Aggression to dogs

by Judy
(Indiana)


We have adopted a GP/Golden Retriever mix. Emphasis on Great Pyrenees. Lily is now 6 years old and we have had her for about a year. She is very aggressive towards other dogs when we are walking her. She was caged for 5 years and was sieized by Animal control so it is not hard to guess that she has not had the best life until now. We love her, but she is so strong and lunges at other dogs even though we try to avoid being even close to another animal. What do you suggest we do to try to help her? We use a gentle leader with her and she does not seem to mind it, but still pulls so hard when she sees another dog. We are at a loss. We do not want to give her up as she is a perfect inside dog, and loves people, but we cannot keep her if we cannot solve her aggression.

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Jun 30, 2020
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Aggression to dogs
by: Donna

She is fearful of other strange dogs. I have two who are dog reactive like yours. She sounds like she isn't used to other dogs so she is simply defending herself against the unknown. Usually, once she keeps seeing the same dog(s) and nothing 'bad' happens, she should be less stressed and maybe not even react. It doesn't mean you can go right up to the dog, though. She is comfortable at a bit of a distance.

Dogs are in rescue because people did not do right by them in the first place. Now, the dog pays the price. I hope you're able to work with her.

If you are willing to work with her, talk to a qualified behaviourist. Ask your vet to recommend someone.

In the meantime:

First, when you see other dogs, maintain a distance and feed her cookies as you walk by. In other words, distract her. Even have her sit and feed her cookies and the move on all the while feeding her cookies. You should be between her and the other dog who must be at a distance. If she reacts, create a bigger distance. Set her up for success.

Presumably, she barks at them through the window, as well. When she does this, 'rain' cookies and tell her to 'search' for them. This will distract her and she realizes that dog is not a threat.

Success to a degree will not happen overnight. It takes time. She will probably never be comfortable with strange dogs but she will learn to trust you.

Eventually, the idea is that she learns to trust you to keep her safe and will look to you for that distraction.

Here is some good information for you. You are not alone in this.

Good article by Susan Garrett.

Free Dog Training Workshop.

Dr. Jen on Reactive Dogs.

I hope this helps.

Jul 06, 2020
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glad you care
by: Anonymous

It sounds as if your sweet girl has not had any socialization with other dogs at all. Its very sad how much dogs suffer at the hands of cruel, ignorant owners. Your girl simply doesn't know how to act. I am glad you cared enough to ask for help as what she needs most now is to learn how to trust that you will be consistent while you help her to cope with her fears.
A pyr mix is a dog that is born with character traits from both breeds. If each parent was a purebred, you could educate yourself about the character traits of both....see what is a close match and what is a conflict. Observe your dog's reaction to stimuli. Both breeds are known to associate easily with people. Both breeds are known to be loyal and responsible to their family.
The tricky part is the early socialization. That's very important for a Pyr. If a Pyr is not properly socialized, then pure guardianship of herself and of you as her human, takes over. A fearsome posture is part of their defense. They are very strong and unwavering in their protection. The Golden will be a bit more fearful. Their reaction is to seek protection from whoever they are with. Could be a human, a dog pal, I've had a little black cat once who protected her canine Lab buddies and they counted on her! So, its important to observe and work with, the best of the mixed signals of her mixed breeding.
Teach her 'sit,stay' with treats. Cook your own liver strips as treat...you will have her attention! Keep her attention on you...a stream of pleasant conversation, tiny bits of liver treats, keep her focus on you. Her 'sit,stay' must be solid. Practice, practice. When this action is solid with her, begin the walks. If another dog approaches place yourself between her and the other dog. You are placing yourself as her guardian. Sit, stay while the other dog passes by. Try to stay at a distance at first. Be consistent. Her trust in you is crucial. Same action within the house if she barks at what she sees thru the window.
Be patient and gentle, always. She has a history that has to replaced by how things are now, in this moment. You CAN do it, together.
Good luck!


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