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Hi all,

Darwin was attacked unprovoked by a German Shepperd about a month ago at the dog park and is now extremely wary of other dogs. He was never aggressive before the attack, but now is showing signs of fear aggression. He tucks his tail when a new dog comes over and if they go to smell him he gets very nervous and depending on the situation may snap or run. If he runs, the other dogs think he is playing and chase him which ends up worsening the issue since now he is extremely scared and is yelping in fear even though the other dog isn't even touching him, This makes the situation worse since it draws more dogs over! We have been trying to make sure to have extra socialization for him, we don't coddle him when he is scared, and we don't ever reward the aggression, but we are unsure the best way to help him over this fear.

What do you all think? Anyone have any suggestions on how to help him? Things we are trying include having him do a sit stay and our approaching the new dog first and then inviting him over and increasing time with other dogs. Any ideas you all have would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance!
 

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You may want to consult a professional. In general, though, the behavioral treatment of choice for fear (including fear aggression) is what's called counterconditioning and desensitization. Here is a link to a description.

http://www.aspcabehavior.org/articles/14/Desensitization-and-Counterconditioning.aspx

In essence, you keep the feared thing at a distance or level of intensity your dog can tolerate without showing signs of fear before progressing up the ladder of intensity/distance. At each stage, you are also conditioning the dog to have a different emotional reaction to the thing by pairing the presence of the feared thing with treats. So, you might repeatedly bring your dog near a dog park where he can see the other dogs, have him sit and stay and feed him treats while he is watching the dogs play from a distance (as long as this doesn't provoke fear; if it does, you would have to try an even less intense exposure at first). Gradually decrease the distance (a number of repetitions at each distance). Then work up to a one-on-one meeting with another dog, then groups of dogs, etc. At each stage, you are feeding treats during the time the feared stimulus is present. The other important thing is never to force the stimulus on the dog, as much as possible allow the dog to be in control of approaching.
 

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hi Keneomac,
Sorry to hear about the attack. I'm no expert in this but my sense is that in trying to compensate by socializing your dog more after the attack, you may not be dealing with your dog's emotions in a way that he's comfortable with, i.e., he's being overexposed. I think rather than putting him in a setting where he's going to be chased when that scares him, try to do more exercises in a controlled setting (not a dog park) to build up his confidence and set him up to succeed. Do you have a friend with a stable and friendly (nonreactive is best) adult dog who can practice these exercises with you in a controlled setting?

I really enjoy Patricia McConnell's work and coincidently just read her blog posts on dog-dog reactivity yesterday. I found them really interesting since I had met a woman with a very reactive dog standing outside of the dog park. Here are the links below:

Start slow, find Darwin's threshold meaning find what stimulus just barely begins to bring about a reaction in him. You want to stay at that level or below it for the exercises to get him to feel comfortable again.

Part I
http://www.theotherendoftheleash.com/dog-dog-reactivity-treatment-summary

Part II
http://www.theotherendoftheleash.com/dog-dog-reactivity-ii-the-basics

Good luck!
 

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Hi, this looks familiar, we had a GSD.
You need to be aware of the precise circumstance the attack happened.

Vizsla dogs are, generally not provoking and don't bite or bark unprovoked - it is in their genes. These dogs bark if they are fearful or guarding resources (couch, toy, food) or mating.

I blame the GSD owner!
Did U call the police? You should have at least have filed a report.
If you witnessed the incident what was the GSD owner's reaction? Did he discipline his dog? If not, the dog is a weapon in their care.

I would look at what signals your V gave to provoke the attack and keep away, far away from dog parks.
Very few GSD owners understand or even properly train their dog.

I would start over and socialize the V again slowly, they have long memories especially about bad events.
 

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We had a similar situation with Pumpkin (11m tomorrow). She never snapped at another dog, but she presented with tail tucked, basically cowered, did not play like a typical pup with other dogs unless our dachshund, and she began to display nervousness around people as well. This happened after being attacked by a family member's dog while she was resting under my husband's feet! It came out of nowhere :eek: Right or wrong, what I continued to do was socialize Pumpkin at every opportunity, but only in safe situations. For example, attending playdates with other V owners/breeders who I knew would never tolerate misbehavior; in addition, it was in an open field where P is very comfortable. I took her places with me, even if a pain in the hind end, if I thought she might have exposure to people, new places, or a situation that was otherwise out of the routine. It took several puppy classes before she would arrive without her tail tucked & head lowered. I enrolled her in a pre-agility class following her puppy class just to ensure repeated socialization in a controlled environment. Even when she was nervous, I carried on as if all were well. I didn't start reassuring her excessively, tightening up on the leash, or otherwise behaving in a way that might tell her she should be nervous. She was more submissive in her fear not aggressive though. Aggression is a different level, but I would still try to keep Darwin exposed to animals if possible/safe. Do you have a friend with a great tempered dog? Can you enroll him in a obedience, agility, or tracking class? Those are great, becasue at least at our local AKC club, the environment is very controlled. They tell you all dogs on a leash unless instructed differently, and no playing, smelling, or generally being in another dogs space without permission. Safe. Even just being in the presence of another dog can help. In Pumpkin's case, she would rarely interact with the other dogs besides running in the same general area. That was fine with me, and I didn't push. It was the mere opportunity to be in the presence of dogs with nothing bad happening. It took many months of P being exposed to life for her to break through a lot of her fear. It took patience as well. Vs are so soft & can be unforgiving to a negative event(s). To this day, she doesn't play like other pups in the field, but we attribute that to her intensity/birdiness ::) If you are uncomfortable handling Darwin or feel like he is a threat, then do seek professional help. Poor fella! This is why I think it is a good idea to avoid dog parks, unless you are absolutely sure of the core group that attends at the time(s) you do. All it takes is one irresponsible owner to cause major problems :mad:. Hugs to Darwin & Good Luck!
 

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Keneomac-
I wanted to add that the first two V playdates we attended, P spent the 1st 15m or so running in fear. The other Vs were playing like Vs do, and a large male started chasing P. It was clear it was not fun & games for P. If I remember correctly, P may have air nipped Bing. Fortunately, it was obvious to others who immediately helped control the situation. From that point on, P stood close to people, and never played. Only in that situation would we have stayed. 2 more playdates (puppy class in between), & P had made a lot of progress.
 

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Just to add some clarifying remarks, Darwin isn't scared of dogs, he really wants to play, he will be in a group of dogs with no problem. It is only if the dog chases him that he gets extremely scared or if a new dog runs up to him for a greeting. This is why I am unsure how to proceed, I can't stop dogs from chasing each other they are dogs and that is how they play! If everyone is standing around playing without chasing he is perfectly fine. I assume the fear is because he was running when he got attacked, but I honestly have no idea how to fix this since I cannot run with them :)!

As for the fear when dogs run up we have been working on this by working with dogs we know where we can approach and greet normally. This works wonders, but if we are somewhere with new dogs and they run up he will tuck his tail and run and then we are back to the above section. I think with more time and confidence building we can re-teach him to greet properly, but I would love some more comments on what to do about being chased!

Thanks everyone!
 

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Yes I stay away from dogs that are not like him. Our V plays safely with Goldens, Labs, Vs, GSPs, English Setters, normal size Poodles only.

No mini poodles, GSDs, no Huskies, no Bulldogs, no Boxers. Usually, I look at the handler and if the dog is pulling, not paying super attention I don't even go near them or even say hello.

I think, as far as being chased, Darwin perhaps should be comfortable with other dogs smelling his bum first. His tail should not be between his legs or raised up high but straight in line with his body. Rest is a matter of time.

Did the GSD's teeth puncture Darwin's skin? If so a Vet should have checked and a report could have been filed. This isn't a matter to be taken lightly. I am sure it happened/will happen again to someone else's dog. A poorly socialized/trained GSD can be considered a potential lethal weapon in a court of law.
 
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