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Thread: Nice dog spontaneously going off?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Brisbane, Australia
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    Default Nice dog spontaneously going off?

    Hey, thought people here might have some suggestions. Bit of context necessary here, I think, so bear with me.

    A few years ago my sister and her then-boyfriend picked up a beautiful pup (boxer cross something, never gotten a solid word on what and breeds are not my strong point). As is typical for her, she eventually got tired of it and left it with our mother. Lovely dog, but big, so we tried our best to train him, as he can sometimes do damage while trying to play.

    Over the years, he's obviously grown as pups are wont to do, and now he's quite a large dog. He's maintained his playful and lovely nature, but every so often, with no seeming commonality, Conrad (the dog) just goes off and becomes really aggressive. I mean full-ball, teeth flashing claws digging nuts, often attacking our other dog (Sharka, a blue heeler cross, getting on a bit in years). Out of lack of options, my mother finally ended up having to force my sister to take Conrad back: it really was either that, tie Conrad up constantly, or have him put to sleep.

    This is a sub-optimal solution for so many problems, but until we can work out what's setting Conrad off we don't really have a choice. Does anyone have any suggestions? He's been desexed and everything, although I think it was a little bit later than the ideal (from what I'm told)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    SE QLD
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    2,903

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    Generally what are the dogs doing when he goes off? Eating, playing with a toy, getting attention from a human, resting?

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
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    From what I can tell, there's no commonality. Sometimes he's sitting and being petted, sometimes he's playing with Sharka, sometimes just sitting and chilling. Seems more likely that there's something we're missing (random eg the guy next door wears particular deodorant or whatever), but we haven't been able to pick up on it.

  4. #4

    Default

    Hi ' Allan53' - maybe a bit more information - please !

    How old is the pup now ?

    How long has this behaviour being going on ? That is - from the time the pup first arrived - or just in the last 1 or 2 years ?

    This will be a start - for me - anyway !

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Adelaide
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    Puppies tend to be full height by about 12 months old. So not sure about your timing.

    If you want to desex to prevent problems - it's best to do it around the 6 month old or earlier. If you want a dog for jumping or endurance sports - its best to desex after they're done growing - at around 18 months - depending on the breed.

    After that - it may or may not help with behavioural problems - in Conrad's case - obviously not. I don't think his breed has much to do with his behaviour. A lot more to do with lack of useful training. But dogs are never too old to learn.

    Has he drawn blood on the other dog?

    Often a younger dog will give an older dog a hard time - when the younger dog wants access to all the resources.

    What do you (or your mum) do when he "goes off"?

    Without seeing it - it seems to me there might be several triggers including resource guarding - where the resource is getting petted or attention from the petting person, and maybe something about making sure the Sharka doesn't get anything he wants - and he wants anything she wants.

    If he gets throughly yelled at and scolded for "going off" - the result may actually be the opposite of what you want. To him it may well sound like you're joining in attacking what ever he's gone off at. Ie you approve and encourage the behaviour. And he gets what he wants - the object of his aggression goes away.

    I think you probably need a good behaviourist / trainer of dog owners and dogs who will have a more objective view of what is going on and be more aware of all the signs the dog makes before he actually goes off.

    If he's been punished for growling - this often leads to suppression of growling - but instant ballistic behaviour with no apparent warning. But there's always a warning. From licking lips and looking away, to giving the other dog the whale eye (showing whites).

    If you let us know what big city is closest to you, we can recommend someone in your area - or you can drop a line to Steve Courtney at K9 pro and ask him to recommend someone in your area. And read his article on how to choose a good dog trainer. I think your sister should pay for it.
    How to Choose a Dog Trainer | Steve Courtney Dog Training

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Southern NSW
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    This dog needs to be seen in the home by someone experienced in dog behaviour........

    One more thing, is it recent, sometimes there can be a medical reason, such as the thyroid. A thyroid panel can be done by the vet and maybe an all over check-up
    Pets are forever

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
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    I shall pass these suggestions along. Many thanks for them!

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