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I don't mean to insult your vet or vets in general. I've just had a lot of experience with sensitive or difficult to diagnose issues with both people and animals and seen well respected doctors and vets jump to it's just behavioral and forget that any pain or discomforts can produce behavioral symptoms, especially in animals who can't tell you they're hurting. And I know a lot of people and now have a dog and horse who have had bizarre reactions to many medications that i have to be careful with and very assertive with any vet about any medication.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
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.
Thank you. What I meant by being the leader is... well... being the leader as much as I can lol whatever percentage that may turn out to be. In other words I dont just shower with love without any setting any rules boundaries. I try my best.

Again last night he growled at bro when he approached him in his crate. Im starting to wonder if it has anything to do with interrupting his sleep.

Im considering getting a muzzle at night to be able to be assertive with him
when he growls (ie step forward and give commands etc) instead of rewarding the growling by avoiding him. Without a muzzle its just too dangerous. But i worry that he'd try to bite which would be a first and make me wonder if im actually encouraging bad behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
I don't mean to insult your vet or vets in general. I've just had a lot of experience with sensitive or difficult to diagnose issues with both people and animals and seen well respected doctors and vets jump to it's just behavioral and forget that any pain or discomforts can produce behavioral symptoms, especially in animals who can't tell you they're hurting. And I know a lot of people and now have a dog and horse who have had bizarre reactions to many medications that i have to be careful with and very assertive with any vet about any medication.
No worries I understand exactly where you're coming from. Many human doctors jump to conclusions too. Thats why I like to always get more than one opinion. Id usually get the opinions after doing my research to be able to know what kind of questions to ask.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
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. .
This is exactly how I feel. In terms if character hes the exact opposite of the female whos very confident and has been since she was a puppy.
 

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I would rule out medical problems before doing any behavior work other than just safely managing him. My Akita pitbull mix hated the muzzle and it became a power struggle to train him to tolerate him wearing one. I used treats with a basket muzzle and positive reinforcement but when an akita makes up its mind you can't force anything.
Plus it isn't fair if he's not feeling well, my dog stopped all aggressiveness once he was on doxycycline for Lyme for a few weeks. Finding and treating any medical issues might help the behavior issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
I would rule out medical problems before doing any behavior work other than just safely managing him. My Akita pitbull mix hated the muzzle and it became a power struggle to train him to tolerate him wearing one. I used treats with a basket muzzle and positive reinforcement but when an akita makes up its mind you can't force anything.
Plus it isn't fair if he's not feeling well, my dog stopped all aggressiveness once he was on doxycycline for Lyme for a few weeks. Finding and treating any medical issues might help the behavior issues.
Makes sense. Thank you Shadowmom. :thumbsup:
 

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Im considering getting a muzzle at night to be able to be assertive with him when he growls (ie step forward and give commands etc) instead of rewarding the growling by avoiding him.
For sure, you should not back down from this, if you can safely avoid it. The dog doesn't like what someone is doing, he growls, the person complies, the behavior is reinforced. The next time he is emboldened, and the problem gets worse.

If you need a muzzle to feel safe, by all means, use one. But, you definitely need to turn that behavior around, as you're already fully aware. Just be calm, confident, and firm, and be sure to reward him when he does the right thing.
 

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Thank you. What I meant by being the leader is... well... being the leader as much as I can lol whatever percentage that may turn out to be. In other words I dont just shower with love without any setting any rules boundaries. I try my best.

Again last night he growled at bro when he approached him in his crate. Im starting to wonder if it has anything to do with interrupting his sleep.

Im considering getting a muzzle at night to be able to be assertive with him
when he growls (ie step forward and give commands etc) instead of rewarding the growling by avoiding him. Without a muzzle its just too dangerous. But i worry that he'd try to bite which would be a first and make me wonder if im actually encouraging bad behavior.

Definitely rule out medical, I've had a vet get off on the wrong track before and refuse to even consider other things I mentioned. I ended up having to get a second opinion from a different bet in order to get the correct diagnosis. Given that the behavior is happening a lot a night I wonder if his night vision isn't good, and he's having a harder time telling it's y'all when he's disturbed at night, so he goes on the defensive. It also seems that he has a hard time calming down once he gets that upset.

Please respect his growling. The time to be assertive is not when the dog growls. What you are liable to do is teach him not to growl, but unfortunately you've done nothing to make him O.K. with whatever upset him, you could very well end up with a dog that bites "out of the blue" because you short circuited his early warning system. http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/growling-86338/ Right now your dog is very politely telling you that something is upsetting him, to please stop whatever you are doing. That's good! Figure out what it is that's so upsetting to him that he's growling and work to make him feel O.K. about it.

Is it that he doesn't realize it's y'all because he's not seeing well? If so then give him some warning, before you move around him at night, see if that helps. Is he resource guarding? Try making your approaching whatever it is that he's guarding the cause something good to happen. You could drop extra yummy treats as you walk by. I'd not make him wear a muzzle for the entire night.
 

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From what I learned about akitas you're actually lucky he's growling. At the vet office my vets always said they were much more cautious about my last dog because of his half Akita side than the out bull**** because akitas are known to bite without warning. He never made a sound. If I was lucky and the better I got to know him I could see with other dogs the tense posture and higher right before he sprang to pin them. tail wagging and a very slight fast like half second lip curl right before he sprang to pin them down. With people there was never a sound until a bark while biting if he was protecting me. With vets he'd whimper and cry and try to escape and bite if cornered sometimes growled then but never growled first priority gave much warning.
My current dog growls then barks never bites, at least not yet.
You can leave a basket muzzle on longer and even feed treats through it. But you have to acclimate him to it when he's already calm and this may not be the time to pick that particular battle with him.
Get him medically checked out first.
 

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Asian breeds are often poker-faced - ya gotta know where to look, & what to look for

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Many Asian breeds get into a lot of trouble b/c they often DON'T growl - Akita, Shar-Pei, Shiba, Tosa, Chow-Chow, Lhasa Apso, & others. They weren't developed as pets & companions, but as guards, & a guard who growls rather than bite puts an intruder on notice, & puts their own life & safety at risk. Burglars won't quibble at killing a dog, & they'd rather do it B4 the dog raises the alarm; a growl is a perfect opp to locate the dog, & silence them permanently.

These breeds tend to give few clues when they feel provoked -
U must look carefully for early signs, such as hard eyes, FREEZING, mouth closes / tongue retracts when the dog *had been* calmly panting with tongue lolling over lower-incisors, prick ears swiveling half-outward to the side in indecision / tips down, & progressing in intensity thru clear signals of aggro seen when the dog is defensive or aggro, such as hackling, a lip-lift, WHISKERS flexing forward & puckering the whisker-bed, & a C-commissure [the latter 2 are each prelude to delivering a bite].

There are subtle signs of stress, such as the PUPILS of the eyes expanding -which makes the eyes look darker than normal, or seeing a white crescent of sclera at a corner of the eyes, or even the iris completely surrounded by sclera ['whale eye'], which many APOs overlook, but which are generally early signs that the dog is upset, & likely to become more so. // Intervening early to get the dog out of the situation can prevent a meltdown, or worse yet, a serious bite.

Groomers often hate to groom long-haired Chows, b/c the groomers are always overbooked & in a hurry, & aren't in the mood to pay a whole lotta attn to the dog they're grooming aside from "Hold still!", & watching where they insert the mat-cutter. That won't work with a Chow - pull a knot in their petticoats just once, painfully, & they lock-up & look like they just bit a green persimmon; do it again, 'cuz U weren't paying attn & missed it, & WHAM! - & then the groomer often claims the dog didn't warn them... but s/he did.


My Akita did growl, not often in her brief lifetime, but quite horridly - U wouldn't want her to repeat it, once heard. // However, B4 she ever growled, she'd do the Akita standard: get stiff, close her mouth, eyes harden, body contracts, stand tall, ears akimbo.
I'd busted my butt to socialize her intensively & extensively, & she had a wide repertoire of additional signals beyond "pause to freeze" to indicate that she was very stressed, or getting pi**ed-off by the handling or poking, or to warn off someone who was being intrusive.
I never saw her growl w/o a dam*ed good reason, & i heeded her growls - when she growled, i stopped what i was doing.
If there was something that must be done at the vet's which was going to hurt, such as the frequent jugular pokes for blood samples in the last 2-plus years of her life, I told her ahead of time, "This will hurt, but it'll be quick", & she'd sit motionless for the phlebotomy.
The vet-techs thot i was loopy, but they never had to restrain her - i did it, solo, & she'd do a rock-solid sit-stay for a jugular stick.

Preparing a dog to tolerate & expect physical restraint from the vet, a tech, a groomer, or to accept brief painful or uncomfortable or intrusive procedures, is very necessary in advance of need - U don't wait till yer dog has been hit by a car, to teach them to relax & co-operate when the vet examines them! :eek:

- terry

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Discussion Starter #33
Update :

I'm writing this update despite my extreme feel of guilt just in case in helps anyone out there deal with similar issues in the future.

I took the dog to the best vets available to me and all suggested getting a trainer. Sorry buddy I can train dogs at a basic level and I'm always with him and just know its not a behavioral issue.

So I decide to go against vets advice and do the only thyroid test they have which is T4. Normal range was something like 1.1 to 4 and the vet came up to me saying heey all is good its within the normal range...its 1.2 lol

I tell her I want to test T3 T4 free T3 and free T4 and TSH... they said theyd have to send a sample elsewhere.

Long story short the results (lower than average) clearly indicated a thyroid issue. TSH was messed up to so its probably actually related to the pituitary gland.

Sadly, the dog had attacked my mother before I received the results. She bled. Shes ok but it was a scene and there was drama and I took him to the clinic to be put down.

Turned out the clinic uses magnesium sulphate when putting dogs down which is ethical only when general anesthesia is absolutely in full effect. Otherwise it would cause paralysis which would give the illusion that the animal is ok but result in great pain.

The dumb vet and nurses injected it while the animal was still vomiting in reaction to anesthesia (which after paying a vet online I learned that vomiting was normal). Its a thick substance and hard to administer, so they apologized for it taking too long thinking its just because it wasn't administered quickly enough, ignoring the fact that he wasn't fully asleep. I didn't have a full understanding of what was going on so didn't react except by saying "Im sorry but this doesn't seem right"

It was because he wasn't under full anesthesia yet and according to my understanding dogs just vary in how they respond and how long it takes to be fully sedated.

The reason I write this is because I feel extremely guilty and hope that everyone reading this takes the following into consideration whenever needed :

1- Yes its hard to watch, but please for gods sake, be there when the dog is put down. We see 2-3 doctors to get more than one opinion when we have health problems. Our canine buddies cant speak so we have to do the same with them.

2- Ask what they use when putting the dog down. Leave any clinic that uses magnesium sulphate. I think it should be banned because you cant moderate commercial clinics that use it. Pentobarbitone is what should be used. Leave them if they don't have or use it.

3- More than 60 percent of dogs with behavioral problems (especially aggression) have thyroid issues, do not hesitate to check on them before even thinking about a trainer.

4- I don't know how accurate they are if they exist but if you decide to buy a dog from a reputable breeder and its possible that genetic testing can help you avoid thyroid issues, then its worth spending money on. I've read stories of perfectly behavioral dogs that suddenly bit the owner on the face simply due to thyroid issues.

Sadly, I took the dog to the clinic to be put down and they thought I was there for the results which I received and still insisted that hes put down because it was right after the attack and I felt helpless, which is why I now feel extremely guilty.

If your dog has behavioral issues that aren't a result of poor socialization or high unreleased energy that wasn't released or any other common reason, please consider checking thyroid levels.
 

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First, I will say that I’m very sorry that all of this happened.

This all sounds absurd to me, though. Why on Earth was this dog not neutered? It sounds like you knew he was a little off his whole life, and then you act shocked when puberty hits.

Okay, fine. Then you go to the trouble of getting his thyroid checked, find out there is an explanation, and then put him down anyway?

It truly sounds like an awful situation for you, but this dog had to die a horrible death and it all could have been prevented. Even if that meant keeping an aggressive dog locked up until test results came back.

We all make mistakes and have to learn tough lessons. Again, I’m sorry this all happened.
 

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Wow. I'm sorry for your lost and it sounds like an awful situation. I'm also sorry you were pressured into putting the dog down when he might have improved with treatment. It does seem a shame that after all the tests there wasn't a way you could have isolated him to give him some time to see if he would improve. My dog just got diagnosed with hypothyroidism and the vet said he could improve within a week with medication. He hasn't been as dangerous as your dog was though. He flipped out at another dog in the park who wouldn't leave him alone, and barked at a couple of people. And got into a barking fight with a female dog. But he never fights with females and it was too many episodes in a week and he has many physical symptoms.
My grandparents put my first dog down behind my back the minute I went to college because he had been aggressive. There were no new incidents they just didn't want him in their house for fear of a lawsuit, but he was confined to my mom's apartment. I ceased thinking of them as family the minute I found out they had taken him and killed him. I never went and visited them again or willingly spoke to them again for the rest of their lives and only went to the funerals to drive my mom not out of any grief for them.
I'm sorry it was your mom that pressured you to make that decision too soon as for many people a mom relationship is a very important one and this could certainly affect your relationship with her.

I'd personally be suing or complaining to the medical licensing board about the vet practice. They refused to even consider a medical issue for your dog and dismissed it as only behavioral for way too long, letting the aggression escalate while they ignored it and were negligent in refusing to do their jobs. Then did a lousy test that was inaccurate, wasting even more time. And the way they killed him does not sound like euthanasia to me. Their medical license should be revoked or at least investigated so when other people look them up they see there is investigation on their license which is serious. These quacks should not be practicing or anywhere near animals.

I've had to have many cats euthanized and never had such a horrible experience as you described. The worst was they injected cold fluid in one cat and she meowed and fidgeted that it bothered her. I flipped out on the vet while holding the poor cat and said "I thought this was painless and ending her suffering! What are you doing to her? Look at the poor thing!" Granted I was pretty upset and emotional at the time but they immediately stopped and tried to fix the situation.
The practice shouldn't be allowed to work with animals based on the awful way they neglected his symptoms, did a lousy test, dismissed aggression completely and then failed to even euthanize him humanely. What are they experienced in, dismissing owners, providing awful care and torturing dogs? And anesthesia has come a long way so that they should be able to give it so that pets aren't vomiting from it. There's all kinds of gentle anesthesia. Many of my pets have had to be under anesthesia for various procedures in recent years and none got that sick. I realize euthanasia is different but I've also had to euthanize five cats in two years and my last dog was forced into surgery the day he died and none got that sick.
That vet sounds horrific and negligent. Please report them do no one else goes through that.
 
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