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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18963
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I adopted a dog from a private owner about 2 1/2 months ago

Customer Question

I adopted a dog from a private owner about 2 1/2 months ago so I don't know to much about his behavior towards other dogs besides what she told me which wasn't much. She said he was around 7 other little dogs but yet when I take him for a walk and he sees another dog he gets so focused and try's to go towards that dog. The only way I've been able to break his concentration is by either waving my hand in front of his eyes or standing in front of his eyes. What can I do to stop him from doing this.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply. I hope you can be patient.
Has he had any obedience training that you know of?
So Bowser was good around his family's little dogs?
Do you have other dogs?
Have you been working on his training at all?
Is he neutered?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It seems like he's had some obedience training and he was raised around seven other dogs or at least live with seven other dogs. He is neutered and I wouldn't know where to begin in regard to the training so I haven't really done much. The previous owner said that there was only two incidences that happened with two other dogs but I guess they were messing with his treat or food or something like that. She also said that he needed to go to a home where there was no other dogs so he can get all the love but don't know exactly what she meant by that because I don't know if that's a Way of telling me he doesn't get along with other dogs I don't know
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Amber,
I suspect the owner knew he was dog aggressive and figured he would be off balance for a little while after moving and not display his aggression toward other dogs immediately. It would have been better if she had told you.
Many dogs are good with the dogs they grew up with but when faced with other strange dogs, then lash out. Dogs are aggressive toward other dogs for a variety of reasons. It might be that they are fearful of other dogs and thus are aggressive before the other dog can be. In other cases, a dog is aggressive in order to dominate the other dogs and be the alpha member of the pack. Other causes could be that the dog feels they are te alpha member of the pack and as the alpha member they must protect the pack (you) from threats (other dogs).
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In addition, owners sometimes make the situation even worse by tensing up and worrying about what will happen. The dog senses the owner worry and feels that he is justified in his aggressive stance because you are obviously worried about the dog. They don't know you are worried about them attacking, they just feel that you are worried and assume it is the other dog.
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You may want to have the dog wear a basket muzzle anytime he is not in your own house or yard. This will not only prevent bites but also allow you to feel more at ease when walking him.
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You will need to have him obedience trained. If you can, I would do group classes (with the muzzle) and let the trainer know of the problem your dog has. It might take you a few months of basic training before he is ready for group class. .
The following site is helpful at teaching owners to train their own dogs. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.
http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html
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Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.
http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm
. http://www.cairnrescue.com/docs/NILIF.pdf
Once he sees you as the boss and leader, he will be less aggressive toward other dogs since it will be your job to protect him.
It will be helpful if you can find someone with a dog to help you once you have your dog listening to commands consistently. What you will do is have your dog on the leash. You will have your helper off in the distance. Your helper will gradually move their dog a bit closer to you preferably walking past your position in the distance. As long as your dog ignores them, you can give your dog praise and a treat. The second you see her fixate on the other dog or show any other sign of aggression (hair standing up, etc.) give your dog a correction by giving a short tug and a firm low toned "NO". It shouldn't take your dog long to realize you will not tolerate the aggression and that if he ignores the other dog, he gets treats. Once this happens you can repeat the training moving the other dog closer until he is no longer trying to lunge at other dogs. You will need to practice this when you and your dog are walking as well.
There is another method of training called BAT that works well in these situations.
http://functionalrewards.com/BAT-basics.pdf
http://www.petexpertise.com/behavior-adjustment-training-dog.html
I hope this information is helpful to you. If you need more information or clarification, please reply and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. If you are satisfied, please take the opportunity to rate.

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