Breed specific aggression

Posted by Slinky
Dec 30, 2007

I have a 2 1/2 year old female desexed Rotti X Ridgeback who gets along with most dogs. I was at the off lead beach yesterday and she got along with most dogs there except she growled and showed a lot of dominance with two different golden retrievers on two separate occasions. I got her into a drop and she responded quickly but then lunged again at the dog. She has also barked and charged a golden retriever at dog training whilst on lead. All three dogs were of good temprement and they submitted to her and she continued to growl and jump on them.

Can someone help me out and let me know what I should do when she does this to dogs. Don't want to do the wrong thing and make it worse.

Thanks heaps Lizzy
Posted by Todd
Dec 31, 2007
Hi there Lizzy

Thank you for your email.
This is a very interesting problem that you are having and not one that i have personally come across. But i have come across dogs that have been aggressive to children with certain hair colours.

I don't know if you know the full history of her breeding etc but there is a small chance that the problem with retrievers in particular is due to a previous incident. This may have occured as a puppy and so now she is aggressive towards this breed.

However even if this is the case i don't think knowing that will help
It is great to here that she is so obedient and that she will follow your commands wherever or whatever the situation. Usually the first advice i give is for alpha dog training and obedience but to me she sounds to be perfectly trained.
So now to try and help with this problem.
The best way i think to deal with this issue is to introduce her to golden retrievers in a controlled setting. It may be an idea to muzzle her if you are at all worried that she may become too aggressive for you to handle.
Don't have the two dogs meet at your home or any other area that she may classify as 'her' territory as this will only make things worse. Pick a park or someone elses yard where she is not in her usual setting. This will help make her easier to control and more likely to behave and learn.
Have the two dogs sitting 5 or so metres apart. Both dogs should be on short leads so they can be controlled at all times. Once your girl is relaxed and calm get her to take a few paces forward then again make her sit. Praise and reward her if she does sit and behave.

If she growls, raises her hackles, doesn't follow a command or comes out of her sitting position you must reprimand her. What I recommend you do, is the next time she acts poorly tell her off. DO NOT yell, as this has no effect on the dominant dog. Growl instead, use a guttural growl like " AAHHH!" instead of "No!", as this makes a sharper sound then "No" (If done correctly it may hurt your throat a little). The aim is to give them a shock and let him know what she is doing is unacceptable.

Once she behaves you must immediately reward her with praise, attention and petting. This will help teach her right from wrong.
once she is relaxed get her to take another few steps forward and again sit. keep going rewarding and reprimanding as required.
Get the dogs very close together on the first meeting but don't let them touch or play. End the session then.

The next day repeat and again don't let them play.
After 3 or 4 days of this you can let them play, sniff etc. Both dogs should stay on the lead at all times and be under control. Only gentle play is allowed.
If it gets too rough make both dogs sit away from each other and wait. If it is still too rough stop the session and try again the next day.

Now to do this you will need a retriever that is well behaved, quiet and well mannered. An over confident boisterous dog will only create more problems.

Hopefully controlled interactions will help your girl with her problem. Once both dogs are getting along you should walk them together etc and encourage them to play etc. The better they get along the more likely it is to help her problem. Be patient and good luck.

Please let me know of any success you have.

Kind Regards
Todd Field
Posted by Slinky
Jan 1, 2008
Thanks heaps for your reply.

I will give it a go and get back to you.

Cheers Lizzy