Dog Aggression

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Hound dog, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    First a little background information.

    We adopted Precious at 3 months of age. Precious seemed normal and loving as any basset would be and she and Molly were as tight and loving together as two dogs could be. I don't recall how old Precious was exactly but in adulthood, suddenly that changed. And I do mean sudden. Now these two would normally play tug o war with toys, bones, whatever, eat together the whole deal without a single issue, they even slept curled up together. At first Precious started to snap and snarl when Molly would attempt to play or pick up a bone. A warning growl out of Molly would back her down. But it got worse, not better. Soon I had to separate them for meals. I couldn't leave bones on the floor because Precious would go after Molly if she so much as looked at one. There would be a scuffle. But I tried to let them work it out. When it got to the point the Precious began to inflict injury and it went from scuffles to all out going for the throat, it was time to rehome Precious to a family with no other pets. Which we did. Precious was in no way shape or form abused or neglected. She never went hungry. There was no reason for the sudden change in personality.

    Betsy is Precious' pup, Rowdy is her Dad. We kept her because she had the mildest personality of all the pups and seemed to really have bonded with Molly. Betsy was sweet and loving with Molly for years just as her Mom before her. Then I noticed issues over bones, toys, food, snacks, and later attention......especially mine or Nichole's attention. Now I was in school for many of those years as was Nichole. Fred was unemployed during large chunks of those years and he never liked to be bothered with the dogs so tended to put them into the yard and forget about them. (literally) So my working theory with Betsy was perhaps it was an attention issue. I never let it escalate to the point it got with her Mom because by then Molly was older and so bonded with Betsy she simply refused to fight back. I kept them separated.

    When Nichole took Betsy after Fred passed away I thought it the perfect solution. Betsy adores Nichole and Aubrey, she loves cats (which she has). She'd be the only dog and regardless of other pets I knew she'd get more than enough attention/affection. A while after she'd been there Oliver reached for Betsy's bone and Betsy growled and snapped. Nichole went full blown Mamma bear on her (she was sitting right there when it happened) and it has not happened since. But she does her best to keep bones up unless the kids are in bed or gives them to Betsy in her crate. It was the first time in her life (age 5) of ever showing aggression toward a human. Aubrey had spent her whole toddlerhood feeding Betsy this or that and playing with her bone with her for Pete's sake. I was stunned, as was Nichole. We decided perhaps it was the new environment and the loss of Fred ect that had her stressed.

    However, while she's not gone after Oliver or Aubrey.......there have been incidences with the cats. Normally she plays just fine with them. She has always loved cats. Then she started snarling and snapping and chasing them down if they went near her food or her bones. Now there had been an occasion or two when she'd done that with Bruce here but Bruce is so touchy with other animals that he'd hiss and scratch without much provocation. So it was difficult to tell if the issue was Betsy or Bruce. Nichole says it's progressed to where there are times when they just walk across the floor that she'll go after them, and she is not playing. Here in recent weeks if Oliver comes up to Nichole.......Betsy will come over and while she won't be physically aggressive the way she looks at Oliver and her body language makes Nichole nervous. Nichole has spent nearly her whole life around dogs and other animals and is quite adept at reading their body language. If she is nervous, she has good reason to be. Nor is it like Betsy is the first dog with aggressive behavior we've dealt with.

    Right or wrong, Nichole adopted a 7 wk old beagle pup today. I tried to talk her out of it, but she took the risk. However she did discuss with the breeder the potential issues with Betsy and he did volunteer that if Betsy couldn't adapt to the new addition that he'd like Nichole to return her to him and he'd even refund the money.

    Nichole has had long practice at introducing dogs. She knows how to do it correctly. First introduction Betsy ignored the pup. Second she really went after her. Nichole has them separated safely. However it seems to have triggered something in Betsy as she's being aggressive with the cats too now. She's trying to go after the pup through the gate for pete's sake.

    Betsy has been raised with other dogs. During her first 3 years there have been numerous foster dogs/pups come into the home without a single issue. (which reminds me I think it's about 3-4 when Betsy started having issues with Molly) She's lived with a wide variety of other animals as well. There really is no valid reason for the sudden change in personality. The worst Fred ever did was put them into the yard for the day, and I hardly call that "abusive" or neglectful. She's never missed a meal. Until she went after Oliver she's never had a hand laid on her. I find it counter productive with dogs. Nichole would not have normally done so but it was pure reaction. Here I thought it might be an "attention" or "dominance" issue. I don't think so now. It doesn't explain why she is now going after cats whom she used to adore.

    Nichole can return the pup without a problem. However that doesn't solve her problem with Betsy. Her worry is not just over the pup but Oliver, Aubrey, and the other animals. Most especially Oliver whom she's been giving the weird body language to lately. The pup has just brought the issue front and center again.

    I've had a life long experience with dogs of a rather wide variety. I can't say I've ever run in to the outright aggression with a pup issue. We did not introduce pups to Precious, so I have no clue if she would've done the same or not. This pup is tiny defenseless and obviously poses no threat, yet she is all out going for her, not just growling.

    It's not necessarily a territory issue either as she's progressed to doing this with other dogs on a walk as well.

    Nichole could rehome Betsy but the dog does not take to strangers, period. She does not warm up to them over time either. She will not even eat from them, even people food. She is not going to rehome well with those issues on top of the aggression. Nichole does not want to put her to sleep because, well, she loves Betsy deeply just as I do. But I don't know what else she's going to be able to do because Betsy's behavior is becoming more and more unpredictable, which is dangerous. Training most likely will not work. I did research trying to solve this issue long before she went to live with Nichole and tried the techniques suggested and it didn't do a thing. It's personality, not behavior per se.

    After Precious and now her daughter displaying the same behaviors, I'm sort of wondering if there is mental illness in dogs. lol (not sure if I'm joking here)

    I should add, Betsy submits immediately if another animal takes on her challenge, but the moment the dog (especially) shows her it's not going to fight, the attack is on. It's as if she figures they're fair game. :(
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It's not mental illness, LOL... but it can be how certain breeds are "wired"...
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I know some breeds can tend to be that way, although I can't say I've heard either a basset or a lab being "wired" that way. Guess it could just be a quirk in personality, since mom and daughter displayed the same behavior. A quality that breeders watch for and try to eliminate by not breeding a dog that displays aggressive tendencies.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    One of the dogs on the waiting list to go to the adoptioni/sanctuary is a lab/cocker who is very dog aggressive. Except for the pack, which she tolerates but doesn't like, she is EXTREMELY dog aggressive. It didn't start as a puppy. It started all of a sudden. The adoption center knows that if it rehomes Lucky it has to be to a family who has no other pets. She is very food aggressive with other dogs too. However, she is a sweetheart to her humans.
    I grew up with a wire haired terrier who became aggressive at age two. She would actually bite people...and did...before there were laws that your dog would be put down if they bit more than once. We tried to keep him away from strangers, but sometimes he got out of the house.
    I think you should go the way of a rescue that deals with dogs with "issues." I wouldn't trust just rehoming the dog yourself.
    I wish I could tell her why this happens or how to change it, but I can't. Good luck!
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Have you considered a neuropsychologist evaluation? Typical doggie training probably won't work but don't feel bad, it's not your fault.

  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If I were to guess... it could be because some of these dogs were created to WORK, and we expect them to play and sleep. Some dogs create their own "job" by becoming agressive.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Buddy! Bad Doggie! (where's that LIKE button?)
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Sorry, clearly I'm no dog expert. I'd be pretty sad if that happened to my dog, I'd admit. There's doggie prozac. I'm not kidding this time, could something be off that way?
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I dunno, I wonder if it would work for aggression.......

    Nichole has checked out rescues in our area. One is willing to put Betsy on the list but warned people will probably not show much interest because of her overt shyness. Humane society said they'd put her down the moment she was turned over to them. Just for the shyness alone. Their excuse, they don't have time to work with her. (not that it would work, it's not due to lack of socialization) The aggression would seal the deal.

    Our vet won't be back in town until after the holidays. I suppose we can ask. Never hurts to ask. And Nichole is already backing out of the decision to put her to sleep or rehome. She really really loves Betsy. Well, so do I. I've just been down this road before....... I looked into the same options for Precious and came up empty. Although we did manage to find a couple willing to adopt her who had no other pets and had no desire to get more pets. Precious did not have her daughter's overt shyness though.
  10. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Of course they each have their own personalities and quirks but sometimes what happened to the dog before you got it can profoundly affect their behavior and demeanor. If you got your Precious at three months, what happened to her in those three months could have greatly affected her personality. Those first months are where they should be with their mother and littermates learning to socialize and get along with other dogs. If they leave their litter too early, their socialization with other dogs never really happens.

    I'm not one to give advise on it because my four dogs have to be kept separated and I have to use the old "crate and rotate" routine. My sweet, adorable Katy could be considered very "dog aggressive" but it's really not her fault and I don't think there's any way to change it now. I'm her third owner. She came to me right before her second birthday and she's eight now. Her first owner was an irresponsible wanna-be "breeder"who took her away from her mother way too soon and raised her alone in a pen with the idea of using her to crank out puppies. She was never around other dogs during this formative time, only people. As a result, she absolutely adores people, the friendliest dog on the planet with people, extremely good with kids too, but she has no use for other dogs at all. She never learned to play with other dogs, and she only sees them as rivals for the attention of the people, and she just wants them GONE! And it didn't help either that she was bred way too early ... she had already had two litters of puppies before she turned two which is never good. And having two females together can be very difficult. When I first got Katy, she and Ragan tolerated each other for the first six months or so, but one day they just looked at each other wrong and the fight was on! Katy and Ragan hate each other. And Ragan will actually tease and taunt Katy to make her mad! And for some reason Katy annoys Trace and he won't have anything to do with her. And Ragan has tried to bully Trace before which caused him to bite her on the lip and draw blood. Which is why they all have crates and have to take turns being out. Not good but it's the best I can do.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Don't even go near the pound. Contact a rescue. That's way different. I would never give any of my babies to a pound. Even no-kill pounds kill. I was told by people who work there that they simply send dogs and cats they want to euthanize to kill shelters to do their dirty work and can still say they are no kill shelters. Rescues are the ones that don't euthanize. And they do work with the animals. I love rescues!
  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Precious was with her breeder the first 3 months. So I really don't know what went on during that time. I don't normally adopt pups that late and I swear every time I have it's not turned out well. This don't adopt until 3 mo think must be new, I've never heard of it. I adopt between 6-8 wks. It's never been an issue.

    Betsy was born and raised in this house. There was no history to cause aggression. Molly and Rowdy have always been here. There have always been cats due to Nichole rescuing them. Betsy learned doggie ways, trust me. lol She tried turning her aggression on her daddy a few times and he nailed her rear to the ground and made certain she knew he'd take her out if she didn't knock it off. With age having caught up with him the way it has.......I'd be afraid to risk the two of them together. Five mins she'd be all over him, he'd not be up to defending himself.

    I don't know what caused it. Breaks my heart because otherwise Betsy is one of the sweetest most loving dogs there is. :(

    MWM if Betsy has to be put down, we will do it. It won't be strangers in a strange place. The appointment has been made. We're just hoping a miracle happens and it's not necessary to keep it.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You would probably think my two were aggressive but they really arent, they just sound like it. Having a huge dog that is part pit and part american bull dog and weighs close to 60 lbs going after this little 5 lb ball of fluff just sounds awful but in reality the little ball of fluff normally is the They tear through the house, barking and chasing one and other like mad dogs. I have only seen what I would consider aggressive behavior a few times and it is normally over food. I feed them out of the same bowl because trying to use separate bowls hasnt worked either. If I use separate bowls they just try to think the other bowl is better. Sigh. Normally one will wait for the other to finish like perfect angels but there has been a time or two when they have decided to fight it out. Never drawn blood or anything. The worst thing that Abbby does do is she is a bit rough with Buddy and she doesnt know her own strength sometimes. She has chewed her too hard on her legs a time or two. Buddy has limped for a day or so and I had to punish Abby. I have no idea why Buddy didnt bite her back. Buddy tends to bite Abby's ears when she wants to attack her. It really is hilarious to watch them fight like siblings because the big dog lets this little dog win half the time.
  14. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hound -

    As heartbreaking as it is, I really do think euthansia is the best option for aggressive dogs. Keeping them forever locked up somewhere is no life for a dog, but at the same time, how can you safeguard the situation otherwise? It's just not worth the risk - and you'd feel horrible if a child got hurt somewhere down the line because of this dog.

    I'm so sorry...
  15. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well, we may have to reassess the situation. Seems Nichole exaggerated a tad due to being angry at Betsy, and I misunderstood about the cats. So here it is as it stands now with a calm Nichole. (I think Betsy lunging/growling/ in attack mode at pup scared her and rattled her)

    Betsy is fine with Cassie and Figaro, the two established cats in the home. Pounce is the new comer and well.......he gets too big for his britches and has on several occasions scratched Betsy to the point of drawing blood and giving her a hefty injury. He is the one she doesn't want near her. That sounds more reasonable. I fostered Figaro as a kitten, she'd been traumatized outside and would lunge and scratch Betsy......and Betsy did not like her for ages. Once she was declawed, all has been well since. They're not super close but friends. Nichole is going to have Pounce declawed soon, and not just because of the incidences with Betsy.

    That is the behavior that alarmed me most because as I said, Betsy adores cats. If she was a person, you'd say she was "cat people". To think that had suddenly changed, and she'd become aggressive with them.......would be alarming.

    The nervousness with Oliver may only be due to the one incident with snapping at him. I have been with Oliver and Betsy and I've not read any aggression language when she is near Oliver. The true test is easy because she rarely sees me now that she lives with Nichole. (I was the sure fire trigger with Molly) But Oliver can be on my lap or right there with me while I'm loving all over a very excited desperately wanting to be loved by a momma she's missed so much Betsy and no aggressive anything. Bones are no longer an issue. Betsy eats them mainly in her crate. So this might just be a mother's wariness. (not helped by her husband harping on it because he doesn't care for betsy) Maybe not, but I sure have not picked up on it. If it were to happen, I'm the normal trigger for such jealousy aggression. And to be truthful, betsy had not been around a baby in years and when Oliver had went to pick up her bone he'd startled her.

    Betsy is all love wrapped in fur, but she is not the brightest bulb in the box. I was surprised at her reaction to the pup yesterday. But I wonder if she didn't realize it was a baby? Today she's all wags and patience. Of course she's still under close supervision. She didn't even react when the pup bit her tail while playing.

    It's hard for me to judge this situation with Betsy not here for me to observe. When she lived here it was jealousy, it seemed, maybe some dominance issues due to Molly refusing to fight back. Now I have to go on information given to me via Nichole. When I've visited though, I've seen nothing to cause me to worry. Good grief, Betsy likes the pet rabbit. Pounce does irritate her though, but he eggs it on too. Seeing Betsy go after the baby pup scared Nichole that it might carry over to Oliver. But I don't think so. I've seen Aubrey and Betsy together. I've seen Betsy with the other grands during all stages. If she was gonna bite a kid it would've been Katie's kids as they continuously backed her into corners trying to pet her.

    Nichole's husband went ballistic over her making the appointment with the vet to put Betsy down. So, that's not going to happen. Nichole had already decided it hadn't come to that anyway. Now that Betsy is doing so well with the new pup this morning, including when the kids have shown the pup affection/attention........Betsy has had a reprieve from any action. And I know Nichole, when it came right down to it, she'd have returned the pup instead of doing something with Betsy. (unless Betsy were to show aggression with Oliver again) The bond is formed and is deep with Betsy, the pup is cute....but there is no bond as yet.

    Lord. I wish she hadn't made it seem as if Betsy had gone off her nut to me yesterday. :sigh: She really had me worried. But Nichole had just freaked out when Betsy went after the new pup. Thank Goodness that is what it was. As I said, today Betsy is perfectly fine with the new baby, doesn't bother her a bit.....has even been enjoying her. (Nichole still has Betsy on leash and will for a few days yet, then when be short play periods built up over time. ) And the thing with the dogs on a walk? Betsy did the whole dog thing at the apartment, but stopped and was friendly once she got used to her walk, the area, and those that belonged there. She's just starting her walks at the new house, it will take time for her to get used to the new area.

    Totally glad for the misunderstanding for once. Yay for Betsy. And since I now know Nichole tends to exaggerate when she freaks.....I'll let her ramble and wait to gather facts until she's calm. lol Whew. I was a mess yesterday. Bad enough Betsy had to go to Nichole, the thought of losing her altogether was horrible....
  16. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Oh thank goodness! Yes, that's much different... What a relief!
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am glad it was a bit of overreaction. I can understand how Nichole could react that way though. My dad has made it more that crystal clear that if we have an animal who bites he will put it down. Even if it is mine and husband's animal, if it bites his grandkids, it is gone. NOT if the kid provoked the animal, but if the animal makes a habit of it. We had a kitten who was crazy and wouldn't let Wiz (about to turn 1yo at the time) or me within six feet of husband. Ever. This kitten was vicious and responded to nothing. I am experienced iwth cats and this one was feral/crazy. She would go into a rage and NOTHING stopped it. She ended up going to be a barn cat for an old man with horses and no kids/grandkids around. This cat HATED people except for husband.

    Dogs CAN have chemical imbalances that create mental illness. They do give dogs and cats prozac and other medications for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and other medications for other mental illnesses and seizure disorders. Springers and retrievers are at risk of developing a type of epilepsy called 'springer rage' (NOT caused by watching Jerry Springer, though that can cause it in adults) where they suddenly turn on their owners or anyone around them and tehn just as suddenly they are fine and loving. Sometimes an anxious animal can also react that way. With Betsy I would ask about medications for anxety and/or other treatments for anxiety. it would likely help the shyness and can help with the other problems caused by anxiety. Nichole also should consider having the tv or radio on while she is gone to help wtih anxiety. Some animals do very well with that. our Captain Morgan will turn the tv on by himself and adjust the volume. We have seen him. I was home alone over Thanksgiving because I wasn't up to the trip to my inlaws, and suddenly the tv started to blare. The cat was using the remote. He changes channels, seems to like the crime shows like CSI, which just cracks me up. We have all caught him doing this at different times. He really wants opposable thumbs for Christmas, not sure how to tell him it can't happen. He wants to be able to figure out why husband is so fascinated with the computer - you can just see it on his head. He also wants to be able to operate the chip clip to get at the tortilla chips. It is funny to watch, lol.
  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    LOL Susie about Captn Morgan. Betsy likes to watch tv. Animal planet used to be her fav, then they started having too many reality shows. She likes some cartoons too. Can't say she could turn it off or on, though.

    Other than shyness, I've never seen any other signs of anxiety in Betsy. She could care less if you leave, just greet her warmly when you return. She's not a chewer by any means or anything. Actually, she adjusted to moving to Nichole's much better than I'd expected. And she loves being in a house now..........she's just waiting for Nichole to fence in her yard so she doesn't have to use a lead to potty. lol
  19. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Just some suggestions - and thoughts on dog behavior.

    1.) Betsy near Oliver and Aubrey? -----Never alone. She's shown aggression, you think you know your dog, Nic thinks she knows her - I'm in the field box that says - you love her so therefore you forgive her, but she's going to bite - she has teeth and she's stressed out. SOMETHING is stressing her out. Not sure what, can't see her body language and to be completely frank? A puppy? UGH.

    2.) NEVER EVER scold a dog for going after a puppy aggressively. They're already stressed out if they're biting, and yelling at them only makes it worse. Nicoles Mama bear antics while "warranted" were not helpful and now Betsy sees her differently. Trust that. Nicole has a husband, 2 kids, cats, and now Betsy and a PUPPY - where is the Mommy and ME time ALONE for Betsy? (not judging just asking from Betsy's point of view)

    3.) Whenever you do get a new pup? I would NEVER EVER introduce them without about an hour play time, or a hard walk or a run. Tired dogs are LESS aggressive dogs. They are HAPPIER dogs, and not so stressed. Also - when you do take them out together ? Walk them APART ----walk for about an HOUR and THEN........try their hellos the first week through a gate, or fence. They can still get bit - but the stitches are less and less costly.

    4.) When they do get to talking to each other - it will usually be nose to butt.....and sometimes they pop each other with their's like a dog hey//////hello///////what'sup??????? Normal. And the submissive roll over and pee is sometimes going to happen. Let them be dogs, and work it out-----BUT.....if this is their first meeting.....YOU think calm thoughts and KEEP them both on a leash so if someone starts to growl? YOU can walk away.

    Betsy is BORED.....she needs exercise, and stimulation and excitement. BE BETSY for a day. THINK about HER life. HER 12 hours.......and then ask yourself it YOU got a treat......a bone.....and someone came near it? WOULD YOU GIVE IT UP? SHARE? not likely. If Nicole truly is wanting to work on this situation and doesn't want anyone to get bitten later? And it's a time bomb.....enjoyable puppy time or not.....Tell her to get Betsy involved in a training class or Mommy and ME classes or Dog park or a walk for 20 minutes.......ask Nicole WHAT does Betsy have to look forward to AT ALL.......ANY DAY of the week? BE BETSY ----live her life through her eyes. Then ask yourself WOULD I BE GRUMPY.......or would I be just peachy? Someone needs to talk to her like she understands,and start workign with her and FOR DOGS SAKE........SHUT UP ABOUT PUTTING HER DOWN WHERE SHE CAN HEAR IT......OMG......(shakes head) and you wonder why she's enjoying the puppy now? lol.......yeah I'd be nice too. (that's quite an incentive to do better isn't it?) but it's probably not going to last.

    Just somet thinkin out loud. AND SNAPPING OR GROWLING ARE NEVER EVER TOLERABLE. Understandable if ......and ONLY if you have a sick dog or there is a burglar in the house. PERIOD. I have a 140 lbs bulldog that will and can be backed into a corner......but I would have to ask myself FIRST.......WHERE WAS I????? and WHY didn't I put him in a room locked away from children? No way in the world would I stress him out like that. On the other hand......tonight we tried to walk and a man was walking towards us and he stood like a statue and so did Casper.....and the man said "DO he bite?" and I yelled "DO HE HAVE TEETH?" and the man turned around an walked off." WHAT were you thinking? (Doggie Dentures?) sheesh.
  20. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I'll have her come and read your post Star. :)

    Yes, we discussed that Betsy is bored and still needs her Mommy time. Nichole is giving her that, and she's not even considering walking the two together. Betsy needs her alone time too. Pup and Betsy time is limited. But that is a good idea to wait until either after a walk time or play time to decrease chances of aggression. I still play with Molly and Maggie apart. Each get their own time with me each day. Then we do their walk together. Molly and Maggie used to play with the doggie toys together after their alone time......but now that Maggie is bigger than Molly, Molly is no longer keen on the tug o war game they used to play together. Sometimes they still doggie "wrestle" though..........which means Molly barks and Maggie zooms around the room until she's tired. lol

    As far as Betsy getting backed into a was here, with Katie's kids 2 yrs ago, and I did step in and put her into her crate into another room so she'd feel safe and they had to leave her alone. After that her kids could only try to pet Betsy with supervision, however they never succeeded. She didn't want any part of them after the whole corner deal. The kids didn't get to push their luck either, one at a time and if she wasn't interested they were done. Shoot, even Molly winds up in a safe room when those grands are here. Not cuz they'll hurt her but because they're over zealous and make her nervous. speaking of which.........I need to have a spot ready for each dog during the chaos that will be xmas day.