Abby’s doggie aggression – reader comments

We had some great feedback from everyone regarding Abby’s disposition toward some other dogs.  I am glad to hear I am not alone in my Scottie experience.

Here is a quick update:  We have had a really good week.  I have restarted her training and getting her to “Watch Me!” (picture me saying that in a loud, squeaky, happy voice).  I use treats and get her to stop, sit, and look at me in the eyes (done by holding a special type of treat by the tip of my nose).  She gets the treat and lots of praise.  I do this each time we see a new dog.  It took a couple of times but now she moves away with me when she sees a new dog and waits for the treat and calmly watches the dog go by.

I don’t always give a treat but I will always praise her.  We have not had any new incidents.  (I am quickly touching wood as I type this.)

Thanks everyone for your feedback.  Here is a summary of some the comments below:

Shari recommended:

Talk to the vet.  Abby might need something like Prozac.  Never used it myself but it might help”.

Sandra wrote:

Oh do I know about walking the difficult Scottie!  We are usually at the farm in mid state Georgia, of course, on a leash except for the family time we spend at the pond when Ansel is so busy fishing he can be trusted not to “break bad” and chase into the woods.  When we have to be in the city we time our walks so to avoid other dogs.  There is always the dog not on a leash whose owner asserts the friendliness of their dog and I assert the non-friendliness of Ansel.  Usually I scoop him up and try to hold him to prevent his work on the other dog.  Ansel was abused as a puppy (now eight years old) and the slightest event can set him off on fearful aggression.  We tried a muzzle, but felt it was causing more damage than good.  What seems to have worked is to provide him a squeaky toy to channel his fearful aggression onto the toy in lieu of the dog, cat, bicycle, etc….you know.


Ansel’s Handmaiden

(Love her sign-off as Ansel’s Handmaiden)

Janet recommended the pet safe bark collar:

I had the same problem with a little breed mama that I adopted.  A pet safe bark collar has really helped when it is needed.   You might try it on Abby.  It has done wonders for Stormy’s attitude.  I talked to a dog behavior specialist in TN recommended by TN Scottie Rescue.  He gave me some very good tips on how to handle the aggression issue.

Here is a link to Pet Safe Bark Collars on Amazon.

Joyce had success with the pinch collar:

I have a two year old with the same problem.  I got her a pinch collar and used properly works like a miracle.  I too have to be aware of what’s coming around the bend, but I found if I make her sit and give her the command “wait”,  she is quiet as a mouse.  Sometimes too, I just say wait and pass them and she is good.  She has been a tough one, toughest I have had and she is my 5th.  Takes patience and training.  You may want to actually “set her up” so you can practice.   Before getting the pinch my leg came between her mouth and another passing dog a couple of times.  Ouch!

Good luck.  The pinch is almost always loose because she behaves.  But just a slight correction gets her right back on track.  Just puts even pressure equally around her neck and is miles away from hurting.  I never used one before, but it works so well, and is more humane than clipping a leash to a collar and her gasping for breath as the regular collar will choke her.  Even a choke collar is better used properly will hang loose if the dog behaves, but good for corrections.

Pinch Collars on Amazon.

Judith has similar troubles with her little Molly:

Sorry to hear about Abby.  It really sucks when your scotties go postal!  I have the same issue with my Molly.  Loves people, is insecure and bites when around other dogs!  A walk is sometimes an exercise in futility.  I’m really good at hiding behind cars when I see another person walking down the street with their dog.  I truly can’t believe the sounds coming out of Molly!  And to make matters worse, she has taught Angus (my wheaton scottie) the same aggressive tactics!  Angus loves to run up to other dogs and bites them to get them to play!  Needless to say, we no longer go to the dog park!!

Mary had success with her Yorkie, Buster, by enrolling him in a training class:

I enrolled him in a socialization class for a year in and half and it really worked. One night a week we would meet with the class and our trainer would have us run drills for an hour and half. We would line up with 25- 30 dogs in close proximity, criss crossing in front of each other, going over jumps but always following the leader, and always moving. We would take breaks away from the group and then get called back in to line up. It worked brilliantly! Now whenever Buster sees an approaching dog on our walks, it’s no big deal. I guess he wore himself out on being aggressive when he couldn’t tackle 25- 30 dogs all at once. I recommend looking in your area for a good trainer who works with socializing groups. It was a great experience and we were all there for the same reason, so you feel a lot less critical about yourself and your dog.

Russie provided titles for books that helped him and his little Scottie.  Fluoxetine was also diagnosed which helped.

I relied on these books to help me gain insight into the mind of an aggressive dog:

  1. Aggression in Dogs: Practical Management, Prevention & Behaviour Modification
  2. Fight!: A Practical Guide to the Treatment of Dog-dog Aggression
  3. Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog by Emma Parsons

I also love the book Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs by Suzanne Clothier. I don’t think I understood the sometimes fragile psyche of an aggressive dog. Parts of the book brought tears to my eyes. Hers is a relationship-based method of training. (She has a website with a wealth of information on this subject.)

But not really having the energy at that precise moment to try harder, I enlisted the help of drugs for my frightened and bite-prone boy. He was on the lowest dose of fluoxetine available, but it made a tremendous difference in his attitude and behavior. Training was easier as he felt relaxed. We had a much stronger relationship and he clearly trusted me, which was no small thing. He could be distracted with a click or a word–even when another dog was coming at him, teeth bared. He knew I was there to support him, and, more importantly, he was less afraid and had more confidence in himself. (You’d think confidence wouldn’t be the problem, right? But so often it is.)

Please check out all the Comments.