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daveym July 17th, 2003 12:33 PM

Aggressive Boxer

I'm wondering if anyone can give me any ideas on how to handle my new male boxer dog. He's 3 years old, we have had him from Boxer rescue since last Saturday. When my wife and I went to pick him up from the previous home, we were met with a snarling, vicious looking dog. The owner then let him into the house to meet us, under supervision of course. The Boxer decided to jump up me and try and nip my hand whilst barking at me and giving a low growl. I put it down to protection of the family which is fine but perhaps a little to much protection. After a couple of minutes he calmed down. We then sat down with him and then he totally changed and was very affectionate and friendly towards us. We decided to rehome him with us and took him home. He met my other boxer bitch and that was fine, they get on like a house on fire. Everytime we get a visitor they are met with the same response we got when we first met him. How can we get him to overcome this behaviour? Also we have the problem of meeting other dogs as long as they aren't too close he is fine. So we'll be using the "bar open, bar closed" method to see if that helps him conquer this behaviour.
It would be great if anyone has any ideas on how to help us.


Lucky Rescue July 24th, 2003 11:38 AM

It's very difficult and even dangerous to make recommendations on aggression over the net.

Your dog's job is to alert you to possible danger, strangers at the door, etc.
It is your job to take control and decide what is or is not a threat.

Right now, your dog is making the decision that EVERYONE is a threat.

The "No Free Lunch" regimen should help him understand that you are alpha. Never punish him for his growling and barking. This may stop the growling, but not the reason for it, and lead him to go directly to a bite instead.

Personally, I would consult a behaviorist who can come to your home, see your dog in action and understand exactly what is going on. Is your dog fearful, aggressive, insecure?

Only by seeing him can that be known and appropriate steps taken.

Carina July 25th, 2003 06:33 PM

I totally agree with LuckyRescue - the dog's job isn't to "protect" his family from perfectly benign people! The no free lunch program is also known as "NILIF" (Nothing In Life Is Free) and will work wonders.

I also agree on finding someone to get some help with him - unless you have experience in retraining an aggressive dog. It's not difficult - make sure you find a GOOD trainer; there are lots of terrible ones! Ask the rescue folks for recommendations.

I am curious why anyecent rescue would allow a dog with clear behavioural issues to be rehomed - for a number of reasons, legal liability among them! I have fostered problem dogs and have taken in Rottweilers (I currently have three) and would NEVER allow a potential biter to go to any but a very experienced home who can prove a committment to working with the dog.

I have had a male Rottweiler in my home for over a year (who I would LOVE to find a perfect home for) but have yet to find a suitable placement! He is extremely dominant, and is perfectly wonderful as long as he understands who's in charge, but he will take advantage of any perceived lack of leadership. He would be a dangerous dog in the wrong hands; that's why I still have him. :p

Anyhow - good luck....this is NOT a difficult problem to solve.

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