I have a 7 month old Lhasa Apso, which I also got from a pet store. He has been the happiest dog ever since I got him until about three weeks ago. I took him to his first day of training and he flipped out. He started barking, growling, gnarling and bit me several times. It seems he does not like to be held back from what he wants to do. Ever since then, I've been having problems. Last week was really bad, we had several episodes like this one. My trainer told me on Saturday that, since he's getting worse with training instead of better, I need to seek a behaviorist and also see the vet to make sure it's not an ear infection or anything, and she would refund my money. So, I took him right to the vet on Saturday. Just a couple of months ago this pup was wagging his tail happily as the vet stuck needle after needle in his back. This time, she went to check his ears and he turned vicious. She tried to muzzle him, and he just got worse. Finally, she wouldn't touch him, but referred me to her behaviorist. I was kinda upset because I really felt that some of his sudden aggression may be due to the fact that he does not seem to sleep well and wheezes alot. He gets up to move about every 5-20 minutes, like he just can't get comfy. She looked at me like I was crazy and told me he breathes hard cuz he's a short nosed dog. But sometimes he sounds like a pig snorting, and that doesn't seem healthy. Finally, she told me that he could potentially be put to sleep. I really want to know what has brought on this aggression. The only time that something traumatic MAY have happened was in late July when I left him at a kennel for 3 nights, he came back acting kind of strange and timid. They insisted that nothing happened to him while he was there. Anyway, the vet and the trainer suggested having him neutered. I wanted to breed him, but I don't want to pass on this trait, as it can be genetic. And, first and foremost, he is my pet, not a moneymaker! So, I will most likely have him fixed on Monday, if that may make him happier and healthier.
Well, the trainer gave me a couple of tips on Saturday, mainly correcting the aggressive behavior before or as soon as it starts. He's growled a few times since, but no biting (except to play, which I still correct), and no bearing his teeth or flipping out since we were at the vet. She also told me to chew gum or a mint if I am nervous around him, because he can sense that. Also, make sure he gets long walks, cuz chasing rabbits in the backyard a few minutes here and there isn't enough exercise for him. I've mainly kept him on a leash at all times so that I can give him a tug when he starts to act up. The last three days have been great! So I'm hesitating on whether or not to spend the money on the behaviorist. He seems to have improved, he's been really sweet the last few days and really mellowed out. He also seems to be sleeping a lot, so I don't know if he is not feeling well (our other dog was mopey all last week).
I went to the bookstore today and picked up a few books on aggression, as well as the dog whisperer. It said that this behavior can be related to lack of sleep. So, I have several questions, any that you all can answer, please do: 1) do any of you have success stories of how you handled an aggressive puppy? 2) Is there anything I can do or give my pup to help him sleep more soundly? 3) Any clue on where this aggression comes from, or is it normal for it to just show up out of the blue like this? 4) Should I still be majorly concerned and pay for the behaviorist if he has been doing much better in the past few days (will he relapse)?
I'm sorry this is so long, but I appreciate any help you all can give me.
Have your vet evaluate his breathing first of all. Short nosed breed or not, you should not hear an audible wheeze. His breathing should not be labored, the restlesness, etc could be signs of an underlying problem causing discomfort and/or not feeling well which may cause him to lash out when he is being messed with. I would get a clean bill of health done first! If he is clear, then move onto aggression work and training.
oops...just realized it was a different poster that had the dog with pneumonia. Still, the dogs sounds like he has something going on. My dobie Spencer became aggressive quite suddenly and he was eventually diagnosed with hypothyroidism...might be something you ask your vet about.
chewing gum is a good idea if he makes you nervous. people give of a certain smell thru their mouths when they are nervous and dogs can pick up on that. when i had taken my thunder to training classes the instructor wanted to use him as a demo dog. the first thing thunder did when she led him away from me was jump up and smell her breath. i forgot the exact term she used for what they can smell on our breath but it was pretty interesting to learn.
i am not sure by your description whether this aggressiveness is him trying to find his rank in your household or is related to a medical problem. in ordere to fix the problem you first have to identify it. lhasas are sorta known for agressive personalities but this seems to be to be more of a medical problem. one medical condition that can lead to this type of behavior is hypothyroidism. given the other medical problems you have described i would think he doesnt feel well and that could be the cause of it suddenly happening.
most aggression problems dont just crop up over night unless it is a medical problem. in behavioral aggression problems the signs are subtle at first but they are always there. its just a lot of owners dont pick up on these things until the dog has reached the point your puppy has. if it is behavioral then you need to find someone who is experienced in training dogs with behavioral problems. a behaviorist can do this but a lot of them believe in medicating for these issues. some believe in medication in addition to training. there isnt a magic pill that is going to fix it. training is going to be needed in conjunction with whatever his problem turns out to be.
a very basic training method is called NILIF .... nothing in life is free. i believe ALL dogs should be started on this when they are pups. it is a very simple training program and really works. even if his problem turns out to be a medical one .... you should still implement the NILIF ideas in his daily life.
will he relapse ? it is possible ..... my dog thunder has relapses all the time. he is a very dominant dog and will still, even at the age of 7 1/2 .... test us now and again.
if what you are doing seems to be working i would definitely continue with it. no matter what else you decide to do to get to the root of the problem.
HeatherFeather, I don't know much about Lhasa Apso dogs. my o/p i think he was just upset going to classes usually when dogs has been spoil it's very hard for someone else to tell them what to do.my vet also told me to call a behaviorist. no-way he doesn't need one . i just have to deal with his behavior problem when going to the vet.they clean his ears very hard. when he was use to me cleaning softly. now i can't clean them wating for him to get over the shock .as far as traing thats a no --no too why ? B/C I FEEL I CAN TRAIN MY DOG MY SELF ,AND I HAVE. certain things he does i don't approve of but i'm working on that it takes time and patient . he's not use to someone pulling on his lease in order to control him.holding him up in the air by his lease so he can stop trying to bite after you just gave him a shot that hurted . gee give me a break doc. so you see . what i'm really trying to say here pay attention to your dog if he's one way at home and after you take him to a vet etc and he start to act different at home sad or not eating lopping around. then you should know why he's acting like he is. but everyone deals with their dogs different . just my o/p.my dog is very very spoil and i know it . at the vet he has to be gas in order to get check . doc say behaviorst.no no no! at home happy little puppy. loves kids plays well don't bite gives everyone kisses kisses!
1) where does this dog sleep, exactly? He sleeps in my room on the floor. Either by the door, or on either side of the bed. Like I said, he moves around a lot.
2) does he get up on your furniture without your permission? He does get up on the furniture, but he knows "off". He knows that he is not allowed up while I am eating and I push him off if ha any aggressive behavior with me.
3) do you feed him on a schedule or leave food down all the time? He gets fed his main meal of dry food with a Eukanuba puppy pouch in the morning, and I give him a small meal at night, usually a little bit of meat and a pinch of cheese (more as a treat).
4) are you or have you used a crate with this dog? I crate trained him for potty training and use it for overnight visits, since I don't fully trust him holding it all night at someone elses house.
5) is this dog EVER possessive over food or toys? I can stick my hand in between his mouth and his food, and he will not do anything. He has been aggressive with the other dog over a dog bone, but he happily shares his regular food and the above nighttime treats with the other dog. He's not aggressive over toys, but I have stopped playing tug of war, instead we play fetch, and he has to either drop the ball or toy, or only hold it loosely in his mouth. Other than that, he got extremely PO'd over me taking a bottle of Tylenol out of his mouth on Friday (shame on me, huh?).
6) Does he demand you pet him by bumping your hand? No, sometimes while I am petting him and I stop, he will move his head under my hand, like he wants me to continue.
7) does he pull on leash or rush through doorways? He pulls on his leash like crazy, but we're working on the heel command, and he seems to be getting it. He knows "stay" so I don't have a problem with him rushing outside when I open the door. But, I am staying with my parents until I find a full time job, and sometimes he won't obey my dads stay command.
I guess this is where I'm confused, because I've done the things the books say since I got him to teach him that I am Alpha. He's never been allowed to eat off my plate or sit with me when I eat, he has to stay on the floor. I eat first, except in the morning because I don't eat breakfast. He has to sit and stay before I put his food down, and only when I say "okay" can he begin eating. I've always thought I have asserted myself as "the Boss", so I just don't know how this came up so suddenly. It seems to happen mainly when I am keeping him from doing something. But he has started growling at strangers who come to pet him after they have pet him for a few minutes, but it does seem to be when they get in his face, which is a threat to him.
Anyway, thank you all for all your advice, support and comments. I will continue working with Merphy and hopefully everythng turns out all right.
Thank you! I think I'm gonna take him to a different vet for a second opinion and to have him neutered. I am REALLY concerned about his breathing and lack of sleep. Like right now he's trying to nap, but has been up and moving around almost every minute. He seems so restless, and when he does finally doze off, he has puppy nightmares, because he keeps wimpering and lightly barking in his sleep. My poor guy!
moving around, and whimpering, barking, or even howling during sleep is normal for dogs.
I would crate this dog for nap and nighttime if he were mine.
Neutering is a good idea. Also ask your vet to look at his soft palate when he is under. In certain short faced dogs, they need some of the soft palate removed as it protrudes into the upper throat area and can interfere with breathing.
The dreaming, whimpering is normal for them to do, but not moving and restlessness every minute or so. When they sleep, they are not like people and will get up many times in say an 8 hour night. Though they should still be able to lie and sleep for a longer period of time (30 min-1 hour) without getting up to move. Now there are times when the dog is simply lying around and not necesarily in its "sleep" mode and they will move more often.
As I said before, my first step would be to have his health checked, lungs, bloodwork etc to rule out behavior due to illness, then move to the next step. Good luck, keep us up to date.
***Edited By: lpn169 on 11/2/2005 1:34:16 PM*** Reason: sp
I would also have an x-ray done of his lungs. Koda has a condition with his lungs (can't remember the name) but it is basically a pre asthma type of condition and he can't be in the house very long or he will get very restless and start panting like he has just ran a marathon. I think getting a second opinion is a great idea as well as getting him neutered. I also would make sure that he gets COMPLETELY checked out, even if they have to do it while he is sedated. Another thing, is I wouldn't quit training. He needs that socialization and structure, even if he is not feeling his best. Keep us updated!!!
I would do what the others say about the health checks and stuff. But at his age it is very common for dogs to go through their "teenage years" and will start stuff like being aggressive,humping,acting like they dont know anything,regressing in housebreaking.Also since he was purchased from a pet store it is very common for the puppies to have aggression problems.I would take him on a good 30 minutte walk and then if you have a treadmill put him on thta for 15-20 minutes.I wish you good luck
I too agree that in my experience Lhasas are not necessarily the nicest dogs in the world.
Having said that I would like to suggest that you get your vet to do a titer for Lyme disease. I have seen several articles indicating that a sudden change in character toward aggression can be the result of being infected with Lyme disease.
The other problem may just be as simple as hormones, he is a teenager and male dogs, neutered or not, seem to be very much like male human teenagers.