Dog-Dog Aggression

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ahuff04
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Dog-Dog Aggression

Postby ahuff04 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:53 pm

Do dogs who were formerly dog friendly suddenly start to turn dog-dog aggressive as they age?

About 10 months ago, we adopted a pit bull mix from the local pit bull rescue group. We thought she was 3 years old (based on the info the shelter gave us) but our vet said she was MAYBE 15-18 months old. Since we've owned her, she has completed her CGC class, advanced training class, and a recall class. However, she has been developing leash reactivity towards other dogs. (We also have a 4 year old male pug at home - who she ADORES and plays really nicely with.) When we travel out of state for holiday, we board her at our local Camp Bow Wow. One time, she got into a fight with another female pit bull (the other dog had to get staples in its leg.) We were told it was just play that got out of hand and our dog was not in danger of being kicked out of camp and she was a great dog, just a rough player. She was boarded there a few times since then, but yesterday we got a call from the boarding facility owner saying that they were going to separate her from the other dogs as she was acting "grouchy" towards them. (They also told us she acted this way over Thanksgiving break, but nobody had informed us.) Apparently she was running into the play yard and growling at other dogs... she was also picking one dog to harass - following it and cornering it. If that dog showed any submissive behaviors, she would growl. She didn't get into any fights, but they will not allow her back until she does some more training. The owner of the facility said that sometimes when dogs get older they start to decide if they're going to be dog-friendly or dog-aggressive... We have done one session with the only certified behaviorist in our state, and have another session scheduled for the 2nd.

My concern is that we wanted another dog that could go hiking, camping/backpacking, rock climbing, etc. with us as that's a very important part of our life... but there are always other dogs around, and we don't feel it's fair to her to constantly board her whenever we want to take a trip. Also, we're worried that her aggression may turn towards our pug. Is this something we can fix through training? Or once they develop aggression, it's always there?

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AllisonPitbullLvr
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Re: Dog-Dog Aggression

Postby AllisonPitbullLvr » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:19 pm

In my opinion, it's something that is likely to be managed, not cured. There are countless people here who have lived through exactly what you're describing and, unfortunately, some dogs just show dog aggression/intolerance as they age.

My boxer mix used to be a social butterfly and is increasingly intolerant of dogs as he ages. His social circle gets smaller every year. We manage it.

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Nickdawg
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Re: Dog-Dog Aggression

Postby Nickdawg » Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:56 am

definitely can shift with maturity and then requires management. would not board her at a "playing with other dogs place" again- rather a single dog interact with people only type place. when she is out with you and at home can be managed and guided by you...

also get to know her body language/ signals... I think there are some good links/videos in training - also work on leash reactivity by practicing a watch me command and treating with treat or toy when she is able to ignore other dogs.

some good links here

http://www.badrap.org/dogdog-tolerance
http://www.badrap.org/node/96
http://www.badrap.org/node/98

check webpage www.badrap.org under dog owner bible for more, website is being shifty right now...

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DakotaMidnight
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Re: Dog-Dog Aggression

Postby DakotaMidnight » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:26 pm

My Great Pyr is now 5 and is very DA even with dogs he grew up with and shared a kennel with,as he has aged a Pyrs lifespan is 10 years,he has become less tolerable of the other dogs shenanigans then before.We just manage them all,we have 4..certain ones go out with certain ones and well..Bear the Pyr is a loner now.

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tiva
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Re: Dog-Dog Aggression

Postby tiva » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:07 am

Ah, this email could have been written about our Vanya. He was a little younger than your dog when we adopted him. He initially got along quite well with our other 2 dogs (a husky X and a pit X), but things got touchier as he matured. I'm also an avid hiker, biker, skier, climber, etc, and I couldn't imagine having a dog who wasn't social.

You know what? We adjusted and everything's cool. We use crate and rotate to manage our dogs now, since Tiva, our elderly pitbull, has decided she doesn't really like young Vanya anymore. The 2 dogs are happier now that they (and we) don't have to worry about tensions. When I go backpacking, I leave Vanya with my husband (who doesn't like to backpack), or we find a great housesitter. I backpack less than I used to--instead I do a lot of day trips kayaking and bicycling, since Vanya's fine alone for the day. I figure out ways he can romp in the wilderness with us without threatening other critters. It's a different life than I had before Vanya, but we all adjust. And it's worth it because Vanya is an awesome dog, and he has introduced us to all sorts of joys we couldn't have imagined before.

So yes, you might need to keep your pug and your pit separated. You adjust; baby gates are wonderful inventions. Yes, you might need to change your outdoor activities, but I bet you that you'll find it's worth it.

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tiva
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Re: Dog-Dog Aggression

Postby tiva » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:12 am

Oh, and since your dog did break the skin on the other dog, I wouldn't ever allow play sessions with groups of dogs anymore.

It's completely possible for your dog to continue to play nicely with your pug. But do watch some videos on dog play and dog language, so you can learn to see signs of tension BEFORE they develop into irritation (Sarah Kalnajs's The Language of Dogs is a good video for this).

And it's also completely possible for your dog to learn to be polite and well behaved on leash, so you can continue to take him with you backpacking and camping and climbing. Other dogs, however, need to learn to leave him alone, which can be more challenging (so I only take Vanya into the wilderness in places where I know unleashed dogs won't come up to us).

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amalie79
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Re: Dog-Dog Aggression

Postby amalie79 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:47 am

FWIW, I've seen quite a few dogs who initially *seem* to do well in a doggie daycare/group boarding type place, either for the day or for boarding, but over time, they become less tolerant of having to be around so many other dogs so much of the time-- regardless of breed. This may have more to do with becoming less tolerant of BS and less to do with becoming DA. Just like people, some dogs don't want to be around other dogs all the time, especially when so many dogs aren't very adept at social cues. Many have been "socialized" by going to daycare or dog parks where they can run up to, tackle, and play with every dog they see. They develop few manners and little impulse control when it comes to other dogs, and some dogs don't appreciate that. Yours *might* be one of those dogs who isn't interested in a constant social hour with someone who wants to be in her face all the time. Can't say I'd blame her. 8)

I also find that a lot of doggie daycares/group boarding facilities aren't adequately staffed for the number of dogs, and many of the staff aren't adequately versed in dog behavior. We found a boarding facility that does individual play time only; she even made sure that my two who were there together got only individual time. One of our girls can be testy, and so the kennel owner errs on the side of caution. I know that she is constantly educating herself on dog behavior and stress reduction for the dogs. I'm not sure I'd trust mine with anyone else. Just like dog training, it's an industry that is so loosely regulated, it's hard to know who to trust...


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