Sudden, unexpected aggression, rescue cane corso

Discussion in 'Training & Behavior' started by tennjed, Jul 17, 2021.

  1. tennjed

    tennjed New Member

    Rescued my Cane Corso, Zoe, a year ago. It has been a full time job taking care of her, but rewarding. In the past year I have introduced her to numerous locals, adult and children, while on our nightly walks. She has always shown interest in meeting everybody/anybody but has shown no aggression to anyone. In fact, she has become somewhat of a celebrity. Before this evening the only instances of aggressive behavior have occured when other dogs display aggressive behavior towards us as we walk.

    This evening, while stopping to visit one of my friends during the evening walk, the friends neighbor (a stranger to Zoe) walked over. Things went normal as I introduced Zoe to the new person, i.e. thorough sniffing and then sitting down beside me, However, after a few minutes Zoe became aggressive (outrage mode) toward the new person, while he simply stood there speaking with me and my friend. Fortunately, I had a good grip on her leash and was able to restrain her. Before I finally left, Zoe displayed three separate episodes of this aggression, while seeming to assume a calm disposition between each episode. The person toward whom she was showing aggression had simply stood in the same position the entire time.

    Has anyone else experienced anything similar? An entire year with no unexplained aggression, and now ?

    Best,

    Wayne
     
  2. Michele

    Michele Super Moderator Staff Member

    First thing I would do is make sure there are no medical issues going on.
     
    Boxergirl likes this.
  3. tennjed

    tennjed New Member

    I am pretty good about getting her checked out. The following day I walked her, as usual, and had occasion to introduce her to three new people. All were gladly accepted as new friends, without a hitch. I don't know the guy she was upset about being near. Maybe it was just something about him. I have heard it said that dog's can be great judges of character; or, maybe he reminded her of somebody from her past.

    When I initially rescued her, she was already housebroken, was pretty good about the "sit" command, and was obviously very familiar with what a strong "NO" means. I guess that is the major problem with rescues, you have very little knowledge of history.
     
  4. BattleDax

    BattleDax Well-Known Member

    Well, the good news is your girl is like 95% reliable. That's not bad! Of course, just one bite or nip and you could have legal trouble, so it's good you're taking this seriously.

    By your description, you let your dog go ahead and meet people on her own terms and without any specific command from you. Yes, I understand she is a rescue and you've done a lot of work with her – good job. I do know, however, that if I have a dog that has any tendency to be aggressive toward people and I don't take charge of the situation by issuing a command, that dog may at any point lash out at the person. Incidentally, it's similar with encounters with dogs.

    So, if your dog sees you as leader, and you "take charge" as I put it, it allows them to be more at ease and to know that you, their leader, will handle things.

    The command I use with my current dog when I want him to not bark/lunge at other dogs is my silent command (not necessarily the word "silent,"rather whatever command you have firmly established). This command means do not bark or growl – no vocalization. It does the trick. I have taken charge and he obeys.

    In terms of meeting people thatI want him to accept: I issue my command that means this is a good person and I expect you to accept them. Again, I have taken control of the situation.

    So, that's my take on things.

    I remember with my first Doberman, I took him to be evaluated by a protection training person. They did the evaluation – leashed him to a chain link fence and ran a couple tests. Afterward, I was standing there with my dog on leash by my side and the protection professional standing nearby talking to me. My boy was sitting or standing by me and acting neutral. Suddenly, he lunged aggressively at the person with no apparent trigger. I later asked the trainer why my dog did this. He replied "eh, he was bored." My takeaway? Well, basically what I wrote above.

    In the following video, take a look at minute marker 22:05 and let it run for a bit. You see this Corso lunge at the person filming, then lunge some more and bark. This, after a good while of standing there not being aggressive. Now, one thing is that the filmer just raised his leg in the air. This might have triggered the dog, but it just overall reminds me of the topic we're discussing. Note that I don't really find the dog trainer in this video to necessarily be someone that I trust, but I like this video because – dang – I love this dog! I want it! A good looking, tall, athletic assertive young Corso.

     
  5. tennjed

    tennjed New Member

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. I do take it very seriously. In fact, as I was walking her home, I was contemplating the possibility that the responsible thing to do might be to "re-home" her. I broke my heart, as she has been, otherwise, such a great dog. She is a very big neutered female (120 lbs). When I adopted her I was told she was a "breeder," rescued from very unsanitary conditions: the coat on her back was so thin that you could pretty much see her flesh. She is now in magnificent physical condition with full brindle coat and no health problems at all. Her attachment to me is such that she is never more than six feet from me at any time. Giving her up would feel like one of the biggest fails in my life.... But, one has to be responsible to the community. For reference, she pretty much looks exactly like the very last dog shown in the video, the one the guy is gesticulating in front of.

    I will take your advice on not allowing her to advance toward folks she seems excited to meet. I have been guilty of this. In past, when another dog is barking at her, I have always used the method of getting between her and the other dog and forcing her to pay attention to me, rather than the other dog. In some cases I have taken her to ground and forced her to stay on the ground until she calms down, sort of reinforcing the idea:...I've got this.

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    Thanks again for the response.
     
    BattleDax likes this.

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