Ginger still a little agressive to other dogs

Posted by honeyshuman
Sep 8, 2008
Hi -
I've been reading thru all the posts about dog aggression and the answers. I still feel 'compelled' to post my problem:
I rescued Ginger 2yrs ago; we think she is a lab/shepard, terrier:rolleyes: mix.
At that time, she was aggressive any dog we met - I learned that it was due to my inexperience, my anxiousness, was being telegraphed down the leash. I have grown alot since then, reading lots and lots of books, by several diff trainers, as well as purchasing KOP training package, plus I had the benefit of a trainer, help me.
These all have helped us immensely - however - Ginger still will become aggressive to some dogs.
Last eve, we were the only ones in the park; Ginger had gone off to chase the prairie dogs, (in the past I've had to go get her, and put her on the leash for her to come with me), last eve, she came back on her own - prairie dogs must've go 'to ground' due to the cooler weather. Anyway, we were going out, and another dog and her humans came in. Ginger went to greet the other dog..I could see right away it was not a good sitch - both dogs were stiff, tails up, sniffing, so I called her back, she came. The owners of the other dog wanted to visit; as their dog looked similar to Ginger, I was keeping an eye on Ginger, she seemed to be behaving, not getting aggressive, but because of their initial meeting, kept an eye on them. The other dog picked up a stick and began jumping around, in a playful manner, (it seemed) that she was wanting to play. Ginger watched her for a moment, then began 'playing', they were just running around in circles, then all the sudden, Ginger 'attacked'. We were able to separate them quickly. But the damage had been done - the other dog was ok, but Ginger had been injured just under her eye.
She is ok. I apologized to the guys, they said their dog had never reacted like that, (they've had her 8 months).

I'm still working with her re being aggressive. Usually she is ok, and doesn't start anything, but every once in a while - she will play, then start to show alpha, dominance behavior, that's when I stop the play. But I don't know what occurs in her mind, that she feels she needs to show she is dominant.
I think she doesn't know how to play - I have no idea what her situation was before I got her, (she was 3yrs when I got her, she was found as a stray). She has separation anxiety issues, and I work on those issues as well, and she is improving.
I've been very reluctant to come to the conclusion that she will just have to always be on a leash..any ideas? Need clarification on anything?
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Sep 10, 2008
Hi honeyshuman,

I feel for you because I have a similar problem with one of my dogs, called Noah. He was also a rescue dog so no history was available. He is extremely good with people but becomes aggressive to certain kinds of dogs. I have been trying to figure out if there are any patterns on his likes and dislikes.

There are some rationalizations such as:
He doesn't like boxers and huskies, most of big dogs
He likes dogs that like to fetch
He likes herding dogs (Noah is also a herding dog)
He is good with small dogs and puppies
He gets protective (resource guarding aggression) only for balls (but not all balls but his favorite ones)

He used to become aggressive when he felt a threat or fear from other dogs but he has learned to take off instead of fight in those situations.

After I read a book by Jean Donaldson titled "Culture Clash" I became more familiar and understanding towards dogto dog aggressive behaviors.

We, human beings, are expecting too much from our dogs, nice and friendly behaviors to all the other dogs, no fights, no snappings, no growlings, etc.

However, those are natural ways of communication for dogs. Noah shows his teeth, rolls up his lips, when he doesn't want the other dog to come any closer. His tail is up and his hackles are even risen sometimes.

I am not saying it is OK to get aggressive or start fights but I want people to understand that each dog has a different tolerence against his/her personal space and takes different amount of time to get used to new dogs/stranger dogs.

After understanding Noah's fear, I have been managing situations as much as possible, such as recalling him whenever I see a dog that might be a threat to him, as well as teaching him how to avoid confrontations and it has been working fantastically. I have also been fostering dogs that I feel comfortable for Noah and he has been catching up with his missed socialization before he came to our home almost 2 years ago.

honeyshuman, I really recommend you read the book. It is such an eye-opening book.

I am glad that you and Ginger have been working on her issue together. I am sure it will get better if you don't give it up. Good luck