Puppy is Getting More Aggressive
Our seven month old puppy is getting more aggressive the older he gets.
Our first addition to our family is our dog Frank. We adopted him as a young puppy and he is now a little over 7 months. We want to be the owners of a pitbull that proves they are not the bad breed everyone thinks.
Frank is very smart. He has mastered sit, stay, lay, shake, roll over in just his first few months. He is great on walks and is friendly with all strangers and other dogs.
Since he was a little puppy he would have "episodes" where he would jump and bite at us. We tried different things such as walking away, bitter apple spray, laying him down to keep him from doing it, etc.
We thought it was maybe because he did not get enough energy out so increased our walks and made them longer. This also did not work and often coming back from a walk he would have an episode.
He is now over 50 pounds and the episodes are becoming more frequent and aggressive. I think that when he was a little puppy it was more playing and trying to get our attention but now its aggressive (teeth showing, bark aggressive, hair standing, tail up)
I am curious if anyone else has had this issue. We had him neutered and it did not help at all. Is it just his age? Will he grow out of it? What's your opinion on a shock collar? my last resort :(
It would be interesting to know what kind of things trigger these episodes that Frank is having. Is it random? Or do certain situations seem to make it more likely that Frank will snap?
If you can't identify any triggers--it just happens
I would suggest having his vet examine him to determine whether there's any illness or abnormality that would explain his behavior.
Will he grow out of it? He might. But, from your description it sounds like his episodes are getting more intense as he's getting older.
If your vet finds nothing wrong, my best guess is there is something you may have unwittingly done with him when he was younger that reinforced this behavior. Maybe it was kind of cute when he weighed 5 or 10 lbs, but not at 50 lbs with a full set of adult teeth.
The picture I'm getting is of a dog who is obedient to you, friendly to other dogs and strangers, but who also feels entitled to your attention whenever he wants it. If that's the case, you may find the NILIF program (nothing in life is free) helpful. Patricia McConnell has written a wonderful booklet along similar though less stringent lines called How to Be the Leader of the Pack - and Have Your Dog Love You for It!.
I am not a fan of shock collars. In fact, I believe using one in this instance could make the situation worse. I understand your desperation though. You've tried several things that haven't worked. At this point, I think you would do well to hire a behaviorist to help you sort things out and get Frank on the right track.
I would stress, however, that before starting Frank on any behavior modification program I would get an "all clear" from the vet first. Good luck. It's sounds like you've done some great work with Frank on obedience. Feel free to post back and let us know how things are going. Perhaps others will chime in in the meantime.
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