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View Full Version : And yet another Animal Help thread


bailsmom
02-07-2008, 03:36 PM
A little backround info on my pup. She's the sweetest dog on the planet. Will lick you to death, wants to jump up and say hello to everyone on the street.

We are currently renting a first floor "Apartment" in a house. So it's a 2 family. The yard is not fenced in so we have a 30' leash that we hook her up to outside to do her business. One of us is always out with her no matter what the weather. But if she sees someone walking past the house, she turns into a little devil. A little mean devil.

She will tear off after anyone who walks past and then when she gets to the end of the leash (she's no where near the sidewalk btw) she's jerked back like a bungee cord. Except there's no bungee. :pout: So her little neck is taking quite the jolt and it is next to impossible to stop her. I actually sprained my ankle last week trying to get to the leash before she could be jerked back. She has the power of 100 men when she's in the 'zone'.

She's dog-aggressive, not people aggressive. And I realize she's just defending her territory, but we've tried everything to stop her but once she sees the person we no longer have any control over her until she jerks back and can pull her in, which is VERY difficult.

I was thinking of getting an Air Horn to try and scare the crap out of her. That's the only thing I can think of that will snap her out of her zone. I thought of a dog whistle, but thought that those would be worse than a air horn. Yes, I realize neither is the greatest of options, but I can't think of anything else that will help.

She actually got loose last year, the leash broke, and she attacked the dog being walked down the street. I felt horrible, I had no clue the leash was that weak. But she got bit too, it wasn't a big bite, so she got what she deserved for attacking that poor dog.

We love our little girl more than anything in this world and I'm so afraid it's going to happen again and I don't want her to get loose and bite someone for walking down the road.

Yes, she's walked twice a day for a mile each time. She's going to be 8 yrs old next week. I cannot believe that it's gone by that fast. I hate that she's the way she is with other dogs, but we have tried everything else.....what do you think? Too harsh?? Any other suggestions??

KnittingNat
02-07-2008, 04:02 PM
I guess training is too late for her age. Did you try this special leash that goes under her belly, like the one used for small dogs? It should help with her neck. I had a special leash for my dog, with special straps going under the front legs and then every time she pulled me the straps would tighten a bit (nothing that hurts, just uncomfortable). It worked great, till she got the idea how to get herself out of the straps :teehee:. Maybe you should try training anyway, is she a breed that can be trained? I didn't even try with my dog, because she's half Husky and they are known to be quite stubborn. lucky her shepherd side listens to us once in a while.
It might sound crazy, but are you talking to her? I know i sound like a total wacko, but i know it helps when i explain my dog about things. For example, we taught her to sit before crossing the street and when she runs faster than i walk i tell her not to run on the street and she stops!
I hope you'll find a solution, but still be ready that she will continue to be aggressive to other dogs for the rest of her life. My in-laws got an American Staffordshire Terrier from a shelter and she's the sweetest dog at home with the family, but outside - no dog comes 50 meters near her.
Good luck :hug:

Lucy78green
02-07-2008, 04:13 PM
there's a programme here on BBC called "dog borstal (http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/programmes/dog_borstal/)" (which is the name of a prison) where very badly behaved dogs get retrained by expert dog handlers - most dogs improve no matter what age or breed they are so there should be some hope!

maniago
02-07-2008, 05:24 PM
It is never to late to start training. At 8 it is going to take a bit of work. Find what her weakness is........does she LOVE food or toys. I have one dog who will walk to the end of the earth for a tennis ball and another who will do anything for cheese.

scout52
02-07-2008, 05:30 PM
It is never too late to train the dog. I also agree that you should put her on a harness and a choker. Sign her up for classes where she will be introduced to other dogs BUT make sure you tell them that she is aggressive to other dogs. and make sure you have a choker on her. You may want to invest in a barking collar. it usually is used to train the dog to stop barking but you could probably use it to train her to stop attacking other dogs. the one my parents used could be used by remote or automatically. (the name is blanking out but check out the website on dr fosters and smith, it should be there) only zap her when she is attacking a dog and that should train her that its wrong.

Good luck!!

(ps the zap isn't bad. we tested it on my brother first to see how strong it was and how strong to set it. he figured he was the best guinea pig)

bailsmom
02-07-2008, 06:01 PM
Sorry, I musn't have explained it very good. She is hooked up to go outside to go potty. We don't leave her out there all day. Just to do her business and then come inside.

It's when she sees someone walking that she turns into a monster. And nothing and I mean NOTHING will stop her. She doesn't hear anything when she's in the 'red zone' as Cesar Milan would say. She sees her target and then tries to get to it. She doesn't hear, smell, see anything but her intended victim.

We've taken her to a "Fiesty Fido" class for dog-aggressive dogs and by the end of the 6th week she was off leash in the same room with other dogs. :shock: I couldn't believe it. I was a complete wreck thinking she'd attack at any minute and she didn't, but then that was the end of the class. Pretty stupid. So she forgot everything she had learned. It would be nice if there was a weekly class that was all year long. Then I'm sure it would click that other dogs are okay. But I wouldn't even know where to begin to look into information about something like that.

We don't have any friends with dogs that we can experiment with and try and retrain her. And the one neighbor who does walk her dog, well her dog is just as bad as mine! When we go on our daily walks she wears a halter collar because she pulls terribly and that helps control her, but other than that, we're SOL.

And we would never, ever use electric shock on any animal ever.

So no other opinions on the air horn or dog whistle ideas?? I just feel so badly for her that she is this way. We know it's not an intentional act she's doing but it sure is frustrating on our part because we can't seem to help her. :pout:

Lucy78green
02-07-2008, 06:26 PM
you can also get collars that spray water or emit a nasty smell, same effect on dog, they also make vibrating collars to train deaf dogs!

Rabbitrescuer
02-07-2008, 06:27 PM
Have you tried a no pull harness? this will help take stress off her neck. My Bulldog will strangle himself if taken out on just a leash. It really does help with the pulling too. I got mine at Wal mart for around $10.

maniago
02-07-2008, 06:58 PM
And we would never, ever use electric shock on any animal ever. :pout:


I am very glad to hear that, a choker can also damage a puller dog's throat. A harness that goes under the legs will minimize the pulling, a traditional harness will maximize pulling power.

scout52
02-07-2008, 07:40 PM
We were cautious about it, which is why we tested it on my brother. we put it on his neck. and I being the oldest got to test it. we wouldn't do anything to the dog that we didn't think wasn't safe. believe me. we love our dogs like they were our kids. but our neighbors were calling animal control because of barking. our dog stopped barking within a day. my brother said it didn't hurt mostly surpised him. and that is what we set it at. our dog isn't big. only 45 lbs. he stopped barking as soon as we pointed the remote. we could point any remote after that. he wasn't even wearing the collar anymore.

if you could design something that sprays water in his face instead you will get the same result. dogs don't like that either.

vaknitter
02-07-2008, 08:00 PM
So I'm going to go at this a little differently b/c I trained my dogs by reinforcing positive behavior. It really has nothing to do with dog agression, but guarding. So when our dogs are out in the yard and I see them go to the end of their line for something (usually a cat or stray dog) I bring them back to me, sit them down and treat them for being quiet and sitting. It takes time and patience, but it is starting to payoff for the young one. She will now got about half the length of her tie down and then sit. I agree that shock collars, choke collars, and for heaven's sake prong collars are not an option in my house. The dogs are only out on the runners while one of us is out with them.
The other option is to walk her out on a leash to do business and if she starts to go after someone walking by you turn her around and then treat her for being quiet. Or if she isn't quiet just turn her away and bring her in.

bailsmom
02-07-2008, 10:37 PM
Okay, first let me say THANK YOU ALL for your suggestions. I really appreciate them all. :hug: That's why I love this board, so many different opinions, it's nice to be able to look at something from someone else's point of view and see if you can incorporate it into your styles.

BUT!!! I don't think I'm getting my point across at how fast she takes off.

Think of it this way: Have you ever seen one of those canine police training sessions when they have the 'bad guy' dressed in padded clothing and then they let the German Shepherd (I love those dogs :heart: ) off his leash and he tears off after the 'bad guy' and then tries to eat him alive??? :teehee:

This is what my Bailey does when she gets sight of ANYTHING, other than cars, walking down the street. As soon as I see her tail go slightly higher than it was a second ago and her ears kinda perk up (she has floppy ears) it's too late.

At that moment I cannot get her attention no matter what I do. All it takes is a second and she's off and running, and then stopped and choked. :pout:

I have to see the person first in order for me to be able to distract her with whatever I happen to have in my hand. If I can do that then I can get her to come by me and sit and wait and watch them walk down the street and then she's fine once they are gone. She still gets upset and I distract her as best I can, but she's a dog, sometimes they just don't listen.

As for the water thing spraying in her face, that won't work because she doesn't bark at them. Sometimes she may let out a growl but she doesn't always do that. She's just not a barker. Yes, she barks once in a blue moon, but it's quite rare for her.

princess
02-07-2008, 10:48 PM
i agree with valknitter, dont punish bad behavior, reward the good behavior. When she takes off, go get her, walk her back to where you were sit her down and wait till she is calm, then praise her for being good. When you do see someone before her keep her attention, and when she sits and waits, praise her for behaving. I believe dogs and children alike are a lot more responsive to praise then punishment.

frostywolf
02-08-2008, 01:38 AM
First of all, you need to teach your dog a command to pay attention to you (and everyone in the house). I use 'look at me' when I want to get my dog's attention. You can teach this very simply. (I clicker trained my dog but a verbal marker will work).

You must do this training in the house away from distraction until your dog responds reliably.

I put my dog in a sit-stay. Then, I show him that I have a very, very yummy bit of treat. I would slowly bring the treat up to my face, next to my eyes. I would hold it, and the INSTANT that he made eye contact with me, I marked (clicked the clicker) and either praised/treated. Repeated this until he immediately makes eye contact when I do this. This forms the beginning of a visual command (I point to my eyes as a non-verbal command to focus on me). But you need to add a verbal command as well. So once he looks, in addition to marking with the clicker, I would say "Good look!" Over time, I made him maintain eye contact/focus longer before marking and added the look at me command when giving the visual command to link that as well.

Okay, so after a good bit of time, you should start adding distractions to this. NOTHING that will get your dog too worked up to respond. You do not want to set the dog up for failure. Do not take this drill outside until your dog responds to the command ALL THE TIME.

Jump ahead on the timeline, and remember it will take time (more or less depending on your dog's personality). So, your dog is responding to your watch/look/focus command. Time to try the drill outside, but you will want a helper. If at all possible find someone with a non-reactive dog who can help you out here. You will now want to work on your desensitization training.

First off, have your helper be a lookout. Work the command outside when no people/dogs are around. Same idea as inside, don't move forward until your dog's response is reliable. If someone approaches, get your dog inside/out of sight before he sees them.

If you have a very calm, nonplussed dog/owner. Make sure they are out of sight. Do not put your dog on his tie out yet, keep him on a leash under your control. You will need some way to signal the other owner dog (2 way radio/cell phone etc). You focus your dog on you, and you should have the other dog/owner appear, but as far away as they can possibly be. You reinforce the focus as necessary. The amount of time that the other owner/dog is in sight should be incredibly short. Now you see them, now you don't. Repeat this over and over, increasing time and decreasing distance. You must not try to progress too quickly! Doing so will set your dog back (1 step forward, 2 back type deal).

In the meantime, if possible, have two of you out on potty breaks. Or, stay where you can see further down the road than your dog. You will want to bring your dog in before he sees the others until his training is progressing if at all possible. If you know multiple people with nice calm dogs, mix up the dogs when yours is behaving better.

The goal of this training is this, you want to focus your dog on you as soon as you see the other dog. Lavish (and I mean lavish) the dog with praise/treats/toys whatever works as long as she maintains the focus. Over time, your dog will learn that when other dogs approach, wonderful things happen from Mom/Dad etc. If you are very thorough with the training and learn to read your dog's body language (so you can cut off any bad behaviors before they start) your dog will see the neighbor and his dog, and instead of lunging to them, your pup will turn to you expectantly instead.

This method absolutely works*, but it takes a lot of time and patience, and many people take the steps too quickly or just don't want to bother.

*No method is 100% guaranteed in life. But I have found this method to be the most reliable. If you try your best and you are not making satisfactory progress you will want to contact a professional trainer or behaviorist.

Finally, never use a choke type collar on this type of a dog. They can be severely injured. Also, depending on your dogs personality/breed, other types of deterrent collars (shock, citronella etc.) may have absolutely no effect or even spur the dog on more. And, dogs in their own territory will be more aggressive. Also dogs on lead tend to be more aggressive. This could be why your dog did well in class off lead.

bailsmom
02-08-2008, 11:22 AM
We have never used any type of choke collar on any of our dogs. Her collar stays at the same size all the time, it's adjustable when we want to make it bigger or smaller.

cftwo
02-08-2008, 11:57 AM
Just out of curiousity - what does your vet say about this?

redmom37
02-08-2008, 12:01 PM
hi, I hope this helps, I work at a pet shop & there is a harness called a HALTI , it will work!!!! it fits like a horse head halter & when they run it turns them around very fast! I have used it on my dog it was the only thing that did work. when it turns them give a treat, it will work.:thumbsup:

Chel
02-08-2008, 12:22 PM
I love my animals like I would love my kids if I had any. What that means, is WHAT MOMMA SAYS GOES. I would not put up with disobedience from children so I won't put up with it from animals.
It is never too late to train a dog, it just might take longer. Dogs live to please and your affection and contact is the best disiplining tool ever. I do agree with using a harness rather than a collar, and putting it on is like putting on a uniform. You can train her to behave differently when she is wearing her harness.
One thing to remember is consistancy. Whatever comands you choose to use, use them consistantly, every single time, in the exact same way. And go back to basics. Sit. Stay. Leave it. Down. Heel. Always with a positive response if she listens. Issue a command ONCE-if she doesn't listen enforce it. Saying, "sit, no, sit!.. I said sit!", just sounds confusing to a dog (and a kid) and encourages them to disobey you. At that point you gave 4 separate commands (3 sits and a no) and if you only enforced it on the last command then you have told them they only have to listen to you 1/4 of the time.
Next, I think your dog needs to be socialized quite a bit. I wouldn't do this until you have commands down 100%, but once you do, she just needs to learn how you expect her to behave around other dogs-and she won't get this until she is around them. Have her leashed, give her a sit and stay command and then have another dog walk up to her. Every time you see a muscle twitch indicating she is going to defy your command, repeat it. ITs okay because she is already listening. You are just reinforcing what she is already doing correctly. Calm voice, even tone. If she behaves, that far, give her a "okay" command or whatever you choose to release her from her position. Then walk both dogs together in a heel. It may take a few "visits" to progress to this level but it CAN be done.

Sadly, I think most of the training of dogs is in retraining their humans. :) You seem to love your baby a lot. Trust me. She will be *Much* happier when she has your approval for her behavior.

bailsmom
02-08-2008, 04:14 PM
hi, I hope this helps, I work at a pet shop & there is a harness called a HALTI , it will work!!!! it fits like a horse head halter & when they run it turns them around very fast! I have used it on my dog it was the only thing that did work. when it turns them give a treat, it will work.:thumbsup:


Yep, we already use that.

bailsmom
02-08-2008, 04:16 PM
Just out of curiousity - what does your vet say about this?


He knows she is the way she is, I've told him repeatedly how she's dog-aggressive, or should I say afraid of other dogs. He just shrugs it off.

Chel
02-08-2008, 05:15 PM
He knows she is the way she is, I've told him repeatedly how she's dog-aggressive, or should I say afraid of other dogs. He just shrugs it off.

BAD VET! NO BISCUIT!

He should be concerned, if for no other reason, the liability of having her in his waiting room!!!!

HamaLee
02-08-2008, 05:23 PM
You know, some dogs just aren't that friendly to other dogs and will never care to be. You probably can't change that. What you can change, as Chel described is the way she reacts in the presence of other dogs. You can teach her to IGNORE them entirely. But, as has been mentioned, it will take lots of time and effort.

Totally worth it though! No dog is too old too find a workable training strategy. Positive reinforcement is an excellent method. Work at it work at it work at it! Clickers are very helpful tools. Eventually your dog will get in the habit of looking AT YOU for guidance (or treats!) when she sees another dog or person walk by the yard. Until then, you cannot allow her to access the current reinforcement to this stimulus (running off in attack mode). So short lead for potty trips, not on a run.

Good luck!

bailsmom
02-08-2008, 06:16 PM
BAD VET! NO BISCUIT!

He should be concerned, if for no other reason, the liability of having her in his waiting room!!!!


She's fine in the vet's office. I have full control over her in there, it's just when she's on the leash outside that she's a maniac.