Aggressive Miniature Pinscher

In May of 2015, my fiancé, Ed, and I bought a Min-Pin puppy from a breeder when the puppy was about 2 months old. Ed wanted a female; I wanted a male.

We got a male and named him Pepper. He couldn't have been more beautiful and sweet and cuddly and precious! At the time, Ed and I could easily run home from work (a 5-minute drive) in the middle of the day to let our little baby puppy out and to see him and play with him.

In July of 2015, we moved out of our small apartment and bought a much more spacious townhouse. 30 minutes away from work. So, no more running home at will to walk Pepper or even to just interact with him. For a while, we kept him in an open-topped large crate in the kitchen where he could see out the windows and had a view of the first floor of the house. His food and water were in the crate with him, as was a pee pad (enclosed in a plastic snap-together tray in order to keep Pepper from ripping up/destroying the pad), and some comfy, fluffy blankets and a few dog toys.

Eventually, Pepper got taller and more agile and he was able to climb out of his crate. So, we bought the open-wire cover to the crate but still kept the crate in the kitchen with the same things inside the crate so Pepper would know where his food and bed were and where to go to pee during the 9-10 hours when nobody was home.

He is not a quiet dog. He barks obsessively whenever he sees birds outside the window...or other dogs...or joggers...or children (whether our child or not).

Anyway, Pepper had the run of the house on the first floor...until one day when we came home and he had chewed the fabric off a portion of the end piece of the arm of our sectional sofa. We spent hundreds of dollars to replace the end section of the couch and we began again to crate him when nobody was home.

A month or so after the sofa incident, Ed was away on business and it was only my son and myself in the house with Pepper one evening. Without too much thought, I went to the basement to do something and my son went to the second floor to do something and Pepper was on his own on the first floor. History did, in fact, repeat itself... When I re-emerged from the basement, I soon discovered that Pepper had once again destroyed the VERY SAME portion of the (newly replaced!!) end section of the couch. As upset as my son and I were, Ed was absolutely infuriated when he returned home from business at the end of the week.

The setup then became thus: dog crate (with lid), water and food bowls, pee pad, blankets, and some toys were all moved to the basement and we all vowed to keep an eye on Pepper ANY time he was out of his crate and up on the first floor.

Meanwhile, during our first winter in the new house with young Pepper, we were impacted by some back-to-back snowstorms. Ed and I worked from home for a few days as our cars were blocked in by several feet of snow. One day, while I was walking Pepper and navigating the piles of plowed snow, we suddenly happened upon a neighbor (I've never met him and he lives about 8 doors up the street) who was outside alternating between shoveling his driveway and playing with his 2 unleashed dogs (one is a Husky and the other is a Golden Retriever) in the snow.

Pepper immediately started barking and raised his hackles. The two bigger dogs ran over to investigate. I thought maybe those 2 wanted to play with Pepper and that maybe the situation could turn out to be really cute! I was wrong.

I don't think the other two dogs meant to harm Pepper but the situation quickly got out of control. The 2 dogs started to nose at Pepper and at first it seemed that Pepper was being submissive. But the 2 dogs got rougher with him and Pepper got scared and defensive and then I got scared. Pepper started growling and screaming at the dogs and they were basically wrestling him. Meanwhile, I'm screaming at the 2 dogs and crying and I'd begun to get tangled up in Pepper's leash and was trying not to fall in the snow piles and it was too much at once. FINALLY, the owner of the 2 dogs physically pulled them out of the situation and I took off running with my poor traumatized still-barking/growling dog trailing behind me.

For months afterward, I deliberately avoided letting Pepper set eyes on those 2 dogs. The owner doesn't walk his dogs in the neighborhood; he plays with them in his side yard (they are well-behaved and obey him) and/or takes them to a park to let them run off energy.

Fast-forward to Spring of 2016... the people who DO walk their dogs around the neighborhood are drawn out by the lovely weather. One couple (not the guy from over the winter), in particular, has a Husky and one or both owners walk the Husky past our front window from right to left and then, a few minutes later, from left to right; this occurs twice a day on a timed schedule.

I'll repeat: this is NOT the same Husky that attacked Pepper the winter before.

You would never know it though. As soon as Pepper senses that woman's Husky, he RACES up to the window and nudges his head between the wooden slats of the blinds and does this horrible scream-bark-howl while scraping at the window panes and the window sill. He gets so riled up that he will get the individual wooden blind pieces in his mouth while he's screaming and twist them all out of shape. They all have dents from his teeth chomping down on them and we fear they will soon be ruined.

To be fair, he barks at all dogs who pass by our house. People too. But his reaction to this Husky he's never met is unique. Any of us can be in another room, out of sight, and we all know when the Husky is in view based on Pepper's reaction.

Anyway, besides the couch incidents, Pepper has destroyed some clothing and several pairs of shoes; he has destroyed every single dog bed and stuffed toy he's been given; he becomes a vile monster when he has something in his mouth that he shouldn't and we try to get it away from him; he will often eat some disgusting insect from outside and then vomit in the house and then immediately begin to eat his vomit and will attack anyone who tries to clean the vomit up or remove Pepper from the situation before he's done re-digesting it; if given the chance, he will go into the bathroom and steal things out of the trashcan and run off to eat/destroy them under the dining room table where nobody can "get him"; we've had to block him from going to the second floor of the house as he'd previously spent some time gnawing on the baseboards; he knows there is a certain leather chair he is NOT allowed to sit on, yet, he continues to test us by not only SITTING on it, but also by engaging in this supersonic-speed DIGGING behavior on the throw pillows on the chair; he licks EVERYTHING! people's hands/feet/fingers/toes/arms/legs/face/hair/clothes, pillows, blankets, cushions, etc.

There is no WAY we could EVER get a protective winter "outdoor jacket" on Pepper - he wouldn't stand for us to manipulate his legs into sleeves without him biting us.

Pepper is 2 1/2 years old now. Back when he was a little puppy, I started a half-assed training regimen but I wasn't getting full support from my fiancé or son so Pepper's certainly not convinced that I am his master.

This all hurts my heart. Pepper will sit in my lap and let me pet him and then suddenly, OUT OF NOWHERE, he does a 180 and snaps at me: aggressive growling and barking and baring his teeth and if I don't get up or stand up and get away in time, he will bite me.

What have I or we done wrong? And how do we correct it without spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a 1-on-1 dog trainer?

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Oct 26, 2017
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Nothing In Life Is Free
by: Adam G. Katz

Employ the "Nothing In Life Is Free" approach, so that your dog starts to view you as the "pack leader." If your dog doesn't see you as the leader, then your corrections will be meaningless. So, if you're doing subtle things (inadvertently) to undermine your leadership role around the house-- it will be counter-productive.



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