10 July 2006 @ 07:49 pm
Hi guys,

I'm wondering if anyone can help answer a question about a behavioral problem Skeeter has had since we adopted him about two months ago. He was fostered with about a dozen other dogs (all BT's), and his petfinder.com description stated that he had no problems with other dogs.

Our neighborhood is very dog heavy. Everyone has one, or two, or three. Skeeter, when he sees a dog on the other side of the street his hackles will raise, and he will whimper a little big, and tends to pull on the leash--this is only if the other dog is also on leash, being walked. If the dog is in his own yard, Skeeter doesn't pay much attention at all. When there is a dog on the same side of the street (again, only while being walked, in it's own yard he doesn't care) Skeeter will go NUTS. At first, it was only with big dogs (it's mostly larger dogs in our neighborhood), but now it's with any dog, no matter the size or sex. He severly pulls on the leash (he's only 20lbs and can still drag us down the sidewalk a bit), growls, hackles up, barks in high pitch, and has even, a few times, jumped onto dogs. Naturally, we try to move along as quick as possible, but he will still pull and bark and whine until we have him distracted by something else.

The strange part is, however, when he meets a dog indoors (whether it be our house, or the other dogs house), he is friendly as pie. Plays happily, chases around, and hackles never go up, and there is never growling or barking. His two best friends are my best friends chihauaua/pom mix puppy, and my boyfriends parents basset hound (both males). Our neighbors dogs have occasionaly let themselves into our house, and he is friendly with them as well. When the dogs that he has befriended are taken outside with him on walks or to play, he is still friendly with them (even though we are outdoors).

Sometimes, really annoying neighbors leave their annoying little dogs outside off leash, and we have actually been chased, numerous times, down the street by two little evil pomeranians, and an angry old man beagle. Skeeter sometimes instigates the situation, sometimes doesn't.

To my knowledge, he has never been an "outdoor" only dog (although he was having a lot of trouble with potty training when we first brought him home, and he is 2 years old), and has very severe separation anxiety issues. I've also noticed that if I pet the dog he is barking at when outdoors, he gets even more upset.

Is this perhaps a protection of me/my boyfriend or his personal space? Has anyone else had any experience with stuff like this? Sometimes at night I am scared to take him for walks because there are SO many dogs in this neighborhood, that I can't go down the street at the same time as everyone else with him without it being a huge problem. We are attending a dog-friendly beach party this coming Sunday, and are considering bringing him to meet with some of our other friends dogs, in hopes to outdoor-socialize him, but I'm not sure if that would only be fueling the problem. I'm hoping that since he is still a young dog, it's an issue we can fix pretty easily.

Thanks for any help or tips!!
heart8 on July 11th, 2006 12:18 am (UTC)
It's the leash.

Many dogs become hyper aggressive on a leash (mine does) because they don't feel like they have the freedom to run away from a situation.
cranky.plaidisyourpal on July 11th, 2006 12:21 am (UTC)
hmm, I suppose that makes sense. Would getting him a longer leash help the situation at all? Perhaps he'll just have to be friends with dogs indoors only.
quippymcflippy on July 11th, 2006 12:20 am (UTC)
I'm in no way judging with this article (it sounds a little Dr. Phil high and mighty), but I googled "leash aggression in dogs" and thought it might be helpful for you.
cranky.plaidisyourpal on July 11th, 2006 12:22 am (UTC)
thanks, I'll check it out!
tini_smomtini_smom on July 11th, 2006 01:05 am (UTC)
I don't have any advice but I found this website when I was trying to find help for Tini's submissive behavior. It's a great group but seems to cater more to dogs with fear agression issues and I'm sure you'll find helpful information there. There is tons of non punishment type of advice for helping dog to dog agression and they say that it's actually a form of fear in your dog.

NH: The 'mulesxsaltyx on July 11th, 2006 02:24 am (UTC)
Skeet sounds like he just wasn't properly socialized on a leash. It's just going to take time and you need to remind your dog that YOU are in control of all situations and that he doesn't need to worry about it. Whatever comes, you will take care of it.

Absolutely do NOT get a longer leash... keep him close until he knows how to act on a leash. A long leash doesn't give him limits and to leash-train him, he'll need them. Ever seen someone try to get control of a dog on a long or retractable lead? Uh, yeah, it usually doesn't happen.

Good luck!
I'm just a girlcute_bunny on July 11th, 2006 03:16 am (UTC)
Roxie sometimes has leash aggression, and I was told the same thing that she feel "confined" or "trapped" by the leash and therefore puts her guard up. She can be dominant though and that's just something I expect and plan for when we take her on walks. Usually if I continually praise her for being a good girl and not starting anything she does really well. Then we get going before she gets worked up and everyone is happy. :)
the_id_kid on July 11th, 2006 03:41 am (UTC)
Nanna Max hates the leash, and does the same thing.
Not much help, I just praise her when she's good and hope that eventually gets through.