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Sudden aggression in 10month alsation/collie

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by lboyd3, Jul 19, 2009.


  1. lboyd3

    lboyd3 PetForums Newbie

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    Basically, my dog up until now has never displayed any aggression other than barking when post comes through the door or when someone comes to the door. Hes always been fine with new people and new dogs and is always friendly.

    A couple of days ago i got up in the morning and went to take him out and when i went to pat him he snarled his teeth, which i have never seen him do before. i got quite a fright and wasnt sure how to address this? Ever since if i go anywhere near him or even so much as walk past him he growls at me but is still friendly and playful with my boyfriend and other family members. I've also noticed that he has been staring at me basically all the time we are in the same room and i have had to resort to my boyfriend taking him for his walks now as he refuses to let me put his lead on. Also if i fill his food bowl he wont touch it but if someone else picks it up n pretends to put more in it he will be more than happy to run up to it and eat it!

    Im really worried as to what has caused this sudden change in behaviour. i have never punished him for anything and i am a strong believer in positive reinforcement which is what we enforced when training him.

    Has anyone experianced this sudden change in behaviour before? He has an appointment to be neutered in two weeks but i know that although this may reduce agression it wont stop problems that already exist.

    Please Help!
     
  2. Im afraid i cant really help on this as i havent experienced all of what you have described.

    When Holly was about the same age she started growling and barking at my husband alot but that stopped after a few weeks on its own. If you feel frightened of your dog they can pick up on this energy and that makes them feel more powerful and therfor reinforces the behaviour so this needs to be stopped before it gets out of hand.
     
    #2 My lil Babies, Jul 19, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2009
  3. thedogsmother

    thedogsmother PetForums VIP

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    I would definately say a vet visit is your first port of call, to rule out any health reasons for the aggression.
     
  4. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    Hi. Welcome to the forum!

    What a terrible experience for you to be going through.

    I would see the vet and then see a behaviourist.

    Although I do not have any experience with a dog turning on it's handler, if it were me I would be establising myself firmly as pack leader. Positive reinforcement is great and I use it myself, but there are times when the dog has to be shown who is boss.

    I would not allow anybody else to feed him, or pet him or walk him. You need to become the source of everything. You need to ignore him and only fuss him when he has done something you asked for. You almost need to be aloof. Also begin training sessions in the garden with tasty treats.

    Why this happened? Who knows, but quite possibly when he did the very first thing, you shyed away and did not comfront him. This has now led to him seeing you as weak and he is dominating you.

    If it were me (and I am not advising you to do this) I would take the bull by the horns and not allow myself to get pushed around. I have 3 (4 at times) rescue dogs and I am the main handler. Personally for me, I would rather risk a bite than have my dog dictate to me.

    Bottom line is, you have slipped to the bottom of the pack heirachy. You need to raise your status so that you can manage your dog.

    Best of luck, it is not easy but you must regain your status! Neutering will possibly help, male dogs are defintely more dominant when they are entire.

    x
     
  5. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    My neighbours also have a collie/gsd cross, got as a rescue around 18 months old. There has been some trouble with it attaching itself strongly to one of the couple (the man) and showing aggression to his partner. They had a behaviourist in who helped to some extent, but the situation seemed to be caused by the man reinforcing the dog's guarding by petting and comforting it. I have met other dogs of this cross and a tendency to attach itself to one person seems to be a trait (now I know a load of you will come and contradict this).
    You should take over all aspects of the dog's care, your boyfriend should take a back seat for a while. If it is difficult for you to get a lead on, your oh could put it on, then hand it to you. Depending on how threatened you feel, you could leave a lead on the dog's collar to trail round the house so one of you could remove the dog safely when it displays this bad behaviour. It would also be a good thing for you to take the dog to training classes, and give it an activity with you that makes it work, obedience, agility or working trials.
     
  6. Gemmaa

    Gemmaa PetForums VIP

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    I agree with the other post, you have to be his source of everything fun, and make him work for -everything- he gets, silly things like make him sit and stay before he's allowed in the garden.
    Use his intelligence to your advantage.

    I know it's hard, but you're going to have to get a 'couldn't care less, I'm NOT scared of you' attitude, if you back off whenever he growls (I know it's scary I've had aggressive dogs including GSD's) then he's won and he'll never respect you, if need be wear thick gloves when putting his lead, just don't ever let him think you're scared of him.

    Good luck!
    :)
     
  7. lboyd3

    lboyd3 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, thanx for all your advice!

    Yeh i do think that the first time he snarled that i did give him the feeling i was scared as i got such a fright when he did it.

    I am going to try doing everything that he needs and see how that goes. today he was fine with me for the first half of the morning then for no reason he started growling again.

    My boyfriend is the one who has had him since he was a puppy and established himself as the pack leader and when i moved in with him a few months later, he just got used to me being there. But i do think, like one of you said that my boyfriend may be inadvertantly reinforcing the behaviour coz when my dog growls he tends to run to my boyfriend as if hes scared of me?

    I have phoned the vet and hes going to check him over and i am looking into a dog training class which i will take him to myself as it was my boyfriend that took him to puppy training class.
     
  8. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    If the dog runs up to your boyfriend after he has growled, then he must push the dog away. If he see's him growling then he must correct the behaviour, by saying no and maybe even pushing him out the way (if necessary)

    Above all, it is your attitude that will make a difference. Think of yourself as the pack leader and a "no fear" attitude and you will do it.

    Keep us posted x
     
  9. BogusiaReca

    BogusiaReca PetForums Newbie

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    I would agree with goodvic2 and others. You need to make him submit to you. The thing is dogs have a pack instinct. The dog is at the "dog teen-age" when they usually try to fight for the hierarchy in the pack for the first time. It's why it hasn't happened before and it's why he should be reminded of his status in the pack as quickly as possible. It may be difficult considering the breed cross so I would strongly suggest to train the dog for obedience not only to solve this problem but so save problems in the future, as, with the age, he can get aggressive to other people, too.
    Hope you will succeed.
     
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