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Advice on how to correct behaviour...

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Ty-rant, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. Ty-rant

    Ty-rant PetForums Newbie

    Apr 23, 2010
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    I have a 1 year old dog who recently has started to snap at some dogs (well, 4 so far). It's always with other males and most have been entire. My dog hasn't been neutered yet as he is being treated for mange and my vet advised to wait until that has disappeared again until we neuter him (hopefully in the next couple of months!!) I guess my question is, is it a case that he will probably become more tolerant of dogs once neutered? and also, how do i correct him once he has snapped? I'm currently removing him and making him lay down.

    Any advice welcome!

  2. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
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    i would not be *correcting*, hun - i would be managing him so that he does not get to meet other M-dogs,
    period - until at least 2 to 4 weeks post-desex, and i would at that time already have a B-Mod plan created,
    to alter his emotional-response to other M-dogs, whether they are intact or desexed.

    for now, this is not IMO so much a training problem as a management problem -
    the more often he practices this, the worse it will get: more fluent, faster, more intense.
    so Not Allowing him to practice is essential, and getting those testes off is Priority #1, IME.

    where is this happening? it sounds like a dog-park or off-leash area - if so, i would *not* let him off-leash anymore -
    not till he has been desexed AND gone thru a minimum of 6 to 8-weeks of B-Mod, and possibly longer - his progress is
    entirely independent of any clock or schedule, it depends on the skill of the handler, the quality of the pro-help U have,
    and the dogs own sensitivity and threshold for reaction.

    re physical health -
    when U say that the mange should go away again - Do U mean he has already had mange ONCE, was treated,
    it disappeared and then came back? were they both the same kind of mange,
    and if so, which - Demodex mites or Sarcoptes?

    very puzzled and somewhat concerned,
    --- terry
  3. Ty-rant

    Ty-rant PetForums Newbie

    Apr 23, 2010
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    Hi Terry...

    I guess i probably meant managing rather then correcting him, as that is what i want to do!

    It only ever happens in the park...not a dog park as such, but there are quite a lot of dogs there. It's also been while he is on a lead and the other dog is off lead and they approach him. Its not an immediate snap/growl...they have had a sniff and then it happens. As i said it has only happened a few times, but it is something i would obviously like to stop!

    Sorry...the mange part was probably quite confusing!! He had mange (Demodetic) when he was appx 5 months, we treated with baths and he also had to have antibiotics as he had Foliculitus (think thats what it was called!) About 2 months ago we phased out the baths as the vet felt he was improving an the skinscrape was better. In hindsight it seems we stopped too early as it seemed to flare up again (On his ears and the top of his head and the Foliculitus again). I mentioned the castration to the vet and he said he though i should wait until this is cleared up.
  4. Setter

    Setter PetForums Member

    May 5, 2009
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    Hi, i think that it is a behaviourable issue as opposed to hormonal that won't be necessarily resolved by neutering. My 12 month old setter is entire and if anything he can get negative attention from castrated dogs as they may find his entireness a threat of dominance. He is absolutely fine with other entire males.
    My friend has a dog that was doing what yours is, so he would call him in and distract him when other dogs nearby and then realease him again. If his dog did snap at the other dog/s he would put him on lead for a few mins and then try again. It was kind of like getting his dogs attention / focus and reminding him how to behave. He was on and off his lead like a yoyo but it seemed to have worked!
    I am no expert but please be aware that it may not be down to whether he is entire or not as it is not a magic cure (though most vets would have us think that).
    I am not anti castration or anything but also don't believe it should be done for no reason either. And like the other reply said, it can take months for the lowering of hormones after neutering to fall and by this time your dog has a learned bad behaviour. Your dog is an adolescent, so will be boulshy and pushing boundaries etc and you need to dictate to him what is acceptable behaviour with other dogs and humans.
    Hopefully someone on this forum may have some other advice of how to deal with his snapping etc and I wish you luck.
    Gosh I certainly know at the moment what it feels like dealing with a large adolescent pony sized dog!
  5. Ty-rant

    Ty-rant PetForums Newbie

    Apr 23, 2010
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    Thanks Setter...I'm currently doing what your friend does when Ty is off lead, which he's fine with, but it's happened when he is on lead. Writing that...maybe being on the lead is something to do with it!

    I know the castration isn't going to be a miracle cure...as much as i hoped it will be:p !! but at least it should help narrow down the solutions!!

    Luckily my boy is smaller than pony-sized ...although still an adolescent...so i don't envy you at all!! :lol:
  6. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
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    OK - sounds good. :thumbsup:
    OK - this is very common, and while worrisome + undesirable, is also understandable -
    he cannot flee the situation when leashed, and all that has to happen is for the sniffing to go on just a bit too long... and bam!
    the tension snaps, and he snarks at the other dog. does that sound about right?

    how well do U know dog-body-language?
    how much do U notice? is either dog:
    * up on their toes, wt-forward, tail jacked up, stiff body, slow high wag?
    * hackles up over shoulders, neck or rump?
    * MOUTH * TIGHT - dogs close their mouths to sniff, but facial tension is a sign of general anxiety + worry.
    * whale-eyed (white showing), ears flattened / head lowered, tail tucked? those are all fear or anxiety - stress.

    the 1st-2 collections are over-arousal signals - excitement, precursors to a scuffle or fight.
    the 2nd-2 are just plain worry - What-If kinda worry, where the dog(s) are uncertain + anxious.

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    Wow. so he got the 1st-case at ~5-MO, and the flare-up at approx 10-MO?
    thats really, really late-onset for Demo-mange, and itself not a good indicator; :( generally,
    Demo-outbreaks are early-puphood and indicate one or more of these:
    * a poor standard of care,
    * a breed-sensitivity,
    * and/or a poor immune-function.

    the fact that his returned is even-worse - normally, other than truly terrible genetics, the only dogs i have seen
    who contracted Demo-mange after 6-MO were incredibly malnourished - i mean, street-dogs eating trash + scrounging,
    dogs fed truly-terrible homemade-diets or junk-food as primary diets,
    super-cheap CR*P food on sale for $12-USA for a 40# bag... really, really bad nutrition, or semi-starved.

    i don;t want to paint him as a genetic-wreck; pitties, Boxers, Dobes, MinPins, and several other smooth-coated
    breeds are all more-susceptible than the average - but THIS is even worse than the usual, which is Demo-onset
    at between 3-WO and maybe 10-WO - rarely persisting past that.
    even then - it always flags a dog who should not be bred from; assuming they + the dam are well-nourished, its a flag
    for a genetic weakness + suppressed immune-function.

    i would do my best to improve his immune-function immediately;
    * minced raw-garlic
    can be bought pasteurized in bottles - DATE + Refrigerate; discard leftovers after 6-mos,
    and always use a fresh spoon to measure it; water-pack, not olive-oil;
    * organic yogurt -
    with as many species + strains of friendly-critters as U can find;
    * probiotics
    human-grade; Udos Choice is an excellent name-brand with Billions of live-critters per capsule;
    * digestive enzymes
    human-grade; ReNew Life is an excellent name-brand, and their ULTRA-Digest is about as good as they get;
    * seaweed
    Norwegian kelp, Japanese kombu, etc - the Nori-sheets meant for sushi are fine;
    * cold-water oily fish
    water-packed; jack-mackerel, sardines, or Alaskan wild-salmon; don;t buy FARMED + don;t buy China-processed;
    farmed-fish contain antibiotics, heavy-metals + other persistent Ag-chems;
    the China-processed is often treated, colored, etc.

    i would also get a second-opinion on the desex; many vets will see the dog for a simple pre-lim exam for a cut-rate,
    just explain on the phone that U are concerned about his behavior vis-a-vis other M-dogs, and he has immune-issues.
    speaking entirely personally, i would ask the vet to desex ASAP - so long as we are not risking his health;
    M to M behavioral issues get much worse with practice, and the sooner his testosterone is reduced, the better;
    he has already
    (unfortunately) passed his T-spike at 9-MO, but the continuing practice is not helpful,
    and reducing his testosterone will raise his threshold of tolerance.

    at 12-MO he is 3-mos past his testosterone-spike, 6-mos past puberty, and a young adult;
    the experiences he has between now + 18 to 24-MO (transitioning to social-adulthood) shape his adult-M behavior.

    see DONALDSON on dog-introductions here -
    Pet Forums Community - View Single Post - dog body-language - and why it matters so much...
  7. lucysnewmum

    lucysnewmum PetForums Senior

    Feb 25, 2010
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    hi there.
    there could be several things going on here but the answer to managing the snapping lies in getting him into a submissive position BEFORE he has chance to snap. you can either change direction and walk away from the oncoming dogs, ask him to DOWN and QUIET while the other dogs have a sniff of him (very difficult to do) or use the LEAVE IT/ENOUGH command to prevent him growling and snapping.

    neutering will certainly help with this situation as he is testosterone charged and is probably trying to say to the other entire dogs - hey back off thats my mum!!!(i.e. he is in protection mode over you).

    try not to prejudge when he is going to snap and distract his attention from the other approaching dogs with a ball, treat for a HEEL, or any other item you may carry that you KNOW will get his attention. this way he will learn that you are not worried by the presence of the other dogs and this should calm him down a bit and reduce the need to warn them off.

    keep him on lead for the time being as you must be in control of him or you risk becoming liable under the dangerous dogs act. not fair when the other dogs are loose i know but hey! at least if you are seen to be attempting to control your dog you will have a defence if anything does go wrong.

    apart from him defending you he will also want to take on any other entire males as that is what entire males do! they argue amongst themselves during their adolescence in preparation for becoming the Alpha dog and mating with the bitches ( an instinct that many domestic dogs havent lost).
    Neutering him will lessen his instinct to breed and thus should reduce the need for him to tackle the entire neighbourhood!!
  8. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

    Feb 14, 2010
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    I absolutley agree to hold off on neutering or any avoidable surgery/procedures with such a compromised immune system. Poor fella, we see a lot of late onset Demodex and GA usually worsens the condition and leads to all sorts of other related infections getting in such as UTIs etc.
    Along with meds and/or washes from vet can I also suggest the final rinse be about half Cider Apple Vinegar/half water. When bathing the dog with wash give a really nice deep massage with a ZoomGroom rubber brush too. Honey on any open lesions or aloe.

    Google Dr Pitcairns Natural Dog and Cat Care guide in Google books and scan through the pages for Dr Pitcairns Healthy Powder. Its a homemade supplement that I make in batches and use on all dogs even those on commercial diets as it gives a real boost.

    Leash reactivity is a tricky one; here is a handout on it: http://petcentral.yolasite.com/resources/Leash Reactivity.doc

    And here is a blog series on calming crazy behaviour (lots to help with reactivity): Calming Your Cerrrrraaaazzzzzy Canine « pawsitive dogs

    Click to Calm by Emma Parsons and/or Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt are excellent resources also.
  9. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
    Likes Received:
    hey, setter! :--)
    actually, testosterone drops rapidly post-desex; the extra TIME away from other dogs was not to bottom-out,
    but for *his dog* to FORGET his habitual reaction to other dogs - since it is a recent development, simply avoiding
    the situation that triggered it in the 1st-place, will help the dog forget the new-and-tender behavior.

    as for testosterone + behavior -
    many, many peer-reviewed journals have studies of post-desex compared to intact, and behavior;
    this vet summarizes it - Canine Neuter
    thats from the vet-practice at Marvista, Calif.


    Dog Behavior after Neutering

    Powered by Google Docs
    The Effects of Spaying and Neutering on Canine Behavior
    by James O’Heare, PhD, M.A., B.Sc.

    IOW -
    if he will not be bred, and we want this dog to be dog-social for their lifetime, desex At Puberty (6-MO) is suggested -
    *before* the testosterone-rise to its peak at 9 to 10-MO... thus avoiding the learned-behaviors of M:M face-offs.

    --- terry
  10. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
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  11. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
    Likes Received:
    hey, setter! :--)
    just to point-out that dog : dog aggro Does Vary among breeds + types -
    as one example, Akitas in particular are well-known, not to say notorious, for being same-sex and/or Dog-Aggro in general.

    i don;t think anyone would say that Setters as a group, have a consistent or even frequent issue of dog-aggro -
    so U may be somewhat spoiled, never having experienced the intensity of Zero-to-90 full-on aggro in a testy breed.
    it can be very age-dependent, literally none at 4-MO, minor + particular dogs at 6-MO, and kill everybody! at 9-MO -
    all in the same dog, leaving owners shocked + bewildered.
    what the H*** happened :scared: to my puppy?! is not an uncommon demand.

    altho M : M aggro can arise in any breed, its more-likely in guarding, big-game, bully, and similar types,
    along with a higher-incidence of RG/resource-guarding in the same group of breeds.
    so i would expect Rotts, GSDs, AmBulls, Rhodies, Dogos, Boxers, Corsos, Pyrs, BMDs, and such,
    to be more-likely to display general dog-reactivity and specifically M:M reactivity or aggro, than any Setter.
    ASSUMING [always dangerous] the dog in Tyrants avatar is the dog in Q, hes a bully-breed or bully-mix;
    ergo, hes among the breeds where dog-dog and/or M-M reactivity or aggression, would be more common.

    the negative-attn that U note is commonly directed at intact-Ms from 4-MO and up, from dogs of any gender;
    Fs intact or not, will often warn a M-pup over 4-MO right in their initial interaction, that rambunctious assaults
    are not welcome; so at the very-beginning of puberty, just as testosterone has risen from its initial-climb at 12-WO,
    intact-Ms are already getting messages from EVERYbody of any gender or repro-status, to watch it, Buster...
    16-WO / 4-MO is also when puppy-license is expiring, so theres a lot going on for a young dog; hes cut the umbilical,
    he will roam without his human in sight, hes feeling humpy + is easily sexually-excited, hes boisterous + impulsive,
    and everybody he meets is saying, Yo, kid! :mad: tone it down... Chill, OK?!
    this is when he learns deference and affiliative signals - to shut-off the negative messages,
    he learns to approach politely, defer to older-dogs, solicit play vs leap all over a dog he just met, etc.

    the reception intact-Ms get as they hit full-on puberty + sexual-maturity at 6-mos is even-more negative;
    which is why many vets recommend neuter at 6-MO so that the young-M does NOT learn defensive snarking
    or begin reactive displays of barking + lunging, intended to send unknown dogs further away... if we want our ADULT-dog
    to be dog-tolerant + dog-social, pubertal-desex avoids the *learned component* of distance-increasing signals:
    hackling, stare-downs, up-on-toes, closed-mouth/hard-eyes, all fairly subtle signals that threaten, but which many pet-owners
    do not notice; they only see the OTHER dog react by veering-away, or by in their turn, barking, lunging, etc.
    but the dog with the hard-stare + silent, stiff manner touched it off -
    the noisy-dog is the one we notice, but the silent-dog began the interchange.

    depending upon which study U look at, between 70% and 90% of M-dogs are Less Aggressive toward other Ms
    post-desex; i would say a decrease in 7 out of 10 is still an excellent result, myself. even if HALF of all Ms became
    less-aggressive toward other Ms, it would be worthwhile to neuter; that approx 3/4 or more improve makes it
    IMO the simplest form of reducing M:M aggro, in particular.

    in fact, i will go farther: IMO unless U intend to breed, theres no reason to keep any pet-dog intact,
    whether M or F - there are health advantages + behavioral advantages for both genders, in desexing.

    since i am in the USA and between 3 and 5 Million *surplus* dogs and cats die every year, i think i am
    more aware of pet-overpopulation than our UK-members - 3,000,000 to 5,000,000 is a lot of deaths to consider,

    and many of them are perfectly healthy, behaviorally normal animals, often young, who just need homes.

    as a direct-result, folks like my recent-neighbor...
    the college-student who is KEEPING her tomcat intact because he can;t get pregnant
    and letting him roam at large, frankly infuriate me - HER cat is involved in fights at all hours, sprays all over,
    + is siring kittens, but thats OK cuz she does not have to deal with the kittens. :mad5: IMO she is an
    irresponsible twit, who should not have a pet other than a goldfish - :thumbdown: or perhaps a philodendron.

    she is the type who;d dump her goldfish in the nearest stream or pond...
    because she was MOVING, because she was GOING ON VACATION, or some other flimsy excuse.

    the fact that her cat SPRAYED my garden-shed... Again!... has not endeared her to me - and the 2-AM cat-fight
    last weekend while she + BF were out of town, was not an added-attraction, either.

    a bit tetchy on the subject today, :eek: but only in degree, not opinion,
    --- terry

    PS -
    for all those who *have* intact-Ms or Fs and are responsible owners and possibly very-ethical breeders,
    please be aware that my anger is not with U - i honor good breeders + responsible owners with all my heart.
    and without good breeders, where would our breeds be? bless U all.
  12. Colliepoodle

    Colliepoodle PetForums VIP

    Oct 20, 2008
    Likes Received:

    Sorry but I think asking him to "down and quiet while other dogs have a sniff of him" is a terrible idea!
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