Sudden Aggressive Behaviour
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    We have had our little guy for two weeks. We also have two older, bigger dogs, who have taken quite well to him for the most part. Rosie, who is eight, puts him in his place and it works sometimes, but Honey, who is three seems to be terrified of him. Today he attacked Honey three times just because she came into the room. He was on the couch the first time with his chewy thing, and he flew off the couch and went after her. The second time Honey was sitting on the couch with me and he attacked her, the third time, Honey was simply standing in the middle of the room and he went after her again. I usually spray him with water, or tell him he is a bad boy and he hangs his head and looks sad. The last time I reacted and smacked his little bottom. I know I shouldn't have done it, and I did feel badly for it. After a few minutes I went over to the couch where he had jumped up to sulk, and I went to pet him and he went after me. I sprayed him again and put him in his kennel. That was the last time for today so far. I just read the thread about traning, so I will do my best implement it tonight….

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  • Okay, so now that you have realized aggressing at him will bring on more aggression, you need to undo it. You need to walk up to him a billion times, treat in hand, and let him know that he doesn't need to be alarmed when you approach. Don't squirt him when he growls at you..prevent the growl from happening.

    This dog has told you that punishment doesn't work well for him. And he is willing to escalate. Let the dogs work it out themselves; short of blood shed. If Honey really is totally intimdated by the puppy, you might put a light houseline on him so you can keep him from pestering her. Intervene to support the middle dog when you need to, but don't reprimand the younger dog; just distract them…I like to physically get inbetween the dogs..and quietly say "stop that"... You may have to pick up the items that they are disagreeing over.

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    Usually there isn't any item in particular, unless the section of the rug where Honey is standing is considered an item. I do tell Achilles no, and he always looks remorseful. I have printed out the article I found under the aggression thread and am going to have everyone in the family read it. We are basically fostering Achilles until my daughter finds a place that allows dogs, then she is taking him with her. I did this for her and her fiance. There is a chance that Achilles has epilepsy, and the pet store that had him couldn't sell him. He had one seizure, and all his tests came back negative, but they were going to send him back to the breeder, who would put him down. My daughter works at the pet store and got him for free. Yes we love him, and we think he is cute and cuddly, but when the devil appears, it just seems too much.

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  • In the first two incidents you described there were high value objects involved. In the first one it was the chewy Achilles had on the couch. The second you were the item of value and were giving attention to Honey.

    I agree with Andrea, this dog is telling you that punishment will not work for him. Another thing that you should know is by punishing growling the dog will start skipping growling and escalate to a higher level. If Achilles is going to be staying at your house for a while then you should get him enrolled in a positive reinforcement class where you can work on building a positive relationship with him. This will help in two ways, one it will work on your relationship with him and two it will give you a vocabulary to communicate with him.

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    After these posts he was quite well behaved. My hubby and two kids took all three dogs out for a nice long walk. They played and had a great time. He came in from the walk and has been the picture of innocence since then. We have a card from a behavioralist that I want to look into. My hubby is right when he says we can't afford it. It is odd how he doesn't attack or go after Rosie. Yes they play, and it gets loud, but it isn't at all aggressive. I thank you for all your advice, as you have been doing this much longer than I have.

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  • @pastal:

    After these posts he was quite well behaved. My hubby and two kids took all three dogs out for a nice long walk. They played and had a great time. He came in from the walk and has been the picture of innocence since then. We have a card from a behavioralist that I want to look into. My hubby is right when he says we can't afford it. It is odd how he doesn't attack or go after Rosie. Yes they play, and it gets loud, but it isn't at all aggressive. I thank you for all your advice, as you have been doing this much longer than I have.

    They always are perfect angels after an incident ;) Maybe because they are thinking 'wow, I really crossed the line'…now is the time to be very consistent, and make the boundaries clear. Not aggressive, or punishing, just structured.

    And IME, it isn't odd at all that he doesn't go after Rosie. For some reason, dogs that resource guard often do it towards certain animals (humans included) but not others. Possibly becasue Rosie has reprimanded him, and Honey hasn't.

    It would be best if you could call a behaviorist that uses positive methods..but if you just can't, there is a great book out there called "Mine!" by Jean Donaldson. You can find it at Dogwise.com or maybe Amazon. It is very affordable, and will lead you how to work on resource guarding.

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  • I agree totally with Andrea and Lisa… and you need to really use positive reinforcement. Also since he is resourse guarding you might want to think about NOT have items that will lead to this behavior, like chewys around unless they are in their crates. I agree it is not odd that he only picks on one dog, they will pick the one in the pack that they feel they can dominate and raise their place in the pack level. You have to remember that social pack status is normal for dogs, regardless if the pack is animal or human. And you need to make him "earn" his rewards...

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    We have already started the positive reinforcement. My 12 year old daughter is very good with him, and she feeds him in the morning. He is always fed in his crate, and we always thought it was cute and funny that as we were putting the food in his dish he was crawling underneath us to get to it. That changed last night. When I was putting water in his dish I made him wait until I had finished. He was trying to drink it through the bars as I poured it. My hubby and daughter have both read the article I printed out. I think Paige will better follow it as my hubby is very softhearted and all our dogs run our life because he simply can't dominate them.

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