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Separation Anxiety and Dog Agression with a Boxer Mix (long)

3213 Views 35 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  jasonl
I'm sorry if this is a little long.  Maybe you guys can think of something that I haven't nor the 17 other trainers and 2 behaviorist I have spoken to have.

In July of 2007, I adopted a 2 1/2 yr old neutered male Boxer mix.  I adopted him from an animal shelter that everyone warned me about.  I guess they usually adopt out ill dogs, but Carter came to us with nothing except food allergies which was easy to fix.  I have no background information on him except that he was adopted out once before me but returned in a week because their dog didn't like Carter.  You can tell Carter was abused before we got him.  He is scared of anything whip-like, brooms (which we have finally overcome) and loud voices.  He isn't scared to snap at you if he does something "wrong" a you raise your voice at him.

I'm not sure if you can see websites from where you are reading this from but If you'd like to see him.

From day one he had Separation Anxiety, but it never seemed severe enough to worry about, I guess that was where my first mistake happened.  I also started to notice that when we would pass dogs on the street Carter would try to pull me over to "greet" the dog but start to growl when he got close.  I found out on Christmas day that he can me around other dogs and play as long as I use a muzzle to introduce him to the other dog.  I did an obedience class with Carter in mid-September which he did "ok" in.  He was always trying to go after the other dogs in class and any dog that came into the building, but a correction from me usually kept him out of trouble.

During said class, I was told I had a VERY dominant dog and should be careful.
In the first few months we had him, he snapped a lot at us and one time when he got into some food that we were about to eat, when we went to correct him (tell him to "leave it and go to his crate for a treat) He lunged at me and between my fianc
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Re: Separation Anxiety and Dog Agression with a Boxer Mix (l

I have something to say about the prong collar.  I also have a dog aggressive dog.  I also used to use a prong collar because I believed what I read about it and that it wasn't as harmful as a choke chain, but gave control.  Well, it didn't matter b/c she still lunged and pulled with the prong collar.  It didn't phase her, but worst of all- now every time she pulls to go towards a dog she feels pain.  We want them to associate other dogs with good things, not uncomfortable or even painful things.
For quite a while now I have been using a gentle leader.  Once she got used to it works great- it gives me control over her physically, so she isn't dragging me around.  (Only when she sees another dog close up- normally she walks very well on leash). sometimes she bucks and pulls back when she meets resistance, but it is much better than the constant pressure of the prong collar- which didn't help me control her anyway. Perhaps another plus is that it takes her focus away from the dog and onto the GL.
If you are worried he could get out of the GL you can get a leash with a clip on both ends- use on end on the GL and the other on a regular collar, only use tension on the GL if he starts lunging/pulling for a dog.
Delilah (my dog) also had separation anxiety when I got her.  she didn't break out of crates, but she totally freaked out in them.  She also broke down every gate I put up.  The only thing that worked for her was being tethered in the kitchen.  she is on a leash where she can't get tangled up in anything and she doesn't even try to get off of it.  It has been great, b/c she would go to the bathroom if left loose in the house for any amount of time.  So, I don't think tying him up in the basement is cruel at all.  He has injured himself in the crate, and he very well could hurt himself by chewing up something dangerous in the house.  He certainly cannot be left outside where he could hurt another animal or person if he got out, or they went into your yard.
Having said that- the dog aggression and SA is all secondary to the apparent aggression towards you.  What have the behaviorist told you? What have they recommended you do about the lunging?  What ARE you doing about it?
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Re: Separation Anxiety and Dog Agression with a Boxer Mix (l

Yes, it must be very difficult for you now.  and the shelter worker you talked to was right, he probably shouldn't have been placed up for adoption.  You definitely sound like you are more than dedicated to making his life the best it can be, and unfortunately he has some issues.  
How is putting him on a chain making him more aggressive?  I think it sounds like the best option you have right now.  Will he touch food or treats while he is in the basement and you are gone? Have you tried a nice big kong filled with yogurt or peanut butter or canned dog food and then frozen?  Bully sticks?  Anything to give him to chew on while you are gone.  I know sometimes though dogs with SA won't touch it until you get home, but it can't hurt to try.
I read that you had already talked to behaviorists, I was just curious as to what they said and also what you are doing in the mean time.  You said it isn't working, but perhaps it is inadvertently making it worse- I read correction- and holding him down until he gives up.  I don't know what you mean by correction but holding an aggressive dog down until it "submits" is not a great idea.  Again, i'm trying not to assume anything thats why I asked what you were doing specifically.
I'm sorry you haven't found what you are looking for yet, it must be frustrating.
Good luck!

Edit: How is he right after walks and the treadmill? that amount of exercise might just be a warm-up for a dog that is in-shape.   If he isn't dog tired (comes home and lays down for a long nap) he could probably use more exercise.  Why not add more time to a treadmill and have him jog on it?
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