March 30th, 2009, 06:46 PM
I am new to this site and was hoping that someone could give me advice on the strange changes in behavior my miniature schnauzer puppy (9 months old) has been displaying.
My puppy, Jezebel (I know, clearly I was asking for trouble) is normally an extremely affectionate dog and a very valued member or our family and I'm really concerned about her. When she was a younger puppy she was very apt to bite and snap while playing and we worked hard through bite inhibition training to get her to stop. We got her too young as we came to realize after the fact (at six weeks) and she didn't have those valuable weeks from 6-8 to learn to bite and play with her brothers and sisters. The last few months she hardly bitten at all and she has been fully potty trained for approx. 5 months with literally no accidents.
Right after she turned seven months she experienced her first heat (that really snuck up on us) and as soon as she was finished I decided to have her spayed. I took her to a new and highly recommended vet in our area for the surgery and since we were new I took her an a few days before the procedure for a physical where the vet fully examined her. The only thing he found was that her ears were infected and prescribed medicine. Otherwise he deemed her to be in perfect health.
The following week she was spayed and the procedure went well. She healed great and the last time I brought her in to get her stitches out our Vet examined her ears again and said they look fantastic. Also, prior to the procedure I had them do a full blood work up and during the procedure she had i.v., ekg monitoring her heart etc. So, she has recently had some pretty thorough testing done.
Essentially as soon as her stitches were removed she has had several accidents in the house which as I said she hasn't for months and has returned to biting for fun (will just start out of the blue and lunge at you while you are sitting on the couch or go nuts biting ankles and feet while walking accross the room etc.) with a vengence. It happens several times a day for over a week now and she is very persistant once she has started and it is, of course, very painful and a particular issue when she starts in on our nine year old daughter. Since the behavior was so much improved to the point of no longer being an issue I am shocked and perplexed to see her acting aggresively and more aggressively than she ever had previously.
I have no problem with taking her to the Vet and plan to later this week but since she just had a full exam and blood work I am wondering if it were a medical issue if it would have been caught already.
Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for the crazy length, I didn't mean to write a novella :-).
March 30th, 2009, 07:01 PM
Because it's still relatively soon after her first heat, she may still be experiencing the effects of her hormones. Often time estrus can cause moodiness and as a result, aggressiveness, in a normally quiet dog. Just because she's been spayed after her first heat does not mean that all those hormones from it will have left her system quite yet.
Keep working with her and don't feel too dissapointed. As puppys grow, their personality changes along with their bodies. She may always try to 'test' her pack, especially after being spayed. Keep up the good work, and I'm sure some other members will have some thoughts for you on this.
March 30th, 2009, 07:12 PM
Your puppy is just entering her teenage stage .....in other words, she is becoming rebellious and trying to test her boundaries. Keep enforcing all the previous training you did and don't let her get away with anything. Once she understands the rules you will have your good girl back again. :D
March 30th, 2009, 09:14 PM
Am agreeing with both - it sure sounds like the 'terrible teens' and her hormones didn't go away immediately after the spay.
The teens is a hard time with a dog. It's the time that a lot of them end up at shelters.
Please be patient and consistant. It'll be worth it (says the mom of a terror, I mean terrier..lol).
March 30th, 2009, 10:26 PM
Yes it could be a bit of both. But you may want to look into starting some obedience training with her too. Seems that at this age is when they need to have consistency and boundaries. I would recommend doing NILF too. She needs to learn what is appropriate behaviour.
April 3rd, 2009, 06:52 PM
Not to frighten you but, as Bailey alluded to, the actual spaying is thought to be a culprit in these personality/behaviour changes sometimes. The quotes below, all from articles citing veterinary research you can check out yourself, may offer some insight and at the very least help you to understand and deal with her changed behaviour. Not to say this is the case with your girl but it's nice to explore what the different possibilities might be. Hopefully every other possible explanation already suggested is most likely because she sounds like a normal puppy in her younger months. Either way, firm patience and consistency are the key to working with any young dog.
It has also been observed that young female dogs that show aggressive tendencies towards owners, especially before the age of six months; often demonstrate increased aggression after spaying. and"When the female dogs neutered at or after puberty were compared to intact controls, several differences were noted. One difference was a significantly greater tendency for dominance aggression to be shown toward family members by the neutered females. What is not clear about the study is whether the surgery was performed in more of these dogs because aggression had already been identified as a problem, or whether there is a direct cause-effect relation. Ovariohysterectomized bitches also showed significantly more excitement in the car and less discriminate appetite than did the intact ones, even immediately post surgery." from: http://www.doglistener.co.uk/neutering/spaying_neutering.shtml
The effect of spaying on behavior is controversial. Some studies have shown few effects, while others have demonstrated more reactivity and aggressive barking in spayed compared to intact bitches. In a study of 227 dogs that had bitten humans, neutered female dogs and male dogs were overrepresented.From: http://prdupl02.ynet.co.il/ForumFiles_2/23999370.pdf
Dr. Duffy presented results from a large epidemiological study that called into question
generally held beliefs about the effects of spaying on dogs’ behavior. The results of that study suggested that spayed female dogs of some breeds tend to be more aggressive
toward humans than intact females. The effects of castration on behavior, particularly aggressive behavior, were clearly questioned, indicating a need for further studies.from: http://www.acc-d.org/2006%20Symposium%20Docs/Session%20I.pdf
April 5th, 2009, 09:26 PM
Thanks so much for everyone that responded. I must admit I am worried and frusterated. As for this being a time when a lot of dogs end up at shelters, that is not an issue here. I adore my puppy and there is nothing she could do that would make me get rid of her. That doesn't make it easier dealing with the aggression and biting though.
I am releaved to hear that this could be somewhat normal "terrible teens" behavior and I am going to get her into puppy school a.s.a.p. She is so smart that previous to her acting out I was hoping not to have to go the puppy school route only because our money is fairly tight and we have already spend so much on her food, treats and toys and just spent a small fortune on her surgery but we can't go on like this either so we will just have to figure it out.
I guess what I would like to know if anyone has any thoughts are, if this is teenage behavior and hormonally based or what the quotes were refrencing and aggression brought on by the spaying (which would really piss me off if I have permanently ruined the temperment of my dog which I have fallen completely in love with after basically being told by every forum and article and person that to not spay her is a shameful thing and that spaying will make her calmer and even more affectionate!!) if something like Puppy School can make her calm down and go back to normal. I just need to know that there is something that can be done that will bring my sweet dog back!
Thanks again for any advice or words of wisdom.
April 5th, 2009, 10:45 PM
Yep, definitely puppy school will help. :thumbs up As a teenager she needs the extra discipline. And once they're in a heat cycle, the hormones do rage. Even after a spay...if it's shortly after the heat, the hormones are still high and can affect behavior for a couple of months.
So make sure she has structure at home, lots of training, and learns manners. In a few months, the teenage phase will be over and she'll be your little honey again :goodvibes:
April 5th, 2009, 11:46 PM
All dogs go through normal 'phases', both mentally and physically.....it's a part of development just like people.
Regardless of whether she was spayed or not, she will go through these phases as she is infact a young dog.
When my dogs went through the 'teenage phase' almost everything I taught them went out the window. They reverted back to baby puppies, biting, messing in the house on occasion, getting into the garbage, barking.....everything a bad dog could do, they did it. They began testing me and their rank within the pack and were completely oblivious to commands that they could do without flaw a month before.
It was enough to make anyone pull hair out, and yes a few times I did question my ablility to handle them.....some moments I was convinced that I ended up with a rotten puppy (lol). I understand your stress, it's very disheartening to have a well behaved puppy turn into a raving lunatic in a matter of weeks. Be positive, you don't have a rotten puppy....you have a very normal young dog trying to figure out her place in your world. This is a test of patience, if you succeed in remaining calm, optimistic, positive and consistent you will likely have a wonderful adult dog when she is older.
Support is very important, don't keep emotions bottled up, as you know this leads to frustration and the last thing you want to be doing is showing your instability to your dog, whom at this age is carefully assesing your leadership abilities. When you feel frustrated, post about it! Let it out, just don't let your girl see she is getting under your skin.
I'm confident you'll be able to make it through these next few months. The important thing is to keep your cool and be patient. Being unstable(poorly timed, or too severe of corrections, yelling..etc) or a poor leader, at this stage can have a lifetime effect on your dogs tempermant.
April 7th, 2009, 01:07 PM
I don't own a Mini Schnauzer, but my daughter has a neutered male, and I remember around 8 or 9 mos. he was very nippy with his teeth. Whenever he nipped at her she redirected him with one of his toys and never allowed him to nip her hands. Maybe it was just a 'teenage thing' with him as he outgrew it and is a lovely gentle dog to adults and children. Hope your Jezebel turns out as well. :dog: