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Old 07-21-2015, 11:53 AM
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lancerandrara lancerandrara is offline
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Lightbulb Signal's aggression in apartment: training WOO.

Attempting to make a light-hearted thread title, but Signal actually scared me yesterday. So making a separate thread for her to keep track of her training, and anything anyone would like to comment as time goes on.

Siggy's proven to have very extreme aggression towards anyone inside the apartment, but the behavior disappears when outside the apartment and even better when further away- which leads me to believe that it's very strong protective aggression. The further away we are from MY apartment room, such as in the parking lot or on the sidewalk, the better she becomes. Reactivity comes along with it obviously, which is also a problem living in apartments with shared hallways, but the main issue is in her total willingness to bite other people... which I discovered yesterday and was extremely stressed with what happened and I ranted in the dog musing thread. I also learned that she is a lot stronger than me when in that state- which becomes immediately aroused from 0 to 200 lunging, snapping, snarling if she sees someone in the hallway.

I'm getting a muzzle for her today and going to contact a very experienced trainer with behavior mod. I think I have really good luck in obtaining dogs with extreme behavioral issues in aggression, whatever the reason for the aggression.

And any experience or input or anything anyone wants to throw in in this thread from now on would be totally great!
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:02 PM
stardogs stardogs is offline
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Word of wisdom on the muzzle: get a Baskerville or similar *basket* style. The tube muzzles suck for treating and dogs can't pant or drink either. Petco should carry them, they are also available on Amazon with prime.

Muzzle condition as much as you can before slapping it on, though I know you are limited a bit given the urgency. Here's a good video on the topic: http://ahimsadogtraining.com/blog/20...zzle-training/ It's long, but it gives everything in clear steps.
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Old 07-21-2015, 01:11 PM
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lancerandrara lancerandrara is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stardogs View Post
Word of wisdom on the muzzle: get a Baskerville or similar *basket* style. The tube muzzles suck for treating and dogs can't pant or drink either. Petco should carry them, they are also available on Amazon with prime.

Muzzle condition as much as you can before slapping it on, though I know you are limited a bit given the urgency. Here's a good video on the topic: http://ahimsadogtraining.com/blog/20...zzle-training/ It's long, but it gives everything in clear steps.
Yup, I'm looking at basket style muzzles. Baskerville seems to be the best kind. Back when Lancer's fear-aggression was also very extreme, I did a lot of looking into muzzles as well. But I ended up nabbing a method for him before I even got the muzzle that miraculously conditioned him in the long-run.
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Old 07-21-2015, 01:53 PM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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Personally, it sounds fear driven / reactive to me. I'd hesitate to call any dog 'protective aggression', especially if you've had them so short of a time period. How long has it been? Has she had a change of food, too? How much exercise is she getting? It could be that she's getting some of her bottled up energy out so she seems better the further you get away from your apartment. It makes sense because it does take a fair bit of energy to be so "explosive".
Remember, she just been removed from everythingshe's used to and placed into a totally different environment with different people. Apartment living is an adjustment, even for people or dogs with a pretty stable temerament. She needs time to adjust but also doesn't need to learn that this behavior "works" for her. Google the two week shutdown protocol.

ETA I googled for you
http://www.bigdogsbighearts.com/2_we...tdown0001.pdfm Lol

I, of course, agree on the muzzle and the trainer hopefully they can help with some desensitization training. I would also consider something like a no-pull harness, head collar, or even a (gasp) prong if you have serious concerns not being able to control Signal or keep a hold of her with her / being stronger than you when she's like this. Maybe a thundershirt would be worth trying. Just throwing out some ideas there
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Old 07-21-2015, 03:20 PM
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Until she makes some progress with training, I'd also suggest something to "take the edge off" of her anxiety-wise, whether it's a thundershirt, rescue remedy or another OTC calming agent, or a temporary sedative. In an apartment setting where you have to walk past other people to get her outside, you don't want her backsliding whenever you see a neighbor close by your front door, especially if you have some not very dog savvy ones who might be loud or provoke her. You trying to stay relaxed during walks is important, too. I've recently been looking into aromatherapy and essential oils, so rubbing some lavender oil (make sure it's skin safe ) on her back paw pads before walks could help.

If you can, try to figure out your neighbor's schedules and take her out when it's quietest. For my worst walkers I got up at like 4:30am to take them out, waited til midnight for our last potty break, and tried to hit in-between people's lunch hour and getting home (11am and 3pm seemed pretty quiet). Obviously this isn't doable for everyone but see what you can do.

I'd also suggest giving her some puzzle toy or playing tug inside for a bit before you walk her, just to help get the excess energy out. Does she do better coming back home than going out?

ETA; if you haven't read click to calm, I would highly recommend it.
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Old 07-21-2015, 04:46 PM
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lancerandrara lancerandrara is offline
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I don't believe that letting out energy is causing her to be calm with strangers outside- the difference in behavior is very vast, and I highly doubt that some brief explosive behavior inside the apartment would tire her out. I would normally be hesitant to deem anything "protective aggression" as well, because I'm completely aware that pure protective aggression is not very common, even in protection breeds themselves. But based on what I've been experiencing with her and can see, I believe it is.

And I'm reading the two week shut down right now! Thanks for the link, and it looks like a lot of good info.

Thundershirt could be worth trying? But I can see that a prong or choke chain would do nothing for her. She is very resilient and has high pain tolerance as well when over threshold. And when she is over threshold, I can see that it will override any thought process to not choke herself/hurt herself.

I remember being suggested some calming sedative with Lancer's fear-aggression as well, and I think it would be very much worth trying for Signal's case. Signal's aggression is as bad or worse than Lancer was at his peak.

Hahah, I've actually been already trying to poke my head out the door and around corners before going. It's tough, because my apartment is actually built like a Hilton hotel- it's just one indoor hallway going all around the complex, connecting all of the rooms. Looks pretty much like a hotel than an apartment.

She does have infinite energy though- it's really not possible to tire her out when indoors with a few puzzles, unless I literally train her for HOURS between half hours of doing backflips with the flirt pole... and that level of infinite energy is exactly what I've been looking for- just not the aggression that came with Signal.

I've been suggested Click to Calm before too- and actually almost everything that people have been suggesting- when I was going through similar issues with Lancer. I feel like I'm in a time loop. I'm aware of the general concepts in the book, and have worked with Lancer successfully with it.
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Old 07-21-2015, 05:36 PM
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This is totally just a management suggestion and not a training suggestion, but perhaps a head halter may be a good idea? Could allow you to control her head and keep her snug to your leg when you walk out/prevent her from lunging forward.

I'd also work on eye contact on command and Look At That exercises, maybe?

Abrams isn't as bad is Signal, it doesn't sound like, but he gets very loud and offensive towards people he views on or near his turf. And while I've never been concerned about him biting anyone (although I've also never had anyone antagonize him), the biggest thing for him is breaking his "arousal" - by asking him to focus on me, gently touching him (I'll actually gently grab and wiggle his tail, as it arches up over his back when he's "on alert", and that works for him LOL), breaking his line of sight, etc. The BEST thing for him is to have him be in "working" mode. When he is actively focused on a task, he could care less about what is going on around him. The problem is capturing that mindset when I need it. haha
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Old 07-22-2015, 12:09 AM
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I HIGHLY recommend a head collar for bitey herdy dogs. Definitely use some sort of backup as well, even a double-ended leash with a harness and head collar so you have both head and body handles. Nothing will give you as much control as having a leash on her mouth.
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