Dobie tried to attack me!

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eileennellie's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-21

Dobie just randomly tried to attack me the other day! I was sitting down watching t.v, & he came & put his front feet on my knees & I was scratching his neck, & all of a sudden he snarled & lunged at my face. I grabbed him by the throat while ducking, since that was where my hand already was, so he only scraped my head w/ his teeth, but it did bleed. I got up while still holding him by the throat & neck & managed to get him outside & away from the other dogs, but he was still snarling & trying to bite me until I got him out the door! Then he just stopped. I left him outside for a few hours alone, which was a first for him, & after that he seemed kind of timid, flinching whenever I'd move toward him. He slept almost on top of me that night like a puppy, & has been back to normal since then. But he really meant business when he did that, I've never seen him act so visciously before, even towards other dogs. He has never even growled at me before, though he has growled at my roomate when he didn't like the way he was holding him down. But never w/out a reason, & NEVER at me. What's wrong w/my boy? Should I be worried this could happen again? He doesn't frighten me, he is my dog, after all, but my feelings are pretty hurt over this. He gets all panicky & super hyper when he gets yelled at, & I'm not about to hit him (he seems to be immune to pain, anyway. He runs into stuff at full speed & doesn't even notice.) so I don't have the slightest idea what to do, or even what caused this in the first place....

AlphaAdmin's picture
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It's good you're not afraid of him after this. And indeed, hitting a dog does no good anyway. They don't understand it.

Likewise, there are actions in the dog's vocabulary that people miss, like him putting his paws on you. That is an extremely dominant behavior. When dogs do that to each other, either the bottom dogs shows submission or they have a little fight. Where/how were you sitting when it happened?

If you let Dobie sleep in bed, I'm imagining he gets a lot of other human/dominant privileges, like furniture, doorways, and decision making - like leading the way on walks, going through doorways first, and deciding whether or not a particular animal is a threat. In a dog's mind, all this stuff tells him he's in charge.

What I've seen with many rescued dogs is, at some point they were forced to be in charge, whether it was from being on their own, under siege by an abusive owner, or otherwise not having a person or dog running offering them thoughtful leadership. And most dogs simply aren't built for the alpha role. It's very stressful! And when non-alpha dogs are forced to take that role, not only are they very bad at it and make bad decisions, it's traumatic and can leave them a little goofy.

I would guess that Dobe - due to trauma, poor reasoning, and confusing signals from you - felt he needed to protect/enforce his place in the pack/family. The good thing is - he didn't win. You booted his little butt to the bottom of the totem pole. And the reason he was acting so timid was because loosing a challenge can sometimes mean being kicked out of the pack all together.

Of course, this isn't the most efficient way for a person to communicate with their dog, and I'm sure you'd agree repeating this method is undesirable.

I'd suggest communicating your and his position in the family with all the normal subtle day-to-day things we talk about here all the time: Keep him off the best resting places (bed, furniture), out of dominant century posts (doorways and spots where he can see the whole room), walk through him, don't walk around or over him, have him walk in the heel position, you go through doorways first, make him wait to eat until you give a release command, don't appease demands for play or affection, and only reward calm submissive behavior with affection. Certainly - no more paws on your knees.

If you keep all this up I doubt he'll get confused again. From here it's hard to say for sure, but it's almost always the answer to behavioral problems.

eileennellie's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-21

yeah, he does sleep in bed w/me, & he is HARD to control on a leash.He is good about the waiting calmly sitting for the O.K to eat, though. I guess I really enforced that because I almost got bowled over by him the 1st few times I fed him, & he was scarfing down his food so fast I was afraid he'd get bloat, or at least make himself sick.

And he did seem very flustered & confused after the incident, but I have been very nonchalant & cool toward him, which seems to be resulting in him acting calmer & almost polite compared to his usual behavior. But he doesn't really play w/me, he plays w/the other dogs, doesn't like toys unless Paris wants it, then he will act interested in it to bug her, & no roughhousing at all. He made it pretty clear that he doesn't enjoy having people try to wrestle w/him when my roomate attempted it. He stiffened up & growled at him in a pretty serious tone, & then was fine w/him after he stopped that behavior.

I think he is aware that he shouldn't behave that way again, he grumbled at me when I was looking at a bug bite or similar bump on his leg, & when I made him sit & stay, he wouldn't make eye contact for more than a second before he looked away, then down. I take that to be a positive sign.  

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

That is important. In a situation, you need to stare him down. Don't even blink. When he breaks his gaze and looks down or away it is because he accepts your dominance. It is extremely important that you don't break your gaze for any reason, even if the phone rings or a doorbell rings. If you do, he will read it as you accepting his dominance.

JO_SIE70's picture
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If this behaviour is out of character and seemed to come from no where I would suggest getting a vet to give him a full physical examination before going any further. It could be something physcially upsetting him or triggering this reaction and therefore I would always contact my vet if I found my dogs to be acting out of character before then seeking behavioural advise.

 

Jo

jeanette's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-21

hi,

get him to a vet as soon as possible

jeanette's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-21

hi

i am new to this forum.

i have 3 Papillon bitches and one old German Shepard.  when the Sheperd goes to doggie heaven, she will be 14 this coming May.   down the line i was thinking of a Dobe rescue, But i have a dominent 8 yr old Papillon bitch. she rules the roost!

thank you 

jeanette

Abigail's picture
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Joined: 2011-09-03

Welcome GD Jeanette. Why don't you start another thread where we can address your questions? We always love to see pictures too! ;) 

Lori's picture
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eileen - do everything Alpha said.  He's making a bid for 'top dog' in the pack.  Time to start making sure he knows his place.   A trip to the vet explaining what has happened wuold be good too as they can check for something that might be wrong.   Have you been ill?  they can sense things like that as weakness and just like in the wild try to take the top position....Some dogs are just more likely to push the issue than others....

Abigail's picture
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Just so you know Lori, this thread start in 2010 ;D 

Lori's picture
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i saw that after I answered..:) 

Rugerr15's picture
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Good advise from many.  Seems like a dominance act to me as well.  Try and hang in there!

eileennellie's picture
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For the record, yes I have been ill, sort of. I have MS, which does wreak havoc with a lot of daily activities. I'm tired ALL the time, despite taking Adderall. I get tired in 1/2 the time i used to (or less), and i get way too hot way too easily. I don't go outside if its over 75 if i can help it. So the dogs def. notice when i'm worse than usual. But Dobie has really liked the extra attention he gets when i'm home 90% of the day! He has been a much more loving boy, and he doesn't get to sleep under the covers in bed with me anymore!

talisin's picture
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Sorry to hear you are not feeling up to snuff right now, I hope you get back to your normal, my normal isn't anyone else's normal either, it's tough when you have limitations and then those limitations take a dive. Glad to hear that Dobie is loving the attention and one on one time. They are very special and recognize when we feel bad such sweeties our dogs..... my cats have always been my nursemaids and laid on the bed holding my hand when I felt bad. My rottie now lays at my side of the bed if I am not feeling good. Can't imagine that big of a dog on the bed when you aren't feeling well, hahahaha.....keep us posted .......

Sheebaroo's picture
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Likewise, there are actions in the dog's vocabulary that people miss, like him putting his paws on you. That is an extremely dominant behavior. When dogs do that to each other, either the bottom dogs shows submission or they have a little fight. Where/how were you sitting when it happened?

After reading this and other parts of this persons post, i have found new hope that sanity dose exsist online when comes to someone actually understanding and useing commen sense when it comes to these dogs.

 

Ty to the poster.