Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

Insight on dog aggression towards people?

puppy4ever
May 30th, 2006, 01:54 PM
My 11 month old dog is still causing me concern. For those who haven't read my previous rants, he is a mutt (possibly GSD, Aussie, maybe some corgi) & a trainer said he is a reservation dog (or has the genes) which makes him, well, very different.

I don't know how we have found the time for him, between buying a house, starting a new business, etc. but we have. And it has paid off slowly...he now can now peacefully walk down the street without fear. We still have disturbing issues when people come to visit though. He barks & growls initially, then if our guest is kind enough to stay, he seems to settle down, take food from them and let them touch him a little. BUT...as soon as they stand up & walk, my dog goes beserk again with barking, growling, lunging. He is afraid but is showing aggressive like postures too...tail is out strait, ears alert. He doesn't seem to try to bite them though. I'm starting to think he is just a bully. I'm so confused. Can anyone explain this? Why friendly/submissive then crazy/aggressive when they move?

All of his other issues, which he has a lot of, are minor in comparison i.e. digging, stealing, pulling/biting on the lead, etc, etc.

LM1313
May 30th, 2006, 03:32 PM
What's a reservation dog? Does that mean he's . . . from an Indian reservation? Or something? Yeah, I'm totally guessing here. :p

Lissa
May 30th, 2006, 05:16 PM
What's a reservation dog? Does that mean he's . . . from an Indian reservation? Or something? Yeah, I'm totally guessing here. :p

Yes that's right. A lot of strays on reserves are mutts that form packs and are often left to their devices (unless their population gets out of control, which is when inhumane practices come into "population control")

Is it possible that your dog is getting hostile when strangers come over and move around because he is protecting you? Is he like this on walks?

then if our guest is kind enough to stay

I know a lot of people are afraid of dogs but you really need to have people coming and going who aren't put off by his behavior. Otherwise he wins and chases the person away...The more he gets away with that, the more he'll continue to growl/bark.

Having said that, you do not want to put anyone in danger so you need to explain to your volunteer that he/she shouldn't make direct eye contact, lean over/toward the dog, move too fast or box him into a corner etc... I would have as many strangers come over as possible!

BTW - do you have any updated pictures?:)

pamha
May 31st, 2006, 02:21 AM
[initially, then if our guest is kind enough to stay, he seems to settle down, take food from them and let them touch him a little. BUT...as soon as they stand up & walk, my dog goes beserk again with barking, growling, lunging. He is afraid but is showing aggressive like postures too...tail is out strait, ears alert. He doesn't seem to try to bite them though. I'm starting to think he is just a bully. I'm so confused. Can anyone explain this? Why friendly/submissive then crazy/aggressive when they move?
.[/QUOTE]

I found an explanation (probabaly on this site, but couldn`t tell you where). The basic idea was that the dog gets used to your guest being in one position and when the guest stands up or even changes position, its like the dog has to get used to him all over again. We found this to be true recently when we had a guest staying with us for a week. Our Lola is still very shy of strangers (yes I know she needs more exposure) and it took several days of having this man living with us before she would be friendly with him sitting on the couch, standing, sitting on the porch, etc.

We initially thought Lola might have an aggression problem too, but after living with her for over a year, we came to realize its more that she`s scared of strangers and wants to put on a scary front to chase them off. She doesn`t lunge and growl though, so I have no idea if this may be part of your dog`s issues.

Good luck!

puppy4ever
May 31st, 2006, 02:41 AM
Thanks Lissa...for responding and explaining about reservation dogs! :angel:

I always thought of him as being fearful for himself only but yes I think that it might be possible that he's protecting us. Our trainer said something about him being very attentive to details opposed to general thinking like most dogs...but I really don't even understand that. I was thinking maybe it's his herding instinct but that does make any sense either. Actually the protectiveness is probably the best explaination. On walks he is getting much better. He used to bark a lot but he now seems fine. He is such a puzzling guy.

Thanks Pampa...sounds a lot like my guy in many ways. If you can remember anything else on that topic, please let me know as I'd be very interested! It is really, really comforting to know I'm not alone!

Here is his most recent pic. He is smiling here. Although this isn't his biggest smile, we've taught him to "smile" big on command...he does this clownish, slighty demented smile whenever he wants a treat! Instead of coming off as cute, he kind of creeps people out! :D

Lissa
May 31st, 2006, 06:12 PM
He is looking very grown up and VERY handsome! What a cutie you have!:love:

doggy lover
May 31st, 2006, 09:40 PM
some breeds have a smily face:) Border collies have them too, maybe he is crossed with one of them too. This is Tucker's smily face.

puppy4ever
June 1st, 2006, 01:53 PM
Thanks for the compliment Lissa! I also think he is looking grown up...now I can't wait for the grown-up behaviour. Love puppies (hence my ID, thinking of changing it now lol) but never ever again. :) Had to go through it once in my lifetime though!

Lovin' that huge mega-watt smile doggy lover!:) :) :) My guy does tend to be pretty smily in general so that could be...I actually think he prolly has every herding dog in him!!!

tenderfoot
June 1st, 2006, 09:07 PM
He's just plain scared. When a person is still they are predicable and safe - when they get up their energy changes and it puts him in the defensive/aggressive mode. He doesn't believe that you can protect him and if you can't protect him you can't protect yourself. Even more responsibility!
I consider a Rez dog to be one who was raised on a Rez. They don't usually get treated very well. He might have learned early on that strangers can't be trusted. Imagine you are a dog running free on a Rez, some people treat you well - others don't and still others pretend to be nice but then trick you. So what you thought was kind behavior from one person turned out to be a trick from another. This taught you that you couldn't trust your own instincts to read body language from people. You lost faith in them and in yourself - so its much easier to survive by keeping people away all together - act nasty and they stay away.
Through your leadership and guidance he should be able to at least have good manners with people, and from there start to gain some confidence in you, himself and then others.

glasslass
June 1st, 2006, 10:14 PM
I'm always learning on this forum! It really makes sense that he's developed trust issues with people.

Tucker's teeth are sooo white and pretty!