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Discussion Starter #1
I'm feeling a bit emotional about it at the moment....I'm shocked, unsure & at the time was scared too :( :(

I've just been to the beach with Bailey & Bonnie, just me and the dogs

I let Bailey off-lead and put Bonnie on the extendable, as I had not let Bonnie off-lead yet and we went down to the water, all enjoying the water

A few dogs went past and I let Bonnie have a sniff, and she kept barking & going at them.....there was one quite bad meeting with an off-lead dog going at Bonnie whilst Bonnie was going at it back, the owner had to come and pick up his dog (his dog was not small)

I felt totally vunerable, I was on my own, and felt that people were steering away from me & my aggressive dog :cry: :cry:

All I've done is think it over on the journey home, and I have a theory but am no expert & have obviously only known Bonnie for a week
I think she is being protective, of both me & Bailey......which I don't want as it's over-protective, any dog is a threat :(

She was fine on a walk with my friends & their dogs BUT the dogs were VERY small and still pups.....Bonnie is used to being around pups, she has recently had 9 herself

I don't have any experience of this, Bailey meets & greets people & dogs very well, through a lot of socialisation from puppy-hood

I plan to take bonnie to training classes, but was leaving it a few weeks to develop a bit of a bond between us.....but now I am feeling scared at the thought of taking her to a room full of dogs :( :(

I really don't know what to do....
 

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Em,

I have to ask you to forget your theory. Its so very rare dogs are defending us or other dogs, they are expressing, with this sort of behaviour, EITHER fear, extreme excitement, fustration or some kind of aggression (or aggressive behaviour more to the point). Not defensiveness towards us. They are selfish creatures and tend to look after number one at times of extreme excitment or fear.

So she is expressing *something* to you regarding HER. I don't know Bonnie's back story.... is she a rescue? How old is she? Where has she come from, environment etc etc... is she ex puppy farm? Or a rehomed dog from a domestic environment?

I won't pretend these things can be completely analyised via internet by any means but a bit of background can help enormously....

Di
 

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I am not too sure how to handle situations with a resue dog, I guess she must be feeling quite overhelmed by it all, and add in the hormonal changes she mst be undergoing due to her recent litter.

Would it be worth asking the rehoming centre for advice on how to deal with this? Before you both become tense and a pattern evolves?

I would give her time, but at the same time show that you do not approve of any aggression/barking at other dogs, start as you mean to go on. In those situations I would do away with the long lead and keep her close so you can really be on top of her reactions and feel any tension building in her, and walk her away before she reacts.

I think I would also get her along to that training club even if only for her to relax and watch from the side lines.
 

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Di - Bonnie is a rescue, recently rehomed with Em and Bailey. I believe she's an ex-breeder.

I'm wondering, is she perhaps still a bit hormonal?
 

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I am working with a dog of exactly the same background who has exactly the same problem right now. These are complex creatures. You so IMAGINE a puppy farm dog will communicate well with DOGS (because that is all they have ever known) and will find humans difficult, but it seems there are many exceptions to that, logical, conclusion.

Having first hand experience with this currently, my conclusion is that these dogs understand the dogs they know and live with very well. They totally completely do NOT understand strange dog approaches and utterly overreact. They have circlulated with the same dogs for sometimes many years, and the concept of strange dogs just walking up to them they find distressing, utterly unfathomable and highly threatening.

I gave today an example to my client. Of my puppy Brogan. 11 weeks old and utterly socialised to my 7 other dogs of various ages and sexes. She to the naked eye is utterly dog 'sound'. But has hardly left our premises yet and so, when a spaniel visited this week, was petrified to begin with, despite all her dog experiences to now being extensive and positive. BUT they are only with a select group of canines. A strange one was totally unfathomable to her. hence some of these puppy farm dogs are utterly canine unsocialised even though they have mixed with dogs ALL their lives.

Does that make sense?

Di
 

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I thought she was handed in as a pregnant stray, as opposed to puppy farm bitch, could be me ageing brain though :wink:
 

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You're right, my apologies. I've just tracked back and the first page of this thread explains her background. I shall just go away and hit myself around the head now :lol:
 

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So her background is unknown. That makes for a hell of a lot of unanswerable question marks and hats off to you for taking on such a blank canvas.

You really have no idea if this is the 'norm' for her or not then. Some dogs interact with other canines with far less exaggerated behaviour if loose. However you, with an unknown history on your hands, would not be advised to go this route right now.

If she were a reasonably well socialised domestic dog, I would say that she needs to be able to interact with other canines, offlead, without you assessing whether she is just making a fuss and lots of noise, or whether she is actually attacking. As sometimes we can overestimate the severity of a reaction because we are embarassed at the display and how it seems to the 'other owner'. her inital reaction sounds like extreme excitement to see the approaching dog, but I know full well this can mask a complete misunderstanding of how to them take forward contact OTHER than to 'bash before being bashed'... the attitude undersocialised dogs have to other canines.

I would very seriously seek one to one help absolutely immediately. NOT because this is a terrible problem but because if it IS a terrible problem that she has from her past you will need very careful help in overcoming it. Any further dog to dog 'spats' will make you a jumpy wreak and will give her a reputation which she may not deserve.

Do you have a trainer you trust. Someone experienced in problem solving with their own dogs they will willingly use as stoodges to test her boundaries and properly assess the problem?

Di
 

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I can totally empathise with how you feel. The mad pooch Di refers to above is my Cassie. I can't give you all the answers sadly, but you are not the only one!

Di is also very right in saying that if it keeps happening, you will end up as a jumpy wreck, and walking then becomes more of a chore than an enjoyable experience.

The earlier you can get professional help the better... but make sure you get someone who is personally recommended (I wasted money to start with on someone who didn't help.... so def get recommendations!).

The other thing is that people do not understand, especially with a lab. I just say to people " excuse us, we are a work in progress!" and people with dogs usually smile and give us a wide berth.

I really wish you the best of luck in sorting this out.

Rachel
 

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She is not mad..... just .... 'complex'..... ;-)

Di
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you for your replies & advice

I can tell you everything I know about Bonnie, she was given to the dogs home as a rehome (not a stray) reasons being a relationship breakdown, couldn't cope & she was pregnant.....she is approx 4 years, has lived with a child before (and now lives with 2 children), is fine with other dogs & growls at cats (we have cats & she is getting there with them, barks sometimes but no aggression)

She then had 9 pups in the dogs home, her rehoming with us was delayed due to mastitis, and has now been with us for just over a week....she had the pups approx 10 weeks ago

The home suspected she has had litters before, and this was also said by the vet on friday, he was sure that she has had more than 1 litter due to the saggy belly, and said she is always going to have a but of sag there (aren't we all :roll: :lol: )

She sat nicely in the vets on friday, in the waiting area, and a large spaniel came in, she just had a sniff and then ignored him

I have had a delve through some past threads on dogs showing dog aggression, and thought I should explain how Bonnie reacts a bit more clearly

She doesn't show aggression until the dog has come over....she has walked past other dogs quite nicely without bothering during this past week, and came on a walk with a small yorkie & pug puppy with no bother.......it seems to be a greeting 'thing'

The first full day we had her we went to a park with an enclosed off-lead area and I let both Bonnie & Bailey off in there, and a shitzu came in too, and they were all fine together.....although thinking back, a large husky type dog walked past and she went over barking at it, Bailey joined in

She has got on well with Bailey, they have had the odd spat, a bit of barking and growling but nothing I have ever been concerned about.....she is very tolerant of Bailey, as bailey was quite a pester at first

I think, now that I have seen that she can be aggressive, I will be more 'ready' for it......it really shocked me today, and I couldn't wait to get back to the car :( :(

I have been walking them separately most of the time too, maybe taking them both out today was not a good idea??
I wanted Bonnie to have a swim as it's ggod for her tum, staying on lead meant I had to go in too though :lol: I was VERY wet, and was fully clothed in water upto my thighs 8O :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I know nothing about her previous home though, whether she lived indoors or out?? If she was walked?? If she lived with other dogs??
 

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" I think, now that I have seen that she can be aggressive, I will be more 'ready' for it......it really shocked me today, and I couldn't wait to get back to the car "


...I think firstly we need to try and think more along the lines of her 'over reacting' rather than 'aggression'. If she was aggressive you would know it. Injury would occur. It would also be pretty consistant. The problem is, exactly as you say above, you WILL be more ready for it - indeed, rightly and understandably so, you will be positively EXPECTING it, and of course that tension, that reaction, whilst entirely human, aggrivates the situation enormously.

So much is channelled down the lead we just can't imagine.

When a dog is a bit of a coward this is a typical reaction to being undersocialised in certain situations. Dogs are born understanding other dogs. They only can go backwards from there when we interfere ;-) Bloody humans ;-) And I don't mean you, I mean a combination of past experiences and areas she has been undereducated in that you have no clue about and are now feeling the effects of.

The fact she is confident with Bailey is of course good, but doesn't help you, because what may occur is this start to feed down to him. She is it SEEMS exhibiting defensive behaviour as opposed to aggressive but to the naked eye it is all the same. Either way it is very catching for a young impressionable dog like Bailey and so seperate walks really would be a good plan for the time being. You really don't want him thinking 'hey thats fun I'll join in - OR feeding off her fear/defensiveness... and starting to think down her lines about certain other canines.

It sounds like she is confident when allowed to make her own decisions. That is pretty common for undersocialised dogs.

Really its back to the drawing board as if she were a puppy and group training will be a huge boon to her. The crux is you don't have a dog that has caused injury and you have been made aware there *may* be something deeper lurking, so now you need to hit it with both barrells immediately and react to it rather tha, as many would do, just getting a headcollar on and dragging her away from most canine situations for the foreseeable future, never seeking practical help.

Ring a dog club or two. Ask to go along and lurk. take loads of treats. Distract her with them when the pressure goes on her and use lots of praise. Ignore silly spats and just remove her from what is overloading her pressure valve as quickly as possible and then retry but just a few further paces away....

Good luck and keep us posted. Classes are the only way forward other than a one to one trainer to try and get to the bottom of this. And even if its only to certain dogs, attacking it proactively now will reap you loads of steps forward. Just having had puppies should not create this in a dog so that I am certain is irrelevent in itself.

Di
 

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Hi Em

I don't know whereabouts you are in Cheshire, but I am on the Wirral and have similar problems with Sophie.

I could highly recommend the behaviourist that we have been seeing, she is based just at the end of the M56.

If you want the details I'd be more than happy to share, just PM me.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you for your great advice :D

I have contacted, by email, the trainer that I have been to on many occassions with Bailey, who I have been very happy with in the past and who also has experience with rescue dogs

I've asked if we can come along to a class, as I need help with training as well as socialising too......Bonnie didn't even really know 'sit' :(

And I'm hoping to start as soon as possible

I've just been out on a walk with Bon and had a mixed experience

I took on board that I could make it worse by 'expecting' it so tried to not tense (don't know how well I did though), and 2 minutes into the walk, walking along a cul-de-sac to the entry, we came across 3 small dogs running around off-lead, 2 shitzu type dogs & a jack russell pup, the owner was trying to round them up with no luck and they came running over to Bon....she wasn't really bothered by them, and I kept walking the whole time

But then nearing the end of the walk, we walked past a driveway where a dog came running full force at the gate, barking & snarling, so Bonnie went mad.....I did jump a lot as it caught me by surprise, it caught us both by surprise 8O

She did also walk past another dog on a lead, a large dog, without any problems, there were a few metres between us but she didn't pay attention to it

Hopefully I won't analyse every walk from now on though :lol: :lol:

I will let you know how training comes along though, thanks again for your advice :D
 

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From what you are saying, it does seem to be when other dogs approach her in a less than friendly manner?? Although we don't want our dogs to respond aggressivley, if she is less than well-socialised, you can 'kind of' understand her response to such approaches. Hope she feels better tempered soon x
 

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I'm really no expert on any of this, a mere novice in comparisom to those who've answered your thread but I'm really hoping that I'll be able to contribute something that puts your mind at rest.

I read this thread and it gave me a very familiar feeling. When we got Rosie, she was hugely under-socialised. Unsurprising, since she spent the first 8 months of her life on a 6 by 6 foot square of concrete on a chain without any shelter. She had no doggie manners at all, and whilst if she was off the lead (i.e as mentioned in a post above - 'able to make her own decisions') she was generally very good (although slightly over-exuberant). But - she was an absolute nightmare if we encountered another dog whilst she was on the lead. She would go absolutely nuts, barking, jumping about, and be completely uncontrollable. I could do nothing to restrain her - It was almost as if she went into a Zone and that was it; no talking to her.

At first I fell into the whole Cesar Millan trap of "my leadership skills aren't strong enough to reassure her i'm in control of the situation. But, but I very quickly realised I was very little to do with it - beyond of course that I probably contributed to her feeling of tension by physically bracing myself every time we saw another dog. Now I understand that the whole act was a show of bravado from her, because she simply felt afraid at being restrained whilst another dog had the potential to get in her space. It wasn't just on the lead; even if she was contained in the back of the car and a dog was walking past on the pavement it was the same thing.

We just weren't qualified to deal with it; and so I quit walking her on the lead completely. I was determined to socialise her with other dogs as quickly as possible; so every day Rosie has a short trip in the car to a local dog-park where she has an hour and a half walk/playtime. There can be as many as 30 dogs running about loose. Off the lead she shows no hostility or aggresion whatsoever, but the other dogs have taught her manners. She's still learning and occasionally she gets put in her place; but overall the results have been quite extraordinary.

I hope this reassures you. Bonnie isn't aggressive every time you meet another dog; she hasn't bitten another dog, or caused a fight. By all means work with the behaviourist - it will help with your confidence after all - but I'm sure that Bonnie just needs to be better socialised and her confidence at meeting other dogs will improve with time.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank you :D

I am really hoping that I can work on this issue and improve it.

My trainer has replied and wants to meet me and Bonnie before we join a class, which is understandable. I have explained to her, in a bit more detail, how Bonnie reacts to other dogs. And that she has never caused any harm.

I am hoping that we can meet this week, but typical it is the week that I am in work till 7pm/6:30pm every night, and starting a new course :roll:
It may well be the weekend but I have asked if we could go after a class that finishes at 9pm this week....the sooner the better for us :D

It has actually made me want to walk her more, not less.....which I'm hoping is a good reaction as yesterday, at the beach, I just wanted to run home and shut the doors behind us :(
She still needs regular walks to work on this tum

I will keep you posted, and thank you so much for your advice & experiences. It is good to know that I'm not alone.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Just to let you know that I am meeting with my dog trainer after work on friday evening.....I am really hoping to come home feeling positive :D
 

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Good to hear you`ve set up a meeting with your trainer, don`t forget to tell her about today with Bonnie being fine walking past other dogs and was ok even with the 3 small ones bounding toward her but reacted to the one that rushed to its gate.

I have to say I`d have reacted too 8O , must have made her jump as much as it did you and her reaction was probably the doggie equivalant of swearing at the dog for making her jump :D

Hope all goes well on friday, please let us know :)
 
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