjust your training to give him the feed back he needs, instruct the people greeting him, and help him succeed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My baby boy is so sweet to me and my family, but nips and jumps on strangers and growls and barks at other dogs.
He is very confident and has a big personality, he's never been shy and is very dominant.
I believe that he may be protecting me and the house, he gets very nervous when someone is hugging me or jumping around with me; there was once an incident where he bit my little cousin and it made me absolutely distraught.
I was thinking the "Establish Leadership" method would work so I am going to try that.
Could I use a clicker instead of taping him with my leg or a stick?
Thank you so much!
Hello Gabrielle, It does sound like leadership and respect need to be built. He also needs to be rewarded for being tolerant of the things he is intollerant now. The main purpose of the tap is to break his intensity so that you have an opportunity to then teach him the correct behavior afterward. If you click while he is acting aggressive and you have paired the clicker with a reward you are telling him that his bad behavior is good - after you have broken his focus on people and he is behaving calmly, you can click to let him know that THAT behavior is good. Instead of tapping him to break his focus on others you could use a vibration collar on low and teach him that whenever he feels that vibration he should look at you. The feeling of the vibration is simply something to get his attention. Check out the leadership videos from the trainer on the YouTube channel linked below:. 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 People Aggression protocol video- notice the back tie for safety (your guest should never be put at risk. Only train with the correct safety protocols to keep everyone involved safe. https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We have 4 dogs, 3 are brothers who are 2.5 years old and were left by their mother in our garden at 2 weeks. The 4th arrived a year later, pregnant and is older. The vet has not been able to advis her age.
Assuming 6 or 7
We understand we know have a pack, we live on a remote island in Vanuatu and own a resort. All dogs are amazing with the guests but if locals walk past on our beach they bark and jump. They have been hit by several times by the locals, both from fear and just because they felt like it.
Recently all four attackered a local guy walking past and he had to run into the sea to get them off him. I couldn’t control them. He ended up with several bites, and stitches in his scrotom. In this scenario the victim was nipped on his calf by mamma the older dog, he then reacted and whacked Milo so he flew a few mètres. They all then proceeded to attack him. I think they could have really done more damage if he didn’t run into the water.
Mamma seems to agitate and start this. The others are happy to jump on people and their tails are wagging whilst they bark. She has A very nasty growl and tries to bite peoples calves. She is the smaller of the four.
We then had another incident today, where all three boys were barking and jumping on a local guy and the mamma came in later and started the fight? Where one of the boys, I don’t know which one bit the guy on his abdomin.
We need to fix this behavior ASAP, and really don’t know what to do with 4 dogs at once. Dog trainers are not really available in Vanuatu.
Mamma grew up in the village and possibly did receive some unfair treatment for most of her life, which could explain her behavior yo local people. She is also the least likely to follow any orders.
The others will sit and come inside, go to bed when ordered, but if there is a local person around we can’t control them. This is random, as local people walk past whenever. Our staff are all local, and they are fine with them. And this brings the last item. If we train them and are not here, is it possible for a staff member to be the leader too?
Sorry to go on, it’s really stressing me and I know what the ultimate outcome will be if not fixed. The village will I’ll them
Hello Joel, Your issue is beyond the scope of what I can answer here but what I do suggest is going to Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training 'strangers' YouTube channel and learning as much as you can there. He specializes in aggression and literally has hundreds of videos related to it. For now, I highly suggest confining momma dog. All dogs need to be trained but it sounds like she is the most dangerous one. Muzzles are also in order for now. Soft silicone basket muzzles are some of the most comfortable ones you can use. https://youtu.be/y2DqELwfuew Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My fathers dog is 2 years old and can be very sweet to familiar faces, but he can be very aggressive when vacuuming, when company comes, and if you tell him no or pay no attention to him when he's hyped up and playing rough. He has to be placed behind a fence for company and vacuuming in fear of someone getting hurt. I've been bit many times by moving the gate to answer the door or to vacuum an area. He does jump, bark, growl, and bear teeth. But shows absolutley no fear in correcting him or being the Alfa. It actually makes it worse. If you get to close to the gate when he's excited over the two mentioned he will bite down and attempt to pull you over the gate. I've had skin broken twice on my hands and arm. I dont know how to address the problems anymore. Treats and discipline dont work well. He will sit and listen to me (much more than others and my fathers older and can't do much of the training) when he wants to but is all his own. He has no empathy or fear. How do I help him so he doesn't hurt someone else besides me and end up euthanized?
Hello Sara, You need to hire a professional trainer who specializes in aggression and reactivity to help you. It sounds like he lacks impulse control in addition to some fear and dominance issues. Your question is beyond the scope of what I can answer here. I would need to evaluate him and work with you in person to help. Look for a trainer who will come to your home but who also has a staff of trainers so that multiple people can help desensitize him with new people. He also needs to get used to wearing a basket muzzle because that will be needed during the training. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Sampson is showing agression towards any visitors we have except my parents and my mother in law. I have nieces and nephews who come to visit and he snaps at them. My step son's mom comes over and he tries to bite her. When we have visitors we have to put him in outside kennel because we are scared he might attack. He is also very jealous when my husband tries to kiss me. He tries to get in between us and he show us love. How do I keep him from being so aggressive to our visitors and strangers
Hello Denise, You need to hire a professional who specializes in aggression and comes well recommended by previous clients to help you. This is a potentially dangerous situation. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training. He has a lot of videos talking about aggression. Because the aggression is toward children this is not something I recommend attempting to do on your own. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Blu is the biggest baby once you get to know him, however he is super protective and has a bitting history. Blu has bit 3 people. The first incident was when I was on a walk with blu and was picking up his pooh while someone came behind me and tried to pet blu, blu bit him. The bite did not draw blood however there was a puncture wound. The second incident was when a little girl asked to pet him and I told her to give me a second so I can put his muzzle on, however she came beside me and while I was trying to grab the muzzle she stuck her hand out and blu bit her. My hand was in front his face as well so I got bit along with her. He was growling and kept our hands in his mouth for about 15 seconds. My hand had puncture wounds and very little blood. Her hand had puncture wounds and it drew blood however the blood looked like it was from a previous scab that she had where the bite was so we could not tell. The third incident was when my mom opened the door for a friend and blu ran out and jumped up on her (the friend). She was caught off guard and swung her hands around and his tooth scrapped her finger. There were no puncture wounds but because she bites her nails really low and that’s where the tooth scrapped her, she was bleeding. Even while I am walking him, sometimes when we pass people he will try to run at them. Sometimes he will be growling and sometimes he will be wagging his tail. I never let him get close to strangers to know if he will actually bite them or if he’s running to just smell them. I also find that he gets aggressive with big dogs, even though he himself is a big dog. I also have a chihuahua so blu is really good with small dogs. I am really struggling to understand why he is doing this and how to correct his behaviour. Can you please help?
Hello Neshi, Three bites is serious as I am sure you know. You need to hire a professional who specializes in aggression and he should not leave your home without a muzzle. Thankfully he has shown a certain level of control with the pressure of his bites. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training and Sean O'Shea. Hire a trainer who specializes in aggression to help you and utilize safety measures like a muzzle and strong back ties for safety while training. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi, I just got Jax 2 months ago and he is always barking at strangers. At times he try’s to bit them. How can I get him to stop, so our walks can be more enjoyable.
Hello Erica, First, I suggest having willing friends and family members toss him treats whenever he is being calm and tolerant (not while he is in the middle of barking or lunging). Check out this video by Jeff Gellman, who specializes in aggression. Here he demonstrated safety measures (a back tie), when to have people reward a dog (during calmness and not during aggressive displays), and how to appropriately use punishment when treating aggression (with good timing, calmness, and in combination with positive reinforcement for calm behavior and with the appropriate safety measures for your guests). You can also use a remote e-collar on vibration to interrupt his aggressive behavior, then reward him when he responds appropriately. Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A It sounds like he would also benefit from a lot of structure and boundaries in general to build respect for you and his overall confidence and trust. Implement obedience commands into his daily routine. For example, have him sit before you feed him, lay down before you pet him, or "Watch Me" before you take him on a walk. Avoid encouraging any pushy behavior from him. Teach him a Place command and work on him staying on place for up to an hour, even when you walk into the other room for a minute. Practice crate manners. Work on teaching a structured Heel and have him walk with his face behind your leg and not in front - being in the following mode sets the tone for how hr will react to people when you pass them. Forget about getting places during a walk for a while right now, instead go somewhere open, like your front yard, a park, or culdesac and practice a heel where his nose does not go past your leg. If you feel unsure how to implement the above training, O suggest hiring a trainer to help you. Look for someone who is very experienced with aggression and different types of aggression - many trainers are only experienced with fear-based aggression and there could be something additional going on too. 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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whenever a stranger or someone he doesnt see often enters the house he barks and jumps acting extremely aggressive. he has been aggressive towards a woman today and i realise that this is a problem that shouldve been dealt with sooner. we cant take him for walks because he pulls and recreates badly when strangers are too close.
Hello Elma, Check out this video by Jeff Gellman, who specializes in aggression. Here he demonstrated safety measures (a back tie), when to have people reward a dog (during calmness and not during aggressive displays), and how to appropriately use punishment when treating aggression (with good timing, calmness, and in combination with positive reinforcement for calm behavior and with the appropriate safety measures for your guests). You can also use a remote e-collar on vibration to interrupt his aggressive behavior, then reward him when he responds appropriately. Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A It sounds like he would also benefit from a lot of structure and boundaries in general to build respect for you and his overall confidence and trust. Implement obedience commands into his daily routine. For example, have him sit before you feed him, lay down before you pet him, or "Watch Me" before you take him on a walk. Avoid encouraging any pushy behavior from him. Teach him a Place command and work on him staying on place for up to an hour, even when you walk into the other room for a minute. Practice crate manners. Work on teaching a structured Heel and have him walk with his face behind your leg and not in front - being in the following mode sets the tone for how he will react to people when you pass them. Forget about getting places during a walk for a while right now, instead go somewhere open, like your front yard, a park, or culdesac and practice a heel where his nose does not go past your leg. I also strongly suggest hiring a trainer to help you. Look for someone who is very experienced with aggression and different types of aggression - many trainers are only experienced with fear-based aggression and there could be something additional going on too. 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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We adopted Mia, a Beauceron/Rottweiler mix, from a rescue almost 2 years ago. She barks loudly when someone approaches the door but greets most people who enter the home warmly.
However, there are a few people to whom she shows aggressive behavior - barking, getting very close to them, following them, her fur standing up. Some of these are children and that concerns us, of course.
We have 3 children of our own and she is great with them. We are trying to understand why she acts this way but only to certain people.
Hello Patrick, Kids often move weird, are unpredictable and do not know how to give calming signals to a dog (like when a dog approaches, most adults naturally avoid direct eye contact, get stiller, and display more submissive body language to help a dog relax - kids tend to tense up, get more excited and react more fearfully or confrontationally). Dogs that were not well socialized while young or have more nervous temperaments pick up on this seemingly strange body language (which some adults also display) and feel suspicious and then aggressive. It could also be due to a dominance/confrontation issue. If your dog perceives that someone is nervous, timid, or generally less worthy of respect (like kids), if he has issues with leadership and is insecure he may feel the need to bully this person. A trainer who is very experienced with a variety of types of aggression should be able to evaluate based on his body language which one it likely is. Either way I suggest hiring a trainer to help you address the issue, and preferably one with a staff that can practice interactions with different people and kid volunteers (like your friends or the trainer's kids who you can practice counter conditioning him around them while there are safety precautions like a back tie. Any practice and interactions around kids needs to include careful safety measures to prevent the dog from being able to get all the way to the kid or bite the child. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi, I have a one year old Border Collie Blue Heeler mix, he is on year old. I have socialized him when he was a puupy, exposing him to children, and adults as well as other dogs. We recently had to move to a place that didn't allow dogs. He is currently staying with my in laws, and his brother dog. Due to this I haven't been able to provide the proper training for him and figured I would get back on his training when we got him back in a year. I have 3 small children who he loves. It is hard for me to go over there and do any work with him at this time. I do go occasionally go over there and walk him, and do some basic training that he already knows just to refresh him. I was recently at the park, when a he started lunging and acting agressivly at people. He has never done this before so it took me off guard. Any advice? I don't want to re home him. He is a really good dog.
Hello Kailya, I suggest finding a trainer who is experienced with leash reactivity, aggression, and fear to come to your parents home once a week and take him on field trips to places to be socialized and counter conditioned (where you help a dog connect positive emotions to things they currently do not like). This is someone you could do potentially but with kiddos and traveling having a trainer come to their home and essentially pick him up and do it for you would likely accomplish just as much or more. I suspect he could be going through a fear period and needs ongoing socialization, as well as some structure, and to have "strangers" reward him for being calm. These strangers could be other trainers from a training facility who stage encountering him on the street while your trainer is walking him. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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She is starting to get aggressive towards some guests that come into my home. She is not this way to all guests just some (one child in particular). The child has purposely kicked and hurt Mimi many times when she was younger so that might be a factor. Now she fearful of most hyper children, mainly ones that tend to jump and stomp a lot. As for adults, she tends to be the most aggressive towards a select group, but it's hard to tell the similarity between them. The aggression tends to only show at home. When we are out she tends to 'shut down' and either hide behind me or demand to be carried. She behaves very well at the vet, groomers, and when she is in her kangaroo. The main issue is at home so I am not sure how to start to help her not stress when guests arrive.
Note: I have two other dogs, a German shepherd and a Pom. German Shepherd is dog reactive outside the home (she was attacked twice when she was younger and we are currently working on that), the pom is fine. All three bark when a guest arrives but while the two calm after a certain point Mimi is starting to show signs of growing aggression.
Do you have any advice on how I should proceed in helping her? Thank you
Hello Victoria, It sounds like she has fear-aggression. The child that she dislikes' kicking her very likely is related to why she dislikes that child and other fast-moving children. In general, she needs to learn to trust people again. Check out the videos linked below. You may need to work with a training facility to accomplish the training so that you have enough volunteers who will follow the training protocol and help you. If so, I suggest finding a training facility who is very experienced with fear-aggression and receives excellent reviews and will send different trainers each training session once the dog warms up to the current trainer, so that she can practice the training with a variety of "Strangers", aka the trainers she does not know are trainers. Aggression in general: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Aggression and kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n0_27XY3z4 When training be sure to use a crate or back tie so that she cannot reach a child and bite them. The first video I have linked above shows a dog on a back tie and a tape line that the person practicing should not go past to stay out of the dog's reach if he does lunge. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Ozzy is a ball of energy but at times when we go for walks or drives or even when I take him to the dog park he acts with aggression towards people he loves other dogs but with certain people he growls, barks and lunges to bite he has done it to my neighbor, my dad and to men on the street usually it's to tall men with a heavier build but one time he lunged at a female in the dog park who had run in front of him flailing her arms he broke skin with her and with other people after that occasion he only lunges one time and then retreats back I got him at around 6 months and he was a very sketchy dog who was not used to many things. He is very friendly with kids and other dogs he has never growled at a child before but for some reason certain men cause him to act with aggression and I can never predict when it's always randomly. Is there a way I could possibly fix this? I would really like to go out and not have to worry about him lunging at anyone please help.
Hello Angelica, First of all, he absolutely should NOT be allowed off leash anymore while this is still an issue, and certainly not at a dog park around so many other people. He could be euthanized for biting and breaking the skin and aggressive dogs do not belong at the dog park. With his breed, he likely has a strong need to control and part of his behavior may be related to a strong herding drive, where he feels the need to control behavior with his mouth (Heelers will bite a cow that is not cooperating to gain control. On top of a strong desire to control, like you mentioned, he also probably has a lack of socialization, where he doesn't recognize what is normal and not normal and is overly reactive toward situations other dogs view as normal. He needs to be socialized around the types of people he is most worried about to build his confidence around those types of people and learn to recognize what is normal behavior. It is not enough to simply experience those people at this point though, he also needs to learn to associate those types of people with good things. This should be done with him on a back tie, counter conditioning him to those types of people by pairing the presence of someone he is unsure about with rewards for being calm and tolerant, and exposing him to odd behavior and rewarding him for staying calm around it. One example of this is getting him used to people waving their arms and being loud and associating people who do that with fun and rewarding things like treats by rewarding him when he is tolerant of that type of behavior. He should only be rewarded while calm, not while upset or you can actually increase the aggression because he will think he is being rewarded for the aggressive outburst if the treat comes during an outburst. This type of behavior should be practiced while he is on a back tie so that he cannot reach a person to bite if he were to lunge. He also needs to be corrected for outbursts, ideally without physically having to touch him so that you minimize the risk of him redirecting his aggression toward you, if you were close by. Check out the video linked below for an example of how and when to correct remotely, how to reward for tolerance, and how to take safety measures while practicing this. Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A If you do not have a lot of friends or family members who are the types of people that make him nervous and could practice the training carefully, I suggest working with a training facility that has a large training staff (including multiple tall and large men, and women who could act flustered). Have the trainers work with you and rotate who is working with you and him (teaching you how to handle the behavior also) so that when he gets used to one person, a new person can start training with him as another "Stranger" to get used to. He needs to be exposed to a large number of people doing these types of exercises for him to generalize what he is learning to being around other people too. Also, he would likely benefit from having his trust and respect for you build so that he will defer to your judgement about a situation or person, instead of taking control himself as often. Check out the videos linked below for some exercises that can help by adding structure and improving his impulse control. I highly suggest working with a training group for the aggression. 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 Never work with aggression without taking precautions to keep everyone safe. Great trainers take precautions because they understand the potential risks and have given forethought to the situation to avoid bites. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Skylar is an extremely kind dog, but still manages to jump and attack other people. I have a shared yard, and other dogs are usually outside. She immediately runs to them and I'm terrified of her biting them. Skylar also is a really fast runner, so i can barely spot any other dogs. Plus, when she gets on the leash, she doesn't go to the bathroom for me. Please help me-
Hello Rachel, First, focus on getting her used to the leash. I highly suggest crate training her. Crate her anytime that her bladder is not empty from peeing outside during the previous 2 hours. Take her potty every four hours, crating her after the first two hours, or the whole time if you are gone (it can be longer if you work, but no longer than 7-8 hours without a potty break). After it has been four hours since she last peed, take her potty on the leash. When you take her, tell her to "Go Potty". If she does not go potty after ten minutes of slowly walking her around and helping her stay focused on pottying, then take her back inside, put her back in the crate, then try again in an hour (or in two hours if it's only been four hours since she last peed and you have to leave). Repeat crating her and taking her potty until she goes potty when you take her on the leash. When she does finally go potty, praise her and offer her three to four small treats in a row (as long as other dogs aren't nearby begging too). Practice all of this until she will quickly go potty when you tell her to "Go Potty". You may also need to get her used to wearing a basket muzzle while she is still aggressive if you cannot avoid people and other dogs getting close. Once you have some control through the leash or safety through the muzzle, then you can focus on training. Check out Sean O'Shea from the Good Dog on YouTube, and Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training on Youtube. I highly suggest hiring a trainer to help you work through the dog and people aggression. Aggression generally requires hands on assistance and careful management in person. Choose a trainer who is very experienced with aggression and make sure that the trainer understands the level of aggression before the first training session so that they can take steps to avoid being bitten. I suggest getting her used to wearing the basket muzzle ahead of time to make starting training more productive and easier for everyone. You can introduce the muzzle using her meal kibble. First, spread her meal kibble around the soft silicone basket muzzle (use a basket muzzle so that she can open her mouth to receive treats through the muzzle). Next, when she is comfortable with the muzzle on the floor, hold the muzzle and giver her a kibble treat whenever she touches or sniffs the muzzle. Next, hold the treat through the muzzle's holes so that she has to reach into the muzzle a bit to get the treat. Gradually move the treat further into the muzzle as she gains confidence, so that she has to put her whole face into the muzzle finally. Next, feed her several treats in a row while she continues to hold her face in the muzzle. When she can keep her face in the muzzle for twenty seconds, move the muzzle's buckles together, then give a treat. Next, buckle and unbuckle the muzzle while her face is in it, then give a treat. As she improves, gradually leave the muzzle buckled for longer as you feed treats every couple of seconds. Next, space out your treats and increase how long she wears the muzzle for until she can calmly wear the muzzle for at least an hour without receiving treats very often. For all of the training, practice each step until she is comfortable with that level of contact with the muzzle, before you move onto the next step. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog is very sweet and well behaved however, when there are strangers around it is a different story. He is very overprotective of Me and growls at people when they approach me. I don't know how to properly correct him. It doesn't escolate to anything but him growling louder and louder. Another bad behaviour he has is when he is with dogs he knows and has been around for along time, my sisters dogs he acts up. When he is with dogs he gets really upset and worked up. He growls,barks,lunges,at people and is a totally different dog. He has bitten people when he is with other dogs. I can not have him bitting people. I don't know what to do. He has drawn blood when he nipped. It's only when he is with their other dogs. The dogs aren't mine and I can't really train them. They are bad. Any recommendations to help?
Hello Hanna, Dogs do have a pack mentality. When one dog acts aggressive, other dogs will tend to join in. Additional dogs can also give an insecure aggressive dog enough courage to bite. Honestly, I suggest not letting him spend time with those dogs if at all possible if they are also aggressive. If they are not aggressive but simply being with them gives him courage, that is less of an issue as far as him being around them (their presence won't undo your training efforts as much). He could still be in the same household as them but I suggest he stay in a crate instead of roaming free with them when your sister visits (unless she trains them). You could go on a walk with them but put more space between you and them and work on him focusing on you the whole time instead of following the other dogs' lead (only do walks if Oscar is less reactive after training). For the aggression it is going to be difficult to work on it on your own. I highly suggest hiring a trainer who is part of a training facility where there are multiple trainers on staff who could all practice the aggression process training with your dog, so that he would get to practice around lots of different "strangers" - ie different trainers he doesn't know. Check out the aggression video linked below: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Also, it's important to build his respect and trust in you so that the aggression is easier to manage, he is less possessive of you (many protective dogs actually being possessive of their owners), and he feels like he can trust your judgement to handle situations so that he does not have to handle them. Here are some commands that can help build respect: 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 Working method and Consistency method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Sebastian is almost three years old. I believe hes a pit, red heeler and boxer mix, we used to live out in the open areas with no neighbors but have recently bought a house in town corner lot with a walking path next to us. Sebastian unrelentingly barks and runs too the point his is foaming out the mouth, also I have him on a cord because I feel he will jump the fence one day. He also gets outrageously aggressive with my neighbor. He ripped the anchor that was in the ground and ended up jumping on my neighbor's back. He has also snapped at one girl hugging him before, as well as my mother in law. He's a sweet heart with me and only me. We tried a training collar because he is unaprocahable when he is like this even for me. And he has begun to ignore is collar and continue his ways, I thought he was getting better about a week ago and we've been using this for a month. How can I help him with strangers... if he bites someone I can't help him in my town.
Hello Crystal, You absolutely need to hire a professional trainer who is extremely experienced with aggression to help you. I would even suggest reaching out to someone who specializes in aggression like Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training. You need someone who sees and works with a lot of aggressive dogs, and is completely aware of the situation and his history before they meet him (so they can take the right precautions to avoid being bitten also). Also, the first step would be to get him used to wearing a basket muzzle. Based on your description with you neighbor, he should not leave your home (should not even enter your own yard) without wearing the muzzle. Use a basket muzzle because dogs can still open their mouths while a basket muzzle is on because of the shape, so he should be able to learn to drink with it on, and can even be rewarded with treats while wearing it (when not in an aggressive state). 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. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog was a super sweet pup when I got him, but after the first couple weeks my neighbor came over and yelled at me because he stepped in dog poop. Then awhile later my pup had grabbed a juice carton from the neighbors recycling and the neighbor came over and cornered my dog on my own property to get the carton back. Since he was cornered he nipped the neighbor (didn't break skin or anything) and ran to find me and was shaking. A couple months later the neighbor was approaching me from his driveway and my dog ran over and grabbed his hand and attempted to drag him away from me but the guy started screaming that he was going to shoot my dog and other stuff and he was also attempting to kick my dog. Ever since then I can't take him anywhere because he gets very anxious and lashes out if anyone tries to come close to him. He is a great dog, I am just trying to do something so he isn't so unpredictable with strangers.
Hello Alyssa, First, I suggest ensuring that he no longer is able to get onto your neighbors property or ever encounter your neighbor up-close again. You may have already put up a fence or taken measures, but that is the first step if you have not. If he ever spends time off leash, even in your front yard, stop doing that right now, especially while that neighbor still lives there. Second, he is likely fear-aggressive after the incidences. He needs to work with a professional to be counter conditioned to people to rebuild his trust and see that most people are alright. Counter conditioning is where you pair the presence of something a dog dislikes with something they like in a way that helps the dog gradually learn to feel good about the thing they are afraid of. This needs to be done carefully at first to avoid bites. Check out the videos linked below for examples of counter conditioning aggressive dogs with different types of people. Adult: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n0_27XY3z4 Kids with a less dangerous dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIJoEJfTS-E I also suggest working on his obedience also. You need to have a high level Come, Stay and Heel. Practicing certain types of obedience can also build trust and respect. Insecure and aggressive dogs tend to benefit from structure and boundaries. When they feel their owners are worth their respect and trust and believe that their owners will protect them and handle situations, and they it is not their job to do so, it becomes easier for an aggressive or nervous dog to take direction and relax again. I also recommend working with a training group that has a number of different trainers, who can all act as 'strangers' and work on the training protocols with him, so that he doesn't simply get used to one person and do fine, but still act aggressively toward people in general. This training can take place at a training facility but part of it also needs to happen at other public locations, your neighborhood, and in your home to help Enzo generalize the training. Be sure that the trainers are aware of his bite history so that they can take precautions to avoid being bitten. They may want you to get him used to wearing a basket muzzle ahead of time. Notice that in the videos linked above that the dogs are generally on a back tie to keep them from being able to get all the way to the person rewarding them while they are calm - in case they were to lung suddenly, or they are in a crate until calm enough to be let out. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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This is Godiva, a little background on her; i rescued her from a bad breeder who was threatening to send her and another puppy to a kill shelter, so i offered up to take her and her sister( i was able to get her sister a good home as well). Since we brought her home she was always very skittish, frightful to the point where she won’t let anyone touch/ pet her other then me. Godiva recently has started to lash out at people walking by, our neighbors or workers in our home, as well as my nephews when they run around outside. She doesn’t bit them hard it’s more of a nibble but still a bit. She also barks at them none stop and won’t listen when giving commands like (stop, and come), we’ve gotten complaints from neighbors and are trying everything we can for this behavior.
Hello Mely, Check out the article linked below on shy dogs. You will need to modify the training so that she is not able to bite someone (usually using a back tie). Focus on the section of shy dogs and humans. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ Check out the videos linked below on socializing an aggressive and fearful dog with kids and adults. Notice the back tie and tape line that keeps the kids and adults from getting within bite reach while practicing this. If your family is willing, have your nephews practice the treat protocol calmly while Godiva is on a back tie leash and the boys are behind a line safely. Kids and dogs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIJoEJfTS-E&t=361s Kids and dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n0_27XY3z4&t=215s Adult and dog: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A I also suggest working with a professional trainer to help her overcome her lack of socialization in general. Check out the video linked below for how to desensitize her to noises (I suggest the barking is because she is hearing other people and seeing things out windows, so she barks because she was never socialized and is suspicious): Barking at noises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp_l9C1yT1g&t=13s Barking at specific things: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA&t=16s Teach the Quiet command by following the Quiet method - Use quiet when you are home to enforce it: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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When we are out at parks or the pet store he is fine around stangers. Even when someone comes in our house he might bark but he doesn’t really bite. For some reason he hates our neighbor. He always tries to run out and attack her. He’s bit her once before. What do you think the reason for this behavior is?
Hello Katy, It could be a number of things. It might be because she is always coming into his territory uninvited in his mind, because something happened between them that he viewed as bad (before he was aggressive toward her if there was an aggression free period), because she moves differently, wears unusual clothes, carries a cane or does something else that is different than other people and he thinks is suspicious. I highly suggest hiring a trainer to help you either way. If he has ever gotten out of your fence, then I suggest burying an electric fence one foot inside your current physical fence to prevent him from even approaching the wooden fence to attempt to get out. Also, absolutely do not use an electric fence by itself (without a wooden fence in addition to it). Dogs with a bite history should never use electric fences by themselves because they can go through them when highly aroused. If you have an electric fence, that could also be related to the aggression because he may have associated the shocks with her when trying to go over to her if he didn't understand the fence boundary beforehand - and it happened right as he was learned about the fence barrier. The biggest difference between her and guest is that guest are clearly invited to come into your home when you let them in (they don't just walk in without you there). Since she is near what he views as his property and you haven't invited her to come over (since it's her land so why would you), he may think she is an intruder and you are dealing with possessiveness and territorial behavior. A trainer would need to evaluate the situation and a lot more questions though to have a better idea. I can only guess based on what I currently know. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hope you can provide some guidance! It would be much appreciated.
My boyfriend has a dog named Shelby who is Shar-pei x Staffi mix. I've moved into his house 8 months ago, but I've met Shelby since she was a puppy. Unfortunately, my bf had spoiled her a lot (food and treats are always accessible, sleeping on the bed, when she asks for pets she gets pets etc), and she has become quite possessive of all her belongings. She was socialised as a puppy, and is now aggressive to dogs that are smaller in size. She is extremely attached to my bf (not obedient, just attached), and has never shown any aggression to him. She is also generally okay with his friends and LOVES to be pet.
However she had bitten two of his siblings - one of whom needed stitches, and had bit me 4 times total (2 that left puncture marks and drew blood) - twice when I moved her bed and food bowl when we were renovating our bedroom, once when I pet her and one other time when I was simply a metre away from her (not doing anything to her or touched her "possessions"). Generally, she avoids me directly after biting me, however the next day, she tends to make more effort in getting my attention and pets.
What confuses me most is where she sees me on a power level. Though she bites me, she will sometimes be very submissive. For example, my bf's family had a mini golf ball lying around the house and Shelby picked it up. Worried that she would swallow and choke on it, I approached her calmly however she immediately growled at me. I was angry because at this point (she had bit me twice before), and sternly said "hey." I went to the bathroom to wash my hands and she followed me inside (she rarely enters the bathroom of her own will) with the golf ball still in her mouth and dropped it in front of me, looked at me then looked down, and looked very submissive. My bf had never seen her like that before.
The root of her aggression seems to be caused by my bf's lack of training and his leniency. I personally don't want her in the house due to safety reasons, however I don't want to compromise our relationship. Though he promised to bring her to behaviour training classes, I am concerned about it's effectiveness. Further, if he doesn't even bother to bring her to those classes, what would you suggest ?
Apologies for the long-winded explanation!
Thank you so much.
Hello Sally, It is absolutely not alright for you to be at risk from her. This is a serious issue due to the number of bites and the fact that she has drawn blood. He has to take this serious. You cannot convince him of that likely, but you may want to show him my response here. He needs to hire a trainer who is extremely experienced with aggression, preferably who will come to your home. A routine obedience class is not the only thing she needs because those classes teach commands like sit but do not address aggression (obedience is also important though). If she bite anyone else like she did you, drawing blood with multiple punctures, she would take been taken away and likely euthenized and he could have been sued. For his own sake and hers (and especially yours) he cannot afford to ignore the issue. She does need structure. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training. He has a free YouTube channel, and so does another trainer, Sean O'Shea. Since she is his dog, he needs to take responsibility for the issue and work with her and hire help. It can feel overwhelming and shameful when your dog has behavior issues. He is certainly not alone in this though, many people deal with the same issues, and there might be things going on that are really not his fault, but since she is his dog, he is responsible for what happens next and likely dynamics in their relationship do need to change to give her more structure. Many dogs are actually happier, less anxious, and have more freedom when there are more rules and consistency though, so that's not something he should feel bad about implementing - it may save her life, make her happier in the long run, and certainly help relationships. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Alli is a very shy, timid girl. When I first got her, she was terrified of all people, but loves dogs. I began socialization as early as possible and very slowly introducing her into environments with people. She is frequently off leash and up until recently obeyed commands perfectly. Within the last couple weeks, she has completely started ignoring my commands (leave it, sit, stay, etc.) when people are walking by, especially near our home. She has started charging at them running full speed and barking until she gets close enough, then she will stop and sometimes will jump/lunge at the person and not bite but she will almost body slam into them. This has thankfully only happened a couple times and now she is on leash full time. Any advice or recommendations as to how I could ditch this behavior? I understand dogs need to be leashed in many situations but this behavior is brand new and just started recently. Please help us! :)
Hello Lisa, I suggest consulting a professional trainer who is part of a group of trainers who can practice coming to your home and pretending to be "Strangers" to deal with this behavior in real time. It sounds like the behavior might be territorial or possessive. Either way, check out Jeff Gellman and Sean O'shea on YouTube. I suggest working on some of the following commands to help rebuild her trust and respect for you so that she will depend on you more in those types of situations, for you to handle encounters with other instead of her taking charge. 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 The following method might be a good thing for her to practice, but that will depend on why she is behaving the way she is - I suggest having a trainer who is very experienced with aggression and driven dogs evaluate her and the aggression to get a better idea of her overall body language and attitude to determine what's going on. If the behavior is only happening in those two situations - walks and yard, then you may need a different protocol, because the one below is for general people related aggression, opposed to territorial behavior. https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog Edie is a rescue dog and had a tough start to life. I've worked with her for two long hard years and managed to get over human fear, lead aggression and a multitude of other bad behaviours. In that time she has also become a therapy dog at a local hospital (loves people) and a trick dog. I was finally starting to relax and feel like my hard work was paying off until yesterday. For a few months she has been showing aggressive tendencies to postman that come in our yard (doesn't hurt them just barks and barks). We have a foster puppy with us at the moment and yesterday someone came in our yard to talk to us about something and she flew at him and almost bit him despite by Mum telling her to stay etc. which she normally listens to. I'm really upset and feel so despondent as I finally though we were getting somewhere. Help!
Hello Sophie, Fear and aggression can be a long, hard road. I am so sorry this is happening, but it sounds like you have made huge strides since you adopted her. When the postman comes to your door or mailbox with packages, what probably happens is that she feels kind of suspicious about someone unknown coming up to your home, and instead of her being worked with to calm her back down, and then get to greet the person in a positive way and see that they are okay... she barks and growls and maybe even lunges at the window. Since it's the postman she may not always be corrected for this behavior and she never gets to meet the person in a positive way. In her mind she probably thinks she defended her home and made the suspicious person leave, since they leave right after she displays this behavior (because postman always leave after dropping off their deliveries). Her bad behavior has essentially been reinforced and probably growing overtime and she has been learning that aggression is an effective way to keep strangers away from her home. When your neighbor came over yesterday she was probably hyper sensitive to someone coming over in general, already aroused and tense, and when she gave more subtle warning signals - unlike the postman, this person did not stop and leave, so she escalated her attack to get rid of the person. A couple of things may need to happen here. First, when you are not home she needs to stay in a room or crate where she is not experiencing people coming near your home and having the opportunity to practice her aggression without you there to manage it. This crate or room needs to be away from windows and doors that look outside, especially the front windows. Second, I suggest hiring a training group that is very experienced with aggression, to come to your home and practice being "postmen". Her attempts at aggression should be interrupted from a safe distance (an aggressive dog can redirect their aggression onto you if you are too close when they are in an aroused state). A vibration or stimulation collar on low-medium level (called a working level) can be used for this but only use this tool under the close supervision of a qualified trainer who is very familiar with remote collar training and can find the correct level for her (it needs to be tailored to her level of sensitivity). The point of this collar is to interrupt her state of arousal before she gets too highly aroused to be able to learn. Pain it with a verbal correction like "Ah Ah" or "No" so that she will make the connection that the sensation was a correction and not just random. Once her arousal is interrupted, use obedience commands to give her something else to do, like Quiet, Down, Watch Me, or looking at the person then back to you as a game. When she is not behaving aggressively and is focused on obeying you instead you can reward her and praise her. Whenever she relaxes a bit more than before reward that calm mental state too. Do all of this calmly - you don't want to feed into over arousal in any form - even too much excitement. Keep your voice soft and calm while you praise. Practice with the person outside at various distances. As she improves, have the person come closer while you continue the training. Keep the distance close enough that it is a bit hard for her but far enough away that she is still able to calm back down and focus on you while being given direction. Eventually, you want her to meet the person in a positive way. This needs to be done carefully since this is on her territory in her mind and not on neutral ground like therapy work places. Use a back tie leash to control how close she is to the person. Check out the video linked below for a demonstration of this: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A You want her to experience enough different people overtime doing the training protocol with her that she looks forward to people coming onto your property and can go back to being more relaxed again. I suggest permanently keeping her away from the windows looking outside while you are not home though - so that she does not have a chance to practice aggression in the future with her tendency to feel nervous about people approaching your home. A good trainer should also be able to evaluate if there are other things going on and tailor the training depending on her body language and how she is responding to things. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We got zoey from a rescue back in January and she’s perfectly fine with my mom and I but anyone else, she acts so afraid of. We live with my elderly grandparents and she doesn’t let them touch her, she won’t go outside for them, and she won’t eat when my mom or I aren’t home. She’s fine with people when they don’t pay attention to her but once you start paying attention to her and try to pet her , she shows signs of aggression. For example, we took her to the vet a couple of weeks ago, another smaller dog went up to her and she started growling and showing teeth. Thankfully, she was on a leash and so was the other dogso we were able to pull her away. And then today, my cousin came over and brought over his one year old daughter and Zoey was fine until they started coming over to her, she barked and she lunged at them so we brought her in a separate room to calm her down. When I take her to parks or take her on walks, she kinda cowards away from other people and dogs. We’ve tried having a trainer, we’ve tried 2 different ones actually, and we even tried putting her on Prozac which was a recommendedation from our vet. We had her on it for about a month and a half. We have no idea what to do because we don’t want to give up on her and send her back. We really want to work with her but nothing is working.
Hello Brianna, Check out the video linked below. I am sorry you have been having such a hard time. Zoey may be a dog that needs a very comprehensive approach, meaning obedience, structure, confidence building, behavior modification all combined so that her daily life looks completely different than what she was used to. https://youtu.be/bT0lyPdZ6mk The trainer from the video linked specializes in aggressive and reactive dogs. He does paid Skype consultations, has a lot of free videos and resources, and does board and training in Rhode Island. You may need someone with that level of experience to help you through this process with Zoey. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog gets a little aggressive when people come in the house and tried to bite my great aunt and when my brother came home he was getting aggressive. We got him yesterday but we been meet him before. After he sniffs you he stops and walks to one of the family members of the house cause he's scared but I don't want him to be scared even for the people he does know that live in the house what should I do? ( my mom, me, my brother and my Grandma all live in the house)
Hello Alana, I suggest hiring a professional private trainer to help you. Since you recently adopted him he may habe a history of fear or aggression that is more in depth. You need someone who can evaluate his temperament and exactly what is going on and help you change his emotional response toward people from one of fear to something pleasant. This is typically done through a combination of rewards for being friendly and calm, obedience that creates a lot of structure for him in your and builds trust and respect through training, walks where he has to focus and heel during the walk and follow someone, and things that build confidence like agility equipment and some forms of trick training. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello there, so my question is how do I start training my puppy to not be aggressive toward strangers. Especially when ones come to the house or even in public. I believe it is fearful aggression, since she never actually lunges and actually tries to hide behind me or under the table or when on walks she kinda cowers but she does bark and growl which is not really welcoming. She is young so I’m hoping to nip this in the butt now. My oldest daughter is autistic and she has 5 therapist that come and go all the time and after meeting them and getting her barks out she calms down in about 5 min. I pretty much tell anybody who comes to the house to ignore her and usually she just sniffs them out and is fine. But I don’t want her to keep doing this every time and as big as she already is she is very intimidating and sounds mean but I know she’s not. Will this top as she gets older. Is it cause she just a puppy still.
Hello Tailor, Unfortunately, this will not stop on it's own. If not addressed it can actually get worse. This sounds like a fear issue and a lack of socialization. She needs to be exposed to over a hundred people in a positive way and it needs to start immediately. The younger she is the easier this is to change. Because this is already happening at a young age it may be partially a genetic trait - her personality is more timid and defensive, which is even more of a reason to teach her to love people. I highly recommend contacting a trainer who is part of a training group with several staff members, who can all practice desensitizing her to people. She needs to experience strangers tossing her treats when she is being friendly or calm (not growling). Eventually having "strangers" (like your friends she doesn't know) take her on walks and practice tricks with her with treats can also be good. When she is a bit better around people, I highly suggest enrolling her in an obedience class so that she can practice focusing on you around other people and dogs. Please don't wait to address this though. It will get much harder to deal with if she doesn't get more positive exposures to people at this age. Have a trainer work with you at the facility where she can meet others and at your home as well, with people she doesn't know visiting you. When the growling and nervous is has stopped, then come exposing her to people to mail her socialization by taking her places, like ball games, pet stores, and parks and rewarding her for focus on you, and being calm or politely friendly. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Our dog is very loving and affectionate to us. He responds very quickly to most of our commands and comes almost immediately when he is called. He does get a little nippy with us when he wants to play. When he is told enough he does stop. The problem we are having is when he is meeting strangers. He barks very loud and he seems aggressive. His tail is down between his legs but he maintains eye contact, he mostly cowers but he has lunged a time or two at someone. He has not bitten anyone. We recently adopted him from a friend and when he met us he seemed timid and barked a few times but then after about 7 minutes he was coming to us and seemed fairly relaxed. He has been with us over three weeks now. We are nervous to take him to the vet, or in public because of his reactions to people. Any help would be appreciated.
Hello Autumn, You need to hire a professional trainer to help you. Look for someone who is very experienced with aggression, including protectiveness and fear-aggression, in addition to high drive breeds. It sounds like he may not have been socialized enough or might simply have a more timid temperament generically. Because of their natural tendency to be suspicious of people and protectiveness, Shepherds need to be exposed to a lot of people in a positive way while young or they can have a hard time knowing what's normal and not normal and are very controlling of situations and people approaching. You need a trainer that can help you build his trust and respect for you so that he is more willing to listen to commands around strangers and more relaxed because he knows that he can depend on your leadership to handle situations he feels uncertain about. Even though he is likely afraid, that does not mean that he would not bite. German Shepherds tend to get defensive when nervous and are more likely to fight than flight if they feel unsafe or like their family is unsafe. You need someone who can help you learn to manage his behavior through obedience training, increasing his respect and trust for you, as well as improving his view of strangers by helping him view them as safe and fun, instead of scary. Read reviews and recommendations who any trainer you choose. Ask questions- many trainers are not experienced with aggression so make sure they seem knowledgeable. Choose someone who works with several trainers because you will need people to act as "strangers" to practice the training with. For right now, you can work on getting him used to wearing a basket muzzle so that you can take him places like the Vet. Look for a Vet that will take things slow with him and give treats and help him warm up gradually though. Some mobile Vets will take more time to help a dog feel comfortable with them first. If done right, wearing a basket muzzle doesn't have to be unpleasant for a dog. It can simply be another thing they wear that becomes normal. 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. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog used to be calm around people he didn't know. But the other day we had a person come and do yard work and my dog snapped and barked at him when I wasn't around. Then today he snapped at a friend that he's seen before also when I wasn't around. He is perfectly fine when I'm around but i don't know why he is acting this way when I'm not
Hello Angel, If I am hearing you correctly it sounds like both incidences happened when people came into your home without you present. If so that is likely a territorial behavior he is displaying. In your dog's mind someone is breaking in and you are not there to show him that those people are acceptable. He also might be practicing barking and growling at people outside when he sees them through the window (delivery drivers who leave packages are especially an issue). If that is happening, then he probably thinks that suspicious people are constantly trying to break in, but when he barks and acts aggressively they usually leave (because they were really just walking past or delivering something - so of course they left). Your dog doesn't realize why they are there and why they leave though. He only knows that they approach your home, he barks, then they leave. This cycle feeds into his aggression and anxiety about people coming to your home. If this is going on, the first step is to keep him away from windows and doors while you are gone, so that he cannot practice his aggression toward strangers and does not feel like the house is being threatened all the time. When you are home and he sees someone outside, work on the Quiet command from the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Reward him when he looks relaxed and is quiet while watching people outside, or ignores their presence completely. Second, I suggest hiring a trainer who is part of a larger group of trainers who can practice being a 'stranger' entering your home without you present - you can be outside watching from a video camera. Your dog should be in a crate or on a strong back lie and strong collar or harness he can't slip out of for this training to keep the person safe. The trainer can then use positive reinforcement to reward your dog whenever he calms down, to help him associate people entering your home with something pleasant. Only reward Capone while he is behaving calmly though, not while he is acting aggressively or you will be encouraging the aggression if the timing is wrong (you get more of whatever you reward). Finally, whenever you know that people will be at your home without you there, crate him that day (or all the time while you are gone). You want to resolve his current distrust of others through careful, safe training, but you also want to prevent him from learning bad habits again in the future - that could put others in danger and make him feel worried about people entering again. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi, my dog is very territorial over me and our home. Being pregnant hasn’t helped. He barks excessively at anyone that walks by our house and will also lunge to bite strangers if he has the chance. He seems to have an issue with men mostly.
Hello Priscilla, I suggest working on building respect, trust through adding structure, boundaries, obedience, and having her work for everything she gets in life. Many dogs who behave protectively lack a respect for their owners and need a bit of an attitude adjustment to learn to let their people handle situations that make them uncomfortable, instead of trying to handle things on their own. General protocol for teaching calmness and structure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8WEi9BfTIc Some of these dogs also need fear of strangers addressed by desensitizing them to strangers also. https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Good commands and protocols to teach: 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 Respect and Working method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 The aggression specific training will probably be easiest to teach working with a training group that has multiple trainers who use both positive reinforcement and fair corrections, with a lot of structure and focused obedience work, so that the various trainers can practice being 'strangers' around your dog and demonstrate the training protocols. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Newbie is extremely sweet with everyone living in the household even our cat. She is friendly with some strangers and even loves her vet. But on walks she has begun lunging and barking at random people trying to attack. Please help we can’t walk her around people without the fear of her biting!
Hello Bridget, It sounds like she would benefit from more structure to help her learn to let you handle interactions with others and be less reactive herself, as well as interrupting her aroused state of mind before she gets too worked up (carefully -dogs in that state of mind can bite even their owners), and learn to associate calm behavior around new people with good things. Check out the links below. Focus on a structured heel, and look for a trainer with a good sized staff of trainers who can practice the aggression protocol with her, using a back tie leash and while she is being walked. 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 People Aggression protocol video- notice the back tie for safety (people should never be put at risk. Only train with the correct safety protocols to keep everyone involved safe. Also, notice that the dog is only rewarded while calm. If she tends to redirect aggression, then you will need to have her wear a basket muzzle on walks while training her also. https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello, My mini aussie, Bill, has been totally flipped out since I gave birth to our daughter 7 months ago. He was always overly protective of me but now he's out of control protective of my daughter as well. He has bitten almost a dozen people since she was born. Maybe more! No blood draw but maybe some bruises. He tends to attack people as they're saying goodbye to me at our apartment door. He gets anxious as we say goodbye and then as they're walking out the door he bites them in the backside. Also if someone approaches me and the baby he will bite them (often from the back or side.) Never repeat bites but a nip and then retreat. Sometimes he's hiding and comes out of nowhere. It's so sad because we love him so much. His obedience is excellent. He has been on a lot of rx psych meds for this and nothing has worked. He is not a threat to the baby but I still NEVER leave him alone with her. I should also say he barks when people enter the apartment but would not bite him then. He lunges and barks at them when they exit. We are on our 5th dog trainer. Have down long downs and down and wait. Re-directing him and putting him in his corner where all his special stuff is. I'm thinking of signing him up for a hiking camp to get him out each day. But no amount of exercise can help him. I've run 14 miles with him and he's still filled with energy. I'm at a total loss. I don't want to give him up but I don't know how much more I can take. PLease help!
Hello Allison, Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training on YouTube. He is an aggression expert, located in Those Island. He has a number of free video resources and you can also pay to do a Skype consultation. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Huck is a very smart good dog and has been the sweetest towards people. However recently, he has been showing aggression to women he is not too familiar with.My office is dog friendly and I take him almost everyday. He has been sweet to everyone, but for the past couple of months he has growled and barked at women in the office. He is totally fine with all the men. I think he is protective of me and the area we are sitting at. He has not reacted negatively toward women so far when we are at home. He has growled and barked at some women outside when on walks but usually he doesn't.
Hello Erica, It sounds like he may be possessive of you. Check out the videos and articles linked below for exercises and tips on building his respect and trust for you. He needs to learn to let you handle situations and that it is unacceptable for him to try to control the situation. With the help of a trainer, I also suggest having women reward him by tossing him treats while he is on a back tie leash when he reacts calmly and tolerantly toward them. Also, while at work he needs to have a very firm Place command and be staying on Place or in the crate unless he is heeling with you. Structure is important in these scenarios when dealing with possessive and pushy behavior. Use a back tie leash that has some slack in it so that he can be comfortable while on place - as a back up if he breaks Place command - the leash will prevent him being able to bite anyone if he were to lung and will help to enforce your training while working on this by preventing him from breaking command - so that you will have the chance to then deal with him trying to break command. I also cannot recommend taking him to work with you at this time. See if you can use your work place while they are closed and have those helping you work on the training come there to imitate a work day with those who are aware of what's going on, so that you will have control of the situation to practice the training safely. Use back tie's for this to keep people safe. 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 Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 People and aggression video - notice the back tie and tape line on the floor meant to keep those practicing with the dog safe. Always take safety measures when dealing with aggression even if you think your dog will not bite. https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I got my boy at 14 months old, imported from another country.
He came from a kennel environment but was lightly shown.
Since I got him he has bitten a show judge, two friends, my partner and has just bitten me.
He’s fine one minute, biting the next. I have shown, owned and trained dogs for 40 years and never experienced this behaviour. All vet checks came back clear.
I am getting to the point where I no longer trust my or others safety around this dog.
Hello Tara, You need professional help from a trainer who can specializes in aggression. With the little information I know about him I would guess that it is a combination of a lack of socialization from his background - not tolerant of handling, lacks warning signals, and generally not adaptable, and genetics - particularly the suddenness of the bites without warning signs. It is also possible that he is giving off warning signs but they are very subtle and so people are missing the cues and it appears as if he goes from fine one second to aggressive the next. You would need someone highly experienced with aggression who can read his body language and evaluate if that's the case. What was the severity of the bites? If he isn't drawing blood when he bites, this will easier to manage. If he is drawing blood or bites multiple times in a row, that is far more dangerous. You may want to have him wear a muzzle while working on general training with him. Once a trainer helps you evaluate what's triggering the bites, then you can focus on building respect, building tolerance to being handled, counter conditioning around people, tackling resource guarding and any other types of aggression. Either way he likely lacks impulse control so exercises that safely build impulse control are a good place to start. Get him used to wearing a basket muzzle (a basket muzzle so that you can feed treats through the holes and it is more comfortable on him). Use his daily meal kibble one piece at a time to carefully introduce the muzzle. Sprinkling the food on it on the floor, then holding it and rewarding him for touching it, then holding a treat inside of it and giving it to him when he reaches inside to grab the treat, gradually holding the treat further and further back into the muzzle as he gets comfortable, so that he has to reach into the muzzle all the way to get it. Finally, practicing moving the straps while you feed him, and finally buckling it while you feed treats through the muzzle's holes while it is on. Practice commands like a structured heel, Place, crate manners, door way entries, and rewarding him for tolerating being touched by giving him a treat every time you gently touch an area (through the muzzle's holes) - go slow with this so that he stays relaxed while practicing it. You will still need someone to evaluate him in person though, and you need someone very experienced with aggression, not just an obedience class instructor. 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 Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 Jeff Gellman www.SolidK9Training.com Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Vee is unpredictable when it comes to strangers. At home, when someone comes over she may bark at first then be calm (varies with people she's met or complete strangers). Sometimes if the person wants to pet her she's ok and sometimes she nips. We usually give guests a treat to give her when she sits or once she's relaxed. When we go on walks sometimes she'll just stare at strangers and dogs and nothing else, but other times she does this low growl as they walk by; near our home (more than not) she tends to bark/growl and sometimes she tries to charge towards them if they come closer. I had tried a technique where I said "good" or even gave her treats when we'd see a stranger, but I haven't done that since she was 5 years old. I'm not sure how well it worked as we lived in a less populated area at the time. More recently she's gotten more nippy with strangers who try to pet her or come near her on walks. When she was a puppy, up to about 1 1/2 years old, she was socialized and we were constantly at the dog park. From 2-3 years old we lived with family and two dogs with minimal socializing only on walks or at the beach. She used to love everyone, other dogs, children. And then I noticed that at 4 years when we moved she would behave differently around others and she wouldn't play with other dogs at the dog park. Please help
Hello Serefina, I suggest hiring a trainer who specializes in aggression to help you with this - you need someone who is part of a larger group with several trainers who can all practice the training with her as strangers, or you will need a lot of friend's and family members she doesn't know to help you practice the training under a trainer. Check out this video by Jeff Gellman, who specializes in aggression. Here he demonstrated safety measures (a back tie), when to have people reward a dog (during calmness and not during aggressive displays), and how to appropriately use punishment when treating aggression (with good timing, calmness, and in combination with positive reinforcement for calm behavior and with the appropriate safety measures for your guests). Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A It sounds like she needs a lot of structure and boundaries in general to build respect. Have her work for everything she gets for a while by having her perform a command first. For example, have her sit before you feed her, lay down before you pet her, look at you before you take her outside, ect.. If she nudges you, climbs into your lap uninvited, begs, or does anything else pushy, make her leave the room. Teach her a Place command and work on her staying on place for up to an hour, even when you walk into the other room for a minute. Practice crate manners. Work on teaching a structured Heel. Forget about getting places, practice the heel in calm locations like a cul-de-sac if needed at first. You need to hire a trainer to help you with the aggression and you need someone who uses a lot of boundaries, positive reinforcement and fair discipline tactfully. Look for someone who is very experienced with aggression and different types of aggression - many trainers are only experienced with fear based aggression and you likely have some dominance- based or territorial aggression going on too, and they are treated a bit differently than fear. You want experience with fear, territorial and dominance at least. 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 Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 You also want to work on confidence building exercises. Creating some agility type obstacles in your yard and working her through those can help if she generally struggles with being adaptable. Think A-frames, poles, jumps, tunnels, and anything else like that that is a bit odd for her but she can be worked through with persistance. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I’ve had Winston since he was about 2 months old, and from a very early age I started bringing him to the dog park and having people over so he could become socialized. He used to at times show slight signs of being territorial when people would come to our house, but after a minute when he realized they were not a threat he would calm down and even be excited that they were over. I moved homes when he was about 6 months old, and before we moved he was the only dog we lived with. Now that I moved we live with 4 other dogs. Even for a while after we moved he was always very good at the dog park and with strangers. My new house has a fenced yard, so he spends a lot more time outside with our other 4 dogs, and because of my new job we haven’t been able to go to the dog park as much, but I started taking him to doggy daycare about a month ago and they said he was shy around the other dogs at first but that he made friends quickly and was well behaved. However, in the last two weeks or so he has been snapping at other dogs and strangers. It is very unlike him to be aggressive toward any strangers or dogs, and I cannot figure out what the cause is. His behavior toward me and my family has not changed at all though. He is still as sweet and cuddly with us as he’s always been. I’ve heard that it’s necessary to rule out underlying illness that could be causing it, but i’m honestly scared to even take him to the vet in case he snaps there.
Hello Kennedy, It would be good to take him to your vet to rule out health issues, especially anything that might be causing him pain and making him irritable. If you are worried about taking him then you may want to look for a mobile vet who will come to your home and take extra time to warm him up first. Read reviews or ask questions to find someone who spends extra time getting to know the dog first. You can also get him used to wearing a basket muzzle. Use his meal kibble to do so. Sprinkle his food around the muzzle until he gets used to touching it. Next, hold the muzzle up and whenever he touches it or sniffs it, give a treat. Next, hold a piece of kibble inside the muzzle slightly so he has to reach inside it to eat the food, as he gets comfortable reaching, hold the food further in the muzzle so that he has to reach all the way in eventually. When he is used to reaching inside, feed multiple pieces of food through the muzzle's holes while he holds his face in it. When he will hold his face in it for ten seconds while eating the treats, pretend to buckle and unbuckle it while feeding treats. Next, buckle it and unbuckle it while feeding treats, as he improves keep it buckled for longer. Finally, work up to him wearing it for longer and spacing your treats further apart until he is comfortable wearing it for an hour and only getting a couple of treats. Practice this at home when ahead of time. Practice each step until he seems relaxed. Put the muzzle on at home at least an hour before you leave for the vet so he doesn't associate it with that. Use a basket muzzle, which let's him open his mouth, so that it will be more comfortable and he can be given treats through the holes. The aggression could certainly be due to a medical issue, so that is a good thing to rule out. Some dogs also go through another fear period between 1-2 years, often at a year, so he may be extra sensitive due to that. If so it's important to work on calm responses around others to help him move past his suspicions. Check out the video linked below for people issues. Notice the back tie leash and tape on the ground to keep 'strangers' safe, and that the dog is only rewarded while calm and not aggressive - working with a training group that is very experienced with aggression can make this easier to accomplish. People aggression: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Around 1-2 years most dogs also mature mentally and sexually and that can increase dominance, territorial behavior, possessiveness, and a few other things associated with fear and aggression. It could be related to age - but regardless of why it's happening, if not medical, then figuring out the triggers (possessiveness, dominance, fear, ect...) And treating that is still essentially the same. Working on things like a structured heel, long place command, and things to re-establish his respect and trust for you is a good place to start, in addition to specific protocols for the aggression. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My puppy, Daisy spent the first six months stuck in a crate for sixteen hours a day. After a year of trying to train her, she has only improved slightly. She barks at strangers, growling with the hair on her back spiked. She does this inside and outside my home. She's very protective of me and isn't aggressive at all to the people that she knows or to children. I don't know how to handle or curb this behavior. I don't believe she's aggressive and thinks she's dominant, protective or scared - what do you think? And how do I change her behavior? Can I do it or should I seek professional help? It should be mentioned that I've trained a service dog and dealt with a fearful/aggressive dog before and the tactics I used then - aren't working with my Daisy. I don't know what to do.
Hello Alissa, After a year of trying on your own without improvement and having the level of experience that you already have, I suggest seeking professional help at this point. Look for a trainer who specializes in aggression also. Look for a trainer who uses 'balanced training', simply meaning someone who uses both positive reinforcement and fair discipline and incorporates a lot of structure into the training too (most should still be positive reinforcement) because of the types of aggression going on. Ask for client referrals from others who have struggled with aggression or read reviews. You need someone who is very experienced with dominance, possessiveness, and fear aggression and many obedience trainers are not - you need someone who does a lot of behavior modification. It does sound like aggression. There are certainly different levels of aggression though. It is very likely due to a lack of socialization because of her severe past, so a lot of confidence building and counter conditioning will also be needed, but she likely also needs a lot of structure and boundaries to build her respect for you, and to teach her to let you handle situations and her stop trying to control her world. Dogs that are fear aggressive typically need a lot of instruction because they lack the ability to make good choices on their own in those areas - they need to learn to trust their owners to handle things and take cues from their owners about when things are alright and they can calm back down. This sometimes involves careful discipline too to interrupt aroused states of mind and things like possessiveness, and create more structure in the dog's world, in combination with a lot of calm rewards paired with new people and new things. The purpose of the discipline is just to calm the dog down enough to get the dog into a state of mind where they are able to learn and receive rewards for correct behavior and calmer mindset. You need someone who is very experienced with this so that it can be tailored to your dog and not over or under whelm her. Check out the videos and articles linked below for some examples of the types of protocols that can help. I suggest working with a trainer who can tailor a protocol to her based on how she is responding though, and who has access to a staff of trainers and employees that can practice being 'strangers' around her to do the training at home and at a facility or out in public (the training needs to happen a couple of different places, especially at your home and neighborhood). 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 Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 People Aggression protocol video- notice the back tie for safety (your guest should never be put at risk. Only train with the correct safety protocols to keep everyone involved safe). https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A In addition to the exercises above, I would also suggest doing confidence building exercises, like creating some agility obstacles in your yard (can be built out of PVC and boards), lots of distance commands where she learns to stay while you walk away while on a long leash - to learn better independence from you, calming exercises like long Place command inside while you walk in and out of the room and ignore her and she stays put, and structured heeling around other people and dogs (starting from further away), where there are lots of turns, stops, changes in pace, and other things that keep her focus on you during the walk - and not on those around her. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I’ve been taking Eve hiking with me since I’ve had her, and for the most part she’d just walk past people we pass on the trail; maybe she’d pause for a second, or sort of huff, then keep going. Lately she’s been really reacting more aggressively, especially if people talk to me. Last week it was all icould do to drag her down the trail from a man who was obviously terrified of her barking and jumping toward him. She’s the sweetest dog at home and gets used to new people pretty quickly if they come to visit. She’ll bark a bit, then once my other dog(10yo male pit) goes up to them to be petted, she wants to be petted to and calms down. I want to keep taking her out, but I can barely hold onto her when she’s trying to get at someone and I’m terrified that she’ll bite someone!
Hello Jessica, Check out this video by Jeff Gellman, who specializes in aggression. Here he demonstrated safety measures (a back tie), when to have people reward a dog (during calmness and not during aggressive displays), and how to appropriately use punishment when treating aggression (with good timing, calmness, and in combination with positive reinforcement for calm behavior and with the appropriate safety measures for the people helping you). I suggest hiring a trainer who can help set up training sessions outside where your dog normally has issues, using a back tie leash and having people he doesn't know such as other trainers and friends who have volunteered to help practice this with him with a qualified trainer's help. Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A It also sounds like he needs a lot of structure and boundaries in general to build respect. Have him work for everything he gets for a while by having him perform a command first. For example, have him sit before you feed him, lay down before you pet him, look at you before you take him outside, ect.. If he nudges you, climbs into your lap uninvited, begs, or does anything else pushy, make him leave the room. Teach him a Place command and work on him staying on place for up to an hour, even when you walk into the other room for a minute. Practice crate manners. Work on teaching a structured Heel. Forget about getting places during a walk for a while right now, instead go somewhere open, like your front yard, a park, or culdesac and practice a heel where his nose does not go past your leg. You need to hire a trainer to help you with the aggression and you need someone who uses a lot of boundaries, positive reinforcement and fair discipline tactfully. Look for someone who is very experienced with aggression and different types of aggression - many trainers are only experienced with fear based aggression and you likely have some dominance- based or territorial aggression going on too, and they are treated a bit differently than fear. 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 Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 A very focused, almost militaristic heel is important right now - his focus should be on you and not other people during walks. You want to socialize him carefully with other people by using something like the protocol I linked at the top of the comment, but he also needs to learn to let you handle situations and not drag you around. I suggest a better training device for walking him also. Something that will stop the pulling so that he cannot pull you toward someone even if he wants to. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My main problem with my dog is strangers and other people outside, she was socialized her entire puppy hood, always taken out to drive through places, dog parks, other kind of parks, a lot of car rides, and all the normal daily stuff you do with dogs. Our main problem is really inside the house, instantly if someone comes in she starts snorting, sniffing, wagging her tail, ears back and running around them. It looks nice but she isnt, she will slowly look up at them, pause, and then lunge straight at them, after that she starts growling and barking and jumping at them. I have no more options on what to do, I have done locked outside, locked in her cage, I have tried pinning her down, I have blocked her veiw, I have tried using treats and toys to get her focused on me. But she won't, it's where I have to lock her in my room if someone comes over, she was never like this..idk what it could be but she started acting like this around 2 years old, at first it was small just a small growl or stareing and I fixed that but now at 4 years old it's gotten worse.
Another problem is fear of males, as a puppy a bunch of my friends [I was a kid when I got her] came in and scared her, I of course kept yelling no and trying to stop them but they did anyways and ever since then she's been scared of men, I've been working on it for years, she's never tried going after anyone outside of the house but if they approach she instantly lowers herself, rolls over, or she stands still, tenses up and stars doing that little weird chuff noise Bulldogs do when they see/want something.
We've had her since 8 weeks old, she's now 4 years old. She's spayed, healthy meaning nothing medical could really be causing her to act out so quickly at strangers, I feel bad for locking her up, she's a gorgeous girl used to attention but like..she cant be that couch potatoe she wants to be with other people because she keeps going at them..
I mean; eventually after a while she calms down and just watches them and it takes a few times for her to get used to them where she doesn't snap or something, but still I'm lost and confused on what to do with my Dog.
Hello Sarah, Check out the video linked below. She needs to learn to associate people with good things, but for her to be open to learning around people there also needs to be structure and fair corrections during highly aroused times, followed by rewards from the visitors once she is calm - if she is rewarded while in an aggressive state that can make it worse. She needs to be calm first. Notice in the video, the back tie leash, tape line on the floor and use of timing for corrections and rewards - depending on whether the dog is displaying aggressive body language or is relaxed. People aggression protocol - be sure to use a back tie leash or other safety measure to protect people: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A I also suggest working on building her respect and trust for you in other ways between training sessions, to help her learn to let you handle interactions with people and respond to you better. She will not be willing to respond when feeling suspicious of people if she does not firmly know that she can trust you and you are leading. Here are some exercises and details on building respect and trust - focus a lot on teaching a long, firm place command also, because that is a very useful command around guests later, when she is calm enough to be near them but needs something to help her be self-controlled: 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 Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 Finally, after working on this for so long yourself it might be time to hire professional help. Look for a trainer who specializes in aggression. Who uses both fair corrections and positive reinforcement, as well as teaches boundaries and structure to calmly build respect and calmness. Read reviews or ask for referrals. Your average trainer doesn't specialize or have a lot of experience with aggression so be picky when looking for the right person to help. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Rafiki is a sweetheart, but there are times where he has snapped and bitten people. He's bitten people on four different occasions. The first time was when my neighbor's daughter was chasing my little brother. The second was at an event where a guy was instigating a fight. The third was when he bit my sister for apparently no reason at all and the fourth when my sister tried to pet him. I can see how the first and second times might have been in a protective manner, but what about the third and fourth. Please help
Hello Swannette, From what you have told me it sounds like the first two incidences may have been protection related. They also could have stemmed from him trying to control his environment, which could be the reason for him biting your sister also. How serious were the bites? Did he break the skin and draw blood? Was it one quick bite each incidence or did he bite several times in a row? The severity of the bites will effect how you treat the aggression. If he did not puncture the skin any of the times then, although the behavior needs to be dealt with, the risk to your safety is not as high. If he broke the skin and drew blood several times, and especially if the bites were multiple, blood drawing bites, one after the other, then proceed with extreme caution. If multiple bites with blood drawn were the case, then I would recommend immediately hiring a professional dog trainer in your area to work with you in person, rather than deal with the aggression yourself. For the bite incidences involving your sister, Rafiki may have bitten because he wanted to control the situation, and because he lacks respect for her. If she was petting him and he did not want to be petted, he likely bite her to communicate that he did not want her to pet him. For the time where the reason was unknown, what triggered the bite could be as simple as her being in his space when he did not want her to be there, or her looking at him a certain way, or her doing moving in a way that made him think that she was going to pet him or take something away from him. Whatever the reason, it is certainly not something you want to be happening. You will need to work on getting him use to being touched. To do this safely you will need to get him used to wearing a basket muzzle, which you can introduce with lots of treats and praise, so that he does not dislike wearing it. With him wearing the basket muzzle, practice gently touching different areas of his body while praising him and offering him a small treat through the muzzle. You can also let him lick some peanut butter off of the end of something long and thin that you poke through his muzzle. Something like a long straw may work. The idea is to teach him to love being touched everywhere and to learn that biting is not an acceptable way to handle being touched. It should go something like this: touch his ear, give him a treat. Touch his paw, give him a treat. Touch his tail, give him a treat. He also needs to learn to respect your family members, especially your sister. With him wearing the muzzle, practice lots of obedience training with him, and have your sister practice lots of obedience training with him. Have him practice walking attentively in the heel position and doing down stays. This will be especially beneficial. Make him work for the things he wants. For example, tell him to sit before he is fed dinner. Have him do a down before anyone pets him. Have him pay attention before you toss him a ball. Giving him structure should help to build respect. If you are able to, it is always a good idea when dealing with aggression issues to hire a local, Professional Dog Trainer to help you in person. Someone in person can see for herself what your dog is doing, and can show you how to work with your dog, and can decrease the likelihood of you being bitten while training. Best of luck with training, Caitlin Crittenden
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so we hade this other dog named oden and he grew up with my dog freya and oden was old he was 9 and he got really sick so we hade to put him down and after we put him down the aggressive behavior began after 3 months we got a new dog a puppy they play nice together and get along great so this whole biting thing began when my friend hade to go to the bathroom in my house so she just walked in without us and freya bit her on her stomach a nip when she bites she is all nice and then goes fast and nips the first time she bit my friend I think it was a protective manner because she hade never met my friend before so I think she just was being protective of our house so anyway the second time she bit someone was when my sisters boyfriend came over and he was just standing there my dad took her outside to go to the bathroom when he let her back in she was sniffing him and she was fine and then out of nowhere she bites him on he side and on his hand and we have no clue why she is biting and be mean we think it’s because of our other dog passing away but we aren’t sure what should we do?
Hello Chloe, It might be that she viewed your older dog as in charge and felt safe letting him handle situations. Now that he is gone, she believes she is in charge and has to handle situations that make her uncomfortable, but she is not able to handle it - many dogs don't make good choices when they lack leadership and don't have balanced enough temperaments to lead. She may also be anxious because of Oden's death on top of things, which makes aggression worse. I suggest hiring a trainer to help you with her behavior. I also suggest working on building her respect and teaching calmness to help her relax more and trust you better. Teach her a Place command and work on her staying on place for up to an hour, even when you walk into the other room for a minute. Practice crate manners. Work on teaching a structured Heel. Forget about getting places during a walk for a while right now, instead go somewhere open, like your front yard, a park, or culdesac and practice a heel where her nose does not go past your leg. You need to hire a trainer to help you with the aggression and you need someone who uses a lot of boundaries, positive reinforcement and fair discipline tactfully. Look for someone who is very experienced with aggression and different types of aggression - many trainers are only experienced with fear based aggression and you likely have some dominance- based or territorial aggression going on too, and they are treated a bit differently than fear. 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 Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 People Aggression protocol video- notice the back tie for safety (your guest should never be put at risk. Only train with the correct safety protocols to keep everyone involved safe. https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Scotty is 5 years old he doesn’t really ask for attention he demands it.. as soon as a “stranger” or friend comes in the door he barks and is all over them and causes the other dogs to bark at the person tryna come in.. the other dogs leave the person alone and he’s all over them like a hawk when they stand up demanding they notice him by growling and barking demanding you to sit on the couch so he can get up next to you and like forcibly scared the person to pet him for 5 minutes then he lays on their lap and acts like a sweet baby.. I’ve tried holding him in my lap as they walk in and calming him down for a few mins then putting him down only for him to still go over to the person and do the same stuff.. he’s even bitten a friend of mine who hadn’t come over in a while he tried to walk in Scotty charged toward the door so he put his hand down to show him like “hey buddy it’s me” and Scotty didn’t even think twice he just lunges at him and bit the top of his hand n broke the skin got him pretty good and continues to try to bite him again on his leg it all happened in seconds the door opened he ran to the door and boom he bit him once almost twice it was so embarrassing. He’s also bit one other person on the knee and another on the leg years ago.. we thought he was done with biting cuz he hasn’t bit in years he’s just overly demanding and over bearing about attention. I can’t afford a trainer so don’t say seek a professional trainer.. what can I Myself personally do? Should I jus continue to grab him before people walk in and calm him down on my lap over and over again until he hopefully just chills out on his own without me having to pick him up? Cuz it seemed to work a bit once I put him down he wasn’t as wild but still would dart over to be all over the house guest so I don’t know what todo!!
Hello Brianna, Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training on youtube and on his website. Also, he needs to wear a muzzle all the time during the day when anyone is home while you make him do a doggie type bootcamp - without the muzzle you aren't going to be able to safely enforce your rules consistently. He has learned that aggression gets him what he wants and he is using it to control people which is obviously not okay. Petting him in your lap when there are guests present also rewards him for that behavior and encourages the aggression. He needs to be correctly disciplined with the right safety measures in place, to work for everything he gets in life right now, to practice commands that build calmness, respect, and self-control, and then when he is calm he can be rewarded by your guests while he is tied somewhere a few feet away so that he cannot rush them, and they toss treats while he is calm (not acting aggressively or pushy). People Aggression video - work on this AFTER you have done the bellow things to build a good foundation of respect, self-control, and calmness. You MUST use a back-tie leash when you do it. It is NOT okay to put your guests at risk of being bitten and him having too much freedom around your guests also lets him practice pushy and aggressive behavior, which makes his behavior worse and worse. https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Obedience commands to practice - the Place command should be something he gets used to doing for 1-2 hours at a time to deal with attitude issues. 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 General rules for dealing with dogs with his tendencies: Working method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 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. You cannot treat him like you do the rest of your dogs. He needs a lot more structure and a complete attitude change, and better management to see improvement. In the very least he should be crated anytime guests are over - this won't help with the behavior issues, but it will keep guests safe. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I have had my dog for about 3 years now and she has always been wary of strangers. As a baby we took her to work and she was around people but as she got older we stopped taking her out because she started barking. And instead of training her right away, we kept her more isolated. So she mostly only had contacts with the people in the house. It wasn’t much of a problem because we didn’t have many people over and didn’t encounter many people on walks. But we are having a lot more family get togethers and it’s people she doesn’t know. She has seen them before but she still barks when they come. She used to only bark at strangers and leave like a foot of distance between her and the person, but lately she had started lunging and biting their shoes or even jumping and grabbing their shirt. She even did this when someone she was always “used” to that day came to pet her. I just want to know how I can stop her from being so aggressive now that she’s older.
Hello Egle, First, she needs a lot of structure. I suggest having her work for everything she gets at home by having to do a command first. For example, have her Sit before throwing a toy for her, Down before feeding her, Sit before petting her, Wait before letting her go outside, ect...Also, teach her the Place command and practice her being on place until she can stay on it for an hour while people move in and out of the room and doing their normal activities. Working method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you 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/ For the aggression you need to hire a trainer who will come to your home part of the time and work with her around lots of staff members the rest of the time to socialize her. She may have a genetic tendency toward fearfulness and thus fear-aggression, so in addition to being socialized with people she probably needs better management and structure to help her feel like you are in control of situations and she should let you handle things that make her nervous. Ask a lot of questions and read reviews to find a good trainer who is experienced with this type of behavior. She should be trained with a lot of consistency - the attitude of a small dog with fear-aggression is no different than an 80 pound dog with fear aggression. Little dogs just do less damage when they bite, but they need the same type of training. Any socialization done should be done in a way that keeps those she is being socialized with safe - whether that means a back tie leash, basket muzzle, or baby gate, always take measures to keep guests from being bitten. She can be rewarded by them tossing treats when she is calm and tolerant, but she also needs to be corrected safely and in the right way when she has an aggressive outburst, while in a situation where she cannot bite someone if she does have an outburst. Finally, right now instruct guests not to try to pet her. A trainer should be the one to get her used to being touched by those she isn't familiar with - overwhelming her with a forced pet can lead to a bite and worse aggression if not done correctly right now. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Rosie is my emotional support dog, and she is generally very mellow and mild-mannered, but with certain people, especially people who are afraid of her, she will lash out and attack. She never bites down, she just intimidates the person. She also will lash out at hands. When someone reaches to get her to sniff them, she gets very anxious and might bite. I am doing touch training, and I want to contact a professional, but I am going to be moving three times in the next two months, so I can’t have access to a behaviorist for more than two weeks at a time.
Hello Emily, I definitely agree with getting professional training help once you are settled, and doing touch work is great! In addition to that, check out the video linked below. Notice that the dog is corrected if he displays any aggression and rewarded while calm and not while aggressive. The way to deal with your dog's aggression depends partially on what type of aggression it is. If your dog is afraid of being touched, then desensitizing to touch and a bit more positive reinforcement type approach is great. If your dog is displaying aggression because they have learned they can control human behavior through acting aggressive and simply don't want to be touched, but aren't actually afraid, then that is a different type of aggression and that behavior needs to be dealt with a lot more firmly and with a lot of structure to deal with the underlying attitude issue there too. That dog should be working for everything they get in life by having to do a command first, such as sit before being petted, Down being being fed, Sit before being throw a toy, ect... There should be some careful corrections involved in treating the aggression too, and commands that require submission, self-control, and calmness taught and practiced. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIJoEJfTS-E Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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He keeps barking and trying to bite people who come into my backyard
Hello Jesse, Are you present when he tries to attack whose who enter your yard? If you are obviously giving those people permission to enter, then he needs to be desensitized to people entering your yard by rewarding him whenever he stays calm around them and right before they enter while he is still calm. His respect for you needs to be worked on through training exercises and structure to that he looks to you to decide who should come and go and doesn't try to handle it himself, and any attempts at aggression should be corrected to interrupt that behavior. If you are not present and workers or those he doesn't know have to enter and exit your yard to do things while he is outside, he is doing what comes naturally to him - guarding your property from those entering without your permission (in his eyes). Some breeds were bred to be guard dogs and to alert and prevent those their owner had not invited from entering the property and stealing things or harming people. It's a genetic trait in many dogs. The situation in this case needs to be managed better. He needs to be worked with while you are home to reward him for being calm while you let people in, corrected for trying to display aggression when you have indicated the person is welcome and let them into the yard, and desensitized to people being in the yard in general while you are there. When you are not home and you know someone will have to enter your yard, crate him inside the house. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I am writing to you today as I need some help and guidance with my puppy.
To start the story off I bought little Pluto at 10 weeks of age. He is the first puppy I have ever owned. Prior to getting Pluto I did weeks of research to make sure this was the dog for me. I learnt methods of establishing leadership, Training, socialising and everything you can think of really.
Now one crucial mention and one piece of information that should be promoted heavily is Stripping the Pup from his/her mum earlier than 9 weeks.
on Arrival to have a look at Pluto to check his temperament and personality I fell in love straight away. He was full of energy but one tiny red flag that popped up to me was his biting. From what I thought to be a normal scenario, I though a puppy who is at almost 11 weeks old, the puppy biting should not be this sore. (in fact I think a little bit of blood was drawn) Apart from this everything seems normal. Just a high energy and overly exited puppy.
Moving to when we got inside to talk numbers and also ask all the important questions he calmed down promptly (which iI though was a good sign) The room had about 6 people, 5 female and one male (me).
I asked all the questions like: Who was the breeder?
They said my sister bought this dog for us as a Christmas present so we dont know. (first red flag that my at the time ignorant self didnt think twice about.)
I then asked, Since he is 10 weeks old now, how old was he when you got him?
They said they got him at about 5 weeks old. (Again, ignorant and I did not know this was a problem)
Apart from the top two everything else was standard questions.
Now as far as my dog goes The previous owners had taken him to puppy school (so they said)
All of this aggression started after Pluto got his 3rd and final vaccination to where we could finally take him out for long walks and and to places like an off leash dog park or doggy beach. About a week and a half after the final Vacc (12 weeks old) We took young Pluto to his first doggy park experience.
We were there alone on a Saturday morning for about 30 minutes before a couple brought their 4 year old Dark black pug. Now this Pug did not hesitate to come straight for Pluto to say hello and ask if he wanted to play. Pluto avoided letting this poor pug have a smell and continued to run away as if he was scared (but there was no body language or sounds suggesting fear). As soon as this pug made contact with Plutos behind Pluto snapped and turned and started showing Teeth and growling at this pug to the point of me having to Run for Pluto to hold him back to avoid any danger for the pug and stop this from escalating.
I straight away took Pluto home after this experience. Fast forward a few Days We attempted to take Pluto on his first long walk through the streets (by long I mean further than 15 minutes) I took all the steps to establish that i am the leader and he has to pay attention/ listen to me (prior to leaving the house when putting the leash on) I had treats on hand also to reward good behaviour. (By the way this was his first walk after the dog park incident) As soon as we got on the road he had some confidence for about 3 minutes and then Sat and refused to walk whilst crying a little bit like he was scared of something.
It took about a month and a half to get Pluto fully walking properly with some sort of confidence but as we were building up his distance I noticed every time we would cross paths with other walkers or dogs in their homes he would stop and/or cower and want to run back the other way. By use of treats I would say things like "its okay boy and tug him a bit and when he would move back the way we were going id say "good boy" twice and give him a couple of treats and we would be on our way. Although we did the same routine (trying to walk him everyday, id walk him most days) he would continue this stop start thing for over a month with it not really getting better.
This stop start thing turned into growling... then barking.... then wanting to almost leap like a crazy attacking dog. this started when he was about 4.5 months old. Odd thing about this is he would growl, bark, pull at me like he wants to go attack but when I say "LEAVE IT" and try and move him along or turn him to face away from the treat he crys and crys as if he is either scared or wants to go play. (I am confused as to the type of aggression. To me its territorial but could also be anxiety and fear but I really dont know.
After this gradual progression in his behaviour now it goes as far as every dog/cat/mortorbike/bicycle and person he sees he wants to bark at and attack. Apart from myself, Girlfriend, brother, his girlfriend, my girlfriends mum, my mum, dad and sister everyone else under the sun he will display aggression toward. He will not let up when it comes to strangers. Ive tried the phrases he knows very well which is "NO", Leave it, Settle and also treat/toy motivation but this still does not move his attention away from the so called treat and he continues to bark and be aggressive un til this set person is out of his sight and smell. His favourite game is also Tug but Ive noticed that he plays tug aggressively and not playfully almost like attack dogs in training that go bite the suit except this time its a rope. He is now 7 months old and this is not getting any better. I am doing the most that I can but I need some guidance/help.
Ive taken up a dog behaviour and training course as I have a passion for dogs and Pluto has opened my eyes to what struggles a lot of people like me go through and I would like to help but at the same time ive only just started and need help with this still.
Sorry for the long paragraph, I just wanted to explain the whole story.
Thanks in Advance,
Hello Jody, It sounds like a lot of your suspicions are correct. I suspect the breeding may not have been good in regard to temperament, he didn't have the time needed with litter mates to develop bite inhibition, and then wasn't socialized enough during the first few months of life, and when he was socialized what stuck out to him was what he viewed as a negative experience without any wonderful follow up experiences to help off-set it. If the above is the case, then a lot of his behavior may be a combination of fear-aggression, a lack of bite inhibition (understanding how to control the pressure of his bite), and possibly genetics. It's great that you are actively working with him and learning more about training yourself. I can tell that you are committed. Honestly it would be worth hiring a trainer who specializes in fear and aggression. This is something you could probably learn how to work through eventually with your level of dedication but learning to deal with those types of behaviors can take trainers years of practice to get good at and you don't have time to learn everything you need soon enough because he needs help ASAP - the sooner you get help, the better his chances for a good outcome are, plus working with a really great trainer who specializes in aggression, fear, and reactivity would be a great way for you to learn more, and because of your dedication the trainer could show you what to do and then you implement what he teaches you. Pluto needs a ton of positive socialization, aggressive outburst interrupted, obedience to build impulse control and confidence, feed-back on the pressure of his bite (you won't be able to fix this completely but some improvement at least and less mouthing in general since there is too much pressure). You need to work with a training group that has access to tons of well behaved, calm dogs to socialize with, as well as a staff of trainers to socialize around. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training and some of the videos I have linked below. Dog aggression and Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1IH8BFVKRk Structure for nervous dogs and aggressive dogs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8WEi9BfTIc Structure for fear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bT0lyPdZ6mk Human aggression: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYI8vhRLxG8 Kids and fear aggression: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyNREwWQJHY Kids and fear aggression also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n0_27XY3z4 Scary stuff for dogs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ilf3G76oncc&t=1s Human aggression- there are a series of videos about this dog Kobe - this exercise is halfway through his training once he was improving, there were more safety measures earlier on in the training. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sRSu3xFjUw Jeff has hundreds of videos on aggression. Pay special attention to the videos on fear-aggression, nervousness, dogs that were not socialized, and how to desensitize dogs to the things they are afraid of. You have to interrupt the outburst to get the dog to make better choices, but you can't stop there, once the dog is calmer then positive reinforcement comes in to help the dog associate the thing he is afraid of with something good, to encourage calmness, and to build the dog's overall confidence through things like obedience and agility obstacles or tricks that help overcome fearfulness - general confidence building exercises. Do NOT reward while in an aggressive state; interrupt aggression - letting the dog know that's not how to cope with their fear, then reward and encourage calmness and tolerance once they stop the aggressive response when a correction is applied - helping the dog learn to associate the things he is afraid of with good things and stay in a better state of mind. Continue with structure and things that help build respect and trust - because that will help with the aggression specific training too. The training in the videos linked above make it look like the trainer uses a lot of punishment but he also does tons of socializing, obedience, structure, and counter conditioning using positive reinforcement 90% of the time - often he uses a correction to get the dog in a better state of mind first - where he can then use positive reinforcement more in general without rewarding bad behavior. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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we got leo when he was 6 years we have had him for 2 weeks now. he has structure at home and he eats last and we make him sit first and that stuff. but he attacks strangers that approach him. it first looks like he wants to play but suddenly starts to growl and tries to bolt forward to bite. i cant see any fear in him we he is in this state
Hello Dominic, Many Ca De Bou are known to be very protective, very alert, distrustful of strangers, highly reactive, territorial, courageous, and alert. The behavior you described suggests that the aggression is likely genetic. This breed is often wonderful and gentle with family but they are powerful and actually bred to be somewhat distrustful of strangers to make them good guard dogs - which can turn into aggression when there is not enough management or the trait is a bit too extreme. You need to hire a professional trainer who is very experienced with very protective, driven breeds, aggression, and problem behaviors. Who can help you learn to manage the behavior through a lot of structure and the right protocol. It sound like you have a good foundation at home, but are dealing with a really driven dog. Don't simply hire an obedience class instructor who doesn't also deal a whole lot with problem behaviors - you need someone who specializes in behavior problems - which is typically a private trainer. Check out the American Canine Educator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vERE1_O8gys&list=PLLuwNCisD0NiPQlGXtMKf_mfpUAdN9HEq&index=27&t=0s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8tq86-r3qA&list=PLLuwNCisD0NiPQlGXtMKf_mfpUAdN9HEq&index=30&t=0s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We got Lucy from a show breeder when she was 8 months old. She was looked after by 1 single female. She was not house trained and didn't know how to play. She was also nervous of us when we first got her. She has always barked though not aggressively at strangers especially men but recently she has become more aggressive and has started biting. This is a new thing and we don't know how to deal with this.
Hello Ward, It sounds like she may be fear-aggressive due to her lack of socialization while young. The barking before was probably her way of trying to keep those she was afraid of away. When she barked, people stayed away. As time went on, she has learned that using increasing amounts of aggression can control people's actions and make them leave. There could also be another type of aggression going on as well. I suggest hiring a trainer and working on the types of protocols in the videos linked below. The details of will depend on your exact dog. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vERE1_O8gys&list=PLLuwNCisD0NiPQlGXtMKf_mfpUAdN9HEq&index=27&t=0s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmYOYA7PKLw https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A In all of these videos notice the use of corrections first to interrupt the behavior, then once the dog is calmer positive reinforcement is used to help the dog overcome their fear. It's important to always take safety measures to keep everyone safe. Notice the muzzle, back tie leash, and other types of safety measures. Notice the timing of corrections - during aggressive mindset/behavior, and timing of rewards - while calm and tolerant. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Dino is a foster that has come to stay with me until he finds his forever home. He is deaf, and also has a history of being toy aggression, as well as leash aggression towards dogs and strangers whether on the leash or off. Because he is deaf, I'm not able to talk in calming voices to him until he relaxes like suggested above. Is just continuing to have treats by the door for when people arrive to have them give to Dino the right way to handle our situation?
Hello Brock, For deaf dogs I often suggest teaching them to look at you when you vibrate a remote vibration collar. You can use a vibration collar with multiple levels, find the level he responds to best without overwhelming him. Vibrate the collar briefly, then give a treat. Repeat this over and over every day during training sessions until he starts to look at you when he feels the collar and his body language is happy and relaxed because he is expecting a reward. When he is responding well during training sessions, randomly vibrate the collar throughout the day and toss him a treat whenever he looks at you. If he comes over to you, also give a treat. During training, teach hand signals, including "Watch Me" - pointing at your eye, "Say Hi" - motioning toward someone, "Settle" - motioning toward the ground, "Out" - pointing out of the room (Out means leave the area), "Quiet" - finger to lips, ect...When there is a guest, vibrate the collar, reward him when he looks at you, then give him a hand signal to tell him how to respond to the guest and reward him when he obeys your hand signal. You can also teach a hand signal that means good boy or Yes! Or give a pat when he does well if he likes physical affection - only pet while he is doing well though because you don't want to communicate that aggression is okay. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Mantra is a friendly dog. Not aggressive in any way. Sometimes she get aggressive with other dogs around but do attack them if they charge first or sense danger. But in the case of human, all she do is bark them when she sense something odd, but while barking she don't look so aggressive to attack. Because while barking at them, she do dress backward and forward like his scared of them.
I think this is wrong, she shouldn't fear at all, she ought to charge at them angrily
Hello Oluwatosin, At six months of age I wouldn't trust her to be able to tell who is a danger and who is not, she is in need of a lot more socialization before you can expect her to have the confidence needed to relax around most people and stand her ground in a truly dangerous situation. The best protection dogs are extremely well socialized, calm, tolerant of normal behavior, and generally extremely comfortable around people and not aggressive. Because they have learned what normal human behavior is and are not overly suspicious of people in general, when something is abnormal and there really is a threat or they are told to act protective, then they can tell that something is wrong, and have the confidence to stand their ground - the ability to stand their ground is related to socialization but also to genetics. Certain breeds and certain temperaments within a breed make a dog a good candidate for handling hard situations without fear. A lot of dogs don't make the cut in police work, schlutzhund training, and good protection training because they simply are not born with the drive for it. Socialize her really well, train her to an off leash level, and if she has the genetics to be able to be protective when needed, then she should be able to hold her ground if needed. Puppies at 6 months are still pretty spooky and their barking and and growling is not the type of protective aggressiveness you want to encourage. Instead encourage focus on you, calmness, and expose her to a ton of different types of people in a calm way. Most protective instincts that are balanced and under your direction increase at 1-2 years. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Has had Jack 2 months. 1st owner was abusive and dog was kept kenneled without food/ water. 2nd owner was afraid of size (85 lbs) and had anxiety and said he was aggressive with people so I took him. When a stranger comes to my home I would put Jack outside, let the people in, then let Jack in and let him get a treat.No problem. When Jack is out with me he has barked but never attacked and is fine with people petting him. Today my husband let a stranger in and Jack was inside. Jack lunged at and barked at stranger. I stopped Jack but I feel like it is a set back and it was not Jacks, but my husbands fault, for not following protocol! What do you think and is there a better way for Jack to get through this? I am also taking Jack to the vet next week! Thanks
Hello Melynda, There is definitely a need for careful management so any protocol that works well needs to be carefully followed BUT the issue is probably a bit more than just that. Because of his history, breed, and lack of socialization he has some underlying issues that probably need to be addressed. Without addressing those things he may be a bit of a ticking time bomb as far as running into a situation where he reacts aggressively. 1. His respect and trust for you probably need to be increased so that he feels like he can depend on you in situations he is unsure of - like whether someone should be in your home or not, and how he should respond. This should be done calmly through obedience, structure, and consistency. The fact that he does well in the managed situations is a good start but probably more work just needs to be done there. 2. He needs to become more comfortable around people in general and learn to associate most people with positive things - this involves the use of rewards but only while he is being calm and tolerant and not while he is in an aggressive state. 3. He specifically needs to practice encountering people on walks and people coming to your home - but this needs to happen in situations that are set up with a trainer with safety measures in place because these scenarios may be the hardest for him - and more dangerous for the people involved. Since I haven't met him I can't say for sure but I suspect his aggression is a combination or territorial behavior or possessiveness combined with a naturally reserved temperament and lack of early socialization, which resulted in some fear aggression and possessiveness. Some of those characteristics are due to genetics and some of them are because of his history - both can be better managed and addressed to show improvement though likely. Obedience commands and structure - don't do these things on your own if he has shown aggression toward you - hire professional help. 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 People Aggression protocol video- notice the back tie for safety (your guest should never be put at risk. Only train with the correct safety protocols to keep everyone involved safe. https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Our kelpie is very aggressive towards anyone that comes in our yard. She growls, barks, jumps up and sometimes lunges towards the visitor and mouths their arm. Whenever we get a visitor we immediately put her on her leash. Is this causing more stress on her? She also gets in silly moods when the kids play with her and then jumps at the kids and also mouths them. When she is in calm moods and just the family home she is a beautiful loving dog who loves cuddles. We are just worried about what might happen if she keeps being aggressive towards visitors. Please help!
Hello Torie, She absolutely cannot be allowed to attack guests while free so needs to be restrained until she improves while guests are present. A leash can increase frustration but it can also be a good tool for managing and improving aggression when used correctly. If she is aggressive toward guests both on the leash and off the leash, then I would keep her on the leash but spend time working on the aggression itself outside of visits by guests also. How you handle her while she is on the leash is important. Are you tense, worried, or angry (it's hard not to be around a reactive dog). If you tend to get really tense while holding the leash, then she will notice it and probably take that as a sign that she should be tense and ready for a fight too. You will want to practice being firm but calm - confident, or using a back tie lead attached to something other than yourself during training. First, I suggest working on building her respect and trust toward you. The commands listed below are some good commands to practice to build respect and trust through structure: 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 Second, I would have a trainer evaluate the aggression. Is there fear or a lack of socialization around people that's leading to her aggression. Is she fine with people fear-wise but acting territorial or possessive of something or someone? What is her relationship with you and responsiveness to you like? Doing a protocol like the one from the video linked below with strangers can help if there is fear or a bad association with people - notice the back tie on the dog and the tape line for people to stand behind to keep everyone safe while training. Also, notice the rewards are only give while the dog is calm and not while he is acting aggressive, and the use of fair corrections that are timed just right from a safe distance: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A If the behavior is possessiveness, then respect and trust for you need to be built, and depending on what she is acting possessive of, the possessiveness addressed. If the behavior is territorial, she needs to respect and trust you well, then you need to have a high level of obedience on her so that you can tell her when someone is alright and call her to yourself and she will listen and relax. Territorial behavior is genetic so the tendency toward it doesn't completely go away but it can be managed with the right training in most cases and the dog can become less sensitive to people coming over to your home. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I let strangers (strangers to him of course) into my home, I put Doug our in my bedroom and wait until everyone is sitting down and relaxed, then I proceed to let him out. He reacts well with the strangers but once they stand up, he tries to nip their hands or butt.
Hello Megan, It sounds like the issue may be partially respect and trust in you. You want him to feel like you are in charge and handling situations and it's not his job to do so. Respect and trust should be earned through a lot of structure, clear boundaries, obedience, consistency, and exercises that teach him calmness, such as staying on Place command. When guests are present I would suggest having him stay in Place unless he is given permission to say hi. If I had to guess, I would guess he is a bit pushy with guests while they are seated, then when they move he is trying to control them using his mouth. You want him focused on you, calm, and not in a position where he is making his own poor choices. Since I am not there to see him in person the above is only an educated guess, the issue could also be excitement and arousal if he seems playful when he does the behavior. To work on respect, the commands listed below are good to practice. I would hire a trainer like the trainers from the videos linked below, who specialize in aggression and reactivity and problem behaviors, and have had a lot of previous success working with such dogs. You need someone who can safely set up training scenarios with "guests" - i.e. the training staff, coming to your home and carefully practicing the training around them in real time after you have done training to increase his respect and trust for you, and he has learned commands like Place really well around distractions. Depending on his reactions, a back tie leash or basket muzzle may be needed to safely practice. 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 Respect and listening article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you If he has ever shown any form of aggression toward you, wait until you have hired a very experienced trained before you work on building respect and trust too. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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So my dog milo was bit by a yorkie when he was younger. After that he was fine, he doesn’t like other dogs sometimes when they lunge at him. But now when we take him for walks sometimes he’ll be fine with strangers walking by him but other times he’ll lunge at them and bark. Or like today where he nipped a strangers pants and started barking at him. I don’t know what I should do. Help!