Dog on Dog Aggression – How to stop aggressive behavior in dogs
Please help! I have a 3 year old springer/collie bitch. Since having puppies 8 months ago she has become aggressive towards other dogs! It’s getting worse… it started with the occasional growl if another dog came to close to me. Now it’s got to the point that if she sees another dog when she is sat in the car… she trys to attack them through the window… or today a dog went past the farm and she was involved in a dog fight! I gave her a smack… shouted at her and put her inside! but 1/2 an hour later she is back to her normal happy over excited self and had forgotten what she did wrong.
She used to come out riding with me all the time.. following behind, good in traffic and listened to me, but she attracted a dog out riding the other day for no reason!! Why has she turned like this.. around people she is fantastic, with kids she is fantastic and with dogs she knows she is fantastic.. just new dogs.. new cats she is a nightmare!! She has also become very vocal and started chasing my horses… and I don’t know what to do!! xx
Hi and thanks for your question – I would take your dog to the vet to rule out any medical problems that might be associated with this change in behavior – the vet might need to undertake blood tests as there might be a problem with your dog’s thyroid that might be causing this aggressive behavior. I would also consider having your dog spayed (neutered) as this might cure the problem. When a dog is in heat the hormones also go a little crazy – this can also lead to mood swings and aggressive behavior.
Show your dog plenty of attention and don’t shout at her – smacking your dog is not a good idea as all of this behavior will only reinforce that aggressive behavior is acceptable. Your dog needs to look at you as the pack leader, calm and in control. Try walking your dog on a leash and if she starts to growl – divert her attention. Use focus attention obedience training. This involves having a treat in one hand – call our dog’s name as move to the right as soon as you do it. Your dog will follow you – hold the treat at eye level (this means your dog has to look at you rather than the other dog) give her the treat and praise. Practice this and eventually you will get it down to a fine art so as soon as your dog sees another dog you can use this technique. You could also use a friend who has a dog. Take your dog out for a walk and ask your friend to ‘accidentally’ bump into you when out for a walk (try using a friend who has a dog that does not know your dog). Use a retractable leash and allow your dog to approach the other dog – use the techniques we discussed before and if your dog barks or pulls – retract the leash. If your dog is quiet then give her a treat – always reinforce positive behavior. If your dog starts to growl in the car use a water pistol to correct the behavior or a can with some stones in it. This will startle your dog and when she is quiet give her a treat and some praise. You could also introduce your dog to puppy training classes – this will enable your dog to mix with other dogs and you also have the benefit of a dog trainer on hand too.
Hope this helps