Aggressive Behavior

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Aggressive Behavior

This is a discussion on Aggressive Behavior within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Aggressive Behavior Feb 2017 I rescued a 10 month old Giant Schnauzer that was going to be put to sleep for what the vet labeled ...

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Old 05-23-2018, 11:03 PM
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Aggressive Behavior

Aggressive Behavior

Feb 2017 I rescued a 10 month old Giant Schnauzer that was going to be put to sleep for what the vet labeled aggressive /aggressive tendencies. That Veterinarian and a Veterinarian Behaviorist both told me that not all aggressive behavior is fear and giving Prozac is the best thing, which had me questioning myself. First A dog does not behave aggressively, they behave defensively. One night I replayed all incidents in my head of defensive behavior and I almost had to correct myself. Pain defense behavior came to mind and it is another case of where a dog shows signs of defensive behavior. However, I went through all the pain associated defensive behavior and found that only the fearful dogs would cause the human pain. A less fearful dog will give a warning signal. An even less fearful dog will only cry in pain. A secure dog will cringe in pain or only show signs in the eyes that it is uncomfortable.

Too many dogs are being labeled having aggressive behavior when it is fear based behavior and can be remedied by changing your responses to a less frightening one. There are only two conditions I am aware of where aggressive behavior is not from fear. One is a thyroid problem; if a dog all of a sudden becomes visibly defensive it could be its thyroid. The second is rage syndrome that was mainly seen in Springer Spaniels but they have found it in other breeds. This is a condition that can act like a light switch being turned on in some dogs between the ages of 2-4 years old. I have personally seen it in Chows that were 3-4 years old. I was mauled by a Chow/Shep mix when I worked at the county Animal Shelter. This dog showed no visual signs of aggressive behavior until I stopped petting him. I also had a friend that had to have her Chow put to sleep for aggressive behavior after it turned 3. I had groomed this dog since it was a puppy and it showed the same aggressive behavior toward me so I was able to warn my friend in advance.

How to lesson fear is the key to most signs of defensive behavior. This is a story of a Pit Bull, which came to the last vet clinic I worked at, for 10-day quarantine. This guy would charge the gate like a mad dog barking and carrying on. He is going to be here for 10 days and will need to be walked outside to go potty. How do you think we should handle getting him out on lead? Catch pole? How would your fear level adjust to seeing this pole with a loop coming at you? This would only create more fear so now what? Any kind of force will create more fear.

How I handled his fear was very simple. When he charged the gate I jumped to one side laughing saying oh you are going to get me. His response was to jump at me; I jumped to the other side continuing to laugh. I continued to do this making it a game between him and I. After a short period of time he calmed down enough that I opened the gate and he willing allowed me to put an all in one lead on him. I was aware he still had fear by how tight/tense his body was. Every time I took him out I brushed against him either with my leg or my hand accidently on purpose. I did this not only to get him use to being touched, but I also got to see how he was going to respond. I did not force anything on him. As the days past he was okay with me petting him. One day he jumped up on the counter next to me to see who I was talking to and was great with me putting my arm around him.

Hitting, yelling, screaming, medicating or wrestling at/with them will only create more fear, which the dog only knows of one way to respond to. Get loose anyway they can and get as far away from it as possible. This self-preserving action on their part gets them labeled aggressive. You created this fear defensive behavior and you are the one fueling it to continue. An insecure dog will have fear so tell them every time how good they are when they do something you appreciate. Dogs love to be told that they are a good boy or good girl. They can feel the loving energy coming from when you say it making them more confidant of them self. Praise for everything they do positive even if they have been doing it for year.

Unconditional Love has no fear. Spread love not fear.
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Old 05-24-2018, 08:07 AM
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Great information
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Old 05-24-2018, 10:13 AM
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I also thought that was a really really good post. My only point of disagreement is that I do believe there are dogs out there ( few and far between ) who have appropriate aggression that is not based in fear or frustration or pain.
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Old 05-24-2018, 11:52 AM
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Some dogs have pure aggression. But most of the time when a owner thinks it agression it is simply fear.
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Old 05-24-2018, 01:55 PM
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I agree with you that most aggression is caused by fear.

I don't agree with you on how to treat it. My dog is afraid - he's less afraid of many things now - but still afraid. He's not afraid of ME. Because I don't yell at him, I don't hit him, I don't manhandle him, etc. He's very afraid of strangers. They don't hurt him either, they're just unfamiliar and he wants them to stay away. We are working on positive associations, and he's reactive not aggressive (he doesn't bite), but it's a long road. It didn't come from me not loving him enough. It's just the way he was built.

I do medicate my dog, for anxiety. It doesn't sedate him at all, it just helps him process information more clearly. I also take medication for anxiety and depression and can tell firsthand that it is helpful. Mental illness is real - for humans and for dogs. You can't love it away, though you may try. Medication isn't cruel, it can be extremely helpful. I know I'm a very different person - for the better! - because of the prozac I take.
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Old 05-24-2018, 02:06 PM
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My dog got aggressive when he was given several different types of benzodiazepines for separation anxiety. The medication would knock him out and he'd sleep for four to six hours while I was at work then supposedly it would wear off and I'd get home and reward him for being good and home alone and take him to the dog park. He'd randomly attack a Newfoundland he never liked, no provocation and the only time he ever left a couple of tiny cuts. I took him to doggy daycare and he had to be separated for a full day and a half. He was completely over reactive to everything with absolutely no filter. Same just walking from car to apartment, all his worst behaviors magnified x ten with little to no provocation. All I could do was put him on my bed turn off the lights and bold him and massage his favorite spots until he fell asleep. Full 36 hours on three different benzodiazepines, veterinary behaviorist said he had adverse reaction and was too disinhibited, basically like an angry drunk. So none of those meds for him!
Other time he was randomly aggressive with little to no provocation was when he had Lyme disease. Same thing with other dogs while playing or no clear warning. Vet didn't believe it but Lyme test was positive and the behaviors stopped after only a week or two on doxycycline. Lyme affects tthe nervous system and causes personality changes in horses and people, why not dogs? Plus it just makes sense that if they're in pain or not feeling well they'd be cranky and irritable.
He now has a thyroid problem, but any issues he's had have all been provoked, not random.
Good information though.
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Old 05-24-2018, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadowmom View Post
My dog got aggressive when he was given several different types of benzodiazepines for separation anxiety. The medication would knock him out and he'd sleep for four to six hours while I was at work then supposedly it would wear off and I'd get home and reward him for being good and home alone and take him to the dog park. He'd randomly attack a Newfoundland he never liked, no provocation and the only time he ever left a couple of tiny cuts. I took him to doggy daycare and he had to be separated for a full day and a half. He was completely over reactive to everything with absolutely no filter. Same just walking from car to apartment, all his worst behaviors magnified x ten with little to no provocation. All I could do was put him on my bed turn off the lights and bold him and massage his favorite spots until he fell asleep. Full 36 hours on three different benzodiazepines, veterinary behaviorist said he had adverse reaction and was too disinhibited, basically like an angry drunk. So none of those meds for him!
Other time he was randomly aggressive with little to no provocation was when he had Lyme disease. Same thing with other dogs while playing or no clear warning. Vet didn't believe it but Lyme test was positive and the behaviors stopped after only a week or two on doxycycline. Lyme affects tthe nervous system and causes personality changes in horses and people, why not dogs? Plus it just makes sense that if they're in pain or not feeling well they'd be cranky and irritable.
He now has a thyroid problem, but any issues he's had have all been provoked, not random.
Good information though.
Thank you for sharing. I was not aware of the link of aggressive behavior and lymes disease. Very good to know.
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Old 05-29-2018, 01:25 PM
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Hello everyone, I have 2 dogs at home the ones in my profile picture I’ve had the brown one (Chulo) for almost 4 years and the black one (Belle) for 2 years. We have recently brought a new puppy home, a husky her name is Lula. This all happened very suddenly because the family that had her could no longer keep her and asked us to pick her up ASAP so we did and had no time to introduce her to our family. Well I have been having trouble getting Chulo to get along with Lula, we brought her home and he immediately tried to attack her, he has never tried to attack another dog that comes over to the house I never thought that this would be a problem. But indeed it is. He will growl at her and try to bite. On the other hand Belle absolutely loves Lula and wants to play with her but when Chulo sees them playing and running around he again growls at her trying to attack. We also tried waking them together and he will ignore as long as she doesn’t get near him. But we want them to get along. Does anyone have any advice on how I could possibly get them to get along after such a bad introduction??
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Old 08-02-2018, 01:41 PM
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Good information. I'm glad you had success.
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