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Dog is putting me on the edge

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Tom Grogan, May 29, 2017.


  1. Tom Grogan

    Tom Grogan PetForums Newbie

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    Hi There,

    I was wondering if i could get some advice. Currently my 2 year old St Bernard is getting increasingly more aggressive and i have no idea why. He has a real issue with people he doesn’t know. He is so lovely and affectionate once he recognise you but before he reaches that point he is so angry. It is starting to become a real problem because now no one new can now enter the house. Before he would just bark at people. But over the last few months he has started to lunge and is attempting to bite. This is strictly with Males, Females he has no issue with.


    He is at his worst when someone enters the house he does not know. He will hear the doorbell ring sit at the top of the stairs and await for them to come in. He then proceeds to come down the stairs to sniff, if he does not like what he smells/sees he will start to bark very angrily. This will then move on to trying to lunge and bite. I then have to put him on the lead and introduce them very slowly till he stops growling as people in the house approach. But today i tried this with my dad (who he has met before) and it did not work. He lunged at him and bit him ripping his shirt but luckily no damage was done.


    What do i do? He was never like this growing up but now it is really starting to have a negative affect on my life. I am always on edge around new people and whenever guests are coming round i usually send him away or put him in another room.
     
  2. Little P

    Little P PetForums VIP

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    You need to see a vet to rule out any physical causes, then get a behaviourist referral.
     
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  3. Tom Grogan

    Tom Grogan PetForums Newbie

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    Ok, thanks a lot. How do i get a behaviourist referral?
     
  4. Little P

    Little P PetForums VIP

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    Your vet will be able to sort that once anything physical has been ruled out
     
  5. Tom Grogan

    Tom Grogan PetForums Newbie

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    Perfect, thanks. Really helpful. Just so strange. Funnily enough it started after he got the snip. Suddenly became very on edge.
     
  6. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

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    You need help from a professional.

    In the meantime put him in a different room when you have visitors.
     
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  7. Mirandashell

    Mirandashell Banned

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    You can speak to your vet, they should be able to refer you. And it can come under your pet insurance but you would need to check.

    Otherwise, tell us where you are and one of the members should know someone.

    Has he been neutered?
     
  8. Tom Grogan

    Tom Grogan PetForums Newbie

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    He has, since he has been he has actually been a lot more aggressive.
     
  9. Tom Grogan

    Tom Grogan PetForums Newbie

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    Yes have been doing that. The worst part is that his reaction is random. Sometimes he will have no problem with visiting males but other times he really gets worked up. Have you got any idea why that could be?
     
  10. Mirandashell

    Mirandashell Banned

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    It could be smell, it could be body language, it's impossible to say without seeing the dog.
     
  11. Tom Grogan

    Tom Grogan PetForums Newbie

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    ok thanks for your help.
     
  12. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

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    Sorry, no idea.
    I hope you can get help and get this sorted.
     
  13. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

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    Is there any reason he needs to be interacting with random people that come into the house? I'm not hugely familiar with St Bernard's temperaments but I know they can be 'serious' dogs, unlike their Disney persona some associate with them. I have founds the one I've met to be fairly aloof so I can see they may not be the sort to welcome all and sundry onto their property. While it is obviously not acceptable for a dog to be lunging and biting, it's possible that all his previous warning signs have not worked and he now feels the need to escalate it to the next level.

    So until you seek some help, DO NOT allow him to interact with people who come into the house. I NEVER allow my dogs contact with people who come in to the house unless they know them, not because they would do anything but it's just not worth it. They don't gain from it and it's easier for all concerned. Put him in another room, outside, in a crate, whatever, just don't allow him near anyone that comes in.
     
  14. Tom Grogan

    Tom Grogan PetForums Newbie

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    Hey, no to be honest there is not really a need. But i feel bad if i say put him away in a bedroom or something because he paws at the door and is obviously distressed by the whole process. Also just for some context. This weekend family friends have come round to stay and luckily Willis (the dog) has really taken to them and loves being around them. But what am i suppose to do for the whole time they are here? Lock him away? If they are in the house extra they are going to be moving from room to room- so its hard to isolate him a place where he would have 0 interaction with them for the whole weekend.
     
  15. Mirandashell

    Mirandashell Banned

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    If you have a dog that lunges and bites, why are you putting people at risk? Just don't have people stay until you've sorted out the problem.
     
  16. Tom Grogan

    Tom Grogan PetForums Newbie

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    Because i have been keeping him under control via the method i described above. Only today he acted in a way i did not expect with my Dad and bit him.
     
  17. Mirandashell

    Mirandashell Banned

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    And what if he had caused damage to your Dad? What if it wasn't your Dad but someone strange who is likely to report you for having an out of control dog?

    You can't have it both ways. Keep people away from from your dog until you've sorted him out.
     
    Tom Grogan likes this.
  18. ouesi

    ouesi Guest

    As already mentioned, just keep him in a separate room when you have company. If he finds it distressing stuff a kong or give him a raw bone to entertain him while he's shut away so you don't feel bad, and he may even start associating visitors with special treats (a good thing).
    And yes, absolutely, vet check and behaviorist referral. This is not something to mess around with.

    He sounds nervous and unsure. Have you spoken to his breeder? This kind of behavior can be due to inherent temperament which is inherited. The breeder should be made aware.
     
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  19. Tom Grogan

    Tom Grogan PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for the advice. I have not yet spoke to his breeder. When i went to get him, his Mum was actually very aggressive. I don't know if this was just because of me taking away one of her pups or a deeper lying issue.
     
  20. ouesi

    ouesi Guest

    Aggressive mum is not a good sign...
    I will never understand why people think it's okay to breed faulty temperaments :(
     
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