Okay, so some of you know Ginger, my whippet lab mix. We rescued her from the pound, and she has always been afraid. Of everything. Leaves blowing, loud sounds, cars, many other things, especially dogs. Ginger has always been afraid of dogs, but recently, she is being exposed to a lot more dogs. We go up to the soccer fields about 5 times a week, and she just runs. We see dogs along the way, and always make an effort to avoid dogs, and people. But when we do see dogs, Ginger gets aggressive. She at first runs away and puts her tail down, but when a dog at least 30 pounds, or really energetic runs up to her she growls, gnarls, and barks. I was just wondering how to fix her Agression, because she is afraid of dogs yet she seems to get so scared she protects herself. All hints and tips are welcome. Thanks
Hey Zach. Others will chime in as the evening continues. I’ve never had an aggressive dog or a situation as yours but from what I’ve learned from others through the years I think you should probably find some canine classes in your area. I think Ginger probably needs to attend some socialization classes in a controlled environment. Not the typical puppy classes, etc. You can contact the instructors before hand and let them know what’s going on and they’ll steer you in the right direction. Controlled socialization classes is the way I would go so that she can acclimate to other dogs and people around her and that should help with her fear/aggression.
Dori, Ginger has been to several classes in controlled areas, and none went well. Thanks for the input though. I will see if there are good ones in my area.
Hi Zach. Strange dogs should never be allowed to run up to your girl. I don’t care if they are dressed in a clown outfit, smiling and walking on two feet. No, never, ever. You do not know if that approaching dog is friend or foe, and neither does your girl. It sounds like she tries to get away from them, and when she can’t she takes the defensive position-think if it this way..if you were chased by a stranger, who then cornered you in a dark alley, are you going to wait to be hit, or swing first assuming the person has ill intents? Me, I am going to go for the eyes : ) Your dog is no different when fearful and cornered. Flight(she can’t) or fight-only option left.
If you want to get her used to other dogs and reduce her fear response, get a friend with an easy going dog and go for a walk. Walk side by side with a safe distance between you-perhaps 20 ft. This is to get her used to another safe dog in close proximity pacing along at a safe distance. As she gets better, you reduce the distance between the dogs until they can walk side by side without distance. How long it takes to narrow the gap between dogs depends on her response.
Truly dog aggressive dogs attack from the get go, they do not first try to run. Quite frankly, I would not let a dog with such excessive fear issues off leash ever. All it takes is another loose dog, a car back firing etc, and she could bolt in front of a car and get killed or run off never to be found. She has a lot of over coming to do before that would ever be even remotely safe.
I second exactly what Melissa said.
Hi Zach, my female boxer that I rescued years ago had no confidence & was nervous, well thats what the RSPCA said when we adopted her, one condition of her adoption was she had to go to doggy classes to build up her confidence with other dogs, but you have already tried that.. if you have the money, I’d look for a dog trainer that deals with fear agrression in dogs, if its a big problem….
also we have coloured coded collars & leads here in Australia that will say, green says “friendly” white says “Deaf” or “Blind” bright Pink say “Caution” blue say “Training” red says “do not approach” orange says “No Dogs” yellow says “nervous” also a yellow ribbon means stay away, if someone has a yellow ribbon on their dogs collar or fence & gate means stay away… just google “colour coded collars” this way people will see she has a nervous problem & keep their dogs away making her feel safe…
Even thought my boxer went to classes, she still did not like other dogs especially if they were bigger then her & would fear bite them, especially if they smelt her bum….your girl might always be like this, no matter what you try, thats just her & its just something from her past, maybe it was bad socializing or something else happened to her, she may always be very timid & scared…poor thing..
Melissa is correct, never let anyone approach you. Usually simple as “my dog isn’t friendly” and they’ll stay away. I would continue trying some group classes, and if your teacher is prepared they should try keeping you behind a barrier if she is reacting badly. Let ginger start hearing and smelling other teams working around you, and gradually go into it that way. A shy dog class could be of use as well. Start learning what triggers and counter them with positive encouragement.
When you’re walking, keep your distance, but when another dog starts walking by, try some high value treats. It won’t help overnight, but keep reinforcing that another dog walking by is not a bad thing. Work on getting ginger to focus on you, and not on the dog walking by. And again, never let anyone approach you or you will continue to feel frustrated, and it’s not really her fault when that happens. I have one that isn’t necessarily fearful but doesn’t like strange dogs in her business, and I’ve been known to body block on walks when people who don’t have a recall decide to walk off leash 🙂 get comfortable doing that as well
Thank you so much guys, I will take all of this into account.
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