Dog Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all - I am new to the forum and in desperate need of some advice before it's too late! We have 4 dogs mum lab/springer cross, dad golden retriever and 2 male pups from mum and dad - one of the pups (I say pups but they are 2 years old this May) has a very aggressive nature and is by far the dominant one of the bunch. He barks consistently and aggressively at any little noise and usually sets his brother and dad off. These two never used to bark but have now started. My concern is that when I take him out or bring him to work with me he has the tendency to 'go' for anyone and everyone who comes near us or even if they are on the opposite side of the road. This is both on and off the lead. At work he cornered my boss four times today with a stance I have never seen on a dog before. I have
Looked for it on the web and can't find it anywhere. His teeth were prominently showing growling and deep loud consistent barking his front end low and back end high tail straight out behind him. It looked like he was going to take my bosses hand off! When anyone entered or walked towards us he was uncontrollably barking and growling in a low loud consistent way. This does not happen when my bf takes him anywhere and he does not believe the dog is like this! He is a bully at home with all of us and other dogs but my brain doesn't see that either! Can someone please advise what is going on with him and what we can possibly do to stop this behaviour!? I can only see something bad come out of this and would like to do something about it before anything does. Thank you :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I would like to add that is the first and only day I have taken him to work! I would like to know more about his body language, why he is like this with me but not my bf and what can be done to curb this behaviour thank you
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,222 Posts
Before it's too late, glad to hear you say that. That would be more than an aggressive dog my friend, that's threatening behavior that's going to get worse over time if you don't learn to control, someone is going to get hurt and I think you know it's coming. You know your dog better than anyone, answer us this? Do you believe it's dominance, fear or lack of respect? You say the dog is not like that with your BF, can you explain further?

The last dog that cornered me like that ended up on the flat of it's back with my knee on it's neck. How would you react to someone doing that to your dog?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
If that were to happen and was warranted I would 100% agree with the consequences! What I need to know is how to stop this behaviour. At home when the whole family including our 3 young children he is the perfect dog, the young children ride on him and sleep with him but when I'm walking him he gets aggressive towards anything moving and we don't know what to do to help this situation before it gets worse!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,222 Posts
If it's just you he's like that with, then it wouldn't surprise me that he feels he needs to protect you from everything. He needs to be taught that he doesn't need to.

Is it safe to assume that you're nervous, not overly confident, worried when you're walking the dog? Is the dog like that if you are with your boyfriend and he's got control of the dog?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Hi Jagger no I am more than confident with him. He does not scare me at all! If everyone in the household (there are 7 of us) I am the more dominant over the animals. What I mean is I am stricter with discipline whereas my bf will Molly coddle them and let them get away with blue murder! I was always so strict with my training of all the dogs I have had in my life but these pups and dad were never trained from a young age as my bf didn't like me being strict with them which is partly why I think this dominant male (and yes I believe he is dominant) has escalated to what he is now. He has been allowed to bark and bully the other dogs and all of us for 2 years now and it has gotten out of control! I don't believe for one second he is afraid of anything so being aggressive out of fear I would say isn't the case. He is a very confident dog. If my bf takes him out on his own he always has a different story to tell. He didn't bark he wasn't aggressive he didn't pull on the lead etc etc the complete opposite to my experience with him. He has charged for the hand of a passer by on 3 different occasions growling snarling and barking aggressively barks aggressively at anyone or anything close to us and drags me along the road even with the use of a halti, making it impossible for me to control him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I would also like to add that at home other than barking at everything that moves outside, he is a very loving boy craving lots and lots of attention and cuddles ... When we take him out for a run (we get there by van rather than walk) he loves playing fetch with the other 3 dogs and again this is where his dominant streak comes into play - he will ram and snap the back side and herd away from us any dog who gets to the ball first until they drop it so he can run off with it in a different direction and lay on it so no one else can have it ... We also tend to take him for a run where there will be no other dogs or people as my bfs family owns farmland which we use to run the dogs.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,222 Posts
Sounds like you need to sit and have a talk with the bf then. If he's undoing what you're trying to do...

I had the same problem, gf is a pushover and already said she just wants to love the dog, and she still won't be a heavy with the dog. She has gotten better, will correct him now and then. Jagger wasn't always the good dog, taken alot of work to get him where he is now. She's gotten better, but when in the car for example, he won't bark at anything when it's just me. If he's on her lap, he'll let loose. He's not good on the leash with her, knows he can get away with more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,418 Posts
I'd very strong advise you to have an in-person evaluation with a professional. It's very difficult to identify what is going on without seeing the dog in person. This sticky has good information about finding someone: Finding a Trainer, Behavior Consultant, or Behaviorist

Have you done any training with him? If so, what specific behaviors / cues have you taught? What methods have you used?

his front end low and back end high tail straight out behind him
Did your dog look something like this?


That's an invitation to play and some dogs will growl in play. My older dog "roars" while playing with the younger one. There is more information about dog body language here: Calming Signals

It's possible that he's resource guarding (RG) you (you mentioned that he's more "aggressive" towards other people around you - he could be telling them to stay away from his person). Jean Donaldson's book Mine! addresses RG people, I believe. There's information in this sticky, too: Resource Guarding, causes, prevention and modification

Some additional reading
Dominance in dogs
Dogs and social behaviour

Again, I think your best option is to find a force-free, positive reinforcement-based professional to provide an in-person assessment and training / behavior modification plan.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
669 Posts
I would also highly suggest finding a professional, force-free trainer to help with this issue. There is only so much advice that can be (or should be) given over the internet on issues of dog-human aggression in large/medium breed dogs, IMO.
@jagger- Honestly, I'm really concerned with the way you're talking about this issue, especially the statement "The last dog that cornered me like that ended up on the flat of it's back with my knee on it's neck. How would you react to someone doing that to your dog?" Ignoring the fact that dominance training theory and physical corrections that go along with it (such as "alpha rolling") has been debunked, suggesting someone attempt that with a dog you do not know and have never seen, even in video, is a good way to lead someone towards getting bit. It seems possible from the OP's description their dog is building towards a bite.

A description of this debunking from an article I like:
ClickerSolutions Training Articles -- The History and Misconceptions of Dominance Theory

Note, most importantly, the idea that "A wolf would flip another wolf against his will ONLY if he were planning to kill it. Can you imagine what a forced alpha roll does to the psyche of our dogs?" and "There is NO physical domination. Everything is accomplished through psychological harassment. It's all ritualistic... Using physical force of any kind reduces your "rank." Only middle-ranked animals insecure in their place squabble."
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,222 Posts
@jagger- Honestly, I'm really concerned with the way you're talking about this issue, especially the statement "The last dog that cornered me like that ended up on the flat of it's back with my knee on it's neck. How would you react to someone doing that to your dog?" Ignoring the fact that dominance training theory and physical corrections that go along with it (such as "alpha rolling") has been debunked, suggesting someone attempt that with a dog you do not know and have never seen, even in video, is a good way to lead someone towards getting bit. It seems possible from the OP's description their dog is building towards a bite.
Really? The immediate instance is outside the realm of training - I'm not going to tell an aggressive dog to sit and be nice. At that moment, I don't care what has been debunked - and the dog didn't come back for round two. Would it change your mind if a child was screaming because they were cornered by said animal? Your last statement that I bolded says it all, when is the dog going to bite - it's only a matter of time.

I don't hit or get physical with dogs - but if they choose to get physical and threaten me, they are fair game.

Fully agree, the dog needs training, but in the immediate heat of the moment, I'll do it again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
I think there was a bit of confusion.
I'm pretty sure we all agree that if a dog was attacking us/someone else we would get physical if necessary. But the OP wants to know how to prevent a situation like that.

NikkiNooNaz I think you will find the links cookieface posted helpful. I would also second the recommendation to find a good trainer, I know trainers can be expensive but as cookieface said, it is really hard to help with something like this without seeing the dog in person.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Moonstream WOW!!! What can I say? That article has made a LOT of sense regarding my boy! I have figured out what is going on here BUT I still don't know what to do to remedy the situation :( from the article posted I can see that the dad is the alpha male! But my boy in question being the 'middle rank' is trying so hard to be the alpha! Although the dad does often roll on his back, I believe he is still alpha. I have never once seen my boy in question spend time in his back - his brother does too rolls on his back a lot but saying that both the pups mount one another trying to determine their rank I guess? The dad (a docile golden retriever) just does what he does ... Very intelligent and confident in everything he does ... But dopey and soppy as hell - loving caring and accommodating.... I can understand the hierarchy now but it still doesn't explain why he is so ill behaved and aggressive? Yes I believe he will eventually attack someone (out of the family) and so afraid to entertain any situation which might progress to that but at the same time we DO make our dogs sit and 'give paw' in the case of his brother and mother they go above and beyond this when they want something. Mother spins around and brother springs on hind legs without being prompted when we ask them to sit before giving them what they are asking for so to some degree they are trained. Mother is trained fully and was into agility ( this was before I met my bf ) but my boy in question is untrainable beyond what we have already taught him from a young pup. He is stubborn and nothing will persuade to do more than he already knows. I know he needs help before it's too late but to be honest I don't know where to turn. In my heart of hearts I believe that nothing will be able to stop his aggressive tendencies. I have tried my hardest to be firm but he seems to shun me even when I try the soft approach (rewarding him if he doesn't bark or act aggressively) but he seems to wind himself up. For example the day I took him to work ... Would tell him he is a good boy and stroke him when I knew someone was approaching give him a little doggy treat to distract him (he loves his food) .. This worked for a very short while but after a short time, he was spitting the treat out and favouring the aggressive behaviour over a treat and cornering my boss who might I add he was fine with for the first few mins and suddenly turned in him with no warning and no prompting. ... As for the picture in a post above, I know what playful body language looks like lol this was NOT playful at all! Thank u all for ur input it's much appreciated :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
669 Posts
@jagger
Maybe I misread your initial intent. I will admit to being a little overzealous about dominance theory; I was once a huge proponent of it and have since realized the faulty science behind it and it frustrates me to no end the current popularity of it. To me, it seemed like you were suggesting pinning a dog for posturing with the intent of that pinning to teach the dog that behavior is not allowed/ teach 'respect' of people and to a lesser extent restrain him. Perhaps that was not the case. I was definitely going off the term "lack of respect" which to me doesn't mean much with aggressive dogs. Dogs are not aggressive because of lack of respect, IMO. Yes, if a dog were already attacking someone (especially a child) I think you should do whatever is possible to get them, but it seemed like you were suggesting physical force/correction for posturing with the possible intent to bite. To me, that is not the right response to that situation. The dog should be restrained without provoking (with a slip-collar made from slipping the clip part of a leash through the handle is often the easiest way to restrain) and then restrained through use of the lead. Grabbing, pinning or other types of physical restraint are VERY likely to end in a bite when a dog is already at that level of aggressive arousal and are not going to make calming the dog any easier.

from the article posted I can see that the dad is the alpha male! But my boy in question being the 'middle rank' is trying so hard to be the alpha! Although the dad does often roll on his back, I believe he is still alpha. I have never once seen my boy in question spend time in his back - his brother does too rolls on his back a lot but saying that both the pups mount one another trying to determine their rank I guess? The dad (a docile golden retriever) just does what he does ... Very intelligent and confident in everything he does ... But dopey and soppy as hell - loving caring and accommodating.... I can understand the hierarchy now but it still doesn't explain why he is so ill behaved and aggressive?
@NikkiNooNaz my intent in linking the article was more to explain that hierarchy in dogs 1) does not function the way dominance theory bases itself around and 2) is not really that important when predicting behavior problems (except that insecure dogs can be more problematic and that translates to other issues within a hierarchy of a group).

Here's another great article about the topic of dominance in dogs by Pat Miller (a trainer who I greatly respect):
De-Bunking the "Alpha Dog" Theory | Whole Dog Journal

From your original post I see 2 main issues
#1 is reactive barking- "He barks consistently and aggressively at any little noise and usually sets his brother and dad off."
#2, and much, much more serious is the aggression- "My concern is that when I take him out or bring him to work with me he has the tendency to 'go' for anyone and everyone who comes near us or even if they are on the opposite side of the road. This is both on and off the lead. At work he cornered my boss four times today with a stance I have never seen on a dog before."

What the root of that aggression is I cannot tell you, but that will be instrumental in his recovery. Some reasons are outlined here:
https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/training/reasons-aggression-dogs
A shortened version:
- Aggression due to medical problem (often ties into pain)
- Genetic predisposition (this had become common in some breeds, like Dalmations)
- Fear-motivated aggression (usually accompanied with significant calming signals and often warning growls prior to a bite)
- Pain-induced aggression (essentially they are ornery because of pain)
- Territorial aggression
- Resource guarding (which is tied to insecurity)
- Predatory aggression
- 'Frustration' (more often called 'redirected') aggression (what can happen when you use a lot of the physical corrections that dominance theory suggests on an already thinly stretched dog)
- Social Aggression
- Same Sex aggression (ie, male dog can't be around other male dogs)

Most often, aggression is motivated by fear. You don't mention any fearful behavior from him, but "being a bully" ie, constantly using physical force against other dogs speaks towards a less than confident temperament so maybe it is at play. It could be related to a medical issue (I would get a workup done by a vet- a physical and bloodwork) or pain. It could be genetic, which would be less than ideal, since only a certain amount of training would be possible and management would become more important in the long term.

Again- It is absolutely imperative you find a good behaviorist to work with on this. This is not something that the internet can fully help (or should) fully help with. I would suggest a force free behaviorist that will work without a prong or an ecolar, and I would definitely NOT work with anyone that talks about dominance theory/alpha/whatever. As I said before I would also get bloodwork done and a physical to be sure it's not related to a medical problem (like a hormone imbalance) or pain.

In terms of using e-collars and prongs- I believe you will find a lot of trainers that suggest them, especially for a reactive/aggressive dog. I will just say that there has been research that suggests that their use can result in redirected aggression towards the handler, escalation of aggression, shutdown, or suppression. IMO all should be undesirable. A first test of any trainer is that they should always be setting the dog up for success and they should always be working to avoid a bite- it is thought by responsible trainers that a dog biting means that they made a mistake and missed a signal they should have seen or pushed too hard too fast. If you find someone provoking a bite or attack so they can correct it, do not work with them.

Yes I believe he will eventually attack someone (out of the family) and so afraid to entertain any situation which might progress to that but at the same time we DO make our dogs sit and 'give paw' in the case of his brother and mother they go above and beyond this when they want something. Mother spins around and brother springs on hind legs without being prompted when we ask them to sit before giving them what they are asking for so to some degree they are trained. Mother is trained fully and was into agility ( this was before I met my bf ) but my boy in question is untrainable beyond what we have already taught him from a young pup. He is stubborn and nothing will persuade to do more than he already knows.
A dog does not turn aggressive because it lacks leadership or structure. It may lash out because it is insecure, but making an insecure dog sit for its food or shake for a treat is not going to fix the aggressive behavior that comes from it.

Obedience training is also not always (I might even go so far as to say rarely) related to issues of aggression. There are plenty of dogs who have little to no formal training or can barely sit but are totally trustworthy animals you can do anything to. On the other hand, one of the most well trained dogs I knew growing up (a Dalmation who knew tons of formal obedience and who owner raises her dogs with the mantra "nothing in life in free") would still resource guard food and toys from anyone outside her family and bit my father once while we were watching her for a weekend as well as another dog for getting too close to her while she was eating.

I know he needs help before it's too late but to be honest I don't know where to turn. In my heart of hearts I believe that nothing will be able to stop his aggressive tendencies. I have tried my hardest to be firm but he seems to shun me even when I try the soft approach (rewarding him if he doesn't bark or act aggressively) but he seems to wind himself up. For example the day I took him to work ... Would tell him he is a good boy and stroke him when I knew someone was approaching give him a little doggy treat to distract him (he loves his food) .. This worked for a very short while but after a short time, he was spitting the treat out and favouring the aggressive behaviour over a treat and cornering my boss who might I add he was fine with for the first few mins and suddenly turned in him with no warning and no prompting. ... As for the picture in a post above, I know what playful body language looks like lol this was NOT playful at all! Thank u all for ur input it's much appreciated :)
This more than anything worries me. A dog not being able to eat around a trigger is not a good sign, and it sounds like his trigger is pretty much anyone and everyone.

I would start working hard on managing him so that he does not have the opportunity to bite anyone while you find a trainer. This means:
- Absolutely NO off leash walking, ever (I would even consider having him trail a 6' lead while in the yard in case he got loose to make him easier to catch)
- Get him used to a good basket muzzle; google can help in finding some good brands I don't know any off the top of my head. He should be walking in a muzzle ASAP.
- Don't bring him to work again, at all.
- If people are going to come over, he should have a leash on and ideally be muzzled, or even better he should be completely separated from them. He most certainly should not be interacting with people off leash.

NOTE: I am not a professional. I have spent a considerable amount of time researching aggression in dogs and do plan to eventually go into training professionally with some focus in cases of aggression, but I am far short of an expert.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,222 Posts
What I'm going to say now is probably not the most popular opinion on this forum but I'm going to tell you about my dog. He growled at me over his food dish this morning for the first time ever, it was an aggressive growl, totally out of form for him. I didn't correct him at the time, just let him be. Miniature Pinscers are called the king of toys for a reason btw. Problem is solved now, here's why, this is how I get my point across.

I don't do treat training with dogs, if that's your cup of tea, then so be it. I don't want a dog having expectations out of me for doing something that a dog should do anyway. I don't get physical with my dog, don't raise my voice in any way for any reason. I believe in respect, trust and confidence - and that's something that can't be trained. My dog won't roll over, he won't play dead, I don't want him to - I don't have that expectation.

I respect my dog, respect that he is a dog, and I expect him to be a dog. His boundaries are very simple - bones in the kennel only, no bones on the bed. No barking unless it's alert, no pulling on the leash. Typical dog stuff. He's got full run of the condo, lots of exercise inside and outside, good mental stimulation, lots of love and is better fed than most people I know. The dog has a wonderful life. We love this dog and would be crushed if anything ever happened to him. I trust my dog, trust that he's going to be respectful of me, other dogs, other people, kids, cats whatever. He trusts that I keep him safe, have his back. Trust is a 2 way street. Trust and respect in turn creates confidence, and that's what I have, confident dog. He has no reason to be afraid. No reason to be fearful.

I had to think about why he growled at me this morning, I need to understand why the change in his behavior before I can correct it. Tonite while I was prepping his weeks worth of meals, I put a piece of meat on the floor - he went for it. Snap the fingers, he backed him off, he sat back - ears pinned back and licking his lips. Yeah, I can read that message loud and clear, took the meat off the floor and ignored him. A confused dog is a thinking dog.

It's my fault, I've been lax and missing the fact that he's been stepping outside the boundaries, and he was supported by my GF, so he's elevated himself beyond those boundaries, he's not respecting the boundaries - that's not acceptable. Yesterday I caught him with a raw bone on the couch, he knows better. Last night, bone on the bed and he growled at me - couldn't correct it as the GF was asleep. Minpins are pretty head strong, stubborn and if allowed, they will take over the household.

He normally eats at 5, tells me he is hungry - but he didn't tonite, he knew there was something wrong. Been ignoring him since I walked in the door. 6 PM, still no supper and he's still not asking, and I'm still ignoring him. Took him for a run through the ravine for an hour, I can tell by his mannerisms on the run that he knows something is wrong. By the time he got back at 7, he was starved.

I calmly took his feeding mat and put it in the middle of the floor, put supper in his bowl. I laid on the kitchen floor - I'm now completely in his space, disrespecting his space. Laid the bowl on the floor by my stomach. I have never seen this dog react like he did, grunting but not aggressively, totally confused - a confused dog is a thinking dog. He walked around me a half dozen times then finally came in to feed. I put my fingers in the bowl, he backed off, no aggression. He finished his meal with my fingers in the bowl, he got the point. When he finished, he came and licked my face - that's out of form for him as well.

That's my dog...
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,222 Posts
@Moonstream, we can all get heated over dogs.

Around here, aggressive dogs are generally treated to a shotgun lullabye. Dogs that harass livestock end up with a .308 lullabye. I'm not a huge fan of that but it is what it is...

I believe that every dog can rehabilitated, every dog deserves better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Whereas I understand now that dominance does not mean they are alpha, I still believe he is extremely dominant in that he tries to 'control' every situation. Even when he is at home and being the loving boy that he is, he still tries to manipulate you into doing what he wants and on HIS terms. He will demand attention on every scale whether it be that he sees the kiddies getting attention or one of the other dogs or even me and my bf - he will push his way in and sit on your feet so you can't move or stand in front of whoever is giving the attention and nuzzle you with his snout quite forcefully, coming in between whoever is giving the attention and who is getting the attention. If it is one of the other dogs he will come between us then seemingly play standupishly so he is on his hind legs towering over them until they leave the area where we are then will do the nuzzling thing. So the dominance theory with my boy still stands firm but from what I read in that article I know he is not the alpha, but trying so hard to squabble his way to the top of the hierarchy. I really don't know how he sees me and my bf or how far down in the chain we are? I just hope we can find someone who can really help! I have heard some nightmare stories locally about so called trainers/behaviourists :( thank you all again for your input I have found it extremely valuable!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,222 Posts
Put away the idea of dominance, peking order, alpha etc for a moment.

Do you believe your dog has respect for you and yours? Does he have any true boundaries.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
The answer to that is yes I believe he does AT HOME. In most cases he will be told to do something and he will but not without disapproval as he will stand his ground, and reluctantly do it, but in some cases he cannot be told anything especially if it involves 'moving aside' for someone else, in which case we would have to remove him from the room. He waits for his food until told he can eat, when we go out he will go to his bed without being told etc etc but that's as far as it goes. With the food thing he will eat as fast as he can then muscle his way in to the other dogs food. He and his brother have 'had nasty words' a few times because he has tried to bully his way into the others bowl.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,222 Posts
The answer to that is yes I believe he does AT HOME. In most cases he will be told to do something and he will but not without disapproval as he will stand his ground, and reluctantly do it, but in some cases he cannot be told anything especially if it involves 'moving aside' for someone else, in which case we would have to remove him from the room. He waits for his food until told he can eat, when we go out he will go to his bed without being told etc etc but that's as far as it goes. With the food thing he will eat as fast as he can then muscle his way in to the other dogs food. He and his brother have 'had nasty words' a few times because he has tried to bully his way into the others bowl.
Reread what you just posted, and tell me again how the dog respects you and other dogs?
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top