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Categories: Dog Aggression

Q. My dog is aggressive towards other dogs while at agility class and while walking around the neighborhood. She is never aggressive at obedience & conformation dog shows. What would you recommend?
Hello Cindy:

We have a 1 1/2 year old Australian Shepherd who is aggressive when on leash with other dogs in a classroom situation and walking around our neighborhood. She does not show any aggression while on leash walking around at dog shows which deal with conformation and obedience. We have her in an agility class where all the dogs are crated and one dog works at a time on the course. When it is her turn she has recently taken off and runs over to where the other dogs are crated and barks and growls at them. It is hard to get her focus back after that. What videos or any other advise do you recommend for the aggression toward other dogs?

Thank you

A. Personally, I wouldn't let a dog that did this off leash. I go to regular agility classes and our instructors won't allow dogs that don't have self control go off leash. The more you let her practice this, the harder it will be to fix it.

I see that you ordered a few videos since you wrote. The foundation of fixing this behavior is leadership AND engagement. If your dog would rather leave you during agility class to go after crated dogs, that tells me that you are not valuable enough to your dog. It may be that your dog needs to take a leave of absence from group classes right now while you work on building value on your relationship. My dogs would always rather play with me than interact with other dogs, but it takes some time & effort to build the relationship.

It's all based on engagement. If you go to our streaming video section and type engagement into the search section you'll see a lot of examples.

I'd also recommend foundation Michael Ellis videos The Power of Training Dogs with Food and The Power of Playing Tug with your Dog.

I notice you ordered Focused Heeling and Advanced Concepts in Motivation but the food & tug videos are the foundation for all future work and I believe you'll get your best results working on them before asking for focused heeling, etc.

The Pack Structure & Aggressive Dogs videos will help with the leadership issues on walks.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

  Response:

Hello Cindy:

Thank you very much for this advise. The other videos I have ordered were for my older dog as we are doing rally obedience and I want to learn the focused heeling techniques from Michael and possibly go on to formal obedience work with her.

I believe you are right in taking a break from agility class. It would be better to spend money on Michael's videos instead of class and get a better start in class later when she is engaged. We have also ordered the Pack Structure and Aggressive Dogs videos.

Very much appreciated
  
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