Aggressive pup and socializing delimma

Posted by jeff123
Jul 20, 2011
I have a 3 1/2 month old Lab/Pit Bull mix. She needs to be socialized desparately, but she is overly aggressive with other dogs. How do I manage the aggression and socialize at the same time?
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jul 20, 2011
Hi jeff123,

Fortunately, 3.5 months is a good age to get interactions with other dogs going! Hopefully with some constant interaction, your pup will settle down on the aggression.

First off, I'll recommend spaying her as soon as she's of age (earliest 4 months old, but a lot of people wait to about 6 months). This can help some behavioural problems/generally calm some dogs down.

You can always use a muzzle on her if you think she will outright attack another dog. Its just a starting point, and you can work to eventually not need it anymore, but it is a good safety mechanism. Similarly, a halti head collar (aka gentle leader) is a great lead to use with dogs who have a tendency to lunge/go for other dogs on walks - it allows you a lot more control of her without hurting her. And its great for training "heel" and good walking etiquette!

You should look into puppy classes in your area - you can talk with the people/organization putting them on, warn them that your girl is a bit testy (again, muzzle would help!), and see what they can do for you. Sometimes its better to just introduce other dogs in an environment thats totally new and interesting to your own dog, so some of the attention is pointed to exploring and experiencing the new place together as puppies! I highly recommend puppy classes for everyone, I think they work absolute wonders for socialization.

If you have friends with dogs, try play dates in a park or at their house, so that your dog will hopefully be a bit less dominating (if you do play dates in her territory while she's still aggressive, she's more likely to protect her things, act out even more, etc). Even if she's growly and stand offish, you should still keep putting her with other dogs - keeping her seperated will only worsen the problem and make it harder and harder to get her out of. Eventually she will see that other dogs are fun! Not something to be hassled.

You should start training with her daily. Basic things like sit, down, stay, come, enough are essential. You want her to respond immediately to you, regardless of what situation you two are in. The more she looks to you for guidance, the more she will trust you, and will be more comfortable in any situation (with our without other dogs) as long as you are there for her!

Any time she does well with another dog, even just tolerating them, praise her a lot. Make a BIG DEAL of it so she knows its a great way to act!

I'm sure if you just stick with it, she'll turn a corner very soon. Please keep us updated! I also think other members who have had aggressive pups can help out here, hopefully some more advice is given out!
Posted by jeff123
Jul 20, 2011
Hi KOPcaroline,
Thanks for the feedback. Many of the things you mentioned we have already been working on. She has only been in the family for 1 week and each day we are working with the basic commands. I just purchased a gentle leader today and have been getting her used to it. She is a rescue dog and the SPCA indicated that she was already spayed. She begins puppy school this weekend so hopefully we will begin seeing some improvement. I will keep you posted.
Posted by misskris
Jul 28, 2011
[QUOTE=jeff123;6932]I have a 3 1/2 month old Lab/Pit Bull mix. She needs to be socialized desparately, but she is overly aggressive with other dogs. How do I manage the aggression and socialize at the same time?[/QUOTE]

HI Jeff!

Sorry, I have a quick question, can you describe the "aggressive" behaviors your pup is displaying?

I just ask because my pup is almost 4 months old and yesterday was her second puppy class. She seems (to me) to be displaying aggressive behavior (she is always the "dominant dog" during puppy play, she nips at the other puppies, sometimes along with a growl or a bark, she pushes the other puppies down, etc.). I kept asking the trainer if she was displaying aggression and she kept reassuring me that it was just puppy play and she is just extremely active and enjoys a good romp. The trainer also pointed out that the other dogs will always "go back for more" which means that Daisy (my dog) isn't playing rough enough to scare them away, but it sure looks like fighting to me?!?!

I am still worried that what she is displaying is "aggressive" or will turn into her becoming aggressive as she grows.

Is this what your dog is displaying or is your dog displaying different behaviors? I am very curious because I would like to know if I should be worried about Daisy's behavior as well? Thanks, and if anyone else has any other insight, it would be greatly helpful!
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jul 29, 2011
Hey misskris,

Just reading over the posts. I agree with the trainer, your puppy seems excited and pretty typical for the age! My own dog at that age used to rough his buddy up so much when they played, but it was just play. It can come off as really aggressive, but keep going and I'm sure you'll see him calm down Puppies are just bundles of rough-housing energy, nothing to worry about
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jul 29, 2011
Hi misskris,

I also agree with KOPcaroline. Daisy is just playing at her full energy.

However, some puppies are smaller and calmer than Daisy and Daisy can be too much for them and eventually THEY might display some aggression to protect themselves. I would stop Daisy when something like that happens.

The best way is to have an adult playmate who can tell her when it's too much. But if there is no such confident adult dog who would play with her, you might want to intervene when you feel uncomfortable to see her getting too excited, by calling her name, or even physically remove her from the scene.

Although puppies and dogs can sort things out among themselves, there is a big difference in energy and playfulness as well as their sizes among puppies and I think it's a good idea to teach them play nicely. If the two are same size and same energy level, I would let them play until they get exhausted

I am sure your trainer has seen a lot of puppies so it should not be a problem
Posted by misskris
Jul 29, 2011
Thank you guys! I appreciate the responses. I am just an over-anxious and worried mommy, I guess. HEEHEE. I just want Daisy to be as social as possible and I know that the experiences she gains in puppyhood will remain with her for a long time Thanks!