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Has anyone had any experience of this?

Coco is an entire female, she's been extremely well socialised from day one (puppy classes, obedience and agility). At home she is "top dog". I'm happy with that as it make for harmony indoors and my other dog is submissive. I belive there has to be a pack hierarchy, me at the top ( :lol: ), then hubby then Coco then Milly (poor Mills).

When she was about 16 weeks old she was attacked and "roughed up" by another lab, a black dog, and now has an exteme aversion to large black dogs.

Off the lead she is fine, plays submissively (unless some cheeky boy gets too familiar) but on the lead she can get very aggressive (growling and barking). Never towards people, children or small dogs but towards some similar sized or larger dogs (male or female - there's no pattern).

Up until now I have used a Halti which helps to control her but is not helping to modify her behaviour.

Today at agility class (a different club) she was particularly bad and some of the trainers showed me a technique which helped. Basically, they pushed her to the floor and held her down on her side, pushing her head towards the ground (not hurting her in anyway just being firm). After a couple of seconds she was allowed back up, praised a lot then introduced once more to the dogs who had caused the "disturbance". The transformation was amazing, not a peep and all dogs really relaxed.

Has anyone else had any experience of this technique or dominant behaviour? How did you get over it?

I'd love to hear it's not just me with a dominant labbie!
 

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Hi Maddie

I have seen this technique been done at obdience classes,and it seems very effective,the first time i witnesed this i was a bit wary thought it looked cruel, i now realise the dog is not hurt just put in their place.

Thankfully i don't have a dominance problem they all seem to know the pecking order.

Hope you have sucess with this and it helps you with this problem.

Margaret
 

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I haven't had a dominance problem myself but the way i was shown was by giving the command to move (if they lay in doorways thats an act of dominance) and if they move praise them but carry on telling them to move, go towards them so that your not touching them but are invading their space.
Anna
 

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i would say brandy is the dominant dog out of my 3 but throughout the day it does seem to change depending were they are and what they are doing

rosze atthe moment is trying to assert herself in the pecking order i think eithe rthat or she is going through her adolesence stage..lol..she is coming in for a few hard stern NOs..lol..

charlie will be fed first then brandy then rosze

but during the day its brandy that gets the first cuddles and is first out the door

of a nighttime charlie is always on the bed and the 2 labs on the floor with there quilt sometimes rosze does sneak on but quickly told down


outside to other dogs its always my rosze that backs down first she drops to the floor and rolls on her back
brandy will not back down if another dog appears aggresive towards her she will stand her ground but she WILL NOT bite
charlie just runs away and is not a dog to approach others really..lol..


someone told me the top dog changes throughout the day or weeks the only proper top dog is you and i ...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
anna said:
I haven't had a dominance problem myself but the way i was shown was by giving the command to move (if they lay in doorways thats an act of dominance) and if they move praise them but carry on telling them to move, go towards them so that your not touching them but are invading their space.
Anna
If we go through a doorway, Coco always stops and lets me go through first so I know I am top dog!
She has never bitten anyone or anything thing. Today she came close to a fisticuffs but stopped just short of the end of the other dogs lead (a sworn enemy - black, female, giant schnauzer who always "has a go " first).
They both get fed at the same time, Coco sleeps on the bed. Milly on the floor in her box. If treats are given Milly gets hers first (she's the oldest) but Coco always seems to know this and waits patiently for hers.
 

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eek - I hate the word dominance because it is so over used.

Maddie it sounds like she is fear aggressive - dominance is irrelevant.
Excuse the awful prose, but hope this will shed some light.
She has been 'roughed up' by another large black dog, so now she doesn't like large black dogs - totally understandable.
She's ok off lead, but has a problem while on the lead - again, this is normal. Off lead a dog can interact more easily, they can run away or defend themselves. While onlead they cannot do this, so if she starts barking or growling it is because she feels threatened, she is feeling vulnerable because she cannot get away (she's onlead) so she's getting in there first and telling the other dog to back off. It has nothing to do with dominance. The problem with a belief in this type of dominance theory (which has long been discredited and abandoned even by those who first championed it) is that the only solution is to 'dominate' the dog.
It is similar to the alpha roll where it was thought that a higher ranking wolf would roll a lesser ranking wolf on its back to show dominance. This was totally wrong - it was the subordinate wolf that would voluntarily roll on its back to show due deference to the higher ranking wolf. A wolf would only do this to another if it meant to kill it. So although forcing her down may indeed initially make her subordinate, can you imagine what effect it is having on her. Not only is she fearful around those horrible dogs that rough her up, but she knows when she tries to protect herself (warn them off) that she then receives the greatest threaten by her owner. It may and does work superficially / temporarily, but it does not address the problem and is much more likely to make matters worse, and in a more dominant dog/breed of dog it could cause them defend themselves the only way they know how, with their teeth.

some food for thought.

I've got to go out now, but will post again when I come back.

regards
Jenny :)
 

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To start with, you may find this useful reading:

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Whilst some dogs are ‘dominant’ I think there is a danger that when behaviour problems (which may have any number of different causes) are labelled ‘dominance’, remedial measures tend to concentrate on making the dog more subordinate and completely miss addressing the problem. In addition, harsh physical corrections aimed at showing dominance over the dog are more likely to confuse and also possibly lessen the trust between dog and handler.
As an aside, I have always found truly dominant dogs (around other dogs) do not need to be aggressive – they seem to give off body language that other dogs recognise and give due reverence to. It is the lower ranking dogs that tend to get in squabbles.
My own approach would be to initially desensitise her and positively reward interactions with other dogs. Start at a distance and then when she is confident then you can come closer. If that means standing away from the rest of the class for a while then so be it. It is important that she is not put in a position where she feels the need to warn off other dogs (if she thinks they are too close) otherwise she will be reinforcing the behaviour.
When you say she plays happily with other dogs off lead – does this include large dogs? When you say she was introduced to the dogs that caused the ‘disturbance’ do you mean she had to greet them on lead?
Regards
Jenny
:)
 

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Hi Jenny

I've already tried desensitising. It works for a month or so then back to square one, even with the same group of dogs. It only takes one of them to appraoch her in the wrong way (ie be overly interested in her bottom!!!) and she's off on one!

She plays happily with one or two dogs off lead but more is a problem. She can get snappyoff lead and it would only take one to snap back and I fear I could be in trouble.

I take a great deal of effort introducing dogs to each other. It is not posssible to do it off lead at club so we always try to do it on a long very loose lead with lots of encouraging nosies and sounds. Sometimes it's fine sometimes not. She reacts more if the other dog starts (understandably). Some big dogs she's fine with others not.

Where I live the "alpha roll" is still used very widely by SCC (French Kennel club equivalent) accredited trainers. I've seen it used on other dogs sucessfully. I can't really tell them it's wrong as it would not be appreciated. A more softly softly approach is called for ! :lol: :lol: I am working on changing things and now have convinced them of the benefits of using a halti as opposed to a choke chain.

When we are working as a group with other dogs (eg 5 minute down stay with handlers absent) she is fine and is getting much better. It's just these odd outbursts which are so frustrating hence me allowing them to try this roll thing.

I think the fault probably lies with me as I'm terrified she will bite another dog or one will bite her and she's sensing this.

Ho hum tiddly pom. Never give up, never give in!! :lol: :lol:
 

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Hi Maddie
Where I live the "alpha roll" is still used very widely by SCC
I did wonder that when I first read your post.
I sympathise if this is standard practice - there are still trainers here that seem to have ideas from the dark ages - fortunately here there are plenty who do not so it is easy to find a new trainer/class.
Obviously you need to do what you find works for you, but
I wouldn't say a month isn't that long and the reintroduction needs to be done slowly with safe/stooge dogs first. A couple of other ideas - you need to be really upbeat and not reassure her - sort of jolly hockeysticks - and it may be worth considering a muzzle, particularly if you feel anxious about something starting. She will be picking up on that anxiety and although most people hate it initially, once muzzled the owner knows they can't bite so relax and the dog picks up on this and is more relaxed too.
Hope all goes well and let us know how you get on
regards
Jenny :)
 

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Thanks Jenny - for your advice and encouragement and for not immediately telling me to stop and find another class as this class and club really IS the only one for miles and miles and the people are lovely.

Another training website forum positively lambasted me and made me feel absolutely terrible and like some sort of abomination if I continued to take her to this class. It really is hard being in a strange cournty, not being fluent in the language but trying very hard to integrate and learn at the same time.

One point is that the other owners are not worried by her at all.

The jolly hockey sticks, all squeaky, happy voices is exactly voice I tend to use. The interesting thing last week was that we went to a new club to train with (agility) and because Coco is fairly advanced (compared to the others but not expert by any means) we were split off from our normal training companions and put with new dogs. When we got back together afterwards she was really eager to meet her old chums and did not peep at all, she even let Pedro, a huge Berger de Bernaise sniff her all over (where she's normally a bit sensitive!). His owner tends to accept the fact that she "has a go" at him sometimes- female perogative she always says! :lol:

I am reluctant to use the muzzle (as you say most people hate it - it's a real sign of stigma whatever anyone says - using the halti is bad enough :lol: ) as it lables her as potentially dangerous and she clearly is not as the down stay with other dogs less than 2 metres away from her and her adoration of people (small children in particular) shows.

I'm not going to give up and will keep trying everyting until we find something that suits us all.

Thanks once again and I'll keep you posted!
 
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