Lizzie, 10 months is showing signs of agressive behaviour, we are totally shocked by this, she loves everybody... in fact a few months back I was concerned that she was a bit too friendly and didn't know when to back off. Hubby took her over the field for a run the other evening and she was playing with another Lab, Millie who is a year old, they have played before. Hubby said he saw Lizze snarl and growl at Millie . Today I took her to the park, we met several dogs and she was very friendly with them all, then she met another dog and I heard her snarl and growl.. Hubby said over the field this evening a teenager walked past them and went to stroke her and Lizzie started barking and growling... How do we deal with this behaviour? We really don't want it to continue.
Leash and collar corrections - QUIET or SETTLE or CUT IT OUT! She's got to learn that this kind of reaction is unacceptable.
I don't think we know enough to make a recommendation. If she is barking and growling out of fear, the last thing you want to do is punish the behavior, as it will only add frustration to the mix and risk escalating the problem.
I would first point out that you don't really know yet if this is truly aggressive behavior or something else (fear, etc.). Also you have two incidents with dogs and one with people, so there potentially could be two separate things going on. What you need to do is become very aware of how she behaves with other dogs and with different categories of people (kids, old people, white people, black people, people with hats, people in wheelchairs, etc.). What exactly happened with Millie and the other dog? Did Lizzie growl and snarl out of nowhere? Did Millie or the other dog get in her face or do something she didn't like? Dogs often warn each other with a growl and snarl--I've even see Theo do it to tell another dog to leave him alone, and he's a very submissive dog.
Dogs also can become protective on leash. Some are afraid of certain kinds of touch (butt is a common problem); being patted on the head or loomed over can be very intimidating to many dogs.
In any event, I would be asking her for lots of eye contact when you walk in public places, and for the time being I wouldn't let strangers pet her. See if you can take her for a walk and get good eye contact as you walk near strangers. If so, good girl! and lots of treats.* Gradually decrease the distance between you and others, and don't push it too fast. You might also want to look at this superb post by FallRiver on fear barking: https://www.justlabradors.com/forum/i...html#msg155015
Another thing to mention is that if this has come on suddenly, maybe she's not feeling just right? Make sure that she doesn't have a sore spot, earache, whatever. That wouldn't excuse her behavior but would give you a simple answer.
Not that I agree with the behavior, but something I have experienced myself... Lexus is beyond friendly with most adults. She loves attention and she loves "making new friends" (as we call it). She is uncomfortable around children because they are very loud, energetic, bounce all over the place, make quick movements, etc. She has never been aggressive with children at all and tolerates them; but you can tell she doesn't like it too much. (Babies, she is fine around until they reach the age where they start grabbing at her then she will become very nervous around them.) But anyway... There have been three different occasions where Lexus growled and backed away from people. Quite honestly, I never corrected her for that because I am a strong believer that dogs know people. Dogs know when there are "bad" people around. So, for a dog to be as overly friendly as she is and to have only 3 people she has met and not wanted anything to do with; I seriously do not take that as a behavioral problem. I think she knows these people were no good or up to something. I wouldn't dare correct her for that instinct.
How much has Lizzie been socialized with other dogs? How often is she around other dogs (more than just passing by on the street; actually getting to interact with them)? If she isn't around them very often, I would seriously look into getting her into some kind of class to promote socialization with other dogs... She needs to be socialized if she hasn't been around many other dogs in her life so far. This could be a reason she growled at Millie; lack of respect due to poor socialization.
Perhaps she growled at the teenager because of something he did... Maybe he startled her somehow. Maybe he moved too quickly. Maybe it was the way his hand came at her. These are details your husband could have taken note of and you could ask about (if you haven't already). I mean, maybe she was justified in her mind to growl at him.
When she is on the leash around people/animals, keep your eye on her... You will be able to tell when she fixes her eyes on something. There will be signs before she actually growls or snarls at something/someone. You must try and correct her before she is able to reach the growling level. As soon as you see her eye fix onto a person or a dog, correct her with the leash to divert her attention. She should not be allowed to focus on a subject at all (unless she is paying attention to just you).
Also, just for your own legal safety, I seriously would not allow Lizzie to play with any other dogs without being on her leash. Until you can correct the situation, keeping her on a leash around other dogs and people is the best thing for both of you. This will give you an immediate way to correct her should there be a problem and it keeps anything very serious from happening to either dog involved. If she is growling and snarling at other dogs, you need to be very much aware that a fight could break out.
Do you take her to pet stores with you? A lot of pet stores nowadays will allow leashed pets to come into the store. This is a great socialization tool because it allows your dog to be around other animals as well as many new people. However, if you are concerned about the growling becoming dangerous, invest in a muzzle of some kind to protect anyone from being bitten. (Obviously you do not need that to happen.)
Thanks everybody, Lizzie is usually quite submissive and at one time rolled over whenever she met people or other dogs. Lately though I have noticed she has stopped doing this. I have a feeling it is fear based. She does seem to have changed her personality somewhat since having her first season. I am taking her out shortly so I will see how she goes.
Even if it is fear-based, it needs to be corrected. The bahavior can be changed no matter what the cause. Even if the person was "bad", you can't have her doing these things for everyone's safety. Have you watched the "Dog Whisperer" on National Geographic yet? He is amazing. Look up his website too.
Sorry, but I don't agree with the mentality that every wrong behavior must be corrected. You can't correct a behavior without understanding the problem.
Lizze is not aggressive. As others have said, it sounds as though her behavior is fear based. Why? who knows. She may be feeling iffy after her season. She may be going through a 'fear phase' that some dogs go through. I personally would NOT correct her when she is displaying this behavior...it will confirm to her that there IS something to fear and her behavior (barking/growling) is what makes the fear go away. Instead, I would calmly call her away, leash her and walk off. No fuss, no shouting, no leash popping. Your feelings travel down the leash. If you are tense (shouting 'NO' and yanking the leash), you are going to make the dog tense.For whatever reason, teenagers (males especially) can be quite threatening to some dogs. My dogs are extremely well socialized but still take a distinct dislike to my teenage brothers friends.Hubby said over the field this evening a teenager walked past them and went to stroke her and Lizzie started barking and growling...
the dog whisperer tv show specifically advises, DO NOT TRY THIS YOURSELF!* CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL!"
or something like that anyway.
if you watch the dog whisperer, and you feel like you need the kind of help you are seeing on the tv show, then hire a professional dog behaviorist or trainer.* contrary to popular belief, the show is not meant for average dog owners to try and imitate the highly talented cesar millan.
if your dog is scared, don't yell and punish the dog.* that will only add extra stress and anxiety to an already stressed situation.* cesar millan and trainers of his caliber can handle such situations.* can you?
please consider reading a booklet titled, Fiesty Fido.
here is the link to amazon.com:* http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/189...270418?ie=UTF8
This booklet is designed for anyone, novice or professional, who works with dogs who are aggressive to other dogs on leash. Chock full of practical solutions to a common problem, the ideas within will help you change an out-of-control barker, lunger and growler into a polite neighborhood citizen. Including plans for handling emergencies such as off-leash dogs who show up out of nowhere, this program can make leash walks fun again, for you and your dog.
About the Author
Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D. and Karen B. London, Ph.D. are Applied Animal Behaviorists and professional dog trainers who specialize in evaluating and treating serious behavioral problems in domestic dogs, including dog-dog aggression.
"Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend." ~ Corey Ford
I agree with Luke from Georgia
Dr. McConnell's website also sells the booklet:
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
Thanks for all your good advice, so far since we have had no other incidents and she seems ok, but we will be keeping an eye on it..