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Posted: 9/7/2010 4:17:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/8/2010 2:42:41 AM EDT by NoahFN]
My great dane is a little over a year old. I have two beagles he gets along with fine. He was socialized as a puppy at dog parks and with my parent's and brother's dogs.

A couple of weeks ago when we were hiking another great dane who got off his leash ran up to him and he got scared and sort of aggressive towards it. Tonight we took him to a dog "ice cream social" and he barked and lunged at several other dogs. I corrected him whenever he did this and he started to get better, but lunged at another dog when we left.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how to solve this problem. I'm afraid he's going to start a fight and hurt another dog.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 4:46:07 PM EDT
Keep socializing your dog with other dogs. He's an adolescent and just like teenagers, they try to assert themselves.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 7:54:53 PM EDT
OST because we are having the same problem with our Retriever.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 8:18:51 PM EDT
Just do what your doing, they have stages they go through.

How the other dogs approached could have been threatening or uncouth to your dogs senses as well, they have their own instinctual/animal/dog rules.

Link Posted: 9/7/2010 9:08:05 PM EDT
In the latest incident it was a small dog on the other side of a fence that ran up to my wife and daughter. The dog was not running in a threatening manner, more of a friendly approach albeit a fast one. Our dog snarled aggressively and my wife immediately took her home.

Other incidents have occurred at PetSmart and Petco. Aggressive barking, but no snarling.

The retriever is three years old. 'Teenage' issues perhaps?

We going to the vet tomorrow for an ear problem and will ask about it.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 8:42:23 AM EDT
This is not an easy situation unless you are lucky. Dog aggression is tough to beat. You can socialize and train but at the end of the day you may still have to keep the dog in question away from other dogs for the rest of its live. Be prepared for that.

Get the Leerburg dominant dog DVD and training material and take a look at it. However again, even if you are Mr. Perfect Alpha this may not stop things. My dog won't go through a door/down stairs/etc. unless I go first, sits for meals and is a perfect citizen around other well-behaved dogs that leave it alone, i.e. I'm alpha––except where other dogs are concerned. As soon as another dog comes into contact all bets are off. We simply don't let her near other random dogs anymore. Other dogs that are under control and working are fine but no random dog contact. She's the Highlander––there can be only one

Be very, very careful testing your training. Dane vs. Beagle + mistake = dead Beagle.

Dog vs. dog + you breaking it up = you may take some damage. I've been bit twice so far, thankfully very minor affairs and always by the other dog as I grabbed up mine but your own dog can go for you unintentionally in a frenzy, too.

As for the retriever issue you didn't say what kind but it matters not. Everyone thinks that GRs and LRs are the happiest, goofiest dogs. As far as I'm concerned all GRs can turn into demon dogs at any time. They are very protective when they feel they need to be. And there is the odd aggressive LR (one right down my street, in fact).

Good luck and be careful.

Link Posted: 9/9/2010 9:16:53 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SharpCharge:
Keep socializing your dog with other dogs. He's an adolescent and just like teenagers, they try to assert themselves.


This.

My dog sort of does the same thing. Once he gets used to the other dog (greets him) he calms down and they get along.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 9:25:10 AM EDT
My male Anatolian Shepherd is intact and he does this also... He's better when he's with just me, but when my lady is around he goes into super protect mode and won't let anything man or animal get near her without letting out a nice low growl and showing off his pretty smile..

It's comforting to know that he'll mess up someone or somethings world if they try to hurt my lady though..
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 10:26:34 AM EDT
What type of restraint is being used?
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 11:07:05 AM EDT
There's some specific episodes of "the dog whisperer" about exactly that sort of behavior. Same story, everything just fine at first and gradually more agression towards other dogs. Not sure exactly how he dealt with it, but one of the first things he said was "is he neutered?"

I'm not a dog owner myself, but grew up around dogs, and I'm always amazed by what he (cesar) can do with dogs..
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 9:12:36 PM EDT
How do you guys feel about the Gentle Leader?
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:20:14 AM EDT
Firebird and FishKepr: restraining is not training!

When you restrain a dog the dog learns nothing except that it is harder to do what it wants with the restraining device on. Restraint is not feedback. Rewards and corrections are feedback.

Halti's, Gentle Leaders and the like make it easier to walk the dog but don't teach the dog anything about aggression or dominance, or much of anything else, really. If you are a lazy person who doesn't want to train your otherwise lovable/goofy <insert favorite breed> then more power to you, but you are playing with fire if you've got a dog exhibiting aggressive or dominant behavior and you don't start correcting it. And let's not mince words, by correcting it I mean delivering punishment.

There are exceptions to every rule, but dominance and aggression issues are rarely solved by positive reward conditioning. In the pack they are solved by posturing, growling, pawing and biting. These are not positive things! To be sure, good behavior in these areas can be rewarded, but bad behavior must be stopped immediately with an action the dog understands as a punishment or correction. Any dog can easily display aggression while at the end of a Gentle Leader. All the dog knows in that case is "I can't understand why my master will not let me go do what I want" not "Oh, I should not be doing that!"

The most effective dog training is a balance of both positive and negative. Where the optimal balance point is depends on the dog. If it's your typical self-training Border Collie, it's going to be 99% reward and 1% correction. If it's a crazy dominant Malinois it might be 75% correction and 25% reward. The basis of most dog training is operant conditioning. Study up on that a bit, think about it in terms of dogs and then maybe it'll be clearer why "positive only" dog training may not necessarily be the best choice for your dog or even most dogs.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 2:31:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By aa777888-2:
Firebird and FishKepr: restraining is not training!

When you restrain a dog the dog learns nothing except that it is harder to do what it wants with the restraining device on. Restraint is not feedback. Rewards and corrections are feedback.

Halti's, Gentle Leaders and the like make it easier to walk the dog but don't teach the dog anything about aggression or dominance, or much of anything else, really. If you are a lazy person who doesn't want to train your otherwise lovable/goofy <insert favorite breed> then more power to you, but you are playing with fire if you've got a dog exhibiting aggressive or dominant behavior and you don't start correcting it. And let's not mince words, by correcting it I mean delivering punishment.

There are exceptions to every rule, but dominance and aggression issues are rarely solved by positive reward conditioning. In the pack they are solved by posturing, growling, pawing and biting. These are not positive things! To be sure, good behavior in these areas can be rewarded, but bad behavior must be stopped immediately with an action the dog understands as a punishment or correction. Any dog can easily display aggression while at the end of a Gentle Leader. All the dog knows in that case is "I can't understand why my master will not let me go do what I want" not "Oh, I should not be doing that!"

The most effective dog training is a balance of both positive and negative. Where the optimal balance point is depends on the dog. If it's your typical self-training Border Collie, it's going to be 99% reward and 1% correction. If it's a crazy dominant Malinois it might be 75% correction and 25% reward. The basis of most dog training is operant conditioning. Study up on that a bit, think about it in terms of dogs and then maybe it'll be clearer why "positive only" dog training may not necessarily be the best choice for your dog or even most dogs.

I never said anything about training. A collar is a restraint no matter how much pink paint or fairy dust you sprinkle on it. I have owned and raised large/giant breeds all of my life. Some good some not so good. In the end they all received basic training and none of them have ever bitten a human or maliciously attacked another dog. I fully support prong collars, shock collars and similar devices that keep the dog inline. A Great Dane is a powerful animal but he can be trained.

I for one never go soft on them.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 4:27:37 PM EDT
Ah, so by "restraint" you meant "collar". I don't use my collars as restraints. My dog is always sitting, laying, standing (staying) or heeling when on lead. No tension is allowed in the lead. We rarely use a lead now, in general only around other dogs (and only as a backup) or for training. Without the lead there is no restraint, of course!
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 8:46:57 PM EDT
I have good news about our GR.

A professional trainer evaluated her 'dog aggression' issues this evening. In her opinion our dog can be desensitized, and to prove it she successfully introduced her to a test dog with a minimum of effort and only a few minutes of conditioning. This trainer obviously knows her stuff and we signed up for sessions at once.

Does the dog need work? Absolutely, but after seeing the results from only 30 minutes of effort I'm confident now that she'll be fine.
Link Posted: 9/11/2010 8:18:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By aa777888-2:
Ah, so by "restraint" you meant "collar". I don't use my collars as restraints. My dog is always sitting, laying, standing (staying) or heeling when on lead. No tension is allowed in the lead. We rarely use a lead now, in general only around other dogs (and only as a backup) or for training. Without the lead there is no restraint, of course!

City Code here has leash laws. They even recently added that an animal cannot be within 75 feet of a school yard, play ground or a place holding a sporting event. At our home they always have their collars on but when we leave the house they have their prong collars and leashes on.
Link Posted: 9/11/2010 11:29:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Firebird69:
They even recently added that an animal cannot be within 75 feet of a school yard, play ground or a place holding a sporting event.


Sorry for going off thread but...Wow That sucks. Leash laws here but state law has a provision for off lead working or training. We are always training!

Link Posted: 9/11/2010 6:13:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Firebird69:
What type of restraint is being used?

We're using a gentle leader. When he acted aggressively towards another dog we pulled it tight and scolded him.

Is this the correct approach?


Link Posted: 9/12/2010 3:29:42 AM EDT
Originally Posted By NoahFN:

Originally Posted By Firebird69:
What type of restraint is being used?

We're using a gentle leader. When he acted aggressively towards another dog we pulled it tight and scolded him.

Is this the correct approach?



Yes and no. Your heart is in the right place but you've got a few issues.

The first issue is purely mechanical. You cannot deliver a good correction with a Gentle Leader. Read above. You need some kind of collar, either flat, prong or choke, that will allow you to deliver a good leash correction. A good correction is not a restraint, pull or pressure. It is a "pop" or, to be less politically correct, you yank it hard. The yank or pop is sharp, quick, to the point and ends with a slack leash. How hard depends on the dog, the problem and the type of collar. This leads to the second issue.

The second issue is that these things are sufficiently complex, even just delivering good leash corrections, that you should get some professional dog training help. This definitely does not mean Petco/Petsmart. How, when, the precise timing of, how hard and how often to correct the dog is very important.

The third issue is that you need to head off the need to deliver corrections by getting the dog focused on you and not other dogs. You need to learn how to recognize the signs of incipient aggression and use positive approaches before negative approaches are necessary. Again this is an area where pro trainer's can be very helpful to you. Watch your dog. Staring, licking his chops, ear flattening––all are signs of too much negative interest in another dog. Tell him to do something at that point that focuses on you. Tell him to sit. Tell him to heel off in another direction. Call his name and get eye contact with him. Reward proper behavior. Notice I wrote "tell" and not "ask". We never ask our dogs to do anything. We tell them and then either make them do it or reward proper behavior. Avoid the "Sit, sit, Sit, SIT!" scenario.

The fourth issue is that training him around random dogs vs. dogs that might be in his "pack" (e.g. next door neighbor dogs) is different. You should not necessarily expect your dog to be welcoming of every random dog but he should defer to you as alpha. Integrating dogs into a pack is a completely different issue. Cesar does that all the time on the Dog Whisperer. I sort of hate it because he looks successful but I'd be willing to bet a lot of these dogs still go haywire at the sight of a random dog.

At any rate, to summarize: 1) get rid of the gentle leader, 2) be willing to correct your dog (not restrain), 3) understand the problem is probably a lot more complex than a bunch of even the smartest internet dog commandos can assist with and 4) get some pro training help.

Good luck and keep us posted.
Link Posted: 9/12/2010 3:41:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/12/2010 3:42:19 PM EDT by Firebird69]
This is very close to the prong collars that we use for our dogs. You'll be very surprised of the difference in your Dane's attitude when this type of collar is applied correctly. In our area PetCo went libtard and does not carry them but PetSmart does. Using your leash wrap it around his neck (carefully ) and then measure the length on a tape measure. Buy a larger collar and then remove links as necessary. I leave their dedicated collar (Top Paw) with tags on 24/7 and use the prong collar above it. A four foot leash keeps them close.



FB
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 3:22:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2010 3:24:06 AM EDT by aa777888-2]
Power steering for dogs! Some additional data on prong collars: they should fit snug with the prongs just barely touching the skin so that when the leash applies pressure the prongs start to press almost immediately. They should be the closest to the head, high up on the neck (like Firebird says, don't forget the flat collar with the tags–– there's no problem having two collars on) Also some dogs get lit up by them and may do better on a choke. Finally you may encounter "prong haters" (people) because they do look a little medieval. They are actually much kinder to the dog than choke and flat collars as leash corrections can be more mild and because a well-trained dog is a happier dog. It is not confused or conflicted about what you expect of it.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 7:54:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By aa777888-2:
Power steering for dogs! Some additional data on prong collars: they should fit snug with the prongs just barely touching the skin so that when the leash applies pressure the prongs start to press almost immediately. They should be the closest to the head, high up on the neck (like Firebird says, don't forget the flat collar with the tags–– there's no problem having two collars on) Also some dogs get lit up by them and may do better on a choke. Finally you may encounter "prong haters" (people) because they do look a little medieval. They are actually much kinder to the dog than choke and flat collars as leash corrections can be more mild and because a well-trained dog is a happier dog. It is not confused or conflicted about what you expect of it.

I have googled and found "covers" that go over the prong collars but I do not have them. A quick search should bring them up.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:02:01 AM EDT
Heres an example

Link Posted: 9/13/2010 9:27:54 PM EDT
prong collars! won't they hurt the dog!?!?!

Look, mama dog communicated STOP THAT to her pups with a nip.

Pack leader communicated STOP THAT to his underlings with a sharp snapping bite

This is what prong collars and to a lesser degree any short blast of ouch feedback gives. This is how dogs work. You don't expect your dog to walk upright, wear shoes, etc etc, because it is a dog. So it only makes sense to communicate STOP THAT to dogs in the way they are programed to receive it.

A sharp tug (or yank) with a choke collar or prong collar does not do any peppermint damage to the dog, it just gives him a little bit of pain feedback, BUT a little bit of pain feedback is what he expects and understands. If it was good enough for mamma dog, it should be good enough for you.
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