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Sudden Agression ...sorry its very long

Karu'sMama
November 5th, 2008, 09:51 PM
Hi I'm new and I need help desperatly.
I adopted a dog, Karu, back in July, hes a 50lb neutered rotti mix. He was the sweetest dog, very submissive with people and overly playful with other dogs, never aggressive. He did appear to be somewhat dominate as in he like to hump other dogs and mark everywhere. I feel horrible as I think I may have caused this. There is something about him other male dogs dont like, he would be snapped at occasionally, one time he was bit. But he always was nonreactive to this and just walked away. A good example was we evacuated for the hurricane to my aunt's house in early sept. She has two socialized male dogs. Her smaller dog was scared to death of Karu and everytime Karu came near would put his tail between his legs and attack Karu. Karu acted like nothing happened, did not snap back or notice the other dog. My aunt's cocker spaniel however was great with Karu they played great together "outside", however when the hurricane hit i had to bring Karu inside and the cocker went nutz, jumping over tables, running over people, just to attack Karu. We hurried Karu into another room but he never once reacted to the other dog. I loved this behavior about him, but I was warned that if dogs kept attacking him I would have problems. And now I have them. It was probably about 6 weeks ago, we were at the dog park, and a male Corgi mix(maybe) came in, Karu didnt like him from the start but all was ok. The Corgi mix was a trouble starter and was fighting with everydog he came need, then the Corgi mix attacked a female Lab mix and before I knew it Karu was in the fight too, fighting back with the Corgi Mix. I broke them up, chased off the other dog and tried to cool Karu down again. I cooled him down and let him go then a few minutes later he went straight for the Corgi mix and attacked him. I broke it up again, apparently the Corgi's owner didn't care, and cooled Karu off again and the rest of the time was ok. I can't tell you how upset I was over this, but everybody else in the park said not to worry about it, the other dog had it coming. It still bothered me. 2 weeks later we go to the dog park again, and a big male intact boxer mounts Karu and viciously attacks at him, attacks maybe be the wrong word as I dont know if he actually bit him but it looked and sounded horrible. Karu didn't fight back and just ran off, the other dog followed him but no more fighting. I was so proud of him. Enter 2 weeks later, 2 weeks ago, we again were at the dog park, all was well for a while then the man with that same boxer showed up and before the boxer was even through the second gate both dogs charged each other and an all out fight started. We broke it up, cooled him off for alittle while and let him go and the boxer was let go and went straight for Karu and another fight started, worse this time. Karu's collar was ripped off, and I honestly dont remember how it was broke up, I just remember hitting the other dog trying to get him off my dog. It was horrible. The man reluctantly leashed his dog and sat down with him. Karu played for a while longer, all seemed fine, he wouldn't go near the boxer. Then when I was leaving I leashed him and was telling someone bye and Karu attacked a little shi*zu(spelling?) completely out of no where. Then last weekend we had a sorta dog fair here, many many many dogs, he was fine he sniffed a few dogs even tryed to play with a few with no problems, we were there for an hour or two and my aunt showed up with her dog. We were getting her dog's nails cut, she was on a table and Karu was laying down at my feet. Then out of no where, I didn't even see what happened, Karu was on top of a little poodle, I made sure the little guy was okay and we were walking alittle ways down and he sniffed noses with a Pug and proceeded to snap and growl at him with no warning. I put his head collar on him after this and we stayed another 2 hours, but before we left he would share words with a boxer as well. Tonight at my training class, which hes never had a problem with, a guy from the later class joined our class and Karu was on two legs growl and snarling at the other dog. I'm so upset right now, I dont know what to do. The trainer suggest getting a thyroid test done, does this sound like a thyroid problem? Is he doing this out of fear? How do I fix this? He really doesn't have any doggy friends, my aunt's dog is very very old and not a good playmate for him, other than that hes got my co-worker's female rotti who he loves and normally plays with at the dog park. We are going to try bring them to the park(nondog) together but it will need to be on leash. I want my old Karu back, this new Karu is scaring me. I really can't afford private training lessons but if thats what it comes down to I will try it. Any advice? please

Longblades
November 6th, 2008, 10:58 AM
My apologies, it is very rude of me I know, but I have entered some paragraph breaks in this to make it easier to read. I have no advice to offer myself but it sounds like a very serious topic and I hope some experienced people will come help out.

________________________________________
Hi I'm new and I need help desperatly.

I adopted a dog, Karu, back in July, hes a 50lb neutered rotti mix. He was the sweetest dog, very submissive with people and overly playful with other dogs, never aggressive. He did appear to be somewhat dominate as in he like to hump other dogs and mark everywhere. I feel horrible as I think I may have caused this. There is something about him other male dogs dont like, he would be snapped at occasionally, one time he was bit. But he always was nonreactive to this and just walked away.

A good example was we evacuated for the hurricane to my aunt's house in early sept. She has two socialized male dogs. Her smaller dog was scared to death of Karu and everytime Karu came near would put his tail between his legs and attack Karu. Karu acted like nothing happened, did not snap back or notice the other dog. My aunt's cocker spaniel however was great with Karu they played great together "outside",

however when the hurricane hit i had to bring Karu inside and the cocker went nutz, jumping over tables, running over people, just to attack Karu. We hurried Karu into another room but he never once reacted to the other dog. I loved this behavior about him, but I was warned that if dogs kept attacking him I would have problems. And now I have them.

It was probably about 6 weeks ago, we were at the dog park, and a male Corgi mix(maybe) came in, Karu didnt like him from the start but all was ok. The Corgi mix was a trouble starter and was fighting with everydog he came need, then the Corgi mix attacked a female Lab mix and before I knew it Karu was in the fight too, fighting back with the Corgi Mix. I broke them up, chased off the other dog and tried to cool Karu down again. I cooled him down and let him go then a few minutes later he went straight for the Corgi mix and attacked him. I broke it up again, apparently the Corgi's owner didn't care, and cooled Karu off again and the rest of the time was ok. I can't tell you how upset I was over this, but everybody else in the park said not to worry about it, the other dog had it coming. It still bothered me.

2 weeks later we go to the dog park again, and a big male intact boxer mounts Karu and viciously attacks at him, attacks maybe be the wrong word as I dont know if he actually bit him but it looked and sounded horrible. Karu didn't fight back and just ran off, the other dog followed him but no more fighting. I was so proud of him.

Enter 2 weeks later, 2 weeks ago, we again were at the dog park, all was well for a while then the man with that same boxer showed up and before the boxer was even through the second gate both dogs charged each other and an all out fight started. We broke it up, cooled him off for alittle while and let him go and the boxer was let go and went straight for Karu and another fight started, worse this time. Karu's collar was ripped off, and I honestly dont remember how it was broke up, I just remember hitting the other dog trying to get him off my dog. It was horrible. The man reluctantly leashed his dog and sat down with him. Karu played for a while longer, all seemed fine, he wouldn't go near the boxer. Then when I was leaving I leashed him and was telling someone bye and Karu attacked a little shi*zu(spelling?) completely out of no where.

Then last weekend we had a sorta dog fair here, many many many dogs, he was fine he sniffed a few dogs even tryed to play with a few with no problems, we were there for an hour or two and my aunt showed up with her dog. We were getting her dog's nails cut, she was on a table and Karu was laying down at my feet. Then out of no where, I didn't even see what happened, Karu was on top of a little poodle, I made sure the little guy was okay and we were walking alittle ways down and he sniffed noses with a Pug and proceeded to snap and growl at him with no warning. I put his head collar on him after this and we stayed another 2 hours, but before we left he would share words with a boxer as well.

Tonight at my training class, which hes never had a problem with, a guy from the later class joined our class and Karu was on two legs growl and snarling at the other dog. I'm so upset right now, I dont know what to do. The trainer suggest getting a thyroid test done, does this sound like a thyroid problem? Is he doing this out of fear? How do I fix this? He really doesn't have any doggy friends, my aunt's dog is very very old and not a good playmate for him, other than that hes got my co-worker's female rotti who he loves and normally plays with at the dog park. We are going to try bring them to the park(nondog) together but it will need to be on leash.

I want my old Karu back, this new Karu is scaring me. I really can't afford private training lessons but if thats what it comes down to I will try it. Any advice? please

BenMax
November 6th, 2008, 11:09 AM
Wow - this is not a good situation and I can feel your pain and despiration. Infact, a full blood work is in order. I think that is great advice that the trainer gave you.

Your dog has been through some traumas throughout his time with you. His current behaviour is a result of this.

I personally would avoid the dog park all together for now. I would absolutely continue with leash training him extensively and I would also ensure that I am walking him where there are other dogs (on leash only). He must be desensitized that will help with his re-habilitation.

How is he on leash? How is he on leash when he sees another dog? Does he get daily exercise.

Please let us know.

pitgrrl
November 6th, 2008, 02:06 PM
I personally would avoid the dog park all together for now. I would absolutely continue with leash training him extensively and I would also ensure that I am walking him where there are other dogs (on leash only). He must be desensitized that will help with his re-habilitation.


I have to agree, and feel like I should add that dog parks are not good for all dogs and there's really nothing wrong with that. They're pretty crazy places for the most part and, quite frankly, I just don't trust other people's handling skills or attention spans enough to risk it.

If your dog never socializes in big groups of strange dogs again though, I wouldn't feel bad about it, there are tons of really, really awesome dogs out there that just aren't going to thrive in such situations.

Clearly you need to work on having control over your dog, and continuing to do obedience training is certainly a big part. Also, as BenMax mentioned, working on slowly desensitizing your dog to the presence of other dogs is another aspect of doing this. Here's a thread from a while back that addresses dog aggression, (http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=1024) I think it has some pretty useful info.

If you think it's really a sudden change in behavior, than I would totally second the thyroid panel suggestion.

Karu'sMama
November 6th, 2008, 05:59 PM
I suppose its really hard for me to say with 100% certainty it is sudden as I've only had him 4 months. He was a pound puppy, surrendered by his previous owners, I have no idea why. Could it possibly be hes just settling in and his true behavior is coming out? I'm scared this may be the case.

I admit I have been slacking on the walks but if not a walk he at least gets a game of fetch outside. On leash he use to be a puller but we have been working on it and actually over the weekend we went on our first walk without a trainer device, just a normal collar and he did great. Except when hes in area/event with alot of strange dogs then he tends to pull way too much, I have blisters on my hands after last weekend, but he never once lunged or barked at another dog. On our walks if theres other dogs say in back yards he could careless, may look once and keep walking. Other dogs on leash normally he does the same, there was once or twice he lunged at them barking but this was before the aggression started showing and it was not anything like I saw last night, last night was barking growling snarling. Before hes had dogs come running up to him, big and small and not really cared one bit, at most jumped up and down(as in playbow, not lunging) like an idiot crying because he wanted to play. Hes not the same dog.

Just wanted to say hes got a vet appoint saturday to get his test done.

MIA
November 6th, 2008, 10:02 PM
Does he have a tail? Sometimes with the dogs with small nubs or subtle body language other dogs have a hard time reading them which can bring out the worst or best in them. Other than that I totally agree with a vet visit and work up. Keep us posted.

As well it's been four months, honeymoon could be over and he's feeling more comfortable, positions in your pack established and maybe he is feeling he needs to be the big man on campus, it's so hard to say without seeing you all in action. If those other times when he did get beat up and you didn't step in even though he ignored the other dog, he may now feel that he has to protect you and himself. Food for thought...

TeriM
November 7th, 2008, 01:53 AM
How old is Karu? It is very common for male dogs in their teenage years (1 - 2.5) to develop a tough guy attitude. My lab did this fairly recently and we basically went back to basics and did lots of obedience training and leash work as well as working on some basic leadership stuff just around the house. His attitude changed very quickly and he reverted back to his lovable, goofy self who gets along with everyone. I think it was basically that I was being lazy with the leadership so he felt the need to step up and take over. Plus he realized how damn big he is and that he could get away with a lot of stuff due to his size :frustrated:. Once I stepped up he was happy to go back to being his usual self.

Do a search for NILF to learn some good basic leadership skills. Avoid the dog park for a while and stick with organized play dates with dogs that you know you can trust. Do LOTS of leash work (heel, on-leash greetings etc) and obedience training including lots of down stays etc. Trick training can also be a good tool to build a good relationship. When greeting other dogs try to get him to sit quietly first and then give permission to "go say hi" and keep it short and positive. You said you play a lot of fetch. Ball playing can also be a great obedience/leadership tool for teaching self control if you work on sits and waits before giving permission to get the ball.

When and if you feel you make good progress you can go back to the dog park but make sure to watch carefully. Overstimulation is often the reason for a lot of problems so make sure to monitor your dog and others and remove if you feel others aren't watching their dogs. I personally avoid dog parks as many owners are idiots who either don't care what their dog does or can't control it :shrug:.

Learn to recognize your dogs body signals as well. They really do give signals before they "blow" and once you learn them it is much easier to distract or prevent the behaviours from escalating and also to reinforce the good behaviours. I love this book http://www.dogwise.com/ItemDetails.cfm?ID=A251 or you can also google calming signals for dogs to get lots of good info.

Good luck :goodvibes:.

Karu'sMama
November 7th, 2008, 05:58 PM
No, he does not have a tail anymore. Just a stub. When I got him in July they said he was around 1.5 yrs so I'm guessing between 1.5 to 2yrs old.

I do not feel its a leadership problems as he is a perfect dog at home. I do not fully enforce NILF, but I do know it is. I do occasionally make him sit and wait to go get his ball and he doesn't have a problem with it. On our walks hes not allowed to sniff anything without asking permission by sitting first. Though I now have a dog that sits every 10 feet. Hes very smart and picks up on things great, is just around other dogs he gets tunnel vision and acts like I'm not there. And lately the tunnel vision that use to be "momma I wanna go play with the dog" turned into "momma theres a strange dog I'm gonna go kill him" or at least thats how it feels.

Link on his photo album for those interested
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v645/zoeythelost/Karu/

K9 Love
November 7th, 2008, 08:27 PM
I agree with others when it comes to dog parks.

First off, if all your problems are AT the dog park, and Karu didn't necessarily instigate any of these issues, why do you want to go?!?!

I've found that stable dogs that are used to very routine, strict, militant lifestyles (like my own) do not do well in crazy situations with other loose dogs like dog parks. As simply as I can explain it, it's absolute chaos to them and they're not used to that high level of energy that is so uncontrolled. And they don't like it. Can you blame them? That's like throwing a well behaved, quiet, somewhat reserved 6 year old into a room of sugar-filled, wild, playdough eating, paperball throwing, yelling screaming children. There are two results. Either a) the quiet, reserved child becomes a heathen like the others, not exactly what you want or b) the quiet reserved child freaks out and can't stand the chaos and smacks one of the children, screams at them all to shut up and screw off, excuse my french.

Karu is showing signs of the latter. And not that I agree with avoidance in most situations but in my opinion this isn't avoiding a normal situation that Karu should just obey. Your avoiding other dogs attacking Karu and the risk that Karu may seriously injure another dog, AND worsen his reactivity issues. All things you DON'T want.

I would stop going to the dog park completely. I have no love for dog parks or doggie day cares, all accidents BEGGING to happen. And I would work on Karu's LEARNED reactivity issues on the side with a well behaved, calm bomb proof dog.

Your last post tells me specifically that your having respect issues. If he's ignoring you, you wouldnt' agree there's leadership issues?!?!? If your dog trully looks at you as their leader, and respects you wholly, then they abide by whatever command you give and follow your lead. It's your job as "alpha" to protect the pack and to alert others to threats, and unless your inadvertently doing so (getting nervous as other dogs approach, giving subtle, unknown cues to Karu) then HE is the one that's deciding what's the threat and what isn't.

With guardian breeds there are some exceptions, but if the dog alerts you to a possible threat and you assure them all is well, they should respect your choice.

I think what you have is a mix of learned reacitivty, which is most definitely not Karu's fault. Sorry to put it bluntly but it's yours. He should never have been in the position that allowed other dogs to attack him, I understand it happens, I've also allowed this to happen a small handful of times with my own dogs, but learn from your mistakes! Don't allow it to happen again! Especially seeing the effect it's having on your dog. And there are also some underlying leadership issues. Karu should obey your every command, the first time, regardless of distraction. Period.

Make dogs a positive experience for Karu again. Can you really blame him for disliking dogs after his experiences? Honestly? It took time to change his perception in a negative way, so it will take some time for him to view other dogs as a good thing. Possibly even longer because he has a reason to dislike other dogs now. Make every encounter with other dogs as pleasant as can be. Food rewards, verbal praise with cues included and don't allow anymore negative experiences to alter his perception anymore.

You CAN get this under control!! ;) It'll just take a little time and elbow grease! :D Good luck!

Karu'sMama
November 8th, 2008, 12:57 AM
Yes the problem did start at the dog park but lately what is scaring me is outside the dog park. Him snarling at a dog in his obedience class, him attacking a small dog at a dog event, snapping at other dogs. In the coarse of 5 days he has shown more aggression than he ever has at the dog park. I bring him because he loves it, say what you want, you aren't there, you dont see him. If you don't like something then you dont run to get there and refuse to leave. Truely now I'm scared to bring him for other dogs safety. Its easy to just say don't bring him around other dogs, but this is something I got a dog for. I want to go out in public with him. And its something I use to be able to do with him.
I would not way shape or form call his life a militant one. and calling him reserved is laughable, like I said you aren't around him. And at I stated before, he only has one, uno, dog friends. Hes completely in love with her, he could probably find her a mile away. We are gonna try to set up leashed playdate(can't do it off leash without the dogpark). But his problem is with dogs he is not familiar with.
Yes he has problems listening at the dog park, mainly coming when called. Would never guess it as at home hes attached to my hip. I can't blame him for this, after all everytime I do catch him I make him leave. I know I need to work on this. But I do not feel its a leadership issue, its a teenager not wanting to listen. My 2yr old doesn't listen at daycare, I go to pick him up and he runs away and hides from me and I have to carry him out kicking and screaming. Does this mean I'm not the "Boss"? In the end I do win.
I do agree with some of your points, and it is somewhat my fault for allowing it to happen. But I do everything I possibly can with and for this dog. And you are making me out to sound like I'm a horrible horrible dog owner. I've had dogs in the past, I've had an aggressive dog in the past far worse than this dog but he was people aggressive. I've had an aggressive ferret that latched onto every female she saw. Both of these were adopted with their issues, and while they never got over them they definitely approved. But I do not want him to just be another pet on the "I can't take out of my house" list. And since I do feel this is somewhat my fault I do want to help him

pitgrrl
November 8th, 2008, 10:19 AM
I do agree with some of your points, and it is somewhat my fault for allowing it to happen. But I do everything I possibly can with and for this dog. And you are making me out to sound like I'm a horrible horrible dog owner.


I don't think looking at a situation from the perspective of 'what did I do wrong?' is at all a bad thing, nor does it imply that you're a bad dog owner. Obviously you're looking for answers, which clearly makes you a good dog owner.

Looking at what you, the human, are doing wrong can actually empower you to change what's going on far more than thinking it's a problem with the dog. Dog's are, after all, living, breathing, thinking beings who we can't control 100% of the time. What we can control is our end of things, so looking at that is not so much about blame as it's what we can control.

I'll admit I personally avoid dog parks like the plague and opt for play dates with dogs who my two are compatible with, and just as importantly, who's owners I trust to be behavior savvy, level headed and on the ball. We also take the dogs all over the place, so though they don't get a doggie free for all at a dog park, they do get out and about in the world more than most people I know. There are tons of options for exercising and socializing your dog that don't involve as great a level of unpredictability and over stimulation as a dog park might.

Did you get a change to read through the thread I posted earlier? It really does have some great info and personal experiences dealing with dog aggression :shrug:

Karu'sMama
November 8th, 2008, 11:16 AM
Well we are back from the Vets and his test came back completely normal. She said it was right in the middle of the scale.
He also was very well behavior at the vets. Quite a few dogs were there and besides his nonstop crying, he acted great. He didn't lung at the other dogs or show any sort of aggression, he sat when I told him too and walked on a loose leash. I was very proud of him today

K9 Love
November 8th, 2008, 04:18 PM
First off glad to hear the vet visit went well. Did you have a thyroid panel run? Is that when came back okay?

My intention was not to make you feel like a horrible dog owners. Believe me, I deal with trully horrible dog owners everyday! LOL. In fact the mistake of allowing others dogs to attack is a mistake I said I've made myself as well. We all make mistakes, IMO, making mistakes is so important, I just always hope they aren't mistakes that really mess my dog up. I was lucky with one dog, she was attacked ferociously and other then some fear afterwards that was worked through easily, we never had another problem.

After the incident with my APBT... that was the extremely unfortunate event that ruined my dog, and my trust in my dog for the rest of his life. He had never had a problem with other dogs before regardless of his breed, of course all playtimes were supervised, but he's been reactive since we were attacked by two siberians. I can NEVER trust him again with strange dogs, especially because of his breed. That's another important factor, your dog's breed. If a chihuaha attacks another small dog, changes are the other dog will survive. If a Rottweiler attacks a miniature poodle, chances are the poodle is at least going to the vet for some stitches. At the dog park sometimes you think you know someone, until your dog injures theirs.

I've heard the story many a time; I know everyone there, we all chat. We even went out to dinner once. One day your dog bites theirs and they want your dog euthanized. Your dog's life is at stake. It's your responsibility to keep them safe and out of trouble.

Taking a dog reactive/aggressive dog to a dog park is literally poking a beehive with a stick.

As for Karu really loving the dog park... The dog park represents a level of excitement to Karu. Uncontrolled happiness and excitment, crazy chaos. Of course a dog gets excited as you near a place where you let them loose and they crazily rip around with other dogs with the possibility of getting in a scuffle.

I have a "human aggressive" female. She will bite you, and she will bite to harm not to warn. She has been this way since I got her at 6 weeks old. I can assure you, I do not intentionally place her in positions that puts her life at risk. In public on the streets people ask if they can pet her, I always tell them no. It's my responsibility to keep her safe, I KNOW she doesn't like to be touched by strangers, so placing her in a position when I KNOW she will react, is basically handing my own dog, her death sentence.

Do I still take her out of the house! Sure I do! She comes everywhere with me! I dedicated hundreds of hours to working on her every issue and managing her behaviours. Honestly even the most experience dog person would not be able to tell she has issues UNTIL they asked to touch her. Aggression whether it be human or animal CAN be managed! YOU CAN DO IT! You most definitely do not have to confine your dog in the house ESPECIALLY if your dog is only dog selective aggressive. There are different levels of dog aggression, some hate every dog, some selectively hate dogs, some are only reactive etc.

Having a dog with issues hardly means they can't leave the house!! It just means you have to work hard to manage those behaviours, with strong leadership, obedience skills (sit/down stays, watch me, leave its) and desensitize your dog slowly but surely to specific situations. I have an extreme case, I was told to euthanize my girl by a vet and behaviourist so she was a red zone case at a young 12 months old.

Within SIX months of dog class, we had moved far and beyond handling her aggression issues. We had begun with competitive obedience. From a lunging, snarling, attacking puppy really, to a well behaved, calm, very obedient dog at my side.

YOU CAN DO IT!! :D

JM4611
November 15th, 2008, 06:10 PM
Sorry to be blunt, but the fact is you don't have control of your dog. In your very first post on this
thread, you mentioned that "all of a sudden" or "out of nowhere", etc, your dog attacked another
dog. This would not happen if Karu was under your control.

Dogs are very much like humans (especially children). They need to know their boundaries or they
get insecure and act out.

If a child doesn't know what's expected of him or her, he or she will always be testing the
parents to see how far he or she can go.

Dogs, being social, pack animals need to know their place in the pack. If they don't see their human
as the leader, but rather the one to be led, there is going to be trouble - especially with dogs whose
instinct is to protect.

Please don't feel that I am trying to make you out to be a bad dog owner. You are clearly not, as you
are making all kinds of efforts to help Karu become a well socialized dog. But I think he might be a little
much for you to handle without help, and you might want to "bite the bullet" and enroll him in some
kind of training program.

Good Luck!