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Bullmastiff x Rottweiler socialising


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Hi all


Myself and my husband have just adopted an adult Bullmastiff x Rottweiler. The adoption centre said he’s not great with other male dogs sometimes and during walks he has been aggressive with passing dogs. We want to help socialise him so he can be a bestest boy he can be! 


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I would go straight to a force free (also called rewards-based or positive) dog trainer. It’s easy to accidentally sensitise rather than desensitise our dogs despite best intentions. They can teach you lots of good things like how to read your dog’s body language, how to keep them under threshold, how to change how they feel about seeing other dogs using positive reinforcement methods (this in turn changes how they react), management skills for walks, and do some controlled setups with other dogs.


Pet Professional Guild Australia is the best place to look for a trainer IMO. Either enter your suburb into the visual directory, or if using the advanced directory I find it best to stick with your state rather than being too specific with location. 


I see you’re in Tasmania. If you’re near Glenorchy, Everydog appear to have a suitable reactive dog course. I’m liking what I read on their website. It’s good to ask questions though. I like Jean Donaldson’s Transparency Challenge, example of answers from another Australian trainer: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NMTrHqfTMSI


If everyone is too far away from you I know some online options.

In the interim, choose times and places where you’re less likely to encounter other dogs on walks, and increase your distance well in advance if you do - don’t wait until your dog reacts as he inevitably will do. Don’t go to busy places, dog parks, visit other dogs, etc. We don’t want our dogs to keep practicing the behaviour or have bad experiences undo future training efforts. Practice makes them better at it, and they’re not having a good time when they feel they have to react that way either. If you’re stuck for suitable walking places, it’s totally ok not to go out and just bump up their at home enrichment. Lots of ideas over at the Canine Enrichment group on Facebook.


The video below one of my favourite skills which you could start teaching at home if you’re so inclined. When used on walks, it taught my dog that he could move away himself to get the distance he wanted from another dogs, rather than trying to barky-lunge the other dog away. But with all these skills you want to first get them fluent at home, in the yard, and on walks when no one’s around. Don’t go looking for other dogs to practice against! Another favourite skill of mine is sniffing on cue.


Hope this helps and enjoy your new family member. It’s a learning curve at the start when having a reactive dog, but they are worth it. :)



Edited by Papillon Kisses
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Oh wow! Thanks so much for your detailed reply. I’ll definitely hit up Everydog in Glenorchy, its only down the road from me. 
I’ll also get onto those videos asap!


thanks again 

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