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Please Help - aggressive soon to be 3 year old female dog!

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by Bonnieboo, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. Bonnieboo

    Bonnieboo Registered Users

    Oct 8, 2018
    Hi there,

    I'm new here so forgive me if there are similar posts.

    I am the owner of a beautiful, LARGE 34kg, spade, slightly crazy black lab called Bonnie. She'll be 3 in December and whilst a bit boisterious, have never been aggressive until just lately :(

    In approximately the last 4 months she has taken a strong dislike to smaller dogs and I have NO IDEA why. The latest incident was at the weekend on my local beach. A small cockerpoo came up and bearing in mind she's been really good for a couple of months, it didn't even cross my mind there would be a problem. The Cockerpoo was very submissive and sat down when Bonnie started sniffing it. She sniffed it and then it was like a 'red mist' came down and she went for it. I really thought she was going to hurt it. Thankfully my son was with me and managed to grab her but the scruff of her neck and pull her off. The owner shouted she (bonnie) should have been on a lead and I apologised profusely and checked their dog was ok and not hurt. Thankfully it was fine. This is about the 5th time this has happened and I can't work out what the trigger is or how to deal with it. I did take her to the vet when it first happened and had her checked over but they could find a problem so I don't think its pain.

    She's always been so sociable and loved other dogs and now I can't trust her. Please help me :(:(:(:(:(:(:(
  2. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    May 26, 2018
    Blackmans Bay, Australia
    Hi @Bonnieboo You've got two options.

    Stop taking the dog to areas where little dogs are. Less draconian you can keep your dog on a long line, calling her in when you see a little dog. Requires you to be ever-vigilant. And to have a better understanding of good lead/leash work. Please read the chapter in Grisha Stewart's BAT on such good practice. The problem is that if the small dog is off lead you may also have to rely on that dog's owner having the small dog under a good recall.

    Second, begin counter-conditioning and behavioural adjustment therapy. There are two options here. LAT or BAT. There is a folder on this site on LAT. Please read it and watch the video. It is an easier program to apply than BAT if you are not good at reading canine body language. BAT is a similar protocol, but requires, that you can read when your dog displays calming signals. It will also require the use of a decoy dogs, similar in appearance to the one your dog attacked. I suggest you contact a dog behaviourist and get on-going instruction on this option. Some dog handlers use a combination of LAT and BAT. The dog behaviourist will be able to give you advice on which of the two therapies, or some combination will be best for your dog. And explain how to recognise the threshold in your dog. The second option can be quite a bit of work, and you might have to accept in the end, that your dog simply does not like little dogs. But you should see some improvement if you put in the "hard work".
  3. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

    Aug 25, 2018
    Jersey, Channel Islands
    So, there are essential safety and management based things to put in place. Which involve, as Michael said, not allowing her to have any contact with smaller dogs (assuming it is only happening with smaller dogs). This may also include muzzle training her and keeping her on a long-line or at the very least having an excellent recall on her so you can immediately recall and walk in a different direction if you see another small dog coming.

    Secondly, as Michael says, you could try some BAT work with her. Check out the website grishastewart.com and see if there is a CBATI near you:


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