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Old 05-05-2009, 09:58 AM
 
6 posts, read 23,245 times
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My 5 month old Mini Schnauzer, Buzz, is behaving dog aggressive - this began about 3 weeks ago or less. We have two, the other being his Mom (2 years old). At home he's a great puppy and doing well with commands and house training. He was neutered about 3 weeks ago.

I've been leash training the two of them to not pull and walk well together. About two weeks ago he began to lunge and bark when he even heard other dogs from behind their fences. Kids, moving objects, etc. excite him, which then transfers to his Mom. The lunging and barking at other dogs starts as soon as he sees them on the street. I started with a choke collar but could see that he would pull anyway and it could possibly cause damage - I discontinued the use of the collar for that reason.

Last week I went to a Schnauzer "meet up" at a local dog park, realizing he needs more socialization. I unleashed him but he took the bad behavior to another step and became physical with the other dogs. I leashed him back and forced both of them to sit and relax. Maggie will growl and move forward, but for the most part she likes other dogs and will play and socialize when off leash.

Two weeks ago I watched my brothers' two big dogs at my house - they are happy well socialized dogs and even in my yard and house there were very few issues. Buzz behaved as one of the pack and was happy to submit. However, this weekend they came over and Maggie and Buzz's attitude was changed - they began barking and lunging whenever the dogs approached them. We were in the front yard and needed to leash my two because they aren't to be trusted yet in the front yard. My brothers's dogs were not leashed and are well behaved.

Then yesterday I brought my two Mini's to a dog agility park in a fenced 10 acre property. Included were a friends' Mini, my brother's 2 dogs, and another friends' 1 year old pair of hound dogs, both males.

At first the dogs all ran the property as a pack and for the most part there were no incidents. However, my Maggie would growl and lunge a bit at the younger 1 y/o hounds and the other schnauzer when they got too close to them or us. Buzz would then go into overdrive, nipping at the dogs hindquarters with his teeth when the other dogs reacted to Maggie. Several of the humans were acting horrified that our dogs would behave this way, but nobody did anything to control their own dogs poor social skills - the younger dogs would move straight for them at close range, not attempting to smell or any of the usual calming signals. When Buzz or Maggie would behave this way and not sit and relax, my husband took matters into his own hands and forced my dogs to submit until they relaxed.

It is important that my animals be able to socialize without being territorial. They were often friendly and able to walk off leash most of the time at the agility park. It was when we were gathered and visiting with the humans that these issues took place.

Is this aggression intensifying? My husband doesn't feel we need to hire a trainer and would like to do the work ourselves. Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Cat
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Tropical state of mind
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Quote:
Is this aggression intensifying? My husband doesn't feel we need to hire a trainer and would like to do the work ourselves. Any thoughts?
How much experience do you and your husband have training an aggressive dog? If not that much, I'd say get a trainer. Your dog is still young and can be easily socialized and trained if done properly.
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:27 AM
 
82 posts, read 225,746 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mizcathi View Post
My 5 month old Mini Schnauzer, Buzz, is behaving dog aggressive - this began about 3 weeks ago or less. We have two, the other being his Mom (2 years old). At home he's a great puppy and doing well with commands and house training. He was neutered about 3 weeks ago.

I've been leash training the two of them to not pull and walk well together. About two weeks ago he began to lunge and bark when he even heard other dogs from behind their fences. Kids, moving objects, etc. excite him, which then transfers to his Mom. The lunging and barking at other dogs starts as soon as he sees them on the street. I started with a choke collar but could see that he would pull anyway and it could possibly cause damage - I discontinued the use of the collar for that reason.

Last week I went to a Schnauzer "meet up" at a local dog park, realizing he needs more socialization. I unleashed him but he took the bad behavior to another step and became physical with the other dogs. I leashed him back and forced both of them to sit and relax. Maggie will growl and move forward, but for the most part she likes other dogs and will play and socialize when off leash.

Two weeks ago I watched my brothers' two big dogs at my house - they are happy well socialized dogs and even in my yard and house there were very few issues. Buzz behaved as one of the pack and was happy to submit. However, this weekend they came over and Maggie and Buzz's attitude was changed - they began barking and lunging whenever the dogs approached them. We were in the front yard and needed to leash my two because they aren't to be trusted yet in the front yard. My brothers's dogs were not leashed and are well behaved.

Then yesterday I brought my two Mini's to a dog agility park in a fenced 10 acre property. Included were a friends' Mini, my brother's 2 dogs, and another friends' 1 year old pair of hound dogs, both males.

At first the dogs all ran the property as a pack and for the most part there were no incidents. However, my Maggie would growl and lunge a bit at the younger 1 y/o hounds and the other schnauzer when they got too close to them or us. Buzz would then go into overdrive, nipping at the dogs hindquarters with his teeth when the other dogs reacted to Maggie. Several of the humans were acting horrified that our dogs would behave this way, but nobody did anything to control their own dogs poor social skills - the younger dogs would move straight for them at close range, not attempting to smell or any of the usual calming signals. When Buzz or Maggie would behave this way and not sit and relax, my husband took matters into his own hands and forced my dogs to submit until they relaxed.

It is important that my animals be able to socialize without being territorial. They were often friendly and able to walk off leash most of the time at the agility park. It was when we were gathered and visiting with the humans that these issues took place.

Is this aggression intensifying? My husband doesn't feel we need to hire a trainer and would like to do the work ourselves. Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Cat
I would definatey get a behaviorist. Your husband is too emotionally charged and the aggression could escalate very quickly. Schnauzers have a very high prey drive and tend to "catch" things that move quickly. They shouldn't be delt with a rough hand or they can rebel.

Here's an interesting article about using alppha roll overs..submission.

ClickerSolutions Training Articles -- The History and Misconceptions of Dominance Theory
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Old 05-05-2009, 01:27 PM
 
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For what it's worth: I don't see this as an aggression issue. The use of the word "aggression" in this case, to me, is totally incorrect.

I see this as a fear-based issue that has to do with a) age and development level of the younger dog and b) a learned reactivity that began with a lead issue, was escalated due the use of a choke chain, and is being "fed" by older dog, and further made worse through mismanagement (i.e there is no way in hell Buzz should be put in the situations he's been put in recently).

First things first: immediately cease and desist from walking both dogs together. You are not doing either one any favours.

Secondly, realise and appreciate that the younger dog is seriously stressed being around other dogs. If you continue to "socialise" him in this way... well, it's not going to be a happy place for the dog to be.

To me - the age and development level of the pup is crucial. I hate to do this but I will - I'm going to use a human emotional analogy: this is the classic "bully with low self-confidence" scenario where the best defense is a good offense.

You talk about calming signals .... but yet you call this aggression. I'm sorry if this is not going to sound very polite - but I think you've missed some of the key points of any proponent of that school of thought. I think you really need to go back and reread whatever it is that you've been reading.

Use of a choke chain was - again, sorry - a bad choice. It raised the stakes for the dog from just fear to fear + pain/physical discomfort. The stakes were further raised by allowing him in a confined space where NO good could possibly come of it as it was not a managed situation - so what did he learn? He learnt that being around other dogs is a seriously unpleasant experience - he was scared, so he went on the offensive.

A behaviourist (not a trainer - some are both, but most are not) can be called in but I also think - again, due to his age - this isn't an insurmountable problem. It's just a question of PROPERLY desensitizing the dog to being around other dogs and allowing the dog to re-learn how to be around other dogs.

The older dog - for reasons that might remain a mystery - has decided to pick up and follow the cues of the younger. Therefore, until you get to a place were they BOTH can comfortably ignore being barked at or seeing other dogs or whatever it might be, you need to exercise them separately.

If you're committed to helping the dog readjust - and it's far from impossible - it can be done but it will require a 100 + 10% commitment from you and your husband to use responsible training methods and techniques (i.e. NO manhandling).
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:25 PM
 
6 posts, read 23,245 times
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Default Appreciate the direct response

Fivehorses -
I appreciate your direct response and will take it to heart. I am getting so much differing advice that I definitely questioning myself. Dog park or no dog park? Socialize with friend's dogs, or not? Walking together, or not?

And I actually think I'm pretty smart! Hah. Well, I've been reading everything I can get my hands on... The Dog Whisperer. It's Me or the Dog... websites. You name it I've probably read it.

I have already thrown the choke collar away and will not use it again.

Also, I've decided to work with Buzz one on one and walk him alone. His Momma is a wonderful dog, but she too has regressed. The two of them together pick up on one another's energy and it's not good when introducing to new situations.

My husband means well but I will take the lead in this situation.

If you have any suggestions on where I should start, I'd appreciate your input... bet you didn't expect that!

Thanks,
Cat
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Some place very cold
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My friend's beagle (now gone) used to act terrible around other dogs. She would put up with it, however, when I took care of the dog, I did not, and the behavior subsided. I think it would help you to get a trainer, because obviously, the behavior is getting worse.
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Santa Barbara CA
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I would work with them alone until they can be calm around other dogs. many years ago Jazz and I saw a behaviourist for similar reasons. The first visit I took both dogs and he noticed that when they heard a dog pass by the door it was Dash that reacted first with a couple barks then Jazz flew at the door barking and growling and Dash barked to show his support. Dash on his own loves to be with other dogs and gets along great with them but put him with Jazz and he will act up and encourage and at times even jump in if there is a fight.

He said they were like two college kids out drinking and that Dash was the one saying " come on you can do it keep drinking, I know you can do it" until the other passes out drunk. In other words she has the issues but Dash encourages her.

I would say watch out for " dog trainers" as if this is a fear based issue which is part of Jazz's case almost everything they will tell you is wrong and may increase the stress level and make the problem worse. I did go to trainers first and I did not like the things they told me to try as Jazz was a shy dog and the one thing she really trusted was me. Now if I had done an alpha roll like so many suggested , the next time she saw a dog she would not only be anxious about it but anxious that I would go crazy again and do that too her again. Alot of the things trainers told me to try just seemed on the cruel side and not a good ideal for a fear based issue.

I found the money I spent on the behaviourist ( who happened to be a vet that also had a PHD in Behavior) money well spent. We did not use any drugs as he felt there was no danger of me giving her up no matter how long it took to improve things.

Jazz can get along with other dogs very well but introducing a new dog to her is always tricky as we were only able to get so far since it is a fear based issue combined with a territorial issue.I got her at 12 weeks and noticed she was afraid of dogs so we did puppy classes, she went to doggie day care and played at the dog park and did well with most dogs and avoided the ones she did not like. So yes she was socialized.

When I adopted Dash she was 2 and the problem then blew up don't know if she was afraid other dogs would hurt Dash or if like every thing else he now belonged to her and she was not going to share. She is a Cattle dogX border collie and despite being shy she is boss so other dogs must play by her rules or she will enforce them. She also feels that everything belongs to her when it comes to dealing with other dogs. The two breeds were bred to be in control so yes she is a total control freak. It is a rather dangerous combo a control freak who has years of genetics saying take control mixed with a coward.


During that first year when I got her to a point she was fine having an unknown dog approach her she got jumped by a dog that leaped out of a truck, that caused a back slide and when I got her to that point again one of the other dogs at agility attacked her and it was impossible to get her 100% past that so I have learned to deal with her. She is 13 now . We quit taking her to dog parks or allowing her off leash if there are any dogs she does not know around.

Sometimes the problems are genetic based and of a dual nature like my control freak coward and you many never get total control of the issue. The things that have helped me are having a solid recall, a solid down at a distance and a solid leave it. Do I have any regrets about keeping Jazz?Heck no as she is a fantastic dog and is actually my once in a life time dog despite these issues. I have had to learn alot about Behavior thanks to her and at the park when there is an aggressive display between two dogs I am one of the few people that can stay calm and know if it is something that the dogs should be allowed to work out or if a human needs to step in.( my other two do go to the dog park and love it).

I aslo sort of seperate this issue from true aggression as to me a true aggressive dog is out to do harm and will do so before you have time to react. These dogs are useing aggressive behaviors to say get away or leave me alone and usually do not cause injury to the other dog. Over the past 13 years Jazz has been in some fights that LOOK and Sound terrifying but she like most dogs has a very inhibited bite and there are no injuries. Good luck and unless you do understand behavior you do need help as it is very possible to make the problem worst.
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Old 05-06-2009, 03:41 PM
 
Location: Some place very cold
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I agree with Dash, you have to work with the dog alone. When I would walk my friend's beagle with other dogs, the beagle's barking at strange dogs would set off the other dogs in the pack and complete chaos would ensue. Years ago, I had my hands full. I walked the beagle, a blind coon hound, and two other dogs, including my own. We'd spot someone quietly walking their dog out in the field (as they had every right, too.) The beagle would go ape, barking, lurching, and so on. This would in turn set off the blind coon hound (which I often referred to my friend as her retarded son, because she loved him in a way that only a mother could) and then my dog would follow suit. It was complete and utter mayhem. You could literally hear me cursing from miles aways as those two hounds dragged me down the hill into the fields. I would get so mad! I looked like one of those horrible women who couldn't control her dogs. Well, they were not my dogs! Only one of them was!

Anyhow, the beagle was the last of all of them to go. She finally passed away of nasal cancer a few months ago. Her ashes are somewhere around the house, probably under my friend's bed with other the other urns of dog remains. My dog is buried near the bottom of the hill next to a stream. R.I.P.
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Old 05-06-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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FWIW - I don't hold with either The Dog Whisperer or Ms. Sitwell.

Have a read:
Help with training your deaf dog from Barry Eaton

Here's a helpful position paper on the effects of punishment.

http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Position_Statements/punishment%20guidelines-aversives%20effects-definitions.pdf (broken link)

And if you search this website, you'll find all sorts of helpful articles.

Leash Aggression | Dog Star Daily

(I know your dog isn't deaf, but Barry Eaton's article applies to hearing dogs too.)
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Old 05-06-2009, 04:47 PM
 
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This is great advice - thanks so much! I've read literally dozens of web sites with differing tactics, so I knew to hire a trainer I wouldn't necessarily find the proper solution - therefore I decided that the slow/positive reinforcement approach would be preferable for us. That much I knew! Buzz is really such an adorable schnauzer - I think his Mom eggs him on and he simply hasn't learned that she's really a sweetheart making a fuss. My husband jokingly refers to them as his "natural born killers". Wow, they are cute together, though!

I guess right now I need to do the walks separately and maybe skip the gym while my kids are in training! LOL

Again, THANKS!
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