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Old 11-30-2012, 10:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Aggression??

Rubi is now six months old. At around 4.5 mos she started to get a little growly and barky when she saw a stranger. We have recently traveled to Mexico and she was exposed to a lot of change. Different motels, different people the only constant was my hubby and I and the car. At first if someone passed the car she would go nuts. But once we settled into Mexico and a consistant home, she did not do that much. The problem is she will get excited and go balistic when she sees a person on a bike (I realize now she did not get bike orientation during her socialization). She also goes balistic for no apparent reason when she occasionally sees a person. She will be friendly to one person but then growly to someone right next to them??? It only happens occassionaly but she scares the piss out of people as well as out of us. This is aggression correct? When I read in my training books it says if a dog is aggressive to get a behvior specialist.....well this is Mexico and there are no behavior specialists for dogs. So I am turning to you DT. Do you have specific advice as to what actions we should take when she behaves this way? I have no clue as to why she suddenly gets barky and aggressive, its not often but it is occasional. The rest of the time she is loving and hardheaded. Is this something a 6 month old does? Please help.
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Old 12-01-2012, 02:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would say it is reactivity which can be a form of aggresion. I would goog desensitizing, behvior adjustment training, control unleashed, etc. You will want to work under her threshold if possible (far enough away she is so no signs of reacting) and slowly get her closer to the objects that cause her to react.

And I would say no most 6 month olds do not do this. I would say it's very workable if done right.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree with Adara. Get/read Control Unleashed (I've heard the Control Unleashed Puppy book is very good, and better organized than the original CU book). I would add "counter conditioning" to the list of things to Google (though I guess it falls in with behavior adjustment training and desensitization).

While you're dealing with this/working on this, be sure to keep her safe, and keep those around you/her safe. Try to anticipate situations that you should not put her in. Be ready to advocate for your dog if necessary (if people insist on trying to pet or meet her when she clearly doesn't want to, etc.)
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well in my experiance dealing with rescues. When they show aggression. Barking or growling etc.. Its more so there scared so thats how they react by barking and growling as a warning. If thats what shes acting like. I would just keep repeatedly introducing her to things that upset her. If she continues to back away and growl and back quickly give a firm command NO and make her sit. Have the people approuch slowly if she doesnt bark or growl have them hand her a treat. Just make sure you have her under your control so that if she were to go to the next step she wouldnt bite. Dont have the people push her limits either. Ive had very successful training just by getting them used to seeing new people, New things to show them it isnt bad it can be a fun experiance.

My girl Jynxie the other day SAW a school bus go by and it scared her. She took off running with her hair huntched up. I got her and made her sit and watch the bus and then she calmed down and went back to playing. Some things just startle dogs i think.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Oh i just want to say for the bicycles. Show her a bike and move it and walk with her while pushing a bike. Then gradually move to riding the bike while holding her leash. Make sure you dont run her over though haha dont want to make it a bad experiance. Make it a positive one. Its more less desensitizing her to things that upset her.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kindafugly View Post
Well in my experiance dealing with rescues. When they show aggression. Barking or growling etc.. Its more so there scared so thats how they react by barking and growling as a warning. If thats what shes acting like. I would just keep repeatedly introducing her to things that upset her. If she continues to back away and growl and back quickly give a firm command NO and make her sit. Have the people approuch slowly if she doesnt bark or growl have them hand her a treat. Just make sure you have her under your control so that if she were to go to the next step she wouldnt bite. Dont have the people push her limits either. Ive had very successful training just by getting them used to seeing new people, New things to show them it isnt bad it can be a fun experiance.

My girl Jynxie the other day SAW a school bus go by and it scared her. She took off running with her hair huntched up. I got her and made her sit and watch the bus and then she calmed down and went back to playing. Some things just startle dogs i think.
Bolded - That's considered "flooding" and is not recommended for reactive dogs...or any dog.

OP - search "reactive" in the DT search feature. A couple of us reactive dog owners started a thread on managing this behavior.

Are you open to purchasing a few books? I'd highly recommend "Click to Calm:Healing the Aggressive Dog", "Calming Signals: On Talking Terms with Dogs", and "Control Unleashed" like previously mentioned.

Don't put her into situations where you think she could start acting aggressive. The more she is able to reach that point, the more it becomes a learned and natural response. She is still really young so proper management from here on out is key.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I consider it desensitizing. But everyone will have there own methods of training. I would have to say its whatever works best for the dog. She could be acting that way for a whole other reason instead of fear.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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OP, I have had much success using "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt. The "Control Unleashed Puppy" by the same author is also wonderful. I echo the caution against "flooding" and urge you to work with your dog while she is under threshold. It may feel like things are going very slow, but in the long run it is very worth it. You may also want to look into Grisha Stewart's BAT (Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) | Official site for BAT: dog-friendly training for reactivity (aggression, fear, frustration) by Grisha Stewart, MA).

I think it would be helpful for you to check out the DT "Reactive Dogs" thread: RDOA - Reactive Dog Owners Anonymous

I also HIGHLY recommend my friend Crystal's blog about her journey with her reactive dog, Maisy (Reactive Champion). Honestly, reading that from the beginning would be really, really helpful for you. She covers so many relevant topics.
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks DT great information. Today we went to a Mexican fund raiser bazaar, there were lots of people, all ages and sizes she did not react to anyone, she was petted and people walked up to her, she was on leash, there was a lot of noise and people everywhere. No reactions at all. But sometimes, just out of the blue, she reacts to a person. Just not today, so I find this hard.
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