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Old 11-01-2009, 05:48 AM
 
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We've had our Min Pin (Halley) since the summer. She's about 4-5 months old now. When we got her she was only 2 lbs. Now, she's 10 lbs. She used to have a good time with the small dog next door (Autumn). Autumn was much bigger than Halley back then, now, they're almost the same size.

Halley spends a lot of time with big dogs at the aquaduct behind our house. She's fine with them. But, in the last month or so, when ever she comes across a dog her own size or slightly bigger (none are ever smaller than she is), she gets aggressive. She growls, bites, and is a real pain in the arse.

I suspect this is a matter of dominance. We've had her in training classes from the beginning, puppy day care, and have taken time to introduce her to new situations, people, dogs, etc. I don't know what else to do, though. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-01-2009, 06:29 AM
 
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Many small dogs aren't good with larger dogs. It takes a LOT of training to get this under control.

If you have a friend with a big dog you can work with, it'll be easier. First, you need to find the distance at which your dog alerts to the larger dog. Watch your dog carefully to find this 'alert distance' while you're working with your friend with the large dog. DO NOT go closer than the alert distance in the beginning. Stay back, within your dog's comfort zone. Arm yourself with a LOT of high-value treats (chicken, cheese, steak - and the pieces can be really tiny!). As you get to the alert distance start treating while your dog is calm. When that's working well (and this can take a while- like a week or two!) then go a TINY bit past the alert distance. As long as your dog is calm, keep treating. If your dog gets upset, you've gone too fast and need to go back.

Keep working on decreasing the alert distance VERY SLOWLY with LOTS of excellent treats (you might want to skip your dog's meal before doing this to keep her attention). It's a process.

Another thing to do is train 'look at me!' If you've used clicker training, this is REALLY easy. Every time your dog looks at you, click and treat. After she starts throwing 'looks' at you, start the verbal command, 'look at me!' and then click and treat. If you've not used clicker training, then bring a treat to your face, saying 'Look at me!' and when she gives you eye contact, say 'good girl!' and treat. Gradually LOSE the treat, still using the motion with your hand to get her attention and then fading the use of the hand...

Again, this will take a LOT of time. Your dog is likely fearful of larger dogs and it takes a LOT to overcome this innate fear.
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Old 11-01-2009, 06:46 AM
 
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Hi Viralmd,

Thanks for responding, but it's not large dogs she has issues with, but small dogs (her size or slighly larger).

IRT "look at me" training- I did start doing that months ago, and then dropped the ball. Actually, I forgot about it. That may be a good thing to try when she starts getting aggressive with small dogs.
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Old 11-01-2009, 06:53 AM
 
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If it's not larger dogs, then work with someone who has a dog that provokes yours. Just adapt the size of the dog.
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Old 11-01-2009, 06:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viralmd View Post
If it's not larger dogs, then work with someone who has a dog that provokes yours. Just adapt the size of the dog.
I've been thinking about finding a meet up that has small dogs. I don't think my neighbor would be willing, unfortunately.

Another thing was when we first got her she would mount one of her toys quite often. The vet said in was her attempt at dominance. She's attempted to do it to me a few times, and I scold her when she tries. In the end, I think she's sick of always being the smallest in the pack, and takes any opportunity to reign over another. She can't do that with the dogs she normally hangs out with. At least I don't have to worry about her having the common problem little dogs have with big dogs!
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:32 AM
 
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I don't think going to a small dog run is a good idea. You run a couple of risks: your dog COULD really injure one or more of the dogs. OR you dog could be overwhelmed (a horrible technique used by some dog trainers called 'flooding' where the dog is confronted by constant and overpowering adversive stimuli) and could shut down and be more fearful than ever.

I think if you're really concerned you might want to find a trainer who uses ONLY positive methods (and NO flooding) to help you. ALWAYS ask a trainer about the methods he/she uses. There should be NO 'corrections,' no yanking on the leash and certainly NO alpha rolls.

And, I hate to say this, but dogs mounting each other is how they PLAY. It has nothing to do with dominance.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Viralmd View Post
And, I hate to say this, but dogs mounting each other is how they PLAY. It has nothing to do with dominance.
Huh, is this the case with toys as well?

I took her into puppy day care this morning and watched her for about 45 minutes with one of the workers. Most of the dogs today are her size, which is is rare. When she initially joined the group her and a small boxer starting going at it. They didn't bite eachother, but were pretty rough. The boxer is much older than her and didn't back down. I was initially concerned but they eventually worked it out. The woman I was standing with didn't think it was a big deal.

When she goes to day day care during the week (about 1-2 times a week), she has 'boyfriend' rat terrier. They have a ball together. I wonder if it's a gender thing. She's not spayed yet, but will be next month. It will be interesting to see if that changes some of her recent behavior.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:54 AM
 
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It may well be because she's a female. MANY, MANY female dogs don't get on at ALL with other females. EVER. But they're fine with males.

We anthropomorphize mounting behavior: because it's a 'dominance' phenomenon in many PEOPLE'S minds with HUMAN intercourse, we generalize to dogs. It's NOT that way in dogs. It's really how they play.

I highly recommend reading, 'The Other End of the Leash' by Patricia McConnell - a truly wonderful book on canine behavior. You'll be fascinated, I promise. Another resource is the website of Turid Rugaas, an internationally known dog behaviorist: Turid Rugaas - Calming Signals Community
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:03 AM
 
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Great, Vrialmd. I'll check that out. There's a Barnes and Noble (sp?) right next to her puppy daycare, so I'll look for it when I pick her up this afternoon.

Any way, while my puppy is a handful, I miss her when she's away!
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Old 07-31-2011, 03:58 PM
 
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Thyroid levels should be checked in any dog with newly appearing aggressive behavior.

Puppies (and adult dogs) need plenty of exercise. Sometimes, unwanted behavior is connected to frustration. Having a yard is not the same as going for a walk, nor does it replace walking the dog.

Puppies and dogs mount for two reasons: dominance and mating. Period. When they do it as puppies, it is for dominace purposes and females will mount for this purpose, too. Yes, it can be playful but it is a dominate behavior. Intact dogs do it to mate. Spayed and neutered dogs do it for dominance.

Btw, dogs "alpha roll" one another when one steps out of line. It is not a physical correction. It is a psychological correction. Done correctly, it should NEVER hurt or cause physical injury. It is meant to create submission between the sub-member and pack leader. Mothers correct their puppies and so it goes.

Last edited by LuvABull.Denver; 07-31-2011 at 04:08 PM.. Reason: Needed to finish the thought...
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