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Q: Help! extremely aggressive behavior toward other male dogs pls read?

November 4, 2008 | By Daniel B. | 5 answers | Expired: 2131 days ago

Daniel B.


I have a yellow lab which i rescued from abusive owners, he's about 3 years old and I can't even walk him because of how aggressive he is toward other male dogs. I have a female pit which the lab showed some dominance over at first but nothing extreme and they get along great. a couple months after I got the lab my girlfriend moved in with her male pit, we hired a trainer but yet no result. We have to keep them separated, one day we were trying to get them to accept each other it got out of control and they fought, which sent her male pit to the vet with severe neck wounds, this morning the male pit got out in the back yard where I was with the lab and they fought again, I was able to break this fight up before it got as bad as the other time but it was still nasty. I don't know what to do, my girlfriend wants me to get rid of the lab but he's so good in so many other ways, gets along with all people, very affectionate, smart etc... I know if I give him away he's going to end up in a shelter because of his aggression toward other dogs. I just feel there is something that can be done rather then sent him off to be killed but the pressure is on and my relationship is in jeopardy because of it. Any suggestions? The female pit gets along with both dogs but seems to side with the lab if the two fight.



----all dogs are neutered----
the dog ages are ---

female pit 10 years old great temperament gets along with most animals, well behaved and trained, enjoys soccer, swimming, sleeping, eating and belly rubs. She is top dog.

Male pit about 1-2 years old, good temperament a little hyper, bounces back and forth, looks to play by putting arms and such in his mouth which is kinda gross, house broken issues, tends to whiz all over the place when he gets excited which occurs easily.

Male yellow lab 3-4 years old- strong athletic, gets too excited when played with and bounces on people too hard, had severe separation anxiety but seems to be over that for the most part, can jump really high, runs like a deer extremely fast, can get out of most crates, yards etc... but extremely affectionate and well mannered toward people.

I really like this lab I either need to find a solution to his behavior or find him a new home where they know how to deal with a dog like this.

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Cindy
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Nov 04, 2008

Sorry - that's Patricia McConnell.

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Cindy
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Nov 04, 2008

You've got a challenging situation. My first question is whether the trainer you're working with has special expertise in helping aggressive dogs. You need a trainer who uses positive methods, not coercion. Use kind firmness, not punishment.

You must keep the dogs separate until you figure out this situation to keep them safe. You should muzzle the lab when in public because you don't know when you might encounter a male dog. The muzzle is not punishment; it is a safety device to protect your dog and you. Don't leave your dog unattended with a muzzle on.

I would be very hesitant to offer any further advice without seeing the dogs, but I would suggest you educate yourself on aggression in dogs by reading books and articles, and make sure you have the right trainer working with you to solve this problem. A good author to read on aggression for starters is Patricia McDonnell, PhD at the university of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Stephanie D.
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Nov 04, 2008

When it comes to agressive dogs I always say you should talk to a professional trainer. Also, does the dog know that you are the pack leader not him. Try correcting him the moment he shows agression. Also, I'm not sure how much you exercise your dogs but you might want to try increasing the amount of intensity of workouts. When dogs can't get all of their energy out a lot of times it will turn to aggression. My dog is high energy and we rollerblade with her or bike ride with her so she can run. We also let her swim when the weather is warm enough. I would try exercising the lab and the male pit a little more. It sounds like they both have a lot of energy. Maybe you can try adding something like a backpack or finding "jobs" for the dogs.

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Voluptas
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Nov 04, 2008

sounds like a bad situation for all involved. aggressive dogs can be a handful. i know i've got 2 that are great with each other, but they are huskies and "a pack" so any other dog, they don't get along with. the first dog i had was aggressive towards smaller dogs (which considering her size, was most dogs). i ended up doing a lot of dominance work with her. when she did aggessive things toward other dogs, i'd break it up, say no, and flip her on her back or side right away. this worked with her, because after a few times, she wasn't aggressive towards other dogs anymore. but i know other people that have tried the "good sound/bad sound" remotes, that seem to work pretty well. if nothing else, the dog obedience schools usually have classes on such behaviors and might have some great ideas. i know when my dog got taken to obedience class they had time set aside for "socialization of the dogs" and any that were aggressive were "worked on" right then and there with the owner and instructor. good luck!

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AXNellie
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Nov 04, 2008

Hi,

I'm not certified in agression behavior in dogs, but do seem to sense a couple of issues in your lab's behavior.
1) Does he know that you are the alpha (leader) of the pack? That is, when you let him in or out the door -- who goes first? If he does, "stop!" You should make him wait until you give a release (like the word "okay") before he FOLLOWS YOU in or out. This simple little procedure can go a long way toward making a strong leader-follower connection between you both.
2) When you approach a dog that you know the lab is going to fight with, watch your dog's eyes. As soon as he starts to stare directly at the other dog (you may see the hair on the back of his neck start to rise also) -- IMMEDIATELY state his name and physically turn him away from the other dog (so he can't continue the staring) and get his attention back on you.

Both of these techniques will take time and patience, but should turn your dog's attention back to you.

I sincerely hope this helps you, so that you can keep your dog and feel safe having him out around other dogs.

Best wishes, Lee

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