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Hi there, this is the first time we have registered with a forum as we would just like a little advice about our 4 year old rescue Vizsla "Loki". We have managed to deal with this aggression issue by keeping him on the lead, however we would like to know what we can do to SOLVE the problem rather than just DEAL with it.

I'll try to make the history bit of it as easy reading as possible ( my husband says I can put a glass eye to sleep with my descriptive stories! )

So we had a lab for about 2 years before we decided to rescue Loki from a centre for Vizsla's. We were warned that he was aggressive towards men ( they said because he was abused quite severely) which we dealt with and he slowly learned to accept most men. His tail started to wag after 6 months, and he just settled into the most lovable, soppy, velcro dog! The lab helped immensely as she was the most loving and playful and sensitive little pup. They became best mucca's and were inseperable until she became very ill very quickly and passed away. Loki mourned for a few months I would say. He started to become more aggressive and anxious again after about 6 months. We then decided that we would get another rescue as a friend for him. About 3 months ago we brought home another Vizsla named Salsa ( who has no behaviour issues, was just neglected ), and instantly they were sleeping in the same crate ( on their own accord ) would sleep on top of each other, always be touching and would not go anywhere or do anything without each other.

so now I don't think that there was a massive issue with Loki getting aggressive towards other dogs when Tilly our lab was around, but we have noticed with salsa now, he is starting to chase other dogs and pin them down by their necks. He has never "bitten" another dog, just pins them to the ground. It does happen more commonly with other very playful pups that jump on him, but I am just to fearful to let him off the lead when there are others around. We are just assuming that he must be very protective of her around other dogs and we just assume that he must remember Tilly just disappearing and doesn't want Salsa to do the same.

They have 1 very long walk ( well they run around in a few farmers fields or the forestry) per day as well as another 1 or 2 smaller, half hour walks in the evening/morning depending on our shifts.

We will be happy to answer any questions and take into consideration any advise. We would just like to seem him become a more stable dog. He deserves that considering what he has been through.
Many thanks. :)
 

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ukyankee

Welcome,and well done for adopting out your two Vizslas.

"We were warned that he was aggressive towards men ( they said because he was abused quite severely) which we dealt with and he slowly learned to accept most men"
I think that dogs on some level may have an awareness of human gender. However, abuse is just abuse, whether done by male or female. Don't make the assumption that all is well with a female human,and watch him close.
Vizslas aren't aggressive dogs by nature, but they can hold their own if push comes to shove.

" They became best mucca's and were inseperable until she became very ill very quickly and passed away. Loki mourned for a few months I would say. He started to become more aggressive and anxious again after about 6 months."
I think what happened here is that Loki is emotionally immature and his social skills aren't fully developed. He probably followed the labs lead, so to speak, and had a routine that was predictable and comfortable to him that made him feel secure.
I don't know that dogs "mourn" like humans. I know that they are acutely aware of changes in their environment and the other dog missing would be a big hole for a dog that may be dependent on the leadership role offered by another dog.

"About 3 months ago we brought home another Vizsla named Salsa ( who has no behaviour issues, was just neglected ), and instantly they were sleeping in the same crate ( on their own accord ) would sleep on top of each other, always be touching and would not go anywhere or do anything without each other. "

This is normal with V's to a point. Too much dependency on each other may have a compromising effect on their relationship with people, but without knowing their complete history it coold be that they are getting the security that they both need from each other.

"he is starting to chase other dogs and pin them down by their necks. He has never "bitten" another dog, just pins them to the ground. It does happen more commonly with other very playful pups that jump on him,"

This is a normal behavior. undesirable, but normal. He's teaching the younger dogs, but he may not be the best teacher for the job, as he probably didn't have a good teacher. It's a little unnerving to watch this,and most V's don't do it. I had one that would take a dog right off it's feet and pin it in place. Bottom line is that you are going to have watch him closely with dogs he is unfamiliar with.

You have two "rescues". Both dogs have mental "holes" in their training and development and you will have to fill and accomodate these gaps for them until they learn, and accept that in some instances, they may not.
The longer you have them and the more familiar their daily routine becomes, the more stable both dogs will be. But, you must work( train) with each dog as an individual. While they may be physically adult dogs, you may need to restart their training from ground zero to find the holes.
Each dog need to be worked separately so that you establish yourself as the "decision maker". Don't train them together.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you very much for your reply. Its nice to know that Loki isn't too damaged and that we can work to try and fix him. We have plans to start doggie classes in the spring. Until then, we will try and work his mind a little more, because he gets more than enough physical exercise.

One article I was reading about dog aggression with other dogs would to make him sit, I approach the other dog first, give it attention and then let Loki approach it. Have you heard of that? I guess its suppose to reaffirm the alpha leader thing as they say that perhaps he is just defending us?

Not quite sure about that. Any comments suggestions welcome! :)
 

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ukyankee

I'm not a person that really believes in the "alpha" concept to much. I more believe that we condition dogs to accept our decision as being the better, or more fun decision, than theirs at any given time.
With all the things I do, I try first and foremost to introduce as much repetition and regularity into my dogs lives. They eat at the same time, sleep in the same crate, all the house rules are clear in black and white, and any discipline is fair and consistently applied. In other words. They can predict my response.
I am familiar with the concept of sitting the dog prior to introduction. It's kind of the same as letting two dogs sniff each other through a screen or fence. It "slows down time" and allows both dogs the opportunity think first before reacting.
As Loki begins to accept and predict your behavior, he in turn will become less reactive to a given situation. It's kind of like he's thinking, "If you're not worried, I don't need to be either".
Don't wait until spring to start any formal sessions with both dogs. An amazing body of work can be accomplished in a very small space and time. Get them both engaged and working as soon as you can.
Begin the basic groundwork with the leash and work them each day. There is so much info available on the net that with just a little research you could probably be done with both dogs by the end of winter, before the spring session begins.

PS.
As long as Loki isn't attacking people, he's probably "more alright" than you may think, and won't require too much "fixing".
I think he just needs to get comfortable and secure in his environment.
 

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We have similar issues with our adopted Vizsla, Cocoa. She is now 4 and we've had her almost 1 year. She adores people and is very sweet and loving but she is terribly aggressive towards other dogs. She walks fairly well on her leash until she spots another dog. We've been to training and she did fine there but it hasn't changed her behavior towards other dogs while walking. I wonder if it's fear of the unknown. Any suggestions?
 

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It's been a while since I looked at the forum so just now reading the post from Sarahaf. Thank you for the suggestions. I will investigate.
 

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http://redbirddog.blogspot.com/2009/12/history-and-misconceptions-of-dominance.html

I love it that you have taken on two rescues. Cesar Milan's books are excellent regarding much of rescue behavior. Also Ian Dunbar really gets into dog's heads.

Hope you get something out of reading the above post.

Aggression is something to always be on guard about. Never assume your dog is every completely cured. Something could "spark" in him that you might not expect.

Good luck and I wish you the best. This forum can be very helpful. Just like labs, each Vizsla will be different.

Rod
http://redbirddog.blogspot.com
 

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