• Teresa Stanczak

    September 8, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Firstly I am so sorry to hear about the recent incident.

    I think you will find the following link about different drives to be helpful in determining why Manny is behaving as she does. Aggressive behavior in dogs.
    Based on your previous information of being unsure in situations around other dogs (hackles up) , and having negative experiences as a young puppy, it is possible that she was in fight drive, which contains components of defensive drive and prey drive.

    The best approach is a multi-pronged approach. Continue working on getting solid obedience by working through Phase 2 trainining before moving onto Phase 3 with the Dogtra Remote. While learning obedience, avoid situations which she will react negatively. (ie don’t teach heel around other dogs, but first teach alone with no distractions and then as she is more reliable practice in varying degrees of distraction.) A solid heel command, recall and leave it will be infinitely helpful tools for both of you.

    The other side of the equation is to address her emotional state. Obedience really helps with this as well. Counterconditioning and desensitizing her to the presence of other dogs will make her less reactive and more reliable as well. Desensitizing is done by keeping her at a distance which is far enough so that she is slightly reactive to the dog, but still able to refocus on you and obedience commands. The counterconditioning part is added by giving her a positive association with the presence of other dogs. At this same working distance where she is slightly reactive but able to refocus on you, reward her with high value treats when another dog appears. As she gets more focused on you, reward for progressively more relaxed body postures in the presence of the other dogs and for automatically looking at you whenever she sees one at a distance. As you gain success at each distance and she becomes non reactive then you move your working distance systematically closer.

    The final part of this equation is management. Manny should not be off leash when there is any possibility of another dog showing up. Also teaching her to wear a muzzle will be an essential part of her rehab. A muzzle will significantly decrease the potential for her to cause any damage to another dog in the event that she does make a mistake during training or get out of your control. It will also make you more calm and confident in these situations which will reflect on her own feelings as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbcJdThGG-A

    I hope this helps give you a better understanding of a proper plan. Please keep us posted to your progress.