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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question

Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18955
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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My dog an ex racing greyhound is v aggressive to anyone/ dog

Customer Question

My dog an ex racing greyhound is v aggressive to anyone/ dog around our property. What can I do
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.
.
How old is your dog?
Is it male or female?
What obedience training has he had?
Is he contained in a yard by a fence?
Can you describe what he does?
How is he to people and dogs when not on your property?
Has he ever bitten anyone?
How long have you had him?
What have you tried so far?
Is he neutered or spayed?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My dog is 7, he is neutered. We have had him for 2 years. He is an ex racer and was homed with someone and then returned after a year but we don't know why.
He has had no obedience training with us. He is not usually alone in the garden and I was actually in the garden this morning when he escaped and attacked a dog.
When not on the property he is ok with other dogs but we never let him off the lead as he has a very strong chase instinct being an ex racer.
When we go on holiday he stays with a lady who cares for dogs and is fine with other dogs ( he wears a muzzle if there are small dogs).
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
.
The first thing that should be done is to rule out a medical cause for the sudden aggression. You can read about these here:
http://www.petplace.com/dogs/medical-causes-of-aggression-in-dogs/page1.aspx
. http://www.apdt.com/veterinary/assets/pdf/Dodman_MA10.pdf
If a medical cause is ruled out it is strictly behavioral then. 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, I think it is more territorial aggression or barrier aggression.
The fastest way I've found to stop barrier aggression is to keep the dog off of the barrier. While you can train a dog to stop 5 feet away from a fence or barrier it is very difficult to do and takes a lot of time. It is easier to erect a second fence leaving 4-5 feet of dead space where the dog is not allowed. Most owners use the underground fence system to achieve this purpose or a hot wire fence. The underground fence system uses a collar and if the dog gets within 3-5 feet of the wire, a correction is administered. they have both static shock versions and citronella spray versions of this fence system. The good part is that they do not have to be buried but can be placed at the current fence line since it does start working about 3-5 feet from the wire creating that "dead space" or "no dog zone".
Hot wires are not as appealing but are great for multiple dogs and work much like livestock fences but at a much reduced voltage as they are designed for dogs and relatively safe if a person or child touches it.
the other good thing about using an underground fence is that as long as it is operational, your dog won't escape from the yard.
Now I also suggest obedience training as well. This helps the dog see you as the boss and as the boss you determine if another dog is able to come to the fence, yard or even house. The following site is helpful for training purposes. 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
.
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.
Use a high value treat and not store bought treats. Use paper thin hot dog slices (vienna sausages) or liver slivers. Dogs usually eagerly work for these treats.
.
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 a longer 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 place 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.
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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.
http://www.apdt.co.uk/dog-owners/local-dog-trainers
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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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If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may go here http://www.justanswer.com/pet/expert-jane-lefler/ and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well. Please recommend me to your friends and family members if they have any problems with their dog as well. I would truly appreciate it.
I do need to leave for about an hour but will be back to answer any followup questions you still have.

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