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Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by oneknee, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. oneknee

    oneknee PetForums Newbie

    Sep 22, 2011
    Likes Received:

    Need some urgent advise about an aggressive dog. We have had dexter, a spaniel pointer cross for about 6 months. He has always barked a lot at people walking outside the house, with a little bit of training this has been reduced but not stopped. When ever strangers come into the house he barks, growls and shows his teeth, but he has never gone for anyone. We have tried to ignore him when he is being aggressive and then praise when he calms down. This isn't really working.

    Today dexter bit someone at the front door, broke their skin and put a hole in her coat. It has gone from bad behavior to dangerous and if we can't get it sorted we will have to remove him from the house.

    What should I do now? Punish all aggressive behavior (barking, ect) by removing him from the room? Any help would be appreciated.


  2. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Banned

    Apr 21, 2010
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    I would be interested to know what breed Dexter is? Also, at what age did you get him and where from? What is his history.

    First of all, barking is not aggression, it is normal dog behaviour and can be for a variety of reasons, from warning people off to just talking to them. You say you have had some success teaching him to stop when you want, so carry on with that, but don't stop him altogether as he may not bark when there is a real intruder. Never stop a dog from growling, that is his warning that he is not happy and you should just back off and give him some space.

    I think it may be best if you put him in another room when anyone comes to the house and never let him accompany you to the front door. Was the person he bit someone you welcomed or someone you were suspicious of? Someone you did not invite, like a salesperson? That could make all the difference to the dog's reaction, as they pick up on your own feelings.

    What is he like outside the house, can you let him off lead? Is he ok with other dogs and people outside the house? He could think he is just protecting his people and his property, but obviously you need to know the reasons in order to get to the root of the problems.
  3. ClaireandDaisy

    ClaireandDaisy PetForums VIP

    Jul 4, 2010
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    A dog is aggressive when he is anxious or frightened as a rule, so punishment should never be used.
    First - don`t put your dog in those situations. My dogs are trained to go into my front room and I close the door when the doorbell goes.
    If I ask the person in the guardy dog is put on a lead and sits by me. If it is a frequent visitor, the dog soon gets to know them and they can be allowed off lead.
    I doubt you want a dog who will welcome strangers into your house? So make life easier for him. He can`t tell who is a burglar and who is a guest so it`s your job to vet visitors, not his. :)
  4. smokeybear

    smokeybear PetForums VIP

    Oct 19, 2011
    Likes Received:

    Hi, you do not state if your spaniel x pointer is a rescue, private or otherwise, how old he is, whether or not he is neutered and whether there are other animals in the house.

    You need professional help from a reputable behaviourist but first of all you need to have him checked over by a vet as the former will not see a dog without a referral from the latter.

    Your dog may be at risk under the DDA as he bit someone at the front door and of course if he is insured you MUST inform the insurance company immediately otherwise your policy will be null and void.

    Insurance policies often include payment for behavioural problems, so it is worth investigating if he is insured.

    In general the majority of reputable behaviourists (not all) are members of either APBC, CAPBT or UKRCB.

    There should be a member in your area.

    Full Members of the APBC | Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors

    CAPBT - COAPE Association of Pet Behaviourists and Trainers


    In the interim you need to manage your dog and your environment to ensure that he cannot access anyone either by using a crate, dog gates, tethers and/or a muzzle.
    #4 smokeybear, Jan 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  5. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

    Jan 22, 2010
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    I would agree that it really would be best if things have got to this stage to have a 1-2-1 with a behaviorist. If you can arrange a home consultation & assessment then they can see your dog & the problems you are having first hand. If your dog id from a reputable rescue centre then they may also provide some support & advice.

    If the behaviour has now changed & your dog has moved on from simply growling to biting then you really do need to get this sorted.
  6. oneknee

    oneknee PetForums Newbie

    Sep 22, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Thanks everyone, when i wrote the original message i was in a bit of a stress.

    We do not know dexter's history he is a rescue dog who was in the kennels for 6 months. He didn't get enough time and attention in the kennels and was very stressed by other dogs. He does not get along with other dogs, if any come near him he will growl and the other dog normally gets the message. If not or the dog surprises him he tries to bite them, when near another dog he wont listen to commands. He is mostly kept on the lead and he wears a muzzle, at this stage I don't trust him enough to come back if he saw another dog.

    I know barking isn't aggressive and that by it self isn't a problem. I think he is trying to protect the house and the people in it. The lady who was bit is a friend but has never come into the house, she was picking something and so stood outside the door, I'm guessing that spooked him.

    Is there anyway I can make him less protective?

    Thanks Chris
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