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2 year old dog started being aggressive

(12 Posts)
notscarletbutgold Thu 06-Aug-20 11:02:26

Our 2 year old entire male lab/springer cross has over the past few months started behaving aggressively towards some other dogs.

He generally ignores or bypasses dogs when we are out, occasionally stops for a sniff but will come away when called. However he will, rarely buy noticeably, growl/snarl/snap at some dogs, generally of a similar size to him, and we don't know what triggers it. It is him who reacts first, not the other dog. It has got to the point where we don't feel we can let him off the lead.

In other ways and with people he's a lovely, friendly boy with good recall and manners. DH thinks neutering might help. Any ideas welcome! TIA.

OP’s posts: |
AvocadosBeforeMortgages Thu 06-Aug-20 11:27:23

You need professional, well qualified advice from a behaviourist - someone APBC or CCAB accredited. You will need to identify a behaviourist then seek referral via your vet to rule out any medical cause of the change in behaviour. For instance, physical pain is a common cause of grumpy, snappy dogs.

NB dog training and behaviour is a totally unregulated industry, and literally anyone can call themselves a trainer or behaviourist, so getting someone APBC or CCAB accredited is really important.

Don't get DDog neutered until after you've seen and discussed with the behaviourist - it's
A) not the cure-all for behaviour that it's sometimes touted as
B) can make things worse if the behaviour is fear based - such dogs benefit from the confidence that testosterone gives them, and testosterone levels naturally drop when castrated

RunningFromInsanity Thu 06-Aug-20 11:34:25

I’m going to go the opposite way and say neuter him.
An entire dog usually makes other dogs on edge, causing tension which the dog picks up on.

At 2years he is peak hormonal age and having balls adds to that.

CaptainMyCaptain Thu 06-Aug-20 11:37:19

It's also possible he could be ill and have a pain somewhere. I know someone whose dog had a tumour, the vet said that at this point it's usually one parent at the vet getting the dog put down while the other is at A&E with a bitten child. The dog in question was a saintly canine who had never snapped at or bitten anyone even when very ill, he was, sadly, put to sleep but his memory lives on.

BlueSlice Thu 06-Aug-20 11:46:05

DH thinks neutering might help.
The research suggests that it could equally make it worse. (As the lack of testosterone cuts their confidence and they feel they have to be quick to ‘see off’ other dogs out of fear.)

I would suggest the implant and a bit of time. If things settle down then you’ll know that neutering will most likely help him. If things get worse then you know it won’t and you can then have the implant removed.

Plus, a behaviourist. I don’t know if behaviourist run pack walks are happening at the moment but I know a few people who have had lots of success with those.

notscarletbutgold Thu 06-Aug-20 18:31:53

Thanks all for your replies. I think I'll speak to the vet in the first instance and see what they say.

It is odd - we are currently staying in a holiday cottage and the people in the next door holiday cottage have a perfectly nice Rottweiler who our boy growls and snarls at (twice now). But we have been on a walk today and passed several dogs and he completely and happily ignored all of them.

Anyway yes, vet / behaviourist probably the way to go. If anyone else's dog has behaved like this please let me know! Thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
Borderstotheleftofme Thu 06-Aug-20 19:55:07

Do you know the genders of any of the dogs he growls at?

I wouldn’t neuter a fear aggressive dog because imo they can get worse without the testosterone.

But an entire dog aggressing at other dogs because they are also male and/or large and he’s being a bit of a brute and asserting authority I would neuter him 100%

Potatobug Thu 06-Aug-20 19:58:24

Yes to neutering. It calms them down.

Wolfiefan Thu 06-Aug-20 19:58:50

Definitely a vet check and a behaviourist. You say he starts it but you may find he’s reacting to dog body language from the other dog that you haven’t spotted.
I would be wary of neutering in case it’s a fear thing. Neutering can make it worse.
There’s an implant that’s temporary though.
Good luck.

vanillandhoney Thu 06-Aug-20 20:08:55

Please don't get your potentially aggressive dog neutered without at least trying the implant/injection first.

Neutering can make fear-based aggression and reactivity worse and once you neuter your dog, there's no going back.

wrensandrobins Thu 06-Aug-20 20:09:58

My male dog got more anxious and snappy after neutering also at 2- it made him much much worse.

Young dogs do go through a stage when they start to regress and get fearful, you need to train them through it.

I wish I had taken the advice of the trainer to try the implant for the dog, which last 6 months and can give you a non permanent indication of what the effect of neutering will be.

notscarletbutgold Thu 06-Aug-20 20:50:45

Thanks for all the replies, I will definitely ask the vet about the implant. Obviously the last thing we want is to make him worse!

The people on the other side of us have a female cocker spaniel - she has been bouncing up trying to play with him and he couldn't be less interested. Not sure what gender the Rottie is.

Thinking of doing some training to reward him for ignoring other dogs / giving us his attention. That kind of thing. I guess we may have let the training slip a bit in the last year - time to step it up a bit.

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