Aggression with Invited Guests

by Fran
(PA)

Kai and Beck

Kai and Beck

Kai and Beck


We have had Kaiser Allen since he was 8 weeks old. He and I bonded instantly and intensely. He is perfect with my kids, rescue Beagle, and cats. Allen makes every moment of the day brighter whether he is sitting in the bathroom waiting for me or telling me to stop walking around because he is tired and does not want to follow me from room to room anymore. We absolutely adore him. When he was small, we had visitors come over frequently to help with socialization. He would be on guard and barking a little but got over their presence quickly. Now at 125 lbs. I warn guests before they come over. He sounds scary and looks scary but after a few minutes, he will calm down. Normally this is not an issue but in the back of my mind, I am a little nervous. I try to love on the people when they come in or completely ignore them to show him it is no big deal. I am talking men, women, and even small children. He used to just bark and try to herd the person away from me. Then bark some more. I would usually have the guest give him a treat and stand there until Allen was finished. I would pet and reassure him that everything was fine. Lately he jumps in everyone’s face to bark and seem fierce. It works. Most guests get frightened. To be clear we do not have visitors often only occasionally now. For the ones that stay he ignores them unless they get up to move around or walk down the hall. Then he guards me again-not jumping this time just barking. When we are away from home, he could care less. He will completely ignore someone or normal bark at them unless they RUN up to me. I cannot help but feel like I missed something in his training and this is my fault. I am not sure what else I can do or if I am making a bigger deal out of it than I need too. I think in the back of my mind I am just a smidge frightened that he may bite someone-even though that is not breed behavior. The barking does not bother me, which is part of who he is it is more that he has to be an inch from someone’s face when he is barking that is the problem. I have leashed him when someone walks in but that seems to upset him. Is this normal behavior that I should down play or do you think it is a problem and I may need to take him to a behaviorist?

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Jun 14, 2018
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Aggression
by: Donna

The problem is usually with the source of the dog.

This is all too common when people get Pyrs from farmers/backyard breeders/pet stores (puppy mills). They do not get the crucial socialization and handling in the first 8 weeks of puppy hood by many many many different people. Also missing from these sources are knowing a few generations of the breeding. These sources do not breed to improve the breed but do it for profit.

This is not something that can be rectified.

If you did get your pup from a reputable breeder, call them. They need to know what is happening. They want to know. The dog must go back to them as per the contract.

I suspect your Pyr is now between a year and two years old.

Your instincts are right in worrying a bite will occur. Go with your instinct. He is sweet as pie but very dangerous at other times. Bring in a vet behaviourist to assess your dog.

You sound like a reasonable and responsible person trying to do the right thing.

Pyrs are not aggressive by nature. Well-socialized and handled, and well-bred Pyrs always allow invited guests into the home.

This is an article you might want to read.

http://www.drjensdogblog.com/harsh-truths-and-difficult-choices-the-reality-of-behavioral-euthanasia/

I wish I had better news for you.

Jun 14, 2018
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We have the same issue
by: Anonymous

We adopted our Golden/Pyr mix when he was 3 (he is 9 now and 113 lbs) and he was very good until about 1 year ago. Initially, he would just follow people around the house but not in the same way he does us. You could tell he was "on guard". Then he decided to start jumping up and barking - never biting - just barking. It is quite ferocious that it scares me too. If we touch him in the back flank he would stop but we started putting him on a leash when people come over and that helps. (Not a heavy duty one but a small rope-like one so he knows it's not time to go for a walk as we never use it outdoors.)Its as though the leash is telling him he doesn't need to make decisions about protecting us - we call it the magic leash. I also tell people to ignore him or pet him without looking at him. At first when he was on the leash they could pet him and he was fine but more recently he has decided he doesn't want them bending over him and petting him. (He looks like a massive Golden Retriever so people want to treat him like one and give him a good pet and look him in the face.) Many times we just put him in another room when people come over and he's fine with that. He isn't one to crave attention so he's perfectly content to sleep when we have company and it relieves him of his innate responsibility of protecting his house. I couldn't get a behaviorist to come to the house even though I tried to explain that they won't see the behavior in their place so we weren't able to pursue that. Not everyone understands that this isn't the same as you would see in an aggressive dog - anyway with ours he's fine until there is a trigger. One lady I talked to suggested keeping a spray bottle close by so you can use it when they start barking but I haven't tried it. I know how stressful and frustrating this can be. Your's is so young I hope a behaviorist can help you change their behavior as it will probably only escalate as time goes by. Good luck and keep us posted.

Jun 15, 2018
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Aggression - Adopted Golden/Pyr mix
by: Donna

Do not spray your dog in the face ever. Dogs, especially Pyrs, do not take kindly to force like this. It's confusing for them. He'll then associate guests with the spray bottle and he may become even more agitated that they are there.

It's odd he has begun this behaviour at 9 years old. Have you had him checked at the vet for anything that might caught be causing him pain?

I would suggest continuing to do what you're doing by putting him in another room and/or keeping him leashed. It seems to work for him.

Jun 15, 2018
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Thank you
by: Fran

Thank you. I think I am going to invest in a nice cage muzzle and work with him slowly. A behaviorist I chatted with and watched his behavior thinks he is reacting out of fear. Due to his body language of hiding behind me and cowering right after barking in their face. I think he needs to acclimate at a slow pace to strangers. It seemed odd to me that after the initial meeting and second visit he is perfectly fine and loves on the people he remembers meeting before. I’m sure because the fear is gone. I will try the "different" leash as well and see how he does. The behaviorist said it’s a slow process in helping him overcome his fear but it’s doable and gave me great exercises to work with him. I will post updates as possible. Thanks again.

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