Dog Aggression!!!

Posted by Risa
Aug 6, 2011
Its been a long time since posting... anyways

I have a beagle, Oscar, constantly trying to get at other dogs. In my opinion, most of the dogs are the ones who charge at him, so he charges back. He even barked at his own image on my neighbor's alluminium gate ! However, I don't consider it funny at all. I tried to hold him back and say 'no's but he doesn't listen. I am not afraid of being bitten at all, he doesn't bite though, just check out my next post on Leash Biting. What should I do?? I want him to be chilled like other dogs, calm and not aggressive!

Note: don't think of him as a mess ok? :mad:
Posted by KOPCaroline
Aug 7, 2011
Hi Risa,

First off - definitely don't think Oscar is a bad dog at all! He's reacting how most dogs would to being rushed by another dog, its understandable!

Have you tried gaining Oscars attention -before- the other dog approaches or gets near? If Oscar is reacting (not acting first toward the other dog), it will help if you can get him focused on you before the interactions occur.

If you see another dog coming, immediately tell Oscar to sit. Keep his attention by either taking a treat out and holding it where he can see, or snap your fingers constantly to make a noise he will respond to. Keep saying "good boy, be calm, good Oscar" etc etc as long as he keeps watching you and not paying attention to the other dog. If he looks at the other dog to watch it approach, say something like "Hey Oscar" or "look here", you can also use a sharp (not painful!) tug on his lead to get his attention back. Its a good idea to try and be consistant with what you say to him in these situations, so he learns it as a training technique, not just a random activity.

This sort of training worked really well for my over-excited dog, and I've heard it works just as well with slightly aggressive dogs. I'm not honestly sure if what you've described Oscar as doing is aggression, or just surprise/excitement at the other dog rushing him. The key to solving it is to intercept his attention before its focused on the other dog.

Praise Oscar heaps when he ignores the other dog, or ignores them enough so they can calmly approach him to say a friendly hi. My dog picked up pretty quickly on what was good and bad behaviour with other dogs using this sort of training, so I'm sure Oscar will get it quickly too

Please let us know if this sort of thing just isn't working, or if you have any other concerns - hopefully we can figure out a way to help calm him down!
Posted by Risa
Aug 7, 2011
Thanks KOPcaroline!

First of all, I would like to say that Oscar mostly has these problems in the pet store. I've ever tried to attract his attention. There will only be a small percentage from me that he will pay attention. I'm not saying that he never pays attention to me or anything, but most of the time, he just looses it...

By the way, I want to ask, what happens when I try it and fail?? What should be my reaction? Should I do it again? Plus, what is another option for snapping fingers? (don't be surprised that I can't snap )
Posted by misskris
Aug 7, 2011
Also, to add to caroline's very good suggestions, I suggest that you use an EXTRA SPECIAL treat (very high value, one that you would not give ANY other time) when you are training for this. Especially if this is something that is more important to YOU than anything else that you want Oscar to do.

He will quickly learn that he ONLY gets the SUPER DUPER AWESOME treats when he performs in this specific instance. Hopefully this will help to motivate him also, since it seems that he is so fixated on being reactive with other dogs.

Some suggestions for treats might be:
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts boiled in plain water (with a clove of garlic and carrots or celery - optional *Don't feed the doggie the whole clove of garlic, though, throw it out )
- warm hot dog boiled in water
- turkey bacon, cooked in the microwave and blotted thoroughly
- freeze-dried liver (sold at pet stores or online)

I'm not a professional, but I know with Daisy, she performs much better with high value treats that she doesn't get often.
hope it helps!
Posted by KOPCaroline
Aug 9, 2011
Hey Risa,

First off - I agree with misskris! Special SPECIAL treats can make all the difference - try to find something Oscar absolutely loves!

As far as the pet store, its a bit more understandable that Oscar goes a little nuts in that environment. Just keep on with his training! My dog was much the same at the vets (he doesnt get scared, he just get so so excited about all the other animals and people!) - but with persistant, repetitious training, he's much better. Just be stern - make sure Oscar knows you mean business!

If he doesn't respond to you the first time you speak to him or snap your fingers, try the tug on the lead. This works really well for my dog. You can substitute a snap of the fingers with a slap of your hand on your thigh, or even a stomp with your foot - you just want a quick, semi loud noise to catch their attention. If Oscar doesn't respond to any of these the first time, dont be discouraged! This sort of training takes time and a lot of repeats! Jackson took a while to listen to me at the park enough that I could let him off lead and trust him to react the first time. Just keep making that noise, and say his name in your stern mommy voice You can give a command that means you're serious too - mine for Jackson is "OI!" - if everything else fails, OI!! will get Jackson to listen, because I only use it when he's being naughty. Find a command that you can use with Oscar to signal he should really pay attention (oi, now, listen up, etc).

Hope this helps, I'm sure you and Oscar are going to sort things out! But again, keep us posted!