Aggression to other dogs. Poor heelwork.

Kathy contacted me in desperation about her 2 year old rescue GSD’s aggression to all dogs and her problem with his extreme pulling on the lead.

She had previously consulted a trainer, but whilst the trainer had been able to reduce the aggression whilst she handled him, very little had improved for Kathy, who was getting little pleasure out of walking him.

She had started getting up early to take him out when nobody else was around and would head off up to the
moors to avoid any potential for meeting other dogs.

On a number of occasions he had virtually pulled her over and she feared that one day there would be a
major confrontation.

On visiting Kathy and Dieffer in their home, it was obvious that Kathy lacked assertiveness where Dieffer was concerned, and he knew it.
The whole focus of the action plan which Kathy was given was to re-dress the balance and make her the pack-leader, instead of the other way around. Dieffer had previously been a pub-dog and had probably had limited socialization with other dogs. Kathy understood that he may have been bitten by a spaniel on one occasion.

Dogs which are aggressive to all other dogs, rarely if ever are dominance aggressive. A dominant dog does not need to constantly display this unbalanced behaviour and would only feel the need to do so in the
presence of another dog which he perceived to be of similar rank. Dieffer’s behaviour was fear aggression and the key to relieving him of this stress was leadership and socialization.

Kathy practiced her heel-work with Dieffer, who was also introduced to one of my Rottweilers. Predictably, he initially went ballistic but this was brought under control and Kathy was able to walk him side by side with my dog without a problem.

There will be lots of work ahead to bring this problem under control, but with consistency and committment there is no reason why Dieffer and Kathy will have to sneak around on Dartmoor for much longer!

One week later and Kathy reported big improvements in Dieffer’s general demeanour.
His heel-work was much improved and his demanding behaviour was diminished. She had continued to avoid other dogs due to a lack of confidence, so the second session concentrated on building on this. Dieffer walked closely on the lead with a Jack Russell without any problems and was then re-introduced to Robynne, one of my Rottweilers. After a couple of minutes, I instructed Kathy to let go of Dieffer’s lead.
Kathy could scarcely believe her ears, but I instructed her to let his lead go and we then stood and
watched as the two dogs played together! They played around on a small field without any problem at all. Kathy’s heart was in her mouth most of the time, but after a few minutes with no trouble whatsoever, she started to relax.

Robynne, this priceless Rottie of mine was yet again showing a problem dog that he didnt need to mistrust all dogs and demonstrating how to play and have fun. I will not take chances with any of my dogs, so if I instruct a client to let their dog go, it means I have confidence in that dogs likely response. Dieffer is well on the way to recovery!

“There has been a big improvement in Dieffer.
He is much better on the lead and is
looking to me for leadership when we are out together. Today was the first time he has been off-lead with another dog for a year. I am feeling much more confident about this now.
I realise that this is just as much about me as it is about Dieffer.”