Hi,I have a 10 yr old Dalmatian. Who has become aggressive. While we eat at the supper table our dogs begs for food. Yes we do feed him from the table.4 times he's turned on us. He has growled at us showing his teeth. Then he would walk away with his tail not wagging, it just hang there and he'd go lay down.But if you were to go near him or look at him he would growl showing his teeth at you. The only way we knew he was fine when he would get up and his tail was wagging again.The 4th time he did this my husband went near the dog and he got up off the couch and walked towards him growling and very angry. I don't know if this dog will harm us or not. Please help
The first thing I would do is take the dog for a check up at the vet's to see if there is a problem with him physically. The second thing I would do is crate him or put him in another room while you're eating. Never feed him from the table, ever. The aggression is worrying,and I'm not sure where that behaviour is stemming from, but start with the vet,and let us know what you find out.
I don't think that a vet visit is necessary. Yet. First off, you need to make sure why the dog is becoming aggressive. This happens because of lack of exercise and lack of leadership.
Dogs need exercise in order to be healthy and not become frustrated. Dogs are wanderers by nature, so this is very important for your dogs health, both mental and physical.
Dogs also need an assertive leader. If you don't play the role of the leader the dog will try to fill that spot, and it could have bad consecuences. You need to show your dog that you are in command at all times. Yelling, hitting or punishing your dog is no way to show that you are in command. You need to project leadership at all times.
Let's go back to you feeding the dog off the table. Remember that in nature, leaders eat first and get the best spots. If you feed your dog off the table, he will think he is at your level.
For the next couple of days try to project yourself as a leader. If the dog begs while you eat, be firm and say no. If it continues to beg, keep doing this until the dog understands that it's not getting anything. You need to show the dog that there are rules and boundaries that must be respected.
makar17, I am going to have to disagree with you here on the vet visit. This dog is ten years old, that makes it a senior.
Sudden aggression can be several things, I am leaning towards something neurological. Perhaps the dog is going a bit senile, having trouble seeing, or might be something really serious like a tumor on the brain.
If you have fed this dog from the table all it's life and this behavior is something new, first of all, it's your dog and you raise it how you'd like so it's a little late and I am not going to lecture you on spoiling it by feeding it from the table. BUT, do not be scared of your own dog. Dogs can sense fear and that will not go well for you. Stand your ground, but do not push the dog. I would not make eye contact, approach/tower over, or turn your back on the dog when it is behaving this way.
Do what you are doing and watch the body language very carefully... get this dog into the vet and tell them what has been going on. Good luck, I'd like to hear an update.
I agree that a trip to the vet is in order. If this were a leadership problem it wouldn't have taken ten years to show up. I would guess it's a health problem like Pope and Pen suggested. I believe thyroid problems and hearing loss can cause aggression as well.
Sudden agression can also be caused by certain medicines. Has the dog been given steroids for a health condition? I would also have the vet do blood work, if a dog is infected with whip worms the toxin from them affects the brain and causes behavior and mood changes. Good luck with your senior baby, I hope this is something simple and easily treated.