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American Blue Lacy Dog Blog

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Aggressive Behavior ~ Letter

“I have a male blue lacy. He was 2 months old when I got him. He is 8 months old now. He started attacking my small -female- chi-russel so I gave her away to my brother. The attacks came out of no-where. He would just walk up and bite down in a split sec. To quick to read any of the signs. He grabs the neck and won’t let go until you pry the mouth open. He is now after my -male-pom. Three attacks so far. The last one sent me to the doctor for stitches. I have raised a lot of dogs, trained horses and many other animals. I feel like he is trying to eliminate all the others. He doesn’t give any of the warning signs that it’s about to happen. In a blink he has my small dog in his mouth by the neck and shakes him. The victim doesn’t have to provoke him. Just sitting by my foot was all it took. He was raised with the two other dogs so why this aggression towards them? The small dog tries to keep his distance from him but now my lacy goes looking for him. He hides under tables or behind things. My pom is a senior dog with few teeth to fight back with. What to do? I can’t have him live a life in a muzzle. My friend gave this dog to me. She breeds them. She tells me his aggression is because he doesn’t get enough exercise. He should be able to run like out in the open on a farm, field or some open land. I work him out everyday in my backyard. We work him till he’s panting hard. She says thats not enough. He needs to be able to run for a long distance. If this is true about the lacy dog then they should only be sold to farmers or ranchers. I have a large yard and this has to be enough for him because I can not trust him in the open. I tried a dog park and he was bad there also. I’m afraid he may kill someones pet. Why is he doing this? He obeys me when I give him commands until he decides to have another go at my small dog. He plays fetch. He catches frizbees. He stays and comes on command. He gives paw. He is house broke. He hates small dogs and is intimidated by the large ones.   His name is Jack and he is so beautiful and loving towards me but I have to stop this bad behavior before he kills my pom. Any suggestions?”

My Thoughts — Lack of exercise as an excuse for a bad temperament is ridiculous. It sounds like your dog is getting plenty of exercise anyway so doubt very much that has anything to do with it. I trust my Blue Lacys with teeny tiny 3-8 week old French Bulldog puppies that cost more than all of them put together. They would never, ever kill one. Blue Lacys are NOT supposed to be attack dogs. They are bay hounds. So gentle they are used for autistic children and service dogs. Sounds like Pit Bull with the no warning attack. Some breeders are cross breeding to Pits and registering as Blue Lacys. Make no mistake he WILL kill those small dogs eventually if not curbed.

Environment — living conditions, lack of socialization, excessive punishment, being attacked or frightened by an aggressive dog, being spoiled or given too much unwarranted praise by owners, being isolated from human contact or being exposed to frequent teasing by children or aggravation by joggers –can also influence aggression.

Temperament is also something bred into a dog, what are the parents like? Did you meet and see them? Was he well socialized as a pup? Taken to hardware stores, home depo, dog parks, pet stores, all your friends houses, every single place you could take him a couple times a week. Socialization can’t cure bad breeding, but it can help a lot! That’s why a bad tempered dog should never be bred no matter what. You have a very small window of only the first 14 weeks of a dog’s life to socialize them with as many new people, animals, environments and experiences as possible. If a puppy has not been socialized by the time he is 14 weeks old, he may never be trustworthy around people or other dogs. After that window of time closes you have what you have and are basically fighting an uphill battle of a unsocialized dog on top of a bad temperament which is what it sounds like you have. If the breeder is a responsible breeder she should be willing to take back any dog she produces at any given time. If she is a friend and thinks she knows what is wrong have her take him for a month and see what she can do with him. More likely she will just need to place him in a home with no other dogs if he isn’t people aggressive.

Preventing aggression The primary goal is simple — never allow any dog to achieve dominant status over any adult or child. If dogs always know their social ranking and are never allowed to challenge people, they will usually be good family members. The first rule for preventing problems is to match the right breed and puppy to the right owner and environment. Puppy testing done by the breeder can help. The test includes social attraction, following, restraint, social dominance and elevation dominance.

Aggression prevention includes early socialization. Puppies should be handled gently, especially between three and four months of age. They should be hand-fed by children and adults and taught to take food without grabbing or lunging. They should not be allowed to chase children or joggers, jump on people, mount legs, or growl for any reason. They should never receive or be part of rough, aggressive play such as hand-fighting, wrestling, or tug-of-war games. Puppies should never be physically punished for aggressive behaviour; instead, they should be denied the rewards of aggression, restrained from repeating the infraction, and taught alternative behaviour.

Neutering male dogs will not solve all problems, but will help prevent dominance aggression and inter-male fighting, particularly when done before the pup reaches sexual maturity.

Genes + environment = temperament

Please remember this, if you don’t remember anything else: Once a dog has reached dominant status, punishment cannot be used to correct a dominant aggressive dog! The trainer may make the dog revert to a submissive-aggressive or defensive-aggressive animal, and the dog may respond to that person out of fear, but it will never be trustworthy around others, even family members. The most that may be accomplished is to reduce the frequency and severity of the aggressive acts.

Treating aggressive behaviour is best handled by a professional animal behaviourist or a very experienced, reputable animal trainer. There are a number of individuals who call themselves animal behaviourists or trainers who are poorly qualified. They often resort to brutal and sadistic methods such as “hanging” and shock collars to correct aggressive dogs. Excessive force and punishment are their main tools. When seeking a professional trainer, always seek advice from your veterinarian and carefully interview trainers to find the one who uses the least amount of force necessary.

Treatment consists of listing all the things that trigger aggressive behaviour and preventing these situations from developing. For example, if the dog growls when you try to remove it from the couch, don’t allow it to get on the couch.

You can also try a Homeopathic approach with something like PetAlive Aggression Formula.

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