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  1. #1
    Puppy (New Member)

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    Default Aggression Toward Son

    We have just adopted a beautiful 3 yr. old pure-bred Great Pyr--just in the last week. 120 pounds. We have already fallen in love with the dog, but are having to consider giving him up after one week as he exhibitted frightening behavior with our 6-year-old boy (who also loves him). Eddy lunged at our son on the first day, and my wife had to forcefully hold him back with him growling and mouth open very near our son's face. One tooth actually made contact and left a slight mark (no blood). He has since growled at our son and moved toward him in a frightening way again last night when he seemed to feel surprised by our son's entrance into the room. Obviously we can't have this. We've read so much about pyrs being so good with children--gentle giants. And Eddy is a giant. Short of turning him back to the shelter immediately, which we are now considering given the high stakes here, are there any quick methods for stopping this sort of weird aggression? Maybe he was abused by a young boy with his former owners (we do not know and can't find out why he was given up), maybe he just has scary temper that could turn on all of us. We don't know. But we are close to having to return him, and we hate the idea. We have already bonded with him. And he seems to really love our son under normal circumstances. Any thoughts, advice? It's become rather urgent. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Young Dawg (Member) new's Avatar

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    If I were you, I’d have either returned or rehomed him. It sounds brutal but when a child is involved I’d never take a risk. It looks like your dog gets startled easily or is scared of your son. I’ve a 6 month old puppy (65 lbs) and she’s so careful with my three year old so this breed is def a gentle giant but then it also depends how they are raised. Since you don’t know the background, it seems practical to remove the dog from your home. I’m sorry but I can’t figure out any other solution.

    There are many breed experienced members who have raised multiple GPs and hopefully they can provide you a better solution and the root cause of your dogs aggression. Good luck!

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent View Post
    We have just adopted a beautiful 3 yr. old pure-bred Great Pyr--just in the last week. 120 pounds. We have already fallen in love with the dog, but are having to consider giving him up after one week as he exhibitted frightening behavior with our 6-year-old boy (who also loves him). Eddy lunged at our son on the first day, and my wife had to forcefully hold him back with him growling and mouth open very near our son's face. One tooth actually made contact and left a slight mark (no blood). He has since growled at our son and moved toward him in a frightening way again last night when he seemed to feel surprised by our son's entrance into the room. Obviously we can't have this. We've read so much about pyrs being so good with children--gentle giants. And Eddy is a giant. Short of turning him back to the shelter immediately, which we are now considering given the high stakes here, are there any quick methods for stopping this sort of weird aggression? Maybe he was abused by a young boy with his former owners (we do not know and can't find out why he was given up), maybe he just has scary temper that could turn on all of us. We don't know. But we are close to having to return him, and we hate the idea. We have already bonded with him. And he seems to really love our son under normal circumstances. Any thoughts, advice? It's become rather urgent. Thanks!

    We adopted a pyr mixed with 2 other lgd breeds over a year ago. It took us literally 8 months to resolve most of the issues we had. He would attack our other dog, every chance he got. At first our other dog would stand there and not react but then he started fighting back and it wasn't pretty. Once we learned to read dog signals and dog language we could stop most fights. We learned he had fear aggression. He nipped our son in the face once. He would growl at the little ones if they did anything like accidently climb on him (well accident cause this is how they acted with our other dog). Now at over a year out he rarely growls at then and now jumps up on them so that's our issue. He just loves them but doesn't realize he's way too big. Working on that issue. He doesn't jump on anyone outside the family.
    Anyway, if he's reacting out of the blue as it sounds it may not work.
    We at first had to keep him leashed at all times. (he still can't be off leash outside). And if not on leash in the house he was in his crate. We are still strict. He's not leashed inside anymore but if I can't watch him fully he's in his crate.

    I won't lie. The stress of trying to fix this dog has been great and scary. My older child now has anxiety over the entire year of stress of dog fights. My husband did say though the instant he broke skin on a child he'd be gone. I will say in the fights he had with our other dog he was holding back even though it looked severe. Because once our other dog started fighting back he didn't hold back and the last fight the Pyr got hurt bad. So I now have another dog I can't fully trust. It's not something I would say try. I would say entering rooms with our pyr was the worst. He took out all his aggression on our other dog. I hate to think if that was our children which seems to be the case in your situation. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. It's not fun. We had a behaviorist we ended up working with and she had told us with both dogs issues (this was awhile back), in hsr honest option if we rehomed them, they would probably get put down. A rescue near us has 2 Pyrenees they can't adopt out. They've been brought back twice. And once was for lunging at a child. The other I'm not sure but they only lasted 24 hours. I've seen the life of dogs in rescues and shelters and that's why we worked so hard. But when it comes to hurting children that's another story.

  4. #4
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    There are no quick methods to deal with this type of aggression because the stakes are so high. You don't want to use a method that only forces the dog to suppress the physical manifestation of aggression - while that may address the physical aggression, it doesn't deal with the mental frustration that is building up. You'd be basically creating a time bomb that can go off suddenly.

    When a dog has to live with children, they must be absolutely bomb proof. My advise would be to give this dog back, pronto. There is no telling whether behavior modification will work, and, moreover, even if the dog learns to tolerate your children, there is no telling whether it can be trusted with your children's friends. There is just too much at risk here in my opinion.

  5. #5
    Puppy (New Member)

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    Thanks to all for your responses. Happy ending (so far, anyway). We had the dog evaluated by a behavioral trainer, and he found little to no signs of agression in the dog and came to the conclusion that the incident I described happened as a result of our son being too close to a bone--and the fact that this was only his second day in the home and he was no doubt feeling very unsettled. No more bones! He suggested that if we were willing to take the risk, the dog should settle in, in his opinion, and he gave us a number of exercises involving our son and also suggested long-term training. Since then Big Eddie has been nothing but a joy: a gentle giant as described, who loves our son, is fine with our cats, and thinks of himself as a lap dog, happiest when he is being petted. As someone said above: One more incident, and if he breaks skin, that's it. Thus far it's a risk that we and our son are willing to take with eyes wide open. We do not want to see this animal destroyed as is likely to happen if he cannot be found a home--nor do we want him to go to another owner who might abuse him via punishment and make the aggression worse. So--so far, so good. Thanks again for the replies.

  6. #6
    Young Dawg (Member)

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    Iím sorry your family had to deal with this, but so glad you got the advice of an animal behavioralist!

    The only time our sweet girl has ever growled was when we bought her a bone that she LOOOOOOOVED. bone immediately went in the trash and nothing before or since!

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