DA Beginning? (long post)

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Postby pitbullmamaliz » October 22nd, 2006, 10:16 am

So I'm wondering if Inara is beginning to get a little DA. A couple weeks ago in flyball she put the head of a JRT in her mouth - no damage whatsoever. Yesterday, she went for a Min Pin - no damage. And she also went for a BC that has been irritating the piss out of both of us - no damage. All three times, the dogs had been barking and posturing at her. And all three times, she had completed her task and then darted out of reach before I could grab her collar (buying a custom-made harness to make her easier to catch after her runs). Also yesterday, she was being introduced to the instructor's whippet - they were sniffing very politely, and then the whippet snarked at her, and she snarked back - no damage. When she was younger I would have attributed this to play, but something is different when she's doing it now. She's more intent, I suppose. So I believe she is beginning to get DA, but so far, only if the other dogs start it.

The flyball instructor said that Inara didn't make her nervous at all to have in class (actually, she said the BC stresses her out more!) and that she firmly believes Inara will be a great flyball dog and I just need to keep socializing her with other dogs as much as possible.

Is there a way to teach Inara to ignore dogs that are antagonizing her? She really is phenomenal at flyball so far so I don't want to quit doing that. But I also don't want another dog (or Inara) to get hurt.

I'm hoping that her DA isn't real strong as there wasn't a scratch on any of the dogs (actually, she had a couple, but none of the others did) - I would think that if she was truly intent on causing damage, damage would have been done?

I think it's also important to note that Inara has a few "friends" that she plays with on a regular basis - she's super-submissive to them if they snark at her. How is she deciding which dogs she's going to submit to, and which ones she's not going to take crap from?

Please keep in mind this is my first APBT, so I'm learning as I go!!!
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Postby msvette2u » October 22nd, 2006, 12:05 pm

I don't see this as dog aggression as much as her learning to stand up for herself. If she was getting DA then she'd be the aggressor.
The thing to always remember is that she might not start a fight but she CAN and will possibly finish it, much to the dismay of the other dogs' owner.
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Postby bahamutt99 » October 22nd, 2006, 1:46 pm

The way to get her to ignore other snarky dogs would be to work her around them, and work on the "leave it." I would have her on-lead as much as possible until she understands the concept. Playtime and social time is for later, and she must ignore other dogs while she's working, no matter what kind of names they're calling her.

BTW, I agree that it doesn't sound like she's doing anything particularly wrong, just letting other dogs know that she's not going to take any crap. The difference between a snark and a real fight is huge. Usually when a dog of this breed is intent on fighting, they don't give you the benefit of a snark in advance as warning.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » October 22nd, 2006, 2:52 pm

Thank you both for your feedback. I feel better after reading those. I of course am aware that she can develop full-fledged DA, and I'm prepared to deal with that, I would just prefer she not!
Baha, the ONLY time she is off-lead is when we are practicing restrained recalls at practice, and then it's only long enough for her to fly over four jumps. Other than that, at all times she is on lead. And I find it interesting that she doesn't go to the dogs until she has completed her task - she's quite dedicated!
Do you think she's taking crap from her "friends" because she's known them longer?
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Postby Malli » October 22nd, 2006, 4:46 pm

Oscar is like this, only he does do damage. The other dog could jump all over him, play mouth him, knock him down, but if they hump him or growl or snap, its on. Our problem is that Oscar plays really rough, so the protests from other dogs are more common because they are telling him to chill out and stop jumping all over them; he doesn't the difference understand a communication of a warning, and a dog that wants to kill him.
To my knowledge he is known as a reactive dog, as I understand it its a low level type of retaliatory aggression.
Oscar has several friends and he is fine with all of them, (mind you most are girls, come to think of it), I've personally seen him growled at repeatedly by a couple of his girlfriends (my parents dog included :o ), and he just jumps out of the way and ignores it.
I have also personally been present for all except for one of Oscar's "close encounters" (he has never had a full fledged fight) and luckily I have called it off before it got serious.
Perhaps this is a little dominance showing through? Have you noticed what sex the offending dogs are?

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Postby SisMorphine » October 22nd, 2006, 5:23 pm

If the dogs are being annoying she could just be growing into her own and starting to correct other dogs for bad behavior. But of course it's impossible to tell over the internet :)
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » October 22nd, 2006, 7:59 pm

Malli, the min-pin and the JRT were females, the BC and the whippet were males. :| I appreciate everybody's feedback. I'll just have to keep a much sharper eye out now and check out other dogs' body language, not just hers.
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Postby bahamutt99 » October 22nd, 2006, 8:52 pm

On October 22 2006, 12:52 PM, pitbullmamaliz wrote:
Do you think she's taking crap from her "friends" because she's known them longer?


Probably. Just like I'd take crap from my mother or my husband or a friend, but if some random stranger tried it, I'd be ready to rumble. Dogs in comfortable relationships don't really see the need to snark at each other, most of the time.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » October 22nd, 2006, 9:12 pm

Any tips for how I can introduce her to other dogs? I really do want to make sure she stays socialized, but I don't want her going after some dog in a store or anything. :| My reflexes are pretty damned fast, but still.
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Postby Malli » October 23rd, 2006, 12:21 am

If you see ANY stiff walking, strutting, tail that goes straight up in the air, hackles raised, humping, or things like the dog holding its head high or putting his head over another dogs shoulder, end the encounter right there. These are the type of dog that is likely to get uppity or bossy when its uncalled for, wich means (IMO) they'll teach Inara to be extra defensive. You need to show her that you can find her good buddies to play with, that won't push her buttons or boss her around.

As for the one sex versus the other, I guess Inara isn't particular :|
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Postby Romanwild » October 23rd, 2006, 10:16 am

Sounds like you have had too many close calls and need to stop letting all these dogs come around. Anyone of those incidents could have ended with a seriously injuredor dead dog.

IMO you should train her to not even look at other dogs. If you're doing flyball then that's what she should be concentrating on. Period. You have to make her stay focused.

I do not tolerate any snarking from either of my dogs. It's not acceptable behavior. I do my best to not let them get to that point. If they do they get a NO and a correction, preferably a bonk lately.

There is nothing wrong with supervised play with other dogs. I just think when it comes to training classes, competitions, public encounters that only the best behavior is acceptable when it comes to our breed. JMO

Most owners are idiots...sorry :oops: ...so you have to keep your eye on them as well. I'm always asking people to not approach me and my dog with out me being aware of it.

Our dogs don't need to be all friendly with other dogs. They have us and that's enough. Again, JMHO.
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Postby Big_Ant » October 23rd, 2006, 10:47 am

On 10/23/2006 6:16 AM, Romanwild wrote:Sounds like you have had too many close calls and need to stop letting all these dogs come around. Anyone of those incidents could have ended with a seriously injuredor dead dog.

IMO you should train her to not even look at other dogs. If you're doing flyball then that's what she should be concentrating on. Period. You have to make her stay focused.

I do not tolerate any snarking from either of my dogs. It's not acceptable behavior. I do my best to not let them get to that point. If they do they get a NO and a correction, preferably a bonk lately.

There is nothing wrong with supervised play with other dogs. I just think when it comes to training classes, competitions, public encounters that only the best behavior is acceptable when it comes to our breed. JMO

Most owners are idiots...sorry :oops: ...so you have to keep your eye on them as well. I'm always asking people to not approach me and my dog with out me being aware of it.

Our dogs don't need to be all friendly with other dogs. They have us and that's enough. Again, JMHO.

Very Good Post!

Many people try and think too much about the APBT being non-DA, or "Friendly" with other dogs. IMO, anyone who owns an APBT should consider the dog DA, regardless of incidents or other reason. This breed, regardless of how hard people try, will always have DA in it, and, again IMO, rightly so.

The best advice given has been to teach your dog to ignore them and not even look at them. One of the Schutzhund groups that I worked with, the Trainer was always telling me that I needed to stay on my game with keeping Weda very focused. He said that she should learn not to even glance at other dogs. He told a story of an APBT that he had and was leading towards titles. He was at the time, "non-DA", until one day at an event he was attacked by another dog. From that day forward the dog would always "strike first" whenever he seen another dog. Eventually having to be retired with no titles since he couldn't be trusted in the field if other dogs were in the vicinity.

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Postby concreterose » October 23rd, 2006, 11:16 am

Good posts, Charles and Ant.
Vicki is highly DA. My first year with her in agility consisted of us taking the same two classes over and over, but mainly working on focus. It was frustrating, it was a pain, but the end result is me having a dog able to do off leash agility with no problems with her getting snarky and worrying about the other dogs in the facility. The only thing she sees as important is me and the course. When I ask people to keep their dogs at a respectable distance, they cannot believe it when I tell them she is DA, and that is how it should be.
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Postby Romanwild » October 23rd, 2006, 11:18 am

Many people try and think too much about the APBT being non-DA, or "Friendly" with other dogs. IMO, anyone who owns an APBT should consider the dog DA, regardless of incidents or other reason. This breed, regardless of how hard people try, will always have DA in it


Good point! I forgot the mantra!

NEVER TRUST A PIT BULL TO NOT FIGHT
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Postby Romanwild » October 23rd, 2006, 11:23 am

Nice work CR! I'm not that confident in my training abilities to work off leash with other dogs around. Don't know if I ever will.

I will not do agility off leash unless it's a fenced in area like "Over Rover" where the Bull-ympics was held. They have 4 trials a year, two of which I can compete in. That's enough for me! I barely have time now to train.
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Postby concreterose » October 23rd, 2006, 11:50 am

On Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:23 am, Romanwild wrote:Nice work CR! I'm not that confident in my training abilities to work off leash with other dogs around. Don't know if I ever will.

I will not do agility off leash unless it's a fenced in area like "Over Rover" where the Bull-ympics was held. They have 4 trials a year, two of which I can compete in. That's enough for me! I barely have time now to train.

It was certainly not easy. It took two years of us working together, learning each other and a very supportive trainer.
A lot of it boils down to your dog trusting you to make important decisions. One of the main reasons I love agility, it really builds communication and understanding between the handler and the dog with LOTS of distractions, and at a fast pace. You are constantly proofing basic obedience.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » October 23rd, 2006, 4:36 pm

Thank you for the extra feedback. Should I work on "watch me" or "leave it" or something else entirely to make her focus on me? And I totally agree that our dogs need to be the best behaved, by far. It's in Inara's future to get her CGC, and hopefully her TT. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to keep her a good representative of the breed.
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Postby mnp13 » October 23rd, 2006, 4:44 pm

Well, had she wanted to do serious harm to those dogs she would have. However, an excellent recall and a watch me command would be an excellent thing to learn.
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Postby concreterose » October 23rd, 2006, 6:14 pm

On Mon Oct 23, 2006 3:36 pm, pitbullmamaliz wrote:Thank you for the extra feedback. Should I work on "watch me" or "leave it" or something else entirely to make her focus on me? And I totally agree that our dogs need to be the best behaved, by far. It's in Inara's future to get her CGC, and hopefully her TT. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to keep her a good representative of the breed.


I would work on the focus (watch) moreso than 'leave it'. When she is not doing any active training, she should be looking to see what you want. In between practice, work on the focus command. Start off in a space with minimal distractions.

Another thing I do with Vicki at training to break up the monotony (I realize it gets boring just looking at me, and can also cause stress in some dogs) is to practice tricks. The dog also has to be concentrating on you and focusing, just not looking directly at you. It is also a great stress reliever, and fun!
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