Dog aggression

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InBearsMemory
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Re:

Postby InBearsMemory » Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:37 am

Sorry folks if my post came across wrong but I was under the impression that we were talking about the genetic disposition to dog aggression and not dog aggression based on an unstable mind such as fear based dog aggression. I agree with what has been posted in regards to the later.

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Postby Bustersmama » Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:10 am

You got some good, realistic and encouraging words.

DA is a reality of the breed, but no one can ever really say they will be able to deal with it until its in your face, IMO. Its life changing, but like with most other life changing events, we adjust. Sometimes when I bring new people into my house, its overwhelming for them to see the gates, tie downs and learn "the rules" - but they adjust - or get out, lol! Mistakes happen, you learn from mistakes, but with DA - its better you try to do all your learning and planning before a mistake happens for obvious reasons. The best advice I can give is be prepared. Break sticks on hand, check your hardware, and do lots of double checking till its just in your nature. Oh, and dont forget to see the eye doctor for the eyes on the back of your head and ass annually!

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Postby WackyJacki » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:24 am

Is it possible for a dog to be both fear-aggressive and just plain genetic DA?

Stella showed DA at 12 weeks... but I highly doubt it was genetics. The behaviorist we work with thinks it's, at least in part, fear based. She is not a confident dog, and would rather the other dog go away.

At the same time, she sometimes seems to be just plain DA. :dunno:

I don't mean to take this post OT, but I'm wondering, how would a fear-based DA dog differ in behavior then one who is just plain genetically DA?

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Postby Finnigan » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:44 am

WackyJacki wrote:

I don't mean to take this post OT, but I'm wondering, how would a fear-based DA dog differ in behavior then one who is just plain genetically DA?


Fear aggression = acting out of self preservation

versus aggression based on 'act of intent' or in some cases, as naturally as wagging the tail.

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Postby Bustersmama » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:45 am

In my (little) experience, it seems that the FearBased DA in dogs is more of a big "show' then the ones who are genetically prone to DA. There is a lot of barking, lunging, stink eye, etc with the fear based dogs.

I know Bubba is DA to the max, and he doesn't lunge, bark, growl or really have any type of display. he just goes for it. I can see him change, but I doubt others who lack experience would be able to see him shift to "kill" mode. Bubba goes as far as even "playing" with dogs he cannot reach, like play bows, low and slow tail wagging, circling, etc. But its like he cannot handle being in close proximity to a dog for long, and its just like they say, a switch is flipped and its on.

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Postby WackyJacki » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:55 am

Finnigan wrote:
WackyJacki wrote:

I don't mean to take this post OT, but I'm wondering, how would a fear-based DA dog differ in behavior then one who is just plain genetically DA?


Fear aggression = acting out of self preservation

versus aggression based on 'act of intent' or in some cases, as naturally as wagging the tail.


Oh I definitely understand the "whys" behind it, I'm curious about the actual behavior i.e. barking/lunging/snarling vs no display just going for it.

Does a "truly" DA dog put on a display that would actually deter dogs from getting too close?

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InBearsMemory
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Re:

Postby InBearsMemory » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:56 am

Bustersmama wrote:In my (little) experience, it seems that the FearBased DA in dogs is more of a big "show' then the ones who are genetically prone to DA. There is a lot of barking, lunging, stink eye, etc with the fear based dogs.

I know Bubba is DA to the max, and he doesn't lunge, bark, growl or really have any type of display. he just goes for it. I can see him change, but I doubt others who lack experience would be able to see him shift to "kill" mode. Bubba goes as far as even "playing" with dogs he cannot reach, like play bows, low and slow tail wagging, circling, etc. But its like he cannot handle being in close proximity to a dog for long, and its just like they say, a switch is flipped and its on.


Good point. That has been my experience as well, though not with my own dogs. I've seen a lot of barking, growling and lunging in the fear based DA dogs as well. My girl, even though not extremely DA (more selective it seems) just goes for it. There's no sound, no stiffening, nothing.

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Postby WackyJacki » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:01 am

Bustersmama wrote:In my (little) experience, it seems that the FearBased DA in dogs is more of a big "show' then the ones who are genetically prone to DA. There is a lot of barking, lunging, stink eye, etc with the fear based dogs.

I know Bubba is DA to the max, and he doesn't lunge, bark, growl or really have any type of display. he just goes for it. I can see him change, but I doubt others who lack experience would be able to see him shift to "kill" mode. Bubba goes as far as even "playing" with dogs he cannot reach, like play bows, low and slow tail wagging, circling, etc. But its like he cannot handle being in close proximity to a dog for long, and its just like they say, a switch is flipped and its on.


Ok this is what my understanding was of the differences also.

Stella puts on a huge display of barking/lunging/snarling/hackles raised, etc. She looks and sounds like she would prefer that the dog go away. However, if the dog gets close enough (which I unfortunately had the displeasure of witnessing once), she will go for it full force.

She never, ever acts like she wants to play, or acts indifferent. She always puts on a display. I would think a truly confident, DA dog wouldn't do this. I (and our behaviorist) believe she is just extremely uncomfortable around other dogs.

At the same time, she is a bully breed mix, so I realize that there is probably also a genetic component there too, and no matter how much training we do, and how far she comes, I will never trust her with other dogs, ever.

When it comes to my other dog and my Mom's dog though, she is the "submissive" one of the bunch, bottom of the totem poll. My Boston and my Mom's Pug rule the roost, and she never gets nasty with them, even when they've gotten snarly at her. :dunno:

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Postby Finnigan » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:24 am

Truly fear aggressive dogs will put on a display in hopes of deterring a dog from getting closer-however if the dog comes close anyway, they will fight with ferocity.

The most dangerous form of fighting behavior is motivated by fear.

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Postby Stormi » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:43 am

WackyJacki wrote:Is it possible for a dog to be both fear-aggressive and just plain genetic DA?



Absolutely.

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Postby WackyJacki » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:48 am

Well it looks like I have the best of both worlds on my hands lol

Although I am glad that my dog makes her intentions VERY clear. There's no subtlety. I suppose I'd rather have that then a dog who can put on a good "act", then go for it. :dunno:

<sigh>

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Postby Amie » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:56 am

I suspect (though I can't really prove) that a dog who is mildly GDA, but then has a bad experience, would turn to a much more severe DA with great ease.

Oscar, for example, is pretty easy going with other animals, dogs, cats, and people. (He would really like to eat a horse, but that's neither here nor there.) However, when he was younger, he was bitten by a cocker and a toy poodle, and now he is about 50x more likely to be excited by a small dog than a dog of his size or bigger.

With most dogs he is that true confident where they pretty much don't start anything with him, he's quick to smack them down when they do, and quick to move on and be fine again a second later. With little dogs, he has a MUCH harder time focussing and cannot remain calm.

So I suspect that the Fear-based Dog Aggression can light a fuse for Genetic Dog Aggression, and make what was something mild, worse.

That is to say, I do think experiences count a lot, and that anyone with a bully breed needs to think of their dog as mildly GDA even if they believe them to be cold as ice, and try to keep all their experiences as positive as possible.


(that felt very odd and rambling - sorry, I'm at work.)

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Postby WackyJacki » Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:19 pm

Amie wrote:I suspect (though I can't really prove) that a dog who is mildly GDA, but then has a bad experience, would turn to a much more severe DA with great ease.

So I suspect that the Fear-based Dog Aggression can light a fuse for Genetic Dog Aggression, and make what was something mild, worse.

That is to say, I do think experiences count a lot, and that anyone with a bully breed needs to think of their dog as mildly GDA even if they believe them to be cold as ice, and try to keep all their experiences as positive as possible.


I totally agree here, and I suspect this is the case with my dog.

She is fearful and not very confident. She was almost certainly under socialized during those first 12 weeks of life (a really nasty BYB situation). Mix those early experiences with genetics, and a real mess is created.

Since I've had her she's never, ever been able to "meet" a dog larger then 25lbs or so. Not once. And she only gets along with a few smaller dogs. That's it. So did she have a bad experience with larger dogs in those first 12 weeks? I don't know.

All I know is, my poor dog is a genetic mess (I think her fear is not just based on experiences, or lack of, but also on poor genetics, because she is fearful of new people too). :frown:

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Re:

Postby 1lila1 » Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:34 pm

InBearsMemory wrote:I was under the impression that we were talking about the genetic disposition to dog aggression and not dog aggression based on an unstable mind such as fear based dog aggression.


Is there a difference? A lot of anxiety is genetic and dogs will show that anxiety in different ways. Some cower and avoid but some have the "I'm gonna get you before you get me" attitude. Lila falls in the latter category. Her DA is definitely based on fear and anxiety but she's never been one to avoid a confrontation or cower in the corner. She will show conflict avoidance behaviors now after working with her but at the height of her DA she didn't.

I've always wondered exactly what emotions motivated pit bulls to be DA. It seems the creators of the breed weren't exactly taking dog behavior or ethology into account. I would assume they didnt' care what motivated the fighting so long as the dog fought and fought hard. Is it just a general dislike of other dogs or could their fight drive be more complicated than that? It's an interesting question.

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Re:

Postby WackyJacki » Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:45 pm

1lila1 wrote:
InBearsMemory wrote:I was under the impression that we were talking about the genetic disposition to dog aggression and not dog aggression based on an unstable mind such as fear based dog aggression.


Is there a difference? A lot of anxiety is genetic and dogs will show that anxiety in different ways. Some cower and avoid but some have the "I'm gonna get you before you get me" attitude. Lila falls in the latter category. Her DA is definitely based on fear and anxiety but she's never been one to avoid a confrontation or cower in the corner. She will show conflict avoidance behaviors now after working with her but at the height of her DA she didn't.

I've always wondered exactly what emotions motivated pit bulls to be DA. It seems the creators of the breed weren't exactly taking dog behavior or ethology into account. I would assume they didnt' care what motivated the fighting so long as the dog fought and fought hard. Is it just a general dislike of other dogs or could their fight drive be more complicated than that? It's an interesting question.


Stella sounds similar to your girl.

It's a very interesting subject, pit bulls and DA. Dogs by nature are very social creatures. That doesn't mean that they would necessarily be social towards a strange dog of course, but nonetheless, they are pack animals. This is a very strong, ingrained instinct.

So what instincts are going on when a dog is genetically dog aggressive (I mean one who was heavily socialized, no bad experiences, etc, but wants to kill other dogs that are NOT threatening in any way)? I wouldn't call it prey drive, because most dogs, regardless of breed, have at least some prey drive, but that doesn't mean they want to go after other dogs.

What is going on in those doggy brains?? lol


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