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Is my dog aggressive? Is there anything I can do?

asked 2018-05-28 20:45:34 -0500

i have a 4 yr old mixed breed about 40lbs. Ive had her since she was a puppy. She is shy and a little anxious with dogs and new people but she has always been very friendly once she gets to sniff them. She is very well behaved to the point where she doesnt really need a leash (tho i use it when i take her out to be safe) Recently however my bf and i have moved in with his parents to save money for a house. My boyfriend has a very dopey 2 yr old borador that is easily my dog's best friend. the borador is male my dog is female. But my boyfriends parents have two cockapoos about 7 yrs old and siblings. These two dogs are very friendly with people but extremely territorial and can be very aggressive towards other dogs even each other. Knowing this we took a lot of precautions in making sure the dogs stay separted from each other. However on occasion there has been incidents where someone would let the upstairs dogs out not realizing the others were already outside. knowing my dogs personality she doesnt usually bother with other dogs at all and she is a little skittish so i figured she wouldnt bother with the cockapoos and if one of them showed signs of aggression she would retreat to me. The first time they got into it the male cockapoo came charging both our dogs and my dog bolted to me then the cockapoo started attacking the borador who didnt fight back but was crying so i put my dog inside and went to get the other one but it mustve been cracked bc my dog then ran out of the house and went right for the male cockapoo attacking her friend. I assumed in this case she was just protecting my boyfriends dog. But now anytime the male cockapoo and my dog are are around one another they go right for each other even if there is a gate between them. as soon as she hears him she stops what she's doing and goes to fight him. Does this mean she's aggressive? is there a way i can keep her from going in for a fight? she's never acted like this around anyone but this dog but it makes me nervous about taking her places. I never would have thought she'd have it in her. she's been around plenty of other dogs, people, children, ferrets, rabbits, lizards, guinea pigs, hamsters, cats. She had zero prey drive and never shown any signs of aggression. But with this male cockapoo she really goes for him. Does this mean she needs to be considered an aggressive dog should i be worried bringing her around other dogs and kids from now on?

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Smack him in the nose

Matthew C.'s profile imageMatthew C. ( 2018-06-06 20:32:43 -0500 )edit

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answered 2018-07-02 01:29:01 -0500

It's always difficult to tell without seeing the situation in person, but it sounds like a territorial issue on the other dogs' part to me, more than anything else. Thing is, once that first incident happens it can light all dogs involved afire. It sounds like this should be a temporary situation? I agree with others' comments that a behaviorist/trainer would be a good option, but ultimately prevention in the meantime is key. It might be annoying as heck, but if you have to consult with everyone in the house before opening your door, then do it. If you don't own the house then it's your responsibility before anyone else's, but you can most certainly ask everyone else to at least do the same before opening the door to your area. Otherwise --do you guys have a foreseeable timeframe on how long you'll be living there? And in the meantime, be certain to keep your dogs socialized outside of the home, so they don't begin to transfer these behaviors elsewhere.

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answered 2018-05-31 02:16:50 -0500

The good news is, fear aggression is actually easier to fix than true dog aggression. I could give a variety of tips to you that have worked for me with shelter animals and animals I train, but your best bet is to get with a Behaviorist or Trainer to assess your dog and make a program to build up their confidence.

Until then I would play it safe and take precautions with her around strange new dogs or in anxiety inducing environments. Dogs can also sense their owners' anxiety and feed of off that. You may want to consider a muzzle for your peace of mind and the dog's safety in situations where she needs to meet another dog and you are worried about how she will react. Also as a rule I wouldn't let screeching children run up to her or pet her a lot unless you are confident you can read her body signals and take her out of the situation when it becomes stressful for her.

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Is it fear aggression though? The first time she encountered him i put her inside knowing he might not like her but when he attacked our bigger dog she ran out of the house and right for the aggressive dog and ever since then both dogs go right for eachother if they know the other one is around.

Felicia S.'s profile imageFelicia S. ( 2018-05-31 08:48:58 -0500 )edit

Its just my opinion, but I do not think this is fear aggression. She originally went to you. Again, just my opinion, the male cockapoo needs to see a trainer. I would suggest discussing this with a trainer for your dog to correct the behavior. I would not stop socializing your dog.

Kelle C.'s profile imageKelle C. ( 2018-05-31 16:37:04 -0500 )edit

Your dog still needs to deal with different situations she will encounter when you leave the house your in now. I would suggest socializing your dog with new kids/dogs when the cockapoos are around.

Kelle C.'s profile imageKelle C. ( 2018-05-31 16:38:13 -0500 )edit

the cockapoos definitely need training. But my boyfriends parent dont really see it as a problem. The cockapoos are 7 so his parents are just eh thats just the way they are. I was thinking maybe for my dog some more recall training could help.

Felicia S.'s profile imageFelicia S. ( 2018-06-03 08:49:58 -0500 )edit

She usually is pretty good staying by me and coming when called even with distractions but recently if the male cockapoo is around she doesnt listen at all or at least not until we break up the fight and then she's back to normal. She has absolutely no problem with the female cockapoo though.

Felicia S.'s profile imageFelicia S. ( 2018-06-03 08:53:50 -0500 )edit

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