Dealing with aggression in the city

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anashenwrath
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Dealing with aggression in the city

Postby anashenwrath » Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:15 pm

I read the sticky about dog aggressiveness, and I think Scylla's behavior is learned, stemming from when she was attacked in a dog park years ago (way before I was in the picture). Since then, she's gotten worse and worse around other dogs. And, a few years back (also before I was in the picture), she broke her leash and attacked a neighbor terrier who was off-leash and running up to harrass her. Luckily, he survived, but of course it was traumatizing for everyone involved.

Now, I AM in the picture, and we live in the Bronx. Scylla is at the point where any dog she sees, big or tiny, is treated as a threat. She growls, whines, jumps, and pulls. Here are the strategies we've employed: 1) avoiding the dogs as much as possible. If we see one coming, we cross the street, etc. 2) carrying treats to distract her when she sees another dog. 3) making her come, sit, and maintain eye contact with us before she gets the treat.

She's gotten a lot better, but inevitably, she still gets incredibly anxious when she sees another dog. Sometimes the treats work, sometimes they don't. When she goes nuts, Joe yells to try to get her to obey, but I worry that she's just going to associate that fear with other dogs. I also worry that the treats make her think that her anxiety is ok.

Are we doing this the right way? is there something else we could try? I just hate that this stresses her out so much, and of course my heart freezes when I see someone stupidly walking their dog off-leash near us! I wish we could afford real training, but the one session we did was expensive and, once she got used to the other dog in the training, she was calm around it. It's the strange dogs we meet on the street every walk that get to her.

Thanks everyone, sorry this was so long!

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star_frances
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Re: Dealing with aggression in the city

Postby star_frances » Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:27 pm

My honest recommendation is that you find a qualified trainer who can work with you and your dog using positive training techniques.

http://apdt.com/

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Re: Dealing with aggression in the city

Postby pacopoe » Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:32 pm

Check out the book Click to Calm (google it). It won't solve her dog aggression but it will help her change her emotional response as well as condition her to an alternate behavior when she sees the trigger. Good luck :thumbsup:

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Re: Dealing with aggression in the city

Postby Stormi » Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:42 pm

anashenwrath wrote: When she goes nuts, Joe yells to try to get her to obey, but I worry that she's just going to associate that fear with other dogs. I also worry that the treats make her think that her anxiety is ok.


You are correct that yelling and punishing aren't going to help her anxiety any. Imagine if someone was threatening your life, and then yelling at you to stop freaking out about it. Probably wouldn't make you feel any better about it, would it? Now obviously we know that not all other dogs pose a threat to her, but unfortunately we can't just tell her that. We have to change her association that she's made in the past. Utilizing food won't teach her that "anxiety is ok" (fearful emotional responses aren't reinforceable in an operant sense), but as you've noticed, if she's over her threshold, she's going to be too upset to even think about food. Hince why its extremely important to keep her below her threshold as much as you can while working with her. After a dog has an emotional response, they have adreneline-like chemicals running thru their bloodstream for 3-6 days that can cause them to be a bit "jumpy" and regress in all your hard training.

There's a couple different games I like to play with this. One is the "look at that" game, which teaches the dog that she can acknowledge the other dog's exsistance without fearing for the worst, and then return her attention back to you. There's a fabulous book called "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt that details out exactly how this game works. I know member tiva has written it out on the forum somewhere, too. Are you familiar with clicker training at all? Clicker training can work wonders with this game.
Another handy tool to have is hand targeting (pardon the pun). Hand targeting allows you to be able to literally steer your dog around, and in this case get her thru a situation in which there is another dog present. Hand targeting won't help much to change associations she has with other dogs, but it is a huge helper when you simply need to get outta dodge before things get ugly.

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MarMar
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Re: Dealing with aggression in the city

Postby MarMar » Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:23 pm

I'll add to the list of dog book recommendations: Pam Dennison wrote a book called "How to Right A Dog Gone Wrong" and then, wrote a companion book called "Civilizing the City Dog" which is written expressly for people in your situation...you just can't escape other people and dogs all the time! May I recommend Dogwise.com where you will be able to find all the books recommended (beware! Dogwise is addicting!)

Good luck :D

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Re: Dealing with aggression in the city

Postby FriscoGirl » Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:32 am

some are fight crazy, some are not. You didnt have a proper leash which caused the incident, not your dogs fault. How about just keeping your dog away from other dogs and having a proper collar and leash?

I dont see a problem, you do have a Pit Bull you know and some don't get along with other dogs

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Re: Dealing with aggression in the city

Postby FriscoGirl » Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:35 am

get a real collar and rope lead, these wont break when on your walks and will last the life of your dog most likely

http://obriensk9supply.com/

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anashenwrath
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Re: Dealing with aggression in the city

Postby anashenwrath » Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:24 am

FriscoGirl wrote:some are fight crazy, some are not. You didnt have a proper leash which caused the incident, not your dogs fault. How about just keeping your dog away from other dogs and having a proper collar and leash?

I dont see a problem, you do have a Pit Bull you know and some don't get along with other dogs


The problem is she encounters a lot of dogs in the city and I want to help calm her anxiety. We can't keep her away from other dogs, because there are many many dogs in the neighborhood. As for her history, the leash she snapped was a cable weighted for dogs twice her weight; her regular walking leash/haltie has given us no problems. Also the dog she attacked actually ran up to her and antagonized her first. It was the one off-leash, and we've never once thought it was Scylla's fault.

@everyone else: Thank you so much for the recommendations! Maybe I'll look into training again. And these books sound good too. And it's good to know that the positive reinforcement isn't going to inadvertently reinforce her anxiety.

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anashenwrath
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Re: Dealing with aggression in the city

Postby anashenwrath » Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:27 am

Also, I haven't tried clicker training, but I'll look into it as well. Thanks!

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Re: Dealing with aggression in the city

Postby FriscoGirl » Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:22 pm

l o l ok

if your dog has shown it doesnt like other dogs, you keep the dog away from other dogs, its now your responsibility to keep it away, not train it out of your dog which isnt good enough. Your dog has proven to you, it doesnt want to be social, its no big deal. Do the right thing and keep your dog out of the city if you cant handle your dog or cant except it for not liking other dogs.

dang this forum sometimes, you people need to realize you dont own beagles. Dont let your Pit Bulls around other dogs and the problems are solved, it kills me trying to teach them not liking other dogs is wrong, its also an losing battle and all it wil do is get another dog bit.

Listen to your dog

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Re: Dealing with aggression in the city

Postby FriscoGirl » Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:25 pm

ttn Forum: If you want your Pit Bulls to act like Beagles, you should have got one.

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Re: Dealing with aggression in the city

Postby Leslie H » Sat Nov 20, 2010 7:46 pm

FriscoGirl, there's no one here implying that her dog should be trained to like other dogs. The dog should be able to be trained to have more impulse control, and desensitized to be less anxious, so it doesn't need to go ballistic every time it sees another dog.

FG, do you think the APBT is different than other dogs? Do you think it is untrainable? Do you think it cannot learn the self control we might expect of other breeds? Surely you don't think over the top DA is the sign of a game dog, or even a confident one?

FG, Here's a dog that just earned his Schutzhund III. His brother has his French Ring II (first APBT to earn the title).
http://www.pitbullforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=141632


http://www.apbt.online-pedigrees.com/modules.php?name=Public&file=printPedigree&dog_id=244628

There's other dogs out there, with respectable pedigrees, demonstrating that there are plenty of things this breed can do. I believe you do the APBT a huge injustice when you act as if behaving in a civilized fashion is beyond their ability, or an unreasonable expectation. And again, no one is talking about training out DA, just plain training.

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Re: Dealing with aggression in the city

Postby FBODGRL » Sat Nov 20, 2010 7:52 pm

FriscoGirl wrote:l o l ok

if your dog has shown it doesnt like other dogs, you keep the dog away from other dogs, its now your responsibility to keep it away, not train it out of your dog which isnt good enough. Your dog has proven to you, it doesnt want to be social, its no big deal. Do the right thing and keep your dog out of the city if you cant handle your dog or cant except it for not liking other dogs.

dang this forum sometimes, you people need to realize you dont own beagles. Dont let your Pit Bulls around other dogs and the problems are solved, it kills me trying to teach them not liking other dogs is wrong, its also an losing battle and all it wil do is get another dog bit.

Listen to your dog


Seriously...here's an idea why don't you actually read posts before you comment and realize that the rest of us don't want our dogs lunging at the end of the leash acting a fool like you let your dogs do :aha:

FriscoGirl wrote:ttn Forum: If you want your Pit Bulls to act like Beagles, you should have got one.


See above...why is it whenever someone wants to train their dogs to act more appropriately your response is we shouldn't own pit bulls!

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Re: Dealing with aggression in the city

Postby Red » Sat Nov 20, 2010 7:54 pm

FriscoGirl wrote:ttn Forum: If you want your Pit Bulls to act like Beagles, you should have got one.



Psst....here is a beagle I took from the streets who, without being directly provoked, was pretty adamant about going after one of my females who was minding her business behind my gate. Dogs are individuals and they can have different personalities regardless the breed:

Image


Do the right thing and keep your dog out of the city if you cant handle your dog or cant except it for not liking other dogs.


A good thing to do is to actually attempt to work with a dog reactive dog as much as possible, with reasonable goals in mind and accepting the fact that said dog might never accept close proximity with random dogs. Unless someone lives out on the woods our dogs end up experiencing the presence of other dogs, being at the vet, being behind a yard fence or gate, or watching a dog walking by from the outside of a window. I mean, those of us who don't keep dogs on chain in a yard anyway. Often dog to dog reactivity is caused by fear, which brings stress and a whole complicate chain of chemical reactions at brain level.In simple words, dogs are stressed. Because we live (or most of us do) in a society in which everyone and their brother own a dog, it is wise to work on dog reactivity to minimize stressful reactions. I own a male whose aggression toward other dogs is "over the top" (useless but known term, I save you the details and proper behavior wording since it is not something you would attempt to grasp) and helping him to decrease the intensity and frequency of his behaviors (which are unhealthy for any dog including one of this breed) has nothing to do with not accepting who he is.

To the OP....you have the right ideas in mind but your dog is over threshold, from what you describe. You want to work with her before she reaches the point of a reaction, which might mean that you need to remove her from a situation fast and carefully choose which places she can be in .Have you trained an emergency U turn, upon the sight of other dogs? That is an useful tool to have, which remove visual stimulation and can get half of the job done.Can you describe the body language you see? To determined what is motivating the behavior is a huge help in choosing what behavior changes protocols it is wise to use.

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Re: Dealing with aggression in the city

Postby Stormi » Sat Nov 20, 2010 11:56 pm

Ya know, I find it funny that she who repeatedly states loud and proud that she doesn't lift a finger to train her dogs at all and encourages her dog to lunge, growl, snarl, and engage in extremely stressful acts continually ends up in the training section lecturing owners who are actually responsible and yah know, put effort into their dogs, how they should be training.


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