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Dominance Aggression?

May 9th, 2007, 11:59 PM
We had a bit of an incident tonight involving my step- dad and Duke that I'm not sure what to make of. While watching T.V Duke suddenly jumped up from his resting place and with his head lowerd and shoulders arched began growling/advancing on my step-dad who was sitting on the couch while barking. Then as soon as he started he stopped and walked over to him wagging his tail and let him pet him? It was completely bizarre.

My step-dad generally works long hours and has never been involved with Duke's training so I'm starting to wonder if maybe this is just a case of Duke challenging him since he is 9 months old in that teenagery phase.

I've never seen Duke do anything remotely close to this ever in the past but I asked my step- dad if he wouldn't mind doing short 5 miniute training sessions a day under my direction to get Duke to do basic things like a sit/stay a down/stay and so on to better his position among the pack.

Duke's starting level II obidence on the 30th however due my Step-dads many medical conditions he can not attend to take part in it.

Any other suggestions?

May 10th, 2007, 07:50 AM
Well there is really no such thing as dominance aggression. Dominant dogs don't show agression as they are really confident (no if someone starts the fight a Dominant dog might chose to finish it :D )

Aggressive behaviour stems from fear or insecurity. Sounds like for some reason he didn't recognize your Dad at first. Then realized who he was and was fine. (this can happen if the dog just woke up, or the lighting in the room is strange) If it happens again, I would take him to the vet-occasionally a change in behaviour like this can indicate a medical condition.

May 10th, 2007, 07:52 AM
Had you step father done anything unusual before the dog got up? Is your step dad the only male in the house? What kind of medical condition, maybe there's something there that Duke senses as a weakness. I'd make sure you mention this to your obedience trainer.


May 10th, 2007, 08:04 AM
I agree with dekka, I have owned both. Harley, my rottweiler now is a dominant dog, but does not show any signs of aggression, with people he is pushy, wanting his way( not with me, he knows better). But I had a dog with fear aggression as well.
Was he sleeping, did your step father startle him maybe?

May 10th, 2007, 09:01 AM
This might have nothing to do with him being agressive.. Sounds to me like Duke saw something that made him do this, Then saw your father in law and realized he wasn't a threat.. Animals are very sensative to the spirit world .. My little Sadie will sometimes just bolt from her resting place and start barking at nothing .. We tell her that theres nothing there just a wall But I don't think this as anything to do with agression altho I can be wrong..

May 10th, 2007, 12:16 PM
Duke was asleep right before it happened so it's possible Peter going to get up startled him until he realised who he was. I've never heard of dogs taking advantage of those who have medical conditions but if it helps he does suffer from diabites, heart problems, high blood pressure and as such has a very hard time walking or do anything really without alot of pain. Duke has never showed any other signs of aggression around him in the past and frequently sits next to him when Peter is watching T.V and lets him pet him. There are three other males in the house, my younger brother (14), my uncle who lives upstairs and my cousin (21) who lives upstairs as well. Duke always barks at them when they come down to do laundry but abruptly stops when he can identify who they are ( the staircase leading down the stairs isn't well illuminated and it's hard to make out faces until you get down).

I will deffiently bring it up with my trainer on the 30th regardless but I'm hoping it was simply a case of Peter startling him regardless I will keep a close eye on Duke's body langauge in the future around Peter.


May 10th, 2007, 02:07 PM
Maybe Duke is having eyesight issues????

May 10th, 2007, 03:46 PM
This might be an isolated incident. It does sound like the dog was startled and then caught himself and recovered on his own. But it will be something you need to keep an eye on.

Some dogs are highly sensitive to changes in people's physical condition. It doesn't usually manifest itself in the dog taking advantage of the person but in a more protective role. Just a change in blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rhythms can alert a dog. Some dogs will go to the person rather assertively and try to push them down, or paw at them to get their attention. One woman was going to get rid of her dog because he kept pinning her to the ground. Until she realized that he was warning her of possible seizures. Now he is her seizure dog.

May 11th, 2007, 11:10 AM
It sounds like Duke would make for a great protection dog. However, there's a time and a place (unless of course you're okay with the barking). Definitely keep an eye on him, but what you should do in the meantime is work on self control, and removing compulsion. Bench training is fantastic for this. Ben knows to alert me quietly to possible danger (usually a low growl), and to bark at them only when it's appropriate (ie. if he's out front and I'm inside, and someone walks towards our house).

This may again be a one time incident, but like tenderfoot said, dogs pick up on things we can't. If he does it again and it seems to be isolated towards your step father, Duke might just be trying to tell you something (esp concidering he has medical problems to begin with).

May 13th, 2007, 09:22 AM
Sounds like he did not recognize him and thats ok ,as long as he didn't carry it any further.GOOD WATCH DOG:) MY father in law once walked into my house with a hat on.Buff my Dane did not recognize him and started down the stairs with his fur standing up,I yelled "take your hat off" and when he did, Buff whipped me with his tail so happy to see him[have to watch those tails on a Dane:laughing: