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  1. #1
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    Apr. 13, 2000
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    Default Help with Aggressive/Unsocialized Dog

    My BF and I adopted a BIG chocolate lab from a nearby shelter a few weeks ago. In general, he is a very good dog, but get SO excited when he sees other dogs. He gets way too aggressive with them, barks, yelps, bites, etc. that eventually the meeting turns into a fight. Also when he sees another dog he gets tunnel vision and will barely recognize the fact I am trying to get him under cotnrol and make him sit. I took him to the dog park last week and after a few scuffles I left. He also jumped up at a jogger and tried to nip at her playfully (thankfully he missed).

    Any ideas with how to get him more socialized/better behaved when there is outside stimuli?



  2. #2
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    Aug. 23, 2002
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    Prospect, ME
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    Default

    Are there any obedience classes in the area? I think if it were me, I'd want the advice of a professional...and he could also be socialized in a controlled environment with knowledgeable supervision. But I also don't fancy myself a dog trainer, and would need someone's advice for sure!

    Good luck!
    -Jessica



  3. #3
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    Mar. 10, 2006
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    Albany NY
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    Default

    Yes, he can, but you will need a professional. He's not seeing you as anywhere near being the one who says yea or nay in the duo, and he doesn't see you as alpha over him. He needs to get the command "leave it" and you aren't very close to being able to get his attention. I had a dog like that I was able to train by literally walking away from whatever I didn't want hmi to do, but it was only after I had bonded and become the big cheese in his mind, so you have alot of work to do with him. You absolutely need a professional. He will soon nip someone and you'll have to put him down. Every time he nips a dog or at a person, that behaviour is being reinforced, so think about that if you take him anywhere public.
    Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.



  4. #4
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    Sep. 2, 2005
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    Upstate NY
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    Default

    You need to find a good dob behaviorist and start following their advice. And for the sake of the dog do not take it to the dog park where it can get itself in trouble again until you have lots more control.



  5. #5
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    Apr. 29, 2006
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    Can the dog be muzzled out in public until you have a better handle on things? Better to be safe than sorry.

    Good luck with it.



  6. #6
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    I don't believe in the alpha roll concept. And the socialization period by definition is only up until around 3 months of ago, so there's no chance of "socializing" him now. But, being a lab, you probably have either a strong food or play/ball drive you could exploit

    I strongly 2nd the dog beaviorist suggestion. Or, pick up some of the GOOD dog behavior books (by authors Pyror, Donaldson, McConnell). Here's recommendation on good behavior books:
    http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonli...131&Itemid=345

    Read through here and the related articles at the bottom, esp. operant and classical conditioning, as a start:
    http://www.4pawsu.com/dogpsychology.htm



  7. #7
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    Jul. 22, 2008
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    First things first, do NOT take him to the dog park again.

    This is absolutely something that can be worked on, but it is going to take professional assistance and lots of time and patience. Part of that is going to be careful planned meetings with very stable dogs in neutral environments. The dog park fits none of those bills, and in a situation like this will only reinforce his aggressive/neurotic behavior.

    Start looking for a behaviorist in your area. You can try contacting groups that offer obedience classes, but before you sign up for one talk to whoever is running it and explain the situation. If he is as bad as you say, you will probably be best off finding someone who will work with you one on one for a while. Don't go to petsmart- I know there are some that have decent trainers but it's a real crapshoot. Find an individual with a track record working with difficult dogs. Local obedience, tracking or agility clubs can give you a hotline to people like that.

    In the meantime, you can start working on some basic commands at home- sit, down, come, leave it- to begin to build a rapport with him. Google NILIF- Nothing In Life Is Free- and begin to incorporate that into your daily life with him. Just another thing that will help establish you as the go-to girl in his mind. I don't tend to use terms like Alpha or Dominant, but you want to set up a relationship where he looks to you for guidance on how to react in a situation. NILIF will help with that.

    Our three year old dane is extremely aggressive. He was well socialized as a pup but a switch flipped at some point. It's taken years of work, but I can now walk him without tremendous drama. He's fine with certain dogs in controlled environments, but he will never be a dog we can just take to the store or the dog park. It's fine- he fits our life perfectly, we don't feel any great desire to take him to dog parks anyway- but we do have to be vigilant about the situations he is exposed to. Because of his size, one slip up could very easily result in tremendous injury to another dog or person, and that is a risk we cannot take. Other people don't care that he's an excellent pet 99% of the time if that 1% is what they see. Please be careful and seek out a professional to help you immediately. Good luck.

    ETA: One thing that helped us tremendously during the period where we were working on this was a halti. I know they aren't very popular on here, but being able to control his head was extremely helpful when he got that 'tunnel vision' thing going on. Use one with a short leash, never a retractable or a loose long one, and plan to work your way back to a buckle collar eventually.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubyfree View Post

    ETA: One thing that helped us tremendously during the period where we were working on this was a halti. I know they aren't very popular on here, but being able to control his head was extremely helpful when he got that 'tunnel vision' thing going on. Use one with a short leash, never a retractable or a loose long one, and plan to work your way back to a buckle collar eventually.
    Those and gentle leaders are VERY popular with behaviorists, for exactly the reason you explain, being able to control the head on an aggressive dog.

    Basket muzzles are also very popular



  9. #9
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    Dec. 9, 2001
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    virginia
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    Default Unruly dogs

    I have a huge dog with the attention span of a flea. He was spoiled when I got him at 7 months. I tried to train him (and am experienced) but I didn't have the time to spend with him. I sent him to professional trainer for 3 weeks. He still has some issues but he doesn't chase the horses anymore and, when I call, he stops in midair and runs straight for me and sits immediately. It was worth the money.



  10. #10
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    Jun. 9, 2009
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    A Gentle Leader and a good trainer are your best friend!

    Obedience schools can be a great way to start socializing in a controlled environment after the ground work is laid with a trainer. Lots of dogs also benefit from having a "job" to do, and obediance or agility training is often very helpful.

    I would stay far away from dog parks, and stick with long, on-leash walks. I volunteer with rescue dobermans, and IMO it just isn't worth the risk. Even if you trust your dog, there could always be someone there who has no business letting their dog off-leash. When I'm looking for off leash fun, we go to the barn after the horses are brought in and run in the pastures.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~



  11. #11
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    Another vote for Nothing in Life is Free! Great idea!



  12. #12
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    I agree on the gentle leader and/or a basket muzzle.

    Definitely get a professional involved ASAP.

    This will require dedication on your part and the dog may never be 100% reliable. Some people are fine with that. The trick is being realistic about the dog and its limitations.

    As a vet assistant there is nothing I love more than an owner who gets that their dog has issues and is proactive about it. Nothing worse than an owner who thinks little fluffy wuffy cutie pie is as sweet as can be despite the fact that it chewed my arm off and tried to fight every dog it saw in the clinic....

    Clearly you are aware of the problem and kudos to you for doing something about it! Lucky dog to have found you...
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  13. #13
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    Aug. 14, 2005
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    Pennsylvania
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    Default

    Ceasar Milan, the Dog Whisperer is a great resource, but use his advice/show along with a professional trainer in your area. I too would skip the dog park. If your dog is agressive and he meets up with another agressive dog, or worse, someone's tiny morsel of a dog, you'll have big problems.



  14. #14
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Jade View Post
    My BF and I adopted a BIG chocolate lab from a nearby shelter a few weeks ago. In general, he is a very good dog, but get SO excited when he sees other dogs. He gets way too aggressive with them, barks, yelps, bites, etc. that eventually the meeting turns into a fight. Also when he sees another dog he gets tunnel vision and will barely recognize the fact I am trying to get him under cotnrol and make him sit. I took him to the dog park last week and after a few scuffles I left. He also jumped up at a jogger and tried to nip at her playfully (thankfully he missed).

    Any ideas with how to get him more socialized/better behaved when there is outside stimuli?
    you need to go to working classes or obdediant classes and perhaps dog agility
    these dog liek to be doing something other than sitting around all day
    they are working dogs give him something to keep his mind active



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by llsc View Post
    Ceasar Milan, the Dog Whisperer is a great resource
    I definatly disagree. A peer-reviewed, published, scientific study showed that 40% of owner who did his "alpha roll" got bit by their own dogs... that's only the tip of the iceberg....



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatPalomino View Post
    I definatly disagree. A peer-reviewed, published, scientific study showed that 40% of owner who did his "alpha roll" got bit by their own dogs... that's only the tip of the iceberg....
    I second this.



  17. #17
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    Mar. 30, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatPalomino View Post
    I definatly disagree. A peer-reviewed, published, scientific study showed that 40% of owner who did his "alpha roll" got bit by their own dogs... that's only the tip of the iceberg....

    Can I disagree with your disagreement? As a rescuer AND a constant Cesar watcher... if you as the owner are doing alpha rolls on your own dogs you didn't pay attention to what he is telling you. He is NOT an instruction manual, he is showing you how he personally handled a situation you only saw the tip of. And how many more times could NGEO channel post the "there are many methods available to work with your dog. consult a professional in YOUR area, etc, etc"?

    He's fantastic in my book, but I learn from everyone I read/watch and incorporate bits and pieces into my training based on my own experience and the needs of my dogs.
    HaHA! Made-est Thou Look!



  18. #18
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    Aug. 9, 2007
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    Hire a very good and highly recommended dog trainer and let him/her keep the dog for a month of training. Then he/she will have either trained the dog (and will have to train you too in obedience school) or will tell you that the dog is incorrigible (yes there are some of those).

    I went to obedience school years ago because of my first hyperactive aussie because I am not a trainer and I knew my limiitations so I sent Kippy to school first, then I went to school with Kippy and my other aussie Ashley and my mix Chadwick, so I'd know how to keep Kippy as well trained as she was when she came home from school. No more yelling, no more frustration for either of us, and her named changed from "DammitKippy" to Kippy.



  19. #19
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    Mar. 26, 2001
    Location
    Los Angeles, California
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    706

    Default labs...

    I have an adopted lab that's now 7 but who I found when he was 6-9 months old. He is a really good dog, but his exuberance and lack of social skills with other dogs was definitely a challenge. Luckily we already had an older dog that we let be "alpha" so he learned some manners quickly from him. (Except for eating the lights off our Christmas tree, destroying our phone and internet box - but I digress!

    Even now, he's a lot to handle on a leash. We still walk him with a harness, but used the gentle leader for about two years, which helped tremendously. He still gets "tunnel vision" when he sees a squirrel or another dog, but he responds to voice commands now so he is controllable.

    My husband followed the "Monks of New Skete" when training our first dog, who was really easy, and applied the same principles to the lab. (http://www.newsketemonks.com/dogs.htm) The biggest thing was learning that "SIT" and "STAY" and "LEAVE IT" were serious commands that need to be heeded immediately. Now, when we see another dog coming or him fixating on a squirrel, we immediately make him sit and stay and put his attention back on us. Admittedly my husband did most of the training, and at times I thought he was rather strict, but it really worked and both dogs listen to me and can be taken anywhere and kept under control.

    He's still socially awkward and tends to incite dogs to want to beat him up, so I tend to let him do a couple quick sniffs and then we move along. I would also veto the dog park idea. Go for a hike or a long walk instead. One important thing I learned is that labs need a LOT of exercise. My older dog is content tooling around the block, but the lab needs at least an hour walk to really settle in.

    All that said, I LOVE my lab, he just took some getting used to after having a very calm, easy to train first dog. He is so loyal and sweet, he's just not that smart and needs me to be black and white in all directions.

    Good luck!



  20. #20
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    Apr. 1, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Jade View Post
    My BF and I adopted a BIG chocolate lab from a nearby shelter a few weeks ago. In general, he is a very good dog, but get SO excited when he sees other dogs. He gets way too aggressive with them, barks, yelps, bites, etc. that eventually the meeting turns into a fight. Also when he sees another dog he gets tunnel vision and will barely recognize the fact I am trying to get him under cotnrol and make him sit. I took him to the dog park last week and after a few scuffles I left. He also jumped up at a jogger and tried to nip at her playfully (thankfully he missed).

    Any ideas with how to get him more socialized/better behaved when there is outside stimuli?
    I agree with the posters who say stay away from the dominance theory. In general, what those practioners do is squash behavior. Rather than do that, I prefer to give the dog a behavior to do in place of the one that is inappropriate, one that s/he cannot do and also do the inappropriate one. Patricia McConnell just had 2 posts up on her blog regarding aggression and there was a REALLY good post in answer to hers of what one person did with their dog aggressive pitX.

    What the poster did was Dr. Karen Overalls Relaxation Protocol. You can view it here:
    http://www.k9aggression.com/Aggressi...haviorMod.html

    Dr. Overall had an Aussie that had a history of biting, you can read the story of Flash here....he was a very special dog who had some serious behavior issues.

    http://www.stevedalepetworld.com/pri...ging-the-world



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