Dog Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
A bit of background….I adopted a mixed breed dog in January of this year. She had been at the shelter for about 6mths and was originally found wandering the streets. When she first came in, she had 0 behavioral problems that the staff noticed. However, in her last few weeks of confinement (before I adopted her), she started to show aggression in her kennel when people ran by. She was fine outside, played well and was super friendly outside the cage. So this was chalked up to be ‘frustration aggression’…(she is super high energy) easily fixable, we thought, with regular activity and minimal confinement.

Vet advised dog likely suffers from a degree of fear aggression as well, as per her reactions when going in for vaccinations and her spay. She does not like being in enclosed spaces.
Fast forward to today. Dog is absolutely perfect 99% of the time. She is friendly outside on the streets, obedient, and fantastic with my large assortment of pets. Gets along with kids under close supervision. She gets lots of exercise- we are both very active outdoors. My bf moved in a couple months ago, and there has been a fair bit of stress in house since (as an aside, I am considering ending the relationship), however, a concerning trend started to emerge.

One night I was sitting in bed, the dog was lying on floor. My bf came up behind me and slammed the wall to kill a mosquito and the dog jumped up and lunged at him (barking aggressively, sounding terrifying, but not touching him…just telling him to back up).

I just assumed dog reacted thinking he was beating on me or something. A few weeks later, we had company over who was sleeping downstairs. My Bf and I were in bedroom again. He started walking to bed and the dog lunged again at him…again the same thing, no contact, just scary sounding. Well my BF hit the dog in face ‘to chastise’ and she grabbed his arm (holding on, no punctures, etc.).

Since then, it seems like she has gotten a bit paranoid about my BF and has reacted more frequently to him moving around the house. I’m not sure if she’s feeding off my stress and directing it at him/being protective, or being dominant. It is strange these occurrences only happen at night. I do not want this behavior to get worse. The fact that she actually put her mouth on him concerns me, even though I feel my BF reacted incorrectly to the situation…I feel that their combination when in ‘conflict’ like this will just escalate further.
Dog is no longer allowed in our bedroom. But the behavior with him has started in living room now too, so I just lock her in a spare bedroom at night now, until we go to bed. This ONLY happens at night, and I am confused if it is a behavioral problem or possibly something medical related.
It seems strange to me that the dog has such a short period of aggression (these incidences usually last seconds, until I ask her to stop). As soon as she is commanded off, she is perfectly happy-go-lucky again and almost apologetic. It’s like she forgets herself.

The only other time she has acted up appears to be in dominance toward another new dog we got recently. BF was petting dog (working her up hyper), and the new one comes running over to get into the action/runs right up to her face. My dog lashes out at the other dog and left a tiny puncture on her muzzle. Again, the aggression very quickly stopped. These two otherwise play extremely well together.

Has anyone ever had anything like this before? I have considered euthanizing her, but it is tough when this behavior seems to have similar triggers/occur around the same time at night. She does seem extra cautious in general at night/more reactive to noises in house/outside.

Will probably arrange some bloodwork and possibly get a behaviorist (if I can find one in my area) out. Just looking for thoughts, suggestions, etc. Very confused what to do….
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,906 Posts
I would definitely bring a behaviorist in.

The situation seems fairly straightforward to me. BF scares the (already stressed) dog by hitting the wall above dog's head. Dog reacts. In the bedroom, the dog thinks it is about to happen again, and dog reacts (barking) to get the BF to give her some space. Again, this is all fear. BF responds by hitting the scared dog. The dog is pushed past a warning and bites, feeling threatened and with no other choice.

Now, your dog has associated your BF with pain and fear. He's a scary thing to her. He must be kept away. She's not being mean or dominant - she's just trying to protect herself. Honestly, she's not being unreasonable, considering.

I wouldn't consider euthanization at all in this situation. But a behaviorist may be helpful in explaining why your dog is acting the way she is, and helping to find solutions. Just be sure to find a positive behaviorist - no punishment allowed. Punishment will make her worse (as you've seen).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,039 Posts
Yup, the dog has probably simply learned that your boyfriend is an unpredictably noisy and/or scary monster. A behaviorist is a great idea, this is beyond an internet advice problem.

It's very important that your boyfriend understands that the dog is afraid of him rather than being protective of you or "dominant". If he doesn't, his reactions are likely to be inappropriate in the future and continue to make things worse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for the replies. This is what i had considered may have been part of the issue....but bf is adament that it is dominance. Maybe getting an expert in would clarify that for him too...though he is stubborn! I think I have located one within an hr or so from me, so if references check out, hopefully we'll have some help.
The aggression issue has definitely made home life a little more stressful!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Unfortunately, your boyfriend is making the situation worse. I don't think there is any situation where hitting a dog has ever made aggression go away.

At this point, the best thing to do would be to get a behaviorist, that way you both can learn how to deal with the situation safely.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
871 Posts
Everyone has responded with appropriate advice on the fact that you BF has become a scary monster. Getting a behaviorist sounds like a good option.

On another note if you noticed your dog is more stressed/fearful/reactive inside or at night (before the wall got hit, scaring your pup in the first place) there is a possibility that your dog is having sight problems. Sometimes certain types of blindness make it very hard for them to see when not in day light. I would have a vet check eyes as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,652 Posts
sounds like fear and nervousness, but not necessarily open aggression. this doesn't sound like a hopeless caser that needs to be killed.
I think you need a professional behaviorist though.
I'd ask the BF to ignore her and separate them as far as possible.

Did they check her eyes?
the times in the bedroom she could have reacted to the sound (slamming against the wall) and the other time she perhaps got startled by the other dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I am planning to have her eyes checked, but she is so stressed/displays very strong fear aggression at the vets, that I'm sure the experience will be a traumatic one for her. It's one of those things I have been putting off because of how stressed she gets :(

I am definitely trying to keep the bf and dog separate from now. I'm not really 100% convinced the dog to dog reaction was fear based, but I will see what the behaviorist says once he can make time. I definitely don't want me bf continuing to make things worse.

So frustrating considering I had 0 problems with her whatsoever when it was just the two of us at the house before the BF moved in (other than her being a bit more alert at night).
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top