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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Me again! I took a pic today of Agis and I swear I don't see how DNA says he has no Rottie. Gonna have to do Embark or a DNA better test than the one I did I suspect.

Anyways - I think I wrote back in the spring about how sick I was for ten weeks, could barely walk to the kitchen (and we live in an apartment). Toby (hubby) took over the three dogs and this routine was not normal, Agis began resource guarding. Balls and sticks from strange dogs at the field across from our building. All calm and then a huge display of aggression.

We ended up - after all the other meh training I did before I got sick, and the consults we did after - taking him to Shield K9 where we had two training sessions for $600 before running out of money (being sick for ten weeks does not swell the old bank account).

We've been working with him off and on since then on our own. Finances still are kind of ugh. Toby's work has been precarious, which has caused a huge amount of stress and more disruption to Agis's routine.

All of this to say, Agis clearly needs routine. A bit of it falls down and his behaviour goes south.

At the start of the month he guarded a bit of cardboard tube from Neb (who is 14.5! Agis is 3) and Neb ended up with a cut ear. Then last week, Neb was saying hi to one of his two favourite dogs (whose owner we've thankfully been friendly with for years) and I kept Agis back as Agis is a bit mixed with the dog (a toy poodle!). I suspect because Agis doesn't cherish any great fondness for small dogs, this guy and another are the only two he's ever tolerated, but Tin Tin (the toy poodle) once took his ball and while Agis let him - I wonder if in Agis's mind, he's like 'you're the dog that took MY BALL'. Agis holds his ball above all else.

Anyways, Agis sat while Neb said hi to Tin Tin and then I let him and Xerxes say hi too. Keeping an eye on all three of them - plus I think Agis just turned on a dime - BOOM! Agis went after Tin Tin (who to give credit where credit is due, was unimpressed despite the difference in size). We separated them. Sue, Tin Tin's owner, was like 'oh, don't worry' but I ran into them later and she thought he had a puncture. She looked closer later and it was a scratch (never bled) and didn't bother taking him to the vet (I'd offered to pay of course).

So that is a relief, because despite him being a toy poodle, I adore Tin Tin. Sue was like 'Dogs will be dogs' but it's not okay by a long shot.

I got an e-collar (mini educator; Agis is walked on a prong but I struggle with effective corrections with that sort of thing - I am going to train slow and be careful of course, don't want to wreck the e-collar for him). It came today.

I met up with a friend from a GSD forum who lives nearby today - her dog is human and dog reactive (so it could always be worse) and we worked around each other working on reactivity.

I got to the park first, took Agis for a walk. On our way back along the creek to the fields, I see a doodle or something approaching - the path was narrow, and Agis was kind of scatterbrained on the walk so instead of putting him a heel (also the doodle was all over the place) I had him sit and let the people know he wasn't always good with other dogs. Dog passed within 1.5, 2ft - SUPER close - Agis didn't blink.

Met my friend and we get the dogs out. Her dog barks - Agis - ignores him. At some points the dog lunged while barking - Agis - ignores him. Agis was a perfect gentleman, completely ignored her dog, kept eye contact with me the whole time, super engaged. You'd never know he was at all reactive!

Typical.

Anyways, we're going to continue to meet up, and I even got Toby to grudgingly agree that Agis is not allowed to meet other dogs. Hopefully he keeps to that. I do 90% of the work with the dogs, so its times I'm not around that I have to be concerned about. I'm taking Nebbers (assuming he's still with us, he'll be 15) canoeing next May and Toby will be responsible then. Toby informs me Agis "is sensitive" :rolleyes:
 

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You are right! He does look like he has Rottweiler in him. :) Sorry that you have been through so much with Agis. I think that you know what to do with Agis...more consistency, and not to be set up to fail. You know he can be possessive about things (ball, sticks, etc.)....remember that at all times. Don't be allowing him to be meeting dogs...he really does not need to.

I think that Toby thinks that Agis is a 'regular' dog. Agis is not, and should not be treated that way. Because you live in the city it makes it harder to own a dog like Agis....you have to be around other dogs constantly. Also, you oldest dog is aging...and that also could changing the dynamics in your home. Dogs can tell when another pack member is weaker. I wonder when Neb is gone....if things will calm down in your home?? You have 3 dogs and cats ? in a city apartment??

I would just continue to control Agis and always be one step ahead of him. You know he should not be meeting other dogs, you know he can be possessive about things...try to control that. You have, what you have. Training will help....but some things are just part of his 'package'.

He may need to be muzzled when you know he is going to be around other dogs? Good-luck and let us know how things are going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks BBD.

Yes, I think Toby is starting to come around. I don’t know why he’s so resistant to Agis being not a dog to be around other dogs. He doesn’t want to deal with any of this.

Yes, two cats, three dogs. The apartment is big - it’s old, built in the 60s, it’s not like condos these days - and we’re close to a huge park with trails etc. and have another park across the street. But three dogs is a lot to handle in the city out on walks or in the lobby - two will be easier.

I wonder about the pack dynamics. I don’t think Agis would’ve lashed out like that at our middle dog. Neb has been “leader” of the dogs. Anyways, when that happened, I reminded Agis that regardless of dog dynamics I’m in charge overall.

I agree though with what you’ve said. This morning I walked him on his own (Toby complained he had to get up and take the other two out) and he wore the e-collar and a flat collar and I just used tone for loose leash walking and he was very good. Growled at one dog (I didn’t have the corrections set on anything so I just did a verbal correction and he calmed down) and sat nicely when another dog passed. Otherwise we just saw dogs in the distance.

I think consistency is going to be huge. Coupled with not setting him up to fail. I’m trying to be smarter and more proactive.
 

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Just a suggestion for DNA testing... University of California Davis has a veterinary genetics laboratory within their school of veterinary medicine. I was going to have Lola tested for possible immune system disorders but she passed before I received the test kit from them. If you're interested in having Agis tested by them, their website is Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just a suggestion for DNA testing... University of California Davis has a veterinary genetics laboratory within their school of veterinary medicine. I was going to have Lola tested for possible immune system disorders but she passed before I received the test kit from them. If you're interested in having Agis tested by them, their website is Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
Thanks! I really just want to do the DNA to see what his breed make up is. I know Embark does some genetic screening. I'll take a closer look at UC Davis though, as we're in no rush.

The good news is - in terms of Agis's behaviour - he has been so good today (and yesterday on solo walks with the e-collar)! We even saw a :gasp: black lab on our lawn on our way back from a walk (there's an obnoxious one in our building that he has based a now-generalized hatred of all black labs to) and he (and Xerxes) were perfect gentleman, sat nicely and observed while the dog and it's owner crossed in front of our building. We've had a bunch of dog sightings and he's been calm for them all.

Being smart, and as @big black dogs says, setting him up to succeed. I'm giving space, head on swivel, making sure I've got him loose-leash and not a taut leash (I'm not using the e-collar when I have the other two as well).

Though, at lunch, we ran into friends (his old dog walker and her twin that we've backpacked with - he's obsessed with them) and he was very jumpy. I kept him off them but that didn't stop him from trying! I think he got one paw contact.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Met up with my friend with the reactive GSD yesterday and took some (bad; I'm not a cinematographer - I swear it's not all grass) video.

Agis was hoarding his ball - normally he'll hand it to me, yesterday he kept chewing it. I think that was stress, but he didn't react and did very well I thought overall.


 

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Well done!! I agree it does look like Agis is stressed and chewing the ball was his stress outlet. Is he ball crazy anyway?? Always wanting to fetch and carry the ball?
Your friend did well with her Shepherd also. Does Agis know the "leave it" command?? I use that command for all my dogs. Anytime they show interest in another dog, or want to sniff something, etc. Anytime I want to get their attention back to me...."leave it" is used.

It's nice that you are getting together with another dog person to train. It really does help. Let us know how things are going with Agis. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks BBD!

Agis knows leave it but I rarely use it, so that’s a great idea to work on/use.

He’s ball obsessed! And it and sticks he resource guards quite heavily with non-family dogs so that’s why I really wanted to see how he’d do here. I was using the ball as a reward but normally he gives it right back to me if I say “bring the ball” (puts it in my hand) but he was enough worried he wouldn’t.

But it’s twice now we’ve worked together and he’s not flipped to a display/aggression either time. Which is nice. And last weekend he was just wearing a martingale (and e-collar which I didn’t need).

Progress I hope!
 

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You did well with him! Another thought....try to mark when he has done something right with a YES!!!! Some people use clickers ...which I could never coordinate well. I like using a YES! and maybe a quick praise. Try not to chatter so much...lol and lower your voice when you give him a command. I've always had that problem...the lower your voice the more they do listen. No yelling...just lower more confident voice. I think you are doing very well....training is going to help...but you also have to remember that you have the dog that is in front of you. He may never be able to be trusted around other dogs when he has his ball, or stick. That's just the way it is. I would also always carry two similar balls....so if he starts getting growly over one...show him the second ball. He may not care as much to give up the first ball .
 

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Met up with my friend with the reactive GSD yesterday and took some (bad; I'm not a cinematographer - I swear it's not all grass) video.

Agis was hoarding his ball - normally he'll hand it to me, yesterday he kept chewing it. I think that was stress, but he didn't react and did very well I thought overall.


Great videos and good work👍
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You did well with him! Another thought....try to mark when he has done something right with a YES!!!! Some people use clickers ...which I could never coordinate well. I like using a YES! and maybe a quick praise. Try not to chatter so much...lol and lower your voice when you give him a command. I've always had that problem...the lower your voice the more they do listen. No yelling...just lower more confident voice. I think you are doing very well....training is going to help...but you also have to remember that you have the dog that is in front of you. He may never be able to be trusted around other dogs when he has his ball, or stick. That's just the way it is. I would also always carry two similar balls....so if he starts getting growly over one...show him the second ball. He may not care as much to give up the first ball .
I need to mark more. And have heard other comments. I realize I talk higher pitched to them in part so they know I'm talking to them and not Toby (husband) - also because Agis's recalls tend to be quite enthusiastic if I sound excited, and it's bled over into other commands.

We are considering trying them on long lines and throwing the ball a bit - Django will find that triggering, and it'll let Agis work on his comfort, while keeping them safe and apart. Dunno.

Thanks @Dj86! And yeah, at this stage, I have to agree - there must be! I mean look at that pic!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
He’s being much better! I haven’t been able to get together with my friend, but - we were just in the lobby with another dog there (I had all three of ours) and he didn’t even blink, sat all relaxed.

Yesterday we went to Home Depot,saw three other dogs and he sat nicely or walked loose leash for the most part.

I’m feeling a lot better about his behaviour. Still have lots of work ahead of us, and he’s had a few bad moments when my husband has had him, but he’s definitely improving.
 

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Wonderful news!!! I'm thinking some of Agis's behavior is to be blamed on poor handling skills of your husband??? :rolleyes: Glad that you are doing the work and seeing improvement. Are you getting ready for the 'big snow event"? coming up this week. It's hard to believe that I live in snow country, in the snow belt, and have been able to walk the dog in the field and pasture with just a skiff of snow...and it's the middle of January!!o_O Not normal for us at all !!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think a lot of it is Toby, or gets reinforced when Toby handles him. Goodness knows I’m not perfect but I do think that’s a factor. Toby is making small changes so I hope soon we’ll be on the same page.

Yeah we’re getting 15cm or something - a lot by Toronto standards. Going up to the cabins by Algonquin for a week in Feb and crossing my fingers we can skijor! Who knows! But right now Toronto has a rapidly melting dusting. I was talking with a friend in Orangeville who also loves winter and she’s only been able to (Nordic) ski twice.
 
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