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Saint Bernards => Saint Bernard General Discussions => : goldensaint723 October 17, 2008, 02:59:02 PM

: Cujo the attack dog? I dont understand him...
: goldensaint723 October 17, 2008, 02:59:02 PM
Today Cujo and my other dogs were going about their routine and then Cujo attacked our little Jack Russell Terrier and she was just standing at the door. I got him off her and then he turned around and went after her 2 more times before I had to spank him and scream at him to stop. He ripped her ear in half!!1 I dont understand why he is being this way. Ever since my boyfriend moved back to Pittsburgh and River died, Cujo  has been aggressive towards people and other dogs, but never our dogs. I feel horrible because when people come over I have to hide Cujo in another room for fear he may bite. He also tries to intimidate people by jumping in there face and barking aggressively. I dont really know what to do anymore with him. I was thinking muzzle and progressive training, but will a muzzle really work for this kind of behavior? I have had him since he was a pup he was highly socialized, loved everyone and was a joy to own. Now he is the worst dog ever and Im just at wits end on what to do? I will not get rid of him and I will not ever think of getting him put down these are not options as he is a family member its just I want him to be my Cujo Baby again.. Any help???
: Re: Cujo the attack dog? I dont understand him...
: maxsmom October 17, 2008, 04:21:06 PM
A muzzle can make an aggressive dog worse.  I use it when I take ChiChi out of the house for her sake as well as the sake of everyone she comes into contact with.  I have no choice.  If you can find a trainer or behaviourist to work with, that will be your best bet. This is not his "normal" behaviour, so it may very well be something you can fix.  It sounds to me like he is missing the ones he has lost from his life and is "acting out" because of it.  He doesn't understand what happened or why they "left" him.  If you are totally confident that you can control him, are there people you can have come over to "condition" him to?  Is he this way with everyone, or is it only certain people?  You need to put him on a very short leash and make sure you can hold him, no matter what. Have them come in and as soon as he does anything that is not acceptable to you, give him a firm correction and tell him NO, or whatever you choose to use.  Have him sit facing you and make him maintain eye contact.  Have them move around, come closer to you, walk by him, etc.  As long as he is focused on you, reward him, treat, petting, whatever.  Do this often.  Take him for walks, where he will see people, but not interact with them, maybe by a fenced park, or somewhere that you can control his exposure to people.  If you need to, warn people away from getting too close.  Walk towards people and watch him.  As soon as he starts to act in any way aggressive, correct him.  You need to teach him that any behaviour that you do not approve of will not be tolerated.  It may take months to get through this with him, but if you work on it diligently, it should help.  Watch him closely with your JRT and if he begins to act aggressively, ears laid back, stance changes, etc. correct him.  You may need to keep a "handle" or some type of short leash on his collar, to give you leverage in controlling him or pulling him up sharply, if he goes to attack.  I did this with Max, when he was a puppy, to stop him from chasing my cats.  He wore a 6 inch leash on his collar for months.  I understand your feelings, as far as working with him and not putting him down.  ChiChi will have to be put in our bathroom, with the door locked, most likely, her entire life, whenever anyone comes over, but that is the price I have to pay for having her in my life.  She is my cuddly, love bug, but does not want anyone other than my hubby or myself in our homeor even in her presence.  We have accepted that and deal with it.  I don't think your situation will be that bad, if you start working on it now.  Good luck.
: Re: Cujo the attack dog? I dont understand him...
: goldensaint723 October 18, 2008, 06:56:24 AM
Cujo turned 2 in July. He was raised with Angel who is the Jack Russell she is 3. He always looked at her like his mommy. When I moved Angel and Cujo were away from each other for 8 months and now they have been living in the same house again for 4 months. This is the first fight besides squabbles they have had. He usually will stick her in his mouth and growl which he was doing yesterday, but Im not sure if he bit her ear or stepped on her ear I was half way in the house and I think the reason he kept going after her was his reaction to her screaming yelping. It seemed like he did it out of fear and not knowing what to do.
   With having him bite anyone its not a possibility because I do have it under control to where he is not near anyone but me and my mom we are the only ones who can go around him. When he is outside I watch him I stay outside with him so no one can go near him. He reacts badly to the rest of my family and my friends. So we have signs posted all around the house to warn people to knock hard so he can be put away. I do take him for walks with his halti on, but I still fear he will slip it off and bite. He does not intentionally go after people only when they try to pet him. He will snip. He will ignore people on walks unless they would try to pet him. If my friends or family try to let him sniff there hand through the door he will jump up on the screen door and bark near there face. Our door is very sturdy so he cant bite through the screen or get through it at all.
        I feel alot of it has to do with me to because I know he can smell my fear because Im scared he will bite he had biten my boyfriends brother after he was told not to pet the dog. After that I wont take any chances to let people who knew him his whole life like my best friend around him. I know he is a liability and can be dangerous. I wont take any chances till something can be done. I can try him on a leash in the house and see how he reacts with people here. The muzzle option was just to be able to let people pet him and show him people are not bad. I dont understand where he got this idea. I know its probably been just as hard on him losing my boyfriend and River. I will try to call around and find a private trainer.   
: Re: Cujo the attack dog? I dont understand him...
: SaintMommy December 21, 2008, 05:31:07 AM
This must be so hard for you...I am sorry that is happening.  Don't hesitate, seek help from a professional trainer or behaviorist. 

I might also suggest seeing your vet to make sure Cujo is ok physically and there isn't something physically provoking the acting out, Also is he neutered? 
: Re: Cujo the attack dog? I dont understand him...
: GoofyNewfie December 21, 2008, 10:27:55 AM
I'm sorry about this awful situation, this must really suck the fun out of dog ownership.  :-[

I agree with everyone here: get professional help. Seriously! It sounds like he may be the pack alpha, and it may be dangerous/difficult for you to re-establish your position as "top dog" by yourself.

Good luck, let us know how it goes!  :)

: Re: Cujo the attack dog? I dont understand him...
: vmimom2006 December 22, 2008, 02:16:43 AM
I agree with everyone else as well. Get a pro to help you. We even have a trainer in our area the specializes with agressive dogs. He also trains the dogs used by police and military so he is really good. You might try to find a trainer with those abilities. Good luck to you and Cujo.
: Re: Cujo the attack dog? I dont understand him...
: goldensaint723 February 12, 2009, 10:59:31 PM
well I wanted to update everyone on Cujo. We have had help and so far so good. He lets my one friend in the house as the trainer has taught us to not let Cujo get excited when people come over so he is put away at first then when whoever comes over is sitting down we let Cujo out. The person is to ignore and not touch him until Cujo feels comfortable with the person and suprise he went over and put his head on my friends lap and started licking the back of his neck. Now Cujo is allowed to greet him at the door when he comes over and there have been no incidences with him and my friend or with the other dogs. However getting other people not to be scared at all when I let the dog out is another thing. He is so big they are scared to death which cant happen. On our walks though he still wears his halti and someone approached me the other day and he tried to growl at him and I corrected him and after that the walk went smooth.
: Re: Cujo the attack dog? I dont understand him...
: London_Pyr_Lover February 13, 2009, 04:10:18 AM
I'm so happy for you that the training is going well.  :) Hearing that you are having success with Cujo gives me hope that Naja and I can work through her aggression issues.  Please keep up the good work, and please keep us updated as to what you're doing, and how it's going.  Oh and give Cujo and big ole' hug from me too!  :-*
: Re: Cujo the attack dog? I dont understand him...
: FXgirl February 13, 2009, 07:12:17 AM
I would seek the advice of a trainer for his growling at people while on leash.  I'm not sure what you are doing to correct him when a stranger goes to pet him but corrections or punishments are something you might want to avoid.

Growling is a way of saying he's not comfortable and that he is unsure or scared.  Once you take that form of communication away his only other choice may be to bite. 

A good trainer will probably want to desensitize with food.  Or if you have a growly/reactive/feisty dog class I would also take that. 

Stick with it and all your hard work will pay off.