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  1. #1

    Aggression in the crate?

    When we first got our male he was terrified of crates. Eventually he tolerated them until the day I went into the hospital while miscarrying. (He was 30 miles away and had no idea.) That day he busted out of his crate and nearly killed himself then scratched the $#@! out of my front door trying to get out. He runs into a different crate that wasn't "his" now that is the only one in the bedroom (all the other crates are in the adjacent dog bedroom) and is right next to my side of the bed. He loves it in there and goes in and out all the time and when he's in trouble runs for the safety of his little den. However, we cannot put him in an other crate in the house because he becomes very panicky and escapes or hurts himself in the process. Luckily he can be left out by himself when we leave. My question is now when I close the door on his chosen crate, if any of the other dogs walks by he reacts kind of aggressive and "attacks" the door? I open the door and he is fine and in this household food chain he is at the bottom and he doesn't have problems with our other dogs or other dogs in general so what's up? We just observed this behavior today and we would like to nip it in the bud before it turns into something worse. Thanks for you help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Ontario, Canada.. eh!
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    2,716
    Sounds like barrier "aggression" possibly mixed with some resource/possession guarding.

    When the door is open, he can freely leave it to chase others away from HIS crate, but when the door is shut, all he can do is sound big and scary to chase them away from HIS crate.

    First off, I see no reason to allow a dog to choose which crate they want. It's unneccessary catering and as you can clearly see, it just leads to more problems, more "aggressive" problems rather then fear which you were dealing with before.

    I think this exact situation goes to show that catering to a fearful dog without first addressing their stability and issues, just leads to more violent, aggressive problems. Deal with the issue, DON'T cater to the dog because you think it's afraid. Your giving too much to an unstable dog that has learned unstable behaviours gets what it wants.

    First off, I would start working on desensitizing him to the other crates, using his preferred crate as a reward. So for example) The door to the preferred crate is closed and you throw high value treats into the "scary" crates, leaving the door open and letting him get the treats on his own time. VERY slowly working your way up to feeding small treats continuously while he's in the crate door open, to a very short, but consistent reward schedule, perhaps counting to five and ten, rewarding at the end of each count.

    Moving onto closing the door, throwing a treat through the crate, then opening the door. Repeating at least 10 times in a session and always ending on a positive note. At the end of the session you take him to the preferred crate, rewarding verbally and open the preferred crate. With time if you work at it consistently you can start crating him in the "bad" crates for 5, 10 , 15 and so on minutes at a time very heavily rewarding.

    If at any time I saw this behaviour, barking, snarling in the other crate he would be banished from his safe place (which really isn't HIS, but mine) for a day or half a day whatever. I would even go as far as to put ANOTHER dog in that crate, rewarding that dog and ignoring the offending dog. Very clear signs to the dog that the crate is NOT HIS, and he is priviledged if at anytime he gets to go into the crate he wants, or any crate for that matter.

    Completely separately I would be doing some type of work with this dog to build it's confidence, agility is fantastic for confidence building, obedience for working on bonds.

    Good luck! :)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Ontario, Canada.. eh!
    Posts
    2,716
    Sorry for the double post, but after re-reading your post I just wanted to add something regarding this statement:

    I open the door and he is fine and in this household food chain he is at the bottom and he doesn't have problems with our other dogs or other dogs in general so what's up?
    I used to think that the dog at the top meant no matter what that dog got what it wanted, but after re-evaulating my dogs relationships with me and our life in general (ditching quite a bit from the dominance theory) I found it makes a lot more sense. :)

    Hades is extremely submissive and he is most definitely at the bottom in our funny pack BUT, even though very generally Roxy is more dominant than he, there are specific things that are important to Hades, that even despite his low ranking he will fight for, rather he will "defend" them because even despite Roxy's high ranking status, she won't push Hades when she sees he is adamant about having that toy or eating that treat.

    Hades is NOT food aggressive, and he does not resource guard, this is mostly in play or if Roxy has broken rules that are set ie) looking at Hades food dish.

    Just because you think you have your ranking figured out, and you probably do, doesn't mean that there can be "ammendments" to that ranking if a certain dog has a preference for a specific toy or crate in this circumstance.

    Dogs are just like people in the sense that in a stable pack, it's a give and take. Even though Roxy could very well "dominate" Hades and take that toy, she doesn't because it would cause ripples in our pack that are uneccessary, she can just let him have the toy and not bother with him because he *really* wants it.

    Sorry just a rant and ramble, but I thought I'd throw it out there! :) LOL

  4. #4
    Thank you, that sounds like what I thought - basically recrate train. Lol, this will be my last male though. All the problems in my pack come from the boys! I know what you mean about the hierarchy the comment was geared more towards outside of the crate he is not aggressive or dominant to anyone. We are trying to find ways to build confidence we would love to do weight pulling and as he is the only one "old enough" to start it would be fantastic but he is so damned scarred of everything. OMG 4th July was awful with those damn fireworks. (Live in town and couldn't escape them.) We "allow" him to pick that crate because we enjoy sleeping with our dogs (the big ones little guys go in their crates) and whenever I feel the bed is getting to crowded he'll jump off and go sleep in their so he can still be near me. Lol, the other 2 pits don't like the crate because it is so far away from all the other dogs. The others will go in whatever crate we tell them to and I'm fine with leaving Ceasar out during the day so he really never goes in a crate with the door shut unless I'm cleaning now or we're traveling. He's fine with any crate when we travel. He was in the crate because he was being $#@!ety and I wasn't able to supervise him with the other dogs and he ran into the crate so I shut the door a few minutes later. I just don't understand why he's reverted back. He was so fearful when we got him (7 months old HA & DA mom and raised in a shelter that reminds you of deliverance and we'll top it off by being abused by the only shelter worker there was at the shelter. Did I mention he was born at the shelter? Imagine what kind of socialization he got!) and luckily he latched onto me and as long as I say it's okay he'll try it usually. Ie men were okay because I said so. He was fine by about 11 months or so and seemed "normal" and then we went home for my husband's grandfather's funeral and every since we came home he's been acting weird and really fearful again. Like we went to Petco a day or two after we came home and he was shivering in fear when this little girl came up to pet him (and she was very respectful and not doing anything to scare him). His first trip to Petco ever took us 2 hours to get into the store because he was so scared of the doors. Finally one of the $#@!ociates came over and stood about 25 feet in and between the 2 of us we coaxed him inside. I'll be honest I was not "weak" or sad while we were there for the funeral (made my peace years ago) so it wasn't from that. Anyway, I'll stop rambling, I appreciate your help and hopefully recrate training will work. We don't have a space for agility any thoughts on other confidence builders? I'd heard letting him win at tug sometimes helps. Our obedience cl$#@! used prong collars (to be fair they were more symbolic then actually used as no corrections with the collar were really necessary for Ceasar) so now I am trying to do clicker training on my own. Hmm...I thought I had an activity book somewhere that mentioned confidence builders. I'll have to find that. Thanks!

  5. #5
    K9love, great posts. You covered everything!

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