protective aggression training issue
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Thread: protective aggression training issue

  1. #1
    richb2 is offline Junior Member
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    Defaultprotective aggression training issue

    I am having trouble with my 3 year old female lab. I rarely walk her on a leash and when we are walking through the trails she will always picks up a stick to carry with her, of which she is very very proud. If another dog comes up to her, male or female and looks to take the stick, she starts growling. Usually the other dog will back off and no problem. But if the other dog is dominant, watch out. Last week she was retrieving a stick from a lake and a young and slightly untrained male doberman decided he wanted her stick instead of his ball. The started fighting in the water and I had to jump in to get her.

    Any ideas on what to do training wise? Now when we walk the trails I won't let her carry a stick at all. I should mention that she was very submissive. Also, if she is lying down with a bone or a chew toy and my daughter or wife gets too close, she growls. She is at the vet right now. The vet thinks it is a mental issue, although we are getting her hips and back X-rayd, just in case she is in pain.

    Any ideas?

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  3. #2
    Trickster's Avatar
    Trickster is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: protective aggression training issue

    She sounds as though she is possessive. Sometimes my dogs can get a bit snarky if a younger dog storms up to them at full speed and tries to take their ball/bumper/etc. Most adult dogs won't hesitate to put a 'rude' youngster in his or her place if they overstep the boundaries. That said, correcting a younger dog with a warning growl is one thing, full out attacking/fighting is another. Obviously, fighting of any sort is not acceptable.

    I would not throw any more balls or sticks for your girl in public unless you can get a rock solid recall on her and ask her to drop the item every time you meet another dog.

  4. #3
    richb2 is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultRe: protective aggression training issue

    Thanks. I do have a pretty good recall and a great "release". The drag is that taking this dog up to the lake is my "whole life", in just the same way that carrying a stick is her "whole life". I guess I need to start hiking up to less populated watering holes (which is easy here in very Northern NJ).

    How about here possessive thing with my wife and daughter? I've seen the cat walk by on the other side of the room when the dog has a chew toy, and she will growl under her breath. What's that about?

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  6. #4
    Chester B. Dickens is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: protective aggression training issue

    Put her on a leash to correct the nasty behavior.

  7. #5
    Trickster's Avatar
    Trickster is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: protective aggression training issue

    The drag is that taking this dog up to the lake is my "whole life", in just the same way that carrying a stick is her "whole life". I guess I need to start hiking up to less populated watering holes (which is easy here in very Northern NJ).
    Or avoid peak times. I find that going out early (6:00am - 7:00am), late morning (11:00am) and early evening helps me avoid the masses. Most people in my area tend to walk 8-10am and 3-5pm.

    How about here possessive thing with my wife and daughter? I've seen the cat walk by on the other side of the room when the dog has a chew toy, and she will growl under her breath. What's that about?
    You will get variating opinions on how to 'cure' this. Some prefer to take the negative route (putting the "fear of God" in the dog when it displays this kind of behavior, which I don't agree with at all) but personally, I take the positive. I would start by letting her know that you are no threat to her food or toys. You can do this by hand feeding, sitting and stroking her gently while she is chewing, etc. etc. Work up to the point where you can put your hand in her bowl while she is eating. You can do this by (when she is eating) calling her over to you for a reward. At each meal time, move a little closer to her bowl with the treat. Then, make her sit-stay, put her bowl down and place your hand (with treat) inside of her bowl. Release her and praise. In no time she should be comfortable with you being around her food. Do something similar for when she has a high value treat like a bone...sit next to her, stroke her, offer her treats, etc.

  8. #6
    JACKSMOM is offline Member
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    DefaultRe: protective aggression training issue

    We are also in northern NJ and I know how some of our lakes can get around peak time and how many people and dogs there are we sometimes try to take Jack when there is less people/dogs to aviod fights over sticks,balls ect..... (Thankfully he is the kind of dog that will back off and get distracted with something else if your dog growls at him he learned from my mom's four dogs)

    I know how taking them swimming is everything - I dont where in NJ you are but there are some lakes that we found has few people/dogs at peak time in Sparta area if that's near you

    As for the food I think Trickester's got the perfect idea about hand feeding him - I would put the leash on him in the house and correct the unwanted behaver that way.

    Good luck and Keep us posted on how everything worksout

    Michelle<br /><br />

  9. #7
    TimC. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: protective aggression training issue

    I'm not sure how old your daughter is, but I wouldn't allow her around your dog when she is eating or with a bone as long as she acts like this, its a sure way of her getting bitten.
    Olie

  10. #8
    Fallriver's Avatar
    Fallriver is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: protective aggression training issue

    I would put the leash on him in the house and correct the unwanted behaver that way.
    Please don't use force to work on this as you will only reassure your dog that the resource is worth guarding because you are also getting worked up about it. Correcting a dog for warning signs is akin to taking the ticker out of a time-bomb...very dangerous practice.
    Teach your dog that sharing is cool and rewarding. I would recommend Jean Donaldson's booklet "Mine". It is inexpensive and will give you some great insight into helping your dog learn how to share ;D
    Dana


    To err is human:To forgive, canine."
    - Anonymous

  11. #9
    JACKSMOM is offline Member
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    DefaultRe: protective aggression training issue

    We never used force with Jack and he always shares everything he has - I had a rule in my house since he was 5 weeks old and that was that children, everyone was able to take the bones,put there hands in his food while he eats and pet him and play while eating anything!!!

    we used the leash as an extension to your hands - our trianer said that you should have the leash on him for months to be able to correct unwanted behaver - but we really never had to use this mostly our voice works with him.

    I would never say use force but if the snaps at someone I wuld feel better being able to grab to leash and make sure NO ONE gets hurt that means my dogs as well.

    Michelle<br /><br />

  12. #10
    imported_queenofthedogs is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: protective aggression training issue

    the people who let their dog come up to yours and take her stick are idiots! IMO many if not most dogs would react the same to such rudeness. i am pretty positive your girl gave the correct warning growl, their dog didn't act properly in return, thus the fight.
    please don't get all full of notions that Your dog is some kind of critter to be feared when she was probably more upset & bewildered by this other dog's behavior than you are!
    having said that, it is a sad but unfortunate reality that there are few, if any, places left where one can safely let a dog run free, for a variety of reasons. get a check cord, work on your recall, [carry good treats!!!] and carefully check out an area before you let dog run free.
    can you get her to retrieve, or at least chase things you throw? that would keep her more focused on you, and closer to you, while allowing her lots of fun & exercise. again, use the treats. the closer she is to you, and the more focused on you, the better control and monitoring you can do.

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