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My dog “went after” another dog...

Discussion in 'Training & Behavior' started by Etorres411, May 24, 2018.

  1. Etorres411

    Etorres411 Puppy

    Hey guys. Not sure if this is the correct section but since this mishap occurred during a training class, this section seemed fitting. It’s really long and I apologize. I just want to illustrate as well as possible. Thank you in advance to anyone who does read it.

    To start things off, I’ll say I am seeking local help on the matter and not expecting you guys to cure my dog or have the end all answer. I’m mostly looking for constructive criticism on the matter and how YOU would proceed in this situation.

    I have three pit mixes. A 6yr old male, 5yr old female and 7mo old female. I adopted them in that order and to be honest, I didn’t understand the full responsibility until shortly before I got the puppy. I understand that fully and have engulfed myself in their lives and well-being for them to succeed. I had started my female in CGC classes and she flew through it. My boy had leash reactivity issues and since we’ve had the pup, all three have been continuously going to classes and I’ve been working them regularly. My fiancé and I basically work our day jobs and when not there, we’re training.

    My females are both very calm and very attentive. I can get their attention basically anywhere and their recalls are great in the tested environments. Obviously I see no reason to let them off leash and test somewhere for them to fail. My boy on the other hand has a real hard time around dogs. In a low distraction environment he’s very obedient. Introduce a dog to the environment and I don’t exist. I’ve been doing group classes. After maybe 20 minutes on a good day I can get him to pay attention to me and I can keep it for the duration of class (as long as I don’t slack off).

    We were working on recalls today at the end of class. I placed him in a sit-stay with the instructor holding the end of the leash, just in case. On the other side of the same fenced area, the other dog that he’s paid the most attention to (a docile, but large lab), was working on the same exercise. The owner was told to call their dog. My dog instantly pulled to the end of his leash in that dogs direction. In an effort to get his attention I called his name.

    What I believe happened is the instructor thought I was recalling him and dropped the leash. Either that or he happened to pull out of their hand at that moment and rushed the other dog from the side. I was obviously on my way in at that point and they did some circles and then some rolling and growling etc. I did not see any “latch”. I got his leash and pulled him out and someone got the other dog. At this point my dog kept whining and looking at the other dog but was not pulling to get to him. The other dog just stood there. Both dogs appear to be mostly fine. Nothing visible on the other dog. My dog broke a lower K9, angled beneath the gum line so I’m guessing that will be extracted when he goes to the vet tomorrow.

    Basically here’s my takeaway, so I’m asking that you tell me if I’m way off base or missing something key.

    Firstly, the dogs should’ve been on a long line, that usually is the norm, not sure why it wasn’t this time. I did think about it and for my own dogs sake I should’ve spoken up and requested it. So my fault there. Set up to fail #1

    Next, I’m not sure what the circumstance was that the leash got loose, but I feel it was the handlers responsibility to hold it tighter and if they did think I was recalling, they should’ve been aware that he was no even facing my direction, let alone pulling hard in the wrong direction. Set up to fail #2.

    Lastly, he needs to leave other dogs along. I need to find the right solution for that. If he can’t be off leash around a dog, I can live with that. But these issues have been long going and I can’t keep him “with me” on a walk if there’s a dog on the other side of the street.

    For a little more info, I’ve linked (and I’m obviously no pro) his reactivity to play and fear. He’s played with many dogs off leash. Obviously not a strange dog and he’s done well. Males, females, old, and young. In my early days with me when I was less cautious, he did encounter some strange dogs and it’s always turned into play (he was about 2-3). For the past 3 or 4 years I have not allowed that to happen. He will usually react to any dog, but the ones he stays locked on the tightest are large male dogs (the ones I new were in tact). Just a little more pocket info.

    At this point was planning to contact a behaviorist tomorrow. I have no intention of off leash trials again. Do you feel a behaviorist is the correct avenue for this situation. Obviously different behaviorist can yield different results, so it may take some trial and error. Basically I have no intention of breaking this dog down and taking the life out of him and then building him up. Honestly, I know I’m a big part of the issue as a handler and plan to address that.

    Thoughts? I know without being there, that’s difficult, but does it sound like he was actually trying to attack? Or more of he approached the other dog incorrectly and the other dog didn’t appreciate the impolite behavior.
  2. Kit

    Kit Good Dog

    He sounds a lot like how our Nick was (we lost him to cancer just over 3 years ago)
    He was fine around some dogs, but others, especially males, more-so intact males, he would lunge at them. If Rosie (our female) was okay with the dog, he was more apt to be okay with it.
    Once I learned how he reacted, I didn't try to "fix" it, I just learned to manage it.
    He was never off-leash anywhere we may encounter other dogs. If we met other dogs while on a walk, he learned a very good sit and 'watch me' and we'd do that until the other dog(s) had passed us.
    I (mostly) knew what dogs would set him off, and learned to keep a VERY close eye on him if we were around those dogs.
    It sounds like you're on the right track, you just need to manage the dog you have.

    As for the tooth, it could be fine by morning.
    I was walking Nick & Rosie one day. We turned a corner and saw a gal walking her 2 Ridgebacks. Her male came at us, she dropped the leash and him & Nick got in a pretty nasty fight. When I got them apart, after making Nick drop the dogs leg (which I sort of hoped he broke) there was blood everywhere, and his bottom K9 was sticking out straight. Took him to the vet, their first thought was extraction. Took him back the following day, and the tooth was loose, but much better. X-ray showed a TINY hairline fracture in his jaw below the tooth. A couple weeks of soft food and he was fine.
    Nat Ursula likes this.
  3. Etorres411

    Etorres411 Puppy

    Thank you for the response. I really do feel most of these issues could be resolved if I could just get his attention on me. As we agreed on, he doesn’t “need” to approach other dogs and I’ll be sure the only ones holding the leash are those I trust with his life.
    Nat Ursula likes this.
  4. ETRaven2

    ETRaven2 Big Dog

    I'm not gonna lie --- I skimmed this bc TLDR. But, I think a behaviorist is overkill. He's a bull dog mix, it's in his genetics to not like/tolerate other dogs. Learn his threshhold and keep him below it.
    Nat Ursula likes this.
  5. EstyEsty

    EstyEsty Little Dog Premium Member

    I'm with ETRaven2...
  6. Etorres411

    Etorres411 Puppy

    Thank you Both for your input as well. We are “interviewing” new trainers to hopefully get help doing exactly that. I found two in the area that claim to work with bully breeds regularly and want to work with him as an individual (not a “one size fits all” lesson plan). I’m more than confident that with my commitment and the help of someone experienced that we’ll make progress. My goal isn’t a dog park dog, but it would be nice to walk on the opposite side of the street as another dog. I’m terrible at getting online and keeping up with forums, but I’ll try to update as we go.

    Thank you all again. It’s certainly helped me to have some extra reassurance that I don’t have a murder dog. The trainer called my fiancé the day after and basically said he’d be on meds for the rest of his life and may never be able to leave the house. Needless to say, that uneducated diagnosis was premature and now none of our dogs will be attending her classes.

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