How to deal with extreme dog aggression

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Bodegus
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How to deal with extreme dog aggression

Postby Bodegus » Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:13 pm

I am hoping to help some friends with an extremely dog aggressive pitbull mix. She is an abused rescue, who is ultra submissive to humans... She has grown accustomed to their other dog (who is picking up her aggression) but the moment another dog is in the picture she goes into 100% fight mode.

Their other dog will play nice when separated from her, but if she is in the picture he picks up on her anxiety and becomes as aggressive to the new dog.

Absolutely nothing can snap her out of the focus if there is another dog within 50 ft. This includes smelly fish paste, peanut butter, raw meat. I brought my dog over to play, she smashed through the screen in a window while Marco (mine) and their other dog where playing, which turn into a 2 on one dog fight where Marco lost a bit of ear and snout. She once escaped out of the house, jumped their fence, and almost killed a neighbor's dog that was walking across the street. They have tried multiple training schools, and one on one assistance with no results.

Any idea where to start?

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Shearaha1
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Re: How to deal with extreme dog aggression

Postby Shearaha1 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:03 pm

Have they tried a board certified Veterinary Behaviorist? Not a trainer, but an acutal behaviorist.
http://www.dacvb.org/resources/find/
The above website can help them find one in their area.

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Celesteandthebullies
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Re: How to deal with extreme dog aggression

Postby Celesteandthebullies » Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:13 pm

Yeah, behaviorist would be your best bet. What's your area?

So she can adjust to other dogs? Then I wouldn't consider that extreme by any means. :)

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Re: How to deal with extreme dog aggression

Postby kaytenmags » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:22 am

Bodegus wrote:Absolutely nothing can snap her out of the focus if there is another dog within 50 ft.

then start at 100ft ;)

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Re: How to deal with extreme dog aggression

Postby BabyReba » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:11 pm

i would definitely third the recommendation to get someone experienced on board here to help. this is definitely not something i'd recommend using the internet to try to work on ... you'll get a million and one responses and they might conflict, and if this dog has already broken through windows to get at other dogs, these folks obviously need someone to go into the home, assess the situation, and give them advice on not just working with the dog but securing the house so things like that can never happen again. even if your friends get this dog to the point where she's not flipping her lid to get at other dogs, she should not be in a situation where she can find ways to escape and get into trouble.

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Re: How to deal with extreme dog aggression

Postby Stormi » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:29 pm

BabyReba is right. This situation has been allowed to escalate to a point where it is a major safety concern, for both your friend's dog and the general public. Attempting to offer advice via the internet would be a disservice to your friend as well as unethical. Where is your friend located? I'd be happy to see if I can recommend a qualified behavior consultant or applied animal behaviorist close to them.

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Re: How to deal with extreme dog aggression

Postby Bodegus » Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:07 pm

Thanks for the advise. I guess I'll sit this one out. They regretfully aren't too interested in professional help, my thought was to get her to take it down a notch or 2.

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Re: How to deal with extreme dog aggression

Postby Stormi » Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:47 pm

Bodegus wrote:Thanks for the advise. I guess I'll sit this one out. They regretfully aren't too interested in professional help, my thought was to get her to take it down a notch or 2.


For that they need professional help. Especially if said dog is breaking down doors and jumping fences to injure other dogs. At bare minumum they need to be committed to safely containing the dog to avoid any more of these incidences occuring, and managing the dog's environement so he is not able to continue practicing the reactive behavior. This is not a quick fix. It's unfair to the dog, and an extreme liability for the owners.

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Re: How to deal with extreme dog aggression

Postby Mooresmajestic » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:40 pm

They need professional intervention, and the sooner the better. Do everything you can to convince your friends that seeking help is not a slight to their ownership abilities, but the way to be better owners. It's not fair to the dog to have to live being so emotionally unstable, and this behavior is dangerous. They need to help this dog in anyway possible before harm comes to the dog, their other dog, or someone else's pet. If they allow this to continue without professional help, this dog is not only a danger to itself but a danger to society and is a headline waiting to happen. Please don't just step aside, but be a friend and help them do what is right for this dog.

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Re: How to deal with extreme dog aggression

Postby BabyReba » Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:14 am

Thanks for the advise. I guess I'll sit this one out. They regretfully aren't too interested in professional help, my thought was to get her to take it down a notch or 2.


Taking a dog down a notch or two isn't really an easy proposition, especially if the dog has already gotten so amped up that she's going through windows to get at other dogs ... it's interesting that she can safely live with another dog in the house, so who knows what is causing her to act out ... it seems like somebody needs to SEE the dog and the situation and figure out what's going on.

The only thing most would could recommend I would imagine, sight unseen, would be for them to (as someone already suggested) find a safe way/place to work with the dog underneath her threshold and try to get her desensitized and counter-conditioned to the sight of other dogs.

Maybe you need to remind them that if they don't get the problem in control, and make sure their house is secure, they could end up with a serious legal problem on their hands ... it'd be worth it to invest in some professional help upfront to avoid the potential consequences.

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Re: How to deal with extreme dog aggression

Postby Bethb2007 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:51 am

Taking the dog down a notch or two sounds good to me. If a dog is truly super dog aggressive, I believe, compulsion must be used. Everytime the dog even looks at another dog, it gets a correction. You teach the dog to ignore other dogs, because it will Never get along with them, at this point. The best you can hope for is a dog that leaves other dogs alone or ignores them. A pinch collar or slip collar may have to be used, to get the dog to focus on the owner. The dog only gets a reward when looking at the owner. It may have to be a very serious, quick correction, and the owner may not be capable of this, many are not. IMO, Using a totally motivational training method, or de-sensitization, takes too long for the average pet owner, and they will usually ended up getting rid of the dog or putting them down before waiting for results.

Many are worried that the dog will load up or re-direct on the owner with compulsive training. This may happen, but if severe, the dog does not have good APBT temperament in my opinion, and should be culled anyway.

None of our dogs like other dogs, however, they all can work, train and compete around other dogs. When very young they get to socialize with other dog, but we stop that before there is any rough play or fighting. Then they are taught to work around other dogs, by teaching focus totally on the handler. Through training with motivation and yes, force, they are taught to ignore other dogs.

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How to deal with extreme dog aggression

Postby Stormi » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:07 am

Bethb2007 wrote:Taking the dog down a notch or two sounds good to me. If a dog is truly super dog aggressive, I believe, compulsion must be used. Everytime the dog even looks at another dog, it gets a correction. You teach the dog to ignore other dogs, because it will Never get along with them, at this point. The best you can hope for is a dog that leaves other dogs alone or ignores them. A pinch collar or slip collar may have to be used, to get the dog to focus on the owner. The dog only gets a reward when looking at the owner. It may have to be a very serious, quick correction, and the owner may not be capable of this, many are not. IMO, Using a totally motivational training method, or de-sensitization, takes too long for the average pet owner, and they will usually ended up getting rid of the dog or putting them down before waiting for results.

Many are worried that the dog will load up or re-direct on the owner with compulsive training. This may happen, but if severe, the dog does not have good APBT temperament in my opinion, and should be culled anyway.

None of our dogs like other dogs, however, they all can work, train and compete around other dogs. When very young they get to socialize with other dog, but we stop that before there is any rough play or fighting. Then they are taught to work around other dogs, by teaching focus totally on the handler. Through training with motivation and yes, force, they are taught to ignore other dogs.



Without the time to go into more detail at the moment, absolutely 100% terrible advice. This is what you DONT do with emotion and fear based behaviors.

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Re: How to deal with extreme dog aggression

Postby Shearaha1 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:54 am

Stormi wrote:
Bethb2007 wrote:Taking the dog down a notch or two sounds good to me. If a dog is truly super dog aggressive, I believe, compulsion must be used. Everytime the dog even looks at another dog, it gets a correction. You teach the dog to ignore other dogs, because it will Never get along with them, at this point. The best you can hope for is a dog that leaves other dogs alone or ignores them. A pinch collar or slip collar may have to be used, to get the dog to focus on the owner. The dog only gets a reward when looking at the owner. It may have to be a very serious, quick correction, and the owner may not be capable of this, many are not. IMO, Using a totally motivational training method, or de-sensitization, takes too long for the average pet owner, and they will usually ended up getting rid of the dog or putting them down before waiting for results.

Many are worried that the dog will load up or re-direct on the owner with compulsive training. This may happen, but if severe, the dog does not have good APBT temperament in my opinion, and should be culled anyway.

None of our dogs like other dogs, however, they all can work, train and compete around other dogs. When very young they get to socialize with other dog, but we stop that before there is any rough play or fighting. Then they are taught to work around other dogs, by teaching focus totally on the handler. Through training with motivation and yes, force, they are taught to ignore other dogs.



Without the time to go into more detail at the moment, absolutely 100% terrible advice. This is what you DONT do with emotion and fear based behaviors.

I agree with Stormi entirely. This is what you don't want to do. It can make them more reactive and aggressive. Dogs are smart enough to know when that collar isn't on, or when the owner doesn't have the leash and the reaction can be exponentially worse. And this is a dog that's already gone through a window.

Please step in and ask your friends to get the help they need. Let them know what consequences they could be facing if this dog goes through the front window after a dog on the street. Court costs, insurance, the dogs LIFE. This is not a behavior that's going to be "fixed" in a couple of hours. It's something that's going to need to be managed every moment of every day. With help it could get better, but without it will just get worse until someone gets hurt.

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Re: How to deal with extreme dog aggression

Postby MarMar » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:04 am

Bethb2007 wrote:Taking the dog down a notch or two sounds good to me. If a dog is truly super dog aggressive, I believe, compulsion must be used. Everytime the dog even looks at another dog, it gets a correction. You teach the dog to ignore other dogs, because it will Never get along with them, at this point. The best you can hope for is a dog that leaves other dogs alone or ignores them. A pinch collar or slip collar may have to be used, to get the dog to focus on the owner. The dog only gets a reward when looking at the owner. It may have to be a very serious, quick correction, and the owner may not be capable of this, many are not. IMO, Using a totally motivational training method, or de-sensitization, takes too long for the average pet owner, and they will usually ended up getting rid of the dog or putting them down before waiting for results.

Many are worried that the dog will load up or re-direct on the owner with compulsive training. This may happen, but if severe, the dog does not have good APBT temperament in my opinion, and should be culled anyway.

None of our dogs like other dogs, however, they all can work, train and compete around other dogs. When very young they get to socialize with other dog, but we stop that before there is any rough play or fighting. Then they are taught to work around other dogs, by teaching focus totally on the handler. Through training with motivation and yes, force, they are taught to ignore other dogs.


Very sad. Teaching a dog who doesn't like other dogs to associate dogs with pain? One of the greatest myths out there is that a "truly aggressive" dog needs corrective training. Absolutely 100% false. It is certainly possible that a dog as aggressive as your friend's may never LIKE other dogs, but adding pain and fear will certainly not help. It is possible that they may want to look into medication as well.

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Re: How to deal with extreme dog aggression

Postby BabyReba » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:28 pm

I know this isn't the place to play devil's advocate, but what Beth is suggesting can get a dog to ignore other dogs ... it's the way people have been training dogs for a very long time. For some dogs, it works without escalating the problem, but for others, it does create additional stress and issues. I used some combination of this kind of thing to get Doc to focus on me during obedience, however, he was never going to be the kind of dog to lose his head and his temperament was always so solid that he was never going to redirect his frustration on me. That just wasn't an issue. But there were other problems.

Doc's dog aggression got worse over the years, and there's not a doubt in my mind that part of the reason he developed so much anxiety and frustration when strange dogs were around is because he got so used to getting those little pops on the prong collar (sometimes rather harsh corrections as well) whenever he expressed any interest in a dog that was around us. He's a typical, middle-of-the-road male pit bull who used to be social in limited ways with other dogs -- but he became the dog that was clearly not comfortable even in the presence of other dogs when out on leash. It didn't help that over the years he's been jumped by 2 other dogs while walking, but both times, my botched attempts to keep my dog in control with corrections, even during those altercations, made the situation worse.

I finally hung up my prong collar and fursavers and corrections and went waaaaaayyyy back to the beginning with him. We did the desensitizing and counter-conditioning protocols, and while I still wouldn't trust him to play nice (and I never will), I don't need to correct him at all when we're out walking and another dog approaches. In fact, I don't bring any corrective devices with me when we walk anymore, and he walks on a flat collar or a harness, and he doesn't really even pull. If we see a dog in the distance, I can just call his name and he may look at the other dog for a second, but he'll gladly turn and follow me without tensing up or getting upset. He's simply not that worried anymore. It is, far and away, better than what we had before, which was very tense control but not peace of mind around other dogs.

I guess my point is to say that, yeah, getting ultimate focus on the handler can work and help and I know a lot of people who rely on this to keep their dog-aggressive dogs in line. But in my limited experience using both methods, I have had a better response from my dog after stopping with the heavy control. He's just not that worried about dogs anymore. That definitely doesn't make him a dog-park dog or a dog who should be let to interact with strange dogs at all. It just makes him easier to work with.

Like Beth points out, though, most owners aren't going to be bothered going through the process because they want short-term results instead of a longer-term solution ... which pretty much renders it useless.

Either way, I still think these people really need to get in-person help since (as I mentioned in my first post in this thread), you're going to get conflicting information on the 'net and obviously, these people need more than just some pointers and simple suggestions ...


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