Author Topic: my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.  (Read 12148 times)

Offline Kermit

  • Supreme Drooler
  • ****
  • Posts: 1784
    • View Profile
my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.
« on: February 19, 2006, 10:50:00 pm »
 :( Ok. We have a problem in the pack. It's gotten serious. Nigel is attacking Will's dog Rushmore. This is especially dangerous because Nigel weighs a little over 90 lbs and Rushmore is a short little terrier mix who weighs 20 lbs.  :(
It all seemed to start as a mere food protecting ordeal, the kind of thing you just say, oh it's two male dogs with some food aggression, so we'll separate them when we feed them. So we have been doing that. Nigel eats in a separate room, but sometimes still he will growl through the baby gate at Rushmore. It is always directed at Rushmore. When they have fought, usually Zoot jumps in and forces his way to Nigel which has thankfully prevented little Rush from getting hurt. But instead, Zoot has ended up with several puncture wounds to the chest. :'(

Well tonight was the most confusing event of all. We were sitting in the living room. I noticed Nigel was being ridiculously cute, sitting there looking relaxed. So I sat down beside him and started GUSHING about how much I love him. I gave him a huge hug and in the midst of telling Will how much I love hugging Nigel, he snapped and attacked Rushmore, who was apparently walking by (I hadn't noticed him at all). There was no warning- Nigel just dove onto him and grabbed him. There was no food or toys anywhere nearby. I am pretty sure every incident before this one involved food. Anyhow, I never lost my grip on him since I was hugging him so I was able to pull him back. Will managed to get Rush out of there but not until Nigel tried to scalp him. And of course Zoot jumped in but I guess since I had a good hold of Nigel the separation was way easier than usual. So Rush has a little bald patch on his head now but he is acting like nothing happened. Nigel is in the basement wondering why he is separated from everyone else.
HELP!!! ???
Why would Nigel go psycho on Rushmore?? Was it for my affection? He went from totally calm and relaxed to completely insane attack mode instantly. It was frightening!!!!
My first moves are: I am going to enroll Nigel in obedience classes tomorrow. I am embarassed that I haven't already. :-[  I am also, sadly, probably going to have to return Samson our (foster) to the rescue group. I am afraid Nigel's aggression has taken a turn for the worse since Samson has been spending time with my pack. I have to rule that out as a possibility. I hate it.

What is next? Does anyone know anything about neurological problems in dogs? Could it be something like that or does this sound like "normal" same-sex aggression?? I am at a loss here. I want these dogs to be able to live together! I am not willing to give up on Nigel, but I can't have him hurting Rushmore!
Any and all criticism and advice is welcome.
(for anyone who doesn't know me, we have 7 dogs total- 4 males and 3 females, all males are neutered and the 2 puppy girls under 6 months aren't spayed yet).
Long-winded, yes, I'm sorry, and thank you. :-[

Kiahpyr

  • Guest
Re: my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2006, 11:11:42 pm »
I don't have any advice. I just want to let you know that I'm sorry you're going through this. I hope something can be done. Hang in there! I'm just a phone call away.

Offline chaos270

  • BPO Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 1273
    • View Profile
Re: my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2006, 11:33:10 pm »
Hmm that is tough, my take is that he could be considering you as a possession to guard. If he sees you as a possession, he's going to guard you just as zealously as his food. Watch him for the warning signs....there are always some if you watch close enough. Also watch Rushmore's behaviour too because he could be instigating in an attempt to be alpha. We've been going through trouble with Lacey....what's with the sudden rash of aggression lately? 

I hope the obedience helps but remember that it can be stemming from both.
Erin and the critters
Kali ~ the newf
Lacey ~ the aussie 
Gabby ~ Holsteiner mare
Fire ~ Appendix Quarter Horse/Belgian gelding
Lilah and Hannah ~ Kali's kitties

Offline Kermit

  • Supreme Drooler
  • ****
  • Posts: 1784
    • View Profile
Re: my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2006, 11:56:55 pm »
April- thank you. You may get a call!!!

Chaos, thank you. I think you are right that Rushmore could be partially responsible as well. Will just got off the phone with his father who is a veterinarian, and he recommended that we put Nigel and Rushmore together away from the rest of the pack (supervised of course) to really observe their behavior together and see if we see any hints, any clues. He is going to get us the phone number of his friend who is a behaviorist.

Apparently in the vet world they call this LDSD syndrome, "large dog, small dog".    Meaning it could be a pretty darn dangerous situation.

Oddly, Nigel has never done a thing except for when Will and I were both present.

Offline Scootergirl

  • Supreme Drooler
  • ****
  • Posts: 1927
    • View Profile
    • Be my friend on myspace!
Re: my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2006, 12:09:45 am »
I don't have any advice, but I am going to be watching this thread closely as I am having similar problems. I have 2 dogs (Mia is one and Corky the foster dog is the other) with food aggression. We've resorted to putting them both on tie outs when feeding them because they tend to run to the other dogs bowls and attack them to force the other dogs away.  I'd rather be able to train them to just get along and know that no one is going to go hungry around here.

Mia and Corky are both loving, sweet dogs, but Corky also has issues when I go to put a leash on him or pick him up when he doesn't want to be picked up. It's more "mouthing" and squirming than biting, but it's still improper behavior.

I'm not trying to steal your thread, Rebekah. I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone and if you find a solution let me know so I can try it, too.

Jeanne
"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principle difference between dog and man." -- Mark Twain

Offline cuttles/sadieMay

  • Big Paws-a-holic
  • **
  • Posts: 360
    • View Profile
Re: my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2006, 12:11:19 am »
Sorry I dont have any good advice for you but I totally feel for you! I hope you can figure things out quickly and without to much upset to your household!
Good Luck
Carole

Offline kathryn

  • Supreme Drooler
  • ****
  • Posts: 1709
    • View Profile
Re: my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2006, 12:33:15 am »
I just read this thread and thought I would add my two cents worth also.  It definitely sounds like resource guarding to me.  Kaila has had the issue of guarding me from strange dogs since she was about 6 months old.  Just recently she started guarding the food bowl.  Usually I can redirect her attention to avoid the growls and barks.  It hasn't progressed to flat out attacks but it is directed at one particular cat in the house.  I hope things work out for all of you.

Kat
Kaila - Belgian Malinois
Shiner - Malinois x Ridgeback
Toulouse, Cayenne, Raven - DSH



Due to recent budget cuts and the rising cost of electricity, gas and oil, as well as current market conditions, the Light at the End of the Tunnel has been turned off. We apologize for the inconvenience

Offline Halo05

  • Full Fledged Chewer
  • *
  • Posts: 70
    • View Profile
Re: my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2006, 02:39:47 am »
What kind of dog is Nigel? How old is he? Just curious.

Gypsy Jazmine

  • Guest
Re: my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2006, 03:01:42 am »
((((((Rebekah))))))...I think I have a feeling for what you are going through...Sams on & Pippin have had some knock down drag outs to the point that it is truely scary...So far I have been able to pull them back from the brink of real damage to each other...Bringi ng Rosie into the mix has helped us alot for some reason that I don't question but thank God for!!...Pippins breeder told me something about breaking up dog fights that I will never forget & makes me think about what you said...Sometim es dogs go into "gaurding" mode & try to protect you though you don't need protecting...I am feeling this is what is going on with your 2 problem children & you...I've no advice to offer really but I do wish you luck.



EllieAndBlu

  • Guest
Re: my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2006, 11:03:26 am »
Rebekah,
I am so sorry to hear about your situation! And I so feel your pain.

We recently fostered a weimaraner (now a member of the family)and it really whacked out the pups...  a little background on my household.... roomie lives on main floor with three chihuahuas, lab, daschund, cat.... I live in the finished basement with my dobie mix and hound mix... the weimaraner (Riley) lives primarily with me as well... 

Well when Riley came to the house in January.... the first few weeks were fine... and then things got nutty...
My dobie was fighting with her friend, the lab (they never fought before)... the lab too was acting whacky and my hound mix was not a fan of Riley... though he never fought with him, he marked all of his pee spots and intimidated him...

After Ellie and Ginger got into a fight ... I did some research about why dogs fight.... and one article said any change to the household/routine can cause behavior that escalates into fights... 

So what I have done to help my two pups and Riley get along... I am pretty sure Blu (hound mix) is the pack leader.... so I feed him first... he goes in and out the door first.... when they all sit for a treat - Blu gets it first followed by Ellie and Riley... And I make sure to give all the dogs separate love too...

Its been and will continue to be work... When the dogs in the basement get barking at upstairs noises (when people come home)they start to get worked-up, reacting to each other and I can see how it could escalate into a "disagreement" but I make sure to send my dogs outside to "run it out" while Riley calms down inside. That has seemed to help

I hope this long-winded note helps you in some way... if not just comfort you knowing others are going through similar situations....

and to end on a high note.... Just last night, for the first time, I was laying on the futon watching t.v. with ALL three pups on there with me, resting comfortably... . I NEVER thought that would ever happen!

Oh one last thing... Ellie is a reactive dog.... so in the beginning when she would act up with Riley - I would put her in another room for a "time-out".... for a few minutes... and that really helped... now she is fine with the big guy.

Good luck and hang in there - I am living proof (bite scar and all) that things do get better!

Rach



« Last Edit: February 20, 2006, 12:41:17 pm by EllieAndBlu »

Offline Anky

  • Supreme Drooler
  • ****
  • Posts: 1511
    • View Profile
Re: my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2006, 11:16:42 am »
Everyone else has already given good info, but I thought I'd throw in my two cents.  I was wondering about the body language too.  I know when we got Sanity Araby would go after him constantly for absolutely no reason.  He still has scars on his face and notches out of his ears from it.  Turns out it was his body language, and he wasn't giving her the respect that she (As alpha bitch of the universe) deserved.  I don't know how long Rushmore has been around Nigel, but maybe there's social level problem going on.........
BPO's Official Mistress of Mirth
                       
Charter Member of the Official Suspicious Chicken Fan Club

"And you will know us by the trail of skank."

Offline Kermit

  • Supreme Drooler
  • ****
  • Posts: 1784
    • View Profile
Re: my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2006, 12:09:33 pm »
Wow. Thanks for everybody's info.
To clarify a few background points: the foster aggression that has happened in the past was always started by Zoot. He had a big problem with Sunshine Bear (Rollie!) and would start fights, and actually became aggressive with strangers' dogs for a while but he seems much better now. Nigel will be a year old March 1, so he has been pretty young as our many fosters have come and go, and yes we have added a lot of new family members in the past 10 months! From what we can tell by his mama and his siblings, Nigel is a mix of Saint Bernard, Boxer, and Bloodhound. (But ya know Halo, I have always thought he looked like a Fila!) Nigel has grown up with Rushmore- Rush is almost 7 and Nigel has been with him almost constantly since he was 3 months old.

Last night after I signed off BPO, we let all the dogs together again because in the past when we have had troubles, we could always do this. Well... everyone came into the bedroom. They all sleep around us every night on this massive futon creation we have. Nigel layed down and I went to scoot him over so I could settle in, and he snapped on Rushmore again!!! And Zoot jumped in immediately, and this was on our bed!!! It was really easy to separate this time but still. I took Nigel straight to the crate and he "slept" there all night... more like howled furiously all night.
Anyhow, I think I saw what happened this time. It's hard to notice facial expressions on Nigel because he always looks the same- sad and droopy eyed. But I think he was staring at Rushmore. And I think Rush let out a little growl when he saw Nigel staring. And now that I think back, they have done that before across the living room. Nigel will just stare at Rushmore until Rush growls, and then we say "Rush stop it" or whatever and everything is fine. So this may have been in the works for a while. :(

I'm going to read back over what everyone wrote. Thanks for all the insight and support. I have just put the gentle leader on Nigel, and I am just going to keep him on the lead today and see how he does. It's funny, I bought this gentle leader ages ago and I have never done a thing with it. I just put it on Nigel (Rush is upstairs) and he just went a layed down wearing it. I would have thought he'd have a fit. He's probably just happy to be in the same room with me after sleeping in the crate last night.

Thanks everyone! More updates to come! Hopefully good! :-[

(edited for spelling)
« Last Edit: February 20, 2006, 12:11:24 pm by doghealer »

will

  • Guest
Re: my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2006, 12:16:08 pm »
thanks everybody. we're both pretty confused right now.

maybe this info will shed some more light...
rush will be 7 years this spring. 5 of those years it was just rush and me.   and nigel has grown up with rush and zoot since he was about 3 months and i think is 2 weeks shy of 1 year old.

4 new family dogs, 2 family cats, and 7 different foster dogs have been in our home since Nigel has been with us (about 8 months i think, right rebekah?)


Offline Halo05

  • Full Fledged Chewer
  • *
  • Posts: 70
    • View Profile
Re: my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2006, 12:30:49 pm »
Hi,
He looks more like a Fila than he does the other breeds you mentioned. If he is, they generally do not accept "strange" dogs. They can be same sex aggressive. They may not give much warning about their intentions either. He can become extremely possesive of his family and property.
I can not let Halo around Brindle and Penny anyomre. Halo and Brindle had a scrap in December though no one got hurt. Halo managed to pull Brindles collar over his head and off of him. I can't do it. Just my wife was home at the time. Somehow she got Halo into another room and closed the door which he tried to break and chew out of. There were no signs. They ate from the same bowl, Brindle always first, drank the same water, Brindle first. Halo got old enough to test the boundaries. Halo stays in his crate while brindle and Penny are out in the living room. Theres still some tense looks and posturing. But the biggest change is in Brindle. He's happier now. He used to just sit with his ears back when they were together. Now him and Penny are best friends again and Halo gets the one on one attention he wants. So they will remain seperated. My fear is Halo will kill one of them literally. No to hype, but not to many dogs would be able to survive an attack from a Fila. They are just too powerful and agile.
If he is Fila, you will not be able to "train" it out of him. It is his natural instinct like a retriever retrieves. If you want to learn more about Fila's let me know. There's alot of excellent sites with correct info.

will

  • Guest
Re: my turn to ask for help... Nigel's gone psycho.
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2006, 01:05:10 pm »
oddly, Nigel is very accepting of strange dogs. he LOVES samson, our foster. Rush and Zoot are the dogs, Nigel has known the longest.   and he's been living with Rush since he was a puppy.  these episodes have been very recent like in the past 6 or 8 weeks.  before there was one episode where Nigel stepped on Rushmore and Rushmore snarled and barked and set Nigel back a little bit. but that's it.