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Agression at the Dog Park.
  • OK so we were at the dog park this past weekend to let Hachi run around and play a little bit but he turned around and got into a fight with a Mastiff that was there. The situation was that Hachi had gotten to the park first so he was running around no problem and then Molly (the Mastiff) was in the interlock, if you will (the middle gate area between the outside world and the inner park area). When Molly was in the interlock, Hachi ran up to sniff the new dog and Molly let out a bark and growl that seemed to say "Stay away" so Hachi kinda trotted away no problem. But later, once Molly had gotten into the park Hachi trotted up to sniff her and again Molly let out a growl and then Hachi just went crazy doing his barks and growls and tried attacking Molly, to no avail. Molly had him pinned quickly but of course Hachi was still livid, barking and growling. By this point we, (me and the other owner), ran over there to break it up. I picked Hachi up, grabbed him by the collar and started scolding him and then put him on the leash. He bit me a couple times while I had a hold of his collar, which I expected knowing that Shibas don't like to be restrained.
    After the incident, while we still had Hachi on the leash and other dogs were coming up to try and sniff Hachi but he wouldn't let any dog get near him without letting out a fierce growl (even to a little Dauchshound). Hachi has shown some aggressive tendencies towards real submissive dogs (a couple of 6 month puppies at the park) as of late.
    I guess my question to the group is
    1) is there anything I should have done differently? (i.e. should I have kept Hachi away from the Mastiff intially? My thought process is that dogs will usually sort stuff out themselves)
    2) what can I do to train Hachi to stop being aggressive towards these really submissive puppies?

    [mod edit: re-categorized due to addition of new category]
    Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 11:55:48
  • GatsuGatsu
    Posts: 651
    Personally I don't put all that much blame on Hachi. I feel like if the mastiff growls at other dogs in the park, she shouldn't be there. The mastiff clearly doesn't like other dogs messing with him, and some dogs won't get the hint, and things can possibly get out of control.

    But as for teaching your dog to walk away from a situation like that, I would love to hear that answer to that.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8588
    Oh wow. You ask if there was anything you should have done differently... YES.

    First off, please remember that dog parks can be VERY dangerous places.

    Problem #1: A reactive dog enters the dog park. The owner of the mastiff should probably not have brought her to the park. However, you noticed that the mastiff was immediately being reactive. Yet, you let Hachi stay at the park. You should have immediately left the park until the reactive dog was gone. (You can not control what other people do, but you can definitely control what you do...) This would have eliminated all other problems.

    Problem #2: You let Hachi go back up to the reactive dog. The reactive dog warned Hachi that she was not cool with his presence. Hachi (who, you have admitted has shown some reactive behaviours lately) reacted.

    Problem #3: You picked Hachi up by the collar, scolded him, and restrained him. And he bit you. (I would have, too, if I were Hachi.) Your dog was already stressed and overstimulated. Other than removing him from the VERY dangerous situation that you placed him in by not leaving the dog park, you should not have held his collar or restrained him. In a situation like this, you should immediately leash him and leave the park, no yelling or scolding required.

    Problem #4: You stayed at the park. Anytime there is ever a scuffle, fight, or type of behaviour that gets a dog aroused, you need to remove him from the situation.

    Problem #5: You had him LEASHED inside the dog park with off leash dogs around. No wonder he was growling when dogs got near him. He was already aroused from the incident with the mastiff. But now you have him restrained with other dogs running up to him when he is already stressed out.

    My opinion is to stop taking him to dog parks. Letting dogs 'sort stuff out themselves' is a recipe for disaster. He is obviously reactive (you admitted to yourself that he reacted towards some puppies, and puppies usually get to play the puppy card until about 7 months).

    If you want to work on his socialization, which is highly recommended, then you need to do it under controlled circumstances. NOT at an off leash dog park with dogs that you do not know and have no idea how they will react.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
    Posts: 1507
    On a recent thread it was mentioned that as Shibas get older they become less tolerant to other dogs especially new dogs. INU went through this at 1 1/2 and its specific to brachiocephalic and timid dogs. Penny who was initially shy around other dogs has become more sociable to others at this age. However, last week one of her friends, Emily went off, started attacking her and Penny fought back. INU jumped into the melee to protect her. Luckily, no one got hurt.

    I have been avoiding the dog run when it gets too crowded and only go in if I know my dogs get along with the others there. Being that Shibas are a primitve breed I am beginning to believe that this aggressive behavior is moreover hardwired like prey drive and is difilcult to countercondition. However, I am still trying.

    INU is trained to hand signals and quite responsive to them. When a new dog is coming into the run I put up the signal which means stop and wait. He will sit and wait till I tell him come. For introduction I hold him by the harness handle and turn him with his rear to the other dogs nose. This seems to stop his agressiveness to a new dog.

    BTW, I've noticed most of aggression issues for most dogs occur by the gate and thats why I worked with the wait command with INU. Somebody coming in is "so exciting".
    Post edited by INU RYUU at 2012-02-20 15:36:45
  • GatsuGatsu
    Posts: 651
    Personally my Shiba loves dog parks. He's only a year old, so maybe one day he'll start being aggressive. But right now he's happy with the park. There are some dogs that ruin the experience, and either play way too rough or are just plain out aggressive. As owners, we should ask those people to control their animal or go home. If they don't, I go home.

    My dog shouldn't stop getting to do what he loves, because of other stupid dogs. But I do try to take some precautions. I try not to go to parks when they are busy. And I tend to go to the park with other dog friends. So my Shiba tends to play with his friends, and only really plays with other dogs that are friendly as he is.
    Post edited by Gatsu at 2012-02-20 15:17:39
  • InoushiInoushi
    Posts: 555
    I personally think shibas are not dog park material. They tend to like having control of their personal space, and are very specific about who they like. When I worked in daycare, we had crates dogs could retreat to when they were annoyed, shibas generally used them the most.

    I also second the notion that shibas carry an aggressive trait. Too many shibas seem prone to it. When you only see a more friendly temperment in lines specifically bred for that, and even aggression cropping up there, its hard to say otherwise. The level of socialization a shiba needs compared to other dogs really speaks volumes. Though I wonder if aggression is the right word for it.

    I also think people need to take into account that shibas are very sensitive. Resiliency seems to be lacking in the breed right now. A lot of little things can cause a huge amount of damage. So why risk it? Dog parks are a cool concept, but the risks, at least in my opinion are not worth it. Too many people have dogs that they can't find fault in, even if it could mean harm for other dogs or people.
  • YukikoYukiko
    Posts: 452
    @INURYUU and @Inoushi - What great information, thank you all!

    Yuki started out doing great at dog parks, but as she matured, she developed her "never gonna back down" attitude. The dog parks here tend to be crowded with dogs that resource guard and owners that bring resources, so if one snarled at Yuki, she stood her ground and snarled back. We don't go to dog parks anymore and instead, set-up playdates with dogs she's okay with. Even then, if the play gets too rough, we redirect her to a toy, separate them, and let her calm down.

    When I see Shiba meet-up pictures with like, 20 Shiba's running around, it always makes me a little envious. :)
    Post edited by Yukiko at 2012-02-20 18:02:27
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    A lot of situations i have seen arise from poorly socialized dogs &/ poorly educated owners. Bootz has a good habit of staying away from trouble making dogs. But there was one time a sibling pair came over to Bootz and it got out of hand. I rushed over, and the owner went "just let them figure it out". I too mainly only go to the park when the regulars are there since i know their dogs are well behaved.

    Speaking of Shibas, i actually met two other shiba owners yesterday. One 4 months, one 6 years. The puppy was over friendly, and the older one did its own thing. The older one was fine with being pet by me and even played with Bootz. Chasing and a little rough play. The owner and i were chatting and out of no where the older shiba was fighting with another dog. Both dogs were friendly, and nobody saw what triggered the fight.

  • I should make mention that the Mastiff was playing fine with the other dogs in the park. I don't want to make it seem like the Mastiff was an overly reactive dog, just kinda reactive towards Hachi... not that it makes it any better... just throwing all the facts out there. I suppose we probably should have just walked out of there and went home. Lesson learned the hard way I guess. Thanks for the replies.
    Post edited by brent.eversole at 2012-02-20 20:41:51
  • So I wanted to resurrect this thread because of an experience that I had with Tobi today at the dog park. Ive been working on his recall there because I don't have a big backyard and so I bring treats to make the training effective. Just recently (like in the last 3 times going) Tobi has started to resource guard me and his treats. But he only doest it with a few very specific dogs. Most of the time he'll let other dogs nibble on the same treat as he is. And when he does resource guard he will usually just bark and chase the dog for a second and get right back to me. I have never tolerated this behavior. I get after him, take the treats away and move to a different location in the park. Well today there was a little Dachshund at the park named Oscar who I absolutely adore. Tobi has always gotten along with him, ignoring him mostly. Actually, I haven't ever seen them interact until today. Anyway, I was petting Oscar and giving him a treat and Tobi came up and was clearly annoyed at Oscar. I held him and corrected the behavior as best I could and he got over it and went else where. I went to pet Oscar again thinking that matters had been resolved and Tobi quickly ran back and attacked him. I was able to grab Tobi relatively quickly and really scolded him, then I immediately put his leash on and left the park. Luckily little Oscar wasn't hurt but I was really upset about the whole thing because it was so nasty. Especially since Tobi has never done that before to any dog. He even bit me a few times! I realize that I made the mistake of continuing to pet Oscar when it clearly bothered Tobi, and for Oscar's sake I feel horrible. But at the same time, I don't accept Tobi's behavior, meaning, it is not ok for him to attack the dogs I choose to pet and give a treat to. I do not want this kind of thing to persist. I've decided that I will DEFINITELY remove Tobi from the park sooner when I see this type of behavior starting but what else can I do to eliminate this behavior all together? What could I have done differently in terms of disciplining him? Did I handle things the right way? Any advice would help.

    Please don't restate obvious things like, "you shouldn't have pet Oscar when you saw that it bothered Tobi" I know. But there has to be a way to teach Tobi that this behavior is unacceptable REGARDLESS. I dont want Tobi to learn that he can place limitations on me or that he can dictate my behavior so that I will just cowtail to him every time he gets upset. What else can I do in the moment that will help to curb and eliminate this type of aggression? Is it possible with a Shiba? If not I will modify my behavior and the situations that I put Tobi in, but if so I want to teach Tobi how to get over this.

  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    @Lindsayb Don't bring treats to a dog park. That would solve your problem. I mean I understand you're trying to work on your recall....but one of the main reasons dogs turn aggressive at dog parks is because treats are involved. EVEN when the owners put it away, the smells can trigger aggression.
  • @Bootz Yeah, this is something that I decided today I would have to discontinue. I'll just have to practice recall in my house and small back yard for now.
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    I have never tolerated this behavior. I get after him, take the treats away and move to a different location in the park.

    You're tolerating it in some way because you're not actually leaving the park, you're just moving. Tobi, in his mind, doesn't think he's done anything wrong. You just walked to a different spot.

    Another thing is don't ever give treats to another dog, especially one that isn't yours, and at a dog park, nonetheless. That's seriously triggering, as @Bootz said. I honestly get irked when I see people bring treats and distribute them among the park like it's candy or something--not only do you not know if they're allergic, if it's poisonous, etc, but there are cases of aggression, as Tobi is very clearly expressing.

    My .02 is to grab a friend / family member, practice recall with a 50ft leash, and at a park that doesn't involve off-leash dogs. Do it sometime in the late afternoon when people aren't around. That's how I practiced with Sagan when he was younger, and even still to this day.
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • Thank you @Rikka. I totally agree and can see what you're saying. I do have a 40ft tie out that I can use at a regular park. Thats a great idea!
    Post edited by Lindsayb at 2013-10-28 22:17:09
    Posts: 1507
    Toys can also bring the worst out in a dog park too. You might consider using conditioned positive rewards to use in training. Pairing praise or a clicker with a treat and then using it alone can reinforce a behavior.

    Another thing to consider is that as Shibas mature they become intolerant of other dogs. My boy was Mr Social with other dogs but by about 18 months he became snarky and intolerant to new dogs especially timid dogs or rude puppies.

    Our trips to the dog park have become infrequent and I only allow him to be with his old friends. I tend to believe due to their primitive nature "Shiba" form a pack and selective of those they will allow into their social group.
    Post edited by INU RYUU at 2013-10-28 22:18:28
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    I agree with Bootz. I do bring treats whenever I take my Shiba out, but she NEVER gets them if other dogs are around. Even if my dog doesn't resource guard, you never know how other dogs will react.
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
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    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • @InuRyuu I did not know that about Shibas. Very interesting. Tobi just turned 1 in Sept. So is this a behavior that I cant do much about? Its just going to get worse? I generally hike with Tobi more then I go to the dog park with him, but its tough for me to let it go because he does have a great time with most of the dogs there, and I have made so many fun acquaintances. That said it only takes one incident for him to put himself and other dogs in danger. Maybe its just not worth it.... sad.
  • @kira_kira Agreed. Thanks for your response.

    So how do you train resource guarding away? I still want to eliminate this behavior... if at all possible.
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    @Lindsayb - You're welcome

    I was very concerned about resource guarding from the beginning because I also have 2 cats that believe they own the house. I sat on the floor with Kira's food bowl when she was a puppy and hand fed her kibble, touched her while she ate, and got her used to the bowl being touched as well. Whenever I'm on the floor, the cats automatically hover around so she got used to a lot of activity around her while she ate.

    Kira is almost 5 months old and I can actually give her a treat that needs to be eaten in pieces, and my Manx cat can walk right by her and even sniff the treat. (I generally have to shoo him away from her treat, he's so nosy) far, so good.
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
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    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
    Posts: 1507

    All Shibas are individuals. My girl Penny really does not show the snarky intolerance my boy does. She is content to just relax in the dog park and not mix it up with the other dogs. If she gets annoyed she will just vocalize a short bark and walk away from the other dog.

    However, I've noticed other male Shibas at the park exhibit the same intolerance. Maybe it's a male thing.

    Another thing I've noticed that Shiba tolerate other Spitz breeds like huskies. One dog walker I know has two Sibes and my two had no problems. One day she brought two Basenjis that she was watching and there seemed to be a tacit understanding of each other's cues.
    Post edited by INU RYUU at 2013-10-28 22:47:01
  • @kira_kira Thats awesome! Tobi does not exhibit recourse guarding at all with me. I can take anything from him away at anytime and I do often to reinforce this. He is very respectful and submissive to me at home. Were developing a really sweet relationship. That's why today surprised me so much! Especially when he bit me after I grabbed him off of Oscar. The bite didnt break the skin and I let him know that it didn't phase me, but still - He was being so nasty. I left the park with him thinking "Who are you???"

    Since he is a rescue I dont know what his past experiences are or if he grew up having to fight for everything. Regardless - no more treats around other dogs. Its such an obvious mistake that I'm kicking myself that it didn't occur to me. I just thought that I could manage it and didn't know where else or how else to train recall, which has proved to be absolutely VITAL for Tobi. It has saved him twice now. Im just going to have to be more creative with my training endeavors.
  • @INURYUU Yes! Ive noticed that too. Tobi loves the Huskies that visit the park. I wish there were other Shibas around here. The only dog that he really doesn't tolerate is a Brittany spaniel, who upon the first time meeting Tobi, proceeded to incessantly pester him. After about 45 min Tobi had had enough and began to bark and snap at him. This was the first time I had ever heard Tobi bark in the month that Ive had him. Now the Brittany has stopped messing with Tobi all together because every time he came near him in subsequent visits Tobi would chase him off.
  • jennjenn
    Posts: 856
    INU RYUU said:

    However, I've noticed other male Shibas at the park exhibit the same intolerance. Maybe it's a male thing.

    Must be, because Rigby's the same way. He's always been snarky with other dogs if they get up in his business before a proper sniff, especially more hyperactive young dogs. He's also not a fan of dogs rushing him at the gate at parks/daycare. The king needs to make an entrance, I guess. :P
    Jenn, Shiba Slave to Rigby /
    Post edited by jenn at 2013-10-29 00:53:15
  • natashanatasha
    Posts: 122
    In South Africa where I'm from we don't really have any dog parks, there are one or two but far from where I live and most people don't frequent them. I do belong to a dog club and we train every Sunday morning and it is also a great place for all the dogs to socialise. My shiba Yuki like most of your dogs has her doggy friends and other dogs that she's not exactly crazy about. One of the dogs she doesn't like is a miniature poodle mix that literally bounces around when she runs, like a little lamb.
    Usually she just avoids the dogs she dislikes but about a year and a half ago during a long distance recall she veered off course and bitch slapped the poodle around the field. I was very embarrassed and upset but she didn't bite the other dog, just slapped her around without any provocation from the poor poodle. It could have been because the poodle was playing with Rocky, her favourite GSD and the guy she flirts shamelessly with ;) but until then she'd never reacted that way to another dog even though she could be snarky with them.
    Having said that, I'm finding that as time progresses she's mellowed out a lot, almost like that 2 year old phase was a bit of a bad one and now that she's closer to 4 she's more relaxed.
    I joke with the others that Yuki will fax her rules to the other dogs so that they know what to do eg don't look at me funny, don't sniff my butt without permission etc, etc
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    You asked about resource guarding. See if you can pinpoint why your dog is resource guarding and if it is, indeed, resource guarding. We thought Taisho was resource guarding but it is more reacting out of fear of other dogs. Of course, there is likely some resource guarding involved as well, but his primary reason for getting aggressive when other dogs come around, I believe, is fear.

    Taisho, our 3 year old boy, whom we got last Dec disliked any dogs getting close to me and/or my mom. My mom lives on a very dog friendly street. When she got Taisho, she had 2-3 neighbor dogs that roamed the street and often came to see her on her front porch. In most cases, I would not like to have dogs wandering around, but these dogs were all very friendly and mellow, very good with kids and other dogs. When I gave Taisho to my mom in May, he did not like any of the dogs. There was a husky named Zina who loved my mom, but Taisho hated. Kaji loved her too and the two would often play. I let them play in the backyard and let Taisho out. He cowered behind me and the back wall, and eventually went inside the house through the open sliding glass door. He came back out a few minutes later and just observed. When Zina came near him, he ran back into the house but the second time, they exchanged sniffs. After a while, Taisho realized Zina was not going to hurt him and he got comfortable with her and they began to play after their second encounter. He no longer growled, lunged or got angry when she came around, even when he was leashed, and actually seemed to welcome her company. We called Zina Taisho's girlfriend because he let her eat his treats when they were laying around mom's front porch.

    The other episode that happened with Taisho was I took him to one of Kaji's dog meetup groups. We went to a wooded creek area (not a dog park) and there were about 15 other dogs. My son carried him until we reached our destination because Taisho was growling at all the dogs that came close to us. Once we arrived, many of the dog owners told us to unleash Taisho and see what happens because they all believed he would not be so aggressive. I was worried but they all said they would help out if things started going the wrong way. And a lot of these dog owners had very well behaved dogs (I met them a few times in the past) so I knew them. We let Taisho off leash and he did the same thing he did at mom's house. He hovered in the background, and walked away when a dog approached him. Every once in a while, he would approach another dog and sniff, then exchange sniffs. After about 20 minutes, he was walking around, but still on the outskirts. He only growled once that day when a dog sniffed too long, and the other dog got the hint. We used no treats and just had a nice group of well behaved dogs and owners willing to help out. Not sure whether it helped or not, but Taisho's buddy, Kaji, was in the group and having a great time playing with the other dogs.

    Taisho still is not comfortable around most dogs, but he is getting MUCH better. He no longer barks at all the dogs he sees on walks, has learned to ignore them, and he's gained a lot of confidence through Kaji and the neighbor dogs. Right now, we are working with one of our neighbors and his dog, who Taisho hated. I met with the owner about a month ago and introduced Taisho to him and gave him Taisho's background. The owner was really nice and brought his dog outside and we did a very slow introduction with no leashes. Both dogs showed no interest in each other and that was that. Now, when they are outside, he brings his dog over and Taisho no longers growls at her. His dog is scared of other dogs too so they are both helping each other. They see each other and always ignore each other now with no barking. When Taisho is quiet like that we praise him immediately and give him treats after she leaves. It is a slow process, but worth doing. I have not taken Taisho to a dog park yet, and probably won't for a long time, if ever. I don't know how he will react to all dogs, and I feel it would be better to deal with his issues with dogs I know and owners I trust.
    Post edited by amti at 2013-10-29 11:41:39
  • jenn said:

    INU RYUU said:

    However, I've noticed other male Shibas at the park exhibit the same intolerance. Maybe it's a male thing.

    Must be, because Rigby's the same way. He's always been snarky with other dogs if they get up in his business before a proper sniff, especially more hyperactive young dogs. He's also not a fan of dogs rushing him at the gate at parks/daycare. The king needs to make an entrance, I guess. :P

    Actually, Shiba bitches tend to be more snarky and reactive, and more difficult with other dogs in general. But of course, it's also about individual dogs, so some are going to be worse than others and some may be sweet social butterflies. And also in general, Shibas get much less tolerant of other dogs between 1-2 years old. I've noticed a lot of problems (and sadly rehoming) happen at around 2, when they've grown into who they are going to be, and may no longer be a sweet, social dog. So that's an age to watch out for.

    I've noticed that all the NK I have had had (Kai, Akita, Shiba) do not like dogs in their faces, and don't tolerate rude behavior well, so that's something I'm always careful with. I don't take my dogs to the dog park, but it's something I have to watch.

    Anyway, back to the original problem. In addition to the good suggestions you've already got, yes, you can work on research guarding, and you can also work on polite greetings (which will be helpful, not in a dog park situation, but when you meet other leashed dogs). You can train your boy to sit politely for a treat while he is greeted, and then also, sit politely while you greet another dog. You'd need to work on your sit/stay for this, probably, and it's best with lots of clicks and treats.

    There are some good training books on working with resource guarding, like Mine! by Jean Donaldson that might help. I'm not sure what your training method/experience is, but this is something you can work on, absolutely. It may take some time, and he may never end up being easy at the dog park (though he may), but it is possible to improve with positive reinforcement and some counter conditioning. Also, I've noticed plenty of dogs show no resource guarding with humans but will guard with other dogs. In fact, all of my NKs do it to one degree or another, even though the Kai Ken's guarding is just putting his paws on something and looking worried.


  • @shibamistress Thank you so much for steering me towards your book. I will check it out.

    Tobi is not fearful of other dogs. He will happily and politely greet everyone that comes into the park, he's great at playing, and he never instigates fights unless, obviously, there are treats around - now. This is a really new thing though. But even before I started bringing treats to the park he would try to guard a friend of mine who always brings treats and would give them to him from the other dogs. He would heard or snap them away from her so I guess that was the beginning of his guarding. When he did this I started to claim her as my own, pushing him away from her and sending the message that she was mine. Its been a long time since he stopped this behavior and hasn't done it since, even though she still always has treats with her. But I guess now that I have started carrying treats for him he has begun doing it to me. It has been hard to figure out how to reward him for "checking in" with me at the park (part of recall training) but discourage him from guarding me. Im most certain that I have been sending mixed signals but Im just not sure how to have done it differently. I would correct and remove the treats when he got that way with other dogs and for the most part his guarding has been very minor. The incident with the Dachshund totally surprised me, but I realize that after reading some articles about resource guarding that Tobi's stress about his treats and my attention had been building and I didn't notice. I will completely stop bringing treats to the dog park and I may even stop going to the dog park all together. The incident really freaked me out and made me reevaluate what I am dealing with. Shiba's are so different! But I know I can figure this out. I love Tobi, he is so great. I'll just have to be a lot smarter in the future.

    My question now is, what is the right way to correct aggression the moment it is happening? When a grabbed Tobi off that Dachshund he was completely unreceptive to me and even bit me so that I'd release him and let him keep attacking Oscar. I kept a hold of him and even bopped him on the face a few times and still there was no acknowledgement that he understood and there was no backing down. So then I pinned him to the ground and held him there until he calmed down. I have NO CLUE if this type of discipline was correct or not, and I have no idea if it made a difference. Which really worries me, actually. Im sure there are some of you out there that will criticize me for how I handled it but I really didn't know what else to do. He was in such a crazed state. I really just want to know what the best way to handle this is. I think next time I will just simply yank him off the other dog and drag him away to a different location, but that still doesn't seem enough...? I don't know guys. Help?
  • ArcticArctic
    Posts: 513
    @shibamistress, interesting you say that about your NKs all showing some degree of resource guarding with other dogs although never with humans. This is most definitely the case with Sansa. At the dog park, if she doesn't know a dog she may try to keep a ball or a stick or whatever from them. She usually does this just by keeping it away from them, but she has curled her lip and growled at other dogs before when she's had a ball, or stick, or leaf or whatever at the dog park and been quickly approached by a dog she's not "friends" with.

    @lindsayb, I will leave suggestions of what you could do instead to others more experienced than I am, but I can say that how you handled that situation was probably as bad as you could have. I'm not judging! Not one bit, and you are to be commended for seeking our additional resources and information to better handle such situations in the future. But you should know that bopping Tobi in the face, restraining him, and then alpha-rolling him was probably about as poor a reaction from you as you could have had, and in your dog's mind I'm sure that escalated the situation in terms of making him more scared/anxious/nervous.

    I will mirror many of the posts on here. I take Sansa to the dog park about three times a week. She loves it there, but there are some quirks. She does not like to get crowded upon entering, and she can get defensive if she is being mobbed. Some dogs she's not a fan of, but she just ignores them. She also has, at times, mildly resource-guarded an item when she's never shown such behavior with humans.

    Finally, I will say that bringing treats to the dog park I frequent is a huge no-no, and is a recipe for disaster.
  • @Artic Thank you for responding, and thank you for making it really clear that I did things completely wrong. I feel horrible. I wish you had suggestions as to what I *should* have done.

    And, again, I have said more than once that I will never bring dog treats to the park again. So anyone responding in the future - no need to mention this.

    If anyone has ideas on what the right thing to do is I would love to know. Those are the only responses that will help at this point. I have never owned a dog that would attack another dog in such a way and so I have had no experience with this. And I honestly dont use hitting as a form of teaching or discipline. I was VERY scared in the moment and needed Tobi to stop. It really seemed like he wanted to kill the little Dachshund.
    Post edited by Lindsayb at 2013-10-29 18:02:46
  • So I just started google searching the answer Im looking for and found this to be helpful.

    "If he acts aggressive tell him no! sternly, but never hit him. Be ready to move him away instantly if he becomes aggressive.

    Aggression breeds aggression. Never hit your dog. A stern brief instant telling off is far more effective. Train your dog with praise to be proud and happy whenever he does as you ask. In this way you will gain control." (Found on Yahoo Answers)

  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    @Lindsayb, honestly if it gets to the point where you have to break up a fight, it's too late. Nothing good can be learned or taught anymore. The only solution is to avoid a situation before it happens. All you can do is remove him after the fact. Don't yell, hit, or otherwise punish the dog. It's on you, the owner, to keep your dog safe and prevent him from harming others.

    There are techniques to break up dog fights, like loud noises from clapping or an air horn, water from a hose or bucket, pull them apart by dragging their hind legs... But the goal is to avoid them in the first place. If you find your dog is too reactive even without treats, the dog park is not a healthy environment for him. And that's ok, this is common with Shibas.

    But please take a look at the books recommended here and the other thread. I would not take any advice from yahoo answers.
  • @zandrame Ok, thanks. Thats really helpful. Ive thought a lot about the incident and have made a mental list of what I believe the triggers were and what to do to avoid further problems. I really feel horrible about what happened and hope that I haven't caused any lasting damage. Tobi is a rescue that I have only had for 6 weeks. He's my first Shiba too. This is definitely a learning experience for me.

    Ive been searching the threads on here and will check out the books.
  • @lindsayb: Zandrame is right---by the time the aggression has started, it's too late. Learn the signs of your dog's nervousness (research dog body language and look for things like stiffness and lip-licking) and then address the situation right then.

    Another thing to note about corrections: never correct a dog for growling. I know you never explicitly said you did, but it's worth mentioning since we're talking about correcting aggressive behavior. Growling is how a dog tells you they're uncomfortable. Correcting growling doesn't make the aggression go away, it just makes the warning sign, growling, go away. A dog corrected for growling is a dog that is likely to bite suddenly without warning.
  • @notoriousscrat Thanks for your response. Tobi never growls at me, but what should be done when he is growling at another dog? Ignore? Redirect? Walk away?
  • What is the right way to correct a Shiba for bad behaviors? Ive gotten a ton of how not to correct but very little on how to correct. I now know about the fighting thing. What about other day to day situations?

    I haven't had any behavioral issues with Tobi outside of this dog park incident, Im just curious.
    Post edited by Lindsayb at 2013-10-29 19:31:28
  • jennjenn
    Posts: 856
    @lindsayb Time outs! They are absolutely the best way to combat many Shiba behaviors - especially smart attention seekers like Tobi (if I recall he was biting/getitng into things in your home to get treats from you?) I pick him up, say "Time out!" firmly but not with much emotion, then place him for 30 seconds in a boring, safe room like a bathroom. That's usually all it takes to snap Rigby out of many of his naughty behaviors.

    In public places, I just remove him from situations where he's acting out - barking, pulling, etc when he's not getting his way.
    Jenn, Shiba Slave to Rigby /
    Posts: 1507
    Personally I redirect to diffuse conflict. In the past I have used the squeaker from a dog toy to get INU's attention and make me the focus of his attention. From there I made his experience more enjoyable then conflict with another dog. The only problem with using the squeaker was it drew the attention of other dogs in the park so I stopped using it.

    In lieu of a dog squeaker I now cue both my Shiba with saying, "Is that mommy (my wife)?" while looking in a direction away from what is eliciting their undesired behavior. My guys get so excited to see my wife it seems they forget what was agitating them.

    It's funny when I was initially training them by randomly saying it while walking them my wife, to my surprise , was walking up the street. So it added credibility.

    I liken this technique to playing fetch. Even if I don't throw the stick they will run in the direction I make a motion to.
    Post edited by INU RYUU at 2013-10-29 20:21:04
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    @lindsayb I will have to jump on and agree with notoriousscrat. Never correct for growling. I was actually a victim of my friends dog. Who's a shepherd chow mix. During the initial meeting. I tried to read his body language and any verbal cues. There were none at all. I slowly extended my hand and BAM he bite me without warning. Needless to say, his previous owner corrected him for growling (and my friend failed to tell me).

    Inu Ryuu made some good suggestions. I personally just call their name in a normal tone to get their attention. If that doesn't work, I tell them to "leave it" followed by "let's go" or "this way".
  • Thank you guys! This is really helping. It seems like redirecting and removing them from the situation is best. I can do that! Do you guys use the same methods for growling then?
  • Everyone had good suggestions. Redirection is probably the best answer in this case.

    What might be useful, though is for you to work with a positive reinforcement trainer, so they can help you learn how to time rewards for good behavior, and do counter conditioning to stop some of this. also, while it sounds like you got an ok answer from Yahoo answers, that is not the best place to look for good training information. There is not substitute for working with a good trainer, but you should also be reading about positive reinforcement training. There are good books in the books thread. Look for trainers like Patricia McConnell, Jean Donaldson, Ian Dunbar, Karen Pryor, and Sophia Yin (she has a lot of videos too). This will really help. It seems like you might need to get a good sense of how positive reinforcement training works in general, so you can apply it better in individual situations.

    But no, rolling the dog, hitting the dog, or anything like that is going to make his aggression worse! Just like e-collars make aggression worse.
  • @lindsayb - redirection, imo, is always the way to go. A good rule of thumb with training is to always pair a no with a yes. Meaning that you ask them to cease the behavior but also show them what they are allowed to do. Ideally, that is what redirection is: substituting an unacceptable behavior with an acceptable one.

    As for the fight, yes, they are pretty scary. Having been in the middle of a pretty bad dog fight in the past (a fatality was a possibility) I think the most effective thing is actually restraint (so they can't do further damage) and then a soothing tone. Most fights will break up if you give a sharp vocal tone (grabbing hind legs for more serious fights). However, with really bad fights you should understand that the switch has been flipped. Shibas are pretty primitive and in a situation with enough tension, they can flip a switch easily into a mode where issuing commands or redirection is a very difficult thing to implement successfully. Speaking in a soothing tone and doing your utmost to relieve that pressure has been the most effective way I've found to resolve the situation. Not praise, but kind of a relax, you're ok communication. Don't think of it as reinforcement (because it's not) but a way to redirect their focus on you and break them out of atavistic mode.

    Ideally, it should never get to that point (and pointers on how to recognize and de-escalate are priceless), but if it does, that is what I would do.
  • Great posts @shibamistress and @violet_in_seville. Thank you. :)

    I realize that I may be sounding like I have never trained a dog before but I promise that I have a lot of experience with it. Ive worked with Giant Schnauzers, my own Boxer, my own Min Pin, Great Danes, Labs, an English Mastiff, a few Cocker Spaniels, a Corgie, and a Jack Russell to name a few breeds... I have always used positive reinforcement training but I did not have a clue as to how to apply it in the moment that Tobi was trying to kill the other dog. I can think back now and see what his cues were and how to prevent another fight but in the moment it wasn't clear to me. I have never personally owned an aggressive or reactive dog, and I have always raised my dogs from puppies. As mentioned before this is my first rescue and my first Shiba. And Shiba's are very unique in their personalities and temperaments. When I first picked him up I realized immediately that I could not read him at all. His expressions were a blank stare to me and so I quickly sought the advice of a friend who is a dog trainer and who owns a Shiba to help me figure him out. She pointed out to me a lot of Tobi's cues and body language. It's taken me a while to see it but I feel like I can read him much better now. Im still learning though. I have never heard of not correcting growling before, but then again I haven't had a dog that I allowed to develop a dangerous form of that behavior. I have always permitted growling in appropriate situations, so maybe Ive been doing that right all along. I dont know! Haha.... Besides Tobi doesn't growl at me or others so this really isn't a problem.

    Anyway, this whole Shiba aggression thing is all very new to me so, again, I naturally don't have a clue how positive reinforcement techniques are to be implemented. In that moment my mind just defaulted to a mixture of scared overreaction and what I have known of Ceasar Millan's methods. Thanks to those who responded to my questioning. I really appreciate the insight! This forum has been a wonderful resource for me. Thanks especially to @violet_in_seville for your answer to my specific question about what to do when a fight is happening. ;) That was what I have been wanting to know all along.

    I will get those books and keep learning. :) Thanks guys!
    Post edited by Lindsayb at 2013-10-30 01:29:47
  • @lindsayb - There are many things you can do.
    Being at a dog park is it's own reward for most dogs. If Tobi shows signs of aggression just leave the park immediately. Do it calmly. Even negative attention is attention, and Shibas love attention. Don't go to another area of the dog park, leave. Even if you have only been there for two minutes. Eventually he will realize that being a brat at the park means the fun will stop. No dog likes the fun to stop.
    I agree with the others - growling is a warning. You want the dog to be able to warn when it is really uncomfortable/afraid/aggressive, or you will have a dog that bites without warning. Doesn't sound like Tobi growls much, so he probably really means it when he does.
    Sunyata mentioned several excellent trainers who have books which explain how to deal with aggression and resource guarding. You could get some of their books and read them. That way you'll be prepared to handle (and even prevent!) many situations before they can arise.
    You could also check with your local animal shelter to see if there are any positive reinforcement classes in your area. We did that and found a local dog club which offers obedience classes and individual training sessions for really affordable prices. Obedience classes help teach a dog how to get along in human society and provide a foundation for good behavior. Classes help teach a dog to listen to you despite being distracted by other dogs. The trainers may also have ideas on local places that you can train recall safely. The other dog owners may want to set up dog play dates, giving you a more controlled way to socialize Tobi.
    Maybe read the Shiba Shake website. Its written by a person who tried using alpha rolls and dominance punishment on a Shiba, with poor results. The owner now uses positive reinforcement, but it still took her a long time to rebuild her Shibas trust. You don't seem to want to use that on Tobi anymore (glad you are looking for better methods, good job!) but since he's a rescue you don't know what all he's been through.
  • @RustyAngel Thanks. I have actually been doing what you suggested about calmly and immediately leaving the park when he began to misbehave. It was definitely working and I was seeing amazing improvements in how he conducted himself there. This was just one crazy incident and I think I had gotten too comfortable with the idea that he was going to be fine because he had been doing wonderfully. Live and learn! Thank you for the suggestions. They are much appreciated. I've signed up for an obedience class and have mentioned that I will read the books. I know now that how I handled it was wrong. I have never done it prior to that incident and will never do it again. I know what to do now :)
    Post edited by Lindsayb at 2013-10-31 01:13:16
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    I have just scrolled quickly through the responses here so I'm not sure it is covered already but I have had great results with BAT training and would highly recommend it for many problem behaviours. There is quite a lot of info if you google it and instructive videos on youtube.
    Basically you set up what you want to practise, let's say meeting another dog, you have someone stand still with a dog, you and Toby walk up towards the dog but stop at the distance where Toby only finds it mildly uncomfartable. You wait for Toby to do something that shows he stopped focussing on the dog, any kind of relaxed behaviour, like looking away from the other dog. You reward him verbally and by quickly walking away from the uncomfortable situation. Rinse and repeat.
    He will understand very soon what you expect from him and what he needs to do to get rid of the situation/ the other dog, but by showing calming signals he will also start feeling more and more relaxed in those situations. It can also be done by removing the other dog when Toby displays the right behaviours.
    I practise with Juni when people come for a visit. All guests nowadays have to go in and out from the entrance a few times before they are allowed in these days :-) . When Juni is calm and quiet I reward with the guests leave our flat, after a few repetitions Juni stays quiet and calm even when they enter the flat and move around.
    This was not the case before.
  • Great advice. Thanks @juni!
  • ekamin01ekamin01
    Posts: 29
    So I am going to revive this thread as I think it's the closest to my situation. I live in NYC and a few times a week, while I am at work Loki goes to daycare. He is around 14 months now and recently started misbehaving, i.e. being aggressive and disrespectful to other dogs. He has been going to daycare since August and at first it was a learning curve for him but he quickly figured out that misbehaving meant no playtime and was very gently and respectful to the other dogs. Any dog that comes up to him he starts to snap at. Regardless if the other dog is small or large he will try to go at them. This only recently started and I am not sure how this behavior came to be. He was always so tolerant of dogs and loved to play but now he seems to threatened by every dog that comes near him. Any advice would be helpful
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8588
    @ekamin01 - There are a ton of threads regarding Shiba reactivity as they reach maturity. But for simplicity sake, generally speaking, as Shibas reach maturity (usually between 1 and 2 years of age), they become much less tolerant of other dogs in their space, especially if said dog is being rude (face to face introductions are rude in dog world).

    If he is not comfortable with that type of interaction, I would remove him from the daycare situation.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • I'd second Sunyata's post. Most dogs really mature at 2, and I've seen tons of changes in a variety of dogs I've had at that age (even my mild mannered Kai Ken has gotten more assertive at two!) And many, many dogs, especially Shibas, end up in rescue because of "aggression" issues at this age, which I suspect is really maturity and less dog tolerance setting in.
  • devonmlewisdevonmlewis
    Posts: 182
    I'm thinking this post is close to my issue, too! Yuki is 11 weeks old and we've had him for two weeks. He is showing us through painful trial and error what makes him aggressive. He is true to the breed, and wants to be the alpha. There is an elderly cairn terrier in the house, and they seem to want to get along, but Yuki is high energy and dominant, and Koa (the 10 year old cairn) is slow moving and not wanting to share his "space". There were two altercations where Yuki has latched onto Koa and NOT let go (lockjaw/tetanus style) without physical intervention from my dad, and in the last situation drew blood. This was really scary! Koa seems very forgiving and slept in our room last night and also went on a walk with Yuki with no problems. The first was because Yuki wanted to pass into Koa's "den" and Koa wasn't about it, and they got into it. The second time it was over me giving them a treat at the same time (something I've done many times).

    Upon reflection, things I noticed are that leading up to the most recent event, Yuki had been escalating with energy, aggression and dominance throughout the day without intervention (only simple redirection). He has a jacket that he hates having put on (will become bitey), but calms down like he was given a tranqualizer! That wasn't put on him, he didn't have kennel breaks where he could calm himself and nap, and was very hungry. So by the time of the fight, he was ready to go! These are all things I can intervene on, and am recognizing his behaviors, but now I'm scared of being bit! I've read great tips on here for how to intervene (picking up from behind by the arm pits or grabbing the hind legs), but it's definitely scary to me.

    Has anyone else had problems intervening in dog fights with their shiba? With the lock jaw?
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495

    I think you should read through our threads...the term "Alpha" has been debunked.
    Also, as their owner/caretaker/protector, you should have been able to recognize and stop the escalation before it even happens. Your shiba is only 3 weeks...did you properly introduce your Shiba to the terrier?

    Seems to me, your shiba has a lot of energy and isn't being exercised properly, mentally or physically.

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