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  1. #1
    Puppy (New Member)

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Default Aggression toward me

    Hello!

    TL;DR: It's like when my pyre sees another dog and doesn't get to meet it, he goes into a bloodrage at me.
    He just turned one years old a week ago, he's not fixed yet, he is up to date on his shots, doesn't act like this toward my husband, he does have Lyme's unfortunately but seems to be showing okay with medication, and at no point shows this behavior in any other situation. He does have separation anxiety, which we're working on.



    He's very well known in town for being friendly, he loves getting pets on his walks, most people in our area know him by name (but not me or my husband lol)
    For the most part, he is very sweet and well-behaved. He loves kids and adores meeting babies and other dogs if he gets the chance. We've had him socialized at a young age (only with older dogs because that was all that was around) and bring him to friends' often to keep him socialized with dogs that can play still.

    But he's had this issue the last few months where he'll see another dog across the street or even a few streets down. In the beginning of the issue, he'd start barking and growling and snarling, but wagging his tail, but he'd sometimes jump on me, growl at me even more than the dogs, and has nipped before. He's gotten better where he just whines, and when he stays calm enough to meet another dog, he immediately just wants to be friends. Every dog we've encountered he just wanted to be friends (even one he'd made angry sounds at before. Perfect pals now.) So we assumed that was the issue--he just wants to make friends. We assumed his mild aggression at me was because I was dragging him away from possible friends--like a toddler having a tantrum.
    He's been great for a while, keeping it to just whining and has even just stayed perfectly silent when passing another dog sometimes.

    Today he was especially aggressive, the first crack in this behavior in months. He barked a couple times at another dog, I did my usual trying to keep him calm and trying to move along, but he immediately turned on me and was jumping and *really biting* me, leaving marks. It was the most aggressive he's ever been.
    Seconds later, he was acting as if nothing had happened at all. Tail wagging, nudging my hand to be pet (he did not receive a pet for that behavior,) and taking all his commands without issue.
    When we got home, he nudged the cats' heads lightly, licked their faces, and went to his water bowl like he does after every walk.

    He doesn't act like this toward my husband or my friends (he also has never attempted to hump anyone but me, but that's a different topic--and he's not aggressive with it, just persistent.)
    He's only ever severely growled and kept me backed away from two people--one I knew personally was a bad, bad, bad person (I can't begin to describe how bad, he should be in prison for what he did.) The other I found out was in prison for a somewhat similar case many years ago. So, dog's intuition on those, but very friendly toward strangers otherwise. Never lunged or jumped at them, just backed me away and growled at them (though he did bark at me until I went inside a building when one of them passed by and stood at the door with the "I dare that person to come in" stance that they do sometimes.)

    If he's met a dog before and sees it on a walk and we don't see it, he's perfectly fine. He'll wag his tail and watch them go by, sometimes be a little reluctant to move, but he doesn't even whine. It's only dogs we've never met. If we see them around town often but never meet them, he'll whine and sometimes bark some, but only the ones we see every day and don't meet.

    I just don't know what to do about it, or why he's doing it? It really seemed to come out of nowhere and it's only when other dogs are passing or in sight and he doesn't get to meet them.
    Is he just having an aggressive tantrum? Could something be wrong?


    Thank you to any responses!



    To elaborate on some of the commands I give him on our every day walk, I often have him sit in case he gets too excited or starts pulling on the leash, which normally gets him to calm down; I always make him sit before we cross the street; and we have a 3-2-1 rule on sniffing things for way too long before deciding to pee on it or walk away, to which he just picks one or the other and doesn't have a fit about.
    He listens when I tell him "leave it" if he finds left-out food, trash, a toy, or poop and just trots along with no reluctance. The only other time he shows reluctance is if he sees someone and wants pet--he'll just sit on the sidewalk until the person comes close enough and decide if they want to pet him or not.

  2. #2
    Puppy (New Member)

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Default

    I was reading up on some of the older threads that sounded somewhat like my issue and have a few comments for clarity:
    I've had the puppy since he was 2 months old.
    He's been worked with on his aggression here, and listens best to my husband when it gets right down to it. My husband is usually able to get him to stop acting up with whatever it is the dog is doing--though the dog takes commands from me best (sit, lay down, shake, kennel, porch, husband can just usually get him to stop acting up.)
    Up until he was about 5 months old, he'd sleep in my bed and often still does when my husband works night shifts and sometimes just randomly in the day regardless if my husband is sleeping there--he's careful not to step on anyone or lay on anyone, but he also wants to snuggle.
    He has a couch that he's allowed to lay on (we have our couch and I call the other one "his", but my husband sits on it often, the dog will curl up next to him.)
    He's not territorial about his food. We started that training since bringing him home at 2 months old, and will actually back away from the food and water bowls if the cats get near.
    He's not weird about his toys, either. He shares very well with all the humans, and is actually very good at not taking our things. He takes an occasional sock, and knows he's not allowed to, but he doesn't even chew on pillows (anymore.) In fact, he uses them to rest his big ol' head on.

    If I can't get his attention from telling him no or he just won't listen, I usually snap my fingers a few times and it works, or slap my leg and he knows I mean "Listen Up." But when it comes to these situations, he doesn't listen to any of that. My husband has to push him to the ground before he'll stop, or I have to drag him with him barking and biting until the other dog is out of sight or he just stops caring.


    From suggestions in the previous posts, I'll try bringing a toy with (though I feel like that'd almost be seen as giving him a treat?) to try and get his attention away so he bites on it, instead. Whenever he got too excited before, I'd put a stick in front of him to chew on, but he stopped caring about that. Things only work so long for him...(he's learned how to find pills in treats and food, he doesn't trust peanut butter unless it's in his Kong, and he refuses to eat cheese because that's what the vet used to distract him from his big shot as a puppy. Smart boy.)
    I do have a training collar that my dad used on his hunting lab--it can vibrate, beep, or shock; so if the toy doesn't work, maybe the vibration or beep will? I don't like the idea of using the shock... (if it will fit him, that is. He's quite large, even for a pyre.)

  3. #3
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    Your boy is going through huge surges of testosterone at this age. For that reason, when he gets riled up, it is very difficult to redirect. For the next several months his testosterone will hit the highest level it will ever reach in his life. This is why the stick that used to distract him is no longer working. The testosterone surge is contributing to his being fixated on his target.

    Without seeing his body language, it is difficult to say whether your boy is being aggressive reactive or just frustrated reactive. But the way to manage this is you have to redirect BEFORE he becomes fixated. Once his fixated, you are battling a hug uphill battle. Usually that means you first have to figure out what his threshold distance is. That means how close to another dog can he get before he starts to react. Once you figure that out, you need to figure out what it is that you can use to distract him. It may be a toy, it may be super high value treats, or it may be turn him and way a different direction.

    I would also add that you mentioned his wagging tail a few times. A dog that is wagging its tail does not always mean it is being friendly. Certain types of tail wags are warnings preceding aggression be it to a human or to other dogs. Your boy is at an age where his personality is starting to mature, it isn't uncommon for pyrs that are friendly as a pup to start to be more standoffish and reactive and eventually become intolerant of other dogs. Not saying your pup is heading that way, just saying it happens in the breed.

  4. #4
    Puppy (New Member)

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    Thank you for the response and information!
    I was wondering if that had any play into it (a lot more there than I was expecting!), because this was all starting around the same time as his major growing and persistence.
    From what I can tell, the wag is very similar as to when he sees our cats first thing in the morning or my husband in the afternoon. I will watch for the difference if it happens again.
    Last night we saw another dog and he sat down on his own, whined a little, let the dog pass, and then kept moving no problem. I've seen him have one or the other reaction to small, medium, and big dogs. I haven't noticed their genders, and I don't know if they're fixed, though. Our four closest dog-friends are all fixed and of different genders, and there's one not fixed female that he doesn't get riled up about, either.

    If I see a dog first, I usually do turn around and either wait for them to take the next turn or just go around the block back home. Otherwise, I'll put myself in a position where he can't see the other dog and just talk to him to keep him distracted, but it didn't work this time.
    In the case of the freak-out yesterday, we were about 200 feet from our front door. I was really thinking we could make it without running...

    It's hard to say about his initial body language, though, because sometimes he's just relaxed and won't even care, sometimes he stiffens and seems to perk up like playing with our dog-friends, playing the cats, or if I'm holding a toy to throw, and sometimes there's no pre-body language to see--it's just immediate jumping and lunging, he's rarely on four feet at those times.
    The dog can be as close as 5 feet in front of him (on a 6ft leash) or as far as across two streets and a river (my husband was really mad about that one.) It could be when one of us gets closer to the other, or just as soon as he sees them (such as the river one.) He can initiate or they could, they could bark and he just doesn't care, leash or fence or window or none... It's all a roll of the dice and the only outcomes are, "Eh", "Whine", or "Freak out." So with little to go off of, you can see why I'm struggling with this and maybe not providing what ya'll need...

    Testosterone-based would make a lot of sense, I guess. Poor puppy puberty ^^;;
    Our vet suggested we get him fixed at 18 months because he's so big and he was fighting the lyme's.

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