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My boxer is 4 and has sniped at 3 people in the last 3

My boxer is 4...

My boxer is 4 and has sniped at 3 people in the last 3 weeks. we just moved 6 months ago, but I don't think this is it. First episode was at daycare, when leaving a guy put his hand over his head to pet and he snipped..i chalked that up to not coming over the head of a dog. 2nd episode was a snip at a worker who came into our house from the basement..i chalked that up to a strange man entering our home in the middle of it.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is the matter with your dog?

The last episode was the other night..we had people over...and boo boo has never sniped at anyone who came into our house from the front door. all was fine, then as we were leaving he had a bone in his mouth, several people converged at corner of room and i dont know if she reached down but he snipped up a guest (after us all being in the home for 2 hours)

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is this new behavior?

In he prior 4 years he has snipped at people maybe 2 times...never in the home...our vet has prescribed trazodone and fluoxetine...when i talked about it to him a month ago, but i have not started him on it cuz im a bit leary of putting him on drugs for the rest of his life.

Veterinarian's Assistant: What is the dog's name?

Boo boo

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about your dog?

I had him xrayed and he was shown to have an early sign of hip dysplsa...so he has started him on supplements....but nothing more

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
He has never snipped at people when they enter the house through the front door. and since the second incident we have 3 or 4 occassions of visitors nothing happend...then last night it happened when we were leaving. my partner thinks boo boo had a bone in his mouth and the woman was a bit tipsy and might have moved over him...but snipping is still not acceptable
Answered in 1 hour by:
3/6/2018
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20,409
Experience: Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
Verified

Hi Jacustomer,

Welcome to Just Answer. My name is Jane. I have been involved professionally with dogs in the healthcare and behavioral fields for over 20 years. I’ve worked as a Vet Assistant and Behaviorist and have extensive experience in dog reproduction, as a breeder, for even longer than that.. Canine behavioral issues and training are also my specialties. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

It is necessary for me to get a little information from you before I can type up your reply. Your patience is appreciated.

What obedience training has he had?

Is he neutered?

Does he shed a lot?

Is he overweight at all?

Did he draw blood in any of these cases?

Did he growl first or just nip?

Did he nip at hands or feet?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
not much obediance training...nothing structured...he knows sit stay
yes he is neutered
sheds normal amount as my prior boxer
no he is 80 lbs...no concern about weight ever with vet
he did draw blood...not sure if it was with mouth or paw...happened so fast
he might have growled and nipped at the same time
his nipping is not a feet more at hands...upwardhe is always excited when people come..starts barking when a car pulls in a driveway and too me is overstimuated at this point.as i said the vet has perscribed two different anxiety reducing pills...i was hesitant to put him on these but i can't be worried everytime someone comes over.as i said...its just been in last month that he has done this with any frequency...the last week we had four group of visitors nothing, then saturday at the end of two hours a nip as we were leaving.

Thanks for the great information. It is helpful.

The first thing that should be done is to rule out a medical cause for the sudden aggression. Hypothyroidism is one medical cause for sudden aggression and boxers are prone to this condition. You can read about these here:

https://www.petplace.com/article/dogs/pet-behavior-training/medical-causes-of-aggression-in-dogs/

http://www.tropicaldogtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Dodman_MA10.pdf

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.954.6009&rep=rep1&type=pdf

If there is no medical cause for the aggression, then it is strictly behavioral. Dogs are aggressive toward people for a variety of reasons. It might be that they are fearful of people and thus are aggressive before the person can be. In other cases, a dog is aggressive in order to dominate the people. Other causes could be that the dog feels they are the alpha member of the pack and as the alpha member they must protect the pack (you) from threats (people). Now you mention you have moved and if this happened since you moved, the move may have contributed to the behavior. The old home was the humans as he was just a puppy when he came there. The new place is one you all moved into together and thus was not claimed yet, so if he thought he was the most dominant member, he would view the house as his and thus can do what he wants as far as deciding if some people should be there or not and of course defending what he feels is his territory.

.

In addition, owners sometimes make the situation even worse by tensing up and worrying about what will happen. The dog senses the owner worry and feels that he is justified in his aggressive stance because you are obviously worried about the people. They don't know you are worried about them attacking, they just feel that you are worried and assume it is the people.

.

For a dog like this, total control is necessary. This means not only physical control but on a mental level, you must be the boss To accomplish this, you will need to have the dog wear a basket muzzle anytime you have visitors. This will not only prevent bites but also allow you to feel more at ease when you have guests over.

.

You will need to have him obedience trained. If you can, I would do group classes (with the muzzle) and let the trainer know of the problem your dog has.. Before you can get into classes, you can start training at home on your own. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/training_nothing_in_life_is_free.html

This obedience work establishes you as the boss and as the boss it is your job to protect the dog and not the dogs job to protect you. You also claim everything including the house when you are the boss. As the boss YOU now decide who can come in and go. Now the dog will still protect you if something should happen because you will be protecting yourself and as part of the pack, he will follow your lead and protect as well. But if you are calm around someone, he will see that you are ok and there is no need to help. This is why being the boss works well.

.

You will also want to keep a leash on him at all times initially to grab if he should disobey. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how well your dog does with training. Dogs like knowing what is expected of them and they love the little paper thin slices of hotdogs that I use for treats while training. Give this a try and see how it works for you. For visitors, you will be teaching him to sit and wait at the door and stay there until you give a release command. Lots of people teach sit and stay but never teach a release command. As a result, the dog decides when to stop sitting or staying. The release command is important to teach. You will have him sit and stay until the guests are seated, then have him come to you and sit and stay at your feet or in a predetermined place a little away from the visitors. You will keep him there until they are safely out the door as well.

Now you might also have frequent visitors also work with him on commands and give tasty hot dog slivers for treats. Your dog will start to see them also as a positive thing around the house and not mind them around.

.

Unfortunately, at this point, I would seriously consider having a behaviorist anyway available to evaluate the dog and determine the aggression level. In the meantime, institute the techniques I have recommended.

I sincerely ***** ***** I have helped you. Please remember to rate my service by selecting the 5 stars at the top of the screen ( rating me now does not close your question). We can continue here until you are satisfied, simply use the reply box and let me know. Thank you!

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I thought I'd write a quick note to see how things are going. Did you find my answer helpful? I'd love to know. If you did find my responses helpful, I would appreciate a 5 star rating so I can continue to help others. Please let me know.

Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20,409
Experience: Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
Verified
Jane Lefler and 87 other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
We did find it helpful...we are actually seeing a behaviorist today.
I'd be happy to give a 5 star rating.

Thank you so much for the excellent rating. I do appreciate it.

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