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Help with aggressive dog

11 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

 

It has been a year since we adopted our 7 year old Bull Arab X from a rescue organisation. When he was first adopted we were told he had dog aggression issues but the rescue organisation was going to provide us with training and a trainer to help rehabilitate him. Being an old rescue we decided to give the guy a second chance at life. Well after a few months, the rescue organisation has disappeared and have pretty much forgotten about us. So we have spent the last 7 months living in stress and fear every time we take him for a walk. At home and when there are no other dogs around he is a well behaved boy.

 

It is a real anxious experience taking him for a walk, as he can react strongly to other dogs - sometimes he doesn't care all that much. But if a dog gets as close as to the other side of the road as us, then he looses it. We have had some particularly bad reactions recently and would like to take him to a trainer as we cannot continue like this. We haven't in the past because we cannot afford it, but we will have to make some sacrifices and work it out. We don't want to get rid of the poor guy!

 

I was hoping that someone might be able to recommend a trainer in Melbourne (preferably inner west or close to) that might be able to help - someone who has proven experience in rehabilitating dog aggression. When you google dog trainers the results are overwhelming.

 

Your help and advice would be much appreciated!

Scrappi&Monty likes this

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@Papillon Kisses has some great links. Im on my phone right now but will dig them up if she doesn't do it before im on the computer tomorrow.

Papillon Kisses likes this

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Sounds like a tough situation to be in, Im sorry you were left high and dry by the rescue.  They should have been giving you advice and management help from day one.

 

I suspect your dog goes nuts at other dogs in an attempt to keep them away through fear more than aggression.  The problem is every time he's put in a situation where he feels he has to behave this way the more he gets to practice it and the harder it will be for you to build his confidence again.  At the beginning he probably displayed subtle body language letting his person know he was feeling uncomfortable and wanted more space (think of this as whispering) but where this was ignored or missed he's had to revert to really obvious body language to be heard (yelling).  Definitely don't growl at him for showing you how he feels, it's the quickest way to have a dog which goes straight for a bite. 

Re a behaviourist my suggestion is to find someone who practices force free training.  I found a trainer in Melbourne who is part of an awesome guild of force free trainers - fingers crossed they're somewhere near you.   http://petprofessionalguild.com/Sys/PublicProfile/28664856

 

There's also a great facebook page called Reactive dogs UK which is amazing for advice on reactivity. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1633448230248202/

 

This is also a great page on dealing with fearful dogs. It has great resources for learning how to counter condition, operant conditioning and de-sensitisation to help with different degrees of fearfulness or anxiety to help them feel safe and learn.  http://fearfuldogs.com/

 

I wish you luck, thanks for caring enough to seek help. 

 

 

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I have used Daniel @ Victorian Dog Training Academy. He is fantastic. Our Malamute has fear aggressive and it was stressful taking him out each day for his walk, he would lunge and growl at other passing dogs. Since our initial training session with Daniel (6 weeks ago)we have had no more issues. Don't get me wrong, we have to do lots of training and it has been hard work but so amazing to see the results. I would highly recommended him.

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@Cosmolo and @Nekhbet are excellent dog trainers and also members on here who come highly recommended.

 

Underdog Training, and Inline K9 are the websites, I'll link them below.

Underdog

 

Inline K9

 

I've personally used Nekhbet (Inline K9) a few years ago with my Staffy, she came and did a home visit consult and we never looked back.

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Haha now I need to guess what you're referring to @Scottsmum!!

 

As Roova said PPGA is an excellent place to look. Delta is another. And I too cannot stress how important it is that you do NOT punish your dog.

 

A couple of others:

Dr Kate Mornement at Pets Behaving Badly

Kaye Hargreaves at Wagging School

 

You may need to consult a veterinary behaviourist if your dog is too anxious to learn. I have a dog like that, he is a lovely little fellow who happens to have Generalised Anxiety Disorder. He is scared of dogs too. He has come a long way with treatment which includes behaviour modification. A good trainer or behaviourist will let you know when a referral is needed:)

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One of our dogs is like that too. Sometimes he's really bad but when we don't see any other (on lead) dogs he is usually good. 

We had a trainer come to our house in January to help but long story short that particular guy wasn't too helpful. :( 

Good tips I find are:

-Keep an eye out for dogs up ahead, if you see another dog, try not to let your dog notice, casually turn around and walk the other way (or cross the road so you are as far away as possible) 

- If possible you can go up someone's driveway and make your dog sit & look at you or something while the other dog walks past.

- Walk on a 45 degree angle with your body blocking the way if you walk past a yard with a dog. 

- Check out the Muzzle Up project and muzzle train him to love the muzzle and if need be you can use that as a back up, paired with being VERY careful not to let him get scared/frustrated.

-Treat him lots for ignoring other dogs and instead looking at you.

-you can check out Grisha Stewart's BAT methods (behaviour adjustment training) for a different way of helping fearful/aggressive dogs become more calm, happy, and make good decisions. Worth checking out. :) 

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I recently long-term fostered a rescue Bull Arab x who had serious dog aggression and worked intensely with her training wise for many months. Her behaviour was extremely complicated with elements of fear, predatory aggression, anxiety and an inability to read other dogs and in the end just training wasn't enough to overcome her issues. She needed medical intervention from an experienced veterinary behaviourist. 

 

I'd suggest having a look at the recommendations above and making speaking to a couple who appeal to you. Ask them about their approach and look for someone who will start with a comprehensive assessment of your dog and not make assumptions, and asks you lots of questions to get an all round picture of the dog as there may be more going on than just the obvious you are seeing.

 

Hopefully it is something reaonably straightforward though, and I'm sure you'll find the money is well spent on a good trainer/behaviourist :)

Edited by Simply Grand
Scrappi&Monty likes this

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@Nekhbet is great. I did a phone consult with her and she was awesome. 

Would highly recommend!!

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24 minutes ago, Zombie Bait said:

@Nekhbet is great. I did a phone consult with her and she was awesome. 

Would highly recommend!!

@Zombie Bait I was thinking about the you the other day. Hope you are getting on ok.

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