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by KAL on 15 January 2018 - 12:01

I would greatly appreciate any thoughts readers might have re the following problem relating to redirected aggression.

A friend has been offered a Malinois which has been rejected by a Prison Service due to redirected aggression. The young dog, approximately 18 months old has excellent obedience (I have seen video clip) and was trained to bite and release on command. However, apparently during a disturbance, a number of people charged towards the dog and he became extremely agitated. This deterred those challenging the dog and his handler, however the dog having not had a 'bite' turned and bit his handler. The inmates noticed this so when the dog was next being used, they provoked the dog, resulting again in the dog biting the handler. The dog has understandably been removed from duty.

I have seen a video clip of the dog biting a sleeve and releasing on command however on release from the bite, the handler,to prevent the dog from redirecting the aggression onto him, used a ball to get the dog to redirect onto that as the dog seems to go into a frenzied state. After a few minutes the dog calms down and releases the ball.

My friend lives in the countryside and the dog would be an ideal companion/protector however my fears are that this highly vigilant dog, who is wary of strangers, might be a liability! If it becomes frenzied off lead in the home, alerting that somone is around the property or even if someone calls to the home, it would be extremely difficult to control and there is a risk the dog may bite the new owner, unless the new owner can quickly redirect the aggression on to a ball.
I would appreciate any thoughts on whether the dog can be retrained and if so how?
Q Man

by Q Man on 15 January 2018 - 17:01

Without seeing the dog and what's really going on it's hard to tell...But...I would suspect that the dog's training was done too quickly and not enough rewards (bites) after the dog has "OUTED"...Dog's who do bite work and are OUTED are "Loaded" and try to find an outlet for it...
They will bite the first thing they find...I would suggest that the training was taken back and do the bite work and outs and re-bites done correctly...


by duke1965 on 15 January 2018 - 17:01

looks to me that it is not an agression problem, but a "drive overload" problem,as I never seen an agressive dog attack a ball out of agression,

dog like that needs experienced handler, so in my opinion is unfit for a novice companion dog.

if you can let me know where dog is located I might have possability to have  someone experienced look at him.


by ValK on 15 January 2018 - 17:01

there are reason why they want to get rid of that dog. you cannot correct that issue by training.
nevertheless dog still can be used as a deter factor in closed perimeter, where chances of direct contact with other people are minimal.

by duke1965 on 15 January 2018 - 17:01

Valk, you can definately work with a dog like that if you know what you are doing, but like I said, not for novice/companion

by ValK on 15 January 2018 - 18:01

duke1965 this is not an offer from private owner. my guess before to give this dog away, they tried to do correction.

by Klossbruhe on 15 January 2018 - 18:01

I have had considerable experience with transferred aggression. IIt is almost always caused by frstration overload where the dog has not been able to channel its drives. This is often seen when two dogs chase a rabbit, can't get it and turn on each other. This could cause a dog which was on leash to bite its handler.

I do not agree with the previous poster that this problem cannot be solved. Transferred aggression cannot be total eliminated, however, a dog can be trained, IF IT IS MENTALLY STA BLE, to respect its handler, control its drive and never bite the handler. I know this because I have had such dogs and done the specialized training required. It takes a few months under the careful supervision of an expert.

However, the situation you describe is somewhat different from typical transferred aggression. It sounds like fear aggression. The normal response of a properly trained protection dog be it in IPO or police work is to stand its ground when approached by threatening people and not to turn and bite its handler. A stable dog on a lead normally goes into defense drive and protects its handler. You can offen see this.

I agree with the person who said this dog is not a candidtate for a novice and may not be a candidate at all if it is not mentally stable. If what occured was normal transferred aggression the dog, if restrained, might have instantly bit the handler in a split second once and then turned around on the approachers threatening them again.

This dog would have to be taken to a specialist, say, who trains for the police or military for evaluation as to its mental stability. If it was judged stable, then a period of training would have to follow. A dog must learn that it can never bite its handler. Accidents can happen where a dog is accidentally stepped on by its handler or otherwise hurt and it must not turn on its handler. Of if it is injured and the handler must perform something on the dog, like carrying it to a car it must not attack the handler.

by KAL on 15 January 2018 - 19:01

Thank you all for your responses. The dog, reportedly, does not seem to have fear aggression and is brave in the sense that he will not step back when confronted. As several of you have stated it's more like drive/frustration overload. The dog had passed various tests before being accepted as suitable for Prison work however the incident initially referred to has changed his behaviour. He has been described as being suspicious of people but bonds strongly with handler. I dont think the Prison Service want to put the time and effort into training him hence the offer. My friend has some experience of working with German Shepherds but as you've all said, the dog is probably best suited to a very experienced handler/trainer.

by duke1965 on 15 January 2018 - 19:01

Valk, correction is not the way to go with this, that is common mistake, I took multiple dogs from german police and czech police that were sold for same reason. all of them are working the street as we speak, one is a demodog for a K9 center

in good hands these dogs are real good dogs mostly


by susie on 15 January 2018 - 20:01

Sounds as if this dog didn't learn to out but learned to redirect it's drive on the ball only. Guess, a lot of prey paired with a lotof aggression. Not that uncommon, way faster to teach than real obedience...
Too much drive, no education, quick results, difficult to retrain, possible, but long winded - bite -out - bite - on leash - the bark and hold periods increasing - touching, petting, talking to the dog...

I wouldn't mind to own a dog like this, but I'd be very careful in case any family members are living in the same house hold ... children ?

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