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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone, I am new to the forum and I am in need of a little help. About a month ago I adopted a Dobe from Animal control. She's been great. She's about 7months old now and has already bonded with my children, two cats, and two Boxers; however, she's recently become very aggressive toward other dogs. If I take her for a walk I have to stop and hold on tight if another dog come within 20ft or so. She acts as if i'm not ever around. She won't listen or obey any of her commands or previous training. Could someone please tell me how to stop this behavior before it's too late? Thanks so much.

Dawn Ann
 

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You might like this thread
http://www.dobermantalk.com/showthread.php?t=725 since there is a lot of good information about this topic that seems to relate to your situation as well. Make sure and watch how you act when other dogs come around, you could be giving her cues you aren't even aware that you are giving. When you tense up, expecting an ugly scene, that sends signals.

This is taken from that thread: Whenever we would walk past another dog or person (he wanted to meet everything) I would make him focus on me, using the treat. At first I had to wave the treat in front of his nose, talk to him and feed the treats to him in rapid succession. I would tell him what a good boy he was. Communication is important of what you want. You have to let the dog know what is the proper response. It is more effective and better to give treats, feasible commands, and praise, than to say no and jerk the leash. I would keep the leash tightly in my hand, (not too tight with a little bit of slack), enough to not let him be able to lunge toward the other dog/person or get very close to them. We would keep on walking by while I was feeding him and talking to him, it was not a moment to sit and wait for what happens. Sometimes he would be required to sit or look at me in the eye when we had been doing the treat thing for a while. Eventually when he saw another dog or person he would start looking towards me for a treat or command and would be rewarded for that behavior. He needed me to help him learn what to do and he enjoyed the extra treats, extra walks, and extra time spent with him. It was a positive experience. We took walks in different places all the time so he could check out new environments and build his confidence at the same time.

Make sure the treats are really high value treats, something very smelly that she really loves and wants to eat. Help her learn to focus on your during your outings and make other dogs a non-issue. Be proactive.

This behavior modification approach did two things, one it helped this dog learn that other dogs meant something great, yummy treats. Dogs = delicious treats from owner.

Two, it helped train him to focus on me during distractions.


Here is a good place for reading : http://www.flyingdogpress.com/articles.html

There are certain obedience classes at some clubs that deal with young dogs like this. Ask around at obedience clubs in your area. Tell them the whole story about your girl and see what they recommend. You are very smart to want to deal with this now in a puppy and not wait until she becomes an adult. Good luck
 

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Dawn Ann, how is she with your boxers? What exactly does she do when she sees the other dogs on the street? How long has this been going on? What was her reaction to strange dogs like before this behaviour began? What are you currently doing when this happens? Have you contacted the humane society where you got her from? Do they offer post-adoption training help, do they have a behaviourist on staff who specializes in aggression? It can be tricky assessing an aggressive dog situation over the internet based soley on the information provided by the person who's having problems with the dog. What some people describe in their dogs as aggression, isn't aggression at all, it could just be over excitement etc. (eg. my dog is so aggressive, he jumps up on every one who comes into the house) On the other hand what some people completely deny to accept as aggressive behaviour is. (Fifi only does that because she doesn't like it when you're in the kitchen if she's eating, she's very shy and worries that people will think she's a little piglet the way she gobbles up her food.) It's always best to have a good trainer or behaviourist see the dog in person and be able to witness the questioned behaviour. There could be body language signs (from both you and her) which an experienced person will see and you may not even realize exist.

At 7 months she's still pretty young. Dogs don't really become aggressive untill about this age which is when they are maturing into adults. Unless this is a behaviour caused by something traumatic that happened to her before, chances are you should be able to nip this in the but reasonably quickly.

In any case, the first thing you need to work on is having her focus on you. The dog ignoring you is not a good sign. You need to start doing basic obedience with her on a regular basis. You need to start with getting solid reactins from her to your commands in an environment where she is not distracted by anything else (maybe the basement of your home, or a quiet room when there is nobody else around). When she becomes very reliable at listening to you and above all staying focued on you, increase the difficulty. Continue with the same routines and exercises when there is some one home, when the dogs and the kids are around, etc. When you have solid responses from her again, move on to a more distracting environment. Perhaps a park, or a street (obviously keep her leashed at all times). Start with places where there are a few people and perhaps an odd dog here and there far enough that she would ignore it. Gradually you should be able to have her attention and have her listen to you when you are approached an passed by other people and dogs.

The treat idea dobesanddragons wrote above is also a good tool, but it might not work for you if at this point she is completely out of control.
 

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Dawn Ann,
I think obedience classes would be a great place to start. They will help strengthen the bond between you and your new dobergirl and give you a great place to socialize her in a controlled setting.
I agree with Dobesanddragons. We've had issues with Chi - ie. she wanted to eat joggers for strollers for breakfast, joggers for lunch and kids on bikes for dinner :) BUT through a whole lot of walks and tiny pieces of hotdog, we can now walk til the cows come home with little or no reaction. We're now working on approaching and allowing others to approach! That is huge considering 6 months ago, she was pretty nutty with people as close as 10 ft away.
I think the key - if it is possible - is for you to notice the upcoming distraction before her and then get and keep her attention on you. I'll never forget when I realized Chi had associated clicks and treats with joggers. I had her out for a walk and a jogger surprised me coming around a corner. She didn't react! I was so excited but she did start poking my left leg wanting the treat I forgot to give her :)

Good luck and keep us updated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks to everyone for their help. To answer Zucker's questions, Lilli accepted my children, my two cats, and my two Boxers with no problems. She and the Boxers play like they've grown up together since pups. She even nuzzles the cats and kids. She seems to love them all. She also loves people in general. It's only strange dogs that she gets upset about. I'm wondering if it's not her age because I have a 6 month old Boxer who also reacts to strange dogs while walking only she listens better and will calm down faster. Maybe they are just excited, however, Lilli, being large and with those long teeth, looks as though she's out to kill the other pooch. Anyhow, I will take everyone's advice and get her started in training. And I'm certainly going to take treats next time I take her or Zoe walking. Thanks again to everyone.
Dawn Ann
 
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