"Is my dog dog-aggressive?"

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Stormi
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Re: "Is my dog dog-aggressive?"

Postby Stormi » Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:24 pm

Hi Justine-

Its not uncommon for a 7 month old to be over-the-top in play. He's a adolecent after all, and teenagers don't tend to be subtle about anything. Play is ritualized around the head and neck area, so lots of mouthing is normal and to be expected, but does still need to be monitored. Here's a link that may help explain some things and give you and idea of what to look for in play behavior:

http://www.apdt.com/petowners/park/bodylanguage.aspx

I add the caveat that even though it is titled "dog park behavior", no I don't advocate going to the dog park, and yes, the play behavior applies to play in individual play sessions as well.

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Re: "Is my dog dog-aggressive?"

Postby JustineS » Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:26 pm

Stormi wrote:Hi Justine-

Its not uncommon for a 7 month old to be over-the-top in play. He's a adolecent after all, and teenagers don't tend to be subtle about anything. Play is ritualized around the head and neck area, so lots of mouthing is normal and to be expected, but does still need to be monitored. Here's a link that may help explain some things and give you and idea of what to look for in play behavior:

http://www.apdt.com/petowners/park/bodylanguage.aspx

I add the caveat that even though it is titled "dog park behavior", no I don't advocate going to the dog park, and yes, the play behavior applies to play in individual play sessions as well.



Hey Stormi,

Thanks for the info... I totally get the "no dog park" thing for our type of dogs and all the reasons why we shouldnt take our babies to the dog park. I must confess i do take him to the dog park and have been since he was about 3 months of age. My reason is to socialize him as much as possible to lessen the possibility of "dog on dog" aggression. I know some dogs will just always be dog aggressive regardless of socialization etc... but he's been a charm up until now. my experiences with other pit type dogs in the past i've noticed that this little method i have in socializing early and consistantly throught their first year really helps. this pup knows how to meet and great and he is great with all dogs so far. i've just noticed that lately he started becoming too much during play with certain dogs? and i'm kinda wondering if neutering will help? When at these parks trust me i'm always right there in case of any type of accident and i've been able to read body language so there hasnt been any problems so far. I do however plan on completely removing him from these parks before he's one.

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Re: "Is my dog dog-aggressive?"

Postby Stormi » Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:08 pm

JustineS wrote:My reason is to socialize him as much as possible to lessen the possibility of "dog on dog" aggression. I know some dogs will just always be dog aggressive regardless of socialization etc...but he's been a charm up until now.


And now may be the time to stop taking him. The problem with the hope of socializing is that it can very easily backfire on you in dog parks. You don't know the history or play styles of the other dogs present, and all it can take is one rude dog to ruin it for your dog permanently. Take for example my training partner's dog. Her dog was attacked by a Wheaton Terrier in a dog park (no, her dog isn't a bully of any kind), and even with lots of work to repair the psychological damage, her dog is highly reactive to mid-sized furry dogs. If your goal is truly to have a well-socialized pup, placing them in such a risky situation is not the way to go. If there's a few dogs he tends to play well with, see if the owners would be willing to set up a play-date. With play-dates, there's no question about questionable dogs showing up, no question about if everyone is vaccinated, and if a scuffle does occur, you don't have a gangpile of dogs joining in.


i've just noticed that lately he started becoming too much during play with certain dogs? and i'm kinda wondering if neutering will help? [/quote]

He's a teenager. Teenagers tend to play like teenagers, and as such can cause scuffles when older and more mature dogs have had enough of their button pushing. Now is the time to be refining his dog social skills, not allowing him to act like a punk ;) No, nuetering will not likely change his social skills.

When at these parks trust me i'm always right there in case of any type of accident and i've been able to read body language so there hasnt been any problems so far. I do however plan on completely removing him from these parks before he's one.


The goal is not to wait until a problem happens to stop going. Understanding body language and getting your dog out of dodge before something happens is huge, but it still doesn't mean you're entirely in the clear. People do plenty of dumb things at dog parks that can easily get your dog into trouble. I've watched people kick dogs they don't know, punch people they don't know over perfectly normal dog behavior, bring full-course meals to dog parks and swat at dogs for attempting to get near them, and bring dogs that are incredibly unfit for dog interaction to dog parks and insist they're just rough players. Do you know how to safely break up a dog fight with multiple dogs involved whilest keeping the othe dogs in the park at bay and trying not to get bit yourself? Its not fun.

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Re: "Is my dog dog-aggressive?"

Postby JustineS » Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:19 pm

Stormi wrote:
JustineS wrote:My reason is to socialize him as much as possible to lessen the possibility of "dog on dog" aggression. I know some dogs will just always be dog aggressive regardless of socialization etc...but he's been a charm up until now.


And now may be the time to stop taking him. The problem with the hope of socializing is that it can very easily backfire on you in dog parks. You don't know the history or play styles of the other dogs present, and all it can take is one rude dog to ruin it for your dog permanently. Take for example my training partner's dog. Her dog was attacked by a Wheaton Terrier in a dog park (no, her dog isn't a bully of any kind), and even with lots of work to repair the psychological damage, her dog is highly reactive to mid-sized furry dogs. If your goal is truly to have a well-socialized pup, placing them in such a risky situation is not the way to go. If there's a few dogs he tends to play well with, see if the owners would be willing to set up a play-date. With play-dates, there's no question about questionable dogs showing up, no question about if everyone is vaccinated, and if a scuffle does occur, you don't have a gangpile of dogs joining in.


i've just noticed that lately he started becoming too much during play with certain dogs? and i'm kinda wondering if neutering will help?


He's a teenager. Teenagers tend to play like teenagers, and as such can cause scuffles when older and more mature dogs have had enough of their button pushing. Now is the time to be refining his dog social skills, not allowing him to act like a punk ;) No, nuetering will not likely change his social skills.

When at these parks trust me i'm always right there in case of any type of accident and i've been able to read body language so there hasnt been any problems so far. I do however plan on completely removing him from these parks before he's one.


The goal is not to wait until a problem happens to stop going. Understanding body language and getting your dog out of dodge before something happens is huge, but it still doesn't mean you're entirely in the clear. People do plenty of dumb things at dog parks that can easily get your dog into trouble. I've watched people kick dogs they don't know, punch people they don't know over perfectly normal dog behavior, bring full-course meals to dog parks and swat at dogs for attempting to get near them, and bring dogs that are incredibly unfit for dog interaction to dog parks and insist they're just rough players. Do you know how to safely break up a dog fight with multiple dogs involved whilest keeping the othe dogs in the park at bay and trying not to get bit yourself? Its not fun.[/quote]


Your so right! thanks for the insight...

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Re: "Is my dog dog-aggressive?"

Postby Boss*sMom » Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:09 pm

Well... We had an incident today. I do not have a fenced in yard so I took Boss and my male BT Alan to the park. No one else was there so I let the boys offleash to romp. They found a toy kong that had been left there, and the next think I know Boss had Alan by the neck and on the ground, I grabbed the nearest stick to use as a bite stick and finally broke his grip on Alan. No bloodshed, but it was a scary incident. Loaded up and came home, they were back to being best of buds. I guess the best way to avoid this situation would be to avoid having toys out around them. And buy a long line to walk him around here, no more fun romps for Boss :'(

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Re: "Is my dog dog-aggressive?"

Postby Red » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:52 pm

Boss*sMom wrote: I grabbed the nearest stick to use as a bite stick and finally broke his grip on Alan. No bloodshed, but it was a scary incident. Loaded up and came home, they were back to being best of buds. I guess the best way to avoid this situation would be to avoid having toys out around them. And buy a long line to walk him around here, no more fun romps for Boss :'(


If you really needed a stick you would have had to deal with at least a couple of puncture wounds. A dried up stick in a park would not last a second with a dog on a hold and it'd be wise to learn to use and carry an actual breaking stick.

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Re: "Is my dog dog-aggressive?"

Postby Boss*sMom » Thu Dec 08, 2011 4:17 pm

I plan to get a break stick. Thanks, Red... I probably didn't need the stick I just freaked and grabbed it. Both of the dogs are fine. I dont know if this is dog aggression or resource guarding. The fuss started over a toy. So I guess best now not for them to share toys.

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Re: "Is my dog dog-aggressive?"

Postby PitbullLover* » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:15 am

i have question as the one from earlier about my 2 dogs... see i have a 8 mnth old bully and a 5 year old golden retriever. now when i got the puppy i was away at school so they werent really together till diesel(bully) was about 4 ta 5 mnths. but they were seeing each other from time to time before them. but as diesel is getting older me and my father who was not a pro bully type of person in the beginning but has came around are starting to see a some signs of resource guarding since about 6 mnths as he started growling and nipping the other dog if he came near his food... but he never has done this with any people with the other dog he does. since then we have fed them in diff rooms and now we can feed them in the same room they jus have to be spaced apart and kno whos bowl is whos.. the newest thing im strting to see is tht diesel kindve bullies lucky(golden retriever) when there outside together...


Resource guarding is pretty normal for dogs, especially when dogs live together, after all dogs need food to stay alive so its normal they are protecting what is ''mine'' in the dogs eye. Keep feeding them in different rooms. Dogs are not like people its not normal for them to share their food, how is their behavior when you do feed them together? i am thinking tense for the dogs, avoid stress feed them in different rooms and pick up their foodbowls when they are done, because even empty food bowls can cause a fight. How old is diesel now? young bullies and really every young dog play rough or even teasing which in human eyes can look like bullying. I must add, never leave your dogs unattended outside.

lucky is electric fence trained and free roaming and diesel is on a long line... but diesel strts it by jumping around him and face nipping but not biting, getting on his back, and growling... now this seems a play type of thing and lucky seems to take it fine and isnt really bothered cause he's so timid but everyonce in a while lucky gets fed up and strts to fight back but nobody really bites its jus alot of pushing and nipping or diesel will put luckys nose in his mouth but wont bite dwn... could this be a dangerous behavior and is it possible to avoid to make them both get along or is it considered acceptable play since no one gets hurt?... nd do yu think it might get worse as he gets older? btw this isnt a problem in the house because they are mostly seperated with the younger one crated or i break them up


I have to say, electric fencing is not really a good way to manage your dog to stay inside the backyard, i would either put up a privacy fence or also put lucky on a long line. I am assuming that diesel is still young under 2 years old which is similar to a human teenager they can play rough and act like a bully. How much excersise do your dogs especially diesel get? i would go ahead and walk more as young dog have alot of energy and just running in the backyard is not enough, you might use a flirtpole too and keep it low to the ground to get your boy to steam of some more energy. I would just let them play but ONLY supervised not leave them for 1 second alone without you being there, dogs play can get into a fight in seconds. Is diesel neutered? Glad to hear that in the house they are crated when not supervised.

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Re: "Is my dog dog-aggressive?"

Postby tethys13 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:33 pm

I have an interesting take on the resource guarding. My cat of all the animals in the house -he resource guarded with the dog when we first adopted my bully. When we moved from a condo to a house and the dog had two instances where he resource guarded in the new house. When I saw it my first instinct was to move the food to a more private location - as the cats now have their own space and a gate to the cat room/ office and it is no longer a problem. Originally the dogs food was in the doorway to our dining room. Now it is under a table by a window in the kitchen. I have been clicker training the dog and the male cat. They tolerate each other and at times I have found them together alone perfectly fine after the cat jumps his gate to his side of the house. (the cat has been known to manage to open the door too - even after it is shut tight to his room..go figure!)

I am now wondering if the training is working with them. But strange as it started with my 16 year old cat.

I only allow them to be together in the same room when I am there supervising. My dog, Skid, doesn't try to bite the cat or anything if anything seems my cat is the head honcho in our house. I But I tried the treat/ clicker training after my dog trainer/ friend saw a video on my phone of the two interacting. My dog would try so hard to get my geriactric cat to chase him - go into puppy play mode while my cat was not having it. My cat (who was declawed before I adopted him) swiped at his nose - my dog immediately went into submissive mode on his back belly up. In a way it is kind of funny.

I don't want to take any chances so I have been going slow (a year now) with them both. Trying to let them know it is okay - yes they have space- and they will be fine to be able to be in the same room and no one is going to take anything from them.

Since I started giving them their own large space there has been no food guarding issues. I am just hoping I nipped it before it became an issue. My dog is able to be treated with yummy treats when around the cat and no longer lunges to eat the cats treat. I was instructed to always treat them a lot when in the same room so they grow to not loathe each other.

Now my female cat is a whole other issue. She likes her space and she is sticking to it. She doesn't chase after the dog and the dog won't go near her.

I still get paranoid though.

I am going to look up the books on aggression also. My bully was fine around other dogs for the first month we had him, and then one evening he got into a nip match with a lab over his doggy friend. There were four dogs all playing together at a friends house who has a large yard. They all knew each other and had played fine- off leash- a few times before. Out of nowhere the lab got snippy and my dog reacted. I have noticed he does play rough but to avoid agression toward other animals I took him back to the shelter for more (free) training. It was very kind of them to help out.

But it is hard to reinforce the dog on dog training with him with out any doggy play dates. I was told it is a "rude" dog behavior. Not a true aggressive behavior.

His other doggy mate has not been able to have play dates with our dog as the owners just had a baby in the last 6 months so schedules did not permit.

I would love to get another dog in the future to be with my dog, but I am fearful of the aggressiveness I have seen when he guards his people. He isn't as friendly if there is another dog present. But I was told with patience the training would help. (sorry this post is so long)

Thanks again!! good info :wow

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Re: "Is my dog dog-aggressive?"

Postby Breezy833 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:51 pm

Im having trouble with my boy constantly biting me. I do dominance exercises and we use the "no bite" command, but when he gets over excited he runs around and then doubles back to bite me.. He's just barley 4 months old but ive been trying to get a handle on his mouthing since we got him.

any suggestions?

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Re: "Is my dog dog-aggressive?"

Postby MarMar » Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:53 pm

What is a "dominance exercise"?

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Re: "Is my dog dog-aggressive?"

Postby gerry » Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:49 pm

Stormi, I agree with a lot of your posts and much of your advice. However, I think you've taken just a few things to an extreme, or at least given that impression. This is not an argument simply to argue, but an alternative or expanded view on some of those items.

Stormi wrote:Its a pretty general concensus around here that leaving 2 or more dogs alone together unsupervised is a bad idea. Anything can happen (dogs get into arguments just like people do), and if you aren't there to intervene, who knows what you'll come home to. There's quite a few members here who have their dogs on a strict crate and rotate system as the dogs cannot be fully trusted together even while supervised. I doubt you'd need to take such a step with 5 month old puppies, but it could be a necassary precaution in the future when they do mature.


For new meetings, of course I agree. Yes, there are cases where that continues to apply. But it's certainly not a general rule. With the rescues I work with, many of their directors have multiple dogs alone for extended periods. Yes, if you're unsure, always be cautious. But, more dogs live together well than have problems. Take a look at Best Friends in Utah and you'll see many groups of 4-6 dogs living together. Occasional fights, but not many. Again, I do agree that some cannot be trusted together, or that the person may end up being the limiting factor. That same Best Friends has other kennels limited to 1-2 dogs.

Stormi wrote:Every time a dog is allowed to experience and emotional response, their bodies undergo a massive chemical dump, similar to us humans when adrenaline is pumping full force in a frightening or stressful situation. In the dog body, once this occurs, it does take days for their stress level to resume back to normal. It’s important to keep this in mind, because while working with any behavior modification plan for these scenarios, management is absolutely KEY to your success. If you’ve just finished up a great training session of desensitizing and counter-conditioning your dog to the presence of another dog, and take him on a walk only to pass too closely to another dog on the trail and have him react, all of your hard work is out the window, and it may take up to a week or more for you to restart the process.


I feel that is extreme and has no basis in fact. Perhaps you meant to qualify "stressful", but you seemed to leave it as applying in every case. There is a vast difference between a mild correction between two dogs, and an incident that leaves a dog traumatized. Those corrections we see all the time in play groups and recovery is typically in seconds. When puppies are brought in, a greeter dog works with one for a few minutes, then often breaks off, returning five or ten minutes later, to allow recovery. When a mild fight breaks out, we assess their reaction and recovery, and they are often brought back into the group in minutes.

On desensitizing and counter-conditioning, the repeated sessions may range from only daily, to perhaps twenty attempts in an hour's time. For the dog who's mouth was wrapped with duct tape and was near death, several weeks were needed to really get started, with very mild and spaced exercises. For the resource guarder who attacked other dogs, he had dozens of controlled interactions each day, and changed in just a few days. There was no massive chemical dump, and he recovered each time in just seconds. If that same resource guarder had also exhibited defensive aggression, the schedule would have been much slower, but he did not.

The same applies to your "Tarzan" dogs. One recent dog, over several months, learned to play occasionally with certain dogs after knowing them for a few days. She may never go any further, and will threaten and possibly attack any dog who comes into her face. My current guest, however, is a 5 year old female pit who lived in a small crate for nearly her entire life, starving and with skeletal malformations. Far more than just an early socialization window. Her interest level and disposition are very different from the other dog, so my approach is different. After six days of careful monitoring together with a dog trained for rehab, she is now comfortable enough with receiving corrections that they have just started to play for short periods. She is now much more comfortable with meeting other dogs, though it will take some time to see how far she progresses. The six days were needed because she was mildly people aggressive, and that had to be handled first. The same approach is applied in play groups, using "greeter" dogs. Many dogs have come in scared and awkward, only to start relaxing and begin to play after a half-dozen sessions. Given that, there are some dogs that will remain only in a low-energy group, and that's who they are. Yes, those groups have many pits in them.

So, I believe that I can certainly identify specific dogs who very closely match what you've said here. But, many show these issues in a far milder manner. Black-and-white never really applies, but only many shades of gray.

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Re: "Is my dog dog-aggressive?"

Postby Breezy833 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:27 am

i put him on his back and relaxes his body.

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"Is my dog dog-aggressive?"

Postby AllisonPitbullLvr » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:46 am


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Re:

Postby gerry » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:24 pm



Allison, thank you for a nice article, which I'll save. She references this to work from Overall and Lindsay, both of whom are excellent references for further reading.

Remember also, that the alpha roll, like many other behaviors, can have alternative meanings other than submission. Some dogs simply like to play on their back and putting them in that position can make them more active rather than submissive. One recent large pit in the play group loved having four to five dogs pile on top of him. While on his back on the bottom of the pile, he was controlling them all. Not dominance, but a very confident dog. A young husky-coyote simply went wild when she went on her back and you couldn't safely approach her. Prompting her back to a standing position let her calm down. That said, yes there are also many who are submissive on their backs. Many shades of gray here.

I may have missed it, but I didn't note anything here about encouraging appropriate bite behavior. Especially with young dogs, they need an outlet for their urge to bite on things. Sometimes just with their own toy, but also when interacting with you. They are many games you can play where you repeatedly urge them to grab a toy you're holding, but to carefully avoid your fingers. The high repetition possible in those games results in faster learning and a more satisfied and controllable dog.


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