Dog attacks any animal that moves

Posted by Lilly
Apr 11, 2008
I adopted a rescue dog 6 mos ago. Lilly terrorizes my 3 cats and has attacked two dogs at agility. Unfortunately, we had to drop agility because of this behavior. Lilly was very, very good at each agility task, but her biting is a high-risk behavior. She will chase turtles, birds (I have 3 small parrots), squirrels, lizards, etc. I have another dog which Lilly leaves alone except when she wants to play. Then Lilly will nip at her legs and ears. Lilly is a mix of sheltie-keeshond we believe, about 4 years old. Any suggestions? I've tried submission, water sprays, choke collar pulls, etc.
Posted by Todd
Apr 22, 2008
HI and thanks for the question

Sorry for the delay in replying i have lost a few consults and so am searching through to see what i have missed.

Hmmmm this sounds like a really tough problem to solve. Rescue dogs can be very hard work and it is hard to retrain them if they have been a certain way for any great length of time.
But that said with training rescue dogs can become some of the most obedient and happy family dogs around.

I am glad you have tried heaps of things to help but we will see if there is anything else you can try.

I think first things first we need an outside kennel to keep Lilly in. This will let Lilly see what is going on but stop her from being able to be aggressive to anything.

Now she is only allowed out of the kennel when on a lead and with you. In this way you will make sure you are around to make sure that Lilly gets told off when she gets aggressive.

You need to slowly introduce her to the things that make her aggressive. If you see something you think she will be aggressive to don't just let her rush up to it.
Get her to sit as far away as possible. If she gets aggressive she needs to be told off so she knows it is not okay. I prefer a loud GRRRR or AHHHH to get there attention and a squirt with a water pistol to really renforce it is not okay.

After that make her sit. If she behaves then praise her as much as possible. But any sign of aggression no matter how minor or major needs some reprimanding.
If she behaves she can approach the other animal. Take it slow making her sit every half metre or so. Again make sure to reinforce and reprimand.

Don't let her chase the thing she is being aggressive to or let her play with it as this will only make things worse.
She needs to be on the lead and with you at all times when she is out of her cage.

You may find she needs some medication to take the edge off as you start to socialise her. I find DAP and Rescue remedy the best options as they are natural and pretty safe. BUt she may need some more serious medication if she still is being aggressive. The best person to talk to about that is your vet.

With the dogs at home make sure you take away anything that encourages them to be aggressive at all. Whether it be a toy,a blanket or a bone. Taking these away is a great start.

Only allow gentle play and if things get out of hand she needs to be told off as above and taken back to her kennel. This will help her learn that she will get privileges if she is well mannered and behaved.
Keep the sessions with the other dog short so she doesn't get too over excited. And repeat them as often as possible.

After a few weeks of socialising and telling her off for bad aggression she needs to be given a bit more freedom. Have her on a lead and slowly give her more and more free lead over a couple of weeks.

This will give her the freedom to sniff and smell as well as giving you the comfort that you can reprimand her if she gets out of hand. Start with half a metre and make sure you tell her off when she is aggressive and praise her when she is just curious and well behaved.

As she gets more lead she will learn to be better behaved with cats etc but remember that being interested in small furry things is a common dog habit. As long as it is just curiosity that is fine but anything more is not.

With gradual socialisation and behaviour modification she should learn. Be patient and please let me know how things are going and any more help i can be