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Author Topic: Possible Fear Related Aggression?  (Read 5147 times)
Good Hope
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« on: September 14, 2005, 09:40:11 PM »

Hello,

I'm appealing to those on this board having experience with LGD's, especially Kuvaszok, to get (hopefully) many suggestions.  (No offense meant, Mrs. Kidle.)  Sapphire, a 5 month old Kuvasz female, was boarded for four days over the weekend.  Unfortunately, we learned that she had been aggressive; today, when we went back to pick up some forgotten toys, I found out that she had been "skittish" and had growled.   Sad   Apparently, it was pretty bad, and they couldn't get her out of the kennel (which explains why the toys had been peed on).

It sounded to me like the aggression was fear-related.  What do you think?  Is this unusual in LGD's?  How can it be dealt with?  We only boarded her because she was so young that we didn't think aggression would be a problem, and she stayed with Gucci, who has been boarded before.

Hmm...It might be helpful to know a little more about Sapphire.  She is very protective of the family and will bark and even growl at "intruders," but she is fine with deliverymen and doesn't even notice passers-by.  This problem (with guests) is being addressed by having her on a leash, putting her in sit-stay or down-stay, and reprimanding her when she barks.  We back it up with a short tug or even a snap when necessary.  When we go out for training classes, she accepts people, unless they are acting sneaky (such as ducking quickly away when they see her), in which case she becomes alert and barks a few times.  Sapphire will back away from some people when they approach her and try to pet her, and she quickly takes a liking to others, but I understand this is normal.  Sometimes she even barks at people she doesn't like, which probably isn't normal.  She is timid around new dogs unless they are much smaller than she is.  Food aggression is not a problem, except with other dogs; Sapphire will let my 10-month old little sister take kibble out of the bowl and attempt to eat it.  If I take away the bowl, she just tries to eat faster, but there is no other fussing.  I usually give her a treat or hand feed some of the kibble.  Also, I just put her in a sit-stay while I put Gucci's food down, and she will hold it until I release her and put down her bowl.  I haven't seen her exhibit any dominance-related aggression toward people, and she doen't do anything serious toward Gucci.  If Gucci is getting attention and she doesn't like it, she'll initiate a game by chewing on her, or just run her off.  She'll also bark when Gucci has a chew that she wants, but nothing happens there.  (Generally, Gucci has her chew, so I give it back to Sapphire, but not always.)  That is probably more than you need to know.     Wink

Sofia
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Good Hope
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2005, 07:40:08 AM »

bump

Sofia
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GYPSY JAZMINE
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2005, 08:00:41 AM »

Samson was a very scared puppy when I got him at 14 weeks old...He had not been socialized at all to the point of not even being petted...A not uncomman way for LGD's who are slated to be gaurdians...Th at along with the usual Pyr nature of being wary of strangers had him well on hs way to being a fear biter...I will tell you what I did to get us over the hump...I took him with me literally everywhere I could!...I forced him to have to deal with situations he wasn't comfortable in which was pretty much everything...I didn't let people get too close to him but because he was able to see different people & things he did become desesatized to seeing these things & became a much more confidant dog that I can comfortably take into public & when people come to my home I don't worry about him biting anymore...I used to be on red alert which didn't make for nice outings or visits...To tell the truth however, I am not so sure I could board Sammy...I do not know how he would react...This is my 2 cents but being pretty new to dogs I hope someone will pipe up here with some real advise...lol.. .But, I say socialize & socialize heavily & good luck!
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Good Hope
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2005, 11:00:49 AM »

bump

Sofia
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Good Hope
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2005, 02:56:58 PM »

another bump

Sofia
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GYPSY JAZMINE
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2005, 03:02:39 PM »

Looks like the LGD people are asleep at the wheel today...lol... Try posting over at the Great Pyrenees forum....Other wise we'll keep bumping it up. Smiley
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Yaz
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2005, 03:25:27 PM »

Hi Sofia;
 I have to agree with you that Sapphire seems to  be developing fear aggression. Since she's still a puppy, all is not lost since the earlier you treat it, the better chances you have at helping the pup develop coping mechanisms to fear. I have worked with a number of dogs that have fear aggression and there are two major causes: environmental experiences and genetic makeup. I read in your paw print that you got Sapphire when she was a little pup, so I am assuming you have been socializing her from the minute she came to your home. Do you know what her parents were like? I once treated a bull mastiff that the breeder wanted to show, but at five months it growled at one of the judges in the ring. It turned out that this bully's aunt had fear aggression so it was a genetic disorder that she had inherited. I also had a puppy that, at eight weeks of age, growled at the vet when she leaned in to examine it. It took a lot of work to try to overcome that dog's genetic blueprint.
Some suggestions I would make would be to ensure that Sapphire spends a lot of  time outside her home environment without Gucci with her. If all she has known is Gucci by her side, being boarded in a seperate pen from him could have enhanced her natural inclination to be wary of the unknown.  An excellent site for you to visit to get a better idea of fear aggression in puppies, is leerburg.com. Here's a link to their forum on fear aggression - if you read through the posts you can glean a wealth of information:

http://www.leerburg.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php/Cat/0/Board/20

It's a worrisome feeling when dealing with a fearful pup - you don't want to have to worry about your baby becoming a fear biter. But I'm certain you'll be able to work through this with her.
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kildeskennel
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2005, 06:15:42 PM »

I can shed light on the tempermant of the parents as Sapphire came from me.  Beauty is wonderful with children, other animals, and females.  Most men she accepts.  She dislikes strangers touching her in her home environment and I do not allow it unless she approaches and allows it on her own.  .When we are out she is a wonderful social companion and will allow touching and petting.  She dislikes fast movement twoard her when she does not know you.  The kids can chase her and play with her.    She Has a strong guarding instinct and is very wary of strangers.  I do not board my dogs, I do not trust strangers to care for my animals.  I do not know what may be happening when I am not there.  When we go out of town someone the dogs are comfortable with stay here with them.  Beauty has a typical Kuvasz Tempermant.  Aidan is a lover 100% and still a teen at 1 year 4 months.  He loves everyone and everything, ghas his CGC and can come to the nursing home I supervise at and spend 12 hours inside (with pee breaks) with older patients in wheelchairs, wandering, touching, and loud noises.  Sophia, is this a boarding kennel you know really well, and are 100% sure oneo f the workers not to rough with her?  I agree this is a behavior that needs to be corrected, has she gotten any better since we spoke a while ago regarding the visitors and her behaviors?  I also am curious how much socializing is being done?  Just questions...Is she heavily socialized Outside of her home environment?  Beauty went everywhere with me the first year, collage, grocery shopping, parks, pet stores, other homes, etc..  Not every place was she allowed inside, such as grocery etc..But we would walk all over the parking lot and people would pet her.  If I had not socialized her heavily, and she was only socialized at her home, to take her outo f her familiar environment would no doubt in my mind cause fear/aggression, especially if I left her.  Please keep in mind I am only asking questions, not trying to find fault in any way. 
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Storm Jameson
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2005, 06:23:10 PM »

Also please feel free to call me if you need to, I can also give you numbers of other breeders of Kuv's to help answer the questions.  Sapphire was one of our more heavily socialized pups who left us with many children, animals, and visitors here.  My daughter wanted to keep her so she had tons of attention.  Do please let us know on the thread how it is going.  And please donot apologize for asking others opinions!  Many minds and suggestions are always better than one. In addition there are many Pyr owners who have years of experience on this board, a few Kuv breeders with much experience as well.   Shana
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Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed.
Storm Jameson
Good Hope
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2005, 08:09:45 PM »

Hello,

Thank you for the advice.  She hasn't been socialized HEAVILY outside our house; she has had some socialization.  We had joined a puppy training class at Petsmart almost right away to help with it, and she is starting a second one this Saturday.  Also, she goes on walks around our neighborhood, but they aren't frequent.  So that is probably the problem.

Right now, I can start taking her on walks regularly; maybe twice daily when people are around would help.  Unfortunately, we don't go many places, especially where pets are allowed.  She can't just stay in the car in 100+ degree weather, so I will definitely need to talk to my mother.  She doesn't know that Sapphire was acting scared/agressive yet, because she is out of town.

(I wrote that a while ago and had to stop.)  I just took her on a walk, because I saw people outside.  Socialization IS the problem: she barked at some people and backed away if they talked to her.  She was wary of bikes.  So I am planning to work on this.  At least now I know when people come out: during twilight and through the early evening as it gets dark!  Smiley

Thank you very much.  We will be doing MUCH more socialization.  I guess I'll take this incident as a wake-up call: lots of exposure to other people is REALLY important.

Sofia
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kildeskennel
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« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2005, 08:16:39 PM »

Sophia,  I had a feeling this may be what was happening, I am very glad that is is caught early as a grown adult would be a major issue to deal with with fear aggression.  Please keep me updated to her progress in overcoming this.  Good luck socializing her to many new things outside of her familiar environment.  You will be a very busy girl , but from the conversations we have had privately and here on BPO I know that you are well up to the challenge.  Sapphire is a lucky girl to have such dedication to her healthy upbringing.  Shana
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Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed.
Storm Jameson
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« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2005, 08:24:55 PM »

Samson was also very wary of bikes, skateboards, anything with wheels...Becau se my street is heavily traveled by kids on such equiptment & people pushing strollers we would just go sit out front in the yard or driveway & spend an hour or so just watching people go by...We have no fence out front so he was on a leash which served double duty...1. kept him from running off & 2. I could do leash corrections when he barked or went after the object of his annoyance..He got use to these things through a steady flow of people going by...He rarely will bark at these things now unless he is in the fenced back yard & then I allow it because he is doing his job...Places that allow pets are great for socialization. ..I was lucky that I got Samson last Nov. & could go to the store & leave him in the van...We didn't have to stop that until the heat of spring hit...Good luck!...I am sure she'll be just fine! Smiley
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DixieSugarBear
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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2005, 10:48:52 PM »

The PetSmart class will be a great way to socialize.  You may want to go early or stay after class just so that she can have even more time to socialize with lots of different people.  When we go we are there spend about 2 hours.  Their class ended this week but I think we will still go on Saturday so that they can have their shopping time and see Amber the teacher.

Lisa
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BabsT
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2005, 03:52:59 PM »

Funny, I responded to this thread real early in the day and it isnt here.. You need to socialize all breeds of dogs but when you are dealing with defense driven breeds you need to kick operation socialization into overdrive

I have one 10 month old Central Asian Ovcharka and  1 (15wk)Caucasian Ovcharka  I got zero at 9 weeks and socialization began the very next day...I was fortunate enough to have been laid off so when I left in the morning, he came with me and did everything I did, (visited friends, petsmart, went to beach, go into the city, sit on busy streets, elevators, machine shops, gun clubs etc....) any little thing I could think of I desensitized Zero to it...Mind you he came from a 100 acre working ranch  so all of this was new and had very veyr mininal socialization up until I got him.  His defense drive is there and very strong but he isnt afraid and trusts me...I would also never board my animals for reasons already mentioned

Your girl could very well also be having a fear period in her...dont baby her and keep her leashed so she cant flee...if she is acting fearful or scared just ignore the behavior completely and continue what you were doing...Exampl e...going on a walk everything is hunky dorey until a neighbors drags out his trash barrels for trash day...the dog freaks and tries to flee....just keep on walking in a confident relaxed manner and pay no mind to the dog at all

My CO girl for 15 weeks is pretty bold but she too had plenty of people socialization but not many sound socialization (televisions, busy streets etc...) with in a day or so of just being out and about with me, she acts like she was born on a busy street

Remember she is still so much a baby and leaving her in a boarding kennel freaked her and she prop felt abandoned and was left to her own drives which are defense...she doesnt know how to use those drives yet fully she just knows she has them

LGD's are very unique and quirky animals and need a speical understanding then many other working breeds of dogs

Good Luck
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