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Thread: Sudden Change in Behaviour

  1. #1

    Default Sudden Change in Behaviour

    Hi there,

    Our 3yo German Short Haired Pointer used to get along very well with other dogs in play, however, in the past 6 months he has become aggressive in terms of chasing other dogs down, holding them down and snarling.

    If he meets another dog (say on a walk) he will act friendly and then lunge at them and snap.

    I can't think of why he has had this sudden change in behaviour, but I am very concerned. We do dominance training so that he knows who is pack leader daily and we do not allow him to call the shots at home; but when he is in this frame of mind he is a different dog and barely registers that we are there. It's hard to train him out of it as I don't want to put other dogs at risk.

    Any advice as to what might cause this kind of change and what I can do about it?

    Cheers,

    Kate

  2. #2
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    I'm afraid that there isn't much any of us can do to help without seeing the behaviour.

    Your best options are to take your dog to the vet for a complete and thorough vet check (some ailments can change behaviour) followed by a professional trainers assessment and help.

    On a side note, has your dog been to obedience school at all - not just puppy school, but dog school as well?

    ETA: It truly could be anything from a tumor to a behaviour he learnt from another dog doing it to him. The vets can rule out health issues and the professional behaviourist/trainer will be able to help you address the problem if it is another issue

    Good luck and welcome to the forum

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kateb View Post
    Hi there,

    Our 3yo German Short Haired Pointer used to get along very well with other dogs in play, however, in the past 6 months he has become aggressive in terms of chasing other dogs down, holding them down and snarling.

    If he meets another dog (say on a walk) he will act friendly and then lunge at them and snap.

    I can't think of why he has had this sudden change in behaviour, but I am very concerned. We do dominance training so that he knows who is pack leader daily and we do not allow him to call the shots at home; but when he is in this frame of mind he is a different dog and barely registers that we are there. It's hard to train him out of it as I don't want to put other dogs at risk.

    Any advice as to what might cause this kind of change and what I can do about it?

    Cheers,

    Kate
    Are you near Sydney or Melbourne?

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    Can I ask if he is entire or de-sexed?

  5. #5
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    What exactly do you mean by "dominance training" OP?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devil's Advocate View Post
    What exactly do you mean by "dominance training" OP?
    was wondering that too...........

    ETA: Do you mean you are training to assert yourselves as "pack leaders" and in what way are you doing this?

    Look...if he is ignore you and not listening to you...misbehaving that way...I am sorry to say...he does NOT see you as true "Pack Leaders".
    Last edited by Cleasanta; 03-09-2010 at 12:24 PM.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks for all the replies so far - I really appreciate them.

    I intend taking him to the vet very soon - great idea!

    He is desexed and was done at earliest vet recommended age.

    I'm not near Sydney....

    I agree with regard to the pack leader stuff - I don't necessarily agree that this term is appropriate and nor is 'dominance' training, but I don't really know another term. Anyway, we do training such as making him wait to eat, he has to walk behind us and slowly in the house and then has to lay in his bed inside, he isn't allowed through gates/doors ahead of us, isn't allowed to get in or out of the car without being told. He does all this really well, but the situation I described with other dogs he doesn't listen.

    We also play a game where he follows me around the yard and as soon as he gets in front I change direction - its hysterical because after a while he is watching me so intently.

    I think I will follow the advice, take him the vet, and then get a professional trainer in.

    Thanks again for all the advice,

    Much appreciated - I love my boy so much and will do whatever it takes to make sure he is happy.

    Cheers,

    Kate

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kateb View Post
    Thanks for all the replies so far - I really appreciate them.

    I intend taking him to the vet very soon - great idea!

    He is desexed and was done at earliest vet recommended age.

    I'm not near Sydney....

    I agree with regard to the pack leader stuff - I don't necessarily agree that this term is appropriate and nor is 'dominance' training, but I don't really know another term. Anyway, we do training such as making him wait to eat, he has to walk behind us and slowly in the house and then has to lay in his bed inside, he isn't allowed through gates/doors ahead of us, isn't allowed to get in or out of the car without being told. He does all this really well, but the situation I described with other dogs he doesn't listen.

    We also play a game where he follows me around the yard and as soon as he gets in front I change direction - its hysterical because after a while he is watching me so intently.

    I think I will follow the advice, take him the vet, and then get a professional trainer in.

    Thanks again for all the advice,

    Much appreciated - I love my boy so much and will do whatever it takes to make sure he is happy.

    Cheers,

    Kate
    What you are already doing with him, even though you do so as a game, is an excellent thing to try when out walking. The moment he shows any sign of unacceptable behaviour towards another dog, change direction. DEMAND his attention is on you, not the other dog. Do NOT let him approach the other dog. Keep doing this on your walks, until you feel he is ready to try again getting closer. If need be, get a friend with a dog to help you out when you think you are ready to try again.

    Good luck with it all.

  9. #9
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    He needs to do all his work on lead for a while with other dogs on leads as well so it is all controlled

    You need to rope people in to help you. The minute he shows any change in his behaviour he is turned away and led out and until he calms down.

    Yes as DA said keep up the focus/look work, reward when he is calm and happy around other dogs. Be careful of any food aggression while doing this of course.

    But I think with things like this is takes repetition so you need to orchestrate training sessions. Pick the right dogs to do this with. Keep a calm and quiet disposition yourself. Don't yank on the lead or anything, don't yell, just the minute he changes walk him out of that situation.

  10. #10
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    I wonder about the sudden change in behaviour.

    How old was he when it first happened? Had anything changed in his life? Had he had a bad experience at the time?

    I think that either a dog or a person did this to him. Ie pinned him down and yelled at him or the doggy equivalent. And now for some reason he thinks it's ok to do to other dogs (and people). And for some reason he thinks it is important to do it to approaching dogs eg he's trying to "protect" you or himself or both.

    And I think the idea of changing direction when you see an approaching dog is good. Also if you have to pass another (non-aggressive) dog, make him drop if you can, while the other dog passes. And you have to make calming signals (lick your lips, make sideways eye contact, sniff the ground - or get your dog to do that). Sometimes treats can be used to get your dog to do the appropriate calm signals. And that may encourage any approaching dog to do calming signals too and reassure your dog. If the other dog is aggressive and lunging at the end of its lead - you definitely need to keep your dog away. You take the lead on this.

    And obedience school and opportunities to re-socialise your dog on lead are important.

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