Aggression advice!?

elkiebean

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Hi everyone,

ok so i have a 4yr old Airedale terrier, absolutely beautiful dog and lovely to have around (mostly)..... hes always been very willful and a bit growly if he doesnt get his way but never went any further, we never backed down when he did it and followed through with what we asked of him.
unfortunately in the last few months he has bitten my mums partner twice scaring him on his face and grazing him on his hand... he has gone for him a third time and gone for me. my sister is scared of him to... he is quite big.

so we have had a behaviorist in and where given lots of things to work on, he has improved a huge amount in everything apart from his attitude and the growling and snapping/ biting.
i just dont know what to do, i cant rehome him realistically... i can get more trainers in but its useless when my younger sister comes home (shes at uni currently so cant be here to be involved with training). he wont let her move around the house! she either closes the door for the living room or stays upstairs... not fair to her tbh.

anyone else been in similar situation? any advice? i really dont want him pts but i dont know what else to do! :-(

thanks in advance if you managed to get the end and reply aha!
 

Dobiegirl

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I would first of all like to know how much exercise your dog is getting, who usually takes him out and what you are feeding him. I would also like my vet to check him out and make sure there is no underlying issues, this wouldn't just be a usual health check but bloods done to make sure there isn't a problem with his thyroid which can often make them grumpy and cause aggression issues.

When he has bitten people in the past I would like to know what they were doing prior to this and did the dog just go straight in for a bite or did he warn beforehand. Its very hard to give advice over the internet without seeing the dog in front of you so would always urge caution in dealing with the dog, perhaps a muzzle for the short term and to make sure the dog is in another room when you have visitors. In your situation I would also contact his breeder and ask if they are in touch with the owners of his siblings and if they had experienced similar problems.
 

elkiebean

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thanks!
he gets an hr off lead everyday, usually to the river which has a massive field. then block walks when he needs to go out. hes asleep at the bottom of the stairs at the moment.
been checked by vet, couldnt find any problems. (hasnt had blood checked, she diddnt recommend to us?)
no reason for the bite, he was being fussed when biting my mums partner... no warning given just turned around and bit him on the face.
he gets grumpy when you ask him to do something he doesnt want to do (can be as simple as moving over so you can get past, coming back inside the house ect...)
breeder contacted, no other puppies with same problem and neither parents ever had this problem.
i know its hard over the internet just a bit desperate.
thank you!!!
 

jrp204

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I think you need to think very hard on this, at the moment he has bitten family members who are likely to be more forgiving than a member of the public. If he bites a member of the public it is very likely the decision will be made for you alongside the guilt you will have.
We had a homebred JRT who was very nervous, he had a go at a family friend, didn't draw blood but it was the first and last time he did it.
I'm sorry, it probably isn't what you want to hear.
 

Dobiegirl

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I would definitely in your shoes want a full bloods panel in order to rule out thyroid issues, he might have been resource guarding your mum when he bit her partner, how did everyone react to this in what did you do to the dog after the bite.

I can only say what I would do in your situation, if one of my Dobermanns got grumpy with me when I asked it to move they would immediately be sent out the room forcefully, I cant tell you to do that because I have no way of knowing if that would instigate an attack on you. All I can say is I am the boss and can you honestly say that about you and your dog, my dogs are not ruled with a rod of iron but they know when I mean business.

You did not say what you are feeding your dog and can I ask where abouts in the country are you, how did you find your behaviourist ? was it a recommendation by your vet ? lots of people call themselves behaviourists and there are a few charlatans out there only too ready to take your money.
 

elkiebean

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i worry mostly for my sister, he hasnt gone for her but growls at her... shes understandably scared of him.
and as you said a member of the public would not be forgiving!
ahhhh hes such a lovely dog in every other way which is why this is so hard :-( i love him and feel so bad... i feel as if im failing him. i just cant see another way!?
 

jrp204

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ahhhh hes such a lovely dog in every other way which is why this is so hard :-( i love him and feel so bad... i feel as if im failing him. i just cant see another way!?[/QUOTE]

It is a rubbish situation, but, a dog that rules the house, bites and frightens people would not be classed as 'lovely' in my shoes.
 

elkiebean

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if you push the situation when he gets like it im 100% sure he would go for someone... he knows he is doing wrong and what is expected of him but is very very stubborn.
he is fed royal canin adult food.
we are in surrey, my mums done all the research into behaviorists and tbh i diddnt like the one that came (i wasnt here when she came just what mums told me about her methods)
shes talked to plenty more who have been recommended to us from other owners and vet and they all are great until you say he has already bitten and then the tone completely changes.
 

elkiebean

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when he isnt being nasty he really is a nice dog, very happy enjoys walks, cuddles, being fussed but then is a completly different dog when he changes attitude.
 

Dobiegirl

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You say he growls at your sister, what do you do, do you correct him, this is what is so difficult about giving advice over the internet, is this a dog with health issues or an unruly dog who has just been allowed to walk over the family or a genuinely nasty dog, which one do you think he is and be very honest here.
 

elkiebean

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we arnt always home with her so she just stays out the way, if we are there and he does he is moved out the way... use our body to move him rather than verbally telling him or grabbing him out the way.
we have done everything we can think of, he isnt allowed on furniture, upstairs, out doorways first, he walks perfectly on the lead (not when other dogs go past but is manageable and perfect off lead)
has to sit and wait for food, will sit lie down ect when asked... he isnt unruly hes well behaved its just this side that seems to pop up more and more often. in every other aspect he is perfect... vet has said we are doing everything right...
 

Goldenstar

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I 'll be unpopular for saying this but I would with no hesitation PTS a dog ( after a vet check had been done )who showed aggression like this.
 

Dobiegirl

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Please dont think Im having a go at you, Im not, Im just trying to get a better understanding of what is going on. So when the dog growls at your sister he is moved out the way. You don't correct him verbally, is this right? Terriers are known for being very feisty and they need very clear boundaries and consistent handling. Dogs going through doorways first has been debunked, I do make my dogs wait and follow me out the door because its good manners and instils impulse control,not because it might give them ideas above their station. It sounds like in other ways he is well trained and just these odd areas and why they are recurring, if these are not corrected they will just escalate.
 

gunnergundog

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What qualifications/professional memberships did the visiting behaviourist have? What did their written report recommend and what follow up support are they giving you?

How long have you owned the dog? Did you get him as a pup? What is his problem with other dogs? (You say he won't walk well on a lead when other dogs go by.)

Is he on medication for anything? How long ago did he first exhibit this type of behaviour? Did this coincide with anything........change in diet/routine/where you live/general management of dog? Is he neutered?

Sorry about the Spanish inquisition! :)

PS Is you mum's partner someone relatively new to the dog or has he been around a while? Also, what is the dogs routine during the day? Does he have comopany or is he on his own and if so for how long? How many times a day is he fed and how long has been on the Royal Canin?
 
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elkiebean

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no its fine i really appreciate your help!!
correcting him verbally doesn't make a difference, using your body to move him out the way seems to work best with him from our experience.
i know the doorway thing probably doesn't really matter it just feels to me anyway like better manners than pushing his way out which he would otherwise do.
we have a second dog as well, 10 month old. i dont think he has any influence in arthurs behaviour as he was like it before we got number 2 and its only the last couple months hes actually bitten. the other one is always just chilling and isnt even near him when he does it.

i dont know about the behaviourist... mum did it all. i know she said there would be no need for a re visit or anything? i was confused by that and her methods i wasnt happy with.

on lead, he just gets exited. although recently hes actually gone for the other dog if its got to close which he has never done before. ive worked so hard with his lead walking (having food to distract him doesnt work he doesnt care about the food) he walks perfectly when no other dogs around.

hes been in the same house since a pup, i cant think of anything thats changed at the same time his behaviour really got bad. hes always been strong willed but that was always just excitement... hes calmed down a ton now, doesn't jump up anymore or get overexited at other people.
he is neutered.
 

Amymay

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I would put money on the new dog being the escalating issue.

It might sound silly to those with more experience, but have you also considered one of those dap diffusers?
 

Suelin

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Where did the dog come from OP? PM me if you like. This is ringing alarm bells for me and if what I think is right then I may be able to shed some light on the situation.
 

Alec Swan

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O_P, the dog has the better of you, and it's that simple. As he's been permitted to have his own way, and as he's now a dog who's aware of himself, he's also aware that he's in charge. From everything that you say, it would seem that not only does your dog not defer to your senior position, he also has the upper hand. ........ That's how it seems to me.

I'm sorry that what I tell you may not be what you want to read, but when we allow a dog to be self determining, then we end up with dogs which are no longer our servants. Trying to be 'Friends' with a dog which challenges our authority, will only end in tears and recriminations, as is evident. The dog is dangerous, and he's your responsibility. You've asked for opinions, and these are mine.

Alec.
 

thewonderhorse

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Personally I wouldn't PTS. This can be sorted. As you will know OP, dogs work in pack order. There will be the alpha and then lower ranking members and generally the lowest member of the pack.

As owners, we should be higher ranking members of the pack than the dog. The dog might sometimes challenge the higher ranking pack member and need putting back in its place.

All of the members of your family should be singing from the same hymn sheet and should all behave the same around the dog. As others have said, it sounds like the new dog may have triggered this behaviour, with the pack disrupted.

My advice would be to get a dog trainer/psychologist in to help you, your family and your dogs get through this.

I know from experience that Airedales are still terriers in their nature and can be strong willed and difficult.

I truly wish you all the best OP and I hope you can find a solution to this difficult problem. X
 

elkiebean

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I don't think the new dog is the problem... He hasn't changed as the new ones come in or because of anything he's done.... He's more chilled now, they play together, one isn't favoured over the other.
The attitude has always been there... The other problem when my sister comes home, we can do as much as poss but she can't be here to do it with us. We can't also be here all the time that she is... Need to find a solution for that as well...

Yes I think he does think he is in control, we have worked really hard with him. He's never got away with not doing as we ask so not sure what else we could have done?

Came from a breeder, their first litter... There's nothing wrong with the breeders and keep in contact with them. He wasn't a puppy farm pup or anything like that. Raised inside, lots of socialisation... They had three litters I think and are doing no more now.

I'm greatful for all opinions! Thank you!
 

Teaselmeg

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It will have nothing to do with being 'pack leader', but a lot to do with teaching him rules and boundaries in a way he understands. Using confrontation will just make this worse, teach him what you want him to do, not just what you don't want him to do.

This is a good place to look, for a qualified behaviourist:

http://www.apbc.org.uk/help/regions/southeast
 

Arizahn

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I 'll be unpopular for saying this but I would with no hesitation PTS a dog ( after a vet check had been done )who showed aggression like this.
O_P, the dog has the better of you, and it's that simple. As he's been permitted to have his own way, and as he's now a dog who's aware of himself, he's also aware that he's in charge. From everything that you say, it would seem that not only does your dog not defer to your senior position, he also has the upper hand. ........ That's how it seems to me.

I'm sorry that what I tell you may not be what you want to read, but when we allow a dog to be self determining, then we end up with dogs which are no longer our servants. Trying to be 'Friends' with a dog which challenges our authority, will only end in tears and recriminations, as is evident. The dog is dangerous, and he's your responsibility. You've asked for opinions, and these are mine.

Alec.
I agree with the above, sorry OP.

If you do intend to keep trying, then I personally would suggest muzzling him with a basket style muzzle to try and avoid further injuries. Also, has the vet explored the possibility of it being neurological - an MRI to rule out or confirm brain lesions?

We recently PTS one of our dogs. He was 18 months old, and under it all an incredible dog. Gentle and affectionate, lived to please. Until the lesion in his brain kicked off. There were no signals or triggers visible to us, he would just change. It caused erratic behaviour - switches in personality, agitation, unexplained fear based responses that presented as aggression (snarling and barking, hackles up, lungeing etc). He never actually bit anyone, but he was big with a very strong jaw (labrador/collie cross). Ultimately with him it was a ticking time bomb and we didn't want to see him become "that" dog.

I hope that you have a positive outcome with your dog.
 

Greybird

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If you are in Surrey I suggest you contact Roger Mugford, who is a world famous behavourist/trainer. He is based at Chertsey.
There is a wealth of helpful info and advice on his website (google his name or companyofanimals).
He really is one of the best there is!.
 

Shysmum

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Firstly a full vet check - my terrier is very snappy when she has back pain.

Secondly, try Zylkene for a week and see if that helps. Also rescue remedy. And a behaviouralist.

Thirdly, but most important, consider if this dog is actually a danger. If vet checks are ok, and calmers don't settle things - can you trust this dog again ?

If you believe you cannot trust this dog again, or another incident happens which is unexplained, I really do believe that PTS may be a consideration. Don't rehome, i guess.

Hope it's sorted.
 
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I think you need to go back to basics. When you mention he's grumpy when you ask him to move, this isn't right. I would start with things like this. Also when you're on walks with him and he gets aggressive towards other dogs, don't stop, keep going, ignore his lunges and his aggression, carrying on doesn't draw attention to his behaviour, or correct him so this behaviour doesn't occur before the dog comes past. The ears are a good pointer, and eye contact can usually be the start of a fight. He needs to know what behaviour is correct. With your sister, she needs to be involved in his training. It would be good if she could walk him, properly, to act like a leader. You could muzzle him at first to make sure there are no accidents. When he becomes aggressive towards other dogs and people, just think to yourself... Are you feeling nervous, scared of anxious before he's even displayed this behaviour? Dogs reflect their owners and their personalities. If you're nervous he's nervous, and with dogs it's fight or flight. When you're first training him with people like your sister, do it with a lead inside, you can correct him with this and it ensures there's no injuries.
 

mandwhy

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O_P, the dog has the better of you, and it's that simple. As he's been permitted to have his own way, and as he's now a dog who's aware of himself, he's also aware that he's in charge. From everything that you say, it would seem that not only does your dog not defer to your senior position, he also has the upper hand. ........ That's how it seems to me.

Alec.
I agree with this. I have a dog who comes to stay with me and he is quite a dominant little thing. I do not like the term dominance to be bandied about like some people do but he really is. He doesn't like being told what to do, if you tell him to get off the sofa and then nudge him off when he ignores you he will turn and growl/snap, but I don't allow that sort of behaviour in my house so I have several times thrown a blanket over his head, bundled him up and thrown him in the garden where he acts like a spoilt brat for 15 minutes until I feel he has calmed down, then I make him do several obedience tasks and let him come back in. He's always extra good at that when we've had a disagreement. He will also snap/growl sometimes if you go to pick him up or hold his collar say if you want to lead him out of the way because he is ignoring you, and he's dominant/snappy with other dogs although that has improved now that I know his limits really well so I can be calm and manage the situation for him. Basically I am not at all scared of him, he has not got to the stage of biting because he is strongly reprimanded any time he does anything like this.

If you are to employ a professional you need EVERYONE who lives in the house to participate. You can't have your sister hide from the dog, you need to explain to her that she can't let the dog dictate where she is in the house. I think muzzling the dog when she is around would be fine, if it would help her to participate in the training that is needed.

I would go for a trainer along the lines of Victoria Stillwell (From the TV programmes 'It's me or the dog') who uses positive reinforcement. I know it may seem silly to mention a TV programme but there are some good examples of this on there. Most trainers who train like this with positive reinforcement will tell you about it, although I do personally think that negative reinforcement (taking away something good like access to inside) and punishment have their place, depending on the dog. Sometimes you have to go back and correct the behaviour that you unintentionally reinforced.

Good luck OP, dogs bite for so many different reasons but it does sound to me like this dog just wants to be the boss. He wants to control all the resources, he wants to control where you and your family are in the house, and he wants to tell you when he's had enough petting etc. None of this is acceptable and I would do a lot of obedience work with a dog like this. Obedience is good for all dogs and it is good to have tasks you can use to diffuse a situation, and even to test the water and gauge when you need to be especially strict.
 

Dry Rot

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I agree with the above, sorry OP.

If you do intend to keep trying, then I personally would suggest muzzling him with a basket style muzzle to try and avoid further injuries. Also, has the vet explored the possibility of it being neurological - an MRI to rule out or confirm brain lesions?

We recently PTS one of our dogs. He was 18 months old, and under it all an incredible dog. Gentle and affectionate, lived to please. Until the lesion in his brain kicked off. There were no signals or triggers visible to us, he would just change. It caused erratic behaviour - switches in personality, agitation, unexplained fear based responses that presented as aggression (snarling and barking, hackles up, lungeing etc). He never actually bit anyone, but he was big with a very strong jaw (labrador/collie cross). Ultimately with him it was a ticking time bomb and we didn't want to see him become "that" dog.

I hope that you have a positive outcome with your dog.
Good sense from Alec and Goldenstar as usual.

Roger Mugford is a good man. I have worked with him.

PTS would be my advice too. Wrong dog in the wrong situation which is now out of control. Do what has to be done before someone (probably a child) gets seriously hurt. Not the dog's fault and not the owner's fault. Get a nice 8 week old pup off a placid breed suitable as a house pet and move on.
 

JillA

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If you have used a behaviourist I have a couple of questions - what does he/she say about your question, and how reputable/well trained is he or she? It is an entirely unregulated area and there are some calling themselves behaviourists who are no more than experienced dog owners - not qualified in any way. HAs he/she explained where this aggression is originating - fear? dominance? possessiveness? territory? Each need a different approach, and no reputable behaviourist will deal with aggression by giving advice without a full in depth assessment - it is too easy to make it worse.
Whatever you are doing, assess very carefully the effect and if it is getting worse, stop that treatment immediately.
I would be crate training him and getting a play pen to confine him when there are people around who don't know how to deal with him. Keep everyone safe and no-one will feel the need to get stroppy with him, which might send him into self defence mode and make him even worse. Keep the emotional temperature as low as you can and you have a chance to retrain him, but the quality of the advice you have been getting is crucial.
 
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