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Bit of reassurance needed...

 
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Dexterdal



Joined: 13 Jan 2015
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:58 pm    Post subject: Bit of reassurance needed... Reply with quote

Hi, I'm looking for some experienced voices regards my 8m Dal pup Dexter. We've had a couple of 'incidents' with him the last month. One where he's gone off the deep end and ended up in a scuffle with another dog, one where he has growled at a dog and another where he's attempted to get at another dog to presumably have another scuffle. I'm reluctant to call it aggression as in the scuffle he caused no damage even though it looked and sounded scary. He grabbed the other dogs muzzle, I examined it closely afterwards and there wasn't a scratch.
This incident was at a dog park he's been going to since he was tiny and the beagle in question was chasing down all the other dogs barking and growling. Dexter gave him a couple of warning snarks but it ignored them which is when he blew up.
The growling took place outside our back gate where he must have thought this dog didn't belong.
Third time was again involving a group of his regular pals and a newcomer.
So all three seem to have a protective/guarding cause.
I don't subscribe to the dominance theories really but I do ask dexter for a sit/paw/down etc before he gets anything he wants so he appreciates the benefit of towing the line...
I know he could have done damage if he'd wanted to as he makes short work of bones and weighs in at 32kg already.
Basically I'm hoping someone with experience of teenage boy dals can tell me whether this is normal behaviour or if I should be concerned? All three times I've taken him straight home. We've since been rewarding the hell out of nice meetings and I have him on a 15m training line as a precaution. Also I'm avoiding large groups of dogs and any other situation that Mike make him feel the need to step up.
As a side note he has started to take an interest in people particularly men on their own who pass near the house or are following us on a walk, I don't think he's getting a bad feeling from me as I'm pretty confident and don't get creeped out easily. He will stand to attention outside the gate and refuses to budge until passers by have gone by the gate. Once they've walked by he trots in. He's happy to meet people out and about it's just around the house.

Is it down to his hormones maybe? I was hoping as he matures he'll at least be able to react slightly less dramatically!
Anyway any advice would be much appreciated!
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Spotalot



Joined: 12 Sep 2010
Posts: 3185
Location: Essex

PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you are right and its a mixture of guarding instincts and hormones.
If you are intending getting him castrated please don't do so untill he is at least 18 month-old, later if possible.
This allows time for his tubes to be fully mature in case he ever had bladder stones.
You sound as though you are doing all the correct things to be honest, but I would enroll in some obedience classes where he will have to learn manners and to work amongst other dogs.
If you can afford it, a behaviourist that will visit you in your home and assess the stuation first hand and at length would be very beneficial.
Your vet should be able to reccomend someone reputable.
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Dexterdal



Joined: 13 Jan 2015
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, thanks for the reply 😊 we do go to classes where he usually likes to embarrass me by being the class clown! The trainer is also a behaviourist but it's really hard to get him to see it in action as its so infrequent. Actually it happened again today- we were walking with a group of 5 collies and a chihuahua who we have walked with 4 times without any trouble. Today they had a newly nuetered male which Dexter took an interest in. All was well til we met a terrier and Dexter went up to sniff it but within 3 seconds he was growling at it and pinned it with a neck bite. No damage done again and luckily the owner wasn't alarmed but I'm so disappointed! We've worked so hard on socialising him. He has been growled at by lots of dogs in his first few months being such a big boisterous puppy I wonder if he's remembering that too?
What's so confusing is he might meet 5 new dogs a week and plays with probably 5 or so familiar dogs and be totally fine then this kind of thing happens. I'm going to avoid walking him with more than one other dog as he can't seem to handle a 'pack' situation although with my friends 3 intact adults he's fine or at least has been so far.
I'm so worried he's going to get the reputation as the nasty dog to be avoided 😪
I am hoping to wait to neuter him until 18m at least and I honestly don't think it would help to do it earlier as he can be quite fearful of large or confident dogs.
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Dexterdal



Joined: 13 Jan 2015
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was hoping someone might have had a similar situation and could tell me all will be fine as their's has now grown into a lovely well mannered gent 😆
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Spotalot



Joined: 12 Sep 2010
Posts: 3185
Location: Essex

PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that is exactly what will happen. 8-18 months is the worst time with the males. Just be firm. Don't avoid situations but if he does kick of then firmly but kindly let him know that it us not acceptable. If you are quick enough call him back with a treat and get him back on lead or if needs be keep him on the long line. Freedom is a priveledge he must earn. What you don't want is for it to become a habit. I would still walk with dogs he is fine with as the pack will give him confidence but keep him on a long line and be aware of approaching dogs... If you can get him to focus on a special toy... Maybe a squeaky that only comes out for these occasions.. Basically anything that will break the attention...even carry a can of pet corrector which is just compressed air and makes a noise or try some clicker training. He will be fine as long as you work at it.. If he has a go at a dog and he's on lead you can te him to lie down.. If he's down he's lower than the other dog and will behave.
The worst thing you can do is become tense as he will pick it up from you and step up to protect you. If necessary just street walk for a while and every time you see a dog put him In a sit or a down and feed him treats.... Ie other dogs are good....
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Dexterdal



Joined: 13 Jan 2015
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you- I will try the spray I think as he takes no notice of my voice once he's is so revved up. I've also ordered a herbal pet calming mixture which I hope will help him cope better. I can see the stress in his face sometimes when we're out and he is just so sensitive about everything we call him out diva!
He's lovely in every other way, super cuddly, good with my children (but clumsy bug means well) and walks well on the lead unless there's anoyher likeminded dog he wants to get to. He only chews what he's supposed to and only mildly harasses the cat so in the scheme of things he's quite an easy boy to have around.
He loves clicker work so I'll try that out on walks. Hadn't thought of that but he'll drop into a down as soon as I get it out at home.
Also just read about Ian Dunbars fight to bite ratio and took some comfort from that.
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