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Why does my dog attack garbage bags, vacuum cleaners, spray

Customer Question
bottles and then me if...
Why does my dog attack garbage bags, vacuum cleaners, spray bottles and then me if I don't stop using the above
Submitted: 1 year ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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Answered in 33 minutes by:
11/25/2015
Dog Veterinarian: Jess K, Dog Veterinarian replied 1 year ago
Jess K
Jess K, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1,514
Experience: Licensed Veterinarian
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Hello, this is Dr. Jess. I am sorry to hear about Rudy. It sounds like he has some fear issues that are resulting in aggression towards objects, and then you. Oftentimes in dogs we can have aggression get redirected, if a dog is afraid or upset about something, they may resort to attacking someone or something nearby in their frustration. Has this been a lifelong issue for Rudy?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
We got him from a breeder when he was 16 months old and it's been an issue to varying degrees since we had him. We frustrated about having to change our environment to suit him and are scared his fears are increasing and he will seriously bite one of soon
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
We want to help him but don't know the best way.
Dog Veterinarian: Jess K, Dog Veterinarian replied 1 year ago

So honestly, if this has been going on for a year and a half, and he is a big dog, I would recommend consulting a veterinary behaviorist. What area of the country do you live in?

To fix this issue is going to require intensive work on your part to train him to not be fearful of these things, and possibly also some anxiety medication- maybe temporarily, maybe long term, to go along with this.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
We live in upstate NY, and he's 50 lbs
Dog Veterinarian: Jess K, Dog Veterinarian replied 1 year ago

There is a wonderful website from Dr.Sophia Yin who was a veterinary behaviorist, that has several articles on fear and aggression, and she has a dvd as well that may be helpful to you. The link to the DVD is:

http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/new-dvd-dog-aggression-from-fearful-reactive-or-hyperactive-to-focused-happ

I haven't seen this DVD, but I have several of her books and she is excellent, so it may be worthwhile. Give me just a minute and I am going to give you a few more links here.

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Dog Veterinarian: Jess K, Dog Veterinarian replied 1 year ago

Here is a website for the american college of veterinary behaviorists. They have info on finding a vet or a trainer to work with your dog. If you do not see one on their website, then I would talk to your vet. Some vets do specialize more in behavior than others and they may know another vet to work with or a trainer to recommend to you.

http://www.dacvb.org/resources/for-the-public/

It is important not to punish your dog when these incidents happen, because if you yell at them etc., it is going to make them even more fearful of these events and more likely to bite you in the future.

To start out, I would begin by keeping your dog away from wherever these things are occuring (put him outside when you need to use the vacuum, etc.) to avoid the confrontation for now. During this time, start on regularly working on training with him with positive reinforcement. Dr. Yin has several books on this and calls it the "Learn to Earn" program. Basically you want your dog to look up to you and know you tell him things to do, but that he also gets rewarded from you, so he wants to listen to you. This is a foundation in behavioral issues. Just basic things like sit, down, come, etc. Getting him into a schedule of doing these with you using the positive reinforcement is going to help you down the road, just be restablishing a great relationship with eachother.

There are some over the counter things you can try for anxiety if he tends to be high strung, including

thundershirts: http://www.thundershirt.com/

adaptil collars: http://www.adaptil.com/us/#redirected

and supplements like composure or zylkene: http://www.chewy.com/s?dept=all&query=composure+%2B%22vetri-science%22&gclid=CjwKEAiAstCyBRDiqu75hvnX82kSJACgYI_QBDBTEzf7gVE2l5sm056s1AYWY5pJuy1bQ3D8hE2AFBoC4Y_w_wcB

http://www.vetoquinolusa.com/Products/Behavior/index.html

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Dog Veterinarian: Jess K, Dog Veterinarian replied 1 year ago

Once you have been working with him for several weeks with a positive reinforcement at home just with the normal training (sits, downs, stays, etc.), you can try to start introducing one of the scary items at a time. Start with the least scary and have it far away, across the room or something. Have some extra tasty treats and walk where he can see whatever it is, just enough so you know he may be slightly anxious but not so close that he is overwhelmed, and give him lots of tasty treats and praise him as you walk through the room and past that scary item.

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Dog Veterinarian: Jess K, Dog Veterinarian replied 1 year ago

Repeat this over numerous days, the same scenario. Once he can walk across the room from the item without freaking out for several days in a row, you can bring the item closer to him or walk him closer to it, once again rewarding him just for being in its presence and not attacking it. It is going to be a very slow process for this, and if he becomes freaked out and attacks, you should go back to the last step you were at- being a little further away- for a few more days.

As you can imagine, this is a very involved process that requires a major commitment on your part. Sometimes prescription anxiety medication may help this process along, so I do think it would be a good idea if you are able to find a behaviorist, or talk to your vet about options they may be able to offer you.

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Dog Veterinarian: Jess K, Dog Veterinarian replied 1 year ago

Here is another article on fear: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1612

The issue with your pup is that it has been going on for awhile and sounds pretty escalated, which is why a specialist would be best for him.

Please let me know if you have any other questions. If you do not, please take a moment to rate our conversation so we can know if you were satisfied with your service and I can get credit for helping you tonight. Thank you and best of luck!

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Dog Veterinarian: Jess K, Dog Veterinarian replied 1 year ago

Hello,just wondering if you got all the information and links I sent last night and if you had any questions?

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Dog Veterinarian: Jess K, Dog Veterinarian replied 1 year ago

Hello, just wondering if you had any other questions or were able to look at the information I sent you? If not, if you can please rate our conversation. This is the only way that I get compensated for all the time I took to answer your question, so I would greatly appreciate it. Let me know if you you have anything else you didn't understand. Thank you!

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Jess K
Jess K
Jess K, Dog Veterinarian
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