What constitutes aggression and its warning signs
I have a 19 month old APBT/pointer mix named Saphira. She's started to show some signs of DA with some dogs, especially males. I've been reading around the forums a little and have come across posts where people mentioned their dogs might have HA(Human aggression). I'm really confused over where to draw that line.
Saphira loves people, but is extremely shy of them at first. When I got her 10 months ago, she would hide behind me or shrink away from people when they tried to pet her. She's now being a little more extroverted and will pull towards people when they pass her on walks, sniff their hands and then back off. Sometimes she lets them pet her, other times she'll just back off again. Treats help her feel more settled so I almost always carry some if we're going to busy area's. I do notice a few things that concern me
1. She tenses up when she sees people approach her. Like if we're walking down a path and there are two others approaching us.
2. She hates skateboarders and barks her head off at them
3. She's great with the kids that I've introduced her to, but she sometimes seems to tug or tense when she's near them. I took her to a fenced area in a park once to play fetch and she saw a little girl come up to the fence to say hi. She stiffened up, started hunching down like she was hunting, then runs up to the fence, not barking, growling or snapping at all through all of this, and proceeds to lick the girls hand through the bars ( I had my heart in my mouth for a while). She began to bark as the girl ran away and tried to chase her along the fence. It didn't look aggressive to me, but I'd like to have her be a little more controlled while interacting with kids. She's 50 lbs and can knock a kid over.
My fear is that she might be overly reactive towards people and that this could turn into aggression.
She has not snapped, growled or lunged with barred teeth towards any human thus far.
One of my concerns, which I had mentioned in an earlier post, was that using a slip lead(incorrectly at times) might have given her a negative association with certain people when she pulled towards them. I have since then stopped using the slip lead and gone back to a regular harness, but the tugging has surfaced again. I'm torn between going back to the slip lead v/s afraid it might make her aggressive.
She knows 'watch me', 'heel' and knows a little of 'come' provided there aren't many distractions.
I'd like if someone here can clarify just in general what the signs of aggression are, because I'm not all that sure what constitutes that line.
All of that just sounds like lack of control and lack of socialization in her early stages. Work on controlling her on walks and at home before trying to socialize her. Allowing her to pull in harness is not having her under control. Harnesses are made for pulling and so they don't deter it. A proper prong or chain will help if used correctly (at the top of the neck) and used only for corrections. These collars should not be used independently. There should always be a flat buckle collar below it with a leash so when they pull they don't hurt themselves. Once you have that control and can read her body language you will be able to correct her before things escalate. All of these also build trust and confidence. Which then reduces anxiety and you should start to see less dramatic responses to interacting with strangers.
I wouldn't medicate, it's a band aid not a solution.
Every dog has a tell. You just have to learn it. Work on her in a controlled environment to start. Once she has that down, then start working her in areas of very low traffic. Work your way up.
If you have to ask what is aggression and what isn't, then you do not know your dogs body language as well as you think you do.
Just having a game dog constitutes aggression. This breed is an animal aggresive breed. Get a different breed that's what they do. If you another dog chances are your pit will want to make it submit. I suggest just don't put your dog in situations where you know are going to be hard for the handler to controller. Be responsible or avoid getting a breed like this its simple
My response still stands. No to medication, yes to slowly and consistently working with your dog. Medicating can mask body language and you'll no longer have that tell to look for.
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