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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19661
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have a 3 year old cockerpoo who at the age of 5 months was

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I have a 3 year old cockerpoo who at the age of 5 months was bitten on the end of his nose, since then he has become more and more aggressive if any dog comes near to his face.
He has been well socialised and is happy being on his own, and has been left with other people whilst we have been on holiday.
I have noticed that he is the same now off the lead.
He is an only animal in the household, and is happy with all humans in the home and out.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jacustomer,
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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.
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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 hope you can be patient.
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So the problem is only with dogs who come near his face?
Is he ok with them sniffing his rear?
Is it any dog that comes up to him or only some of the dogs?
Are the dogs he is uncomfortable with male or female?
Have you ever noticed the tail position of the dogs approaching him?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It has been just to his face, but now he seem to not like the dog sniffing his rear, it's either sex of dog. He does not do it to dogs he has known all his life. Tail position in other dogs tend to be friendly, not submissive.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
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Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. 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). In this case, fear is the likely cause given he had his nose bit at a young age.
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I also need to mention that owners sometimes make the situation even worse by tensing up and worrying about what will happen. The dog senses the owner worry and feels that he is justified in his aggressive stance because you are obviously worried about the dog. They don't know you are worried about them attacking, they just feel that you are worried and assume it is the other dog. So try to relax as much as possible.
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Many dominant dogs are described as well behaved until you try to get them to do something they do not want to do, and then they reprimand you either with a growl or bite if you don't heed the growl. Things like taking away something they want, making them move when they don't want to, waking them up, etc can cause them to reprimand (bite) you. You will know if this is happening and thus know if dominance is also an issue.
Dogs that are allowed on furniture (even if put on the furniture) tend to feel that since they are elevated to your level or higher if on your lap, 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 him higher that the humans or even on the same level. Attach a leash and use it to remove him from the furniture. Give a correction in the form of a quick tug and firm "NO" when he attempts to get on and a treat when he 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). If dominance is not the issue, then you don't necessarily need to do this part.
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You will need to have him obedience trained. If you can, I would do group classes (with the muzzle if necessary) and let the trainer know of the problem your dog has. It might take you a few months of basic training before he is ready for group class. . Before you can get into classes,do training at home. The following site is helpful. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.
http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html
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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.
http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm
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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 him at all times initially to grab if he 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.
Every time he does not react badly to another dog whether it is one he already knows or not, reward the behavior with a high value treat like a liver sliver or hot dog slice. Keep them paper thin so he isn't getting too much in a day.
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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 him 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 he ignores the other dog, he gets treats. Once this happens you can repeat the training moving the other dog closer until he is no longer trying to lunge at other dogs. You will need to practice this when you and your dog are walking as well.
You need to do your part as well. Don't allow other dogs to approach your dog. When someone approaches with a dog, let them know your dog is in training and you would appreciate them not allowing their dog to interact with yours and walk past. Take your dog to places where dogs are always on leash and show your dog that you can be the one to keep the dogs from coming up on him aggressively.
Learn dog body language so you can interpret the intention of other dogs as they approach. That will help you only allow the most submissive friendly dogs to interact with yours.
http://www.apdt.com/petowners/park/body-language/
http://www.pawsacrossamerica.com/interpret.html
http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/canine-body-language
Additionally, if you notice his tail is held high, brush it down to a horizontal of lowered position. This simple thing often will help adjust your dog's attitude toward the other dog and bring him to a more stable mental state. It does seem to help in a lot of cases.
The bat method may also work. Read about it here:
http://functionalrewards.com/BAT-basics.pdf
http://www.petexpertise.com/behavior-adjustment-training-dog.html
In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques I've suggested, 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.
http://www.apdt.com
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I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
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