Complete Disregard

I adopted a Basenji/Shepherd Mix about six months ago. She had been starved and beaten in her previus home. In the beginning the training went smoothly, she seemes to be happy to be in a home, and she seems to get along fairly well with other dogs. Recently however, she has been getting into aggressive standoffs and fights with other dogs. She and I were attacked by a dog a few weeks ago who was off of her leash (mine was leashed). After chasing another dog today, she was bitten by a pitbull. She is also very defensive around men. Not all, but some. She does not appear necessarily aggressive, but protective. For instance she will come between me and the male and her hair will stand on end and she'll bark. Im concerned that if I cannot get a handle on this she will hurt someone who doesn't know not to touch her or another dog. Or eually as bad she will be seriously injusred by another dog. I have lots of expereince dog training and I have never had this much trouble containing and controlling a dog's behavior. Any suggestions are helpful as I have run to the end of my training experience.

I have learned a lot from this board and from my brother who is a dog trainer. The first thing you have to do is train her to take the leash and practice walking her on the leash with you taking the lead not her. I have had the same problem with Cali being aggressive and it can be embarrassing. I never take Cali outside without her leash if I am walking her. I also have one of those choke chains to correct her as soon as she acts as if she is going to start barking uncontrollably at another dog. Your dog must learn to trust and respect you. Also, there is a section on this board about leash training and aggressive dog behavior.
Cali has been doing better with her aggressive behavior since I have been taking better control of her when we go for a walk. I try to be calm assertive when I am walking her because dogs react to our body language. If we are nervous or afraid they feed on that and this makes them act more aggressively. We have also been charged by a rottweiler and a german shepherd while we were out walking that were not on leashes. Cali remained calm because I was calm and showed no fear. I also stood my ground, but did not give direct eye contact to the dogs. Eventually the Rottweiler backed off when it saw that I wasnt going to run and I held Cali's leash in a way to keep her from barking and going ballistic and made sure she did not have eye to eye contact with the dogs. We calmly turned around and starting walking the other way. Of course I took a risk of us both being attacked, but I carry mace when I go out for walks now because a lot of people walk with their dogs off leashes. It is best if dogs are barking at one another uncontrollably that they do not have eye to eye contact.
Cali is getting better every day with showing aggression toward people and other dogs because we have been practicing walking with the leash every day. If I see her ears perk up like she is going to start barking I gently jerk her chain toward me and say NO!
tlbuddy

I think the fact that she was starved & beaten, then attacked while with you, then bitten by another dog are ALL contributing to her fearfull-aggressive behavior. IF I were in your situation I'd take things VERY VERY slow with her, limiting her exposure to strange dogs & people until she has a chance to get over the trauma and slowly learn some manners. It may be worth while to enroll in a very small training class (if you haven't already). This way you can socialize her in a very controlled environment, while at the same time reinforcing her manners & establishing you as the leader.

if my dog came between me & a male friend, hackles up and barking, I'd nip that in the bud right away. my dog doesn't determine who I can and cannot talk to or be with. I make those decisions. He would be by my side, in a sit-stay until I was finished. You can stop the barking and aggression, but you need to be the leader. From what you've written it seems as if your dog is taking control of the situation, maybe because she fears you can't.

My opinion: if a dog has learned to associate negative things when dogs approach, she will try to keep dogs from approaching: growling, hackles, lunging, telling other dog "go away." Think then about what we humans usually do when our dogs do this: we tighten leash and scold our dog. Result: proved that bad things happen when dogs approach.
Try this: when dog approaches, give your dog a cookie, praise, petting, whatever. Start with a controlled situation, a friend who's calm with a dog who's calm, so you will be calm, and don't have them come too close. After a little success, have the other dog leave, and praise praise!
(I think that is my response to a lot of situations, create a positive situation, and praise it. Behaviors that are rewarded are likely to be repeated, in my opinon)

I have noticed that Sahara chews at her paws and nails, does your B do this, also she hides her treats that she doesn't want when I give them to her all over the house, behind couch pillows, in her toy box, anywhere she can find, but it has to be the perfect place, or she will go all over the house with the treat in her mouth looking, it is sooooo funny. I found a half eaten roll of Ritz crackers still in the paper behind the living room couch pillow, I didn't even know that she had stole it off the kitchen counter. She surfs all the time, does your B do this, she is into everything, she has broken a few of my things, and I try to teach her not to stand on her hind legs and surf the table, bedroom furniture, end tables, and anything that has stuff on it. Help!:eek:

ditto what Brenda said. You need to get your dog associating good things happen when people/dogs approach. I would suggest the book "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons.

I would BY ALL MEANS avoid jerking or reprimanding this dog when it reacts. It is already worried, don't make it worse. Check out this article:

http://www.flyingdogpress.com/sayhi.html

It could be that your dog isn't confident that you will protect her, and feels she needs to protect herself…but the answer to that isn't accomplished by "putting her in her place"...it will be accomplished by building her trust in a gentle way.

Back to the surfing: Abbey climbs to get what she wants. She pushed a quilt off the char next to the dresser, climbed up and helped herself to a pair of earrings. I had to move the bookshelf which was a little too close to the end of the sofa because she was standing on the arm of the sofa, stretching BIG to get books. She has finally stopped getting into the bathtub. Apparently the lure of such things as soap, shampoo bottles and a RAZOR are enough to overcome the fear that the water might turn on while you're in there and give you a BATH! If you ever think that your house is basenji-proofed, think again. The razor is now attached to the towel rack because I'm afraid if I put it into the vanity drawer she will try to open it. She can open drawers by hooking her paw in the drawer pull. Her current project is trying to open the front door. She stands on her tippytoes and paws at the doorknob.

Jazz doesn't "surf", unless someone leaves food on the coffee table, As long as we are in the room, she leaves it alone or will sniff toward it. But she responds really very well to "Leave it". Just leave the room for one second though, and all bets are off!
We don't have a problem with her getting into other things. There used to be a stuffed rabbit that one of my kids had given me which sat on my bed. Jazzy used to HAVE TO chew that rabbit, so it went into the closet and now things are fine. She's never put her paws up on the dining table or counters.
She used to open the cupboard where I kept the dog treats, so I moved those to a higher place.

Of course, now that I put that in print, she'll be counter-surfing by this afternoon!

@sienna:

I adopted a Basenji/Shepherd Mix about six months ago. She had been starved and beaten in her previus home. In the beginning the training went smoothly, she seemes to be happy to be in a home, and she seems to get along fairly well with other dogs. Recently however, she has been getting into aggressive standoffs and fights with other dogs. She and I were attacked by a dog a few weeks ago who was off of her leash (mine was leashed). After chasing another dog today, she was bitten by a pitbull. She is also very defensive around men. Not all, but some. She does not appear necessarily aggressive, but protective. For instance she will come between me and the male and her hair will stand on end and she'll bark. Im concerned that if I cannot get a handle on this she will hurt someone who doesn't know not to touch her or another dog. Or eually as bad she will be seriously injusred by another dog. I have lots of expereince dog training and I have never had this much trouble containing and controlling a dog's behavior. Any suggestions are helpful as I have run to the end of my training experience.

It is normal for dogs to "honeymoon" (ie act very nice 🙂 ) for anywhere from a few days to several months after you get them. How old is she, btw? As they adjust to their new home, you start seeing "the real dog."

My first concern is that you have had her attacked by a loose dog, then chased another dog? How did she chase it? Truly, you need to limit this dog's access to strange dogs and their's to her. The more of these incidents you encounter, the harder to correct over time.

For now, i would concentrate on the home issues. Men.

Go to a place like a ball field or game where dogs are allowed on leash only. Take tons of treats. Take a friend and enlist them to having men come up to you.
First, let them just TOSS a treat to her, no eye contact, no talk, and go on.

Once she is looking at men approach relaxed or expecting treats, have them actually come up and give her the treat… in flat palm much like feeding a horse. 🙂

Next step, have them talk to her while giving treat.

Finally have them talk to YOU but give her a treat.

What this does is simply rewire her brain response to MEN = need to protect to Men = treats. It may take you a couple of weeks, but its effective and can be done.

Once you have that conquered, then think about the other issues. Dog aggression is not abnormal in this breed. Goes with the territory sometimes. Dogs are not children in fur clothing and they really do NOT have to socialize with other dogs outside the family. If she gets along with your own dogs, I'd simply keep other dogs away from her and her from them. And I would work on my own obedience training especially a 100 percent solid "leave it" or "look at me" as a way to diffuse her obsessing about another dog if she sees one.

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