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So upset over our aggressive dog, how's this going to end?

(90 Posts)
Speckledhen617 Sun 13-Sep-20 07:19:55

I feel devastated over this. Our pup is just 12 months old, he's an entire terrier.5 months ago we had a succession of incidents in the space of 2 weeks triggered by a child screaming at him and our DS accidentally scaring him whilst he was asleep. He snapped and growled at DS and started growling when he saw the child who screamed at him. We saw a behaviourist and the issues resolved.

Over the last couple of weeks we've now had him shaking and lip curling at fil and bil when they've been in our house and last night whilst I was sat on the sofa and he was on the floor with a new toy he went very stiff, started staring at me and shaking. DH called him out of the room, played with him outside for a while and all was fine. A few hours later as I hugged DH good night he jumped up at us growling.

Its really upset me. I know the advice is to see a behaviourist again, which I'll do on Monday but I'm so worried about it all.

I feel like its a bite waiting to happen. I'd never let him around DS friends or the children in our family, I feel like I can't have any male visitors in the house. We tip toe around him while he's sleeping, what next-no new toys? DS adores him. All we wanted was a family dog. DS's an only child, we waited 12 years to get a dog. We've put in so much love, time and effort and money. We're all so gentle with him. I just feel lost with it all.

OP’s posts: |
FippertyGibbett Sun 13-Sep-20 07:26:36

I personally wouldn’t pick a terrier as a dog with children, there are other family friendly breeds. Don’t bother having a go at me about this , I’m entitled my opinion.
I’ve never had a male dog so can’t comment on whether castration would calm him down.
Best of luck, and please do something so that he isn’t pushed to bite and then loses his life 💐

Ladybird345 Sun 13-Sep-20 07:31:14

I would see a dog trainer and get him neutered.

Sertchgi123 Sun 13-Sep-20 07:33:41

I agree about terriers. You’re right to get help ASAP.

Speckledhen617 Sun 13-Sep-20 07:36:05

I don't this castration is the magic cure. Much of this behaviour is fear based and the testosterone gives him some confidence. I'll discuss it further with the behaviourist but thats what we were advised previously.

OP’s posts: |
Speckledhen617 Sun 13-Sep-20 07:38:14

The comments about terriers are really unhelpful. I've come here for help. I can't change his breed now. Terriers are the dogs I've grown up with and they've all been wonderful.

OP’s posts: |
FippertyGibbett Sun 13-Sep-20 07:41:51

Are you seeing just one behaviourist or have you got advice from others ?
It might be worth a second opinion.

Shouldershrugger Sun 13-Sep-20 07:42:34

Why do you seem opposed to getting him neutered?

Roselilly36 Sun 13-Sep-20 07:42:45

Get an appointment ASAP with behaviourist. Castration may help calm him down, he’s a little older than recommended though. Usually 6-7 mths. Terriers have big personalities and will rule the roost if they get a chance, as will most male dogs, ours was a softie he was wanting to be Alpha male especially as puberty hits, and that’s probably what is happy with you dog now. Does he usually sit on the sofa? If so I would stop that, if I saw a hint if aggression I would put him in another room away from the family. How old is your child? Make sure they are never alone together. As it sounds like you terrier has a very short fuse. I hope you managed to get these behaviours turned around. Get him bkd in for the castration ASAP as you will probably find if he’s off lead he will go chasing a female. Good luck OP.

Sittin Sun 13-Sep-20 07:45:54

OP - beware that you will get a lot of posters who think that keeping the dog alive is more important than ensuring no one is bitten, and a lot of posters who think that every problem can be solved by a ‘behaviourist’.

Ladybird345 Sun 13-Sep-20 07:46:18

Why would you not get him neutered? It could improve his behaviour so if I was his owner I would try anything to help. Yes it may not be a miracle cure but it may help.

noonelikesuswedontcare Sun 13-Sep-20 07:47:16

If he's going rigid is it an episode, could be epilepsy? And will can be aggressive when they come out of it. BUT i would certainly always have a dog neutered, to not is crazy all those hormones. Dogs bounce back from this op in 24 hours and a week of calm walks and the cone of shame and they are fine. They have no fear or concept of what is going to happen or what happened.

Sniffypup Sun 13-Sep-20 07:47:28

Could it maybe be his age? I’m not very experienced with dogs as my first pup is now 15 months and a girl. She has however had some odd phases where she’s been extra guardy with things or extra clingy, more barky at the door or people she didn’t know coming in.
Our trainer put some of it down to hormones, and gave me stuff to read about the 2nd fear period.
The last month or two she seems to have really settled down.
We also did the Absolute Dogs sexier than a squirrel programme online which has games to play to build confidence which it sounds like he could do with.
Don’t give up hope, he’s still just a puppy x

FippertyGibbett Sun 13-Sep-20 07:49:06

No, you can’t change his breed but he might not be the right dog for your situation. I say this as someone who had to rehome and it was the right decision for both of us.
If this can’t be resolved you might need to decide in the future whether you want to continue to adapt your life to accommodate him, or whether it might be better to have him live where he is happier. If men upset him it might be kinder to put him in an all female home. It would be unfair for him to live his life unhappy or fearful.
Please don’t think I’m having a go in any way, I’m not, I just think all a dogs deserve a happy life and sometimes we have to be unhappy to achieve it.

whiteroseredrose Sun 13-Sep-20 07:49:46

Castration sounds like the way forward.

Our terrier is the softest dog you could find. But he was a bloody nuisance until he was 'done'.

Unless you've said that you're planning on breeding from him I don't understand why your vet hasn't said anything.

Sniffypup Sun 13-Sep-20 07:50:50

Also my vet and trainer agree with you that female dogs should be spayed but males need the testosterone for confidence. The vet behaviourist who runs absolute dogs also agrees with that x

Sertchgi123 Sun 13-Sep-20 07:51:15

Definitely get him castrated. Isn’t that what all sensible dog owners do?

Sertchgi123 Sun 13-Sep-20 07:53:33

Whilst it’s too late for you to choose a different breed, the posts about terriers might help someone else to avoid the same mistake.

Purpledaisychain Sun 13-Sep-20 07:55:45

OP, I agree with you. Terriers are wonderful. I grew up with them too. Very high chance that the people who are on here criticizing them have never owned one. I would definitely get him neutered. My friend had a bit of a grumpy dog and having the operation turned him into a big softie. As someone else said, not being neutered increases the chances of him running off after a bitch in season. I would also maybe seek out a different behaviourist. They all have different techniques and methods and it can take a few attempts to find one who really 'gets' your dog and can come up with ways to correct the behaviour.

@FlippertyGibbett Not all terriers are bad with children. Some breeds are fine. Like border terriers. It is incredibly rare for them to not like children. My parents got me one when I was 8 and we were as close as owner and dog can be from the word go. The one that I have now loves children and babies, even though she has never lived with any. Best thing to do is read up on the breed. Most dog breed books or online websites mention whether or not a certain breed is a good family dog.

Speckledhen617 Sun 13-Sep-20 07:57:59

Thanks for all the replies. I've explained why we haven't had his castrated yet. We will get him done but our behaviourist suggested we wait due to his fear based aggression. This will be something we can discuss when we see her.

DS is 12.

OP’s posts: |
Ihaventgottimeforthis Sun 13-Sep-20 07:58:08

My 12 month old dog is still entire. He doesn't run away when off lead 🙄 I agree with you op, I've been advised to wait till at least 12 months or even older before castration, to encourage healthy growth & confidence.
Castration won't cure this, you need to establish what the triggers are, is this fear or resource guarding or what, how can you train this out of him & what measures do you put on place to minimise risk of harm in the meantime.
Watch his body language very carefully so he doesn't get too far along the road of stress. If he was stressed by you, a short play with DH won't be enough to bring him back down, hence the growl at the hug.
Try having a very low-key day, just walks, plenty of rest time at home, no toy play etc, see what & who he reacts to.

Wolfiefan Sun 13-Sep-20 07:58:49

Castration isn’t a cure for aggression.
The going stiff sounds like it may be something other than aggression.
Growling can also be fear based. Not aggression.
Vet check then decent behaviourist.

Purpledaisychain Sun 13-Sep-20 07:59:03

@Sertchgi123 What an obnoxious post.

I'm quite happy with terriers thanks. I've had them all my life and none of them have been a mistake. They've all been great family dogs and have never bitten or snapped at anyone. I know plenty of other people with lovely terriers too. I also know people with dogs that aren't terriers that are aggressive.

Ihaventgottimeforthis Sun 13-Sep-20 08:00:59

Also where does he sleep? Is he crate trained?

Bonkersblond Sun 13-Sep-20 08:06:27

OP - I don’t have any advice except we have a Border Terrier as a family dog, no issues what so ever, she’s very child/people friendly.

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