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large dog gets stiff and growls at me and family at night..its getting dangerous

This is a discussion on large dog gets stiff and growls at me and family at night..its getting dangerous within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; So no offense but I don't like your vet already since he's already ruling out everything medical and saying it's behavioral without even looking at ...

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Old 12-20-2017, 05:24 AM
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So no offense but I don't like your vet already since he's already ruling out everything medical and saying it's behavioral without even looking at him.
That level of dismissive arrogance isn't worth my money, respect, or pet insurance money.
I've had literally dozens of times where doctors and vets missed things. The truly good doctors and vets trusted me and my judgment since I lived with said patient, humored me, and did tests anyway. It absolutely NEVER was just "behavioral".

My mom's stray cat got very affectionate cuddling on her chest and neck all the time. My mom was seen by every Dr possible monthly, yet they all missed the terminal Stage 4 lung cancer she had that the little cat found. Gave me three more years with her, and time for her to come to terms with it.
My last dog kept sniffing a spot on building Foreman's hand. Got it checked to find skin cancer, treatable but the dog found it and was trying to warn him.
Current dog was beaten up by all cats at first, yet instantly bonded with my old sick diabetic one. He was obsessively about washing this cats ears and wouldn't leave this cats side. Sure enough the cat had cancer in his ears and surgery to remove all possible.
This cancer has a 90 percent nonrecurral rate, yet same dog found it instantly when it did.
Now he's obsessively washing the other yep cats with allergies and skin issues.
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Old 12-20-2017, 05:46 AM
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I brought this same dog in last year and asked for a lyme test because he'd been aggressive with other dogs recently. Vet said that's not Lyme he's fine, Lyme doesn't present like your old horse in dogs you know. I said so if he's in pain in his joints or back somewhere, he couldn't be suddenly cranky where je wasn't before???!!!
Test him for Lyme and ALL tick diseases and get him titered for his level since his level is unknown since he doesn't need much tlc. Vet reluctantly did it saying it would be negative. He had randomly started attacking large male dogs in the dog park with no clear reason so I doubted it.
Lyme was positive, I had thought the shelter had vaccinated for Lyme but they didn't and I didn't so he got it. All better in less than the thirty days of doxycycline.
Arrogant vet never bothered to apologize to me or admit that maybe I might know my dog and his normal behavior.
All kinds of things can cause sudden aggression in a dog, thyroid issues, any tick diseases, pain, joint pain, arthritis, any change on environment or hierarchy matter how slight, varying hormone/testosterone levels, sight or hearing issues, etc. A GOOD vet will actually do a full exam and labs before saying it's behavioral and dismissing it. Tick or thyroid or sensory issues or injuries or arthritis can really strike at any age unfortunately, and the buffoon should know that.
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Old 12-20-2017, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by LuvAnimals View Post

Thanks. Although I feel desexing can be perceived be dealing with the symptoms of the problem and not the problem itself, you do have a point.

I wont get into the bone-estrogen discussion as it can be a long one, but even if we assume it does have an effect on bones, and even though some say it can have a negative effect on anxious and fearful dogs, I guess its worth the try given that the other option is putting him down. Even if it takes weeks to see its full effect on his behavior.


.

estrogens are female hormones, & altho Ms also produce them [just as Fs do some androgens], Ms produce far-fewer.
Removing his testes won't alter his estrogen production, only androgens will fall - markedly; his adrenals continue to produce androgens, as does the pituitary, but the testes are the largest single source.

Learned behaviors are practiced - so stuff he practices is liable to persist, hence the need for B-Mod.
Neutering is not a silver bullet - it helps by making it a bit easier, but B-Mod is nonetheless mandatory.

U might get his EYES checked by a k9 opthalmologist, to ensure a low-light vision issue isn't contributing / exacerbating.

- terry

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Old 12-20-2017, 10:17 AM
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Sooo I called the vet before visiting him and explained the situation. He didnt encourage a visit and suggested treating it as a pure behavioral problem saying a physical problem is highly unlikely. Hes seen my dog before. :/
I would take him to another vet just to go say you want a check up don't tell them anything else. See what the vet says.

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Old 12-20-2017, 11:34 AM
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Yep im the leader ...
That's why I was concerned about oversimplifying it. The examples you gave aren't really evidence that you don't have a leadership problem that is contributing the issues you described. And, it's not as simple as saying it is just a "leadership" problem anyway.

Most people tend to overestimate how much their dog views them as "in charge". Even very well-trained dogs don't view themselves as working for their owners. Except in extreme circumstances, the dog tends to view the relationship as more of a mutually-beneficial partnership. Most healthy relationships are only more like 60/40 or maybe 70/30 when the dog is reasonably well-trained. It's what the dog does with that 30%-40% that can become a problem.

It really is quite complex and not something that can be diagnosed here. I'll just say that dogs like rules and order. A lot of behavior issues between a dog and other dogs/people are because the dog feels that the rules are not being followed. These rules can be the dog's rules or, sometimes, they take it upon themselves to enforce your rules.

I think there is some element of this order enforcement going on here, but that isn't the complete picture. There seems to be some primary aggression going on too. Primary aggression is when a dog is aggressive because the response is its own reward. Think of a small child that bullies other children just because it is psychologically rewarding. You see this happen in small breeds where some growling and biting starts out as a fear response, but becomes something they do because it gives them power over others. Large breeds that are prone to some aggression are susceptible to this, as well.

Again, there's not much anyone can do here to help you. In general, you'll want to isolate problem scenarios and prevent them from happening until you can control how they unfold. And, you should reintroduce those situations in a very gradual way that lets you reinforce the response you want while reducing the chance of the response you don't want.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-20-2017, 12:46 PM
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OP said the male has confidence issues...peeing when picked up as a puppy and such....I'd bet money this plays into the problem behaviors bigtime. Lack of confidence/weak nerves in a breed prone to being aggressive and strong willed can be a very bad mix. Very very common in german shepherds. Think of it this way. Dog has proper aggression for the breed. But bad nerves=low threshold. The aggression comes out at inappropriate times. Dog percieves threats where there arent any. Having to walk on eggshells so as not to upset the dog. Its alot like a person with bad anxiety issues....a loud noise or something that wouldnt bother a person without anxiety can cause someone with anxiety to lose their @$!#
My wife has very bad anxiety and I see alot of parallels there.
With a breed as powerful as an akita I'd be running as fast as I could to a very experienced trainer if I thought this was the case.
Fwiw I dont think theres anything wrong with vasectomies in dogs. Prevents unwanted litters and you get to keep the big boy hormones, which some of us like.
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Old 12-20-2017, 01:23 PM
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Not to drag the conversation further onto this tangent, but the main argument against neutering is actually against early neutering (before about 5 1/2 months). And, even that argument is far from conclusive. It suggests that there might be a link to certain issues and that some of the evidence of benefits of neutering may be less ironclad than it is made out to be.

This is still pretty much a fringe position in terms of physical health. There are behavioral reasons you may or may not want to neuter.
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Old 12-20-2017, 09:40 PM
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Arrow hypothyroid? - 2 labs that specialize...

.

Given his age [over 9-MO] & his breed [Akita], i'd probly want to get a full thyroid-panel done, for 2 reasons:
- hypothyroid can lower his threshold of tolerance, & make him cranky. Irritable dogs are not happy.
- it's good to get a baseline for him now, so that, should he develop any overt symptoms later, U have a reference to check;
U'll have some idea of what's "normal for him", & any later tests can be compared.


A full panel is a minimum of 5 tests, possibly 6:
Free & bound forms of T3 & T4, TSH / thyroid stimulating hormone, & maybe ANA [anti-nuclear antibody].
Generally, this runs about $75 to $85 - U're only going to do it once, so milk that specimen for all the data it's got - send it to one of 2 places, Michigan State Univ vet-lab, or HemoPet.

My bias is toward MSU, as they have the world's largest database of breed-specific thyroid ranges, but both labs get specimens from all over the world, & enjoy an enviable rep for excellence. // Don't let the vet talk U into skipping tests, nor "saving $$" by having his bench machine, or the local hospital, do the analysis - U need free AND bound forms in order to get the measurement 'between' them, & the local hospital cannot possibly give comparable analysis to MSU or HemoPet, nor can a GP-vet.

If his results come back borderline-low, be prepared to talk to yer vet about low-dose thyroid hormones - approx 3-weeks should show whether it's helpful or not, & if his behavioral symptoms improve, it's reason enuf to keep him on thyroid hormones for life.
Once the dose is properly calibrated for his metabolism, the Rx is blessedly cheap.

- terry

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Old 12-20-2017, 11:58 PM
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I'd have a vet check for ANYTHING that could cause pain, Lyme and other tickborne diseases which are very widespread and cause joint pain as well as personality changes, early onset arthritis, hip dysplasia, other joint issues that affect large dogs.
Since it's mainly in the dark, checking his eyes and neurological issues would be smart too. Changing lights and flashing lights can trigger seizures and can trigger me to have migraines, so who knows.
Did he growl at your mother and brother in the dark too?
Checking for all the possible medical causes and fully neutering him are better than immediately putting him to sleep, especially if there's a cause found that's treatable.
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Old 12-21-2017, 01:49 AM
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So no offense but I don't like your vet already since he's already ruling out everything medical and saying it's behavioral without even looking at him.
That level of dismissive arrogance isn't worth my money, respect, or pet insurance money.
I've had literally dozens of times where doctors and vets missed things. The truly good doctors and vets trusted me and my judgment since I lived with said patient, humored me, and did tests anyway. It absolutely NEVER was just "behavioral".

My mom's stray cat got very affectionate cuddling on her chest and neck all the time. My mom was seen by every Dr possible monthly, yet they all missed the terminal Stage 4 lung cancer she had that the little cat found. Gave me three more years with her, and time for her to come to terms with it.
My last dog kept sniffing a spot on building Foreman's hand. Got it checked to find skin cancer, treatable but the dog found it and was trying to warn him.
Current dog was beaten up by all cats at first, yet instantly bonded with my old sick diabetic one. He was obsessively about washing this cats ears and wouldn't leave this cats side. Sure enough the cat had cancer in his ears and surgery to remove all possible.
This cancer has a 90 percent nonrecurral rate, yet same dog found it instantly when it did.
Now he's obsessively washing the other yep cats with allergies and skin issues.
Hes the most experienced in town. Theres another vet who'd openly try to increase the bill with any means possible and I dont trust his ethics at all. Theres no insurance so I pay for everything. I'll take him to another vet in the same clinic and see what she has to say.


I was going to ask you about potential medical issues to look for but then saw your other post. Thank you

Last edited by LuvAnimals; 12-21-2017 at 01:51 AM.
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