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Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16848
Experience:  Veterinarian for more than 30 years
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Aggressive dog

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Aggressive dog
Thank you for posting a question about Tom. My name is Rebecca. I am a veterinarian, and will do my best to help.

What is your question about him? All I can see is "aggressive dog". What is he doing: aggression to other dogs, to people, to you?

Is this a new problem, or has he always been aggressive?

This is an Info Request to help me answer your question.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Tom is 7 in September and in 2011 he bit my husband - I got in touch with dog breeder where we bought him and she offered to have him back but we decided to persevere ourselves - a dog behaviourist told us to put him on two leads to tell him to get off bed and pull him off so he could not bite - he was on the bed with me when he bit my husband - this worked and he does not get on bed anymore - last week he bit my husband when he tried to retrieve my shoe from him - the dog is very possessive of me . Another problem he has is that he barks quite a lot. I got in touch with breeder again and she said he was too old to retrain and she could not re-house him. I do not want to get rid of him or have him put down but we cannot go on like this, He has a thyroid condition and is on medication - when he went to vets last week he had a blood test - the results came back saying it read 100 and should be 30 - so reduced his tablets

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

did you get my reply

Thank you for the additional information.

If he is getting too much thyroid hormone, that could be increasing his aggression. Hypothyroidism is over diagnosed in veterinary medicine. I might consider taking him off the thyroid medication and after he is off it for a few weeks, doing a full thyroid panel at the U. of Michigan vet school lab to confirm if he is truly hypothyroid. I don't start a dog on thyroid medication unless the panel from Michigan confirms hypothyroidism.

Aggression can be treated no matter how old a dog is, but it is best done working with a trainer or veterinary behavior expert.

I would try a head collar, like a Gentle Leader or Halti, and keep a long light lead attached to it. If he gets on the bed, or has your shoe, and does not respond to commands to Come away from the shoe, or Off the bed, then you can control his head by pulling on the lead.

I would practice basic obedience with him every day, for at least five minutes twice a day: Sit, Stay, Down, Come, Off, Watch Me, Leave It. Those are the basic commands every dog needs to know, and he is not too old to learn them. He needs regular reminders that obedience is expected, that Come means come and Off means off, etc. If he does not respond well to these commands now, he needs to be in an obedience class, or some training session to teach you how to teach him these commands.

Since training sessions involve food it is usually fun for the dog, and is the basic cornerstone to any behavior problem. Once he knows that Come means come right now and you get a treat, you should be able to call him off situations where he is threatening your husband. Once he does these commands, he should learn Drop It for times when he has something like your shoe or anything you don't want him to have.

This is just a start. Behavior problems are hard, harder to treat than physical problem in many cases. Patience, training, consistency. I recommend starting with a dog trainer or veterinarian with a behavior specialty.

Please let me know if this helps, and what else I can answer.


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