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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Our 16 month old boy is sweet 98% of the time, but sometimes he snaps and can turn out of control aggressive. He has been in dog daycare training sessions from 4 to 9 months when the puppy school told us he became aggressive towards another male dog over a female friend. He stopped going as they were putting a muzzle on him that hurt his nose until he bled. We noticed he tends to bark loads at only other male dogs on walks. He never stopped training, we took him to individual obedience classes and then group sessions but always on lead with us. He does all commands, some with more success than others but generally does really well in class. He recently started showing aggression towards people. With me (female) he growled only once when he was guarding some food item he stole, I distracted him with a treat and he was fine. He often barks and bites (lightly) our feet when we move off couch or turn in bed, it feels like he is easily freaked out by noise and movement of feet. But then immediately goes to his place and assumes a submissive pose. He has bitten my partner (male) twice over something he was protecting and another time we were unsure why. He was moving past him and he lost it. Skin was broken then. Today he attacked my partner’s father, also unexpectedly and suddenly, also in reaction to movement (we think). Then his wife and my partner stepped in and he bit them too. He used to spend many days at their house so they were very familiar people to him but now are afraid of him and don’t want him there anymore. If he were adopted I’d assume he was beaten before, but we have never used aggressive training with him, ever. We already spoke to our trainer before this about the occasional snaps and he seems to suggest neutering as the next step with him. We don’t mind doing it, but I’m aware this may not solve the problem. Does anyone have experience with this type of aggression?
 

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I have gone back and read your other threads on this forum. It seems you've put a lot of thought and effort into bringing Atom into your life... and also seems the exhibited aggressive behavior is a long time and escalating issue. It must be sad and frustrating for you. :-(

I'm not a canine behaviorist... or even a professional dog trainer. Therefore, consider everything further to be pure, unprofessional opinion.

Unfortunately, Atom now being 16 months old, how this aggressive behavior could be corrected is very different from when he was 4 to 9 months old, when the behavior first began. The history of your posts suggests the behavior was/is unwittingly reinforced, rather than being mitigated.

Your accounting of Atom's "dog daycare training sessions from 4 to 9 months" is rather disturbing to me. "... muzzle on him that hurt his nose until he bled"? At 9 months old? Seriously?!?!?!? I'd be curious to learn exactly when during those 5 months he began showing aggression, when you were first told, exactly how the trainers responded to the very first instance and how the h-e-l-l they allowed Atom's behavior to escalate to the point of self harm. I'm sorry. There's nothing that could be said to convince me a 4 to 9 month old male puppy could develop intense aggression towards other males, in the blink of an eye... requiring a muzzle.

He often barks and bites (lightly) our feet when we move off couch or turn in bed, it feels like he is easily freaked out by noise and movement of feet.
...you think this may be a clue? I do.

Personally, I think while Atom was at that daycare, he initially exhibited a minor, undesirable aggressive behavior towards another male dog and then wasn't "trained" properly... and ultimately was neglected and abused. From your writings, I get the distinct impression his aggression towards people was originally rooted in FEAR (from daycare experiences)... and has now manifested into something a bit more complex.

If Atom was my dog, I'd be in contact with a proven behaviorist! I'd also be doing a million hours of research on dog psychology, as it relates to his issues. Having a pretty strong understanding of operant conditioning for desired behaviors (as you also seem to have), I'd be reflecting on the past and planning for the future with the perspective of being very cautious of how I might reinforce his negative behavior with inadvertent operant conditioning.

[edit] As it relates to neutering, it "might" help with aggressive behavior towards other males... BUT... I HIGHLY DOUBT it would have any effect on his fear based issues.

As for an actual plan to help Atom, I really think you need some good help from a proven professional. There seems to be a lot going on... and it's getting worse.

My heart goes out to Atom and family!
 
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I have gone back and read your other threads on this forum. It seems you've put a lot of thought and effort into bringing Atom into your life... and also seems the exhibited aggressive behavior is a long time and escalating issue. It must be sad and frustrating for you. :-(

I'm not a canine behaviorist... or even a professional dog trainer. Therefore, consider everything further to be pure, unprofessional opinion.

Unfortunately, Atom now being 16 months old, how this aggressive behavior could be corrected is very different from when he was 4 to 9 months old, when the behavior first began. The history of your posts suggests the behavior was/is unwittingly reinforced, rather than being mitigated.

Your accounting of Atom's "dog daycare training sessions from 4 to 9 months" is rather disturbing to me. "... muzzle on him that hurt his nose until he bled"? At 9 months old? Seriously?!?!?!? I'd be curious to learn exactly when during those 5 months he began showing aggression, when you were first told, exactly how the trainers responded to the very first instance and how the h-e-l-l they allowed Atom's behavior to escalate to the point of self harm. I'm sorry. There's nothing that could be said to convince me a 4 to 9 month old male puppy could develop intense aggression towards other males, in the blink of an eye... requiring a muzzle.


...you think this may be a clue? I do.

Personally, I think while Atom was at that daycare, he initially exhibited a minor, undesirable aggressive behavior towards another male dog and then wasn't "trained" properly... and ultimately was neglected and abused. From your writings, I get the distinct impression his aggression towards people was originally rooted in FEAR (from daycare experiences)... and has now manifested into something a bit more complex.

If Atom was my dog, I'd be in contact with a proven behaviorist! I'd also be doing a million hours of research on dog psychology, as it relates to his issues. Having a pretty strong understanding of operant conditioning for desired behaviors (as you also seem to have), I'd be reflecting on the past and planning for the future with the perspective of being very cautious of how I might reinforce his negative behavior with inadvertent operant conditioning.

[edit] As it relates to neutering, it "might" help with aggressive behavior towards other males... BUT... I HIGHLY DOUBT it would have any effect on his fear based issues.

As for an actual plan to help Atom, I really think you need some good help from a proven professional. There seems to be a lot going on... and it's getting worse.
you may check this article if you have a german shepherd

My heart goes out to Atom and family!
 

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At this point you really need a certified behaviorist, that has a lot of experience with aggression.
 

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I’m very suspect of this puppy daycare training situation since you weren’t there to observe. Professional help as others said is needed. It sounds like he is fearful to me and biting out of misguided reflexes. For the feet nipping I’d say that’s not part of the concern as much. Ellie does that to us when she’s excited sometimes when we walk away from her. We tell her to “get your toy” to pacify her need for mouthing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone. We have booked an appointment with the vet to check his hormone levels and and rule out any health issues first. Also spoke to various dog trainers with whom we will have some sessions in the near future. It seems like he has two types of aggression - male to male hormone related is the clear one. The second is either dominance or fear related. We’ll need some time to work this out. We are more inclined to think it may be dominance as the fear triggers are not apparent. And it goes hand in hand with overprotective behaviour over female friends in a social situation. He is also sometimes stubborn when asked to move off our bed or sofa, so we are now restarting daily obedience drills for my partner to regain trust and authority after the bite. Was a perfect love bug yesterday, but my partner is shaken.
 
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