Random agression, starting in the last 6 months

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Random agression, starting in the last 6 months

This is a discussion on Random agression, starting in the last 6 months within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; sorry for the long post, i am going to try to include as much information as possible in the first post. so here we go. ...

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Old 08-29-2016, 10:51 PM
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Random agression, starting in the last 6 months

sorry for the long post, i am going to try to include as much information as possible in the first post. so here we go.

i adopted my dog (Raj) from a shelter just over 2 years ago. he was a 4-5 month old pup, about 30 lbs. i have no history before that, he came in with 3 or 4 other dogs. he is at 2y4m old, about 70-75 lbs. no idea on breed, looks like a lab/pit or lab/rot mix. lab body but a bit of a box shaped face. he has always been a bit timid to new people, especially men. but loves kids, babies, plays with them like they are another dog, brings them toys to try and play tug o war etc.

way home from shelter i went straight to my parents house, to meet their 4 year old yellow lab, Zorro. they played for a good 3 or 4 hours perfectly. Zorro is a very 'beta' dog, always submits, never starts anything, gets along with every dog he has ever met, etc. probably the most well trained/behaved dog i have ever seen. (also the only dog my sister english bulldog with get along with(a very sad rescue/former fighting dog story), but he pretty much tries to rip the throat out of any dog he meets that is bigger than him, but for some reason they get along like best friends..

within a week he met my brothers two 80lb dogs (lab/collie and a leonberger mix) got along with them with no issues.

every sunday all 4 of them would play for at least 4-5 hours when we all went over there for dinner.

a year and a half and no issues whatsoever. they all got along, ate together fine, played, etc.

he met my sister's shepherd/basset hound (basically a shepherd with legs that are 6" long) at least a dozen times with that year and a half. her dog is VERY alpha, and has some food agression, but we have known that and just feed him in a different room, no issues while playing, giving treats, etc(he was a stray that spent over a year at a shelter). but we have had all 5 of them, as well as a shepherd and a mini pincher, all in the same yard for 6 hours + and they all got along. there was also about 40 people, and there was always food present.

and here is where it all started going downhill.

about 4-6 months ago, my parents had: their yellow lab, my brothers dogs, and my dog for a weekend, and while giving treats, my dog snapped and 'attacked' one of my brothers dogs once. it was all barking, just sounded really agressive/threatening, but no bites or anything.

about 2 months later, my brother watched my dog for a day. no problems between the 3 all day. when i went to pick him up, he was sitting right in front of me, and one of my brothers dogs approached me, in a friendly way, and my dog did the same thing. it sounded like they were fighting to the death for about 5 seconds, but once again, just barking at each others faces, no biting. after i put him on leash, he did it one more time.

a couple more months of playing every sunday, no issues.

the breaking point was last friday. my parents were watching my dog from thursday thru sunday afternoon, my dad was sitting at the table, eating, both dogs sitting right next to each other, just staring at the food, obviously. they do this every time we have ever eaten in front of them. they dont beg, and keep a good 2-3 foot distance from the table. they were not offered food, nor was it anywhere near them, but over a plate, on the table. out of nowhere, my dog turned and bit their dogs ear, which required being put under, and multiple stiches, about a 2 inch cut on his ear.

immediately after, my dog just started licking his wound and just acting like he was his best friend(which they really are, they spend a lot of time together). they had to take him to the emergency vet and all, but when they gt back all he wanted to do was play, which zorro obviously could not do. for the remainder of the weekend no issues, they got along fine, tried to play, shared toys, etc.

this can not happen again, and i do not understand why it is happening. absolutely nothing has changed. same schedule, same diet, food, excersize, ect.

i have contaced some specialists, and they sounded optomistic that they could train this out of him, but at $100/hour for training, and it being very hard to replicate the behavior, i i figured i would make a post in case there is something i am just missing. but at this point i think it may be my only option.

Last edited by ganzey; 08-29-2016 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 08-29-2016, 11:04 PM
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for the time being, he will not be seeing any other dogs, at least not unleashed. he still acts 100% normal at home, still wants to play, but i just dont know if/when he might do something like this again. and like i said, for the 2 days after the incident they got along like angels.
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:37 PM
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Sounds like there's an issue with resource guard. My food, my human.

Dogs tend to live in the moment, they can have a massive fight - but then act like nothing happened. When I was a young feller it was the same - duke it out, shake hands and you're friends.

When food is "around", dogs are aware of it but tend to ignore it - but when a human is involved directly with food, things can change, there's now direct interest. Likely your dog sees the food as his and it's competition with another dog.

Used properly, muzzles can be wonderful for training with food aggressive dogs - with other dogs. They may bump the other dog, may still actively fight - but not be able to bite.

Sit down with a plate of food one on one with the dog - if your dog sits and doesn't "beg", then this is a good start. The dog is still begging, just because it's not whining or dancing around, it wants the food. Read your dog, look at your dogs eyes, chances are intensity is building and you may not realize it.

The tricky part is doing this with two dogs. With 2 dogs involved, I would actually have a video camera set up so one can analyze the video after the fact. When both dogs are side by side watching a human eat - the humans really need to pay attention to the intensity of both dogs. Your dog is likely getting a little more intense - and it must be corrected before it goes too far. I believe dogs get to an intensity point - like people - where they just aren't thinking anymore.


It goes the same with you - when you walk in to pick up the dog, relax and watch your dog as the other approaches. It's up to you to control the scenario before it happens.
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Old 08-30-2016, 02:25 PM
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Sounds like resource guarding to me too! Lots of threads here on the subject...take a look!
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:40 PM
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thanks for the replies, i have been doing some research into resource guarding and will start with some training steps to avoid it. i know this will not be an overnight change, but with months of work it should subside.

when picking up my dog, even if there are 4 dogs there when i open the door, he always pushes to be the first one to greet me. i can greet other dogs first and ignore him and he his just fine with that, he just keeps wagging his tail and trying to get some attention. but he also does this when Anyone opens the door, he is just very attention motivated.

ive also noticed that he tends to corner himself, and then gets defensive. like when playing and he seems to be overpowered, he will sometimes run and hide under a kitchen table, coffee table, etc, and then get very defensive because he is cornered. he did this as a puppy when playing with larger dogs and we just thought, oh those dogs are triple his size, he is just scared and hiding. but i now see this was a mistake.

i have contacted a well esteemed trainer in my area for some expert help, and within the next week or 2 he will be doing a home visit/assessment and we will work on a corrective path.
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Old 08-30-2016, 11:34 PM
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I wouldn't confine the dog or keep him from other dogs personally. The dogs aren't the problem, the issue is resource guarding. What you - and others around you - need to do is learn to read the dog. Everyone should know how to read their dog - when the dog is excited, when the dog is getting protective, or in your case when the dog is getting worked up to the point of a fight. Dogs body language can be hard to read at times, but the eyes never lie - there are always tell tale signs.

I tend to tell people to take ownership of everything, everything in the house is mine but I find that many dogs do better when they have a place of their own. A kennel - not something they need to be locked into. Just a place that is theirs, their bedroom, 4 walls and a roof, cover it with a blanket if you need to but leave the door open. A space they can go to sleep, to chew on a bone, or just a place they can go when stressed, or they want to relax. Rule number one - when my dog is in his kennel, leave him alone or you will be dealing with me.

Alot of these issues are created when dogs are puppies - puppies are cute, they get away with alot when they are 8 weeks old and a pound or two - not so cute when they are older and full grown. And as you said, you don't know the history of the dog so all you can do is terminate the behavior. Patience and time is all it takes.
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