Aggression to other dogs
#1
Hi,

I was on these forums in the early days of Flo's arrival and found them very helpful, we have come through many normal phases but felt like we had a lovely well rounded dog.  She is now 10.5 months old, she has been through her first season and 99% of the time is a dream dog, incredibly affectionate and obedient. Our first dog and the best decision we ever made.

just before eher first season she started to show aggression to other dogs when in confined spaces, for example pub/cafe.  She is well socialised and always been great with other dogs, so it was a suprise when she lunged at a miniature schnauzer very aggresively giving the poor owners and dog a huge fright.

We put it down to her being in season and were very careful for the next few weeks.  then it happened again in a pub, she had had a long walk was fast asleep under the table we were all relaxed, didnt even notice another dog in the pub when suddenly she flew across the pub at a tiny dog. it qas really shocking for everyone.  I took her outside and shouted at her, which I now realise was the exact wrong thing to do ( I dont normally shout at her, it was just the shock of the siutation and felt that she had been extremely naughty and I overreacted).

so we kept taking her to cafes etc and kept her on a short lead and petted other dogs and whilst dong the watch command and praising her for not going for the other dogs.  thought we had a good plan.

But now she has started doing it on walks!!! she had a proper fight with another collie, again I over reacted as i thought she was going to hurt the other dog.  I walked her again in the evening.  she was fine with other dogs unless they came near me (or were being overbearing to her) and then she growled and snapped at them. we tried this a few times with different dogs and its always the same so it seems she is jealous or protective of her human family.

I am concerned that she ends up doing it with people, at the moment she is completely affectionate and submissive with people, she comes to work with me and meets people all the time.  occasional dogs come to my office and she does now growl and snaps at them where before she was happy to see them.

I have booked a dog behaviour specialist to advise but we cant start for a couple of weeks and I wondered if anyone can advise on how to handle the siutation in the meantime or if you have encountered and overcome this yourself?  Any advice much apprecaited.  

I am now aware that reacting to the behaviour is not helping and plan to remove her from the situation and ignore her for now but is there anything else you can suggest?

She is also going to be spayed in a few  weeks, could that help?

Thank you!!!! PS I STILL do not understand how to post pics on here but have added attachment pic of her


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#2
Beautiful picture! She does look intense lol. She actually looks a lot like my Ember!

It may be a fear period. How you handle it is pretty important. Do some threshold work. Find the spot at which she doesn't react (as far away as it takes - could be so far that even you can't really see the dog), ask her to look/down/sit - whatever gets her attention on you. If she does it, reward/play (play is actually better than food here, if she will - but avoid high arousal games like tug and fetch if she is ball-centric).

If she doesn't or won't take the reward, back up even further.

Once you have her attention successfully and she isn't showing signs of concern, move a few feet closer to other dog. When she notes the dog, ask for a sit/down/watch. Again, whatever turns her towards you. Same as above - if she does it, reward/play. If not, back up and try again.

The goal is to show her that she gets good things when she notices the other dog and doesn't react negatively. That being said, if you ever hit the point and she notices the other dog and goes stiff, stares, etc - back up. You are too close.

Don't beg for attention, don't lure her with the reward to turn her around. You are looking for her to decide that the other dog isn't worth as much as you and that reward are.
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#3
Everything Ember said. Tongue One thing I would suggest though is if you have a behaviorist coming to help try to avoid these situations all together. Any practice she gets at displaying the behavior the worse it gets. So if you see another dog and are afraid she will react don't be afraid to walk away from it. Just stay within threshold and don't try to test its limits too much, at least until the behaviorist comes to help. So basically just be extra careful. Grin

Keep us posted on how she does, I'm interested to know. Hope this can be resolved soon and with minimal effort.
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#4
Thank you, she is spending a few hours with us and sometime with Flo on her own ad she is going to write a plan up for us, i will post it here as a way to help others.  I hope we are catching it young enough so we can fix it.
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#5
Our last collie pip wasn't very friendly towards other dogs I put it down to an over zealous male  trying to mount her just after she had been spayed she was very aloof and had no interest in playing with other dogs , she would never charge at them but would give them a nip If they got to close
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#6
Quote:so we kept taking her to cafes etc and kept her on a short lead and petted other dogs and whilst dong the watch command and praising her for not going for the other dogs.  thought we had a good plan.

But now she has started doing it on walks!!! she had a proper fight with another collie, again I over reacted as i thought she was going to hurt the other dog.  I walked her again in the evening.  she was fine with other dogs unless they came near me (or were being overbearing to her) and then she growled and snapped at them. we tried this a few times with different dogs and its always the same so it seems she is jealous or protective of her human family.

I am concerned that she ends up doing it with people, at the moment she is completely affectionate and submissive with people, she comes to work with me and meets people all the time.  occasional dogs come to my office and she does now growl and snaps at them where before she was happy to see them.

I don't have very much in the way of suggestions, other than saying that bringing in a behaviourist is an excellent idea. My dog reacts to other dogs as well, although his reaction isn't aggressive; he only reacts if they get "in his space" and then he will snap or bite. Izzy's reactions are driven by fear, as your dog's "might" be (true aggression, I believe, is when a dog will go after another dog viciously without provocation, and will try to maim or kill the other dog). I used to think that Izzy was aggressive, until i realized that he was fear-reactive. I also read once (somewhere) that border collies - very generally speaking - tend to not be the most social of dogs with other canines; they can be apprehensive and snap out at others. At any rate, a behaviourist would be able to assess this with your pup. And unfortunately, sometimes the owner (like me) can learn to tense up and emit 'fear signals' to their dog when another dog approaches, anticipating a negative reaction...which the dog picks up on, and ultimately can make the situation worse. It's sort of a catch-22.

The only thing I really wanted to mention (well, actually two things) is first, be careful if you do the 'approach the other dog' thing, trying to show your dog that the strange dog is actually okay. If you praise your dog for not reacting, you 'might' be praising your dog for not outwardly reacting, while she could still very well be tense inside. If that happens, the whole thing backfires, as you can be inadvertently praising your dog for being tense.
The other thing is, if your dog has shown zero reaction towards other people, I suspect you have little to fear of her developing aggression toward humans. My dog started out with intense fear of both humans and dogs (at one point when he was around 8 months old, he lunged at a woman's face when she suddenly bent down to hug him, this after I'd warned her that he was afraid, and not to get too close). At any rate, I worked with him and thankfully, he slowly began to realize that people weren't out to hurt him. (My success with his fear of dogs hasn't gone as well.) But I can now trust that he won't react negatively to a stranger; generally, he will now approach most people he doesn't know with tail wagging, and - if in our house - he winds up plying them with toys in the hope that they will play with him. So I do suspect that you have nothing to worry about with regard to your girl and humans...but get her assessed by the behaviourist anyway about this, for peace of mind.

And lastly...your girl is adorable! I love her ears. Smile
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