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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not quite as typical as it sounds I dont think.
I have a 23 month old Yellow Lab that has started growling and getting his hackles up at me in the last few months. I dont think he playing at all.
Background is that he is a VERY talented pup.He learns quicky usually. And wants to please me, most of the time. He was force fetched last summer, by a pro, and started doing hunt tests. Trainer loves him.I am brand new at handling or training.He has done great.No one has had anything to say about him, but positive. TONS of drive. Very fast and athletic. He is going to be great. We hunted him this fall, and he did great.
He is a house dog at home.We have 2 kids 6 and 8. The only time he has not been a house dog is when he was training with a pro for 2 months. I saw him for group training and one on one training 2x week for most of this time.

So, here is the part I cant figure out. He is great with the family during the day. He is everything you want in a family dog. Typical goofy, attention loving lab.Protective of his family and his property but otherwise non-threatening. He is not aggressive to other animals.In fact he could care less about other animals most of the time.

At might he is different.
A few months ago I was watching a video that had been linked on here. It turned out to be a "trainer" that was abusing his dog with the Ecollar. My dog was lying at his feet. When he heard that dog he went ballistic. I turned it off immediately , but my dog kept snarling at me.I took him outside immediately and played with him, but he was stand offish for a day or two.
Now intermittently he has been doing the same thing, without any provocation that I can tell. 98% of the time it is after dark, and rarely a little the next morning. About 6 weeks ago he started this one night right after I aired him before bed.I ended up grabbing him by the collar, and he went nuts. First time my wife had ever seen it, and it scared her.I rolled him then, but it was a FIGHT.
I had back surgery 4 weeks ago, and cant get physical/alpha roll him at all.
I am asking for advice because when I went to bed the other night, he came at me.I turned on the light to be sure he knew it was me, and he didnt quit. Told him to knock it off, and he got louder.Took him outside and threw a dummy, and he finally calmed down.It is getting more frequently.I dont trust him at night any more.
He got growly with a male jogger that ran near him this week. But ignored females that day.
My wife thinks it is only men that set him off. In fact when he starts with me, she can usually call him away and put him out. 10 minutes later he is usually OK..

I am not sure if this aggression toward me,him trying to be alpha, or if it is fear for some reason. Happens almost always at night. I know his sight is good, he does 150 yard marks without any difficulty,He has never been beaten, or even struck that I know of.He does have a collar he always wears when he is exercising or training. In fact he loves it. He has NEVER been aggressive to my wife or kids.
Normally he will follow me around all day. Sleeps at my feet, etc.I talked to his parents owners. Their dogs have never acted like this. His brother doesnt act like this.

I really love this dog. As do my kids. I dont want to have to get rid of him. And I dont want to alpha roll him if it is fear, I figure this would make it worse? If it is him trying to be alpha, what do I need to do? I just dont know why this behavior.And I NEED to fix it. We dont want him to be a kennel dog.
Thanks for any insight,
Mike

 

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Probably not the PC answer but my dog Hudson did this, I threw him on his back, grabbed his throat and shook the daylight out of him. He has never growled at me since.
 

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I would muzzle him in the evenings, after he eats for the safety of your family. Maintaining this practice over a extended period time may indicate to him he is a subordinate member of the family. "Just an idea for starts", but I would really monitor him very close when not muzzled. I may even consider crating him along with muzzling during this same period (example: when he is not muzzled, he should be crated).
He believes he is running the show and you will have to establish an absolute impression on him of your dominance and control. Physical confrontations can and should be avoided, if you set some very consistent methods of control over him, he may change his dominant behavior.

Hope this helps!
Ken
 

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First this dog needs to be evaluated by your vet for physical/neurological issues. If those things are ruled out, exercise and obedience are going to be great tools to use with this dog. If he was mine I would free run and or swim him until he was dragging. I would also try to get two strict leash obedience sessions in per day. He needs a paradigm shift. This is something you don't want to let go. Get after it immediately and implement a plan. Also, if your physical condition is compromised don't get into a struggle with him you can't win. He will remember this! If you go to ground, you have to win.
 

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Has this dog been allowed to sleep on the bed and furniture? Is there always free run of the house? Have any other dynamics changed in the household, i.e. new pets?

Suggest getting a vet exam which includes thyroid T3-T4 panel to rule our health issues.

Is this dog neutered or still intact?

Milder epileptic seizures can sometimes present in aggressive behavior with the dogs also staring off into space or seeming withdrawn.

I certainly would not be throwing bumpers rewarding the aggressive behavior

Contact an experienced dog behaviorial specialist that can see how you and your family are interacting with this dog to give you advice.
 

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I went through this with a Aust. Cattle Dog stud I had once, turns out he had a brain injury and had to be put down... Not the PC way, but I'd put a time line of this, do a through blood panel, vet visit, have the trainer in for a night and provoke the situation to see what they think, but bud, you've got two small kids in that house and if he went after you and you are the ALPHA MALE and it was a fight whats the result gonna be if he takes a crack at your kids? What chance will they have to defend? I have a friend who is a very pretty girl and wonderful woman but she has a scar covering her cheek from a dog attack when she was little, the last thing you want is your kids to deal with that, it's hard but I had to return my boy to the breeder for the safety of my family. If you didnt have kids and had more time to spend curing it that'd be different, but you cant change a tragedy after the fact no matter if you had the best intentions.
 

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Has this dog been allowed to sleep on the bed and furniture? Is there always free run of the house? Have any other dynamics changed in the household, i.e. new pets?

Suggest getting a vet exam which includes thyroid T3-T4 panel to rule our health issues.

Is this dog neutered or still intact?

Milder epileptic seizures can sometimes present in aggressive behavior with the dogs also staring off into space or seeming withdrawn.

I certainly would not be throwing bumpers rewarding the aggressive behavior

Contact an experienced dog behaviorial specialist that can see how you and your family are interacting with this dog to give you advice.
I agree with Frontier. It almost sounds like something medical (seizures) is setting him off. This is serious. You need to get him away from the people outside and the kids until you can have him thoroughly checked out. The muzzle is not a bad idea but if he were mine he would be gone. Call the breeder.
 

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Rule out any health issues, then what Bert said.
Under no circumstances should this be tolerated Definately don't take the dog outside and throw bumpers. You are rewarding the behavior.
Stop it now before it gets much worse.
 

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If a dog growled at me (and they have) and exhibited that behavior at night we would have a Come To Jesus meeting not later but right NOW. Like the minute I saw those hackles go up. Followed promptly with an OB lesson with a choke chain and zero tolerance. As soon as you see submission let them up a bit and ease off until they are behaving correctly.Had this problem with an Alpha male Golden years ago. You have to balance correction for bad behavior with reward for good . I don't abuse my dogs but I do not allow them run the show. No way he would get a bumper until the next day, provided he showed the proper behavior.
My .02
I think the issue is that the poster has had back surgery recently.

I agree completely with what Brad Vail wrote.

Chris
 

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My take from breeding American Pits and Chow Chows for years.

Your dog senses your weakness. You just had surgery and prior to that you were probably weaker and in pain I assume.

Dogs sense weakness in the Alpha....You.....they believe its time to assert themselves. The only dangerous situation I ever had with a Pit was when I was playing MLB for Ga Tech in 89. I injured and tore my miniscus in Spring camp...I came home in pain and on meds...My favorite dog Obi sensed my weakness and began challenging me.....The situation was always after dark and as you describe.

I spoke to a K9 trainer friend of mine from the USMC and he explained how do deal with it. Seems it happens in battle zones as well when a handler is injured during battle. Its not nice but SOLVED the problem immediately.

PM me and Ill share the solution.

Bruz
 

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Did you talk to your Pro about this?
I agree with this.I would check what your dogs relationship is like with the trainer. one never knows what is happening when your not there. there are some horror stories out there.
ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
As far as obedience, he is excellent. He gets obedience every day when we go for excercise. He never questions me. Only at night when he has his hackles up. I havent thrown bumpers to reward his behavior, but maybe this is how he sees it. I have been just trying to break his behavior. If I get him doing something else, he quits.

As far as my kids being safe, I watch very carefully. He has NEVER been aggressive at all to them. Kids friend stuck a straw up his nose last week, dog licked him and wagged his tail. He is careful not to knock them over. He does not chase them like an Alpha I owned used to.He is never left unsupervised around them.They are not allowed him while he eats. I work in an ER and used to work Peds ICU. I am well aware of dog bites and the damage they do.

Nothing drastic has changed in the house recently. Other than my surgery.

When I said he is protective of his property, it has only been to 1 man that came close to my wife, and 1 man that walked through our gate into the back yard unannounced..Meter reader. When he growled, I told him to Here and sit. Which he did without question.

He will be crated at night starting tonight. He has free run of the house when we are home. Kennel when we are at work. NEVER allowed on ANY furniture.

Seizures? I guess possible, but not likely since it is 98% of the time after dark. Any one have any idea for why this is? He is intact.

I will talk to the trainer when I can get out there. But I need to heal a little more. Dog hasnt seen the trainer since September.

The time he first did it in front of my wife, we did have a come to Jesus meeting.I actually had to choke him out. Only way I could hold him down and not lose.I really dont want to do that again unless I have to. I will be physically unable to do that for several more months.

Truthfully, he has NEVER acted alpha at all until recently.He is usually a happy go lucky goof ball unless he is training, hunting, or testing.Then he is intense.

So no one thinks there is any type of a fear reaction, however misplaced it might be, going on here? Almost always after dark......

Hope I answered everyones questions.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Bruz,
I have lurked here for a while. But havent contributed, as I have only recently started doing hunt tests and training. I cant send PMs yet.
I can receive them though.
Thanks.
 

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If it were me I would 1. rule out medical problems 2. talk to your pro and 3. get with an experienced, proven trainer who specializes in behavioral problems and aggression.

I would not want to take the chance and try to diagnose and resolve this problem on my own.
 

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Again this is NOT something that should be solved via internet.
We here are NOT present during the attacks and can only guess what is going on.
Please seek professional help immediately for everyone's safety.
This is NOT normal behavior.
I wish you all the best.
Sue
 

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As far as obedience, he is excellent. He gets obedience every day when we go for excercise. He never questions me. Only at night when he has his hackles up. I havent thrown bumpers to reward his behavior, but maybe this is how he sees it. I have been just trying to break his behavior. If I get him doing something else, he quits.

As far as my kids being safe, I watch very carefully. He has NEVER been aggressive at all to them. Kids friend stuck a straw up his nose last week, dog licked him and wagged his tail. He is careful not to knock them over. He does not chase them like an Alpha I owned used to.He is never left unsupervised around them.They are not allowed him while he eats. I work in an ER and used to work Peds ICU. I am well aware of dog bites and the damage they do.

Nothing drastic has changed in the house recently. Other than my surgery.

When I said he is protective of his property, it has only been to 1 man that came close to my wife, and 1 man that walked through our gate into the back yard unannounced..Meter reader. When he growled, I told him to Here and sit. Which he did without question.

He will be crated at night starting tonight. He has free run of the house when we are home. Kennel when we are at work. NEVER allowed on ANY furniture.

Seizures? I guess possible, but not likely since it is 98% of the time after dark. Any one have any idea for why this is? He is intact.

I will talk to the trainer when I can get out there. But I need to heal a little more. Dog hasnt seen the trainer since September.

The time he first did it in front of my wife, we did have a come to Jesus meeting.I actually had to choke him out. Only way I could hold him down and not lose.I really dont want to do that again unless I have to. I will be physically unable to do that for several more months.

Truthfully, he has NEVER acted alpha at all until recently.He is usually a happy go lucky goof ball unless he is training, hunting, or testing.Then he is intense.

So no one thinks there is any type of a fear reaction, however misplaced it might be, going on here? Almost always after dark......

Hope I answered everyones questions.

Thanks.
Jeebus, no freaking way that dog should be allowed around children until you figure this out! Don't let the ones that rely on you to protect them become a statistic on your watch. The family pets that bite are always friendly until they're not so stop being ridiculous and get this dog straight.
 

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For the safety of your family, you need to get all health issues ruled out with this dog immediately. If it is not a physical problem, I would then talk to your trainer and the breeder. There is a procedure Nothing In Life Is Free that could be very helpful if this is not a physical problem. http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm I hope that you will be able to find a solution that is good for you, your family and the dog.
 
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