Dog People- Aggression Issue

<p>My gental giant (126 pounds) Golden Retriever is the darling of the neighborhood. Toddlers come running to hug him when he goes out for a walk, other dogs nuzzle him and climb on him......you get the picture. Our dog is always leashed for walks and we have an invisible fence around our yard. </p>

<p>Enter Sid. Sid is a large, black lab-mix (but not as big as my dog by any means) and seems very well-behaved and walks along nicely on a leash. Owners seem responsible and nice and tend to walk Sid early in the morning. They live about a 1/2 block from us. Our dog DESPISES Sid and watches out the window for him to walk by on the other side of the street. He practically goes through the walls and barks as if Sid was coming through the front door. I thought it was just an alpha-male sort of thing, but TWICE recently our Golden has gotten loose and attacked Sid. The first time he sprinted out of the garage while H was out there working, crossed his electric fence and jumped Sid. It took a moment for H to figure out what was happening and get him under control. Then earlier this week on a walk our doggie saw Sid and even though H planted his feet, the dog pulled loose and jumped Sid. He got him off more quickly. We were embarrassed and can NOT understand this behavior towards this one dog!</p>

<p>So-yesterday a guy from Animal Control comes to the door and, very nicely, reviews the laws with H. Basically- dogs have to be leashed when not in the yard (which we always do). The people had called animal control to report this "vicious" dog. The guy laughed a little when he saw our lazy, smiling Golden Retriever. We got a "warning". I don't blame Sid's parents for being upset (thank God they are moving- house is for sale), but I wish they had just addressed the matter with us and not reported us. We truly are doing everything possible and now are taking even greater precautions to avoid any Sid-spottings.</p>

<p>Just curious if anyone has had a situation like this and WHY our sweet guy has honed in on this one dog! He adores cats and other dogs.</p>

<p>My dog hates the white shepherd up the road- hates him! Our neighbors' female great Dane hates my friend's neutered lab. I think dogs communicate silently and tell each other off. I have no real advise as it sounds like you are doing everything possible. I guess pray that their home sells fast.</p>

<p>My guess is that there's a bad experience in your dog's past with either Sid or a dog that looks like him. I am not sure if you can really address the issue with your dog -- especially if it's only one dog inciting the behavior. </p>

<p>You might try a pinch or prong collar when walking if you think you might see Sid -- they are more humane than they look and as long as your dog is not pulling on you he won't even notice it, but it is serious brakes when needed. With any luck, Sid's owners will sell and move. Problem solved!</p>

<p>Non opaque barrier syndrome: </p>

<p>Your dog is watching out the window, wants to get at Sid. The window is in the way, he can see through it and can't get to Sid. Frustration is built up at the point of the barrier. Your dog is barking by the window and the barking is being reinforced because Sid, sure enough, leaves the view. </p>

<p>How old is your Golden? When did he first bark at Sid out the window? Are you there when this happens? If so, what have you been doing?</p>

<p>I would prevent him from looking out that window, particularly if I wasn't going to be around. And if I was around I would set him up and correct him for it.</p>

<p>Our GSD goes wild when he sees one dog that always wears a sweater. We think he thinks it's an abomination for a dog to be seen in public with one on, so he'd like to get a chance to do something about it. In reality, it's likely the other dog is putting out a scent (probably a fear scent), or the color of the dog that causes the reaction.</p>

<p>Our Golden is 7. He's been barking at Sid for a couple of years- depending on the time of year. Winter he usually can't see him (dark at 6am) and if we have all the blinds down he sometimes misses him. My husband is usually there- frequently I am out running. Weekends Sid's schedule can vary and it's a crap-shoot. We usually just scold our dog when he barks and goes tearing down stairs to "get" Sid. We aren't the best disciplinarians. My daughter claims the dog is her brother (WildChild) in dog-form.</p>

<p>Correct him for it:</p>

<p>For instance, I would read a book or newspaper and wait for this unwanted behavior. If my Golden barked at the window more than one bark, I would say, "Oh, you want your nails cut?" I would then calmly cut the dog's nails. Not punishing him, but they don't look forward to having their nails trimmed. </p>

<p>I would make sure he couldn't look out the window if I wasn't there to work on this.</p>

<p>So what if Sid moves? He'll find another dog to "hate".</p>

<p>Dog aggression just isn't the same as people aggression. My Australian shepherd loves all humans, including great big bearded men and tiny noisy children, and I often take her to work with me (at a university) where her lovely behavior has inspired two of my colleagues to get themselves dogs of the same breed. But she very much dislikes dogs she doesn't know, especially if they are female or black-colored. You will have to supervise your dog closely until this family moves away, and hope this is a one-dog phobia rather than something more generalized.</p>

<p>A neighbor's dog I walk in the morning is the sweetest, dumbest, most submissive dog in the world. But he hates . . . puppies! He's just a complete jerk with any puppy he encounters -- way over-aggressive, snarling, awful. I (and his owner) have to keep him away from puppies. Breaks my heart. (I kinda like puppies. A lot.)</p>

<p>My dog pretty much gets along with everyone, but there are two dogs in our neighborhood who hate her and will attack her if she gets too close. (And she will go waaaay out of her way to avoid getting anywhere near them.) In turn, there is a guy who drives down our street sometimes in a jeep with his two dogs in the back, and for some reason that just enrages my dog. She can hear him coming blocks away. If I don't grab her, she will chase him for up to 1/4 mile, complete with serious barking and snarling.</p>

<p>MomofWildDog - I have no answer, but I just HAD to use that greeting. LOL</p>

<p>I am thinking there can simply be NO CHANCE for your golden baby to escape. No more hanging out in the garage w/dad---unless he is chained up (I do recommend the pronged collar)...etc. I gave up trying to figure out what goes on in a dogs head---I only know I would FREAK (and have) if a dog came charging a my dog when my dog was leashed. Maybe time to walk him elsewhere until they move. Do not risk another encounter......REALLY!!! Or your dog could wind up in the pound.</p>

<p>We had to put down our 16 year old golden last year. Love the breed.....but Jasmine did snap at a 3 year old once. She was just not around little kids and was not used to them....but that was it for me. Jasmine was NEVER allowed around any kid w/o 100% supervision. At family parties----I let her hang in the bedroom. I was just to nervous something bad would happen.</p>

<p>Sometimes it's hard to tell who or what has caused aggression. If you've ever watched *The Dog Whisperer *show, you find that sometimes one dog uses body language to challenge another. It's not always the dog you would suspect who is causing the problem-the attacking dog is simply reacting to what might be a challenge that seems subtle to the human, but overt to the dog. </p>

<p>For example, we were walking our sweet yellow lab one day. For some reason, she is not nice to other dogs while she is on leash-I think she thinks she is supposed to protect me from them. Well, one day DH and I were walking her when we saw a little girl approaching from the opposite direction with an older Rottie puppy. The dog got away from the girl, charged our dog, and a dog fight ensued. Many of the neighbors present were appalled at how the Rottie attacked our sweet baby. But due to her history, I had begun watching my dog as soon as I saw the other dog in the distance. She definitely challenged him with her staring, her posture, the raised hair on her back, baring her teeth at him, etc. SHE was the one who started everything.</p>

<p>The point of that story is perhaps the other dog challenged your dog at some point and that is why he is so preoccupied with him and showing aggressive tendencies. Probably won't do you any good with the authorities, but it's just a thought.</p>

<p>Thanks, all. This is some interesting info. Yes, no more garage time..... Fortunately, Sid isn't out all that often. When I walk my guy I use a shoulder harness because I can control him better. If he REALLY wants to bolt, he can still get away from me, but it doesn't happen often. H doesn't use the harness and uses a short leash and this is a strong dog!</p>

<p>Hmmm, the doggy harness on the pooch and an SNL Mike Meyers harness on MOWC, connect the two of you and he will never get away, but how fast can you run?</p>

<p>The</a> Hyper Hypo - SNL Mike Myers • VideoSift: Online Video *Quality Control</p>

<p>akck - thanks for the funniest post of the day!</p>

<p>Nrdsb- our golden is the same way. He is much more aggressive on leash when another dog approaches his owner. My D doesn't like to take him running because she doesn't know what he will do. He is better behaved off lease. He looks like the sweetest dog and is 99% of the time. Our dog will also let anyone come into our yard and is friendly but if one of his family members is outside he is pretty scary looking. He loves to bark aggressively at our gardeners. He will charge them but not attack. I will yell at him and he will give one last growl and run in the house. It is a game for him but if you didn't know him you would be scared. He has never in 10 yrs attacked a person or bit anyone. He has been in a few dog fights. I won't mention what our sweet golden can do to an innocent gopher. I also wouldnt want a cat to wander into our yard.</p>

<p>
[quote]
The first time he sprinted out of the garage while H was out there working, crossed his electric fence and jumped Sid.

[/quote]
I'm not really familiar with "electric fence" technology... but anything that a dog is capable of crossing is not a "fence". </p>

<p>It doesn't matter if it is Sid or another dog -- no matter how gentle your dog is most of the time, Animal Control is certainly aware of him and you could be in big trouble if your dog got loose and bit someone in the future. (Keep in mind that severe dog bites can happen when a person is trying to separate two dogs that are fighting -- it is not a defense that the dog "accidentally" bit the person).</p>

<p>My last dog was as gentle as a lamb... but as she got older, there were more and more incidents of her acting aggressive towards some, but not all, other dogs when we were out walking. I tried watching the other dogs for body language that might be setting my dog off... but I never did figure it out. I just had to recognize that my sweetheart was getting grumpy in her old age. </p>

<p>You either need to put a real fence around your yard, or make sure that your dog is not allowed loose in the yard. Bottom line: the electric fence thing failed. (And if your dog has crossed it once, the dog knows it can cross again). </p>

<p>I do think it would be a good idea to distract and "correct" your dog when she barks aggressively at the front window again. I put "correct" in quotes because I think you might do better in the long run to try to entice your dog into doing something else, and then reward the good behavior. Or use positive reinforcement to teach a command that you can give to get the dog to quiet down. </p>

<p>Here's the problem: I know that your dog is almost always gentle and loving. But you know that in at least one particular circumstance, your dog becomes aggressive. So you really need to assume that you own a 125 lb dog that is capable of acting aggressively -- and plan accordingly. </p>

<p>One place to start would be for your husband to be sure to use a leash and harness that gives him better control over the dog -- the same comments I have about the fence apply to the pulling loose from hubby part as well. I'm posting as a dog owner + dog lover with a legal background -- I've owned the world's gentlest rottie in the past and as a lawyer I even handled dog bite lawsuits. The bottom line is that a dog is an animal and animals don't always act rationally. You have the legal responsibility of controlling your pet, and that can be difficult if the dog is strong enough to easily pull you off your feet. </p>

<p>I'm not a real big fan of those pronged collars -- but I have been very happy with a front hook harness (I use the Easy</a> Walk). These work well because when your dog pulls, the action of the harness will cause the dog to move off to the side rather than forward -- so it really helps with dog training and would probably make it harder for the dog to get away from you while walking. I do think that more dog training is in order as well -- when Sid is NOT around, you and your husband might work with your dog for loose-leash walking with frequent practice (and rewards) for sitting or heeling on command. You will both be way ahead if when you are walking and you see a potential dog hazard/distraction/aggression source up ahead, you can stop and put your dog in a sit until the potential distraction is over. When the dog is more in the habit of paying attention to you and responding to various cues from you while walking, it will become much more responsive and easier to control during walks. Even when your dog is not aggressive, it should never be allowed to pull on the leash while walking. </p>

<p>And an old dog can be taught new tricks!</p>

<p>The Easy Walk is the harness that I have. Yes, we are aware that if something is very enticing he will cross the electric fence. It hasn't been an issue because he is basically an inside dog (except for potty breaks and to be walked) and until Sid, he only left the (back) yard if he saw me go next door to the neighbors and decided to follow me. His fur is so thick that the shock was worth it to him. :) We are not going to put a fence around our yard and, in fact, can not fence the front by neighborhood regulations. I hope we don't see more aggression from him- we sure haven't in 7 years except for Sid! He wants to meet every dog that is out walking, and when he was younger and a tiny dog would growl at him, ours would lie down and defer whenever he would see that dog. The Sid thing is puzzling.</p>

<p>I don't think we'll ever understand what makes some dogs hate other dogs. Some kind of signals or past history. Who knows? Our sweet old yellow lab used to get jumped and mauled by a neighborhood dog a while back. He was a lab mix. He jumped LOTS of dogs in the neighborhood...he was famous for it. Thank God he and his "oh he's usually very friendly" neighbor moved! </p>

<p>That is a pet peeve of mine. We walk our dog a lot on park paths and constantly get "Is he friendly? " Well...yeah..for the most part. But he DOES hate some dogs..not most...but it's impossible to predict. I hate all those growls and tangled leashes. So I think most other dog owners think we're anti-social. Our dog looks so "goofy friendly" yet we avoid the "meet and greet"" routine like the plague. </p>

<p>MOWC, it seems you'll have to be extra careful to keep your dog restrained these days. A visit from Animal Control is pretty serious. I hope they sell their house and move quickly. Hey, can you get that guy Cesare to come out? Maybe give him a call? We want to see you and your pup on TV... you in your Brooks sneakers of course!</p>

<p>And one more thing...our neighbors called the police on us recently for what we considered a very minor incident. (The cop...who couldn't believe the police were called...pointed to the house and told us they wanted to be anonymous...lol.) We are NOT happy.</p>

<p>^^ Tone Ranger, I also avoid meet and greets. My dog is too friendly; to the point that he annoys other dogs. I sometimes think that if he was human, he would wear a polyester sport coat and be that sleazy guy at the bar who hits on everyone.</p>