Fear aggressive Heeler

by Laura
(DFW, Texas)

I can't trust him anymore... this wasn't that long ago.

I can't trust him anymore... this wasn't that long ago.

We got our dog on the day he was supposed to be put to sleep. He was 1, and had been at shelter a month.

They said he was a great dog, but he'd been there too long, they needed to make room. I worked with a local rescue. My plan was to foster him until he found his forever home.

Of course he quickly won his way into our hearts. He's a dog genius. I have never met a dog who can do the things he can do. Not just sit, stay, shake. I've taught him to jump through hoops, spin...all kinds of things. He never fully trusted other dogs, but he was manageable. His shelter record showed that a dog had bit his paw, but they said he was not dog aggressive.

Sadly we had a big dog get on our property and chase him all around. Then the very next week a visiting 11 year old boy barked and growled at him from behind. he bit that kid, he did not draw blood, but he clearly pinched the skin.

Since then his behavior has really regressed. I barely recognize my dog.

Now my dog does not trust kids or dogs. and is leery around people he doesn't know. he's very outwardly aggressive. Barky, growly, lunging at dogs when we are out and about. he's a bite risk.

I'd be 100% on board working with him through this, but I HAVE KIDS. I can't trust him with my kids. THis makes home life very hard.

I'm working very hard with him, but it seems every few days we have another set back. I'm not sure how long I can do this.

We had a behaviorist out last week. I'm hand feeding him. I'm limiting his exposure to other dogs for now. ... I'm wondering what his long term outlook is?

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Aggressive Bull Mastiff X

by Samantha
(QLD )

I have a desexed male 4 yr old pit bull/mastiff x . We got him at 10 months. He has had some issues with fear aggression but never bitten anyone. He is normally pretty obedient but has lifted his lips at us a couple of times when we catch him on the bed and tell him to get off. We also have a 7 month old puppy female that is very hyperactive at times.

Tonight they were playing with a toy and I took it off them and put it outside as it is bed time now I got the toy off him no worries but when I told him to get on his bed inside he walked away from me and I walked up to him and told him again and he lifted his lips so I told him NO! And pointed my finger at him, he then snapped at me so I took a step towards him and forced him outside and put him in his pen. He was reluctant to go to his pen so I smacked him on the bottom and he growled and snapped at me again. I know I should stand my ground with him but he can be very scary and I can't keep my confidence when he does this so I he must sense my weakness .

My bf has also been away for a week so they have been staying inside with me which I know is not good but we live on property and I'm alone so I had them with me. How do I establish myself as pack leader and what is your opinion on this matter?

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Agressive Mastiff Mix

by Stephanie
(Memphis, TN)

I took in a stray puppy about 4 months ago. He had been beaten and was fearful of people. In the time I have had him he has bonded well with me and my other dog, but is still very fearful/agressive towards some dogs and strangers. At 8 months he is 85 lbs, so that does not help people react to his agressiveness in a rational manner.

I cannot find a single "trigger" that they have in common. There are times he is amazingly loving and playful to strangers, and others I am afraid he is going to seriously hurt someone.

I can take food/bones/toys out of his mouth (I always give them back with praise and extra petting), push him off the couch, play tug-of-war, any number of things and there is never a show of agression towards me. He loves my older rottie female and will play with her for hours.

He is loving with other people, and then the next person he tries to attack - friends visiting, the vet, people who walk near him, other dogs on leashes, anything. There is no consistency (male/female/glasses/hat) no obvious trigger. The attack is out of fear, you can see it in his stance, but I do not know what he is afraid of and why some are OK and others are not.

I don't know how to desensitize when I don't know what to target, and taking him in public where people react in fear does not help.

Any ideas?

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Fear Aggressive Malamute Mix - Stormy relationship

by Leanna
(Fleming Island FL)

Over a year ago we got 2 dogs from a nearby shelter run by a single individual. We got a chow mix (to replace the beloved pet we had put to sleep for cancer) and a puppy. 2 weeks ago we finally put the chow mix to sleep. After training and lots of love we were unable to overcome his dog and people aggression. We were heartbroken but knew that the timid malamute mix puppy (now a young dog) might still have a chance to overcome her own difficulties. (The dogs seemed to feed off each other and walks were a nightmare, even individually.)

Stormy has anxiety about other bigger dogs but she usually adapts. That is, at a dog park she'll usually just get to know other dogs a little slower and sometimes over-reacts to sudden playfulness. Her real problem is with people. As a puppy she would try to bite at anyone who tried to pet her.

At 3 months she got out and chased a neighbor boy to the end of the lawn. He never knew she was chasing, he was just running to the next house down searching for friends. We tried to take her on a group walk with all the kids on our block, including our daughter (11). Stormy lunged at the little boy she had once chased out of the yard. She stared at him and growled at him throughout the entire 20-minute walk. She paid little attention to the other kids.

Now that she is alone we've really focused on exposing her to walks with other people (strangers) walking, jogging, and skating by. She's improving but we still have a ways to go with her. Recently she's begun approaching people at the dog park. But I'm not clear on her intentions. Sometimes she starts barking if someone turns toward her. It's beginning to worry me. At least before she would simply run away. Now she seems to want to engage but she's still uncertain and if she's addressed (turned toward or looked at) she becomes aggressive through barking. I worry she may get more bold!

At home she is a playful, happy dog. She's very smart and learns commands quickly. I am taking her to an evaluation tomorrow to see how she does with a stranger. I need help. I don't mind if Stormy (unlike me) keeps a slight distance to people but I do not want her to feel it is acceptable to become aggressive.

We don't have guests unless she is kenneled. We try to have child or two inside for brief periods with Stormy muzzled. But we feel like there may be more we can be doing to help her. She'll be 2 in November.

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