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7 month old puppy becoming aggressive

(40 Posts)
birgittestyle Wed 13-Feb-19 16:18:56

We have a 7 month old border terrier who has been very laid back and relaxed once out of the early puppy chewy/bitey stage. We were very firm and strict with him then, as advised in puppy class, keeping him in his pack position and it all seemd to be going well.
However in the last couple of days he has started being aggressive - growling and snapping when we try to pick him up (to get him into the car for a walk) or move him. We are never getting him to do something he doesnt like so it doesnt seem to be a reaction to what might be coming. This has coincided with him becoming quite randy for the first time - is this a usual connection?
Does anyone have any advice as to how I should deal with this? We have 3 DCs, the youngest is 8 and I do not want them to be be afraid around him and to be able to handle him without him snapping.
I should mention that 3 days ago he was seen by the vet (day before aggressive behaviour) and she remarked on how sweet and easygoing his nature is. She did a general check up so there is nothing that makes me think it is his physical health.
Is this just raging hormones? What do I do?

OP’s posts: |
abbsisspartacus Wed 13-Feb-19 16:20:21

Chop his bollocks off?

Actually if it's a sudden change get another vet check

tabulahrasa Wed 13-Feb-19 16:21:07

Stop picking him up or moving him...

Most dogs don’t like being man handled like that and yes, it’ll partly be hormones, but they’ll just be giving him the bravery to object to it.

birgittestyle Wed 13-Feb-19 16:23:42

the bollock thing is relevant actually - turns out his havent descended so the vet was there to have a good old root around to see where they are.

She has advised that we wait for a year to give them a chance before doing anything as the operation is a little more complicated - having a rummage around to find them poor thing.

OP’s posts: |
justasking111 Wed 13-Feb-19 16:23:56

He may just not like being picked up. He has reached the teenage hormonal phase as well. Just clip on his lead when you want to go out somewhere which is what you would do with a bigger dog. Be very firm with the training. Say no and turn your back on him, train the children to do this too.

birgittestyle Wed 13-Feb-19 16:26:05

the picking up and moving is only to get him into the car for a walk or if he is wanting to get up on something (usually child's bed). They are too high so he cannot jump but he could just be uncomforatble with being manhandled

OP’s posts: |
sillysmiles Wed 13-Feb-19 16:48:08

Hmmmm.....the fact that you say about * keeping him in his pack position* worries me as this sounds as though you are following some sort of alpha leader pack BS.
Go back at look again at the signals the dog is giving you. Is there a form of resource guarding going on? Stop manhandling him, he should be getting up on stuff and down of things because he wants to and because you've asked him to.

TheHodgeoftheHedge Wed 13-Feb-19 16:54:00

Could it be that he's actually rather sore having been "rummaged around with"?
If this is very sudden and unexpected behaviour, my first thoughts are always that the dog is in pain. I would go back to the vets...

picklemepopcorn Wed 13-Feb-19 17:02:51

I think he's a bit sore, bless him. Last time you picked him up he got manhandled in a very uncomfortable way- you need to rebuild the trust. Don't be sharp with him, or you'll scare him more.

birgittestyle Wed 13-Feb-19 17:53:33

In answer to some of the comments we only lift/move him when he needs our help - he cannot get into the car when we need to go for a walk and he cannot manage to get on the children's beds where he loves to lie. We are not moving him against his will as he is happy once he is in car or on bed.
I dont think he can be sore as she just very gently sort of massages where his balls should be and he doesnt flinch and sits very calmly - he is always very happy and relaxed. We dont handle him anywhere near the non existant ball area so we are not aggravating a sore area.
We were told both by vet and trainer when he was a litttle puppy that he should know where his position in the family is so that is what I meant by the "pack position" - is this the wrong term?
He is much loved, exercised, played with and cuddled, the vet says he is very healthy - eats well, good weight etc all of which I would agree with.
He is usually off lead on walks and is very good around other dogs - very friendly and playful and takes the hint if told off by a dog who isnt willing to play without being rattled. His recall is good on the whole unless he is having too much fun but i think with these teenage times it might be slipping a bit....

OP’s posts: |
adaline Wed 13-Feb-19 19:35:27

The pack theory is really outdated - dogs are domestic pets not wolves, and they also know full well that you are a person not another dog!

Please don't lift your dog. If he can't get into or onto things then use a ramp or some steps. Most dogs don't like being picked up and carried about!

TooTrueToBeGood Wed 13-Feb-19 19:44:14

The pack theory is really outdated

^ This. You need to find a different class if this is the sort of bollox they're telling you.

* we're very firm and strict with him then, as advised in puppy class*
What does that mean exactly? You should rarely, if ever, need to discipline a dog. You can do just about everything you need through positive reinforcement. If your puppy class is encouraging to discipline your dog you should find another class. You get the best out of a dog by teaching him what pleases you, not by making him afraid of you getting angry.

Wolfiefan Wed 13-Feb-19 19:48:56

Yep. Your trainer was rubbish. Your dog is a dog. It doesn’t need to know it’s place. It needs to trust you and want to please you. Training should be reward based and positive. Not strict.
Any change in behaviour should mean a vet check. It may be no coincidence that he saw the vet the day before. He may be sore.
If he can’t get in the car then use a step. Don’t lift him to move him. Throw a toy or treat to get him to shift. Few dogs like being manhandled and he is telling you that he doesn’t want this.

DawgLover Wed 13-Feb-19 19:52:58

The pack position does stand out OP. What did this involve?

It does seem to coincide with his hormones. Did the vet find them when she had a feel about?

Namechangeforthiscancershit Wed 13-Feb-19 19:58:21

I don’t think you’ve used the wrong term, I think you’ve just been badly advised. It’s been a long time since the pack position theory stuff was current.

What sort of disciplining did they suggest?

birgittestyle Thu 14-Feb-19 09:07:49

The only disciplining it involved was being firm verbally, turning back and ignoring, certainly nothing physical and training has been on a praise and reward basis so i dont think he would feel punished at any point. We were firm and strict with the tone of our voices and not rewarding him when he wasnt doing the 'task' that was being asked of him.
We have tried with a step but he is very mistrusting of it so he sort of skirts about it and backs off without wanting to use it. Apart from this snapping he is so friendly and happy, not always doing what is asked but certainly not problematic apart from this snapping.

I think I will have to find an alternative to the lifting. I was thinking perhaps if we used a ramp as a fun agility exercise maybe we could use that to get into the car as well with positive connections. At this age is he old enough to do some agility? I think he would enjoy it (esp the treats)

OP’s posts: |
birgittestyle Thu 14-Feb-19 09:17:06

one problem I did find with the training though is that we were the only terrier, lots of poodle crosses, labs, mostly big dogs and we were rather labelled with "oh a male terrier". Seemed rather negative to me and I realised just how differently all the breeds respond to training and motivation. We dont live in the Uk and one owner even said "here comes this Egnlish hooligan"!

OP’s posts: |
sillysmiles Thu 14-Feb-19 11:52:03

I'm guessing the male terrier comment could simply be that imo terriers are a little more head strong that some other breeds in terms of training.

This could also be a teenage phase thing - so you might need to be really consistent with positive reward training.

OverFedStanley Thu 14-Feb-19 12:02:26

A dog with undescended testicles usually has less testosterone than a dog with fully dropped testicles. So I would be pleased to see him being a bit randysmile

However less testosterone can also cause more fear in male dogs. This is why he is growling when you try to pick him up - he is fearful of what is going to happen.

I would be rewarding and treating him just for touching him not lifting him and gradually move up to rewarding him when you can pick him up without a reaction from him. Keep the situation calm no verbal punishment just stop if he reacts and do less touching next time - let him get his confidence on being picked up and touched.

Your trainer sounds horrible and rubbish I would look for another one

TheHodgeoftheHedge Thu 14-Feb-19 12:18:12

Do not do any agility until the pup is at least a year old - his bones and joints are still developing and shouldn't be pushed.
This also makes me wonder, if he is suddenly finding being lifted up painful, how much are you walking him at present?

adaline Thu 14-Feb-19 12:49:37

He's too young for agility - please wait until he's at least 12 months old

But there's no reason he can't use a ramp to get into the car. Or he could jump into the footwell and then onto the seat if possible? Mine could jump from the floor to the car dining table at about sixteen weeks old (obviously this was not encouraged!) so are you sure he can't actually jump up and is just choosing not to? Or have you not given him the chance to try?

I know most people say no stairs until x age but mine uses stairs daily (only twice) and happily jumps in and out of cars. He's one today. He doesn't do it repetitively but at 16.5k we can't carry him all the time!-

Wolfiefan Thu 14-Feb-19 13:33:31

I don’t know if it’s a breed thing but one border I know seems to have pain issues. She is walked in a harness.

birgittestyle Thu 14-Feb-19 13:34:17

Yes, i thought he might be too young for agility. Our car is parked in the street so I will have to just make sure he tries to get into the foot well from the pavement side with his lead on.

We walk him between 30-60mins in the morning - the longer walks depend on whether he is playing with other dogs. The afternoon he has another 20-30 min walk and as much play in the garden as he feels like - he usually wanders out when he feels like it and then the DCs will join him. He is fine with stairs - doesn't go up and down much as its more fun downstairs and he didnt even try until 5 months old.

I reassured him verbally and rewarded him with a treat when I picked him up today for our walk and he didnt snap but still looks wary. Will continue down this route for the moment I think

Thank you for all the help

OP’s posts: |
Booboostwo Thu 14-Feb-19 13:49:31

I'll bet you anything this is a pain reaction. He reacts when you pick him up, he is weary of the step you provided into the car and tends to avoid the stairs. If I was going to guess I would say orthopaedic problem.

As with any such sudden onset issue you must get him checked out by the vet. Hopefully I am entirely wrong and it's behavioural. In which case you need to desensitize him. Start with the step, reward him every time for looking at the step, talking steps towards the step, touching the step with his paw or nose, etc. You need to start in his comfort zone, create a positive association and allow him to progress when he is comfortable.

Deal with the step first and leave the picking up till later. The DCs should not attempt to pick him up at all. Once the step problem has been overcome work on the picking up, but adults only and very carefully. Start by stroking all over, then both hands, then hands in the position you use to pick him up and reward all the time. Keep a very close eye on his stress reactions. If he is anxious drop the picking up training and wait till he is older and can jump up by himself.

sillysmiles Thu 14-Feb-19 15:13:13

I may be wrong, but I thought the guidelines for exercise for a pup was 5min per month age per day - so a 7 month old would be on 35 mins of exercise per day?

Can anyone confirm?

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