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Nervous Pup has become aggressive

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by NervousPup, Nov 8, 2018.


  1. NervousPup

    NervousPup PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all, sorry for the long post but I really need help and I want you to have the full picture and I want to be truthful.

    Our family got a Border Collie, now 3yo, when he was 8 weeks. I've always had rescues which have had issues (food aggression) and having 2 small children, we decided not to have a rescue for the safety of the children.
    After we got him, I took him to puppy socialisation classes, in the vets, in the park, on the beach etc and I learned a lot about how to manage him.
    I then took him to bronze formal classes for obedience and he did very well, he walks to heel, he will run with me, he takes direction - left, right, on, stop, wait, leave etc. Then, he got quite bold and I started not trusting him around other dogs, he had a go at a horse at the obedience classes and I stopped going. The lady there suggested that he be neutered before his hormones kicked in fully as if they did "he would do anything to get to a bitch".
    So I took him to be neutered.
    When I picked him up, the vet nurse came to talk to me and told me that he was horrible and he'd been really aggressive with them - snarling biting etc. I was VERY surprised as we'd not seen this level of behaviour previously. Turns out, they'd given him a premed and put him back into a cage for it to take effect, as they'd gone back in to get him, he was cornered and became aggressive.
    Everytime I've been back to the vets since, he's lunged at the vet, the first time, I got a muzzle on him (as it was given to me and I felt I had no other choice - for his injection to be given) and he quietly had his immunisations no problem, but now he's scared of muzzles (understandably). I have worked with him in the house on it, with positive association, treats and love around the muzzle and I can get it nearer everytime but I'm scared he'll lash out.

    After the altercation with the vets the first time, I took him out with my children and there were other children there, he got out of the car and started barking and snarling at other children, I walked him away and reassured him but he seemed scared and nervous.
    I took him out to a country park with my family and stood with him while they played in the children's play area, a friend of a friend, all bravado, comes over and asks to stroke him, I say no point blank, I'm just too scared of him actually hurting someone now. The guy says, "all dogs love me, there's no way there's a dog in the world who doesn't love me! I'll convert him." I say no and beg him to stay away but he keeps coming, I walk away but the guy is insistent, he bends down as we are walking away and gets a finger nipped. He admits it's his own fault but it doesn't matter, my dog has bitten someone and I am mortified.

    He was in the boot of the car, in his travel crate and a little girl had slipped off behind the car (I know, I should have closed the boot, but I didn't) he's growling and bearing his teeth at her. Outside the children's playground and he's growling at children inside. I can't take him anywhere without fear that he will hurt someone anymore.

    Everytime dog feels cornered, he becomes aggressive (which I understand after what he's been through). We have a relatively small house and there are lots of places where he can feel trapped. The crux of it is, I'm anxious, on pins that he is going to hurt one of our children. I got him because it had been 2 years since our previous dog had passed away and I felt ready, emotionally, financially and time-wise, to dedicate it to this dog. Now I don't know what more I can do. I have taken advice from a dog behaviourist who said that it's natural and normal to be happy with your own and not so sure when outside, which I understand but it's now impeeding our lives because we can't take him anywhere there is likely to be other people (I walk him very early or very late to avoid others), I appreciate it may be just what he needs but I'm not willing to risk it.

    I can't even think about getting rid of him, I do love him, what can I do to help him? He's very scared of everything but I'm scared that his fear will be miss-placed and he will hurt one of my children, We can't carry on living like this, scared in our own home.

    If anyone has any suggestions, we would welcome them as we're at the end of our tethers now.
     
  2. bunnygeek

    bunnygeek PetForums Member

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    Have you had a properly registered behaviourist come and observe him with you? I think that would be the best first step. One who understands collies, understands fearful anxious dogs, and one who is registered with APDT. It's easy to suggest things on the internet, but every dog is different and you wouldn't want to try an internet suggestion for it only to make him worse.

    With the vets, are they walkable to you? Some vet surgeries allow people to come in just for socialisation purposes - it's in their best interest after all! Just to go in, give him a treat, and go out again and home. Gradually get him to relate vets, vet nurses and the consultation rooms as a more friendly place.
     
    Lurcherlad and NervousPup like this.
  3. NervousPup

    NervousPup PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you Bunnygeek, yes I have taken him back into the vets for socialising since it has happened, as you say, take him in, treat him and leave. It is not in walking distance (20 minute drive) and it does prevent me doing it more often. It has not worked so far but it may just be that we are not able to do it regularly enough.

    Also, forgot to mention, he got a bramble caught on one of his ears and because he was in pain, he became aggressive, I couldn't look at it or help him, or take him to the vets, because he was too bitey. So now I can't even help him.
     
  4. Chatcat

    Chatcat PetForums Member

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    Oh dear, I do understand. My collie is very nervous, and although it is not aggressive, it is still very limiting. I have to show her every new thing very slowly, including walks - i am currently showing her the local woods, a 20 minute walk at a time, because after 20 mins she is too anxious to carry on. It is said that when a dog is nervous, he secretes cortisol, which takes about two weeks to come out of his system. Your dog might benefit from some very quite time, at least a week, go back to basics, and don't try to do all these things you are talking about. Keep him away from the children, give him his own space, and start again with the training in a few weeks. Absolutely do not walk him. Just try to bond and play. Get his trust back. He has had a hard time - remember compassion over compliance! Good luck!
     
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  5. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums Senior

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    Maybe talk to your Vet too; there is medication which can be used in conjunction with behavioural therapy in extreme cases.
     
  6. NervousPup

    NervousPup PetForums Newbie

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    Linda Weasel, the vet just wanted to sedate him, I suggested as a compromise we work on positive association with his muzzle, which I have since done but I've also realised that his immunisations are actually not that important (he doesn't travel or go into kennels).

    Chatcat, thank you so much! Your words have really opened my eyes to what he may be experiencing. We will work on chilling out and calm time. I have already given him "safe spaces" around the house from the children so that he feels respected and had his own space but I'm just going to work on chilling out myself. We're very closely linked and he feels all of my stress so I'm going to put more effort into calming down the household to see if it helps.

    Thank you so so much for all of your kind comments.
     
  7. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    Actually they are quite important in terms of protecting him from diseases that unvaccinated dogs could have left behind on their walks, or picking up leptospirosis from rat urine in streams or puddles he might drink from. Depending on which core vaccine your vet uses, most last 3 years now.
     
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  8. danielled

    danielled PetForums VIP

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    Why would you think his immunisations are not really important? They are.
     
  9. Boxerluver30

    Boxerluver30 Hound Lover

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    I agree with @Chatcat it sounds like he would really benefit from some quiet time, no trying to work on anything, just building up trust between you both again and working on your bond. Go right back to basics in terms of teaching him to relax and wind down, do some fun games/enrichment (if you are on facebook this is a great group to join for getting enrichment ideas https://www.facebook.com/groups/canineenrichment/). Then you can gradually start e-introducing everything else. Also yes, you may benefit from a behaviourist coming and giving an assessment
     
  10. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums Senior

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    The medication that I was referring to is not a sedative to use to incapacitate tha dog while a particular procedure takes place, eg examination at the Vet's.
    It's intended for longer term use and is the same genre as for humans who are suffering anxiety or stress, and is used in conjunction with behavioural therapy.
     
    Jamesgoeswalkies and Burrowzig like this.
  11. NervousPup

    NervousPup PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you all again and thank you Boxerluver30 for the enrichment ideas.
    You've all been such fantastic support.
     
    Boxerluver30 likes this.
  12. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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