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Maggie again....suggestions needed

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I posted this on the bcrescue board as well to get the full range of thoughts on this issue. Hope you all aren't getting sick of my posting about my quirky girl.


Things have been going well with the 3 dogs Maggie met last week, and she is still ok with one of the dogs, but she's gone after the other two. She has great bite inhibition thankfully so no marks on the other dogs (she has a scratch under her eye), but it is still concerning.


The first incident was over me playing tug w/ the other dog and the second was triggered by the female BC running full speed after a frisbee (Maggie has high prey drive at times, she doesn't like frisbees). The owner of the the dogs is willing to work w/ Maggie and myself even after the two incidents, but we don't know how to go about it given the different triggers and split second reactions.


Maggie has undergone desensitization and counterconditioning around other dogs and will not react until another dog gets w/in sniff range while she's onlead and only about 15% of the time, regardless of distance, if offlead. She seems to be most tense about the initial greeting and that is the most likely time for a reaction, though as in the above two scenarios, this isn't always the case.


Maggie has a handful of other dog friends she gets along with well and only argues with once in a long time and not very seriously (i.e. will stop if asked).


After an aggressive outburst, Maggie calms down VERY quickly (i.e. less than 2 mins after being pulled away) and she never redirects to me when I get involved.


I train dogs on the side and I am stumped by my own....how crazy is that?!


I'm thinking about muzzling Maggie for future contact so that I can relax a bit - these dogs are quite passive and nonreactive so there's little worry on my part that she will get hurt or feel threatened by anything they do. I know there can be repercussions with the use of a muzzle in this type of situation and I'm trying to figure out if it's worth the risk to try it right now.


I don't want her to practice this negative behavior, but at this point I can't use D/CC due to potential guarding issues and logistics (how do you allow a dog to play w/ others while you feed treats??). I have "Click to Calm" and I like the idea of teaching Maggie to target another dog's body parts but don't know if that's appropriate.


Any thoughts?

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I can sooo identify with you and Maggie. As you know from the boards, I too train dogs, just started my own in home training business. I have been training for many years, but, and a big but, this boy Phoenix of mine is quite the challenge. As far as obedience, he excells at an advanced level.....til we meet dogs or people he dosen't know!!! Which says to me, how trained is he.

Well let me tell you... this past weekend at his introduction to sheepherding, I personally witnessed a changed dog! No joke. When the trainer took him from me and walked away with him and close to other dogs and people, and showed me a whole different type of training method, not particularly what us "positive feedback/reward based", trainers do, it was nothing short of amazing. His aggression was dealt with in a very different manner. A LOT sterner but yet respectful and not at all harmful to him. I learned as much or more even than Phoenix, this Sunday. I even saw an amazing change in his attitude when the day was winding down, and he met a young boy he had never seen before. For a moment, I thought I brought the wrong dog home! He was great...no barking, no lunging, no growling...nothing, just looked at him and that was that. Like I said in another post I was and am in shock,,, good shock but shock all the same. I know I need to be consistent and not let up now.

I have done all that you said..Desensitizing, counter-conditioning, treats, clicker all of it, and NOTHING, has made the impression on Phoenix like the trainer at this herding event...nothing.

It is obvious that these BC's can't be given into at all with some issues. Phoenix is not my first BC, but he is the first I have had and aggression problem with. We have our work cut out for us, but at least now I have hope.

I am not sure about what you mean about teaching Maggie to target another dog's body parts???

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In Click to Calm, they suggest that teaching the reactive dog to touch certain body parts of another, neutral, dog on cue can reduce the tension around greetings as they know what is being asked, or something to that effect.


By no means is this necessary for a dog to be manageble around others, but for people like me who would like to allow interaction w/ other dogs that is appropriate, it may help move the process along.


Interesting eureka moment today after I posted:


I was looking at the illustrated guide to dog language that I have and looking at the guarding pics -- OMG it was like, "I've seen that before!". The facial expressions and body postures were IDENTICAL to those Maggie shows around other dogs!!


I'm so glad I have a new way to look at the behavior - guarding is so totally different than anything else and I know how to work through that. Walk aways seem to have helped in the past, so I think I'll start trying that then next time Maggie gets 'still'.


Any other suggestions are always welcome, too!

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