Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Dog aggression

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Tony Burton, Apr 11, 2017.


  1. Tony Burton

    Tony Burton PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    1
    My partner owns two 6/7 year old collies crossed with possibly a husky/alsation. They are brothers from the same litter and unspayed.

    Since I've come on the scene there have been a few behavioural changes as the dogs adapt. The "top" dog (Sam) has decided to adopt me in preference to my partner (much to her consternation!), the other dog (Finn) is starting to assert itself a little more. Sometimes there is conflict (growling) between them over who can be closest to me, and if I give Finn any attention, Sam watches like a hawk and is clearly unhappy about it.

    While Sam has a history of occasionally fighting with other dogs - notably labradors, it seems to have got worse recently. Both dogs are well exercised and well loved, with lots of attention.

    When I exercise them I tend to use my bike, and have so far managed to control both dogs fairly well, avoiding other dogs where possible, and generally giving both dogs little time to think about distrations - so for example, they no longer chase deer. However, I walked them with my partner the other week, and while we were playing ball with them, Sam suddenly ignored both of us and started to glare at a dog 100 yards away across the field. We gave it repeated warnings to leave it alone - the other dog then approached in a friendly way - my partner shooed it away while I kept Sam away. However, we thought the situation was resolved, but the other dog turned back and came up to Finn to sniff him at which point Sam just went for him and I had to grab him and haul him off. Fortunately no harm was done to the other dog, but I fear it's only a matter of time.
    Since then, he seems to be growling at pretty much every dog that comes near.

    We're thinking of making him wear a muzzle to be safe -it's the "kindest" one we could find, but we don't see this as a long-term solution.

    I don't know if it's connected, but another thing that Sam does is that he is very demanding (physically) for attention, but if he stops getting it, he simply leaves the room and goes to sulk in the bedroom, usually coming back 20 mins later. So if we're watching the TV in the evening, while Finn is happy to lie next to us, Sam insists on it either being all about him, or he goes away. It's weird because when he's happy, he's really really happy and loving - he'll shower you with licks in the morning (while Finn, while happy to receive attention, doesn't give much back lol), but he goes into a sulk quite easily if he doesn't get his way.

    Any recommendations??
     
  2. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    Messages:
    13,469
    Likes Received:
    5,456
    Might be worth getting Sam checked over by your vet, just to be sure there isn't an underlying medical condition causing his sudden change of behaviour.
     
  3. Hanwombat

    Hanwombat I ♥ dogs with eyebrows !!

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Messages:
    11,581
    Likes Received:
    7,102
    As above - I would firstly make a vet visit - full bloods etc to make sure there is nothing wrong medically.
    Nothing wrong with muzzle training your dog either - I think everyone should as you never know when you may need one. The Baskerville ultras are good but remember you need to teach/condition him to the muzzle.
     
  4. Tony Burton

    Tony Burton PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks guys - he was checked out by the vet 3 weeks back as he had an eye infection.

    Pretty sure he's not developed anything since - his general behaviour is unchanged - the only noticeable changes are connected to other dogs which we attribute to "jealousy". I've heard that you can create problems with dogs if they feel they have to compete for food and/or affection, but these two have a good life.
    I've been wondering if it's down to Finn's injury - he ripped a nail out just over a week ago - he now has his paw washed 2-3 times a day in salt water, so in Sam's eyes he's getting more attention - perhaps?

    I wasn't aware muzzles required training -thanks for the intel, I'll look into it.
     
  5. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Messages:
    9,183
    Likes Received:
    19,601
    Squeezy cheese or meat paste is helpful - start by letting him just lick it off the muzzle, gradually working up to having it held in place then eventually fastened on, all with cheese or meat paste. Squeezy cheese is good for being able to still push it in while the muzzle is on.
     
  6. Tony Burton

    Tony Burton PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks yes - I've just looked up muzzle training - it's been a steep learning curve for me!

    It would be nice to think that the muzzle is just a temporary solution and that he could be trained out of his aggression - he's such a lovely dog most of the time and is VERY affectionate with people - it's just dogs.
     
  7. leashedForLife

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    19,309
    Likes Received:
    3,663
    .
    .
    good heavens - why not simply neuter him? o_O
    .
    for that matter, neuter both?! - they're hardly future potential sires, surely.
    * they're mixed breeds, not registered purebreds.
    * the world does not lack for human-affectionate, healthy, mixed-breed, cross-bred, or random bred dogs. They abound.

    * neutering reduces aggression, across the board - but especially & particularly toward OTHER MALES.
    .
    The longer U let him practice this behavior, the more fluent & habitual it becomes. Neutering can help enormously - but if he keeps threatening, reacting, & displaying at other MALES, it becomes automatic. // I'd get him neutered ASAP, meaning within the next week, if possible - not "spayed", which is for females.
    .
    .
    Neutering is not guaranteed to completely solve the issue; it will, however, make the needed B-Mod a lot easier & faster.
    .
    .
    .
     
  8. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Messages:
    9,273
    Likes Received:
    21,323
    Considering the dogs are 6/7 years old, "simply" neutering them will not change a damn thing.
    Nothing in the OP's post suggests that this is a furry teabag problem :rolleyes:


    To the OP, you have had some great advice and I would definitely get on with the muzzle training (better to have a dog used to a muzzle and not need it :) )
    I would also recommend putting Sam on leash as soon as you see other dogs around so that he doesn't get to practice the behaviour, and you don't risk him being reported for being out of control.

    From your description I would guess that a touch of resource guarding is going on, but on an internet forum we can only guess. So my next bit of advice would be to find a highly recommended force free, reward based trainer (preferably one that is a member of IMDT, APBT or similar) to give you some 1-1 time to give you all the tools you need to help your dog :)

    If you give us a rough idea of where you are located then maybe someone can point you in the right direction :)
     
    Calvine, ouesi and Cleo38 like this.
  9. ouesi

    ouesi Guest

    It's also very possible that Finn's injury is stressing Finn out, especially given he's having it dealt with 2 to 3 times a day. Finn feels anxious, and anxiety is contagious. Sam may have "caught" some of Finn's anxiety.

    Collies are pretty sensitive dogs anyway, so the changes in the household dynamics along with his littermate's added anxiety could be enough to cause some of these issues.

    Might be worth talking with a good trainer in your area.
     
    Calvine, Cleo38 and StormyThai like this.
  10. leashedForLife

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    19,309
    Likes Received:
    3,663
    QUOTE, StormyThai:

    Considering the dogs are 6/7 years old, "simply" neutering them will not change a damn thing.
    Nothing in the OP's post suggests that this is a furry teabag problem :rolleyes:
    ...

    /QUOTE
    .
    .
    I disagree, ST. :)
    .
    per the OP, this is a RECENT development, not something he's done for the past 5 or 6 years. Thus, yes, removing his testes is very likely to simplify B-mod & make him less aggressive, overall -
    especially to other male dogs.
    .
    OTOH, if keeping his testes is more important than improving his public & private behavior, U can always chemically castrate him as an experiment - & BEFORE U BEGIN shouting that no-one else would ever dare to suggest such a heartless, cruel, crazy option, plenty of other UK residents who happen to be PF-uk members have made that precise suggestion, many times before. :)
    .
    For me, & for the record, this is the 2nd time I am personally suggesting that if his intact status is so incredibly important, & the OP would like to know if in fact castration would help with this issue, then the obvious action is a temporary castration, AND a good plan of B-Mod.
    .
    I will further suggest the book, "Click to Calm" as an excellent DIY manual for reducing any reactive issue - fears, aggro, mania, any.
    .
    Good luck. :)
    .
    .
    .
     
  11. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Messages:
    9,273
    Likes Received:
    21,323
    This is a training issue not a testicle issue. I highly doubt that this behaviour is driven by any sexual hormones IMHO


    And with that I shall say no more on the subject, because the same old stuff gets repeated and that isn't fair on the OP.
     
  12. Tony Burton

    Tony Burton PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hmm, you're probably very right about neutering, but it's going to be a difficult sell to my partner.
    I may be able to sell it if I can convince her that it's a kinder alternative to always wearing a muzzle on walks.

    On the subject of muzzles - she did purchase one a few years back apparently, but never used it - it's not a cage type though:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Trixie-Extra-Padded-Large-Muzzle/dp/B001FVPSHI/

    Looking at it I suspect it's difficult to get the balance right between allowing the dog enough slack to open its mouth to pant/drink etc, but not enough to allow it to bite.
     
  13. Tony Burton

    Tony Burton PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    1
    OK - Finn WAS stressed out, but he's a very chilled doggie now, he's calmed a lot since I appeared apparently, perhaps because now he gets more attention as there's more to go around with two of us, and while Sam's attentions are on me, he gets more from my partner.
    We're still washing his paw in salt water, but he doesn't seem bothered by it - he just tries to drink the salt solution lol

    Note, I am very cautious when walking Sam, and DO avoid other dogs where possible, and leash him whenever I see a doggie that may present a problem - by myself I've only had one incident and that was when he approached a dog on a lead (i was too inexperienced to know to be wary here),and the other doggie growled at him. I think he is sufficiently entertained by my walks to not let distractions bother him.

    I'm thinking I'll start off with the muzzle training to be safe, and if his behaviour continues as it recently has then look into seeing a good trainer, and possibly trying the chemical castration option.

    Many thanks for all the advice.
     
  14. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Messages:
    9,273
    Likes Received:
    21,323
    There is nothing unkind about a properly conditioned dog wearing a muzzle :) If a dog has shown that they will use their teeth on another then it is far more unkind to risk the dog biting another dog/human.
    You need a properly fitted basket muzzle because a dog can still bite with those muzzle loops. The Baskerville and the Baskerville ultra are the usual go to muzzles :)

    My boy used to wear a muzzle (still does for vet visits) and he loves his muzzle (I just have to pick it up and he shoves his nose straight in) because he views it as a great thing :)

    By all means neuter your dogs if you decide, but neutering won't be a muzzle replacement (so to speak) IMO
     
    Lurcherlad and ouesi like this.
  15. Tony Burton

    Tony Burton PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    1
    Incidentally, neither dog has ever shown much interest in sex - even when a female takes an interest in them, both would rather simply play with their balls (of the tennis variety :D)
     
  16. ouesi

    ouesi Guest

    Just my opinion goign by OP's posts, but I would guess we're dealing with anxiety/stress driven behavior rather than posturing and testosterone driven behavior.
    @Tony Burton dogs are very good at hiding anxiety and stress and it may be that he is still anxious about something and just not showing it very obviously.
    I could also be getting the complete wrong impression from your posts, so it's really best to have someone see them in person. Littermates can indeed have issues with other dogs so it's best for a professional to evaluate what is going on.

    Neutering won't affect anxiety driven behavior. I don't think it will make it worse either, especially given the age of the dogs. I certainly don't see any harm in neutering one or both of these littermates. They aren't going to be used for breeding and OP has mentioned issues with them running off. So it's not necessarily a bad idea, but I would not expect neutering to have any effect on the issues the owners are experiencing.

    In Sam's defense here, the other dog approaching after Sam made it clear he wasn't comfortable with that is just rude dog behavior. Sniffing another dog, depending on context, can be rude behavior too. Sam may have been making a fair correction to a rude dog.
    Or, Sam could be a play police type (not unusual in herding breeds) or even resource guarding Finn. Either way though, he likely would have warned the other dog off, and gave a fair escalation to an ignored warning. Especially if there was no damage.
     
  17. leashedForLife

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    19,309
    Likes Received:
    3,663
    .
    .
    basket muzzles are the only safe type - anything that is mesh is useless to prevent a bite, & the tube-type OPEN ENDED muzzles used by groomers [& by some vets, inexcusably, IMO] are actually dangerous - to the dog, & to potential targets. :(
    The open end won't allow a full-mouth *bite* with the entire depth of the dog's jaw, but will allow the incisors to rip, often requiring more stitches & causing large scars or necessitating skin-grafts.

    Additionally, the danger to the wearer is that the dog cannot pant with a patent airway - an aroused dog is panting by definition, no matter whether it's fear, excitement, anger, whatever that triggers the arousal, & s/he will very quickly overheat; a dog with a core-temp of 103'F or more can seizure, causing even-faster & more intense overheating.
    A dog who wears any tube-type or elastic muzzle
    can overheat & die in a shockingly short time. Such overheating can also cause strokes, paralysis, lifelong epilepsy, blindness / deaf, etc; any kind of brain damage imaginable can result from a serious heat-stroke or heat stress event. // IMO, any vet who persists in using tube-muzzles on resistant or frightened dogs should have her or his license revoked, & i do not say that lightly. If they're that bedam*ed cavalier with the lives & future health of their patients, they do not deserve to work in medicine, period.
    .
    .
    Basket muzzles come in many types; personally, i like the vinyl-dipped wire baskets with a leather strap to suspend the wire basket above the face, so that it makes no contact with the dog's skin, but hangs below the leather strap & the weight is on the dog's collar, to which it is also attached. They are lightweight, durable, & cool.
    Plastic basket-muzzles can crack, esp'ly after much use outside, as UV weakens plastic; sunlight shortens its useful lifespan, making it brittle instead of flexible.
    .
    Be sure the depth of the basket is such that the END panel in front of the dog's nose does not touch the face - there should be a 1.5-inch to 2-inch gap between nose & end panel, so the dog can't be smacked painfully if s/he bumps something in passing. Closer than that, & the dog can loosen teeth when they hit something & the muzzle whacks into their incisors painfully. ::Ow::
    .
    Dogs in a basket muzzle require a bucket to plunge the muzzle into, in order to drink; or U can slip a sport-cap water bottle in thru the SIDE of the muzzle, along the lower flews, & dribble it, letting gravity do the feeding at a trickle. Squeezing the bottle can flood the dog's upper throat & choke 'em, so let it just flow thinly & they can then lap it down safely, without the risk of
    aspirating fluids into their lungs..
    .
    .
    As mentioned prev, introducing the muzzle as a treat-basket & marking every approach toward or interaction with it, then REWARDING such approach / interaction, is key to the dog happily shoving their own face in, & standing cheerfully to have the strap fastened.
    A properly conditioned muzzle can become so powerfully attractive, it can be used to recall a dog - Call their [happily associated, never used to scold] Sacred Name, wave the muzzle overhead to get their attn, & the dog should come flying to shove their head into the basket & be praised / rewarded. :)
    .
    This is a terrific 1st-intro to a muzzle:

    .
    The ACD in that clip is not friendly to strangers; in fact, quite the opposite, which is not unusual - wary & suspicious is more like it.
    But the trainer's TIMING is so good, the dog quickly grasps the concept of "object = Good" & while still giving the trainer stink-eye, is rapidly & willingly looking at, then approaching, then sniffing, etc, right up to "insert my face", every step reinforced with an accurately-timed marker [click!] & tidbit.
    There's also very little TALK - except to the owner, explaining; chatter only confuses dogs, stick to what U want & mark it, reward it, & move on. ;)
    .
    .
    .
     
  18. leashedForLife

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    19,309
    Likes Received:
    3,663
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice