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Aggression Problem

July 15th, 2004, 11:19 AM

I have a Rotti/G.Shep/B.Lab/Pit cross. We worked with a trainer in the first year. Now he is almost Two and has started becoming aggressive and territorial for un-none reasons.


He lays on his side acting like he wants his belly rubbed. When you crouch to pet him he starts to growl with increasing intensity and sometimes tries to bite.

Example 2:

He is laying on his bed in our office and when my brother walks in he starts to growl. The further in he goes the more upset the dog gets.

I would like some addvice on how to try dealing with this before someone gets hurt. Any and all help would be appreciated.


Lucky Rescue
July 15th, 2004, 11:36 AM
We cannot give advice concerning something so potentially dangerous over the net.

I really suggest you contact a behaviorist and have him/her come to your home to see the dog in person. This way you can know what is triggering this behavior and why.

It could be anything from a young male who is too big for his britches, to a genetic flaw. You could be inadvertantly encouraging this behavior, and a behaviorist will see that and tell you what steps to take to change it.

Is he neutered? A lot of bites come from young unneutered males.

You might want to take a look at this article and see if it fits the pattern of your dog's aggressiveness.

Alpha boot camp (

July 15th, 2004, 11:45 AM
I have to agree with lucky this is something that I would definitley contact a behaviourist on or a trainer who deals with large dogs and aggression. I would not tackle this problem on my own especially if the dog is showing aggression towards you. Don't put yourself in danger.

July 15th, 2004, 12:23 PM
Yes, he is neutered. The trainer that I was using is a behavior specialist. All he told me was that the dog needed to spend more time with the two people he seams to have the problem with and when he gets like that they need to back off. He said in the dogs mind he's telling them he doesn't want to play, that's how it is done with a pack.

Cactus Flower
July 15th, 2004, 12:25 PM
Could your dog be in pain, and that is why he growls at you crouching to rub his belly? Could he have been hurt by someone, and that is why he is suddenly becoming aggressive and mistrustful of people he formerly trusted?
Just a thought. (Hope I am wrong).

July 15th, 2004, 12:32 PM
We don't hit him, if that's what your asking. Since he was small he's been at work with us all day. His training is done with tone of voice, gentle tugs on the leash and treats. He does have a sore rib right now, as he got excited about something he saw out the window and hit the corner of a shelf. But this behavior has been going on for a few weeks and the rib has only been bruised for a few days.

Lucky Rescue
July 15th, 2004, 12:37 PM
You say this behavior only started a few weeks ago? He never showed aggression before?

If that's the case, there could be a medical reason for it. Some conditions, like thyroid problems, can cause aggression in dogs.

I suggest a complete check up with blood work done for any sudden changes in behavior.

July 15th, 2004, 12:53 PM
Yes I agree with that, if this is rather a new behaviour it may be medical in nature.

July 15th, 2004, 01:08 PM
My immediate thought was an ear infection. Never dismiss something not so obvious.


Cactus Flower
July 15th, 2004, 01:18 PM
I'm sorry if I didn't explain myself properly. It pains me that you thought I might have been suggesting you hit your dog. I was in no way suggesting that, and I apologize for giving you the wrong impression.

I was just thinking that maybe the dog was in pain, and that is why he is showing you his belly, then not wanting it actually touched. "Look Mom, there is something wrong in my belly....nono please don't touch it, it hurts!".

A dog I had long ago "showed" me her butt for a week, turning her butt around to me any time I petted her. This was unusual behavior for her, and I kept wondering why she was doing it. I thought she wanted to be scratched and petted there, but she'd jump around quickly if I did so. I eventually found a cut on the underside of her tail! THAT'S what she was trying to show me! I felt like a fool! LOL. Poor dog was being very patient in training me :D ("Will this human ever learn?") lol

Anyway the dog I have now does NOT like men with dark hair. Period. She is very distrustful of them. She was abused by a man with dark hair. So I was also asking about the possibility that your dog might have been hurt by someone, maybe someone that resembles your brother, or perhaps just a man. I wasn't suggesting your brother himself abused the dog.

At any rate, I hope you get this sorted out.

July 15th, 2004, 02:22 PM
Could your dog be in pain, and that is why he growls at you crouching to rub his belly? Could he have been hurt by someone, and that is why he is suddenly becoming aggressive and mistrustful of people he formerly trusted?

That does NOT sound like you implied the dog was hit by any means Cactus!

July 15th, 2004, 02:36 PM
Thank you all for your suggestions.

I know that it is not a medical problem, because he recently had exrays, etc. and everything was fine. I don't think that it's someone hurting him because he is always with me, or home by himself for short periods of time.

The problem only involves two main people, both of which he loves to play with. But off and on decides to be aggressive with. This mornig after I posted the original question, My brother was petting him and he started to growl. Not knowing what was wrong he got up and walked away, so he would aggrevate him. The dog picked up his rope and followed him, acting like everything was fine and he wanted to play. Which they did and he was fine. That's the whole problem, it's like he just wakes up grumpy and then later he's fine. But when he's grouchy like that he's not predictable and nothing out of the ordinary has happened to cause it. :confused:

July 15th, 2004, 02:37 PM
That was my first instinct that the dog was in pain. LOL, Cactus, that's funny about your poochy! I often wonder what this crazy furbabies are trying to tell us. They probably think we're complete morons! :D

December 15th, 2004, 12:23 PM
Did you ever find a resolution to this problem? We have a jack russell terrier that is just beginning to exhibit these exact same problems.

He is most "grouchy" when he just wakes up, or when he gets concentrating on a toy.

The rest of the time he is happy as can be.

December 15th, 2004, 01:05 PM
I'm no expert, but I recall most of our dogs, even the submissive ones, would 'test the limits' at around two years old. My parents said it was their adolescence.
I would just keep establishing dominance over your young dog, and keep in touch with the trainer/behaviorist, if he doesn't think the problem is serious, then you should be ok.
Good luck!

December 15th, 2004, 03:22 PM
It almost always comes down to relationship. A dog, who respects, loves and trusts his people should not be growling, snapping or acting possessive around his people. It sounds like your little Jack is seeing what he can get away with and some terriers are prone to test a bit more that others.
One way of creating a balanced relationship is to ensure that your dog understands that the toys belong to you and you allow him to have them. We teach this by holding a toy while sharing it with him (have him on the leash). The leash helps to empower your word incase he resists or tries to turn away from you with the toy. Work the 'drop & take it" game while doing this. He should always release the toy to you without argument. Then let him have the toy for 2 seconds and don't take your hand very far away go right back in and have him release it to you. Don't let him ever demand the toy back - he must be sitting patiently before you give it to him again. Do this for increasing periods of time as you are successful and take your hand further away each time as you are successful. Always praise him with lots of love when he releases things to you - that's the reward.

December 30th, 2004, 11:31 AM
A dog, who respects, loves and trusts his people should not be growling, snapping or acting possessive around his people.

I'd like to interject here. This may not always necessarily be true.
Take a Chow for instance, who loves, knows and respects their owner.
They may not care for your face close to theirs and will let you know about it in no uncertain terms.

For the person who posted the original quote: With all due respect to this forum, temperaments are often breed specific and your BEST bet is to seek out professional help which can easily be found by contacting breeders, and organization focussed on your specific breed (even if you have a mixed breed). Don't end up with a pet you no longer can manage, or worst, end up with bite marks or a law suit.

Take this situation very seriously and take responsible measures to deal with it and solve it.