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Old 02-07-2013, 02:50 PM
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Default How would you handle this behavior?

I am using this DW ep for example purposes because I really wouldn't know what to do with a dog who did this or if I ever had a dog who developed this:

Did anyone see the ep of "dexter" the rott/GSD cross who would get frustrated & redirect onto his handler when she was walking him? (I can't find a link to the vid, sorry :/).

I usually don't like his methods, but I was actually kind of impressed with the way CM handled this dog, he did keep him from escalating into handler aggression, but my question is how would YOU do it? (So I can get more ideas in case I encounter a dog like this).
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:04 PM
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For me, how I'd handle it would depend a LOT on the severity of the redirection. Like, is the dog puncturing skin or is it more nomming up the leash and continuing onto the handler without breaking skin or wrecking clothes?

To start with I'd run a barrage of medical tests to rule out any physical reason for the behavior (low thyroid, tumor, etc.).

Then I'd identify triggers. Is it from seeing other dogs? Squirrels? Smelling food? Over excitement in general? Frustration? People?

Then I'd identify the dog's threshold. How far away do the triggers have to be before the dog notices and starts to react. This is as subtle as staring or getting a little tense. How far away do the triggers have to be for it to escalate? How far until the dog's teeth are on me?

Depending on the triggers and the cause (prey drive vs. fearfulness for example) I'd work out a regimen to desensitize the dog to the triggers without putting it over threshold. You have to keep them under threshold while reconditioning, because every time they react to a trigger it reinforces the behavior you're trying to get rid of. Also, their brains have a very hard time learning when they're over threshold.

If it was mostly prey drive, I'd probably practice a lot of self control games so the dog can learn how to deal with frustration.

If that meant only walking the dog at 1 am and in a muzzle at first, that's what 'd do. If the dog needed it, I might consider some kind of relaxant like Rescue Remedy during the initial parts of reconditioning.

As a last resort I'd consider euthanasia, depending on the severity of the bites and the dog's response to training.
ETA: and also depending on the medical stuff. If a dog's behavior is dangerous because it has a brain tumor, the kindest thing is probably to manage it as best you can until it's time and then let the dog go while it still has its dignity and nobody is hurt by it.
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:37 PM
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Basically what Romy said.

I'd handle it the same way I'd handle a dog having any other inappropriate reaction to stimuli, which for almost everything would involve seriously controlling the environment and limiting exposure to stimuli that puts him over the threshold.

I imagine it would involve using a muzzle, or at least some kind of halter collar, possibly protective clothing on the legs or whatever area the dog usually went for as a precaution, although obviously you'd try to limit that reaction as much as possible.

Games like LAT, the watch-me command, Premack principle, and conditioning to different stimuli would be the approach to making the dog more comfortable with a behavior.

I also might try to teach the dog a command to grab and hold a toy out of my hand, or pull a tug toy until we were out of range of the stimuli, but that would depend on the severity, and the dog's ability to calm down with the presence of toy.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:13 PM
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No he went right for his handlers hand/arm almost every time, even if she did nothing other then just to try to steer him away, she mentioned having scratches & bruises.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:04 AM
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I'm confused.

No what? The techniques Romy and I both listed would be used for what you're describing. If you mean there is no trigger other than the walk, the walk IS the trigger...so the dog would be exposed to things like the leash, putting the leash on in the house, walking out the door.

If you mean he's not necessarily biting aggressively, but inappropriately and roughly enough to bruise/scratch her....the same would also apply. It doesn't necessarily need to be aggression to be approached like that, just an inappropriate behavior that a dog resorts to when they are pushed over threshold.
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milos_mommy View Post
I'm confused.

No what? The techniques Romy and I both listed would be used for what you're describing. If you mean there is no trigger other than the walk, the walk IS the trigger...so the dog would be exposed to things like the leash, putting the leash on in the house, walking out the door.

If you mean he's not necessarily biting aggressively, but inappropriately and roughly enough to bruise/scratch her....the same would also apply. It doesn't necessarily need to be aggression to be approached like that, just an inappropriate behavior that a dog resorts to when they are pushed over threshold.
Someone asked if he was just biting the leash or if he was actually making contact , which is why my post started with no lol.
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