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Old 10-07-2008, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Hampton Roads, Virginia
1,123 posts, read 4,804,262 times
Reputation: 678

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OK, this is depressing because I am at a loss here. A little history on this dog - we got him as a pup at about 7 weeks. I was a single mom at the time and Aztec slept in my room - absolutely no problems. Then my ex and I got back together and the then 1 year old Aztec became a little aggressive when ex came to bed. Well, ex and I remarried and ever since then Aztec has been very protective of me - but only at bedtime!! Very strange....

When I go to bed I have to put Aztec in the kennel. When hubby comes to bed, Aztec barks/growls up a storm for about 10 seconds. When hubby is in bed, all is fine. At that point any of my 2 kids (now 17 and 23) can walk in and the dog is at peace.

Last night, I went to get Aztec from the living room to go to bed and he snarled and lunged at me. I was stunned and I went to pick him up - right or wrong it was instinct - and he bit me. He barely barely broke the skin - the size of a pinhead - but it was hard. My 23 year old DD grabbed him and immediately put him in the kennel. Aztec immediately calmed down when she picked him up. He was PROTECTING my DD!!!! So after 7 years, the dog has switched masters!!!

This dog is relatively peaceful all day long and this behavior only appears at bedtime. He eats well and is healthy.

So I am frantic as to what to do - scared to death about what tonight will bring! DD will be gone tonight and DH will be home tonight (DH was out of town last night and would be happy to get rid of Aztec).

Sorry this is so long..... I know this behavior is unacceptable and a little scary. Please don't bash me.... just some advice would be helpful. Thanks

Last edited by stacylee926; 10-07-2008 at 02:06 PM.. Reason: changes
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Kirkwood, DE and beautiful SXM!
12,054 posts, read 20,249,072 times
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No advice--just some thoughts. Since you have had him for 7 years, getting rid of him is not an option. Since my pets are part of the family, just like my children, they stay. Just like a small child, you find a way to work it out. Possibly re-training or even something to calm him down. Since he seems to be guarding you, is there any reason that he would feel that he had to protect you? Only you can answer that. I think all animals have a 6th sense and I have a great deal of respect for that. You need to look at what is going on in your home. If there is really nothing there, then he needs a complete checkup by his vet. I would not let your husband get rid of the dog; after all, you got rid of the husband once for a reason.
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Rural Central Texas
3,605 posts, read 9,278,678 times
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It sounds like Aztec believes he has a higher pack position than you. Before, you were the dominant female and he followed your rules. Your DH was just another pack member and Aztec resented DH's perks of being able to claim your bed. He settled down once you accepted DH in the bed and accepted your rule even if he disagreed with it.

Now, for some reason you have abdicated the dominant female role in lieu of your DD. You are now competing for pack status and Aztec is ready to battle for a higer place than you. You will need to re-establish your dominance to regain control. You seem to have prevented your DH from doing this before so he is also relegated to a questionable role in the pack.

Good luck in restoring order. It will take some patience and determination on your part to regain dominance since your actions in the past have allowed it to slip.
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Old 10-07-2008, 10:42 PM
 
Location: "The Sunshine State"
4,334 posts, read 12,221,274 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SXMGirl View Post
No advice--just some thoughts. Since you have had him for 7 years, getting rid of him is not an option. Since my pets are part of the family, just like my children, they stay. Just like a small child, you find a way to work it out. Possibly re-training or even something to calm him down. Since he seems to be guarding you, is there any reason that he would feel that he had to protect you? Only you can answer that. I think all animals have a 6th sense and I have a great deal of respect for that. You need to look at what is going on in your home. If there is really nothing there, then he needs a complete checkup by his vet. I would not let your husband get rid of the dog; after all, you got rid of the husband once for a reason.
I agree with this comment! Work it out. You cannot just get rid of the dog!
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Old 10-08-2008, 12:29 AM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
29,041 posts, read 45,010,327 times
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I'm thinking you also need to change the bedtime routine, since he now associates that with aggression and stress. Dogs are very routine-oriented, and I've noticed that locations or specific actions can trigger aggression in my dog. For example, Rudy still gets excited at the corner where we once saw a skunk... and he gets nervous if anyone moves the baby gate at the bathroom, since it occasionally means bath time! So maybe a little change in Aztec's bedtime routine will help? I also think the other suggestions are good, and a pack re-ordering is needed.
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Old 10-08-2008, 12:53 AM
 
Location: Jax
8,204 posts, read 32,210,176 times
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Is an evening walk part of your routine? If not, can you work one in? Preferably, all 3 of you - you, your husband and the dog.

Getting some excess energy out and behaving like a pack (through walking) might help restore some order.

In our house, we have the evening walk, then some backyard time, then it's time to settle down. The dogs can lay on the sofa, floor or dog bed while we watch tv. We have one last potty visit for the night, then everyone goes to bed. No matter what time we go to bed, the sequence is the same.

So I'm thinking maybe a walk, hang out in the backyard a bit, and then put the dog to bed in his crate for the night if it's not too early?

I'm working with some minor issues with one of my dogs and I'll sometimes use a lead. It's just a cheap nylon leash with a loop on the end. Since my dogs don't wear collars in the house, if my dog is getting too hyper, I'll slip the lead on her and restrict her to staying by my side for a bit (usually 5 minutes does the trick). If you're getting some surly attitude, you might want to consider restricting movement in a similar way.

Getting bitten is a line-crosser and you need to regain control quickly before you have a much bigger problem. You can be kind to your dog and still restrict privileges.

Also be sure you do all the dominant behaviors like taking control of the sofa, chairs, etc. and have the dog be on the ground. Walk through doorways first, make the dog follow behind you. Have your dog sit before feeding. When walking, try to keep the dog at your side or a little behind you. You can do all of these is a kind way, it doesn't have to be punishing. You can reinstate privileges later if need be, but your dog needs some firm boundaries right now.

Good luck, I hope it turns around for you quickly .
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Old 10-08-2008, 05:14 AM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
2,806 posts, read 6,519,341 times
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I agree with Riveree and the others' good suggestions...it sounds to me like some serious bonding between Aztec, you and hubby is important here. Routine is crucial, without it a dog feels like his world is unstable, like he needs to take the reins. It is up to you to establish your role as pack leader and relieve him of this burden. Any animal who gets ousted from his regular bedtime routine is going to be upset by it...he's letting you know the kennel is an unpleasant experience for him to undergo every night, especially after years of getting to snuggle with his mistress. Maybe you could get him a nice, big doggie bed & some toys...make it special so he knows he's loved and that his comfort is important to you. I hope it all works out...good luck!
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Old 10-08-2008, 06:27 AM
 
Location: Hampton Roads, Virginia
1,123 posts, read 4,804,262 times
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Thank you everyone for your suggestions (without bashing !

Nothing in the house stress wise has changed. DD moved back home in Jan - so she has been there awhile. There is no violence or anything like that, we are actually a very loving, happy family.

Typically we do not take the dog for a walk because we have a big fenced in backyard where he runs free. I may try walking him though - it will be difficult as a family due to our crazy work schedules, the family is rarely home together at night - except Sunday.

Last night everything was ok - DD spent the night with her cousin and DH didnt arrive home until after bedtime.

Even though DH 'says' he would like to get rid of the dog, we all know that isnt an option. However, this aggression can be harmful to any of us and that is why I asked for help . Aztec is actually very loving to all family members when someone is alone in the house with him. It seems to be 'the pack dominance' issue when we are all together.

thanks again
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Old 10-08-2008, 06:58 AM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
29,041 posts, read 45,010,327 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stacylee926 View Post
Typically we do not take the dog for a walk because we have a big fenced in backyard where he runs free. I may try walking him though - it will be difficult as a family due to our crazy work schedules, the family is rarely home together at night - except Sunday.
A yard, no matter how big, is not a substitute for the walk... it fulfills many needs in a dog, including "moving forward" (as they do in the wild), socializing, smelling/seeing new sights, and following their pack leader. Have you read or watched Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer? He talks a LOT about the importance of a walk, and how every dog needs 1-2 good ones a day. As he put it on one show, would you be happy never going out if you had a mansion? I'm guessing you'd get bored pretty quickly, even if the house was 20,000 square feet.
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Hampton Roads, Virginia
1,123 posts, read 4,804,262 times
Reputation: 678
Quote:
Originally Posted by gizmo980 View Post
A yard, no matter how big, is not a substitute for the walk... it fulfills many needs in a dog, including "moving forward" (as they do in the wild), socializing, smelling/seeing new sights, and following their pack leader. Have you read or watched Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer? He talks a LOT about the importance of a walk, and how every dog needs 1-2 good ones a day. As he put it on one show, would you be happy never going out if you had a mansion? I'm guessing you'd get bored pretty quickly, even if the house was 20,000 square feet.
Never knew this! Thanks again.
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