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We have a 17 mth old, Coda, who about 5 months ago began showing very aggressive behaviour towards dogs.. at first. It is now gotten much worse and can be directed towards people (men women and children) and dogs. Just depends if he feels like he wants to attack them or not. He is such a loveable dog and is a great listener. We have done obedience classes and socialized him extremely well.
We have discussed this with the breeder… no evidence of this aggression of any sort in his family line.
We are doing intensive correction and praise and doing all that specialist tell us to. The next step is to get his thyroid checked. We were advised to do this… completely connected to some aggressiveness in dogs.

Any one dealing with this in their dogs? Those who we speak with about it have never heard another Vizsla going through this extensive aggression. Someone Please help with any ideas! Thanks
 

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Well, I wish I could offer some help. The thyroid check does sound like a good idea, and I would pursue that. Just so you know you are not alone... When Willie goes to the Vet, he is a happy and well-mannered dog who loves everyone. The staff AND the DVM (Dr. Tim) all say that they have seen plenty of aggressive Vizslas; very high-strung and aggressive, and that Willie is exceptional in this regard. My previous dog, a Vizsla mix, had the same kind of loving personality as Willie has. I have had to try to convince them that aggression isn't normally a trait found in the typical Vizsla personality. So again, in your situation, I would try to find a medical explanation. There has to be a reason, as this isn't typical.
 

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Thanks for your concerns and help! We will look into this test asap.. it is really weighing on my mind, and although some people are saying that this can be found in vizslas… most are saying it is abnormal. I honestly hope we find a medical reason behind all of this!
 

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Wow, this sounds like a scary situation to be in.

" Thyroid problems in dogs impact the metabolism of most cells in the body. Conditions include hypothyroidism, which is the production of too little hormone and hyperthyroidism, which is over production of hormones. "

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism in dogs includes:
-Weight loss
-Increased appetite
-Increased heart rate

There are several symptoms to look for if you suspect your dog is suffering from canine hypothyroidism:
Weight Gain with no increase in eating
-Slow heart rate
-Ear Inflammation
-Lethargy
-Lack of Mental Alertness
-Thin Hair
-Dull Coat
-Hair loss on head and limbs
-Hair loss (alopecia) around base of tail
-Cold Intolerance
-Exercise intolerant
-Thick scales on the skin (hyperkeratosis)
-Dark spots on the skin (hyperpigmentation)
-High cholesterol

Not sure where the aggression fits here.
Thyroid problems seem to translate into tumors if not now, later in life.

About 10 years ago had a GS puppy and when he turned 15 months old was flying, ready to fight at a drop of a hat. Turns out he did not have proper leadership.
Every time my cousin visited the dog behaved very well. Not sure what he was doing to him but it was not treats training.
We gave him the dog and he gave us a....cat. :-\

Please keep us posted.
 

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http://redbirddog.blogspot.com/2009/12/history-and-misconceptions-of-dominance.html

The above post deals with other dogs. That part is easier than aggression towards people. Seek professional dog people who UNDERSTAND hard driving hunting dogs. A good male hunting dog is driven and being "social" didn't have alot to do with a successful hunter. Socialization is able to be done but it takes you taking your dog out every day with people.

Stay out of dog parks. These are ready made problems for hard driving hunting dogs. I never take Bailey to a dog park anymore. He is a strong intact male. Was "mugged" serveral times in dog parks. You don't want a pattern like that to start.

Good luck. Dozens of posts regarding this throughout my blog.

Rod
http://redbirddog.blogspot.com
 

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Indeed, GS dogs are different. Drive is also different.
Not sure if neutering early @ 6 months would have an impact on aggression later in life.
Pretty sure doing it later in life has no effect on aggression.

I was advised to strongly consider neutering our Vizsla boy @ 6 months!

But the problem which concerns me is the story with the Thyroid gland the post originated with.
Never thought Thyroid problems lead to escalating aggression over time.

PS Redbirddog, just read your link in the post above, great info, thanx for taking the time.
 

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Interesting theory about the tyroid. Can you remember the 1st time Coda was aggressive? What was the situation? Is it possible that the initial aggressive signs were reinforced in any way? What does "intensive correction" mean? I think it's great you are taking the steps to rule out any medical issues first. Sorry for all the questions, especially if they sound judgemental. No judgement :) Just curious.
 

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kellygh said:
Can you remember the 1st time Coda was aggressive? What was the situation? Is it possible that the initial aggressive signs were reinforced in any way? What does "intensive correction" mean?
I, too, am curious about the behavioral aspect of it just in case the cause isn't medical (hoping there is a medical reason). My question is- did the aggressive behavior begin on a leash while walking past other dogs?
 

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Kian, was neutered at 11 months and he started to show signs of aggression at the age of 22 months, now he is 27 months old and we still deal with his aggression towards other male's from time to time.
We literally had to start his training over. Showing him that WE ARE ALPHA.
He is such a stubborn boy that some days he does push his limits with us, we just have to stay on top of him and call him in if we see a possible problem with another dog.
I personally stay out of dog parks now, it's not worth it for my dog to get in a fight. He will pick the wrong dog and probably get hurt very badly.

He has been tested for thyroid and his levels are fine, so it's just something we have to work on with him.

He is an intense dog and when he gets in that "zone" he needs to learn to cool it off when he plays with other dogs. It's still something we are working on and I hope that he gets it sooner than later.

Good luck.
 

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You are all so supportive! Coda was nuteured at 9 months old.. he was showing "uncalled for" behaviours around other dogs. But, he was just the nicest and sweetest dog until about 4 mths ago. The aggression began when my father came to visit us, entered our home, and coda did not like this. He was fine after about 3-4 minutes after meeting him. Again, this happens now if someone comes to our home (only certain people), it can be on walks, on leash, off leash( but we dont let him off leash now if we see others) and even in the car when we are passing a person he is not into or even a dog. Remember, this doesn't happen everytime.. just who he feels he wants to bark at.

We are doing sublime training, so positive rfn, calmness etc… but it is ALWAYS. Every second of the day we have to be on him. .So thats what I meant about intensive. Maybe just intensive for us! :)

I am happy to say that my father in law arrived yesterday, and Coda was amazing. We were advised to put a soft muzzle on him when greeting dad, and we did. They met outside and all was good. We were so proud. Things can easily change though… as of today he is doing well..
We are trying to keep in in "low stress" zone… calming methods. The vet is away and we are looking into getting a thyroid test done on him next week. Luckily we have insurance!
 

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Glad the visit with FIL is going well. It sounds like y'all are doing everything you can to help Coda. Thanks for the clarification. Sometimes "intensive correction" makes me a little nervous, especially with a V, because intensive might mean really harsh. Many trainers around us say they support/use "positive" training methods, but so many of them know little or have no experieince with Vizslas. They are defintely a breed of a different bird. Anyway, I hope you are able to work through this with Coda. Let us know the test results when you get them. Best wishes :)
 

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You are not alone! Rosie has similar issues. Started around 6 months old, initially with children only, then with strange adults, and now sometimes even with other dogs. Barking, growling, lunging. It usually happens with people who are uncomfortable with dogs, or dogs who are defensive toward other dogs (she reads the body language). It happens on walks and when we have visitors or delivery people come to the house. At home, she has the same issue of being crazy for 3-4 minutes with newcomers, then calming down. We consulted a behavioral specialist a while back who evaluated Rosie's temperament and behavior and said that Rosie displays aggression because she is fearful. Instead of flight, she does the fight part of fight-or-flight when she feels threatened.

We need to schedule another visit, though, because although there has been a fair amount of improvement since the consult (we were given counterconditioning/desensitization instructions), we feel like things could still be much better.

P.S. Just wanted to add that although Rosie has never made contact with anyone when she is freaking out, and we have always made sure that she can't get close, we got threatened in our neighborhood by a guy that was surprised when Rosie barked and lurched in his direction (again, we had her under control, but it is alarming). He responded by telling us that our dog should be killed and that we should be killed for having such a monster. Really made our day.
 

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You are not alone! The reason i found this forum was because i googled "vizsla behavioural problems" one night after a particularly unnerving episode with a cylist. That then developed into what sounds like a similar, apparently random fear or dislike of people.

Merc was 18 months when the problems started which surprised me because i expected him to be well on the way to growing up by then - turns out he was only just starting adolescence. We also worked with a behaviourist / positive reinforcement trainer and and another 18 months on he is so much better. It has been a long hard slog but definitely worth it. I tried the "dominant alpha" thing, forcing him to sit when approached by things that frightened him etc before realising it wasn't working and I needed professional help. IMHO, positive reinforcement is the only way to be sure that you aren't making the problem worse. Yes the dog needs leadership but its all about how you do that.

Intense is the right word! Every moment you spend with a V is training - at least that was my life for the last 2 years.

Before i go on and on for hours..... Merc's behaviour in general started calming down a lot after he turned 3. So I think if you work hard with your trainer and hang in there you will end up with a wonderful dog. Good luck with the thyroid test!
 

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Hi, would you please update us on Coda's health, I recall reading about possible thyroid gland problems in another post.
 

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Hi Folks,

I apologize for the lengthy time it has taken for me to respond. This has been quite the road with Coda and we have had no new news. Until now... a little news has come.

In a nutshell, this Coda has been very aggressive towards people and dogs. No rhyme or reason to it. We had his thyroid tested (full 5 panel) and his score came back 16. The possible range from a normal thyroid is 12-50. Of course the lower being labelled a "low normal". Needless to say that Coda's breed, size, age etc should have landed him on the higher end of the normal ( my vet indicated that as well)

So we waited the three months and had him re-tested. His test came back this morning and it is even lower. He scored a 13. 1 on his T4 test. The vet is now stating that we put him on a trial on a very low dose of thyroid medication to see how he does over the next month. We are waiting to start this medication for a few weeks until his body is free of the anti anxiety medication is his currently on (apo-clomipramine ) Poor little guy.

We are hoping something positive comes of this and his behaviour changes for the better. He still is aggressive towards people and dogs (not all) but we cannot trust him and therefore still wears a muzzle when out for walks etc.

Thank you all for your thoughts and concern. When Coda gets started up on the meds I will update with any information I have.
 

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Thanks for the update. I hope the medicine will help. This can be a very difficult and discouraging problem to have with a dog you love.
 

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We’re about three weeks away from getting Nyla sterilized, putting her at the 18 month point. Likely unrelated but here I go.

A quick question. We have been noticing an increased amount of aggression in the home towards strangers. This seems to be specifically activated when someone walks down the hall behind one of us, or in some cases someone that walks out of our house carrying something. She has nipped three people to date and broken the skin on all three. Fortunately the people are friends and have been kind about the results. In all three, this was a quick nip and pull with a quick aggressive movement (then move away) Not always associated with barking either. Sometimes just a quick grab. Any suggestions relative to training so that we don’t live in fear of losing our dog to a more severe injury? She’s usually very loving and loves other dog owners and people she knows. I love my dog and don’t want to lose her. How practical would it to be to have her on an ecollar all the time?
Thanks for any help!
 

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While I like and use ecollars. They are only to be used with already known commands. They are just a extra layer of training.
I would not use a ecollar, to try and stop a dog from biting. You would be much better off, conditioning her to a basket muzzle. That way you can work on her problem, without putting friend, and her in harm's ways.
 

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While I like and use ecollars. They are only to be used with already known commands. They are just a extra layer of training.
I would not use a ecollar, to try and stop a dog from biting. You would be much better off, conditioning her to a basket muzzle. That way you can work on her problem, without putting friend, and her in harm's ways.
I agree with TR on this. One of our beagles had people possession issues so we trained him with a basket muzzle and it solved a lot of his issues but gave us the piece of mind while we were working through issues with our kids being in the house. My aunt also uses one with her german shepherd because he's too protective of her and he's come a long way.
 
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