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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We have had our boys for nearly 6 weeks now (Beau and Charlie) but in the past 2 weeks we have noticed Beau becoming aggressive and barking and "scrapping" with other dogs when we are out. He has always been the more boisterous of the dogs and loves to run and play, however he is now barking and having a go at dogs he was previously fine with.

The behaviour has coincided with me making an effort to teach him to attend to me and not to display dominant behaviour at home.

I'm just looking for opinions if people think it is possible that he is increasingly trying to display dominant behaviour with other dogs to maintain his status as "top dog"? Additionally, is there a way to effectively decrease this behaviour? Unfortunately it's also affecting Charlie, as when Beau gets narky with other dogs, Charlie will join in. When Charlie is on his own he is fine with other dogs.

One thing we are trying is to walk the dogs separately, however Beau is still acting funny. I'm hoping that working with him on his own we will be able to reduce this behaviour, however I'm not sure of the best way how...


EDIT: Sorry if this is should be in Training Tips and Puppy Advice, can move there if it's more appropriate.
 

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Are they the same age? both puppies? or older? Where did they come from? It depends on his age but I would walk Beau separately and teach a firm "leave it" when passing other dogs until he can go by other dogs without reacting.
Their picture is adorable. Is Beau the black one?
 

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I would enroll him in an obedience class to get him socialized with other dogs. Plus it will teach him to listen to you even with other dogs around.
 

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The dogs will both be 3 years in August. And yes, Beau is the black one :)

They have had a few owners but the last ones they had for about a year were a good family who treated them well, only had to give them up due to moving back to their home country overseas unexpectedly. They also had another dog and a cat and got along with them fine. I think that's why we are a bit confused as to why the behaviour has begun occurring, as Beau seemed to be fine with other dogs just up until very recently.

I have been looking at obedience classes, finally found one that suits our schedule and is close by. We were just at the moment trying to decide whether it would be better for something one-on-one to address specific behavioural issues. However obedience classes are definitely still on the cards, mainly to teach solid recall with distractions. We have got them to behave well on the lead, and they already knew sit, "on your mat", and to wait for an ok to eat food. I have also recently taught them to sit and wait for "ok" before going in and out of the house, and to sit for pats. They are VERY good dogs when there are no distractions around!

I like the idea of teaching Beau a firm "leave it" when out walking. We will also work on that when we are out and see how he goes. Thanks for the replies :)
 

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Just wanted to say that's wonderful how well adjusted they are to have had three homes in three years. I wonder if that's because they have been kept together through it all. I bet that once they know they are in their foreverhome, they will be the best Labs ever.
 

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Just wanted to say that's wonderful how well adjusted they are to have had three homes in three years. I wonder if that's because they have been kept together through it all. I bet that once they know they are in their foreverhome, they will be the best Labs ever.
I agree with this. I bet in time they will sort it out although a behavorist is a very good idea. I definitely think seperate training sessions are the way to go. Bless you for keeping them together, I have no doubt this has made a big difference in their lives. :)
 

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Since it takes about 6 weeks for adopted dogs to really settle in, I doubt this is a newly developed behavior for Beau, he just now trusts enough and is comfortable enough to show you.

I agree that you should do obedience with him and socialize him. You may be able to make progress. But there are some dogs who don't acclimate well to being around strange dogs (like in a dog park setting). Not all of this kind of behavior is fixable - not all dogs want to be friends with other dogs. What is important is that he is controllable on leash when you have him out in public. Obedience will help you get there with him.
 

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Since it takes about 6 weeks for adopted dogs to really settle in, I doubt this is a newly developed behavior for Beau, he just now trusts enough and is comfortable enough to show you.

I agree that you should do obedience with him and socialize him. You may be able to make progress. But there are some dogs who don't acclimate well to being around strange dogs (like in a dog park setting). Not all of this kind of behavior is fixable - not all dogs want to be friends with other dogs. What is important is that he is controllable on leash when you have him out in public. Obedience will help you get there with him.
x10 on all of this.

just wanted to add that his being dominant with other dogs is not related to your relationship with him. dog-dog relationship is not related to dog-human relationship. He is not acting out with other dogs because you have rules.
 

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Since it takes about 6 weeks for adopted dogs to really settle in, I doubt this is a newly developed behavior for Beau, he just now trusts enough and is comfortable enough to show you.

I agree that you should do obedience with him and socialize him. You may be able to make progress. But there are some dogs who don't acclimate well to being around strange dogs (like in a dog park setting). Not all of this kind of behavior is fixable - not all dogs want to be friends with other dogs. What is important is that he is controllable on leash when you have him out in public. Obedience will help you get there with him.
I agree 100% with the dogs being different at first. Ernie, Gems and Tessa were all very different until they felt comfortable.
Erns will go to any lengths to "get" German Shepherds. It appears he was atttacked by one so has to be in first if he sees them. Perhaps something in Beaus past reminds him of things.

Or as Sharon says some dogs take exception to other dogs for no reason. Erns is fine sometimes, and others he gets up on his back legs. I was told to get him to sit, treat and distract if he looks like he will play up. Most times it works.

They also feel our tension on the lead so try and have happy thoughts.
 

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I had a competition obed trainer/friend here for the weekend last weekend giving private lessons. A couple of the dogs were "pushy" dogs. She felt the dogs were just confused as to their roles in life and had them walk their dogs around the yard, make turns into them and away from them to get their excess energy drained (and to begin to realize that they weren't the one in control). It worked beautifully. One gal w/ a semi-feral dog can't believe how well her dog is doing-- much happier having some direction in life too. I'd take a look at your household too-- do you walk around your dogs or do you make them get out of your way? Do they have furniture privileges? Are they crated when need be, at night, in the car, etc? If not, esp w/ your more dominant wanna be, I would. Rules may ease his stress a bit. And btw, Leave it is the FIRST thing I'd teach!!!! :) Good luck!
 

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I had a competition obed trainer/friend here for the weekend last weekend giving private lessons. A couple of the dogs were "pushy" dogs. She felt the dogs were just confused as to their roles in life and had them walk their dogs around the yard, make turns into them and away from them to get their excess energy drained (and to begin to realize that they weren't the one in control). It worked beautifully. One gal w/ a semi-feral dog can't believe how well her dog is doing-- much happier having some direction in life too. I'd take a look at your household too-- do you walk around your dogs or do you make them get out of your way? Do they have furniture privileges? Are they crated when need be, at night, in the car, etc? If not, esp w/ your more dominant wanna be, I would. Rules may ease his stress a bit. And btw, Leave it is the FIRST thing I'd teach!!!! :) Good luck!

Tessa is on NILF and not allowed on furniture, or other priviledges as she refused to sit a few times. It has always pulled Erns into line if he is pushy after I have been away. Works a treat to reinforce who is in control. Sometimes it is easy to over look stuff, then when we want them to do something they ignore us and we wonder why.
 

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I have to admit to not being much in tune w/ behavioral issues, but I was very impressed and proud to watch my friend work those dogs here. So many dogs have no respect and I guess I can't understand why, but my upbringing was likely different from others too. Farm kid, work as soon as we got off the bus, etc.. Catholic school (nuns!!! lol). It obviously didn't kill me or my spirit, but the respect remains. :D I truly believe there is a balance in all we do, whether it be parenting or dog owners. I've NEVER ever had any of my dogs defy me like I see in training sessions out "there" though. Is it genetics or am I just a hard mom? I dunno, but my dogs are comfortable/happy in their environment and that's what is really the important thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the replies :) They really are great dogs, I feel we are VERY lucky to have found 2 such beautiful dogs that on the whole are extremely well behaved. We even had a friend over yesterday who said she is usually scared of big dogs but thought these guys were awesome!

Interesting about adopted dogs changing once they are comfortable. I had not thought of that before, so perhaps that is part of it. My partner has also noticed that when he takes them out in the morning for a run around the oval before work that lately Beau tries to have a go at Charlie, jumping on him etc. This is also a new behaviour that has begun about the same time as having a go at other dogs.

just wanted to add that his being dominant with other dogs is not related to your relationship with him. dog-dog relationship is not related to dog-human relationship. He is not acting out with other dogs because you have rules.
Thanks, that is good to know :) Just wasn't sure if maybe he was getting confused with his place at home and it was manifesting in other ways.

are you sure it's aggressive and not just rough play?
It could be interpreted as rough play but I guess the thing that concerns me is that lately he starts barking and being "on guard" soon as he encounters a dog. Previously he would firstly do the sniff with tail wagging furiously, then start playing after the greeting. He has never fully had a go at a dog but it seems to be becoming more frequent in that he wants to challenge more often, and I would hate for it to escalate into something worse.

I'd take a look at your household too-- do you walk around your dogs or do you make them get out of your way? Do they have furniture privileges? Are they crated when need be, at night, in the car, etc? If not, esp w/ your more dominant wanna be, I would. Rules may ease his stress a bit. And btw, Leave it is the FIRST thing I'd teach!!!! :) Good luck!
Yeah, that's why I have been trying to be more firm with them so that they will see me as the leader. Hence why I have made a point to make them sit before coming inside, and before we go on walks etc. I've also decided no more couch hugs at least for the moment, after I saw Beau up on the couch by himself the other day which was a big no-no for him! I do also make a point of continuing walking when they get in my way around the home. The boys sleep in their kennel at night, they are only ever in the house when we are home and awake. Funnily enough, Beau is actually the better of the two at behaving at home. However I do probably forget that in reality they have not been with us for long and maybe he, more than Charlie, needs a few weeks of good "reinforcement" of these rules to ensure he knows his place due to his more dominant and "independent" personality.
 
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