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Question
Posted by: Tess | 2004/11/05

Aggression in Males

Hi, I have two great dane's, a female aged 1 year and a male aged 6 months. They have both grown up going to the beach everyday, where they meet lots of other dogs and of course people and up until now have been fine with the other dogs, but I know find my male, who is actually the biggest 'woos' is becoming very aggressive towards other dogs on the beach. He would probably turn tail and run if one of them attacks him as he is terrified of my male Scottish terrier, but when he goes for another dog, my female leaps to his protection.She is fine with other dogs and loves to play with them, but the minute she feels he is being thratened she rushes to help and as you can imagine, it could turn into a horrible situation, especially as they are such big dogs. Is this a phase he is going through as he is not an aggressive dog at all, would dog training help or what should I do?? Someone has suggested neutering which I am not keen on.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

I think you should take both your dogs to a good training school in any case and train them separately, so that you have more control over them. Puppies from the age of 2 months need to be socialised in a group situation which is pleasant and not stressful. The beach is not always ideal. If they lose out on this early socialising stage (up until 16 weeks) it is often difficult to overcome this. Avoid ever punishing or reprimanding your dogs for being aggressive as this will only make them more anxious in that situation and therefore more defensive. During your walks, I suggest you keep one or both dogs on leads at all times so you have control over them. If you want to let them run more, get long leads (the expanding type are nice, but difficult to handle 2 at a time) or allow one dog off the lead at a time. Practise calling them back to you with treats during the walk. Part of the solution to male aggression is of course castration. This will take away the desire to prove how macho he is, especially to other male dogs. I strongly recommend this in any case for most male dogs, unless you are a breeder, as it makes male dogs generally easier to handle. They cock their legs less, wander less, fight less and are less controlling.
Karen Gray-Kilfoil
ANIMAL BEHAVIOURIST

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3
Our users say:
Posted by: Chill | 2004/11/05

Your dog is learning how to behave in dog-society, and he's experimenting. Taking him to training will help him socialise under controlled circumstances, and this can ONLY benefit everyone concerned.

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Carol | 2004/11/05

Training will certainly help , but IMO if you dont have him neutered you are looking for trouble ... if yr bitch comes into season and theyare going walkies without a leash you are going to have more than bloodshed.

You will also have problem with yr scotty , yr great dane is only 6 months but as he gets older ..... rather have him neutered .

Reply to Carol
Posted by: Acineth | 2004/11/05

I'm a big fan of training. The more advanced classes teach them to ignore other dogs. It could be a phase since he is about the right age, but even so, I wouldn't leave it. He may learn bad habits during this time. It sounds as if you let them off lead - until he stops this, it would be a good idea to keep them on lead and only let them interact with other dogs under strict supervision.

Reply to Acineth

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