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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2014, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Question about growling - need advice

Hi, I'm re-posting this question in the general discussion. I accidentally posted in Introduce Yourself yesterday and thought more folks would see if it here.
Would really like advice!
Griffin growls and barks loudly whenever we see another dog (say, on a walk or at a store) and also growls at Ginny until she gives up whatever toy or chew she has (even if he already has one of the same)
Should I get involved in the interactions between Griffin and Ginny at all?
How can I get Griffin to greet other dogs where it doesn't seem so aggressive?
He's a 1 year old neutered male. Not aggressive at all with people. Just gets ferocious (seeming) when we see dogs. He's never bitten, but I don't allow him to get close because I'm nervous he might!
Is this his way of greeting? Can it be changed? Do I need a trainer?
Does well at doggie day care and boarding, by reports of those people.
He's very sweet and cuddly, btw.
Dave? Karen? Anyone?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2014, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, and he and Ginny are definitely best friends. They never actually fight and he's never snapped at her, that I've seen. She's just submissive, and will give in if he growls. I feel bad for her, though, like he's being a bully!
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2014, 02:31 PM
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Dogs in a scary situation will want to get out of there pretty quickly but when on leash this escape is frustrated.
This behaviour is very much encouraged by our behaviour. If we force exposure to things our dogs find scary and then frustrate their exit, they are left with no choice but to put on a show with lunging and growling in an effort to persuade the scary thing to move away. And this display very often works, so the reactivity is reinforced. If your dog is already reacting just get out of there! In desensitisation the order of the presentation of stimuli is very important. So the trigger should be there first,your dog becomes aware and then the food arrives. So the pattern is that the trigger makes the food appear. Every time something that might cause the reactive response shows up immediately shower your dog with yummies and stop the treats when the object of interest goes away. You have to learn what your dog's comfortable distance is by watching body language closely and slowly decrese this distance with time. If you use any sort of aversive when training and living with your reactive dog, it is likely that your dog will associate the aversive event with the arrival of a trigger. No leash jerks or scolding. Simply increase space if he goes toward a reactive state. Over time desensitization will occur but it takes time. If you find you are not getting anywhere, please seek help from a trainer. Keep up socialization, it never ends. It's not unusual for a dog to be fine offleash in daycare and then leash reactive when on walks.

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Last edited by davetgabby; 05-21-2014 at 02:39 PM.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2014, 02:50 PM
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Like Drayton here mentions , desensitization and counter conditioning is not always easy for a lot of people the idea with this article is for more info. If you don't get results ,get help is the message . http://www.dogstardaily.com/blogs/co...s-more-success

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Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2014, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Dave, thanks so much for the great advice. I am about to read the article. I like the treat idea a lot. Griffin - like most - is very food motivated so that could really work! I have not used treats in this situation.
The funny thing is, Griffin doesn't act scared - he starts pulling towards the other dogs while barking and growling. I suppose it could still be fear, but he acts pretty eager to get to them!
Again, thanks for the reply.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2014, 03:50 PM
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yeah the lunging is to scare them away. lol Amazing even a toy dog will lunge at a big dog .

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Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2014, 05:12 PM
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although you might find this article a little heavy, much can be soaked in ,in a general way http://www.urbandawgs.com/research/c...reactivity.pdf

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2014, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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These articles are great and I'm learning a lot! Thanks again!
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 01:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davetgabby View Post
Dogs in a scary situation will want to get out of there pretty quickly but when on leash this escape is frustrated.
This behaviour is very much encouraged by our behaviour. If we force exposure to things our dogs find scary and then frustrate their exit, they are left with no choice but to put on a show with lunging and growling in an effort to persuade the scary thing to move away. And this display very often works, so the reactivity is reinforced. If your dog is already reacting just get out of there! In desensitisation the order of the presentation of stimuli is very important. So the trigger should be there first,your dog becomes aware and then the food arrives. So the pattern is that the trigger makes the food appear. Every time something that might cause the reactive response shows up immediately shower your dog with yummies and stop the treats when the object of interest goes away. You have to learn what your dog's comfortable distance is by watching body language closely and slowly decrese this distance with time. If you use any sort of aversive when training and living with your reactive dog, it is likely that your dog will associate the aversive event with the arrival of a trigger. No leash jerks or scolding. Simply increase space if he goes toward a reactive state. Over time desensitization will occur but it takes time. If you find you are not getting anywhere, please seek help from a trainer. Keep up socialization, it never ends. It's not unusual for a dog to be fine offleash in daycare and then leash reactive when on walks.
I've been working with Cuba on exactly this problem, with a very clever animal behaviourist; her advice has been pretty much identical, Dave. And truly helpful. On our first day she worked with discovering what distance Cuba could tolerate, and did so by using a pretend dog (I nearly said 'toy', but that might have given the wrong impression - this was a very realistic non-real dog, about the size of a cocker spaniel). We put the pretend dog across the street while Cuba was still in the house, and then brought her out, watching all the time to see when she noticed it, and gradually closing the distance with plenty of treats and praise for relaxing at each step; finally she met up with the 'dog' and had a good sniff, totally quiet by now. Then we put another pretend dog, a sort of Jack Russell terrier, further down the street and walked her in that direction. It was fascinating watching the body language change as we got closer - she would begin to stiffen, and finally cease to be interested in any treats. At which point we got her out of the situation and gave her a lot of space; instantly the stiffening stopped and the food became of interest again. Later we started to do the same with real dogs. It's slow progress, but I am convinced that we will get there and she will become easy with any strange dog. Dave's advice is exactly right, azcolaw.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 09:58 AM
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yeah it takes time, and patience for sure, . Many people have trouble with timing and reading of body language. The key is management too. You have to avoid as much as possible putting your dog in situations where they go over threshold . The decoys are quite real sometimes lol. Quite often trainers use other helpers with this and real dogs. For more on this check out BAT behavioral adjustment training http://empoweredanimals.com/

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Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild

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