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Hello everyone! My family just adopted our first puppy, Luna, in early April from a shelter. (There are 5 family members: dad, mom, older sister, me, and younger sister)

Luna is a cattle dog/shepherd mix and is currently 8 months old. She's very friendly and has never snarled/snapped at anyone. However, over the past 4 days, she's gotten aggressive but only at night from 5pm til her bedtime at 11pm.

The first day, around 5 pm, Luna started snarling and snapping at my sister's boyfriend, whom she met the day before and was friendly towards him. After he left, Luna has lunged, snarled, growled and snapped at my 2 sisters. We placed Luna in her crate to take a nap thinking she was just over exhausted. When she woke up, she was back to her normal self.

The next day, Luna was fine until after dinner, she lunged, barked and snapped at my older sister. She was just standing in the kitchen talking to my mom. The day after, Luna barked and lunged at my older sister again when she was just walking by. Yesterday, Luna barked at my older sister, as now she is keeping her distance from Luna. Later yesterday night, my mom and I had come back from walking Luna. (Luna is not allowed on furniture.) Luna laid down at my feet but was tense and glaring at my mom, who was on her phone, on the other couch. I tried distracting Luna, but she wouldn't stop glaring or growling. When my mom started petting Luna later, she turned to snap at my mom.

She has not shown any aggression towards me or my dad (my younger sister has not been home this week). My dad and I are the main people who feed, train and walk her. I have been crating her for 5 minutes every time she snaps or lunges at someone as a time out. Luna has been taught basic commands which she still follows but its almost begrudgingly when she's in this mood, but she is treat motivated.

We have not changed her daily routine except that now we have been crating her for 1.5 hrs, 2 times a day as we have to leave the house. Luna is fine in her crate for about an hour every once in a while but could the increase in crate time be stressing her out and therefore, she is expressing her frustrations on the "weaker" family members? Please help with any tips or training advice for this behavior.
 

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Hello everyone! My family just adopted our first puppy, Luna, in early April from a shelter. (There are 5 family members: dad, mom, older sister, me, and younger sister)

Luna is a cattle dog/shepherd mix and is currently 8 months old. She's very friendly and has never snarled/snapped at anyone. However, over the past 4 days, she's gotten aggressive but only at night from 5pm til her bedtime at 11pm.

The first day, around 5 pm, Luna started snarling and snapping at my sister's boyfriend, whom she met the day before and was friendly towards him. After he left, Luna has lunged, snarled, growled and snapped at my 2 sisters. We placed Luna in her crate to take a nap thinking she was just over exhausted. When she woke up, she was back to her normal self.

The next day, Luna was fine until after dinner, she lunged, barked and snapped at my older sister. She was just standing in the kitchen talking to my mom. The day after, Luna barked and lunged at my older sister again when she was just walking by. Yesterday, Luna barked at my older sister, as now she is keeping her distance from Luna. Later yesterday night, my mom and I had come back from walking Luna. (Luna is not allowed on furniture.) Luna laid down at my feet but was tense and glaring at my mom, who was on her phone, on the other couch. I tried distracting Luna, but she wouldn't stop glaring or growling. When my mom started petting Luna later, she turned to snap at my mom.

She has not shown any aggression towards me or my dad (my younger sister has not been home this week). My dad and I are the main people who feed, train and walk her. I have been crating her for 5 minutes every time she snaps or lunges at someone as a time out. Luna has been taught basic commands which she still follows but its almost begrudgingly when she's in this mood, but she is treat motivated.

We have not changed her daily routine except that now we have been crating her for 1.5 hrs, 2 times a day as we have to leave the house. Luna is fine in her crate for about an hour every once in a while but could the increase in crate time be stressing her out and therefore, she is expressing her frustrations on the "weaker" family members? Please help with any tips or training advice for this behavior.
From just what you've written my first thoughts were a) that Luna sounds like she might be going through a fear period which is very common around the 8-month mark and b) she might also have grown protective of you and your Dad which again is a common trait in the breed.

Understand how and why people will naturally be wary and not keen to be around her but do think it's really important that whoever visits your home doesn't go out of their way to avoid Luna or start giving her a wide berth.

She'll pick up on that straight away and the more people show fear and keep her at arm's length the more aggression she's likely to display.

What I would probably look to do initially is have family members and friends accompany you on walks outside with Luna so they're on neutral territory if you will and she can start to relax around them. Will also give those that feel nervous an opportunity to be around her away from the confines of your house.

If you don't mind me asking what you have been doing when Luna growls / snaps and shows aggression towards others?
 

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Hello!

I've been keeping an eye on Luna so when I see that she starts to tense up or get agitated, I try talking to her in soothing tones or petting her to distract or calm her down. Sometimes it works, but usually she'll still growl or bark.
Normally, I tell her to "Stop" or "No". Other times, I tell her "No" before she barks or lunges, to which Luna will sometimes just growl like she knows she's not supposed to disobey.

If she lunges or snaps at anyone, I hold her by the collar to stop any more attacks while telling her "No" or "Stop". Once she stops, I let go of her collar and tell her to go to her crate which she has no problem going into. And this is where I'll leave her in a "time out" for 5 mins. When she comes out, she's normally fine.



From just what you've written my first thoughts were a) that Luna sounds like she might be going through a fear period which is very common around the 8-month mark and b) she might also have grown protective of you and your Dad which again is a common trait in the breed.

Understand how and why people will naturally be wary and not keen to be around her but do think it's really important that whoever visits your home doesn't go out of their way to avoid Luna or start giving her a wide berth.

She'll pick up on that straight away and the more people show fear and keep her at arm's length the more aggression she's likely to display.

What I would probably look to do initially is have family members and friends accompany you on walks outside with Luna so they're on neutral territory if you will and she can start to relax around them. Will also give those that feel nervous an opportunity to be around her away from the confines of your house.

If you don't mind me asking what you have been doing when Luna growls / snaps and shows aggression towards others?
 

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Really wish I could give you more help and advice but to be honest it's difficult given that Luna could be reacting for various reasons i.e. being protective or fear aggressive. Also not sure to what extent her aggression is and whether she's pushing more towards physically biting or whether she's just giving off the noise and attitude.

Daren't risk giving any specific advice in case she does actually go at someone and do some damage.

What I will say is again it would be ideal if your family / friends and other visitors made friends with Luna away from the house if possible just so she becomes familiar with them outside and then may not be as bothered when they're in the house.

When any of my dogs have behaved like that towards people I've always been very quick to correct them (never use punishment it's just a verbal “Hey!”) but don't tend to use very soothing tones or overdo reassurance because from experience it can make an anxious, fearful dog even more so which in turn is likely to increase aggression.

I don't make too much fuss or move the dog away / crate because again that can heighten the issue and is only putting a barrier between the dog and the people they don't like. Over time that can make fear aggression even more difficult.

Sorry I'm as much use to you as a chocolate teapot but attaching couple of links to info that might be helpful?

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/common-dog-behavior-issues/aggression

http://yourdogsfriend.org/help/people

https://www.doglistener.co.uk/aggression/types.shtml
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for your help! I'll try out your advice and check out the links. It just worries me that she was fine with everyone in the house until recently. :confused:




Really wish I could give you more help and advice but to be honest it's difficult given that Luna could be reacting for various reasons i.e. being protective or fear aggressive. Also not sure to what extent her aggression is and whether she's pushing more towards physically biting or whether she's just giving off the noise and attitude.

Daren't risk giving any specific advice in case she does actually go at someone and do some damage.

What I will say is again it would be ideal if your family / friends and other visitors made friends with Luna away from the house if possible just so she becomes familiar with them outside and then may not be as bothered when they're in the house.

When any of my dogs have behaved like that towards people I've always been very quick to correct them (never use punishment it's just a verbal “Hey!”) but don't tend to use very soothing tones or overdo reassurance because from experience it can make an anxious, fearful dog even more so which in turn is likely to increase aggression.

I don't make too much fuss or move the dog away / crate because again that can heighten the issue and is only putting a barrier between the dog and the people they don't like. Over time that can make fear aggression even more difficult.

Sorry I'm as much use to you as a chocolate teapot but attaching couple of links to info that might be helpful?

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/common-dog-behavior-issues/aggression

http://yourdogsfriend.org/help/people

https://www.doglistener.co.uk/aggression/types.shtml
 

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Hello!

I've been keeping an eye on Luna so when I see that she starts to tense up or get agitated, I try talking to her in soothing tones or petting her to distract or calm her down. Sometimes it works, but usually she'll still growl or bark.
Normally, I tell her to "Stop" or "No". Other times, I tell her "No" before she barks or lunges, to which Luna will sometimes just growl like she knows she's not supposed to disobey.

If she lunges or snaps at anyone, I hold her by the collar to stop any more attacks while telling her "No" or "Stop". Once she stops, I let go of her collar and tell her to go to her crate which she has no problem going into. And this is where I'll leave her in a "time out" for 5 mins. When she comes out, she's normally fine.
Hello. I'm sorry you're having trouble with your pup. My only advice at this point is to make sure you're not inadvertently "punishing" her by giving her a time out after she's stopped barking. Rather than correcting the inappropriate behavior, see if you can reward her for good behavior when faced with potential triggers. Maybe, as soon as you notice her tensing up, start popping treats or kibble in her mouth to both distract her and reward her for noticing the trigger but not barking or growling at it.

I'm only just learning how to work with reactive dogs, but I really like what I'm reading and seeing about rewarding appropriate behavior rather than trying to correcting inappropriate behavior. Correcting inappropriate behavior just tells the dog what you don't want her to do, but it doesn't clarify what you do want her to do. Rewarding appropriate behavior when faced with a trigger gives the dog a clear message about what you want instead.

If she's lunging and snapping, you may want to look into muzzle training so that you can work on socializing her to people and desensitizing her to her triggers without risk of anyone being hurt.

Good luck to you and your pup!

Edited to add that if specific people cause her to react, definitely get those people to toss her treats or kibble from a safe distance (when she's not barking or growling or lunging) to try to create a positive association so she'll learn that those people mean good things for her.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi! Thank you for the advice. I will try to reward her instead of putting her in time out.



Hello. I'm sorry you're having trouble with your pup. My only advice at this point is to make sure you're not inadvertently "punishing" her by giving her a time out after she's stopped barking. Rather than correcting the inappropriate behavior, see if you can reward her for good behavior when faced with potential triggers. Maybe, as soon as you notice her tensing up, start popping treats or kibble in her mouth to both distract her and reward her for noticing the trigger but not barking or growling at it.

I'm only just learning how to work with reactive dogs, but I really like what I'm reading and seeing about rewarding appropriate behavior rather than trying to correcting inappropriate behavior. Correcting inappropriate behavior just tells the dog what you don't want her to do, but it doesn't clarify what you do want her to do. Rewarding appropriate behavior when faced with a trigger gives the dog a clear message about what you want instead.

If she's lunging and snapping, you may want to look into muzzle training so that you can work on socializing her to people and desensitizing her to her triggers without risk of anyone being hurt.

Good luck to you and your pup!
 

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Breeds like Luna's are known for being fiercely loyal and protective towards owners generally speaking. Given that she's fine with you and your Dad I'm tempted to think it's probably a case of her wanting to keep everyone else at arm's length. Again her age makes me think she could also have hit a fear period and see outsiders and strangers as a threat.

Let me know how it pans out though I'd be interested to hear how she's doing :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I did notice that on the first night of aggression, she seemed fearful when my dad went to pet her head when he was sitting in front of her. It was only that one time that she reacted differently to my dad. Which makes me think that she's reverted back to her timid days from when she was at the shelter?

I'll definitely work on "reintroducing" the rest of the family again by having them take part in feeding, walking and playing with her.

Again, thank you for your advice! I'll keep you posted in the next coming days!



Breeds like Luna's are known for being fiercely loyal and protective towards owners generally speaking. Given that she's fine with you and your Dad I'm tempted to think it's probably a case of her wanting to keep everyone else at arm's length. Again her age makes me think she could also have hit a fear period and see outsiders and strangers as a threat.

Let me know how it pans out though I'd be interested to hear how she's doing :)
 

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Aww bless her it sounds like Luna had a rough start to life before she found you :( Quite common for rescue dogs to display fear towards men but if she's managed to overcome it and learn to trust and be comfortable around your Dad it means she an almost certainly overcome her other fears and distrust for strangers :)
 

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Alright, so even if Luna is displaying Resource Guarding or general wariness the treatment is the same! Treat parties!

First, give Luna a space to her own where she won't be bothered. Usually this is a covered crate. She should be only fed inside the crate (and never food left out) and given bully sticks etc inside the crate. All toys should be picked up and put away so she can't guard those either.

First you want Luna to associate people with awesome stuff. So whenever someone walks by have them toss her a treat. They shouldn't acknowledge her otherwise. If she's on a high value area like the couch or bed, before anyone sits down call her off with a treat and get onto the item yourself. I don't suggest letting the dog back up but if you do make sure you shovel treats into Luna's mouth like she's dying of starvation.If the dog tries to get back on the couch call her off, feed a treat, and send her to her bed or kennel (not closed and not as punishment but an area she can still hang out with family without getting gaurdy over the furniture.

When someone is sitting with Luna work on Look At That! It's a very simple game. Everytime the dog looks towards the item of issue, you click or praise and treat. Ear twitch? Treat. Side eye? Treat! Even a growl or lip lick treat!

Also look up calming signals and get to know if Luna is uncomfortable with anything. Lip licks, stiffness, muzzle wrinkles, etc etc all signal that the dog is uncomfortable.

Also start on clicker or marker training. Where you "load" a word or sound to indicate a treat is coming which makes it sooo much easier for training. ainsyead of fumbling for a treat you just offer the word and the dog KNOWS it did good right away and waits for the reward.
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Hello!

Thank you for the advice! I'll try giving her more treats and getting everyone else to do it too! Would you have any idea why it's only at night that Luna is acting this way? Could it be because we are all home, rather than during the day, it's usually just 1 or 2 people?


Alright, so even if Luna is displaying Resource Guarding or general wariness the treatment is the same! Treat parties!

First, give Luna a space to her own where she won't be bothered. Usually this is a covered crate. She should be only fed inside the crate (and never food left out) and given bully sticks etc inside the crate. All toys should be picked up and put away so she can't guard those either.

First you want Luna to associate people with awesome stuff. So whenever someone walks by have them toss her a treat. They shouldn't acknowledge her otherwise. If she's on a high value area like the couch or bed, before anyone sits down call her off with a treat and get onto the item yourself. I don't suggest letting the dog back up but if you do make sure you shovel treats into Luna's mouth like she's dying of starvation.If the dog tries to get back on the couch call her off, feed a treat, and send her to her bed or kennel (not closed and not as punishment but an area she can still hang out with family without getting gaurdy over the furniture.

When someone is sitting with Luna work on Look At That! It's a very simple game. Everytime the dog looks towards the item of issue, you click or praise and treat. Ear twitch? Treat. Side eye? Treat! Even a growl or lip lick treat!

Also look up calming signals and get to know if Luna is uncomfortable with anything. Lip licks, stiffness, muzzle wrinkles, etc etc all signal that the dog is uncomfortable.

Also start on clicker or marker training. Where you "load" a word or sound to indicate a treat is coming which makes it sooo much easier for training. ainsyead of fumbling for a treat you just offer the word and the dog KNOWS it did good right away and waits for the reward.
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