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Labs 4 me - Agressive Lab

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Last week I was hunting in ND with my 1 1/2 yr old lab when for the first time he became aggressive with the other dogs in the hunting party. (by the way hunting was sub-par) He has trained and worked with other dogs in the past and has yet to show this behavior. The other dogs were also labs (5 yr old male & 6 mth old female) and for some reason he was extremely aggressive towards the female to the point of drawing blood. I am at loss for why this occurred and am looking for any suggestions for how to break him of this behavior. There has been other altercations with other dogs but he is usually on the receiving end of the aggression. He is well mannered and for the most part very passive however he is also very focused in the field and well obedient. There are other factors that could have led to this but it would take too long to type. SUGGESTION PLEASE.

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Dogs are like people - they don't always all get along. It may have been a dominance thing, but it really is hard to comment without seeing what happened and the other stuff that takes to long to type might be the reason. If it was my dog, I would get on him for the behavior to let me know it is not OK, and I would do it forcefully. Drawing blood is not good. Then again, maybe he was just having a bad day.

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Hoggs, are these the dogs that you usually hunt / train with? Were they in the act of hunting or just hanging around the truck after the hunt? Were there birds near by? Was the female acting like a typical 6 month old pup? Beginning or end of the day ar all the time? Give me a little more to go on... here's some general guidelines...

1st, off never, ever condone any aggressive behavior. You have to end it here and now when it shows. If he gets a taste of being dominant and running the show, you'll have some incidents you won't want to watch unfold. I'd tackle him immediatley and get him on his back in a sub-ordinate, defensive posture and get in his face to let him know that this will not be tolerated. Make sure your buddies are controlling their dogs at that time too... Let him back up and command him to sit at heel and not make a move.

2nd, your dog is young but is at a stage where he is nearing maturity. If the little female was antagonizing him as a lot of pups will, it sometimes will be like dynamite near an open fire. Still not an excuse, but he may have been overly wound up from the hunt or tired after the hunt and his stress level couldn't handle the puppy...

3rd, never leave birds lying around for your dog to guard... no matter how well behaved you think he is! This is usually a recipe for disaster. They are your birds. At the end of the field or the end of the hunt, make sure the birds are secured and not available for any dog to 'claim' as his.

4th, never allow all dogs to water at the bucket at the same time. They each get their chance. Again take away any opportunity for reactionary strikes. along those lines, when you are feeding him, make sure you can at any time put your hand in his food, take away his food and even lay along side him while he is eating... this is always one of the surest ways to insure you do not have an overly dominant animal. If they give up their food, they understand they are not at the top of the heap.

5th off, how often has he been the one on the recieving end? He may have been learning some of this dominance trait by getting his butt kicked by other dogs and it was 'his turn' to try it out. Again... DO NOT CONDONE IT. But in all fairness, as I said earlier, do not let your buddy allow his dog to antagonize your dog if that is what happened. If she is an out of control puppy, a leash or in the crate is the fairest way to treat the situation.

Hope some of this helps... If these are the dogs you intend to hunt with more in the future, I'd get them together as often as possible away form the hunt to 'socialize' them with each other so as too not worry about them creating a pecking order out in the field.

Good Luck!


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