Does anyone know how to stop Redirected Aggression?
So it has happened again. Stella attacked Carley because of a sound she hear on the computer! I was on fb and a friend had posted that her dog could sing. I hit the play button and all hell broke loose... again, Carley was not really hurt, no skin broken, but we are both tire of this! I need to get this fixed. It is not fair to Carley, she is now starting to feel unsafe in her own home. We have not had anymore trouble on our walks, I can stop it , if I am looking for it. I found out this was a problem in her last home. She attacked the woman's small dog because the fire alarm went off. She said for differant reasons it happened about 3 times. It has already happened 3 times here. Any help would be appreciated, thanks.
That sounds terrible. When we had our rescue Greyhound (Graydie) he was the most laid back boy. But just like you...he would get very aggressive. He raced for 6 years and I think it was his past that made him very alert to small animals. When he was off leash and he spotted a squirrel at the same time one of the poodles did. He would attack the poodle. It was so out of character for him (he never got aggressive around our siamese). But I knew it was because of his background. When the fight would break out I would separate them and put Graydie on the leash. But I never did find a way to stop it..I just was always on the look out for squirrels when he was off leash with the poodles.
There must be something in Stella's past that makes her want to assert her power over poor Carly when she hears certain noises.
Sorry I cannot be of much help, just wanted to let you know I feel for you.
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I have since let Stella go to sleep in my office without Carley and hit that same fb post. She is now not doing a thing, it is like once she figures out that this is not a danger she stays calm. I can't leave them together when we are not home. I stay "ON" when we are taking our daily walks ect. I just never know what to be on the look out for. I wish I knew how to fix it. I had one handler tell me to beat the crap out of her, her breeder told me to put her on her back and lay across her and growl. My sister told me I had to start basic training again and have her always watching me... none of those things seem right to me. I can't mistreat her, she is acting out without even thinking about what she is doing. I can't train every minute, we have to have down time. I thought I knew alot about dogs, but this is a hard one.
The only thing I know for sure about redirected aggression is that in dog or wolf packs redirected aggression is usually most prevalent (or there are higher instances) when the group is tense.
It sounds like Carley is a well rounded girl, but she is starting to get nervous of her unpredictable sister. Try and find ways to keep her relaxed and feeling safe, and remember to try and keep your nerves in check too.
I think I would start by working on the excitement and anxiety Stella has. It sounds like when she gets scared or has anxiety (being excited to see other dogs, or seeing prey/a baby cry can definitely cause anxiety even if it looks like Stella is not afraid).
Maybe try an anxiety wrap while you're working on this with her? I am not sure if they really work, but I have seen lots of positive reviews.
I understand that this is only occasional, but I don't really see how else to approach this.
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You should find a trainer who can help you work with what is likely a fear based response in the younger dog. If the dog is given the skills for dealing with startling events and desensitized and counter conditioned to them the aggression would hopefully decrease. I'd be creating a strong history with different conditioned reinforcers so you can quickly and positively interrupt the dog when she starts to go after the other dog, should you fail to prevent it from occurring to begin with. I try to teach dogs the behavior I want them to perform instead of just thinking about stopping the one I don't like.
You know that startling events are likely to cause the dog to go after the other dog. That's what you need to start looking for and be prepared to ask the dog to perform an alternate, well rehearsed behavior. You know whether it happens when the dog is on leash or close to the other dog. In the meantime I'd manage the dogs to prevent this from happening again. Keep them separated if you must. It's not a good habit to get into and it's not fair to the older dog.
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HEAVY, heavy, heavy, heavy counter conditioning and desensitizing, and tiny increments of increased criteria. So break out the big guns. Pure liver, hot dogs, french fries, whatever your Stella likes the most in the world. Novel noises have to be viewed as something WON-DER-FUL.
Put noises on volume control so they're easily controlled. Work Stella away from Carley. Use a basket muzzle if you need to for your own safety. Of course, condition the muzzle first. Don't just use it for scary noises.
Start introducing noises VERY quietly and work your way up in intensity and frequency and variance. Try not to put her so over threshold that she's not open to your efforts.
As an end result, every previously alarming noise should have Stella looking at you for reassurance and a reinforcer. That should become her default behavior. Get into the habit of carrying a treat pouch on you or stashing them throughout the house. When Stella improves, you can move onto secondary reinforcers.
As others have said, also work on increasing her calmness. This sounds like hyper alertness. Like she's on edge and the noises may be pushing her over. I find that massages really help and also capturing calmness really help. Kikopup has a video on capturing calmness. I'm not huge on alternative medicine but as long as you're willing and it doesn't harm, why not? People advocate TTouch, bach flower remedies, DAP collars, etc. Through A Dog's Ear was helpful with Angel.
Also, is she up to date medically? Thyroid and other issues could be causing hyper-sensitivity and reactiveness.
And you are SO right. Beating the crap out of her? Wresting and pinning her? Makes no sense. She already has negative associations to these noises so it just makes so much sense to add MORE negative associations to compound them! Suppression does not cure the cause for the problem behaviors, it only hides the symptoms. Treat the cause and the symptoms clear up. This one of my biggest arguments against force.
Last edited by msminnamouse; 11-27-2012 at 08:03 AM.
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