I have a dog who is very reactive

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Post by Guest »

I need some advice. I have a dog who is very reactive. I have worked with him extensively to prevent food aggression and to improve his relationship with our son and our other pets. He has made great progress but we still have issues. Just a few minutes ago the dog went to my son and was sniffing his pants. My son wanted him to stop so he sat down on the couch and I tried to coax the dog away, at which point he jumped on top of my son, growled, and snapped at his face. I was thankfully able to get the dog off him without significant injury, but obviously am now concerned because the dog has never acted so aggressively toward my son. I do not want to rehome him because that only makes things worse for the dog and for the new owner unless they have training and experience with reactive dogs.

So my question is this. My dog is currently unaltered, as I was advised to wait until he was fully grown because he’s large breed. He is now fully grown, but would neutering him solve this problem? It would break my heart to have him euthanized but my son’s safety comes first. Please help!

Post by Author »

I am a canine specialist. You need to find a Canine Behavior Specialist to work with one on one. It isn’t cheap, but it is cheaper than hospital bills or having to put the dog down because he’s reactive towards the wrong person/child. If you call local dog training companies they should be able to refer you to someone.

Post by Alex »

I’m a bit confused as you say it’s definitely fear aggression, however the circumstance of him jumping on your son doesn’t seem fear aggressive. If he followed and jumped up on your son, that is NOT fear aggression, that sounds like a few other forms.

Coaxing him away is not what you should be doing. You need to provide strong pack leader approach for your dog, so he doesn’t feel so unsafe. Next time this occurs, do not coax, firmly stand between him and you son, using your body to push him out the way (don’t actively push, but guide rather). You then are (in dog world) claiming your son as yours, so your dog will eventually learn not to interact with him like that. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the gist.

I use Cesar Millans training. He is online, I suggest binging his videos and seeing how you go.

Some people will comment saying Cesar is bad, as these people think that treats and positive reward can fix aggression like this, which it can’t. Providing stable leadership for your dog will.

Post by Rebecca »

Having him neutered could help. Have you seen a behaviourist?

Just do not get him euthanized over showing aggression towards your son. At least rehome him somewhere without kids or something.

Post by Sandra »

I don’t think there are any guarantees that neutering him will help but it’s a start. I would be extremely concerned as well. You were able to get the dog off your son.. what would have happened if you were in the bathroom or kitchen? That is what concerns me. There are many experts on this site who have experience with the larger breeds so I defer to them. I do think the main priority is your sons safety.

Post by Amy »

Neutering will help but likely not stop this behavior. Your pup is going to need extensive, intensive training and it is very likely, a different home. In the meantime, he absolutely cannot have access to your son. Separate rooms, baby gates, a basket muzzle. Please call your vet for a behaviorist recommendation (not a trainer, he needs a behavioral evaluation to make an appropriate training regimen). At his size, you are going to need to make sure you have absolute control of him at all times, whether he is leashed to you or crated when you aren't able to handle him directly. There is hope for him, but it's not guaranteed. It's also not a guarantee that he will be in your home when all is said and done. But getting on top of this now is imperative.

Post by Jess »

I’d 100% consult with a veterinary behaviorist. May not be cheap but it will be the best option in this situation. Also getting him fixed may help. Better to neuter earlier than recommended vs euth.

Post by Amalia »

It helps but not eliminate it. Please look for behavior training as he is still young and easy to train. I know it's hard but please don't give up. Also please check Cesar Milan in YouTube, lots of tips for behavior issues.

Post by Alexandria »

More often than not, neutering does not effect behaviors.

Not everyday is progress, sometimes things move backwards. Maybe speak with a licensed behavioralist, or rehome him to someone experienced. But it does not seem severe enough for a unless he acquires a bite history. There’s nothing wrong in your environment not being ideal for your pup ❤️

I’m here to help if you have any questions or would like any advice!
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