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  • Concerned about anxiety/aggression

    Hello everyone. It has been years since I last posted, but some recent behaviour has made me need to turn to others for help! Ranger is a neutered 16mos Dane. In Nov. I had a baby. In Dec., my 6 year old Dane passed away, and Ranger was deeply depressed. I noticed that he started playing rough with my 3 and 2 year old, and if they would try to lay on him or sit up against him on the couch he would rumble a little and move away. Then, we took in a stray in Feb., Ranger was so happy. He played well with the kids, but still would rumble if they crowded him on the couch or floor. Unfortunately, the stray turned out to be very illand passed away 3 weeks after we got him, leaving Ranger miserable. Now he whines when alone, has actually growled at the kids when they crowd him, won't eat, and growls and barks at anyone (mostly males) who come in the house. He is generally a typically lovey,goofy Dane. Well, the big problem happened on Saturday when I took him to the vet. After a series of stressful events..a pitbull jumped out a car window at him, two dogs got into a fight, he had to be manhandled onto the scale...the new receptionist came over to pet him, and he jumped up, growled at her and clamped down on her arm, at the same time expressing his anal glands. She was really cool about it and apologized for coming at me in what could have seemed like an aggressive manner, but now I am actually a little leary of Ranger. The vet gave me some meds for when a stressful situation arises, and I am giving him Bach's rescue remedy.

    I've always had large dogs and he is my third Dane and I have never had to deal with this. Help!

  • #2
    RE: Concerned about anxiety/aggression

    I have several thoughts running through my head. The dog that died (I'm sorry btw) may have been his alpha, leaving the position open to him. He's not at an unusual age to start showing dominance as he moves up the ranks and children are easy targets during this climb. You should read up on NILIF and start using it and he should be kept clear of the children until he's taken down a few notches.

    I wouldn't be too worried about the vet incident, sounds like he was already upset & her approaching was the last straw, he showed strong bite inhibition, when he was clearly upset.


    Mitch

    In Memory of Gabe. What he lacked in body he made up for in heart.
    http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s...m/doofuses.jpg

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    • #3
      RE: Concerned about anxiety/aggression

      The first thing that comes to my mind is to teach your children to leave the poor dog along and quit climbing in him and/or using him for a pillow. I would get grouchy too if I was treated like that. Teach them to treat him with the dignity he deserves.

      "Playing rough" can be different things to different people. What exactly do you mean by that? Is he intentionally knocking them down? Is he biting them?

      As for the vet's office, I'm sure he still had a lot of adrenalin running through his body. That can cause the behavior you described.

      Bill Carnes
      www.skylarzack.com/rawfeeding.htm

      "Unnatural diets predispose animals to unnatural outcomes"
      Dr. Tom Lonsdale

      "If you won't eat what you are feeding your dog, its not good enough to feed him either."
      Bill Carnes

      "Causing pain, either physical, mental, or emotional to an animal to force him to act as you think he should is wrong. Doing so only reflects the ignorance of the trainer. There IS a better way."
      Bill Carnes

      Comment


      • #4
        RE: Concerned about anxiety/aggression

        >The first thing that comes to my mind is to teach your
        >children to leave the poor dog along and quit climbing in him
        >and/or using him for a pillow. I would get grouchy too if I
        >was treated like that. Teach them to treat him with the
        >dignity he deserves.

        My goodness, I don't mean to be rude, but that was a little harsh especially in regard to a 3 and 2 year old who only want to love on their dog and have been trying to work through their own grief over their beloved pet's death. They treat him with the utmost love and dignity, and when he wants to climb all over them and cuddle up next to them on the couch they gladly allow and relish it, eventhough he outweighs them by about 130lbs. They have always been taught to respect and love their pets as members of the family and would never do anything to harm or antagonize him.

        With Rufus(who passed away unexpectedly in Dec.), Ranger would wrestle and play tug and jump. He started trying that with the boys, but as a general rule is extremely gentle and cautious with them. He is becoming less and less rough with them, so I am not greatly concerned with that...I think it was just him learning that they are more delicate than his 150lb Dane brother.

        Thank you for reassuring me about the vet. They called this morning to discuss it and explain that they do not blame him and understand that it was a freak situation.

        Comment


        • #5
          RE: Concerned about anxiety/aggression

          http://xceldanes.com/Flagdee.JPG


          Sounds to me like this boy has alot of pent up energy and with the loss of Rufus..no outlet to let it out, as he did in the playing with him. Maybe another Dane? A rescue that needs a good home?

          I know others here will disagree with me.. but I have never let my Danes growl for no good reason. And a child snuggling against a dog is NOT a reason to growl. If they don't like the kid doing that..my Danes got up and walked away.



          Dee
          sigpic

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          • #6
            RE: Concerned about anxiety/aggression

            >My goodness, I don't mean to be rude, but that was a little
            >harsh especially in regard to a 3 and 2 year old who only want
            >to love on their dog and have been trying to work through
            >their own grief over their beloved pet's death.

            You are trying to give your dog a human's ability to reason and empathize that he just doesn't have. All he knows is that he is trying to relax and probably nap and here come two children crowding him, climbing on him and laying on him. He is telling them is as nice a way as he knows how to go away and leave him alone for now. He will let them know when he is ready to cuddle or play.

            Bill Carnes
            www.skylarzack.com/rawfeeding.htm

            "Unnatural diets predispose animals to unnatural outcomes"
            Dr. Tom Lonsdale

            "If you won't eat what you are feeding your dog, its not good enough to feed him either."
            Bill Carnes

            Comment


            • #7
              RE: Concerned about anxiety/aggression

              Usually he just gets up and walks away, which I am perfectly fine with. Should I allow him to make the rumble noise as long as it doesn't escalate to a growl? I'm a little concerned for when the baby begins to crawl and stand up - my other dogs just let the kids crawl near or up to them and stayed perfectly still. I'm worried that Ranger will get up to walk away from her and either step on her or knock her over. I guess I have a couple months to work with him before she starts to become very mobile

              I appreciate all the advice. Although he has a very large fenced-in yard and plays alot with the boys out there, we are going to take him for multiple daily walks. His only companions (other than the kids) are two cats who loved Rufus, but don't like Ranger very much - our 10lb kitten routinely beats Ranger up, but they both seem to enjoy it and no one gets hurt so maybe they are actually playing. We have thought about a companion for him but are still too emotionally devastated by two pets deaths in the space of two months. But I understand the need for companionship as we got Ranger to help Rufus get over his intense depression after our 13yo GermShep/RhodRidegback passed away.

              Jennifer

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              • #8
                RE: Concerned about anxiety/aggression

                http://xceldanes.com/Flagdee.JPG


                He is telling them is as nice a way as he knows how to go away and leave him alone for now. He will let them know when he is ready to cuddle or play.

                Bill Carnes


                Since when does a dog run the house?? The dog decides when he's ready to play or cuddle?? B.S.


                In my house I'm the Alpha bitch..plain and simple. I decide when the dogs are going to eat, going to go out, going to bed, etc. The dog doesn't. The dog can decide what the rules are.. when he gets a job and brings home the bacon.

                To the OP..A grumble is different then a growl. A grumble IMO is OK..but NOT a growl. After a bit you'll be able to tell the difference.

                Dee
                sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  RE: Concerned about anxiety/aggression

                  >http://xceldanes.com/Flagdee.JPG
                  >
                  >
                  >He is telling them is as nice a way as he knows how to go away
                  >and leave him alone for now. He will let them know when he is
                  >ready to cuddle or play.
                  >
                  >Bill Carnes
                  >
                  >
                  >Since when does a dog run the house?? The dog decides when
                  >he's ready to play or cuddle?? B.S.
                  >
                  >
                  >In my house I'm the Alpha bitch..plain and simple. I decide
                  >when the dogs are going to eat, going to go out, going to bed,
                  >etc. The dog doesn't. The dog can decide what the rules are..
                  >when he gets a job and brings home the bacon.


                  Wow- so much time has passed since my last DOL visit, and I see Bill giving out the same fabulous advice regarding training :f

                  I agree with Dee - the dogs don't get to decide what the people do, in my house it's the other way around. In my house, the couches are for the humans and the dogs have their own comfy beds on the floor. Just as the dogs aren't allowed on furniture, neither are the humans hogging the dog beds to play on.

                  I personally wouldn't wait until the growl or grumble escalates into a nip or bite in the face of my toddler. Supervise all interactions with your children and dog, and begin TODAY in teaching the dog to get up and leave the room if they don't appreciate the children's attention.
                  My best boy, Trooper.
                  sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    RE: Concerned about anxiety/aggression

                    >Since when does a dog run the house?? The dog decides when
                    >he's ready to play or cuddle?? B.S.

                    Who said anything about the dog running the house. Since when does a dog have to put up with torment from kids? They need to be taught to leave the poor dog alone. This is a kid training problem, not a dog training problem.

                    >In my house I'm the Alpha bitch

                    No arugment here!!!

                    Bill Carnes
                    www.skylarzack.com/rawfeeding.htm

                    "Unnatural diets predispose animals to unnatural outcomes"
                    Dr. Tom Lonsdale

                    "If you won't eat what you are feeding your dog, its not good enough to feed him either."
                    Bill Carnes

                    "Causing pain, either physical, mental, or emotional to an animal to force him to act as you think he should is wrong. Doing so only reflects the ignorance of the trainer. There IS a better way."
                    Bill Carnes

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      RE: Concerned about anxiety/aggression

                      > In Nov. I had a baby.
                      > In Dec., my 6 year old Dane passed away, and Ranger was
                      >deeply depressed. I noticed that he started playing rough
                      >with my 3 and 2 year old, and if they would try to lay on him
                      >or sit up against him on the couch he would rumble a little
                      >and move away. Then, we took in a stray in Feb., Ranger was
                      >so happy. He played well with the kids, but still would
                      >rumble if they crowded him on the couch or floor.
                      >Unfortunately, the stray turned out to be very illand passed
                      >away 3 weeks after we got him, leaving Ranger miserable.

                      It's pretty common for a death to cause problems. I think it shakes up the "pack," as it were, and can leave a dog floundering to find it's place in a radically altered group dynamic. In that process of figuring out their role in this new group all kinds of problems can occur. We're dealing with that now. Our 9 year old Dane, Lily, died a few months ago. Wally, our rescued terrier thingy at first was depressed, then a number of disturbing habats started to pop up. He started alarm barking at me when I get home, he's become obsessed with the car window, he often seems jumpy and spooky and gets set off by loud noises, all things he didn't do before Lily died. I'd attribute all this to a number of things. He used to play with her every day. That energy is now pent up rather than spent on her. That makes him more anxious, more nervous. Obviously, he is getting less exercise and therefore has extra energy and nowhere to spend it. Lack of exercise is a very common cause of behavior problems. I need to make a concerted effort to get him out on long walks more often. But, it's more than that, she was the big dog and he followed her lead when it came to things like barking to protect the house. Without that crutch to lean on he is trying to figure out how he should handle all those things he used to look to Lily to handle.

                      The bottom line, and reason for this story is that many things change when a pet dies and leaves behind other dogs. Your dog is undoubtedly having trouble on multiple fronts. You may have to treat the problem on multiple fronts.

                      >Now he whines when alone

                      Was he ever really alone before? If not he may not know how to be alone and it may be stressful. While separation anxiety is, IMHO, over hyped and over diagnosed, it is true that things like whining when alone can escalate into full blown separation anxiety. Think of it as a sign and an opportunity to nip any potential problem in the bud. Treating separation anxiety is more than can be condensed into a simple message and I'd google the term and you may find some good suggestions to help occupy your Dane when you are gone and ideas to help prevent this from turning into a big problem.

                      >has actually growled at the kids when they crowd him, won't eat,
                      >and growls and barks at anyone (mostly males) who come in the house.

                      Do not punish the growling, or even attempt to supress it. It is a warning and supressing warnings is not a good idea. My comment and concern stems from you're mentioning not letting him do that. The problem is there are many ways you can go about that and I don't know what you mean. Some are fine others are not. For example, through punishment you can completely stop the growling fairly easily, but you will probably not have affected the underlying emotional state that makes the dog want to growl. In fact you may have made it worse by making the dog feel trapped and adding fear to the situation.

                      There are several things you can do here. You can work on "leader of the pack" type of issues, the extent of which is again, too much to put in a short message. It amounts to reenforcing your position as alpha, not in a harsh way, but by practicing obedience, keeping the dog off of high places, not letting him go out the door first, etc, etc, etc. There are some good books on this such as "Leader of the Pack" by Trish McConnell. I'd recomend you order it, read it, pick the things that are practical for you, and work on them. You absolutely need to make sure the children know it is a warning and respect that warning. You can also encourage your dog to associate the children with good things, by playing fun games with the children such as hide-and-seek (dogs love hide-and-seek).

                      In fact, in general I'm a believer that fun games can go a fair way in helping many problems where dogs are bored, overly serious, depressed, etc. Good positive, safe, structured play with the kids can kill several birds with one stone. By that I mean carefully considered games (i.e. not tug or roughhouse) that are fun for both the dog and children. It can put the relationship between them on a more positive level, provide an outlet for your dogs energy, and fill in for the hours of play he used to get.

                      You may also need to exercise your dog more, some of the problem may be pent up extra energy from not having the outlet to play with another dog. That extra nervous energy can come out in all kinds of bad ways like obsessive behaviors, being skitterish, and so on.

                      >He is generally a
                      >typically lovey,goofy Dane. Well, the big problem happened on
                      >Saturday when I took him to the vet. After a series of
                      >stressful events..a pitbull jumped out a car window at him,
                      >two dogs got into a fight,

                      Dog to dog agression and people to dog agression are two different things. I've had dogs that were fabulous with people but not so great with certain breeds of dogs, and they were that way their whole lives. Situations like this are difficult to comment on without seeing them. Knowing who did what when is critical to knowing whether your dog was responding appropriately, or way out of control. Heck I might attack a pit bull who looked suspicious and ran up to me at full speed without even pausing. I'm exagerating obviously, for the sake of making a point, but sometimes the other dog is just not behaving appropriately, following the normal and usual rules most dogs just normally learn, with regards to how to behave around other dogs. Some dogs love to push the other dogs buttons (sometimes on purpose) or do inappropriate things like mounting or running up too fast. Or you may have a potential agression problem, hard to tell. I wouldn't take it as seriously as people to dog agression though because with children around that is very serious business.

                      >he had to be manhandled onto the
                      >scale...the new receptionist came over to pet him, and he
                      >jumped up, growled at her and clamped down on her arm, at the
                      >same time expressing his anal glands. about it and apologized for
                      >coming at me in what could have seemed like an aggressive manner,
                      >but now I am actually a little leary of Ranger.

                      Well, now that sounds like fear. I mean you just never hear people say "he confidently expressed his anal glands", because it's rediculous. He was in a hightened state of arousal and the person was just more than he could handle. The other piece of good news is that he didn't do any damage. Which means he has a reasonable degree of bite inhibition. This is a classic example of why bite inhibition is so very important to teach dogs. He could have crushed the bones in her arm and left large punctures, it is a good sign that he didn't.

                      That's the good news, the bad news is that this is a clear warning sign. Some dogs would never, ever, ever bite a person. Your's is not one of them. That means you need to take the situation with the children seriously. Even dogs with good bite inhibition can make mistakes and accidents can happen, canines can snag flesh and do serious damage even if the dog is being appropriate. You don't want the situation with the children to progress into anything more serious.

                      >The vet gave me some meds for when a
                      >stressful situation arises, and I am giving him Bach's rescue
                      >remedy.

                      The meds are a good idea, and could help him over the problem. They can also cause problems. Just keep an eye on Ranger when you try the medication and look for unusual behavior.

                      >I've always had large dogs and he is my third Dane and I have
                      >never had to deal with this. Help!

                      My best advice is always to get some help. Find a beahviorist or trainer with experience dealing with agression. Have them observe the dogs and kids together in your home and see if they have some good ideas. If that's hard to do, then at least find some good books such as "Leader of the Pack." They can be a help in getting things back under control. There are some books on kids and dogs which would be helpful as well.

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