Aggression issue with Will

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Shearaha1
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Aggression issue with Will

Postby Shearaha1 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:12 am

Puzzler here, with my own dog. Back story Will is my Heinz 57 abandoned on a tree in E-Cleveland. He's fear aggressive towards strangers, but has never really had an issue with "family" my husband, my mentor/Wills trainer, and I. He's had some issues with my Mother In Law whom we live with early on, but until tonight, no issues for 9 months, maybe 10. He also has random resource guarding, always related to food. One day it's fine to touch the food object, the next it's not. He's on L-Theanine and Prozac. I recently (9 days on new bottle) had to change pharmacies for his Prozac.

Anyway, tonight. I had to go for a meet and greet with a vacation care client, and it was going to be over Will's L-Theanine dosing time and his dinner. I asked MIL to pill him (easy enough, just need canned cheese and he eats it right up) and give him his dinner in a puzzle toy in his crate. She does this from time to time for me when Hubby and I will both have to be gone over a pilling time. She had an issue with the pill, it fell half in/out of the crate. When she opened the crate to toss in his food toy he came out (also unusual behavior, he typically stays in until called out, even by MIL) And cornered her in the back part of our room away from the door. She said she could see he was tense, and when she tried to pet him he got "crazy eyes" and walked back towards his crate. If they're the "crazy eyes" I'm thinking of it's the look he gets when he's suddenly WAY over threshold. She grabbed a plastic plate (yes I'm a messy person) and he;d it between them. He turned back towards her and went for her, thankfully grabbing the plate. MIL says he growled and shook the plate and she yelled "NO" and then he went back in his crate and she used the plate to close it.

So any ideas? He was his normal self when we got home 2 hours later. I'm thinking it may have something to do with having to switch pharmacies, since the capsules "look" different. I think it may be a different generic formulation that isn't having the same effect as the usual one. At least I'm hoping that what it is.

All that said I'm going to be calling/emailing my behavior vet in the morning.

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HappyPuppy
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Re: Aggression issue with Will

Postby HappyPuppy » Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:52 pm

No dog-related advice but I have heard of that happening with Parkinson's Disease medication for people re being different enough to feel from brand to brand or generic manufacturer.

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BrokenAquarian
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Re: Aggression issue with Will

Postby BrokenAquarian » Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:27 am

That sounds really scary. I would never trust him with anyone else again. If he's unstable, he may severely injure or kill someone. :(

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Shearaha1
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Re: Aggression issue with Will

Postby Shearaha1 » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:40 am

BrokenAquarian wrote:That sounds really scary. I would never trust him with anyone else again. If he's unstable, he may severely injure or kill someone. :(

The thing is, he's usually great with people he knows. Before the fence was finished MIL used to do his mid-day potty breaks for us. This event was/is totally out of character for him. Which is why it worries me so much.

I have talked with my behavior vet and she thinks that it was likely a combination of trigger stacking, the difference in generic Prozac and possibly his resource guarding, though she thinks the last is doubtful since his resource guarding is very specific and those conditions weren't met.

We've formulated a plan which means MIL is going to have to do a little more with him on a regular basis so she knows all his cues and has the same consistency as Hubby does.

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Jazzy
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Re: Aggression issue with Will

Postby Jazzy » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:13 am

So it could have been a reaction to the new med but the vet thinks he'll get used to it vs. it just doesn't agree with him?

Seizure activity?

Btw, I'm just curious on this: You said he has random resource guarding issues...does that mean that with his issues all the behavioral resource guarding interventions still don't fully address the issue? I'm assuming you guys all did the hierarchy of object exchanges, feeding from hand, dropping treats in his bowl yadda yadda?

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Shearaha1
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Re: Aggression issue with Will

Postby Shearaha1 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:32 am

Jazzy wrote:So it could have been a reaction to the new med but the vet thinks he'll get used to it vs. it just doesn't agree with him?

Seizure activity?

Btw, I'm just curious on this: You said he has random resource guarding issues...does that mean that with his issues all the behavioral resource guarding interventions still don't fully address the issue? I'm assuming you guys all did the hierarchy of object exchanges, feeding from hand, dropping treats in his bowl yadda yadda?

My vet thinks that the "new" generic wasn't as effective as the "old" one. Making his threshold lower. I've since gotten things straightened out with the pharmacy. Really glad I kept one of his "old" bottles.

Possible, I will be watching for it to happen again. I've lost a cat and my last dog to seizures.

He has specific triggers for his resource guarding, but even with the same object and all the triggers aligned he sometimes won't resource guard.
The object must be in his mouth.
The object must be edible (his standards).
"You" must approach head on.
Those are the main ones.

We've worked up hierarchy, which is hard because one day the bone is guarded and the next it isn't, and then he's guarding it again.

Object exchange is frequent, from his tugs, to bones to his other toys.

He gets fed by hand at least once I week. Not so much for any behavioral reason, but I like the bonding. All his other meals come from puzzle toys. "Food Bowl" is a pair of 4 letter words in my house. Not one of the critters I'm responsible for eats from a bowl.

So basically even with all the behavioral work I've done with him the resource guarding isn't fully addressed because it only crops up every now and then. And even if I try and set up a situation for us to work on it he doesn't always decide to guard.

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Mooresmajestic
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Re: Aggression issue with Will

Postby Mooresmajestic » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:52 pm

I would seriously consider an appointment with a neurologist and an MRI.

Also, see if there is a behaviorist with a veterinary background (vet/tech) in your area.

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Shearaha1
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Re: Aggression issue with Will

Postby Shearaha1 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:16 pm

Mooresmajestic wrote:I would seriously consider an appointment with a neurologist and an MRI.

Also, see if there is a behaviorist with a veterinary background (vet/tech) in your area.

Neurologist and MRI will be something to think about. Right now we're barely feeding ourselves. Getting a business started is a bit rougher than I expected.

When I say "my vet" I'm talking about my Behavior vet Dr. Feltes at The Behavior Clinic. http://thebehaviorclinic.com/ Her Vet Tech also has her specialty in behavior.

I'm also a tech and am working towards my behavior specialty, but it's going to be a while. A long while, before I'm anywhere near ready for the tech behavior exam.

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Mooresmajestic
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Re: Aggression issue with Will

Postby Mooresmajestic » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:05 am

Many neurology clinics will do an "industry" discount if you ask them. When my friend and fellow tech was going through neurologic issues with her dog, the vet did a consult exam for free and offered a substantial discount on the MRI.

Just something to keep in mind.

Also...
Would your mil be willing to do some sessions with your behaviorist? From what you described in the incident, the dog showed signs of being uncomfortable and shouldn't have been touched while in that state. It seems to me she missed all of his warning signs and pushed him too far, leaving him no choice but to make his wishes clear. While his actions were extreme and undesirable, they more than likely could have been avoided if she had noticed his signals and backed off.
This is where I get that thought from...
She said she could see he was tense, and when she tried to pet him...

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Shearaha1
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Re: Aggression issue with Will

Postby Shearaha1 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:32 am

Mooresmajestic wrote:Many neurology clinics will do an "industry" discount if you ask them. When my friend and fellow tech was going through neurologic issues with her dog, the vet did a consult exam for free and offered a substantial discount on the MRI.

Just something to keep in mind.

Also...
Would your mil be willing to do some sessions with your behaviorist? From what you described in the incident, the dog showed signs of being uncomfortable and shouldn't have been touched while in that state. It seems to me she missed all of his warning signs and pushed him too far, leaving him no choice but to make his wishes clear. While his actions were extreme and undesirable, they more than likely could have been avoided if she had noticed his signals and backed off.
This is where I get that thought from...
She said she could see he was tense, and when she tried to pet him...

I'll keep that in mind. In fact I've got a tech friend at the specialty referral clinic. I'll ask and see if they can help at all.

I can always drag her there :brow: I think her problem is that she tries to treat Will (fear aggressive) like her dog Pheonix (fear shut down) A lot of the things that she does to help Phe have the opposite effect on Will. With Phe when she gets like that touching her helps her relax and calm down, with Will it can send him over the edge.

A few things in the incident do give me hope though. Will went for the plate, not her. The plate (plastic) was undamaged, so he didn't bite as had as he could have. The bite to the plate was a single bite, hold and release. No shaking, pulling or repeated bite. Whereas he's previously multi-bit and shaken, and in a different setting, bit through one of those same plates before.

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Red
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Re: Aggression issue with Will

Postby Red » Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:59 am

Shearaha1 wrote:And even if I try and set up a situation for us to work on it he doesn't always decide to guard.


Whereas he's previously multi-bit and shaken, and in a different setting, bit through one of those same plates before


To work on resource guarding properly means that the dog does not start guarding.If you guys set up situations in which the dog is conflicted, and start a chain of reactions that ends up with the display of guarding behaviors, that is not beneficial.You want to keep the dog subthreshold.Can you explain what you normally do to try to work on this issue?

Do you keep a notebook in which everything in the environment is noted, along with what you guys do before and after guarding behavior is displayed? If you didn't, but continue to end up with problems, I suggest that you start. Those notes have to be written immediately after the fact, with as many details as possible (time, who and where, objects/food in the picture, distance, sounds, when his meds were given etc), even things you do not think played a role at the moment. It can be annoying to do it , but it can help identify what might be adding to things when you sit down and review your notes. A detailed notebook also helps a behavior consultant or behaviorist, when you see one.

I think you should reconsider having your MIL caring for your dog alone, particularly if food is involved.If she is treating Will like he was another dog, even with good intention, that is setting up both of them for trouble. Attempting to pet a dog that has made it clear he is conflicted is not a wise thing to do, nor is yelling. In case something like this was to happen again, you might want to instruct your MIL to move away from the dog, slowly and sideways, breaking eye contact and continuing to breath normally. It seems silly to remind people to breath normally, but when someone is scared or startled they tend to hold their breath. That is a behavior change from the human part that is easily detected by a dog over threshold and can add to what is already going on. Moving away as a consequences of unwanted behaviors such as those mentioned reinforce those behaviors, and increase the chance that the same behaviors will be displayed again (they increased the distance and therefore "worked"). On the other hand, that was not the time to worry about it. That is why it is important to keep subthreshold in mind and think about the ifs and what-to-dos of all situations.

The crate...she most likely reached for the door latch from a frontal position and bending over, and the dog was confined in a small place with some food. Instead of putting the pill with food in the crate, and then open to add the puzzle food toy, it would be safer to avoid any food in the crate in the first place. She can open the door, put his food down away from the crate ( outside is better, if there is a closed in yard) and let him eat in peace. Then allow him in and back in the crate and the food toy is picked up when the crate door is closed. I think you mentioned that this has not happened before, but it is something to keep in mind for the future, if she is to continue to feed the dog and she is alone.

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Shearaha1
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Re: Aggression issue with Will

Postby Shearaha1 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:02 pm

Red wrote:
Shearaha1 wrote:And even if I try and set up a situation for us to work on it he doesn't always decide to guard.


Whereas he's previously multi-bit and shaken, and in a different setting, bit through one of those same plates before


To work on resource guarding properly means that the dog does not start guarding.If you guys set up situations in which the dog is conflicted, and start a chain of reactions that ends up with the display of guarding behaviors, that is not beneficial.You want to keep the dog subthreshold.Can you explain what you normally do to try to work on this issue?

Do you keep a notebook in which everything in the environment is noted, along with what you guys do before and after guarding behavior is displayed? If you didn't, but continue to end up with problems, I suggest that you start. Those notes have to be written immediately after the fact, with as many details as possible (time, who and where, objects/food in the picture, distance, sounds, when his meds were given etc), even things you do not think played a role at the moment. It can be annoying to do it , but it can help identify what might be adding to things when you sit down and review your notes. A detailed notebook also helps a behavior consultant or behaviorist, when you see one.

I think you should reconsider having your MIL caring for your dog alone, particularly if food is involved.If she is treating Will like he was another dog, even with good intention, that is setting up both of them for trouble. Attempting to pet a dog that has made it clear he is conflicted is not a wise thing to do, nor is yelling. In case something like this was to happen again, you might want to instruct your MIL to move away from the dog, slowly and sideways, breaking eye contact and continuing to breath normally. It seems silly to remind people to breath normally, but when someone is scared or startled they tend to hold their breath. That is a behavior change from the human part that is easily detected by a dog over threshold and can add to what is already going on. Moving away as a consequences of unwanted behaviors such as those mentioned reinforce those behaviors, and increase the chance that the same behaviors will be displayed again (they increased the distance and therefore "worked"). On the other hand, that was not the time to worry about it. That is why it is important to keep subthreshold in mind and think about the ifs and what-to-dos of all situations.

The crate...she most likely reached for the door latch from a frontal position and bending over, and the dog was confined in a small place with some food. Instead of putting the pill with food in the crate, and then open to add the puzzle food toy, it would be safer to avoid any food in the crate in the first place. She can open the door, put his food down away from the crate ( outside is better, if there is a closed in yard) and let him eat in peace. Then allow him in and back in the crate and the food toy is picked up when the crate door is closed. I think you mentioned that this has not happened before, but it is something to keep in mind for the future, if she is to continue to feed the dog and she is alone.

I do have a notebook. Not as detailed as I'd like because my note taking skills aren't that good. I try though.

When it comes to his guarding I usually set up with me having high value treats, or one of his favorite tugs. I do walk bys, dropping the treats, or call him to his tug. We also do the trading game with me sitting stationary and him approaching me.

The main solution I came to for his guarding is working heavily on "out" as once it's out of his mouth he no longer guards. We worked from things he doesn't (didn't) care about at all (tennis balls) all the way up to the original guarded item, a marrow bone. With me he'll now "out" his bone and come to me for either a game of tug or a high value treat. He's about 80% with Hubby, and honestly we never worked with it with MIL since she didn't want to be involved.

MIL won't take him out of the crate. And I wouldn't want her to try and get him to the yard without me here regardless. She tries, but sometimes she just doesn't think. Will is a rough player and her dogs aren't. If I'm there I can keep him at a nice level, but MIL can't. And never thinks to put her dogs up. Or check the yard before letting her dogs out.


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