Is my boy turning into a bully?

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Pshopper
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Is my boy turning into a bully?

Post by Pshopper » 30 Mar 2015, 12:31

My almost 2yrs old doodle has developed a bit of an attitude - read bully - when out walking. He is a very good boy for most of the time. Recall is good as is walking by my side. He takes commands well and is a big ball of mush with us and the family, so no problems there.

In the last month or so (cannot work out what has triggered this) he will charge up to anxious or nervous dogs and behaves in a dominant manner by making a growling aggressive sound whilst lunging for them, whereby they drop onto their backs in a submissive stance. He hasn't made contact (yet), but it isn't nice for the other dogs/owners, or me to see my boy acting like a prize bully :(

I have taken him back to basics which he always responds well to, and I try to maintain his focus on me. Sometimes I can predict this behaviour, so I slip the lead on and try to confidently stride past the passing shy dog whilst chattering away to him saying good boy etc. I have also sat him down and treated him if he doesn't repond to passing dogs, but it is all a bit hit and miss and sometimes he will have a pop at them and other times just walk past them calmly.
I know that dogs can pick up on our stress, so I do attempt to sound and appear confident when I am out with him, but it has definitely made walking less enjoyable and maybe I am passing on my anxiety but it's very difficult to not feel a little on edge.

Any help and or suggestions would be gratefully received. :) Thank you x

linny
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Re: Is my boy turning into a bully?

Post by linny » 30 Mar 2015, 15:37

It's not uncommon ...it does happen that around two they can start to exhibit challenging behaviour..... so you are not alone :)
My Ambrose was the same and I think you are right in thinking that your boy is tapping into your anxiety... but remaining calm is easier said than done isn't it. :!:

I managed by putting him back on a long line and having a favourite toy to hand (his ball) I would use it to detract his attention away from other dogs.
This worked for me.

Has your boy been neutered?

Pshopper
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Re: Is my boy turning into a bully?

Post by Pshopper » 30 Mar 2015, 16:21

Hi Linny and thank you for your post.

Well, I'm glad to hear that it might be a bit of an age thing ... let's be hopes ;)
These doodles do seem to go through lots of different stages, more so than any other dog we have owned before :roll:
He has been through the: I like lunging at white vans..Bicycles..Joggers.. Men with long matrix style coats (mind you I don't blame him for doing that lol).. yikes the list is endless, but the good news is that he did outgrow (sort of) most of the afore mentioned habits.

I guess with this one though, I am aware that I really don't want him to get used to the adrenalin rush that I think he feels after his dominating behaviour. Someone mentioned a gas cannister that makes a loud hissing noise that you point in there direction, but I don't think that I would be able to react fast enough to get it out of my pocket.
He often has a ball whilst out walking, and like you I thought that would distract him, but he has still done it with the ball in his mouth. Do you think that he needs more socialising with other dogs maybe?

linny
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Re: Is my boy turning into a bully?

Post by linny » 30 Mar 2015, 17:41

I have used the pet corrector (compressed air) to stop Ambrose and Jethro barking in the car..it's a useful aid and my boys no longer bark in the car :D ....just keep the can to hand at a time when you know you are going to need it.
If they need a little reminder all I have to do now is wave the can . :lol:

More socialisation with other dogs can only be a good thing.
Do you have a local Doodle group that you can walk with?
Other Dood owners are more understanding of the problems and I'm sure would be happy to work with you and your boy.
We are down in Devon ...whereabouts are you?

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Bid
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Re: Is my boy turning into a bully?

Post by Bid » 30 Mar 2015, 19:03

Personally I wouldn't use anything that startles him, because it could make him switch from trying-it-on mode to something more intense. I have a corrector spray that I keep in the car, but that is a precaution in case any of the dogs I walk start to fight while in transit, but I wouldn't want to use it in training - positive all the way for that.
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Pshopper
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Re: Is my boy turning into a bully?

Post by Pshopper » 30 Mar 2015, 19:18

Right... I will buy the Pet Corrector tomorrow and let you know how we get on with it. Better practice my quick retrieve :D although I would prefer to be able to sort this out the old fashioned way.

I don't think that there are any doodle walking groups in Woking Surrey but I would be happy to be corrected; and as much as I like Devon, that's quite a trek :D

As for socialisation, I have seen an adolescent training class locally and maybe that would be a positive experience for the both of us. Gosh we are all a work in progress !!!!

Pshopper
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Re: Is my boy turning into a bully?

Post by Pshopper » 30 Mar 2015, 19:28

Thank you Bid.
Do you have any training techniques that you think may help in a positive way? Something magical would be great but I know that it comes down to patience and persistence. Aarghhh

linny
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Re: Is my boy turning into a bully?

Post by linny » 30 Mar 2015, 20:52

Bid wrote:Personally I wouldn't use anything that startles him, because it could make him switch from trying-it-on mode to something more intense.
I think Bid that you have known me long enough to know that I'm all for positive training but sometimes you reach a point where all the positives in the world fail to achieve a result. I had reached that point with my two.
They were barking at every passing dog and god forbid that anyone tried to touch the car whilst they were in it. :roll:
It was very stressful and more to the point taking my concentration off the road.....something had to be done :!:
The pet corrector is no more than a loud shhhhh and they have now learned that their behaviour is unacceptable ......my feeling is that it has stopped every journey being an absolute nightmare and using the corrector is not physically or mentally damaging to them so it has been helpful.

My car is now a peaceful and happy place to be 8) .

Oscar2011
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Re: Is my boy turning into a bully?

Post by Oscar2011 » 30 Mar 2015, 21:34

Hi,

I think it's most certainly an age thing, Oscar went through exactly the same, when his response to other dogs became most unpredictable :? . He used to get treated like mad for good behaviour, He's gonna be four this year and apart from a bit of playful kangaroo boxing, he can't be bothered with the fuss any more. I am a firm believer of calm, assertive energy(in the hoomans). Dogs pick up hooman moods more than most realise. With a little patience, and consistancy things will come good in the end.

Personally we've never used extending leads, preferring close control and heel work, we live in a town with lots of path walks by busy roads, and then theres cats :roll: . Never used pet corrector, not sure that startling Oscar would have proved worthy.

Not sure whether we've just been lucky with Oscar, or some of our training has actually sunk in :lol:

Good luck,

Oscar & hoomans.
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Pollydoodle
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Re: Is my boy turning into a bully?

Post by Pollydoodle » 30 Mar 2015, 22:13

Please think carefully before reaching for that pet corrector.

He doesn't sound like he's been the most confident dog/pup date,so not convinced the corrector is your answer at this stage.

You mention he has done this charging up etc with his ball in his mouth so this makes me wonder if something is going on that isn't what you describe as bully/aggresive behaviour per say.
Don't have an answer but pls give him time and help him work through it.
Seems you have done really well together so far. :D

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Bid
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Re: Is my boy turning into a bully?

Post by Bid » 31 Mar 2015, 08:39

linny wrote: I think Bid that you have known me long enough to know that I'm all for positive training but sometimes you reach a point where all the positives in the world fail to achieve a result. I had reached that point with my two.
I know that Linny, but there is always positive way if only you can find it, and in this case I would be concerned that an already aroused dog would switch to a more full-on response if suddenly startled.

Pshopper he sounds very like my Beamish, who consistently humps elderly bitches. It's not so much that he has a strange perversion for the elderly, but more that he knows younger ones will tell him off and the older girls are more vulnerable - typical bully behaviour in fact! Have you tried distraction with a special toy? SOmetimes a little game of tug is preferable to rushing off to bully a dog. I have a supply of SWAG tug toys I keep just for walks - the rabbit skin ones are particualrly effective! https://www.southwestagilitygoods.co.uk ... x&cPath=43
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Pshopper
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Re: Is my boy turning into a bully?

Post by Pshopper » 31 Mar 2015, 15:02

Thank you everyone for your really helpful and supportive posts. You guys always give the best advice and it all helps me to help him be the happy relaxed dood that I know he is :)

With regards to the Pet Corrector; I haven't yet bought one but I will, not necessarily to use to correct his behaviour, but just to have in my doggy bag in case of an emergency. If I don't need to use it, it may help clean between the keys on this old laptop keyboard :D

We have just got back in from a walk and he was perfectly fine. I did spot a youngish Weimaraner wandering about and so did he, but I called him and he reacted straight away (could be something to do with the new packet of Misfits in my pocket), he sat and got a treat and lots of praise.

I do use the command "stay close" and he does, so I will continue to use that in the hope that I can capture his attention before his bully demon tries to raise its ugly head.

Bid.. do you suggest playing tug with the rabbit skin as we are going to pass other dogs, or for the dogs to play with?

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Bid
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Re: Is my boy turning into a bully?

Post by Bid » 31 Mar 2015, 15:49

The theory is that if he likes a game of tug, then use the approach of a strange dog as a cue for a game, and use the game as a distraction while the dog passes. Eventually the approach of a dog will mean he turns to you for a fun game rather than looking to see if he can boss the dog about.

Another thing I realised with Beamish is that we had got into a routine of going to the same places and meeting the same dogs, so a new dog was the exception rather than the rule, so I am trying to vary things a bit so he gets to see a lot of new dogs.
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val&finn
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Re: Is my boy turning into a bully?

Post by val&finn » 31 Mar 2015, 22:56

We had the same problem with Finn, displayed towards young dogs that were still whole, or nervous dogs but rarely towards bitches. He got frustrated if they didn't want to engage in his rough play and didn't know when it was time to stop. The moment the other dog chased him it was fine, and it became obvious that it was high arousal and play excitement on his side rather than aggression.

We found it impossible to stop this behaviour when he was in full swing, the only way was to avoid getting to that point. We distracted him the moment we saw a new dog, or one we knew he might want to bully, recall him and give him something to do, maybe a sit/down or other exercise, or play with a toy. I carried a Kong with paste in it, or sausage, cheese the stuff he is very fond of, something really yummy to bring him back. Fortunately, he's very food oriented so with the right timing plus the key work 'biscuit' he returned and walked right past any dog with his nose in my pocket. Training classes also helped a lot, especially agility. He is now 7 and only shows this behaviour with our second dog who too loves rough play, but only with Finn. Izzy takes no prisoners, so Finn doesn't stand a chance with her - but both love it. The clash of the gladiators happens about 2 or 3 times a day, and after each one they fall asleep next to each other, nose to tail. It sounds appalling (Finn yodels....) and if you just went by the sound of it you'd think it was a serious dog fight.

I think this problem arose because we didn't socialise him properly with other dogs. There weren't any dogs where we lived and we didn't know anyone with a dog. What we would have needed at the time is the company of an older dog who would have taught Finn what was acceptable and what wasn't. We went twice to puppy parties where the other pups displayed exactly this behaviour, chasing towards him and barking their heads off - and Finn hid under my chair like a wallflower. With hindsight I would say that this may have made a lasting impression on him, he is not a very confident dog. The parties were too busy for him, too many boisterous pups, and it was only at the second party that one of the vet nurses intervened and put us and another shy puppy in a separate room.

Well, hindsight is a great thing!! Best wishes - Val, Finn and Izzy

PS: we used the Pet Corrector, but it's very loud and if other people are standing next to you not very pleasant for them. Again, with hindsight I don't think it made a difference, he got used to it very quickly.
Val, Finn Doodle & Izzy Whizz

jasperaliceuk
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Re: Is my boy turning into a bully?

Post by jasperaliceuk » 03 Apr 2015, 10:22

Met a local lady a few days ago with a bouncy young miniature labradoodle - as soon as it it clocked us it was jumping up and straining at the end of its leash. The lady was understandably really flustered although both hubby and I turned our backs and ignored for all feet on the ground. Pup then tried to bounce all over Milo at which she whipped out the 'can' - well I say 'whipped' - more like fumbled to get it it - sprayed at the poor pup who sat instantly looking really worried.

All I could think was a) it was not correcting his bouncy behaviour b) it was right in front of Milo so could have spooked him and more importantly c) because it was with Milo right there all the message I could see it giving across was 'there is another dog - be afraid, be very afraid'. She has young children so I dread that she uses it in their vicinity and a similar message getting across.

I did give the name of a local trainer but think it may have fell on deaf ears!
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