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My shiba has turned aggressive with young puppies!
  • Koji is 1 year and 7 months old. As a young puppy he was very skittish outside the home. We picked him up from the breeder's at 9 weeks. At the beginning it was like having a wild animal. He would not be walked: he would dash in any direction but the one we were going down. On the first day of puppy school he was so rambunctious that the trainer had to restraint him by demonstrating an alpha roll. And the first time my husband tried to correct him at home. scolding him "bad dog," he, all of 5 1/2 pounds, lunged at him. I had to promise my husband it was all going to get better. He did and we cannot imagine life without him. I worked with him at puppy kindergarten and took him to doggy park nearly every day. He was all friendliness and joy with every dog there. Then at 9th month, he was playing with a larger dog - and got his leg broken when the dog ran into him at a high speed. A plate and 6 pins were put in. 2 months later they were removed. At about his 13th month, we returned to the dog run. I noticed he had changed, he was not as welcoming to all the dogs as before and would get territorial and aggressive when he stole some other dog's ball or stick. I would correct him and put him in time out before letting him back out to play. His behavior seemed to improve after the corrections, but as the months passed he responded less and his behavior worsen. He started to attack young puppies and young dogs. The interesting thing is when they got a little older, he would refrain from this. The last few times at the park ended with me apologizing to owners and leaving. At home and on the leash in the streets, he is the nicest of dogs. He is submissive with both me and my husband. He behaves himself with all kinds of people and dogs, and constantly gets compliments. We are thinking of working with a trainer, but I would appreciate your feedback on this. Thanks!

    [mod edit: changed category]
    Post edited by sunyata at 2017-08-17 11:57:59
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 720
    Yes, definitely get professional help from a certified behaviorist---don't ever go to that other trainer again. Alpha rolls are dangerous to perform as they are basically threatening to kill the dog if you read up on it. Any social structure in the canine world is based on parental authority. the true alpha is the calm one, the one in control. The roll that the trainer is trying to mimic is actually voluntarily performed by the submitting dog--NOT forced. The authoritative canine would merely stand over the submitting dog nonchalantly, maybe sniff the genital area or allow the submissive dog to sniff them. No trainer worth their salt would do or even recommend this maneuver in an attempt to correct the dog as all it does is create issues, not solve them.

    Also, welcome to teenage hood. I've heard that this is around the peak where they are just about to transition into their adult mind frame. My pup is a couple of months younger than yours, but we had issues with him early XD Not like yours, but still.

    Verbally correcting the dog with "bad dog" isn't really useful to the dog--it just makes the human feel better. He has no idea what bad is---he is a dog. He knows what gets him what he wants and what keeps him from what he wants.

    If the incident happened at the dog park, then he has a negative associate with the area. I am actually surprised that, based on your summary, he hasn't shown any fearfulness or aggression towards larger dogs or any dogs that look like the one who hurt him.

    What do you mean by "correct" him? And what do you mean by "attack"? What was his and the other dog's body posture? How do other dogs at the park react to him?

    But yeah, this is definitely something you want to see a professional about---and not one who advocates debunked theories and dangerous practicies like the alpha roll. There are probably some owners on the forum that can direct you to better resources in your area.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 720
    Oh, some books you might want to check out:

    Getting a grip on Aggressive Cases (Nicole Wilde)
    This will give you a better idea of what to look for in a trainer/behaviorist.

    Aggression in dogs (Brenda Aloff)
    Detailed guide about what aggression is, how to notice it, and how to deal with it. It is also good for prevention.

    Any books by Patricia McConnell, Jean Anderson, Victoria Schade, Ian Dunbar, the two above, and Karen Pryor.

    Read up on Clicker training and positive reinforcement training as well. The more info you have on up to date training and dog behavior, the better. With the right tools, right help, and good knowledge, you can get the dog park thing and puppy/younger dog thing under control.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3491
    Shibas outgrow dog parks if there is not enough space.

    Also, dog parks aren't usually a good idea for shibas since a majority of the owners don't control their dogs. Reading about your dogs history, I would not bring him back to a dog park.
  • Thanks everybody for your input. Anjvil, Koji hardly reacted to the alpha roll. He just bounced right up and went back to what he was doing, so I think there was no trauma on this account. At the dog park I corrected him by pulling him back and putting him in time out. After 3 misdemeanors, I would lead him out of the dog park. He's a real snob when it comes to the size of the dogs. He won't give dogs smaller than him the time of day. Whereas, he will prance up to bigger ones, including pitbulls, and lick the spit off their mouths, as long as they are not too bouncy, which seems to intimidate him. Maybe that's the memory of the accident. BTW the accident happened in a different dog run. What I mean by attack is he will pulled his ears and upper lip back and lunge hissing and spitting. Often times, the puppies or dogs are minding their own business or just playing with their owners or another dog. Just one time he broke skin on another dog. Nothing serious, but I felt really bad and have not gone back because it would be unfair to the other dogs. The dog park is, in my opinion, a goldilock size: not too big or too small. On occasion it could fill up, but most of the time it's just 4 to 7 dogs. I think his acting out has to do with territoriality. Last October, when we lodged him with a dog trainer, he did something similar to her smaller dogs. She corrected him and he stopped. Then in December friends with a dog took Koji in while we went to my family for Christmas. He did it again and they had to feed the dogs in separate rooms. At home, we practice taking his food away and returning it to him. He's also learned not to eat until I give the okay. Yesterday we took him to Sophia, a dog behaviorist/trainer, for an overnight visit. She has 6 dogs of her own and there were 3 paying "guests." He was a little nervous but showed respect to all the dogs he encountered. Later on, we were told he went after Yoshi, a sweet little 17-year-old, not once but twice. He stopped each time after Yoshi lay on his back and let out a yelp - a demonstration of dominance on Koji's part, I would say. Sophia has 3 grand griffons which he would not dare do this to simply because they are so much bigger and more powerful than him. I really hope this is an adolescent phase (though he has been neutered for over a year now) he will outgrow.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 720
    Doesn't sound territorial. Probably dog-dog aggression. It's up to you if you want to correct it or just keep him away from the dogs he has issues with. Fixing it will require some behavior modification program along with some willing friends. as I said, a pro is really your best bet. Someone who is certified in dog behavior and modification. Regardless of how he reacted to the alpha roll, it is a bad technique--both outdated and can have later repercussions. Almost all books I have read thus far, as well as most websites and a few trainers I have talked to, say don't do it.

    Brenda Aloff's book on Aggression in Dogs is a really good read and can give you some better insight on this. And he isn't showing dominance. Dominance is about controlling resources, and generally alpha dogs like that are good natured, calm and confident. He is just being a bully. It is good that you are working on it and you put a stop to it as soon as you can, but modifying it will be difficult--from what I read.

    From experience, I will say this: don't rely on the "hope he will outgrow it." Dogs will continue to do what they practice and what works. If you don't nip it in the bud now, it will not go away. If you want him to grow out of it and --if not like, at least tolerate or ignore the dogs he is attacking--you need to get help, get books, educate yourself and get to work. I honestly don't envy you. My issue was with agnostic displays after eating where he bit my husband and me frequently. From 5 to 9 months, I tried on my own and didn't hit the right methodology or implementations. Once I started going to a vet behaviorist with training facilities, things finally calmed down and got under control. He still has issues, but the difference is like night and day. Some times you just need a professional to help you sort things out, someone who has experience with Shiba is best, but at least someone who is a certified behaviorist, not just a trainer.
    Post edited by Anjyil at 2017-08-11 02:58:05
  • Sad to say but I too think my dog has turned into a somewhat of a bully. Koji is definitely not an alpha dog, he has always been on the shy side and is still skittish in various situations, like taking the subway (which he has done every day since I got him) or walking on busy streets. We have stopped going to the dog park and keep him on a very short leash when we encounter new dogs. Unfortunately, all the dogs he has had problems with are new dogs, since he is friendly to all the ones he grew up with in the neighborhood, so there are not any one we can "practice" with. We live in Germany and so it's hard to access the books you mentioned, but I will try. We will continue to consult Sophia. In October he will spend 10 days lodging with her pack. This will allow her to better observe and assess him. Thanks for your advise!
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 720
    @shibainuinberlin that sounds like a good start. For the longest time, I thought there were no options here in Japan as well. Lots of old school beliefs still hanging around. Kind of got lucky in being directed where I was. You will have to hunt around some and be patient. Hopefully Sophia will help out. Sometimes just a new environment and new people can help refocus the dog into a new behavior.