Aggression

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Aggression

Postby SuzyWaire » Fri May 26, 2006 2:39 pm

1. My male Brittany, Fritz, will be 2 years old on June 6, 2006. He is 55 pounds and in shape. He is neutered. He LOVES other dogs, but his play has gotten increasingly aggressive and rough when he plays with other dogs as he gets older.

He NEVER bites, but when he plays with another dog off leash, his actions include the following: barreling into the other dog; trying to mount the other dog (male or female); and sometimes swiping at the dog with his paw to either sweep the dog's front legs out from underneath or to get the dog's attention to play with him. If the dog is smaller/weaker, he will sometimes pin the dog on its back on the ground.

Additionally, he makes this AWFUL growling/barking/deep, throaty sound that sounds very vicious. But again, he NEVER bites and he wags his tail the entire time. However, since he sounds so awful, naturally, other owners get freaked out.

Please note, I do not let this behavior continue in public. It all happens very quickly and I pull him off and put him on a leash whenever he starts this behavior. However, if I am at friends' house and they want the dogs to run around together and their dogs acts the same, I have observed Fritz acting this way for a long time. (Maybe that is not wise to let him play that way.)

Once Fritz is tired, he will lay around with the other dog and have a great time. He truly likes the company of other dogs.

There is no rhyme or reason to which dogs he does this to or how long he does this before he acts OK. He plays great with my neighbor's 140 pound Rotweiler, but he acted the above-mentioned way with a random Rotweiler he met at the park. He met a very forward 16 week old puppy and did none of the above.

Is this normal? And any suggestions on ways to correct this? Once Fritz starts doing this, he pays zero attention to me or commands, so I must pull him off and take him away from the other dog. I would hate to keep him away from other dogs since he absolutely loves to play with other dogs, but I am wondering what my options are. I want him to learn to play nicely instead of having to keep him away from other dogs as a remedy.

2. This is probably a bad time to ask this in light of my above post, but how do you know if your dog would like having a 2nd dog in the house as a pet? :)
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Postby Karen_P » Fri May 26, 2006 2:47 pm

If his tail is wagging, he's playing. Brittanys tend to be quite vocal, and I honestly don't think it's anything to worry about. He's just being a dog. I'm not seeing where any intervention is necessary. JMHO

And I should note that size really doesn't matter in the dog-world. Tessa is the biggest instigator in my house, and the smallest dog...maybe 31 lbs.
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Postby Cindy » Fri May 26, 2006 2:56 pm

Our tiny O&W dog, Jill, can be very "aggressive" when playing with other dogs. She takes her paw and pokes at their faces or sides and makes these horrible growling noises. She sounds ferocious but I've yet to see another dog pay any attention to the noise. Even our cats don't think the noise means anything. Once she gets the playing out of her system, she's more than happy to curl up with our other dog Kayla or just sleep on top of her. But, god forbid that Kayla lounges on top of Jill. If she does, she'll get that terrible growling noise. Of course, Kayla ignores that as well! I wouldn't worry too much about this behavior unless the tail stops wagging or it starts to get out of hand. We've had Jill for 7 months now and I'm just starting to get to the point where the growling doesn't freak me out. If it gets to loud I will tell her no, then she tucks her tail and lies down as if to say "I was just playing!"
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aggression

Postby SuzyWaire » Fri May 26, 2006 2:57 pm

Thanks for the reply. I agree with you that Fritz is just playing and par-taking in normal dog behavior. However, I was somewhat worried that my laid back attitude will not be viewed as such by other dog owners... and since I let Fritz play this way when the other dog's owner agrees to let the dogs play rough, that I might be the cause of an increase in this behavior.... But glad to hear it is not abnormal!

However, I do see in the above post, "unless it gets out of hand". Is pinning another dog on its back "out of hand"?
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Re: aggression

Postby Barb Wright » Fri May 26, 2006 4:24 pm

SuzyWaire wrote:... "out of hand"?


Out of hand to me would be blood drawn or the other dog ki-yi-ing, or the other dog getting really snarky back. It is amazing how rough the play can look and yet no damage with those teeth...such control 8) All the play you described sounds pretty normal. It may seem like it is increasing and probably is as he matures and is more confident.

Dog play can sound pretty scary, but it's just "sound effects" really. It's all play-acting and most often one dog or the other will say "enough". I would step in if the other dog appears to really not want to continue, like tucking tail, trying to turn away, head down, that sort of thing.

When or if the other dog owners are uncomfortable then it probably would be a good idea to VERY CALMLY break up the fun 'n games and give every one a time out.

It is important to watch the other dogs actions as well as your own dog...and if several dogs are dusting it up pay even more attention 'cause things can escalate in the blink of an eye. But again, what you have described sounds pretty normal :)

And, WELCOME to our discussion group :D We're very happy to have another Britt person join us, and hope you can post some pics of Fritz :D
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Postby Lisa » Fri May 26, 2006 5:18 pm

However, I do see in the above post, "unless it gets out of hand". Is pinning another dog on its back "out of hand"?


Depends on how the other dog reacts...if he's screaming or crying, it's time to separate.

I've got a foster now that is seriously lacking in appropriate play skills. I've had to teach him what is and isn't acceptable play with other dogs. He gets so rough that he makes Buster scream and get all snarly faced. So, what I do is as soon as Pogo starts to get a little rough, I give him a tug toy and get them to tug instead, or I start a game of fetch or I give him a stuffie. If he continues to pick on Buster, Pogo gets hauled off to his crate for a time out. Pogo is slowly learning, and will sometimes voluntarily go get a toy when he starts to get too rough.
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Postby Catharina » Fri May 26, 2006 5:28 pm

Hi - my Britt-mix, Kibo, started doing some of the same things when he turned two. (Plus he tends to grab some other dogs by the neck and growl loudly upon first encounter; really nice way to introduce yourself! :roll:). I brought this up in a discussion with a dog behaviorist, and she said she wasn't very worried about this type of behavior, EXCEPT that Kibo might, some day, run into a dog who acts aggressive in return to him behaving in that klutzy way.

She recommended that I carry a citronella spray with me, for the remote possibility that a fight would ensue. The spray is called "Direct Stop", and she recommended it in lieu of mace or other pain-inducing sprays because the pain can actually exacerbate a fight once it's started. She said the citronella just sorta confuses the dogs enough to allow you to break up a fight more safely. And you have less of a chance of knocking yourself out if you happen to be a less-than-brilliant shot with the spray can.
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Re: Aggression

Postby Barb Wright » Fri May 26, 2006 5:36 pm

SuzyWaire wrote:2. This is probably a bad time to ask this in light of my above post, but how do you know if your dog would like having a 2nd dog in the house as a pet? :)


Think this question got lost in the shuffle :lol: :lol:

Quick answer, you don't :wink: until you try. We usually suggest the potential "room-mates" meet on neutral ground somewhere, not their place not your place. Sort of get the chance to meet and greet without feeling territorial or an intruder. Then, if they seem to get along okay, bring the new dog home for a short visit, then a longer one, and then s/he just stays :)

If you don't have the option of time, just do it cold turkey, supervisesupervisesupervise til the dogs seems comfortable with the new arrangement. This can take a couple days, week, or months....depends upon the dogs.

If your dog, or the other dog, is a resource guarder (be it food, toys, bed, you) then the house rules need to be clear and consistant from the beginning. And YOU make the rules about resources. Understand, it is an entirely NORMAL thing for a dog to guard his food or treasures, very natural behavior. But, we don't allow them to get snarky about it, just one of the human rules they have to abide by like it or not :wink:

Some of our members are introducing strange dogs to the household quite frequently so have lots of experiences to relate about bringing in a new dog. I think if you go into the Archives (search function) and type in Fosters (or a variation thereof and usually in the Behavior forum) you will find quite a few posts about introducing new dogs to a household.

All that being said, there are some dogs who need to be the only dog...but that usually has to do with past experiences and is just a part of that particular dogs' makeup. If you have had Fritz since puppyhood then you know all his past well enough. From what you have described he sounds like he would LOVE to have a "roomie" :D :D And of course my next remark HAS to be....THINK RESCUE 8) :D
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Postby swillow66 » Fri May 26, 2006 10:34 pm

Suzie - WELCOME!!

1. Dogs, especially males, do start to change somewhere around 18 months to 2 years. He may test his boundries with you more and sometimes needs to be reminded you are in charge.

2 . My two pups can also play really loud and rough with each other too. Usually at night and inside the house. Normally I just say, "time for outside play" and they finish running off their energy in the backyard.

If you think one dog is intimidating the other, then it's time for intervention. Sometimes a "settle down" or a "leave it" is in order.

Usually I just grab a couple of small tidbits and run though a couple of minutes of training - sit, down, roll-over, etc. Good practice for when you are in a situation and you need to have him listen to you.

From what you have described he sounds like he would LOVE to have a "roomie" And of course my next remark HAS to be....THINK RESCUE
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Postby Dave » Fri May 26, 2006 11:02 pm

Welcome Suzie :)
I agree with all that has been said before me , good advice folks . :)
Some of our members are introducing strange dogs to the household quite frequently so have lots of experiences to relate about bringing in a new dog. I think if you go into the Archives (search function) and type in Fosters (or a variation thereof and usually in the Behavior forum) you will find quite a few posts about introducing new dogs to a household.


I have experimented and find the nuetral ground approach works the best . Lately though because of circumstances , have just walked a new dog in on a leash let everyone sniff etc. then immediately crate the new dog and just hang out . I keep my crates in my living room , that way we are visible and the new dog gets used to the sights and sounds . A second dog is great company for the first one and you also :) Dave
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