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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18801
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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how can i stop my dog trying to attack other dogs when on a

Resolved Question:

how can i stop my dog trying to attack other dogs when on a walk. she is a siberian husky and is always on a lead
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I feel this is better than just giving a generic answer to this type of problem. I hope you can be patient.

How old is your girl?
What is her name?
Is she spayed?
If not, is she in heat?
How long has she done this?
Exactly what does she do when you encounter another dog?
Has she had any obedience training?
Do you remember what position her tail is in?
Is she allowed on furniture?
Are you anxious or worried when you see other dogs approaching or pull up on the leash?
What obedience training has she had?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Bella is a twenty month old spayed bitch. she is very much a member of our family and so unfortunately ever since she was a pup she has been allowed on the furniture. about a year ago she was" rushed" by an aggressive dog much bigger than her. when she encounters another dog ,first she lays down and then as it approaches she snarls, jumps at it on her lead and bares her teeth. she has done this behavior ever since.she has had no formal behavior training but we have trained her to sit, stay, leave her food untill told to get it and she can howl on command. she is a very friendly and spirited dog. finally i suppose i am slightly anxious when dogs approach

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. Don't worry. I believe that you can correct this behavior.

I'm going to suggest that you have her spayed if she isn't already and not going to be used for breeding. That can help with aggression.

I would get her off the furniture as well. Dogs that are allowed on furniture tend to feel that since they are elevated to your level, they mentally feel elevated as well in the pack order and thus are the boss. Keeping them on the floor can help lower them mentally back to a submissive position in the pack. So the first thing is to not allow her higher than the humans or even on the same level.Attach a leash and use it to remove her from the furniture. Give a correction in the form of a quick tug and firm "NO" when she attempts to get on and a treat when she starts not trying to get on the furniture. Thus you are providing negative reinforcement for the getting on the furniture and positive reinforcement for the desired behavior (not attempting to get on the furniture). I think this won't be difficult to accomplish.

There can be medical reasons for this behavior, so read about those below and if you feel there might be something contributing to the issue, have your vet check her over. You can read about these here:

Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links, so to view the supporting websites, you will need to copy and paste the link into a new browser window or tab.

Dogs are aggressive toward other dogs for a variety of reasons. It might be that they are fearful of other dogs and thus are aggressive before the other dog can be. In other cases, a dog is aggressive in order to dominate the other dogs and be the alpha member of the pack. Other causes could be that the dog feels they are the alpha member of the pack and as the alpha member they must protect the pack (you) from threats (other dogs). Since her being attacked started this, it is likely to a combination of fear based and dominance. In her mind, you were the boss and failed to protect the pack (her) so she now has to protect herself and possibly you if she feels she needs to be the boss. It is the leader's role to protect the others in the family.

Owners sometimes make the situation even worse by tensing up and worrying about what will happen which it does seem like this might be an issue in this case. Your dog senses your worry and feels that she is justified in her aggressive stance because you are obviously worried about the other dog. She don't know you are worried about her attacking, She just feel that you are worried and assume it is the other dog. so you need to relax and try not to worry when walking her.

I would start up formal obedience training. You do not necessarily need to be around other dogs, but it will be helpful once she listens to commands consistently the first time and every time. The following site is helpful to teach you how to best teach your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.
Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.
Obedience training serves various purposes. It helps a dog learn what humans expect of them when they state a command which leads to self confidence and less fear. Each time a dog obeys a command, even if it is for a treat, it makes them a little more submissive to that human in the future which helps with dominance aggression. And since it is the leader or boss who is responsible for protecting the pack, if the dog is made submissive with training, you are responsible for protecting him, so that can reduce aggression due to fear and dominance.

You will also want to keep a leash on her at all times initially to grab if she should disobey. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how well your dog does with training. Dogs like knowing what is expected of them and they love the little paper thin slices of hotdogs that I use for treats while training. Give this a try and see how it works for you.
Carry pepper spray and an umbrella with a hooked end. These can be used to protect yourself and your dog from other dogs. The pepper spray can disable them if necessary and the umbrella can be opened to create a temporary barrier and the hooked end can be used to pull an animal off of another. If your dog feels you can protect her, she will be less aggressive toward other dogs as long as you are relaxed around them.

It will be helpful if you can find someone with a dog to help you once you have your dog listening to commands consistently. What you will do is have your dog on the leash. You will have your helper off in the distance. Your helper will gradually move their dog a bit closer to you preferably walking past your position in the distance. As long as your dog ignores them, you can give your dog praise and a treat. The second you see her fixate on the other dog or show any other sign of aggression (hair standing up, etc.) give your dog a correction by giving a short tug and a firm low toned "NO". It shouldn't take your dog long to realize you will not tolerate the aggression and that if she ignores the other dog, she gets treats. Once this happens you can repeat the training moving the other dog closer until she is no longer trying to lunge at other dogs. You will need to practice this when you and your dog are walking as well.

In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques I describe, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation or you may be able to find one using the following site.

Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18801
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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