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Old 05-15-2009, 07:35 PM   #1
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Default newbie with SOMETIMES aggressive adopted male

Help! We adopted a 2.5 y/o neutered male Yorkie three weeks ago. LOVE the dog. He sleeps with the kids and has been trained to a kennel and a carrier. Problem is, every now (every few days) and then he goes OFF in aggressive barking. I first noticed it if ever my son was rude in tone to my daughter. He'd back uptoward her while barking at him. Settled down quickly, never showed teeth. Actually thought it showed great character! SOmetimes he'd snap at neighbor kids who were to close and too excited--not reac;hing for them but barking meanly. I thought I understood him to be saying back off and calm down! Last night I turned in the car to tell the kids to be quiet as their dad had to take a call. He went OFF barking and showed me his teeth I think. I finally pasted on a smile and spoke sweetly and slowly and he calmed down and rushed into my lap. Tonight my son and I burst through the front door together laughing after a race. He again started barking very angrily toward me. Again seemed almost like snarling. he calmed down when I stopped moving and telling him to stop. Again he came right to me and offered me a toy. I am very concerned about this and will talk to our trainer, but wanted to get all the advice I can. FYI, other dog people say he doesn't show alpha behaviors, he loves to meet other people and animals on walks. HELP!
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Old 05-15-2009, 08:57 PM   #2
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Welcome to YT! I'm have never had aggression issues but I'm sure the others on here will be of great help.
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Old 05-16-2009, 06:24 AM   #3
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Welcome to YT! I am so happy to hear that you decided to open your heart and home to a rescue pup. It is a wonderful thing to be able to do and sometimes as you can tell there can be issues.

You said that he has been in your home for 3 weeks now. They get comfortable in their new home and their issues start to come out. It is great that you have a trainer to help overcome any obstacles along the way.

It sound like your little guy is trying to show you and your family who is the boss and you need to let him know that it is you are and not him

I would suggest that when you walk through the door and he begins to bark and act excited that you ignore him. If he is barking at you and your son I would continue into the house not looking down at him at all. If he brings you a toy ignore this as well. He is trying to control the situation and your family. You can even turn your back to him when he is behaving this way to further ignore him. When you want to play with a toy then you should initiated play. Do not allow him to initiate play because he is then controlling the situation and you and your family. When it is time to play you can also use the reward and treat. Good behaviors get a treat bad behaviors are ignored and then play is stopped.

You also said that he sleeps with the kids in their bed which could easily turn into a possessive behavior. As cute as he is I would have to say not to allow this either. He will begin to guard the kids in their beds. IMO, I would use the crate instead for at night. Only allow him on the furniture when you say it is alright. If he comes up when he is not wanted put him right back down. when he stays down treat and praise.

If you plan on taking him in the car I would not allow him out of either his carrier or keep him attached to a doggie car seat. If you can correct what is going on inside the house you will be able to also correct the behavior inside the car as well.

I would also keep a harness and leash on him inside the house if he continues to act aggressive. When he acts out, you need to be able to control the situation but picking up the leash and calling him away. When he follows your lead you need to then treat and praise.

I hope this is helpful and with a little bit of work on your entire families part he will learn your house rules. Sometimes when we have a little one that we know has had a rough start it is very easy to pamper too much allowing them to take total control.
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Old 05-16-2009, 06:36 AM   #4
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I agree, I think he is just testing out who will be the Alpha male. The previous post has great adivce! Good Luck and show him who the boss is!
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:43 AM   #5
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I agree, but would like to add....

You may want to consider changing some of your own behaviors to help him as he is adjusting to your family. Try not to put him in situations that cause him stress for now, until you get help with training him. Most rescues ended up for adoption because of nippiness or biting/growling involving children. Adoption is great, but the hard part has just begun. You have to be kind and considerate because you don't know his background. If you treat him nice, you get nice back. If your kids play rough, he learns rough is okay. Do not allow any behaviors you don't want to see repeated: growling, showing teeth, barking. It's not okay because he hasn't bitten yet. Find what you need to do to break his attention like saying 'ah,ah; no; hey; sssst'. You must match his level of excitement or 1 over his level to make him stop, and try different sounds till you find what he responds to the quickest. Don't get mad at him, he's just doing what he already knows. Be very consistent ... everytime. Do not hit him or use shock collars or anything like that. Eventually he will learn that nastiness will not be tolerated and you'll see less and less of it.

It took my first rescue 8 months to begin to trust me. He thought that every time he did wrong, he was going to have to leave. So very sad. I made and make a point to tell him everyday that he is a good boy (words I don't think he ever heard) and that there is absolutely nothing he could do that would make me give up on him and that I love him forever. The first day I washed his bed really freaked him out. He went to get in it and it was't there! Trauma!!! I held him till it came out of the dryer and put it back in place. Oh Happy Day!!! He knows english, at least mostly all the 4 letter words and runs and hides when he hears them. You couldn't cough or sneeze around him, he would panic and run. I can't imagine what he went through. He's almost over most stuff (6.5 years later) but I am still careful not to upset him.

My 2nd rescue has issues. I think children played with her relentlessly. She wears me out. She plays rough and is very possessive of her toys. I began trading a different toy or a treat for the one she had. This works but I have to not let her get too exited or she will bite to get me to release the toy. She has learned that when she bites hard people drop things. I wasn't sure how far she would go, she hasn't broken skin yet, but we are now working on 'easy, leave it,and give' commands. I do not allow children to play with her unsupervised, or for very long.

Walking your dog on leash is probably the fastest way to start forming a bond with him/her. They love getting out in the neighborhood with all the new smells and sights and sounds. It helps them to burn off excess energy
and can improve their attitude.
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:57 AM   #6
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I am sooooo glad you have a trainer!!! Had to get that out first, now...Welcome to YT & Thank you, thank you, thank you for adopting!

It's very hard to give you advice without seeing what his behavior's like. I would recommend talking to your trainer and PLEASE, try and look at this through your baby's eyes. If you don't know his history then I would rely on the trainer who is there seeing his behavior and has knowledge about what it is that your dog's trying to say when he reacts this way.

It could be that he came from a very abusive home before and has decided that loud voices remind him of what happened in his other home. Since he has so much love in your home now, he wants to protect his loved ones from whoever's yelling at them.

If he was beaten there, it's very understandable as he doesn't want his loved one to be beaten. And though you shouldn't tolerate it, you should be very careful how you handle it and the trainer is the professional you should really talk this through with.

My little man is also a rescue and though I have no idea what his other home, or homes were like, I can tell you that I know he was abused. If you move too fast towards him, he freezes and cowers down like he's about to be beaten. It broke my heart the first time I seen him do this. I stopped, talked very lovingly to him and let him come to me. Then we have a long hugging and kissing session with promises to never allow him to experience that kind of pain again. He will also run and hide if someone raises their voice. It can just be yelling up the steps to tell my daughter that dinner is ready, he will run and hide. This is why I say try and look at his life experiences through his eyes. We've made simple changes like now I text her cell phone (she's a teenager and has it glued in her hand all the time) instead of yelling up the steps. But in the mornings I sing loudly up the steps that morning is here and it's time to wakey wakey. Barley actually loves this as he knows he can run up there, jump on her bed and get a few morning hugs before she gets up ;o)

Good luck and please keep us posted.
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