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Sally G.
Sally G., Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 9632
Experience:  Service /assistance dog trainer,Therapy dog evaluator and trainer, AKC evaluator, pet first aide and member of PAS Animal Response Team.
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Older male yorkie sudden aggression toward other dog in the

Customer Question

older male yorkie sudden aggression toward other dog in the home
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: I adopted by older yorkie, Miles, 6 years ago. He was around 4-5 years old. I have 4 other dogs, ranging in age from 1.5-9, I've had all since they were puppies and never had any issues. Miles has been having seizures for several years... sometimes as frequently as 1-2 a month and sometimes I won't see one for 6 months or more (obviously doesn't mean he doesn't have them when I am there.) Recently, for absolutely no reason, he has been lunging at and acting aggressively towards my 3 year old Pitbull. It has gotten so bad we've had to crate Miles at night now bc he literally will not stop lunging at him, even if we hold him back. They are both crated during the day. I am not sure what has caused the sudden change in behavior, but he only goes after Diesel, none of the others.
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome. The original expert you asked for is not online. My name is ***** ***** I have been working with dogs for 25 years. I am a Therapy Dog & AKC Evaluator/trainer/ as well as an assistance/service dog trainer, specializing in behavior. It will be my pleasure to help you today.

Is Miles on any medication for his seizures?

How is Miles when there is food, toys , bones laying around does he protect them?

how long has this been going on between the two dogs?

Has Miles ever been tested for a thyroid problem?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He is not. We had him on something for awhile a few years ago but he's so tiny and the side effects were bad so we took him off bc they were so infrequent back then.He is disinterested in toys. Always has been. He has always liked food, but is not aggressive. He and my other yorkie eat out of the same bowls and we feed the dogs together.It started a month or 2 ago. Diesel does not react at all, no growling or anything... Other than to just sit there and when I grab Miles he walks away.Miles has always been super chill. He likes eating, sleeping and an occasional belly rub. Lately he's been barking a lot more at anything or nothing, just randomly. And then his issue with D started. He sometimes will sit and obsessively lick my other yorkies back, that's also new, but otherwise does no react to any of the other dogs or the cats. And I know D has not done anything to prompt it. Miles literally one day just started stalking him randomly. Sometimes more than others. Neither is the pack leader either. My 9 yo border collie is.My concern is some type of neurological issue. We haven't tested for thyroid issues. He does far Cortizone shots for hot spots but has been getting those for years.
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for that information. The constant licking of the other dog and the sudden lashing out would make me suspect a neurological problem also. Especially if he still has seizures.

Because this is sudden with both actions I might have your vet do a check up and I would see about meds again for the seizures, there may be something that has a little to no side effect.

The thyroid, if off even a little bit, can cause aggression in dogs. However this still does not answer why it is only this one dog he goes after. Do you notice any staring at each other before an attack? Is there always someone in the room with Miles such as you, or another dog that he feels the need to possess?

Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

What I would do is get a physical on Miles because usually where there is a sudden behavior like this it is due to medical. If that all checks out then what we have to do is have miles view Diesel differently, something as good to be around. For this we want to do some behavior modification training. Right now Diesel is a cause of some type of stress in Miles' life that causes him to act out, we want Miles to start seeing Diesel as something really good happening to Miles when Diesel is around.

Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

If you are not familiar with behavior adjustment training I will direct you to a link to guide you. I would have miles leashes on a harness not a collar, and start from a distance to start. A long as Miles shows good behavior he is rewarded, and then removed. Gradually you build up the time and distance from Diesel. For now to keep all safe it is a good idea to gate miles off from Diesel until your training is underway.

Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

The more good behavior we can catch Miles in the more he is apt to repeat that behavior

Training method BAT

Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

Since this has been going on for a couple of months miles has developed a learned behavior toward Diesel and we want him to learn a different way to react when Diesel is around. But please do have a thorough health check as well.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for you advise/opinion. I really feel it is a medical issue. Miles has always been so laid back. Just give him a couch and a pillow and he doesn't need anything until dinner time. They've been co-existing for years with never any issue and even sometimes Miles will still lay with Diesel with no issue. It's just gotten to be progressively worse the last few weeks, for no real reason. And, we foster dogs all the time, so mine are really used to other dogs being around. They are all attached to me, but not possessive. My concern, besides Miles health, is that if it continues Diesel will eventually get tired of it and react. He's a pit, very sweet and laid back, but I'd imagine even he would have his limits. I'll get him to my vet for a check up. Thanks!
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

You are welcome. I agree that at some point any other dog would have enough and eventually strike back. May I say thank you for fostering dogs that need a place to go,

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's my pleasure to do it actually! It can be tough and heartbreaking but I'd rather have my heart broken 20 times than read about one more dog being abused or mistreated. Luckily, my dogs are really welcoming and helpful with the new dogs adjustment.
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

it sounds like you have a great attitude and you probably do not know how much you really mean to those around you for the job you do:)