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Help with Lab overprotective behavior

Discussion in 'Dogs - all breeds / types' started by JaxsMOM23, Sep 7, 2007.

  1. JaxsMOM23

    JaxsMOM23 New Member

    I need some ideas of how to deal with a problem that I am having with my 1 yr old Black Lab -- Jax. Over all he is such a good dog -- temperment,etc. He is wonderful around my three daughters (ages 14 to 3). He is never aggressive with other dogs, socializes very well...
    Here is my issue --
    Our neighbor behind us has 4 dogs -- 3 Chichuahuas and 1 Boston Terrior. If anyone is in our back yard, these dogs bark the whole time at the fence, have tried to dig holes to come through the fence,etc...very aggressive behavior. When we got Jax initially, he ignored the dogs behind us. Lately though, his behavior has changed. Now anytime one of us is out in the backyard with him, he will run up to us greet us,play and then run to the back of our fence and stare (Head up, chest out, tail in upward position) into the other dogs backyard to see if they are back there. He runs back and forth the whole time anyone is in the backyard, almost "doing rounds" to make sure those dogs aren't there. If the dogs happen to come out to thier backyward, then watch out. His behavior changes -- hair on the back is raised, very tall posture, actually bites and chews at the wooden fence and the chicken wire we put up -- like he is trying to break throught the fence. He barks very deep -- foams alittle at the mouth and will not repsond to ANY verbal commands. Tonight he was so upset the he bite the fence hard enough to cut the side of his mouth.
    I have watched him when he is the backyard by himself and the other dogs are barking at him. He completely ignores them, sometimes even laying down and going to sleep on our deck..He doesn't even give them a second glance.
    My question is why is he doing this? It seems so out of his character. He does this with only these dogs. He has never been with these dogs without the fence between them. He doesn't do this at all with the other neighbors that have dogs that live on wither side of us...
    Any suggestions or insights into his behavior is appreciated.
  2. Dukesdad

    Dukesdad New Member

    It seems like he senses the aggression in the other dogs and tries to protect you when you are in the back yard. God help one of those chichauas if they ever do dog their way into your yard.
    He does not respond to you when he is in his intense red zone state. You will have to physically interupt this state to get him to respond. Try leashing him the next time the other dogs are present and then give a quick jerk on the leash as soon as your dog starts to become aggressive. Timing is important. Make your dog sit and ignore the other dogs. Hopefully he will realize you are not in any danger and relax like he does when you are not present.
    Sorry you have to endure those tiny aggressive neighbors.
  3. brads

    brads New Member

    Hi! First, sorry for the long post. Lots of stuff. We raise/train guide dogs (or seeing eye dogs as some call them) from puppyhood for "Guide Dogs for the Blind." Almost exclusively Labs. I agree totally with Dukesdad. What you are seeing is protective behavior displayed by a pack animal and dogs are pack animals. Jax is protecting his pack, which is you. As you have seen, he is not in the least bit afraid of your neighbors dogs. Lab v/s Chihuahua's/Terrier, I'm not surprised. He knows who's the big dog here. lol :D Dukesdad's solution is exactly right so like he said, the next time Jax reacts to your neighbors' dogs you need to give him a good, firm correction. This is done by "sharply" pulling back on the leash when your animal displays unwanted behavior. (like barking at your neighbors' dogs.) We call it "correcting" because we are trying to correct some unwanted or unsafe behavior. Then as soon as the animal complies, praise the heck out of him. (Good boy Jax!!! pat, pat, pat...) A few things. First: You will NOT hurt Jax by giving him a correction. Your dogs neck is his strongest part. Again, you will NOT hurt him. Second: It's OK to set Jax up. Take him out on his leash and wait for him to react to the neighbors dogs. Give him a good firm correction each time he does. Keep doing it until he stops. He'll figure out he's being set up but that's OK because he stops the behavior. This of course is terrific because he's doing what you want. Then praise him, praise him, praise him. Every time. Three: Dogs do not hold grudges and you're not going to hurt his feelings. When it's over, it's over and they forget about it. (your jerking on his collar, not the point you were trying to make with it.) Now, why does this work. The correction is to get the animals attention. In your case, when Jax displays protective behavior (or the red zone as Dukesdad puts it) he is oblivious to everything else. So you gotta get his attention and yelling at him just won't do. Give him a correction and he will go... "huh?" Then you say something like, "No bark Jax!" Jax will soon figure out you don't like it when he barks at the neighbors' dogs (or any other dogs for that matter) and will stop because the thing he wants most in the whole world is to please you. Pleasing you (and your kids) is his number one priority in life. Well, that and food. (See I know Labs!) OK, guess that about covers it so hang in there and give Jax a big hug from us at "Guide Dogs for the Blind."

    Good Luck :y_the_best:

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