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Doctor H
Doctor H, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 299
Experience:  5.5 years experience practicing small animal medicine in a large urban setting
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My 2 year old male tibetan terrier is very sociable with most

Resolved Question:

My 2 year old male tibetan terrier is very sociable with most dogs we meet. However recently he has shown aggression to boxers in particular, and today to an american bulldog, who could have eaten him for lunch! I just couldn't stop him biting, or at least attempting to bite him. Any clues about this?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Doctor H replied 3 years ago.

Doctor H :

Hi, this is Doctor H and I would be happy to give you some advice.

Doctor H :

First, I would need to ask you some questions.

Customer:

I am still awaiting questions that you require to ask. please get back to me ASAP

Doctor H :

Okay, I'm here. How long ago did all this begin?

Customer:

This happened on 1st March, the day I contacted you

Doctor H :

Right, but when did it begin. How long ago did the aggression start?

Customer:

Around 2 weeks ago. He is perfectly ok with all other breeds

Doctor H :

How did you acquire Tommy? Did you adopt him? Did you purchase him?

Doctor H :

Is he intact or neutered?

Customer:

I purchased him from a breeder. His father is USA champion, and his mother German champion. He remained with the breeder for 18 months, but it was discovered that he had a high hip scoring, so she decided not to breed from him. He has a very gentle nature and shows no aggression towards humans and is wonderful with children.

Doctor H :

So you've had him for 6 months, then. I assume that he's been around these breeds of dogs with you before but without any issues?

Customer:

No, these are really the first bulldog type breeds that he has encountered, apart from a 12 week old boxer female which he was fine with.

Doctor H :

Okay, that makes more sense, actually.

Doctor H :

If he's exhibiting signs of interdog aggression to those breeds, it likely stems from his first 18 months with the breeder. I'm just stipulating but that's the most likely cause.

Doctor H :

First, you want to do the obvious - keep him away from these breeds. That can entail several things. First, avoid areas where you know these breeds are walked. You can also walk him during 'off' times of the day for dog walking.

Doctor H :

Second, if you haven't already, invest in a body harness to give you more control. Avoid any retractable leashes - they take away your ability to control him. Use a standard 6' leash instead.

Doctor H :

Also consider a gentle leader/halter. They loosely wrap around the muzzle and give you good control over his head. You can use it to divert his attention from other dogs and/or direct his attention towards you.

Doctor H :

One product you can try investing in is a dog appeasing pheromone collar. It emits calming pheromones and is a good adjunctive remedy, but is not a silver bullet.

Doctor H :

He probably already knows these commands, but make sure he can do a sit, stay, and a focus on you. If he is food motivated, have a bag of his favorite treats when you are out with him.

Customer:

I still keep in touch with the breeder, who also breeds King Charles Cavalier spaniels and shall ask if he has had previous problems. I don,t use a retractable leash, but will consider a gentle leader halter. He has not been neutered, but because he has not shown aggression towards any other breed, I didn't think it necessary

Doctor H :

You want to determine the minimum distance before he reacts to those breeds. The goal is to shrink that minimum distance over time. You do that by recognizing the distance and having him focus on you. Give him treats and praise for responding appropriately to your commands.

Doctor H :

The goal is to make the stimuli surrounding these breeds as positive as possible and thereby shrink that minimum distance.

Doctor H :

You should also have him checked out with a full blood panel including a thyroid level.

Doctor H :

There are also medications to consider as well, but these vary by country. It would not be a bad idea to have a conversation about this with your regular vet.

Customer:

Tibetan terriers are quite willful, and will respond to commands, but when distracted will not!!

Customer:

Thank you for your advice which has been helpful

Doctor H :

Personally, I don't buy into blanket statements about breeds and behavior. I think it's all highly individual. I think that working with him to respond to those commands in the face of distraction, as well as being aware of your surroundings and how he may react, will give you an advantage.

Customer:

Thanks!

Doctor H :

No worries, I hope it helps. Please make sure to rate my service otherwise I receive no credit for our conversation.

Doctor H :

Best of luck!

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