no luck with Socialization!!

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Joined: 2011-02-19

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i am trying my best to get Lily socialized. When we first got Lily she had the demodex mange and other dog owners thought it was contagious so i didnt get the chance to have her around people or other dogs. Then when she was cleared up her only friend was Spike n my mother in law lil pup but it she had it put down because of parvo. And now Lily barks and snips at people ALL people except me and my kids. Anyone one she sees and runs towards them barking then turns back to the house and runs back.!! a few weeks ago she nipped my little girls friend on the butt because she was standing at the front door!! i dont like that we have to put her away everytime there is company or my kids have their friends in the yard. When we go to petCo she has to wear a muzzle bc she acts as if she will attack anything. And no one will let their dogs play with Spike n Lily bc they are afraid they will eat them. Seriously!! im more afraid your dog will hurt mine. Dog parks at the moment are a no-no-no. i havent find the right one yet n im afraid to just throw them in there with no socialization skills. it just seems dangerous. i thought about dog daycare too but can not afford it at the mometn since all money is tied up into finding us our dream house. any suggestions on what i can do!!??

jeshykai's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-02

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She would most likely not be allowed in a day care as she is a liability with her aggression.

I would not stress the dog socializing and don't don't do dog parks it takes one other dog to attack her and any and all hard work you have been put into building up her confidence will be lost.

I wouldn't trust her loose with kids because they may not know how to behave properly with Lilly, but I would leash her up to you and still have her out and watching everything.

Desensitization is the best means to get her confidence up. I'm not sure bringing her to petco is setting her up for success - just yet. It's like forcing a person who is claustrophobic in a closet while you shop.

Exercise is your best friend. She probably has lots if built up tension and anxiety. Working her out will help "numb" that mind.

The biting of the butt was probably a bit of prey drive showing.

I would google for some articles on handling fear aggression. I can give you more pointers if you like.

KevinK's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-15

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What have you been doing in terms of socialization, and training?

Joined: 2011-02-19

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thank you jeshykai. i would love that. i try my best to exercise them and we even go about 15 miles from where i live 2-3x a week just to let them run off leash in the woods. lately i have not been able to exercise them that much due to house hunting almost everyday. its very hard becasue i want to find a house with lots of interior space since i have so many children and lots of room in the backyard for the dogs to enjoy and neighborhoods that will be understanding about these two huge dogs.... talk about nerve wrecking!! :(

Joined: 2011-02-19

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@ kevin; training i have been practicing basic commands. i.e. sit stay come and down. and she does them beautifully but not when someone comes to door. she will not stop barking and when i go to move her from door she runs around me then back to the door barking. the people(usually my family members) will come in and Lily will bark at them and lunge as if she was going to bite but i grab her and tell her a firm no and put her up. after she calms down from the barking i let her out and she will start barking again. no one is making an attempt to pet her or hurt her and she gets this way. we have tried letting them give her treats and she will not take them. not even for cheese or peanut butter her and spikes fave. At the vets office there was a huge boxer who was fine until lily came in. Lily did nothing but walk in and this boxer became insane trying to get lily the owner had to take him into another hallway wher he could not be able to see lily. and all the while Lily goes into attack mode as well until the dog is gone and then she was fine with every other dog.

jeshykai's picture
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http://www.dogproblemsolutions.com/what_dog_fear_aggression_and_how_deal...

This is a good article on what fear aggression is.

Food is only a reward when it gets the dog's focus and in this case, since Lily is likely consumed with high anxiety and aggressive fear I can understand why it's not a distraction enough for her.  Also, by letting her gear up to these levels before the family or visitors come in, she can't stop herself when you'd deem it appropriate and she gets put away.  So she gets upset, she gets put away, she comes out, shes still upset.  She hasn't learned to calm down in the face of strangers.

How does she respond with her collar?  Does a correction with the prong (I think I saw it on Spike in your pictures) work enough to break her focus and have her look at you?

KevinK's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-15

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You can't expect results without spending the time needed, put simply.  If you are busy house hunting, what about waking up early, or staying up late, to make sure that your dogs are getting enough exercise and play?  Can you have someone come over and interact with them?  How long are they alone daily?  Are they crated when they are alone?

Joined: 2011-02-19

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@ jes: yes we try the prong its a samll one for her and she responds on walks with it but for someone coming towards her or into our home you can give her a correction and it will not phase her the least bit. she will still bark and bare teeth and her hair will be raised all the way to the back like her own personal mohawk.

Joined: 2011-02-19

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@ kevin: the dogs are not left alone while we house hunt.  we have a sitter, which is usually one of my family members, come to my house since they come to watch my kids and the dogs are part of the package. lol so no they are not crated all day or night. my young son will put them in the crate before they sit to eat and let them out after they are finished. their exercise is solely my responsibility. a) because my children are too young to do it B) becuase the hubby will just wait until they relieve themself and bring them in. i usually do walk late at night anyyway since i try to avoid other dogs n people. and people that have their dogs out when i walk during the day pick them up and walk the other way. its heartbreaking thinking my babies cant have friends. they are constantly at play with each other and spike lvoes fetch.Lily not so much. and on the occasion that we do all go somewhere together(like a family dinner) they are for the most part house trained and i let them have free run of the living room. i take the trash out so they dont get into anything they are supposed to and put up whatever is on the counters and we have childlock cabinets under sink becuase of  kids. we like to take the dogs to a park thats about 15 minutes away from us to let them run loose without having incidents with other dogs and children that will get easily knocked over. they are getting their exercise just not as much as they normally do lately because of me being gone. as stated earlier im the only one who takes them on their 35 minute walks and i am the only one that feeds them because of the raw diet.

DJ's Dad's picture
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Joined: 2010-10-04

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I just read your profile on LilyBugZ and that poor baby obviously was NOT socialized very well when she was at an impressionable young age.  She's leery of strangers now, human and canine, and as mentioned above (Jess, I believe) dogs sometimes react aggressively purely out of fear, even the slightest bit of fear of the unknown. 

Is there anyone you know that has a dog that she gets along really well with?  Maybe you could set up some short play dates with her and another dog that you trust together with her and slowly let her see that it's ok.  It's going to take some creative measures to 'de-sensitize' her to other dogs and other people and try to make her feel confident so that she wont feel that she has to bark, growl, or show teeth. 

We live right next to a little league ball field, and last summer, Ziva barked at every single person that walked past the fence that separates my yard from the outer edges of the ball field.  I thought then "oh my, it's going to be a LONG summer"...so this year, I started letting her out in the front and side yards early on, when practices were just starting and there was just a handful of people over there, and I stayed out in the yard with her, and every time someone would walk by and it would make Ziva want to charge over to the fence barking, I'd pick up her tennis ball and get her attention. Her prey drive for the ball being thrown far outweighed her desire to bark at these random people.  We spent many hours out in the yard on Saturdays, and it is paying off.  This past weekend, there were several games going on over there all at the same time, and lots of people milling around, walking past the fence, talking, carrying their coolers and fold up chairs, and Ziva was out there just watching them....quietly.  To top that off, she decided to go lie down under a tree and take a nap.  YAY.  

LillyBugZ might need some one-on-one time, just you and her, and some way to build her confidence levels to a point where she knows she's cool and doesn't have to work so hard to prove it, you know?

Joined: 2011-02-19

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@ Zivas Dad. yes there was one besides Spike. a little black furball puppy but he recently passed away in april from parvo. i would pick him up from in laws and take to park with us. Lily was rough in knocking him over bc she was so much bigger than him but she never snapped at him or showed aggression. i also feel she is doing this out of fear. Yes im trying to find people on fb who have bigger dogs n would like to have play dates. As soon as She sees Spike okay aruond people or other dogs she calms down. thats a great idea. im always so into having them eat and play and exercise at the same time and i have actually not spent much one on one time with her other then our vet visits. They eat together,sleep on my bed together, lay on couch everything they do is together. Thanks for pointing it out. after a few visits of the same people she is okay with them. like for instance my dad and his wife come over to watch my children( i have 4 and 2 stepchildren) Lily would go barking crazy but now she barks when they walk  to door and sniffs when they come inside.

blue4's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-28

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I am no expert.  And I don't have a lot of experience, but I'll just share something that really helped us.  Reesie doesn't have fear aggression, but displays dominant aggression.  Which I guess some people just like to call dominant behavior.  Anyway, he was nipping, barking, being aggressive with other dogs too.  I really think he wasn't confident either now that I think about it.  We stopped letting him sleep in our room, stopped him on the bed, stopped him on furniture and stopped letting him walk through doorways before us.  I don't know if you do any of that or not, but for us, this made a HUGE difference.  It helped him know his place in the pack, and gave him more confidence.  I think he felt more powerful than the kids in the pack order and we were having issues with that.  We have not had an "aggression" incident since we started doing this. 

I know your situation is more complicated than ours.  I'm not suggesting this will solve all your problems.  I just thought I might offer that.  It made life so much better for us, I can't help but share it.    

sweetpea's picture
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Joined: 2010-10-25

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I really feel for you on this issue!  It's hard on all parties, you, the dogs and the strangers/their dogs.  My suggestion would be to first take a look at how you react to other people/dogs when you are out and about.  Do you stiffen up or tighten the leash because you know what is about to happen?  Lily can sense when you are tense or uncomfortable and that will affect how she reacts to the situation.  Try to stay calm and distract her from the other people/dogs by calling her and rewarding her for paying attention to you.  Do NOT pull her back by her leash - this will make her feel as though she's being held back from something that is a threat and will make her more insecure. It's also important to not coddle her or try to reassure her while she's freaking out.  This will only confirm in her mind that she's having an appropriate reaction, and will make it that much harder to change.  You have to remain calm.  If you can, try to figure out where her threshold is - ie how close can someone get before she freaks out, or does it happen as soon as she sees them?  Then try to bring down her reaction in stages.  Work on getting her to ignore people and dogs from far away, then slowly increase her comfort zone by getting closer.