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  1. #1
    Puppy (New Member)

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    Default Advice - Male Pyr showing dog aggression

    First of all, thank you for taking the time to help out and read this post.

    My mom recently adopted a Pyr. He's 7 months old, neutered, and is mixed with husky and German shepherd. He's a lovely dog and a great companion for her. She is an experienced dog owner. We've owned labs and retrievers in the past. However, a Pyr is a bit different. Beau, our dog, is definitely stubborn. He is willful occasionally on walks, preferring to sit and chew a stick rather than continue on the walk, for example. He is also very resistant about getting into or out of the car.

    Aside from these behaviors, we have noticed an increase in non-social and aggressive behaviors towards other dogs. He will display warning signs, stiffened body, a warning "snip," or a low growl. He does not do this with all dogs. He has done this when guarding objects, like rawhides, from neighbor dogs. We have since not allowed him to have these things when he is out. Sometimes, he is fine. He will play and socialize normally and enjoys walks with neighbor dogs. We think he is guarding his resources. Sometimes, though, the resources are much-less-to-be-desired items, like a clump of dirt that he had been gnawing.

    Any advice for ways to work with Beau and prevent any neighborhood trouble? Otherwise, he's a sweet boy, and we are certainly happy to have him.

  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) nick's spirit's Avatar

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    Welcome katgood, Mom & Beau...and thank you for rescuing this boy.

    I assume he had had a through check up at the vet's office....

    I really stopped giving my dogs (especially my Pyrs) rawhide at any time...it seems to mess with their heads & they resource guard it.

    Some dogs are just not social animals, I had one of those, she didn't show those signs until she was about 18-24 months old...then she couldn't stand to have another dog in her sight, and there were some people she didn't like around me.

    Since you are noticing these things and have picked up on them, is there anyone in your area who knows Great Pyrenees & their behavior to help you with Beau? A behaviorist who can be there to actually see the body language & help you re-direct him.
    Not being able to actually be there & observe, it's very difficult to give any other type of advise.

    Please keep us informed on how things work out..

    Nancy & Rudy

  3. #3
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Antonia's Avatar

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    I agree with Nancy that a behaviorist that can see Beau's behavior in action would be your best resource. One important thing to bear in mind is that you can have some additional behavioral issues when you have a mixed-breed dog. Great Pyrenees have specific traits that have helped them perform a very specific job for hundreds of years. Many of these traits are the opposite of traits you will find in a breed like a German Shepherd. So, sometimes you will have the resource guarding issues (which are very common in livestock guardian breeds) but you can have an added dose of aggression that might not be usual in a Pyr but might be more common in breeds they are mixed with. We had trouble with this in our Pyr x Aussie girl. She had the guarding instinct and behaviors of the Pyr but the obsessive/wanting to control everyone else that is more common to the Aussie in her. This created problems with her and our other dogs. It's not a problem that can't be worked with, its just one that is good to keep in mind when you are trying to sort out what is going on with your baby if he is a mix. Sometimes it is part of the picture and bringing it to mind helps identify what is happening.

    Wanting to sit down on walks is pretty common for these big lugs. I rarely have mine on a leash but my current Kangal boy is like a snail when he's on a leash and outweighs me so if he decides he's not moving, I have a problem! I started carrying special treats in my pocket and turned it into a game. I started with really tasty treats and would throw one down on the ground in front of him and tell him "find it". Gradually I would throw them further in front of him. It worked great for him. Now, your boy is showing RG behavior so throwing treats on the ground might be counter productive. It might depend on the environment and whether there are other people/dogs around. I had to work hard with my boy to get him to willingly go in the car. We did a lot with treats and throughout the day, made multiple small trips in the car. For us, just around our property but really short. Just a minute. Almost just in and out. We worked up to longer rides, always heavily rewarding with high value treats. He eventually came to love the car and now would do anything to get to go in the car with me no matter where I am going. Best advice I can give is don't force him to get in the car if you don't have to and work slowly and with all positive associations about contact with the car.

    I hope you can find a good behaviorist who can have a look at your boy. He is still very young and at an age where a lot is still possible since he is still very much a puppy.

  4. #4
    Puppy (New Member)

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    Thank you for the responses and advice.

    We do have a dog trainer/behaviorist we have been working with since we first brought Beau home at 4 months. We took Beau over to the trainers house the other day to work on commands. Beau knows sit, down, come, and stay. He does these well, especially when treats are involved. We were definitely shocked at the way Beau was when introduced (on-leash for both dogs) to the trainer's dog. He was very interested. The other dog was definitely not, just ignoring Beau. After about a minute, Beau barked and lunged, at which point the trainer took his dog back inside. He tried this same thing with a different dog of his, again with leashes and a slow introduction. Beau and the other dog sniffed each other, and Beau once again barked and lunged.

    His advice to us was that Beau has a dominant personality and wants to be the dominant dog, which can cause issues with dogs who do not want to be submissive to him. We were just shocked because, even on walks, Beau is never that adamant with barking/lunging. It is an adjustment in how we will work with him, for sure.

    Beau goes to a dog daycare three days a week and has been going since he was a puppy. The manager and people who work there really like him, and he has never had any major problems. We were also wondering if this type of a situation is good for him or if there is a potential for it to reinforce negative behaviors. The dogs do have crates where they are put if they display aggression or other unwanted behaviors...

    We just want to make sure that we are truly doing the best things to reinforce the good things and prevent any dangerous situations for us, Beau, or others. The trainer really didn't give us advice on how to help with aggression with other dogs, other than saying that he's a dominant personality. Any tips?

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    The behavior you describe with the trainer's dogs really sounds more like leash reactivity than dominance aggression. Leash reactivity is a far more common behavior pattern, and fits better with the other behaviors you are describing.

    Given his age (seven months is somewhat young to see these problems arise), and the multitude of issues you are having, I would advise reaching out to someone on either of these two directories:

    http://www.dacvb.org/about/member-directory/
    http://www.animalbehaviorsociety.org...-directory.php

    Everyone on these lists is a true expert in animal behavior, whose knowledge goes far beyond that of your typical trainer-type of Behaviorist. I learned this the hard way after dumping a lot of money and energy into trainer-type behaviorists only to get nowhere. Once I learned that we had a CAAB in our area, I contacted her to work on some pretty serious issues I was having with Chester, my non-Pyr. She literally saved his life. Her rates were comparable to those of a trainer-type behaviorist, as well.

    I do hope that there is someone on one of those lists close to you. If not, don't fret. Some of them do offer remote consults.

    I am sending the three of you lots of good energy. Please keep us posted on your progress with him!
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
    www.facebook.com/SirSaintSebastian

  6. #6
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    I would agree that it sounds like your pup has leash reactivity. It is not uncommon. Going to daycare is not what is causing his leash reactivity. If he does well in daycare, he most definitely should continue to go. He needs the exercise and socialization at his age.

    What is this trainer's suggestion as to the leash reactivity? Most dogs react usually out of fear or insecurity, not "dominance." But regardless of whether your pup is being "dominant aggressive" or insecure, the way to modify that behavior is the same usually. I hope his suggestion is a behavior modification approach not a correction approach.

    Ha! if I knew how to read, I'd have known that the trainer proved to be a bit, uh, completely useless.

    Well, the first thing is, do not let Beau greet other dogs on leash anymore. I would also research and educate yourself on dog body language. My boy Bro was pretty dog reactive when he was young. To deal with that issue, I read books by Patricia McConnell and Stanley Coren to educate myself on how to read dog body language. I found out Bro was reacting to dogs that would take a dominant or not exactly friendly body language at him. The dogs that displayed peaceful or "I don't want trouble" body language he would not react to.

    At the same time, reach out to the professionals that are on the websites SM posted. The behavior you have described do not sound very extreme but if you are at a loss as to how to deal with it, then the best thing is for you go have the help of a competent professional.

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