Our dog has suddenly turned aggressive

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Josie, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    Our dog has developed a bad habit of getting into the trash recently. Today, he did it again and growled at my daughter when she went in the room. I went down there and he ran into his crate. I tried to lock the crate and he growled with his nose right up by my hand. I was afraid to lock it. He did this twice.

    I finally got it locked. Now I was going to let him out, but he is continuing to growl when I put my hand on the lock.

    He has never acted like this in the past. Usually, he goes into his crate when he knows he has been bad but lets me lock it.

    Any ideas about what could cause this? As far as I know, he doesn't have a bone or anything in there with him. He has done this when he has something he doesn't want us to take away.

    Any ideas about what to do to stop this behaviour?
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Is it possible he's sick (tapeworm) causing him to be more hungry? Or, could someone have harmed him without your knowledge like a neighbor, groomer, etc?
  3. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    We boarded him at the end of June and he came home much slimmer. He needed to lose this weight, but I think she underfed him. This is when he started getting into the trash but he didn't get mean until today.

    I was wondering if she had been mean to him tonight because she told me if he was aggressive, I needed to "beat the **** out of him". He had been aggressive to a few little boys that came to the door but never to us before.

    difficult child 2 is devastated over this.
  4. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I think I'd take him to the vet first for a thorough checkup to rule out any physical problems. Dogs in pain can sometimes react this way. Make sure they check his teeth too.

    If there are no medical issues, you might ask your vet to recommend a professional trainer or behaviorist. He sees himself and your family as his 'pack' and you need to re-establish yourself as the dominant one because right now he thinks he is! If there is no trainer available, there are lots of very good dog training books out there that cover the subject.
  5. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I will take him to the vet tomorrow.

    I just found an article on sudden aggression in dogs saying the cause could be hypothyroidism. He actually has a few symptoms of this other than the aggression. I hope it is this simple.
  6. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    How old is the dog? What type of dog is it? Certain types of dogs are predisposed to certain maladies.
  7. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    "I was wondering if she had been mean to him tonight because she told me if he was aggressive, I needed to "beat the **** out of him".

    Is this something said by the person who boarded the dog? If it is, I would never let this person near my dog again! If he was left with someone who beat him and fed him so little that he was eating garbage, I'm not surprised that he would be behaving this way!

    But I've heard that too about the thyroid issues causing aggression. Better to get it checked out.
  8. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    He is a rat terrier. He is 6 years old.

    That was the owner of the kennel that said that. I won't send him there again because she fed him so little. She said they loved him and didn't have any trouble with him. He has been back for 6 weeks and hasn't been aggressive until now. It was only today when I was trying to figure out what to do about his aggression that I remembered her advice and wondered if she had followed it with him.

    He is out of his crate now and acting normally. I will still get him checked out though.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I would not take him back there, either. Professional dog trainers and boarders should know better than that.

    I'm glad you are getting him checked out.

    If the vet says there's no thyroid or tapeworm issue, I would just go back to basic training with a leash. When he growls, you say, "Sit!" and jerk the leash to make sure he sits (I'm assuming his leash and collar are tiny to fit his size). I would also re-train him to the kennel. We've always started out by throwing treats in the kennel and letting the dogs go after them. We leave the door open a few times, then lock it. When they whine, we rap on top of the kennel and say, "NO!" in a firm voice.

    When the dog is quiet, then you let him out. Be sure to praise him.

    I hope that helps! Good luck at the vet.