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Old 02-23-2010, 08:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Becoming Aggressive!! HELP!!!!!

We have a 4 year old Boxer named Yeager. Brief history: my son brought Yeager home to us while he was home from college for the summer. Of course off he went back to college and Yeager stayed with us. We all welcomed Yeager and are crazy about him. At the time I had a 2 yr. old female Golden Retriever. Initially, all went well till Yeager was 6 months old and the dogs began to fight. Yeager seemed to be a one dog household kind of guy. I found a great home for my Golden and opted to keep Yeager for my son. All has gone well with no behavior problems whatsoever till recently. I have an 18 month old grandson who lives with us. Generally Yeager is very good with him. We had one incident where Yeager was being very "clingy" with me. Sitting on me feet and as close as he could get to me all day. He didn't seem upset or anything just clingy. Yeager and I were in small room and the baby walked into the room, approached the dog as he always does. No unusual behavior at all. Yeager was between me and my grandson and just punced out of nowhere at the baby, knocking him down. The standing at attention between the baby and I. Yeager was immediately removed from the area. We kept a close eye on him and were very careful to keep the baby at a distance for several days. All went well with no repeat of that behavior till a few days ago. Yeager was laying on the couch with me. baby approached and he snarled a bit. We got the baby away from him and a little later the baby was playing a short distance away from the dog and he growled. My daughter who is 20 scolded the dog and went to take him by the collar to remove him and he snapped at her. I got up immediately called firmly to the dog to come and he followed me immediately and I removed him with no further incident. This is unusual behavior for a generally very happy dog. I am very concerned because although he has never bitten anyone before - he is a very powerful dog and with a toddler in the house... this could be dangerous. Does anyone have any idea what may be going on. The baby is not allowed to mistreat or climb on the dog at all. It seems like Yeager gets in weird moods or something. He definitely gets a different look in his eyes when in one of these moods. He has never had formal training because he is such a good dog there was never a need. Any ideas?? Thanks in advance!!
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I saw an episode just like this on the Dog Whisper. Long story short, the dog in essence clinged (following her around, etc.) to one owner and would not allow anyone to get close to her. She was never dominant with that one person but showed dominance and aggression towards others when they came close to the owner. Ceaser pointed out that the dog felt as if he had to protect the owner. This in essence showed that the dog was in the alpha position. Ceaser said dogs whose owners claim that position feel that the owner can protect themselves. Dogs who are the alpha's in a pack don't need other dogs to protect them bc they are in charge. Ceaser fixed the problem by establishing alpha and correcting the dog before his aggression escalated to snarling, growling, nipping, etc. He did this by putting the dog on its side, touching, etc. Whatever works for you (snapping, shhht lol). They are always warning signs such as tails straight up and not wagging, glaring, stiffness, etc. Ceaser always said that by just removing the dog from the situation without correcting it right then essentially allows the dog to be removed in a high energy aggressive state of mind. So really removing without calming him and making him submit to other family members, including the baby, could reinforce the behavior. I think that since he does listen to you, if you made him submit in front of other family members that it would establish that you are in charge and that the behavior is unacceptable. In essence this may put you back in the alpha position. Then you can work on everyone else establishing that position. Does that make sense? I know I'm no expert by any means but maybe this will help.

Last edited by Toby09; 02-23-2010 at 11:28 AM. Reason: more information
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would begin by practicing NILF (nothing in life is free). I would make the dog do whatever you ask to receive anything. If he wants a treat he has to sit, if he wants food he has to sit or whatever you ask. He is not allowed on the couch beside you unless you give the okay to him, otherwise he is on the floor. He does what you say, when you say it. I would also make others in the house do this as well. He needs to learn where he is in the pack. He needs to know that his behavior is unacceptable by being removed from the rest of the pack for a while when he acts like that. Scold him and make him leave the room for a "time out". When he does well with the baby, praise him. It will take time to correct this so be patient, and good luck! By the way, you can also contact a behaviorist in your area to see what they suggest also, if you have one.
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Old 02-23-2010, 06:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I would add that I wouldn't remove the child from the room, remove the dog. If you are always removing the child, it may be reinforcing the dog think he is doing the right thing. I'm not a trainer or a behaviorist, I sure there is some qualified in our area that could help.
Bottom line, a human aggressive pet can not be tolerated.
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree with using NILF. Its a great way of re-establishing yourself as the alpha. Your dog will be very happy once he understands that you are the alpha and you can protect yourself.
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If you look at Boxer Rescues sites, they note many dogs can't be placed in homes with children under five or six years. They're the pros as far as safety goes for the child first, and then the ultimate fate of a Boxer who would bite a child. Not good all around. If grandchildren under that age are in the home, can you board the dog at a good kennel? If may be an added expense to do, but you won't have the tension and worrh.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Totally agree with the Cesar reference post. That dog has become your boss, however, keep in mind that it's not the dog's fault so be careful of getting upset for the wrong reasons.

NILF is a great tool, but not too sure of the "time out" idea. I mean, would it really associate it's freedom and/or separation with whatever happened over three whole long minutes ago? Unlikely.

Once the dog realizes that it doesn't need "to protect" you, the whole behaviour should rectify itself.

Our dog doesn't eat without being released (he'll sit there staring at us while his food is at his feet until we say okay), go through the door without release, or pretty much anything without release. He's still in training (especially for outdoor stuff, like recall and whatnot), so assume you're starting with ground zero in this case and leash him in the house where any of the family have him under control at all times. A couple of weeks of that and his place in the family pack should sort itself out.

Good luck.
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Old 02-25-2010, 05:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muay Thai Kick BOXER View Post
NILF is a great tool, but not too sure of the "time out" idea. I mean, would it really associate it's freedom and/or separation with whatever happened over three whole long minutes ago? Unlikely.
Heck yes a dog will remember what he did 2 or 3 minutes before. My dog can remember where he put a bone in the yard a day before. If it was something that happened 20 minutes before then no, time out won't work because it is too late by then. BUT if it is something that happened and you take immediate action and seperate the dog from the pack, yes, they WILL remember what they did and begin to connect it with your response. That is why it is called "behavior modification". It is how you begin to modify the behavior, by making the dog connect with what happens to him when he does something agressive. Just like positive inforcement. For an example, if youn are training a dog to run through a tunnel, and he completes it, you give him a treat or give him his favorite toy, he associates that with going through the tunnel and will continue the behavior asked of him.
It's like when a dog meets a dog for the first time, plays and then doesn't see the other dog for a week. Then then get together again and I know, by personal experience, they will remember one another. Yes, partially by smell, but I believe also by memory. I think dogs have a better memory than you give them credit for.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bte View Post
I would add that I wouldn't remove the child from the room, remove the dog. If you are always removing the child, it may be reinforcing the dog think he is doing the right thing. I'm not a trainer or a behaviorist, I sure there is some qualified in our area that could help.
Bottom line, a human aggressive pet can not be tolerated.
I second this. He is wanting you all to himself, and removing the baby from the room and letting Yeager stay is just making him believe that this aggressive behavior will get him what he wants.
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Old 04-22-2010, 05:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Is he neutered? this could also be the cause of his new aggressive tendencies. You will need to let him mate twice a year to keep him calmed down, or neuter him.

Last edited by behemoth_unt; 04-22-2010 at 10:22 PM.
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