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My Dog is getting more agressive every time
I have a two year old Sharpei-Viszla mix, who's been always pretty
stubborn and neurotic, but he's a great dog who has never showed me
anything but affection. The first year I tried to train him as much as
I could, but because of my wife being sick in the hospital for two
moths, just a few weeks after we got the dog (from the pound, when he
was 4 months), the first four to five months in the house I couldnt
give him too much attention and train him when the time was right. I
did socialized it as much as I could, although now I think it should
have been more.
We have always taken him to the dog park and to the dog beach and
before he had never showed any agressive behavior, just got scared of
other dogs, some of them.
He has basic obedience training, and even though he knows the
commands, some times he just doesn't do it, he becomes stubborn, but
most of the time he obeys well. Another problem is that my wife has
always spoiled him very much and I'm out of the house 9 hours a day,
when she stays with him and lets him do whatever he wants.
So that's the background, and the problem is this. Last year only once
he showed a sign of clear agression towards a nurse who came to the
house to do a treatment to my wife, he got really crazy as soon as the
nurse entered the house, but since he had never done this before she
let him stay around and when she was not watching he almost bit the
nurse, and got too agressive. Fortunately, the nurse was not afraid,
and she didnt get upset, although my wife put him away in case he was
gonna do something again. I wasn't home that time, and couldnt do
anything about it. Though I was pretty shocked when I heard this. We
always have visitors in the house ever since he was very young, and
he'd been used to be around strangers inside the house.
And then, this year, like six months ago, it has happened three times
already, to my brother (who knows him well), and a couple of friends
from out of town who were visiting (at different times). They tried to
pet him, and he got scared and try to bite them, luckily nothing
happened, just scared us.
And finally, last week, and that's when I thought I had enough. I did
something a little stupid but something I had done before a lot of
times. When he was chewing a rawhide, he had been with it for over an
hour, and I went to him, grabbed the rawhide with my hand, and held it
for him to chew it better. I had done this many times, with bones,
with rawhides, and other things when he's chewing them, and I thought
he trusted me that I'm not planning to take it away from him, just
help him chew it. And I did this all the time to make him trust me
more. But this last time, I was holding it for like 5 minutes, and
just when I was about to leave it to him alone, he got crazy and tried
to bite my hand (he actually snipped my hand and left a small but
painful mark, no blood though), and I saw him and he was completely
mad growling at me. I backed of a little, and immediataly I went to
him as soon as he became normal, told him to go down, and started
talking to him, saying No and Bad, and other things. The problem was
that it took me so much by surprise that I couldnt figure out what to
do, so first I let him smell me and let him calm down. Right away he
showed signs of regretness, and he tried to aproach me but I kept my
distance. I was totally shocked and finally I went to sleep and in the
morning he woke up next to me in my bed. I know it's not like that,
but his whole behavior after the incident was like he was telling me
Im sorry. By the way, two weeks ago he got into a fight with a dog in
the dog park, which he had never done before. Normally when a dog
scared him or attacked him he just got scared, backed off and go to
the next dog, but this time the dog attacked him and he fought back,
and they bit themselves pretty bad. The owner of the other dog told me
his dog had never bit another dog, and I told him, the same with my
dog. So I don't know what happened.
So the question is this: I know I have a big problem here, I tried to
let it go on its own, and deal with it when something happened (which
has happened already, and I'm not planning to wait for the next one).
I need to know whether to find a professional who can guide me, who
can analyze the situation and give me an opinion and some advice.
I'll start reinforcing obedience training, and that's what Im planning
to do next week, we enrolled in a class already. I dont know if it
will be enough, though, I think I might need a little stronger advice
than what a obedience trainer can give me.
Like in many cases, my dog is 99% of the time a very good dog, and
funny and nice, but 1% he can get very agressive, and I can't take any
chances. Obviously I dont want to get rid of him, and I'm scared that
I want to have kids soon and I dont know if he'll get better or worse.
I want people in my house not to be afraid of him, or him not to be
afraid of them. Right now, when somebody he doesn't know comes over,
we just tell them to keep their distance, and let the dog aproach them
instead. That works, but is not a solution I like.
I would appreciate any comments and if you have any recommendation for
a good professional who can help me, I would be very thankful. I live
in Orange County, CA, by the way.
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