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(17 Posts)
ShoppingBasket Fri 27-Oct-17 23:50:50

Hope someone can give me some insight as to whether this is agressive behaviour or not. Two months ago rescued a 4 year old pom x, background unknown other than owner was moving.

Dog came home, settled in fairly well except for some whining at night and mounting son - dog was put in another room when he done this. Dog does not do this anymore.

Dog has become very attached to me, will move or jump up at my slightest movement on chair but not husband or child. He will follow me to every room I go and pines for me if I leave house even if husband is here.
When following me his nose will be tipping my leg.
When left on his own, he won't eat or drink then when I come back gets very excited and gobbles everything up.

There has been a few incidents where he seems to have been trying to nibble\bite -
Sort of air snapping - and has been reprimanded for this. It is usually my husband but the odd time me and child. I didn't really take much notice of this.

He gets extremely agitated when he sees other dogs on walk, even if they are across the street. I have tried the treats etc but he is still very tense. He gets very stimulated on walks in country with sheep, crows, squirrels etc and sometimes he is hard to get his attention. (always leased walks)

The last few times we have played ball, he has become quite excited that he crouches down on tummy and then lunges at me - no teeth or anything. He used to bring ball back but now gets near me, crouches down and then speeds off with it again.

Tonight, is why I am writing this post. My son, is very gentle and caring with him, doesn't pull out of him and loves him to pieces. My son was saying goodnight to dog and the dog barked quite vicious at son and snapped/showed teeth (I didn't see as it happened so fast even though I was right there but wasn't looking in direction). Son was extremely upset.

We were advised by the shelter to get him neutered, which we did, one month ago.

So my question is, is this pointing in the direction of aggression? I feel like it's building up and I am not sure I want to take a chance of him biting. Am I over reacting? Any help appreciated, thanks.

Wolfiefan Sat 28-Oct-17 00:03:01

I am far from an expert but could he be resource guarding? Was he guarding you when your son was saying goodnight?
Has the dog had a vet check recently? Pain could be a cause?
How was your son saying goodnight? Could it have been in a way the dog didn't like?
Use treats switch ball for treat.
Avoid other dogs. If you see them at a distance get his attention on you and reward with a treat.
What makes him air snap? Beware of reprimanding. Again I'm a newbie but if you tell off a dog (eg for growling) I believe (may be wrong) behaviour could escalate.
Best thing would be a decent behaviourist. Or get advice on dog training advice and support group on FB. Behaviourists there can help.

ShoppingBasket Sat 28-Oct-17 00:07:09

Just been to vet on Monday and all seemed to be okay. Thanks for reply, will have a look on Facebook smile

Wolfiefan Sat 28-Oct-17 00:09:56

It's a great group. It really is. They know MUCH more than me!
For now I would limit interaction between the dog and anyone he is "snapping" at.

ShoppingBasket Sat 28-Oct-17 00:10:00

Air snap wise, it could be from being rubbed in a spot he decides he doesn't like or with me it can be when I am walking around house and he gets over excited - at what I don't know.

Son may have said goodnight in the way he doesn't like but I didn't quite see, will ask him in morning.

Wolfiefan Sat 28-Oct-17 00:11:18

Or if dog was sleeping. If you grabbed me to say goodnight and I was sleeping then I would snap too!!
Has he got a quiet space so he's not always following you?

loobybear Sat 28-Oct-17 00:15:00

In what way was your son saying goodnight? Quite often children will want to hug or kiss dogs and while that might be a sign of affection for us as humans, for dogs it's not. Your dog sounds quite nervous and I would suggest getting in a behaviourist (who uses force free methods) to support you in dealing with this.
When it comes to him snapping at your husband, I would want to be looking at what had happened before he snapped. Google Dr Sophia Yin dog body language and you will find some images of the stances dogs may have when they are feeling different ways. This is how they communicate but as humans we often miss those cues, so if a dog is showing us they aren't happy about something and we miss or ignore it then they may escalate their response to growling/showing teeth and then to snapping. These aren't your dog being bad, it's your dog communicating with you and you need to try and find out what they're trying to say (this doesn't mean it's safe for dogs showing this behaviour to be around children though). If you find out what it is that's making your dog growl at your husband then you can start to work on making your dog feel more comfortable with that through positive reinforcement.
This is the same for your dog's reactions to other dogs. If you are trying to give him treats but he is still reacting, you need to give him treats at more of a distance, far enough away that he doesn't react, then gradually move closer.

From what you've described it sounds like his behaviour can be worked on, but you need to consider whether it's fair on him or your children for you to be the one who does this. A nervous dog and children don't mix well. Are your children old enough to understand the space the dog may need and start to read his body language to know when to leave him? Do you have the time to dedicate to working with him on this (and it will take consistent training) whilst raising a family? Do you plan on having any more kids or will you be likely to have children around often who may not know how to be around dogs and who could scare him and set him off? These are all things I think you should be thinking about carefully in deciding if your home is the best one for him. You need to do what's best for both your family and the dog.

ShoppingBasket Sat 28-Oct-17 00:15:25

Dog was awake at time after having a nap. Yes, he has his own space which he does retreat to but again if I move at all he jumps up looking.

ShoppingBasket Sat 28-Oct-17 00:20:43

Thank you looby bear, my heart is breaking in two because I think I know the answer. I don't want to give him up because he has already been through that. My son is 9. He is good at giving him space and have been teaching him different signs dog will make to be left alone.

loobybear Sat 28-Oct-17 00:21:18

Just saw your post about him snapping when he is rubbed on certain spots. Our rescue did this at the beginning, it took us 4 years to get her to the point she is at now where we can touch her anywhere and she doesn't bother. it would definitely be worth getting her checked over by a vet though.

Wolfiefan Sat 28-Oct-17 00:22:50

Sounds like quite an anxious dog. Great advice above.

loobybear Sat 28-Oct-17 00:25:26

If your son is a mature 9 year old and you don't have many children round the house and you have the time to dedicate to training then I don't think it would be unworkable but only you can know what's best for you. The Facebook page a PP mentioned previously is a really good one and they can direct you towards good behaviourists and resources.

ShoppingBasket Sat 28-Oct-17 00:25:32

He is very anxious and I tried to speak to vet but was told it was normal for a shelter dog. People look at me like I have three heads when I say I think he suffers from anxiety.

Wolfiefan Sat 28-Oct-17 00:32:47

Of course a dog can be anxious. I wouldn't have much faith in that vet. No chance of ear issues etc. thinking pain could cause reaction.
My girl used to pace. I rewarded her when she was calm in bed. She now settles.

rightsaidfrederickII Sat 28-Oct-17 17:56:33

Poms are funny dogs; we had an older rescue one as a family from when I was about 7. They're cute and fluffy but they very much consider themselves to be the reigning monarch of the household and will let you know what they do and don't like. They're not especially biddable either and in the case of ours, would much prefer afternoon tea than an afternoon walk hmm. They can be one person dogs too.

I loved ours, but I did rapidly learn to read and respect the signals that she gave out! It might be worth advising your son to let the dog approach him, not the other way around. Does he have an area to go to where no one will disturb him, such as a bed in a quiet corner? On the plus side, with poms, their jaws can't do much damage. I'm not saying you want him to bite anyone (I'm sure you don't) but we're not dealing with a pit bull. Despite all the times the family pom growled / snapped at me, I don't remember her ever actually putting her jaws around my hand and she certainly never did any damage. It was more of a "fuck off I'm not in the mood" sort of warning, delivered in typical pom style.

PestDog (not a pom) has been known to be a bit 'careless' with his teeth during games of fetch / tug of war. It's not vicious, it's just overexcitement. The way I've dealt with it is to immediately remove the toy from sight behind your back (if possible), issue a loud NO and then look away and ignore him for 10-20 seconds. He's got a lot better. In terms of dropping the ball, he's a lot better if there are two - one in his mouth and the other which is thrown immediately after he drops the first!

ShoppingBasket Sun 29-Oct-17 22:28:09

Thanks all, have calmed myself down a bit. Had gotten myself into a right tiz. Have spoken to ds and have been doing the treats as suggested. Wiping the slate clean and need to remember he is a dog!! Hopefully with a bit more work we will iron out the issues 'cause he ain't a bad little guy either.

Wolfiefan Sun 29-Oct-17 22:33:39

Of course he isn't. Good luck.
That FB group is awesome BTW!!

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