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 Post Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:06 pm 
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I've been having this on and off problem with Luna for about a year. She gets along with other dogs most of the time but occasionally something triggers territorial / fear type aggression. I am almost certain the trigger is crowding. Specifically when she's in a crowd of unfamiliar dogs. Sometimes she guards her space against any approaching strange dog and bares teeth, lunges, or growls when they "violate" her space. I say she is "fearful" because her body language indicates fear. When she feels threatened by another dog she tucks her tail, crouches, puts her head low and bares teeth. Luna was socialized extensively as a puppy, so I don't know why she started this behavior and lots of work / exercise doesn't seem to change the behavior.

We go to the dog park frequently so my dogs can socialize and I always carry a leash in case one of them acts innapropriately. I am very stern and consistent with discipline. When she misbehaves I turn her on her back with a firm NO! and she submits to me. The frustrating thing is after months of consistent correction and positive reinforcement (praising her for friendly, balanced behavior) she still has the problem. I don't know what the next step should be. Anybody care to share advice and/or experiences?

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 Post Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:50 pm 
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I bet you aren't surprised I have some opinion on this one ;) I have very similar issues with Sadie, and they used to be far worse. Yes, you are right to pin it as fear-based aggression. Though we both have dominant females, this is not an issue of trying to dominant strange dogs, it is an issue of strange dogs invading their space.

About a year ago, this was Sadie's standard expression at the dog park:
Image
She would run and play with the other dogs, even entice them to chase her, but as soon as a strange dog got in her face or too many dogs showed up, her hackles were raised and her teeth were bared. Looks pretty scary. But if you think about that expression, it says in no uncertain terms that she needs space. And the other dog is responding by quickly backing off. The puppy, on the hand, isn't, because he doesn't have enough social skills to understand her language. And that, I think, is the problem. It isn't that Luna is acting inappropriately, it is the other dogs not understanding canine boundaries and body language.

Sadie has gotten much less aggressive since we started hunting. I think part of that is learning to work with a pack of dogs. When she is inappropriately reactive, jumping the gun without real provocation, the other dogs let her know. The hunting dogs won't let her get out of line, but they also won't intrude on her space. They are much more balanced and in tune with proper canine-to-canine interactions. Sadie has carried that attitude over to the dog park. She has calmed down and won't be aggressive with dogs that are respectful, but the puppies and unbalanced adults usually don't understand that, and in those situations she does exactly what you're describing, in essence correcting their rude behaves.

Luna's exposure to working dog culture may have reinforced a stronger sense of pack behavior. Plus you have an extra addition to your own pack this year, Ace, and he has been brought up to be a balanced dog with good boundaries. Now the nutty dogs at the park seem even crazier to her. So I would argue she isn't getting worse, she is just learning more about real canine culture.

Of course this isn't exactly a convenient response for urbanites like us that want to take our Lacys out in public. I went to Red Bud with a dog trainer friend a couple weeks ago, and for the most part Sadie was good, but he agreed that her few reactions were due to inappropriate pack behavior from the strange dogs. He said keep rewarding good behavior and talking to her calmly to break her focus and keep her grounded when she starts to react. I give Sadie a stern but calm "Relax" command when I start to see her stiffening or posturing and it works pretty well. Also, make sure you are clearly the leader when you're at the park, it may make Luna feel more secure and less inclined to correct other dogs. And yes, I give Sadie a firm "No" when she responds too aggressively and always remove her from the situation if it escalates. Well bred Lacys are sensitive, they will always be more reactive than your average house pet, so sometimes you have to walk away to keep it safe for everyone.

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 Post Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:25 pm 
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Julie, you described Luna to a tee!

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She would run and play with the other dogs, even entice them to chase her, but as soon as a strange dog got in her face or too many dogs showed up, her hackles were raised and her teeth were bared.


Quote:
She has calmed down and won't be aggressive with dogs that are respectful, but the puppies and unbalanced adults usually don't understand that,


This is exactly what's going on. Your experiences confirm my belief that more pack interaction with hunting dogs would help Luna a lot. As you know, I don't take my dogs hog hunting very often, so they don't get much opportunity to interact with other pack oriented dogs.

I took them to the Bull Creek dog park today and we had a great experience. Luna was interacting with other dogs and everybody was fine but at one point she became outnumbered in a game of chase and she went into a defensive / aggressive state. But this time when I told her NO it actually snapped her out of it. She came to me and I made her sit until her hackles lowered and her body language became completely relaxed. The "time-out" worked perfectly and when I released her she behaved well again.

Over time the problem has definitely gotten better but I still think both of my dogs would benefit from more pack interaction. As you said, lacies and other prey driven breeds seem to be more pack oriented because they hunt as a team and these dogs are more in tune to social dynamics.

Thanks for taking the time to share your story!

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 Post Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:41 pm 
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Julie,
can I send Digger with you?


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 Post Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:21 pm 
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Jerry, I already have one a-hole Lacy, I don't need another!

Court, though I think hunting in a pack has had a positive influence on Sadie's behavior, I don't think it completely solves her issues. When you put hunting dogs down, they are all business. They may run and play a little bit in the beginning, but for the most part they hit the ground with a goal in mind. They are far more interested in their job than each other. For Sadie, that is ideal, because it means there aren't a bunch of strange dogs in her face. I think the act of hunting might help her bond with them as well. While hunting, you can throw her in a dog box with five other dogs and she is perfect, but this weekend I tried to put her in the backseat of an extended cab with a regular dog and she got very agitated. The average dog doesn't have the same good pack manners of a hunting dog, and they haven't developed a bond with Sadie either, so she treats them differently. Overall, I think the hunting has taught her better manners, but she still doesn't like dogs in the park that ignore those unspoken pack rules. Let me know what progress you see with Luna and anything new that you try, I'm always looking for more ways to work on this with Sadie.

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True Blue Lacys: http://www.truebluelacys.com
More Lacy Pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/julieanna/sets/72157605027566732/


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 Post Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:24 pm 
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mine aint no ahole, just a little nutz!


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 Post Posted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:47 pm 
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monster aint as bad since digger whipped him twice. send digger!


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 Post Posted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 5:51 pm 
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I tried something like that once........ Ask Brutus how that worked :D

Steve

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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:31 am 
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Update: Luna had a really bad day today.

I've been laid up for a week following surgery and the dogs have been cooped right up with me. I was feeling very well today and I knew the dogs were anxious to get some exercise so I decided to take them to the dog park.

Everything started out ok and the dogs quickly found a playmate. Luna engaged the new dog in a game of chase...which went well for awhile...until the dog got a little rough and playfully grabbed the scruff of Luna's neck with his mouth. Luna let out a squeel and in a split second went from Playful Luna to Pure Evil Luna. I corrected her and put her on a leash. We continued on down the trail with Luna on her leash. From that point on, every dog that approached Luna to greet her was met with fangs, raised hackles, and growling and it was completely unjustiable. I corrected her every time. It seemed she just couldn't hit the reset-to-a-calm-and-balanced-state button. She established a four foot radius of personal space and no dog could cross the boundary.. not even just to casually sniff her. We just had to go home.

Maybe Luna was more anxious than usual because she hadn't been getting as much exercise as usual. Whatever the reason, it was the worst her aggression has been.

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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:48 am 
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Court, it is sorta ironic that you post this, and even that Robby said Ben is driving him nuts in Around the Campfire. Sadie has been seriously pushing the limits the past two weeks. She is just being a snotty all around- taking her time to come when called, getting into stuff she knows is off limits, even refusing to settle down when it's time for bed. She seems to be in a constant state of bitchy ADD. It is like dealing with an unruly kid that is testing you.

But unlike a kid, she is snapping and biting, just like Luna. Because she is being a brat, I've made a point to stay away from other dogs, but we were off-leash in the Greenbelt on Sunday and a guy with an old Lab started coming up the trail. Now, this dog was just plodding along, no negative or aggressive energy, so I kept walking but Sadie froze in the middle of the trail. I started calling her and she refused to come, just stood there, staring this Lab down. She waited until he got right next to her, raised her hackles, snapped at him and finally ran to me all hunched over. UGH!

Hearing that everyone else is having problems actually gives me a little hope. Maybe it is the change in weather. Probably all of us, even if it is subconsciously, cut down on the exercise when it gets nasty out. And I know with the horses we always prepared ourselves for some wild rides when the weather changed.

I'm really hoping that's all it is, and that it's somewhat temporary, because for a while things were good. Now I'm getting very anxious that this is a reaction to being back in the city. Even though we live on the edge of town, there is a lot more civilization than the farm, and I've been really worried that she can't mentally deal with this environment. We've also been hunting less because of deer season, which I'm sure has had an impact on her behavior, but I was really hoping doing a little more agility and a little less hunting would work. On some level I still feel bad about hunting, I do it keep my dog stable, but I really wish there was something that worked both for her instincts and my moral values.

So, if anyone has more theories or solutions, let me know, cause right now Sadie and I need the help too!

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- Inspiration for my next project from TBH

True Blue Lacys: http://www.truebluelacys.com
More Lacy Pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/julieanna/sets/72157605027566732/


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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 12:54 pm 
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Maybe it was the full moon.

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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:51 pm 
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Julie N wrote:
We've also been hunting less because of deer season, which I'm sure has had an impact on her behavior, but I was really hoping doing a little more agility and a little less hunting would work. On some level I still feel bad about hunting, I do it keep my dog stable, but I really wish there was something that worked both for her instincts and my moral values.

So, if anyone has more theories or solutions, let me know, cause right now Sadie and I need the help too!


Given that the hogs we have in Arizona are packs of Javelina, not suited to hunting with a dog, and deer season lasts all of one week, my plan for Cannon's "job" was Search and Rescue. We were going at it gung-ho until the local group had some drama I didn't want to deal with. So now I'm deciding whether to do it on our own or not. You really need a partner for it to work, and with the effort it requires, that should be someone who is doing the same thing with their dog. Family members tire of being the victim rather quickly, especially since Cannon often launches himself through the air at them from about 10 feet away. Found You! Crunch!

But I think I am going to find a way to keep going with the SAR work because it uses the Lacy tracking and hunting instincts, and is something that isn't limited to a season or the presence of game. You just get the victim to lay a track and wait at the end of it (or come back to the end later if you want the track to be aged). I guarantee that if you do a few simple "runaway" drills with Sadie, she will have the idea and be very enthusiastic about it. SAR trials is done finding objects, but the real work is finding people, and there is no reward substitute for finding a person at the end of the track. Even though we haven't been doing any drills lately, if someone gets out of sight and I hold Cannon a certain way and then whisper "Find Him", he is off like a shot. Like real hunting, it works the body and the brain.

The look in the eyes when a Lacy is on task says it all, doesn't it?

Cell phones and cheap GPS units make search and rescue missions less common these days, but to the dog, any search for a person is plenty real.

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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:57 pm 
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Julie,

I`ve been sitting here trying to think of how I want to address this. I`ve seen huge changes in Sadie since the first time I met her. Good changes. And I have always respected the fact that you have made concessions in your own beliefs in order to do right by Sadie.

Sadie comes from lines that had an unstable factor. From what I understand, this has shown up in a couple of pups from that line. So first you need to realize that Sadie will not ever be "laid back" like you're wanting her to be some day. She is hardwired to be who she is. Second you need to realize that none of this is your fault. However Sadie is at her best when she is getting to hunt frequently. That goes back to the breeding. If that becomes to difficult an issue for you personally, then let the guys take her out and hunt her. You know they'll take good care of her, and she hunts harder when she is not worried about you! ;) Then she can come home to Mom and maybe mind better so you
can continue the agility work with her.

I think Sadie is a prime example for breeders to study. You can't just breed for conformation, or just for work ethic...you have to breed for the whole package..
Conformation,Work Ethic & Temperament. They are all equally important to one another and both parents have to be equals in all 3 areas.

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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 1:07 am 
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Shannon, I actually think there is some truth in that. I had forgotten this past week was the full moon, and it just happened to be the biggest full moon of the year. Apparently they have done studies that show trips to ER for animal bites increase during the full moon. And it seems female Lacys are particularly sensitive to their environment. Maybe Sadie and Luna we're just releasing their inner wolf.

Jim, sorry to hear you've had issues with your SAR group. It sounds like Cannon really enjoys the training. Though Sadie will follow an animal track, her behavioral issues disqualify her from any SARs work. She doesn't like kids, or old people, or loud strangers, or strange dogs... she pretty much likes me and hunting and that's it 8-| That is another part of the problem. She loves the hunt. And by hunt I mean finding a very upset animal she can bay up at the end of the trail :@) She needs a level of intensity I haven't been able to recreate with any of the modern dogs sports. I think agility is good for her, it challenges her mind and her body simultaneously, but there is something missing that only a good hunt will satisfy.

And Mis, of course you are right on. Even if I get frustrated, I've accepted the fact that Sadie will never be the pet that was advertised. I certainly learned my lessons about Lacys the hard way, but I agree that it has been especially difficult due to her lineage. John Wayne may have been a hellion on hogs but he wasn't right in the head. And I'm always reading new stories about Ladybug's dominant antics. It was a bad cross, especially for a breeder selling the pups as companions, as Sadie isn't the only one with issues. But all I can do now is keep up with our training and get her out to hunt. Or let Steve and Mike hunt her. She certainly does work harder when Mom isn't in the truck.

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"You must be a very small minority no matter who you hang around with. Maybe you should start a magazine, Vegetarian Hog Dogging Monthly, find some like-minded individuals."
- Inspiration for my next project from TBH

True Blue Lacys: http://www.truebluelacys.com
More Lacy Pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/julieanna/sets/72157605027566732/


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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 6:45 pm 
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This is off topic abit but yesterday on the old talk radio here in Austin the topic was Pit Bulls and Rotties. I didnt get the whole conversation but the jest is either Austin proper or Travis County is going to introduce legislation to ban these types of dogs. I do not know if the plans or state wide or just local, in any event it is the beginning of huge issues for the dog world. They were also talking about getting insurance for the dogs.

If these dogs are deemed as dangerous and require insurance it will be next to impossible to maintain home owners insurance.

Food for thought
kevin

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