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  1. #1
    Puppy (New Member)

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    Default Aggressive with Humans

    Hi Everyone,

    I have a 3 and a half year old Great Pyrenees. I've had him since he was a puppy and last year my husband and I moved into a new house where his new domain was our backyard and back porch. Before moving, we had a couple of incidents where he jumped up on one of my little sisters friends at a birthday party and scared her quite a bit. He didn't bite, but per my sister, he was being vicious. She had been around him before the party started and he let her pet him and everything, but once there was a crowd, he felt threatened I guess.

    Since we moved, Cooper does not like anyone in our backyard. This has progressively gotten worse. He will immediately go into attack mode when someone walks back there. My husband and I have just been brushing it off saying he just thinks that's his territory, because he was never like that when we let him off of his leash to just roam around the yard.

    Well, yesterday, he was off his leash and a man came to our house and we were on our front porch talking to him. Cooper came up starting loving on the man, and then out of no where was growling and snipping at him. He hasn't bit anyone, but this same thing has happened several times. He will let someone pet him and then out of now where he goes ballistic. We also found out he had snipped at one of our neighbors grandchildren and that was at their house while he was off and running around. I'm at a loss of what to do and why this is suddenly happening.

    I've read a few forums on here where they're Great Pyrs have become aggressive, but has anyone been able to stop this? I love my dog and do not want to get rid of him. He is like another member of the family, but I can't trust him around people right now. Help!

  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Welcome to the forum!

    I am so sorry you are having such a tough time with Cooper.

    Where on his body are people touching him when he goes ballistic? Is it always in the same general area, or different each time? It sounds like it might be a good idea to schedule an appointment with his vet to rule out any underlying condition that might be causing him pain. The vet might also order blood work to check for a thyroid condition or other medical conditions that may contribute to this kind of behavior.

    If it turns out that he has a clean bill of health, and Cooper's aggression is 100% a behavioral issue, I would recommend contacting someone on either of these two lists:

    http://www.animalbehaviorsociety.org...-directory.php

    http://www.dacvb.org/about/member-directory/

    Chances are, there won't be anyone on these lists close to you, but some of them do offer long-distance consultations.
    These are the country's top experts on understanding and modifying animal behavior. I am currently working with a woman on the CAAB list, and not only is she by far the most knowledgeable and effective professional I have worked with, her rates are amongst the most reasonable.

    In the meantime, I would recommend keeping a daily journal of his behavior with as much detail as possible - weather conditions if they aren't normal, what people were wearing while interacting with him, if they were holding any objects during their interactions, if there were any variations to your daily routine, if any family members were experiencing abnormal amounts of stress, whatever you can think of, even if you don't think it has anything to do with his behavior. The journal could help in revealing hidden patterns in his behavior.

    This app may also be useful in helping you read his body language, so that you can diffuse a stressful situation before he starts to act out. I have found it to be worth every penny:

    http://www.dogdecoder.com

    Please keep us posted on your progress with him!
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  3. #3
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) nick's spirit's Avatar

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    Welcome J_Cassidy & Cooper...

    what is the change of environment for him?
    smaller yard, different scents, noises?....

    the only thing I would suggest beside all of the good info that your got from SebastiansMom is....try giving him a "safe" place away from people right now...even if it's in another part of the house...laundry room etc.

    you said something about him "off & running" um....I hope you don't let him out by himself off leash...is your yard fenced?

    please keep us up to date on his status

    Nancy & Rudy

  4. #4
    Puppy (New Member)

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    Default

    Thanks for the information!

    He stays outside on a 50ft leash while we are away at work. When we are home, if we do not have time to take him on a walk, we will let him off and he will run around for a couple of hours and then come lay back down on our back porch.

    I obviously should have done more research on the breed before I got him, because I now know that when we let him off, he takes the whole neighborhood under his wing and I think that is why he snapped at our neighbors grandson. We are looking into fencing our backyard in now, but I still want to somehow ease him into being okay with "strangers" at our house.

    Also, when we go on walks with him, we usually do not take a leash if we are just walking around our neighborhood. We are stopping this now and will always have him on a leash when walking him. It seems I just need to try to start behavioral training from the ground up. He has always been a very social and gentle dog with people and would go with anyone, so this behavior is just stunning me.

  5. #5
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) nick's spirit's Avatar

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    thanks for more info.....

    this is just a wild thought...but being out on his leash when you are at work.....it's possible that some one or something had been terrorizing or teasing him....that's enough to make any dog reactive & not trust people.

    yes....start the NILIF....."nothing in life is free" training with him....slowly....remember, he's been able to do as he pleases for awhile & he's not going to take to requests from you until he builds up trust in you again...

    if this is something you need help with, find a good positive reinforcement trainer/behaviorist....ask your vet for recommendations...call a local Great Pyrenees Club....heck call the National Club, they would be glad to assist you in finding the right person to help you get your boy well mannered....

  6. #6
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    I think part of Cooper's behavior has to do with age. As they reach true mental maturity, they often become less tolerant of things (people and dogs) they once enjoyed. Up until he was 2 1/2, Sebastian loved everyone and everything. He went to dog parks, was a regular at doggie daycare, and was 100% trustworthy around all humans and dogs. Now, at nearly 5, he's still great with people, but terrible around new dogs.

    I think that a much larger part of Cooper's issues, however, stem from having been tied up outside. Please forgive me if I sound judgmental or preachy. That is not my intent at all. It's just that tethering a dog - any dog - outside and leaving them unattended leaves them both physically and mentally vulnerable. They feel threatened, unable to run away from perceived threats, and become frustrated at not being able to get to things just out of their range. Fear and frustration are a very dangerous combination, especially when slowed to build over long periods of time.

    My non-Pyr, Chester was kept tethered for an unknown length of time before he came to live with us. I only know that because my dear friend and neighbor told me how she cut the rope that had been tied around his neck just hours before he followed Sebastian and me inside. Two and a half years, three behaviorists, and probably thousands of dollars later, he is still a mess. I think that many of his issues are probably genetically predisposed, but being tied out in that yard did him zero favors.

    If you really want to help Cooper, the tethering needs to stop immediately. Right now, he poses a substantial risk to himself and others. He should also be examined by a vet to make sure he hasn't injured himself - dogs have been known to hang themselves while tied up outside. If he hasn't been tested for heartworms or neutered, that also needs to happen. Be honest with your vet so that s/he will know what to look for.

    Finally, you will need professional help to treat and manage him. Human aggression is a serious and very dangerous issue. Cases where the dog is aggressive as a result of having been tethered are often pretty difficult to treat. Again, you need to be 100% honest with whomever you decide to work with. This is not something a beginner can treat using advice off of the internet.
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  7. #7
    Puppy (New Member)

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    I had not thought about that...We do have some pretty terrible neighbors that live directly behind us. They aren't in our subdivision, but there is only a tree line that separates us. He could feel very uneasy because they're always having parties and what not. I'm really glad you brought that up!

  8. #8
    Puppy (New Member)

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    I agree that the tethering could be part of the issue. That is why my husband and I are looking into fencing in our large backyard.

    Until this past weekend, Cooper had never shown aggression towards anyone unless he was tied.

    Thanks for your input!

  9. #9
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    I am sending lots of good energy your way! Can you bring him inside until you get the yard fenced?
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  10. #10
    Puppy (New Member)

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    Probably not because my husband and I both work every day. I would not feel comfortable leaving him alone in the house all day. If we make the decision to get the yard fenced, it should not be long before that is completed.

    If anyone else has had this type of problem please throw your 2 cents in if you found a good solution!

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