Any rescue chow owners that can offer some advice?

General discussions about Chow Chows.

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Any rescue chow owners that can offer some advice?

Post by Shannon119 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:14 am

Hi everyone! I'm new to the group. My husband and I adopted a 4 year old male Chow from a shelter a year ago. He's a great dog, and he's generally friendly (though apprehensive) with people, but is terribly agressive with other medium- large dogs. At 80 pounds, he can be difficult to get under control when he gets worked up. We've done extensive training with him, but our trainer generally thinks we won't be able to get this dog-aggression out of him. Our trainer uses traditional training methods (e-collar, limited treat reinforcement). I've managed to successfully get Charlie comfortable around some friends' friendly, non-dominant dogs.

Any rescue owners out there that have worked through aggression issues? What methods worked for you? Positive reinforcement, or traditional training methods? Would love to hear any advice. We live in an area with lots of dogs (often off-leash!!) so it would be really great if we could find a way to get our Charlie to calm down around other dogs! Not knowing his history, I'm inclined to think his issues may be fear-based. He's also extremely food-aggressive, and can't have food, treats or toys safely near other dogs. Thanks in advance :)

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Re: Any rescue chow owners that can offer some advice?

Post by Cindy J » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:03 am

I have worked a male through this very issue. We went to a dog park, but did not go in. Instead we played and trained outside the fence. We would gradually move closer to the fence and I would offer treats when he paid attention to me and ignored the other dogs. It took weeks of gradually moving closer, always keeping the focus on me. Tons of treats and praise for a job well done.

If at any time he began growling or refused to focus on me, I would back him away a safe distance and work back in gradually. It was not easy, nor fast. Weeks turned into months. However the end result was a dog that that learned to tolerate other males. He never liked them, but he learned to ignore them.

Some tips:
Watch your boy and do not allow him to give eye contact to another male. If he tries, put yourself between him and the other male and turn him away. Force him to WALK AWAY! You are the boss. Make certain that he knows this is not acceptable to even stare at another male.

Watch his body language and be preemptive. You will learn to notice subtle changes before he becomes obviously riled. His tail might be more ridged, standing up a bit taller, hair on the nape of his neck slightly raised, twitching his ears.... subtle signs that he is focusing too hard and not ignoring.

At the first sign, turn him away and have him look at you by offering a treat. If he insists on craning his neck around you to look at the other dog, give a word that lets him no that he has to stop. I use a simple "EHT!" (It is just a negative sound that my crew knows as -knock it off-) I then give a quick tug on the leash. Not harsh, but enough to get their attention.

If he still will not bring his attention back to you, simply walk him away.

They learn that listening gets rewards and praise, while not listening gets them removed from the fun. They are very smart but very stubborn. Keep your training up-beat but be firm....

My motto is FIRM but FAIR!
CH Dreamland's Intrepid Spirit ~ Chance
Dreamland's Dancing in the Storm ~ Raine
Dreamland's Calling All Angels ~ Skye

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Re: Any rescue chow owners that can offer some advice?

Post by JasonandNat » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:01 am

I handle quite a few chow fosters as well as other dogs, as mentioned above good advice. Another thing is to let a long lead drag from the colar back behind your chow. If he starts giving you issue, don’t scold, just talk calmly while walking up/on the lead to his color, forcing him to lay down. Hard to be tough from your belly. Now if he’s behaving, back up a bit freeing him to be social. Otherwise walk back to force him down. It takes time, but cuts the stress on both of you a thousand percent and your arms will still be in their sockets. This is a very old horse training technique that has yet to fail for either horses or dogs.

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