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New Pug Biting

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Steven Thornley, Sep 14, 2021.


  1. Steven Thornley

    Steven Thornley PetForums Newbie

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    Hi,

    We have an 8 year old pug and a 18 month one that we've had for about a year now.

    We've noticed a few strange behaviors from pugs over the years which we have become used to. However, there is one that I'm hoping to get some advice on. I don't think it is just a pug trait, but it seems to manifest itself in pugs more than other dogs.

    If the younger one sees or hears something that stresses him, something on TV or a loud noise outside, he jumps up and starts barking. Standard really and something we're trying to correct by rewarding him when such a trigger happens and he doesn't start barking. This has worked ok so far.

    The problem is that sometimes if something stresses the younger one, and the older one is nearby, the younger one will properly go for him. Very very aggressively. We can't let them fight it out and if we try to separate them and hold the younger one back (eg if he's got his harness on) he can turn around and bite one of us really hard. No holding back and will break the skin so completely unacceptable. I don't think he actually is trying to attack us but his instinct is to get to the older dog and seeing as we're holding him back he just goes mad. He's so focused on the older dog that he'll go for anything in his way and can't seem to focus on anything else.

    Like I said above we're trying to work on his behavior when something triggers him, trying to distract him when he's trying to attack the older dog, trying to calm him and also punishing him (putting him in the kitchen for example). Apart from the reward when he isn't barking we're not getting very far.

    All that aside, he's actually a well behaved dog. In some ways better behaved than the older one but the issue we have is a big problem for both us and the older dog.

    It does seem to happen more at night time as well but it's not exclusively at night.

    So has anyone got any tips, suggestions, tricks or even any idea why he does this? I'm guessing it's a dominance thing, but I can't understand why he wants to attack the older one when he's stressed. Is it just because of the stress issue? Is this linked to dominance?

    We haven't had him neutered mainly because we've spoken to others that have had dogs with behavior problems and got a mixed response on how effective it's been. Anyone seen a marked improvement?

    I think what we'll end up doing is getting professional help and training but wondered if anyone has seen this in pugs and / or got any advice in general?

    Thanks
     
  2. J. Dawson

    J. Dawson PetForums Member

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    Hi @Steven Thornley
    It sounds like it may be redirected aggression.
    It can happen in dogs or cats when another dog or cat for example, is nearby when the animal redirecting the aggression is frightened by something. They attack who is nearest thinking that is the cause of the fright.
    I cannot advise how to help with that haven't not experienced redirected aggression myself with my pets.
    Hopefully, another remember can help you or maybe a trainer could offer advice.
     
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  3. Steven Thornley

    Steven Thornley PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for that. At least I know it has some sort of name. I thought it may have been young dog thinking old dog was the one making the noise, but I wasn't sure.
     
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  4. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    Agree sounds just like redirected aggression.
    Without going the irreversible step of neutering, you could try the the suprelorin implant, which effectively chemically neuters the dog but wears off after about 6-7 months, although if the issue is fear-based, it might make things worse as the 'brave' hormone would be removed.
    I'd go for management; keep them apart in the evenings as that's when it's worse. A crate in a quiet room could give the dog the peace and absence from triggers that may keep him calmer. If he's set off by things on TV, all the more reason to keep him away from it. To avoid things like noises from outside bothering him, a radio station (talk radio would be best, or white noise) burbling away in the background is very soothing.
    Getting the stress hormones out of his system (takes 2-3 days after an incident) should help, too. And if he finds the presence of your older dog stressful, separate walks for a few days may improve relations between them.
    There are also calming products you could look into - Zylkene, Calmex or the amino acid tryptophan are possibilities, available through online veterinary pharmacies.
     
  5. Steven Thornley

    Steven Thornley PetForums Newbie

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    Brilliant. That's really helpful. I did wonder about some sort of calming medication. Although we've not tried crating him we do put him in a seperate room until he calms down (usually only takes a couple of minutes and he's fine). It's another option though.
    He seems to really like the older dog (probably his best mate) it's just every so often something triggers him - especially in the evenings - and he's then hell bent on eating the older dog alive. Funny enough when they're outside and a trigger noise happens he usually leaves the older dog alone and barks at the noise instead.
    Anyway thanks again. There's some useful info to take from this.
     
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