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Thread: Any Advice

  1. #1
    Puppy (New Member)

    Prospective Great Pyrenees Owner

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    We adopted a 2 year old from the shelter. He is an amazing dog and we really want him to be with us forever but we are having a serious issue. 80% of the time he is great with his sister (5 month old St. Dane) and our goats. He is super aggressive out of nowhere. So far it has only been with his sister and the goats, we thought it was food aggression and separated feed and play areas and anything he might think of as food but he attacked the puppy again. Is there a trigger I might be missing? Any advice would be great, we have a 3 year old daughter and Iím worried she might trigger him.

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

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    I am so sorry you are having this issue with your sweet boy.

    The very first thing I would recommend is that you start to familiarize yourself with dog body language. There is a very good chance that, in the moments leading up to his outbursts, he is giving what he thinks are clear signals that he is uncomfortable with the situation heís in, and is going to act out if the situation doesnít change. This can be with the turn of a head, the flick of a tongue, a shift in the distribution of his weight, or a number of other things. Once you learn to read these physical signs of discomfort, you can work to change the energy of the situation before he reaches his tolerance threshold.

    There is an app for iOS and Android called Dog Decoder. It costs a few dollars, but is very helpful in explaining some of the nuances of canine body language, and what the dog is trying to communicate. There is even a fun quiz section to help you test what you have learned.

    There are also two books that I recommend you start with, both by Dr. Patricia McConnell. The first one is For the Love of a Dog, which covers the emotional lives of dogs, and has a wonderful section that depicts some of the different nuances of body language she discusses in the book. The second book is The Other End of the Leash, which covers the importance of communication in the human-animal bond. While neither book is likely to address the issues you are having directly, they will help you develop a deeper understanding of what is happening between your Pyr and his sister/goats.

    If you can, try to keep a journal of your boyís behavior. Be as detailed as possible. What happened leading up to his outburst? WHat was the weather like? Who was close by? What were they wearing? Were there any noises going on in the background in the moments leading up to the outburst? What was your boyís body posture in the moments leading up to the outburst? What about that of the dog/goat to whom the outburst was directed? Did you notice any resources (food, bones, chews, toys, high-value treats, etc) nearby before or during the outburst? All of these details can help you establish if there is a pattern. For instance, a few years ago, we had a bad storm that caused the tornado sirens in our neighborhood to go off. Chester, my non-Pyr, is usually not afraid of storms, but this one really made his nervous. Fortunately, our neighborhood was spared any casualties or lasting damage. The next time we had strong winds, though, it triggered a fearful reaction in Chester that set off a chain of events that nearly lead to Chester lashing out at Sebastian. Fortunately, I saw the warning signs that an attack was imminent, and was able to redirect Chesterís energy and calm him down before he did something we all would have regretted.
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
    www.facebook.com/SirSaintSebastian

  3. #3
    Puppy (New Member)

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    I have had good success rehabilitating ďaggressive dogsĒ using the techniques you described, I also record so I can rewatch the interactions and training sessions so I can find triggers, signs and behaviors I might miss i the moment. I donít know if it is common to the breed but Gandalf has the best poker face I have ever seen, I cannot did the life of me get a read on him. For 1 on 1 training I canít find a treat that will motivate him, and when he interacts with the other animals in a completely sterile environment he goes from placid, playful or resting to attack mode. I know Iím missing something an have a professional trainer coming in to work with us, because I know the real issue is me learning how to work with him as all the methods that I have previously had success with arenít getting it done. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond and provide resources for me.

  4. #4
    Road Dawg Brayjj's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frogg View Post
    We adopted a 2 year old from the shelter. He is an amazing dog and we really want him to be with us forever but we are having a serious issue. 80% of the time he is great with his sister (5 month old St. Dane) and our goats. He is super aggressive out of nowhere. So far it has only been with his sister and the goats, we thought it was food aggression and separated feed and play areas and anything he might think of as food but he attacked the puppy again. Is there a trigger I might be missing? Any advice would be great, we have a 3 year old daughter and Iím worried she might trigger him.
    This is our dog!! We adopted a pyr mix and this board heard my share of stories.

    He goes from fine to attacking. If I recall wasn't he given up because he roamed and had an aggressive instance? Perhaps he attacked??

    For our dog- I think I posted on your previous post about ours. He attacked our dog right away. It was so bad he couldn't even be in the same room as him. I literally had to keep both dogs tied in little.bits apart but so they could see each other. If they weren't tied he would attack. I can't even tell you how many attacks we had. Too many to count. Slowly with lots of work snd treats things got better to the point they could be untied- but attacks still happened.

    Now we are at the point we have learned all his triggers and his body language. His was literally a slight head tilt- so slight you would miss it. Then sometimes a "whale eye", and other times a head shake.

    Now I try to interfere. Attacks still happen. My children do trigger ours. He doesn't like children crying so at times will attack our other dog for very loud crying. My youngest just turned 3.

    I would suggest perhaps keeping him tied in the house at times to watch him carefully. Some days we keep 1 of the dogs tied still. Some days our pyr has off days and wants to attack. So tied he can't.
    He loves being outside so I tie him to the porch as we don't have a fence. He enjoys laying outside and guarding the house. We had him in with the chickens but he was not happy with them and they weren't happy with him. So the porch he likes much better.
    Today he started to attack but thought twice. I do see as of this week he's trying to hold himself back and have restraint. Our other dog is now a wreck from all the attacks and it has been stressful but we are committed.

    I will say that he could be doing it out of fear too. He's new to your home and ours had lots of attacks out of fear. He's a very fearful dog who reacted wrong.

    I will also say that I know he would never be aggressive with us or my children. But I kept him tied for a really long time and when not in my sight he was crated.
    Ours doesn't like the children climbing on him at all, and he doesn't like bikes ridden near him. Otherwise he's fine with the children but took a long time to trust him.
    Being very firm, keeping him tied perhaps indoors, looking for the slightest warning. Ours won't growl, it's usually right on attacking.

    I will be honest. Ours had no interest in food or treats or toys for a LONG time. We've had him since summer and he's finally now just getting comfortable with us. It's taken a really long time for him.

    This is a different type of breed.

    For ours I think it was learning to trust us. When we first got him he wasn't crate trained so that was our first step.

    He's by far the longest adjusting dog we've had. I know I didn't give you much advice but we've been there. I don't think in our case the attacks will stop for good. I think for now it's just what it is. We had a chance to give him up as an LGD but we couldn't.

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