Dog Training World Forums Aggression Problems Fear Aggression Attacks small dogs and snapped at my daughter Reply To: Attacks small dogs and snapped at my daughter

  • Scott Blenkiron Blenkiron

    November 3, 2016 at 6:12 am

    Thank you so much for your post Sharon. It is very helpful and great to have thoughts clearly laid out.

    In reading your thoughts on the incident with Odessa and reading through the site moreover, I now feel it was a sign of dominant/social aggression – an assertive warning. Kaia shows good bite inhibition. When I play tug with her and she latches onto my hand it is very soft and she immediately re-positions her bit. I don’t feel she had any intention of biting Odessa. My thoughts is that perhaps Kaia did signal she’d had enough stroking and Odessa failed to notice/comply.

    I must say I feel irresponsible for not stopping her stroking her on her bed. The children have never been able to disturb Kaia in her crate which is inside but we have not been as consistent with her outside bed! On this day and with having friends over, I feel I let my responsibilities slide. We do tell the children not to disturb her while resting anywhere and we are taking this as a reminder to be consistent and not think that it’s ok this “one time” just because I was busy with friends!

    In terms of leadership Odessa can certainly be actively submissive toward Kaia by wanting to pet her when she feels the need. I understand this would of course put her down the pack order. That said we have always aimed never to allow Kaia to be “entitled” to affection by any family member.

    I had a little chat with Odessa after it happened with regard to how she would feel if someone just came up to her and started hugging her without asking. She knew straight away she would not like it! I explained it was the same thing with dogs and that you can ask Kaia by saying her name and showing open hands. If she approaches you can pet her. If not, it’s best to leave her alone.

    Kaia was taken to her crate immediately after the incident. I wasn’t totally sure this was correct so thank you for mentioning that.

    On the small fluffy dogs issue, I would really like to understand the reason for it. I now find myself relating it to prey drive, fear aggression, social aggression and protection instincts. Ultimately I want to do what’s best for Kaia and having her attack smaller dogs is obviously not pleasant for anyone. As mentioned before, I feel her ”bite inhibition” is great as she has been open mouthed for every incident.

    My vet told me that this action was caused by anxiety and that it would be causing her stress. She also said to keep her away from environments where she could see a SWFD. I mostly take her to the park at night where I can really throw the Frisbee to give her a good run but am always looking over my shoulder. I do have her on a light line!

    I am now feeling from your comments that it is OK to have her out, of course on leash, where she might see SWFD. Would this be accurate? I’m not really fond of muzzling her in public, happy to use as a training tool though. I assume this would be very stressful to the SWFD’s even without the chance of a bite– is this fair to say?

    Furthermore, I just remembered, I was at a dog park some months ago and there was a staffy X, which was smaller than Kaia. The dog showed clear dominance and Kaia submitted immediately lying on her back. They then played beautifully together.

    A little later a greyhound, retired from racing, walked in. Kaia ran straight to it and began barking like crazy. I wish I could remember all her body language. The Greyhound stood its ground… I managed to call her back to me… The Greyhound went about its business and kept at a distance for a while. As it came closer Kaia ran straight to it and again showed heightened aggression. Neither Kaia or the Greyhound were backing down. I swiftly walked over to her, put her on leash and left.

    Could someone shed some light on this? I guess she perceived the Greyhound as a threat but I am perplexed by when a medium dog (smaller than her) shows dominance aggression she submits and yelps but with this Greyhound, which was much bigger than her, she was not going to back down. I feel there would have been a very bad fight had I not left with her.

    Could it be that the Greyhound was not showing any signs of dominance and Kaia wanted to be the dominant one – but why run to her without no apparent conflict? Has it to do with fear or respect or something else? I understand Hackles up is to feel threatened but does this necessarily mean fearful?

    Sharon, I’m certainly looking forward in working toward phase 3 training and I want to do the best for Kaia along the way.

    There is certainly a lot to remember with so much valuable information on this site so having this group is great to gain in clarity.

    Thanks again.