Our 2 year old short-haired pointer has begun to get aggressive. I do not want to put him down, what can we do?
Our two-year-old German Short Haired Pointer has begun to get aggressive. We brought him home from the breeder at 8 weeks. He has been a wonderful gentle loving dog to me my wife and 10 and 13-year-old sons. At 6 months we put him on an electric invisible fence, which has worked perfectly. He has been a wonderful family pet. If we had any problems it was his ?over-friendliness? - jumping on and licking all guests.
A few months ago we noticed he was barking at joggers running by the house. He would even bark at people when we passed them and he was in the car. Then he started barking at the doorbell or knock on the door.
A few weeks ago when a friend entered through a side door (as many, including us do) he barked then growled and showed his teeth.
Last week we had company and one couple brought their 6-month infant. We crated and leashed Norton all day but when brought into the living room he was fine until he saw the baby. They stared at each other until he started to growl and show teeth. Had I not had him on the leash I don't know what would have happened.
Today the meter reader entered the property and our dog (Norton) was in the back running around. My wife happened to be with him but when seeing the meter reader he bolted after him. First barking then growling and then biting at his boot.
It was not that long ago that ANYONE could come to our home and all they needed to worry about was getting licked by a lovable dog.
HELP!!! Any suggestions. Is this behavior reversible? Or are we looking at a muzzle or WORSE?
If you are inclined to make an effort this behavior is controllable. I do not think it is irreversible. It has developed as a result of the genetics of the dog and has manifested itself because the dog is going through maturity.
The only way to control it is to establish yourself and your wife as the undisputed pack leaders. This is done through strict obedience. By that I do not mean you go out and kick your dog's butt for not minding, but it does mean that you train your dog so that when a command is given he will follow your direction every time under every circumstance without question. Until you have that kind of control you have a dangerous dog. It should not be allowed around small children and you should have a dog crate for the dog to go in when strangers are at your house.
The dog must also learn what inappropriate behavior is. This is accomplished by you telling him NO. Until he has reached the level of obedience that I explain above, telling him NO will not have a great effect on him. But once he is trained and he shows aggression after he is told NO - then he gets corrected and corrected really kicked hard. I follow the theory of one good correction is worth a million nagging ones. Most people are "naggers" - they hag their dogs to death.
But when it comes to unwanted aggression there is no situation where a middle ground is acceptable. The dog either minds or it is dangerous. It's just that simple. So when people have dogs like this it requires a new mind set for them. Both spouses have to agree to train the dog, both have to understand the correct steps to training and both have to be willing to be consistent and follow through with corrections when they are required. If that is not the case in your home then put the dog down because someone is going to get bit. If you would like to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog, get my Basic Dog Obedience video and a prong collar.
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