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Dog turns suddenly vicious, wwyd? Update post#74

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  • #41
    Originally posted by TKR View Post
    Check out this website. They do alot of advice about training and dealing with problems, specifically biting between dogs or biting people. They seem to have good techniques and alot of experience. Good luck!


    Ditto. If it wasn't for Leerburg I probably would not have kept my second dog. He's a little off the wall, but his stuff works.

    My first thought reading this thread was "brain tumor"
    Riding the winds of change

    Heeling NRG Aussies
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    • #42
      Originally posted by mjrtango93 View Post
      Make sure the vet checks the thyroid. Have heard of dogs suddenly getting aggressive when the thyroid levels are off.
      This....I had a foster in the house that this was the case.


      • #43
        Originally posted by Aven View Post
        I have only watched the show. He anthropomorphizes the crap out of them. He chokes dogs till they pass out and their tongues are blue. He lets fights break out (very easily seen coming if you have ANY dog knowledge) has no way to break it up and then offers to trade the dog with the owners, after he blames them.. He forces a scared dane onto slick flooring till it foams at the mouth in panic. I have seen dogs redirect and bite owners when they get too panicky with this stranger attacking them.

        What he does is make the dog to scared to express itself. So instead of making the dog better and overcoming its fear, he just makes the dog more afraid of the humans. His success rates are not that high, this is why they don't do follow ups.. but any time they fail, its always the people's fault. Not that you can see that putting a bandaid on a serious wound might hide the problem, but isnt' a miracle cure.

        You want to do the dominant crap with your dog, fine. But you can do it without bullying or hurting the dog. But one of the biggest issues with the idea of dominance is that it pits you against the dog at the basic level. I am a leader. I don't care who goes through the door first as long as if I say stay, they do. I don't care if they hop up on the couch as long as they got off with a cue.

        Dogs aren't even pack animals.... They a social, yes, but left to their own devices no pack animals. (read coppinger and the studies on the pariah dogs) So being a pack leader assumes your dog is stupid enough to think you are a dog and that you think your dog is a pack animal.
        Interesting, I watch the show and that's not my take on it at all.


        • #44

          They a social, yes, but left to their own devices no pack animals
          This is crap. Dogs are pack animals. Look to LA, Detroit, any number of large cities (or hell, 3rd world countries or the rural area where I live) to see that yes, stray dogs will indeed form "packs", and these packs have a dominance structure. Hence the term "pack mentality" when watching any number of animal planet or "real life" shows where there strangers are sent in to deal with someone with too many dogs left to fend for themselves and they need catch poles to defend themselves from attack and to capture the animals.

          Ceaser may not have all the answers, but his points are valid and really, common sense. Exercise your dog...a tired dog is less likely to chew or dig in bordeom. Insure that YOU are in charge-- I.E. the dog should sit for treats, not jump on you, listen when you call it, etc. Do not tolerate agressive behavior.
          And for the poster with the CAO, good for you. I love that breed and I'm glad his advice worked for you. The are a breed with a strong will, so being a "calm assertive leader" probably was the right approach.
          But back to the OP- Hope you get answers in your vet appt. My guess is a medical problem as well...whether with the whippet or the attacker (or both).
          Proudly owned by 7 horses, 6 dogs, 3 cats and 1 Turkey


          • #45
            Littermates are difficult to raise together.

            Are you saying you have had no problems with aggression until now, when the dog and the bitch are five years old? If so, it's probably hormonal/other physical cause. Thyroid would be my best guess.

            But I wager you've had problems before now, and they've just gotten more severe as time went on, right?

            ETA: Dog-on-dog aggression and dog-on-human aggression are normally completely different things. So I wouldn't worry about the kids and other humans in the household. Unless they try to break up a fight, when it's easy to get hurt by accident.

            I won't comment on Cesar and the other TV trainers. See Parelli, etc. Same-same.
            I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


            • #46
              I so love dog threads I think hitch has the best advice - no matter what the reason, a 100lb dog who's taken to serious, unprovoked, effective attacks has to be killed or contained by something stronger than the mud room door. Kennel and vet, absolutely.

              Originally posted by lalahartma1 View Post
              Are they spayed/neutered?
              Interestingly, there's some research that indicates spayed female dogs are slightly more aggressive than intact ones, as they're lower in estrogen/higher in testosterone. So the neuter=nicer isn't reliable with the girls.


              • #47
                You may want your vet to do a blood test for tick borne illnesses as well as the other things people mentioned...The test (sorry, can't remember the name) is around $15-$20, and will show preliminary results for Lyme, Erlichiosois, Anaplasmosis, and other tick diseases.

                My Rottie (a 130 lb. fit male, age 6), went after our cat out of the blue one day, and also became aggressive towards my FIL, who comes here daily. When I corrected him, he snarled at me, the ruler/love of his life...He had Anaplasmosis and Lyme (yes, he had all his vacc's/yearly checkups). He had started to have very mild head nodding/tremors upon awakening, and was becoming unpredictable. During his exam, we also discovered he had joint pain, and balance issues. This was a very stoic dog! The vet thought it had affected his brain, or his pain and confusion had made him want to "defend" himself. I of course euthanized him, there was no way to know he would not attack another animal or person...I still miss my huge boy

                Hope you can find a diagnosis soon. Good luck.


                • Original Poster

                  I would put her down. I would never be able to trust her, and I wouldn't take the risk of rehoming her.
                  The family has already accepted that this may be the worst case senario result.

                  But I wager you've had problems before now, and they've just gotten more severe as time went on, right?
                  No, other than the attacks that I discussed there have been no other problems. I have always been consistent and patient in my training. The dogs come, sit, stay and do as they are told. I can mess with their food, take toys or bones away without a growl. So can my kids. When I say "kennel" they go and put themselves in their kennel. They do get excited at the door but I've taught them the "back" command and Cassie is the best with it. That is why this has been so difficult.

                  spayed female dogs are slightly more aggressive than intact ones, as they're lower in estrogen/higher in testosterone.
                  This may be the problem and I was going to ask the vet about it.


                  • #49
                    I've had a JRT who is like this. She just has to be separated from the other dogs. She does not go after the boys as much as other females but she is such a dominate fighter that she stupidly goes after much larger dogs.

                    The result is she is isolated in her cage a night and seems fine. She is a sweet dog in all other respects but she has worn out her welcome with the others. She has fought so many times that at age 15 she has huge areas of hair missing. My husband says she's like the Velveteen Rabbit, except of course when she is trying to take the hide off someone else.


                    • #50
                      My daughter had the same thing happen with her Great Dane female(spayed).
                      She became very aggressive and attacked other dogs. She almost killed a little Shietzu ( spelling?)
                      They finally had to have her put down. Brain tumor.
                      Don't let this get any worse. For her sake do something now.
                      It could be female dominance but it sounds worse than that.
                      My heart goes out for you. I know it is hard to deal with something like this.
                      But for the sake of the other dogs and your children, keep her under control in her kennel until you can get a Vet to check her out.
                      I don't think all the advice above is wrong but some is very close to it.
                      But each person has their own viewpoint on something like this. I had mares attack each other and really fight establishing their social order in the herd. And yes it got pretty wild and bloody. But once it was settled there was peace in the herd. Each one knew her rank and the poor thing at the bottom of the pecking order, I really felt bad for.
                      I doubt this is a social order/ rank thing.
                      Get to the Vet right away.


                      • #51
                        Some of those articles/links didn't think it was a horrible idea. Leerburg did, but some of the other links seemed to not feel it was a bad idea.

                        I understand the point, but I hope that whoever gets two puppies also understands that their role is to keep things in order.

                        Not suggesting that is the OP's issue, but I am one leaning towards some kind of medical issue, esp if there has been no dominance issues before this.

                        Hope you get your answers OP.
                        save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                        • #52
                          Consider Lyme's as another possible cause of this sudden change in behavior.

                          Might there have been signs that you've overlooked of this tendencies, maybe as territorial behavior.

                          You are right to be concerned for you and your children, right now this dog is deadly dangerous. Do NOT let her around anyone, any animal. I'm wondering if there could be some neurological disease.

                          I've seen dogs turn suddenly and unexpectedly including a St. Bernard. I've had a Saint that at 6 months old began aggressive and territorial behavior and his vision must have also been bad. At 5 years old he was not recognizing my son at a distance and I had him put down. I loved this dog but my family and other people are more important. You have a real liability and you can't risk injury to your other pets and even more you can't risk what she might do to you or your kids. Isolating her is not a good solution either.


                          • #53
                            I'd check on anything and everything medical first - thyroid, lyme disease or another tick borne disease, pain somewhere. I would also check the dog that was attacked. It's not unknown for dogs to sense disability in another animal and attack. I've seen it happen. My dobe always got along with cats, no problem - and suddenly started growling and stalking the cat. Trainer said get the cat to the vet for a checkup -cat acted fine, was eating well etc. well the cat had cancer and had to be put down. the dog knew. the dog was just being a dog.
                            I've also seen lyme cause severe aggression. Don't assume it's behavioral until everything else has been ruled out.
                            If it is behavioral then it's the owner that sets the tone for the house. What are you doing that is setting one dog against another? Or what are you NOT doing that is allowing the behavior to escalate? it can't be said enough - obedience training, obedience training, obedience training goes along way in solving dog problems - even aggression issues.


                            • #54
                              I have two 8 yr old male Dobes that are full brothers. I rescued them both from the HS at 1 1/2 yrs old. They came into our family which already included a male chow,dobe, shepard , another female Dobe and a beagle. I have never had any trouble with the two brothers fighting at all. Back when I raised Dobes I often had siblings and no problem either. I do know my dogs though, I ve had Dobes for 32 yrs and tend to nip things in teh bud. But no issues with siblings at all. I am finding I have to watch over the chow x now that he is 16 and going downhill. They DO seem to know this, and apparently wish he would soon expire.


                              • #55
                                I hadn't heard of littermate aggression as adults in dogs before. I know a woman who has a couple of JRT siblings and they don't fight, and my husband's grandfather always kept a pack of beagles that had sets of littermates and they all got along wonderfully.


                                • #56
                                  The suddeness and violence of the attacks leads me to a medical issue as the most likely too. Unfortunately I have known of three dogs that seemed to suddenly develop animal and/or people agression later in life. Two of the families were experienced dog owners and in one it was an only dog. All ended up being euthanized, no necropsies, unfortunately. The vet felt it was likely neurological - the only one questionable was the family with more questionable management. Five seems a little late for serious aggression to surface without prior signs without a major life change or a medical issue.

                                  I think there are issues with any household with more than one dog - littermates or not. In fact, I think it may be harder with adding a new dog later on. Family roles need to be determined and can change as the dogs age, creating upheaval. It think the dogs' personalities, often relating to the breed play a big role in their sociability. I have littermate Cavaliers. I was careful of their interaction when I picked them. The little female rules and the big male is cool with that. But with this breed there are fewer issues in living together than in other breeds. They have been selected to be social with each other as well as people - a very soft temperment.
                                  They are probably not as bonded to me as if I had one. But that is a good thing! Having had a dog with separation anxiety that had to be alone when I was at work, I wanted my new dogs to have company.
                                  OP I hope the vet can find something simple like hormone therapy to return your dog to her prior sweet self.


                                  • #57
                                    Originally posted by WaningMoon View Post
                                    I have two 8 yr old male Dobes that are full brothers. I rescued them both from the HS at 1 1/2 yrs old. They came into our family which already included a male chow,dobe, shepard , another female Dobe and a beagle. I have never had any trouble with the two brothers fighting at all. Back when I raised Dobes I often had siblings and no problem either. I do know my dogs though, I ve had Dobes for 32 yrs and tend to nip things in teh bud. But no issues with siblings at all. I am finding I have to watch over the chow x now that he is 16 and going downhill. They DO seem to know this, and apparently wish he would soon expire.
                                    Your story of getting those two dogs that were supposedly raised together as puppies doesn't prove anything, because they were adults when you got them and they may have been raised by someone that did raise them separately in the important ways it makes that work to avoid fights later.

                                    I know way too many, one of our own best dog club teachers and competitors, that went to get a female puppy and her husband liked a boy, so they took them both.
                                    They tried their best, but as it tends to happen to so many between three and six years, at three one dog became very aggressive and for the rest of their lives, they had to manage her for those problems.
                                    Both dogs were handled in a dog training family, with other dogs there, made good competition dogs in obedience, rally and agility, titled many times.
                                    Still, nature interfered and they at maturity had the fights that come along AT TIMES with dogs raised together as puppies.

                                    We know that, why chance it?
                                    That is why you won't find many breeders that will sell two puppies to be raised together, it is just not recommended.
                                    Put at least six months between puppies you buy, a year better yet.

                                    As others have said, there is more to any case than just one fact, but that two puppies were raised together and at maturity MAY, not WILL but MAY, in many cases, have fights.
                                    That is well documented, as it is how to try to prevent that if you have two puppies to raise to maturity together.
                                    Confine separatedly and make their time together play and training time.
                                    Don't let them be together 24/7 and without much individual, alone time with other in their lives.

                                    I would say that behavioral type fights after six years old may be then from other, like female to female aggression or other dynamics between dogs.
                                    When dogs come in with fight problems and are from three to six, I always ask if the aggressive dog was raised with another puppy and if they are still living in the same household, that is one more possible part of the puzzle.
                                    Many times, they were.

                                    Not saying that is the case here, with this dog, but it is a valid consideration with some.

                                    Will be interesting what the veterinarian finds out.
                                    Hopefully it is something like Lime that can be treated and all will go back to getting along fine, Grumpy now feeling more like herself again.


                                    • #58
                                      I think we should get away from the sibling rivalry, I don't think it's the problem in the OP's case.

                                      Sadly, I fear that the issues are likely to be fatal for the offending dog. It's just not 'normal' for a dog to snap like this after 5 years. Though I have heard of bloody coup de tats were the ruling king/queen was dethroned by an upstart, sometimes with deadly consequence...

                                      No nice position for the OP to be in, I am keeping my fingers crossed and jingle like crazy, just hooping I am wrong and there is a pill to solve the problem!


                                      • #59
                                        If this dog was a human and had a total personality switch suddenly I would worry about neurological problems first. Unfortunately, brain tumors and other neurological problems apparently do come out this way. I hope the vet finds something easily treated, and things will change back.
                                        You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                                        • #60
                                          Let me start by saying I only read the OP, but that is so strange! I have grown up with saint bernards and love them to death. Our last boy we had until he was 12 and a half and had to be put down. 5 sounds very young for a hip problem. The only time our dog ever showed any agression was when he too was about 5, my then 12 year old brother and a friend were riding 4 wheelers behind our house. We think our dog thought the friend was chasing my brother with the intent to hurt him, and when they got off the 4 wheelers, the dog attacked the boy. He turned his head away so we don't know if it was teeth or a claw, but the boy needed some 30 stitches down this scalp. Also this boy had teased and been mean to our dog before. My parents lost their homeowners ins over it, but the vet talked my parents out of putting hom down saying one (provoked) accident did not make this otherwise perfect dog vicious. Sts are known for being gentle giants but protective of their people. Maybe your dog thought she was protecting you from her brother?? Doesn't really sound that way though. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. Hugs!