Monday, April 20, 2009

I have an 11 year old dog who bares his teeth at me. How can I stop it?

He is a german shepard mix. When ever I raise my voice or scold him for doing somehting bad, He bares his teeth. It scares me (he is a huge dog) and I know he senses it. Its not good, I dont know how to stop him from doing it.

I have an 11 year old dog who bares his teeth at me. How can I stop it?
It%26#039;s difficult to answer without actually having seen it. Dogs can bare their teeth in different ways.

Below is a very crude indicator of dog-body language:

The two common ways of baring teeth are:

1. With a short mouth and ears perched forward - dominant aggression.


2. Bared teeth with a wide mouth, ears laid back - fearful/submissive aggression.

Since this is not a case of a young dog %26quot;trying you out%26quot;, and since forcefully settling a matter with a big, adult, aggressive dog can be dangerous, I wouldn%26#039;t advice it.

Instead for a dominant dog, try to avoid conflict. Tell him a firm no and then distract him with something you can praise him for doing right. Like telling him to sit, come, fetch etc. Besides that you%26#039;ll need to work on leadership issues, make sure you go first through doors, eat first, and you decide when the dogs plays, eats, goes out, gets petted etc. Dog with dominance issues shouldn%26#039;t be allowed in the furniture. If he%26#039;s already there, don%26#039;t force him down, lure him down and praise him once he has all four paws on the ground.

With a fearful dog, he%26#039;s signalling that with your scolding, you%26#039;ve crossed the line of what he%26#039;s comfortable with. Basically he%26#039;s frightened enough to bite to defend himself. Again, in this case you need to back off. You can send him some calming signals (make small eyes, yawn) to deflate the situation - and for another time, use less force and volume behind your scolding.

In both cases, never show that you%26#039;re afraid and remain calm and in control. Reading the dog correctly and giving the proper response is the key here. The best thing would be to have a professional trainer or dog behaviourist look at him. The wrong response from you could make the situation worse than it already is.

If it%26#039;s something he%26#039;s just started doing, you will probably need to take him to the vet for a check-up. He%26#039;s an old boy now and many dogs start to behave aggressively when they are in pain.

Good luck with him.
Reply:He started doing this suddenly, or has always acted this way towards you?? When dogs get older, they can develop old age related problems... Forgetting people they once knew, suddenly forget to pee outside, feeling lost in a room they are very familiar with etc.

But dogs also have a very good sense of people, is there something about you, that makes him bare his teeth?
Reply:This is NOT something that someone can help you with period online...if they claim they can they don%26#039;t know what their talking about. This is a VERY dangerous situation. Have you had this dog for a long time or recently took him in? If you%26#039;ve had him awhile and he never exhibited this type of behavior before, get him to a vet and check him out....pain (such as hip dysplasia) can make a dog %26quot;grouchy%26quot; and %26quot;snappy%26quot;.

However, it sounds to me like the dog does not in the least consider you the boss or %26quot;pack leader%26quot; and thus considers you a %26quot;challenge%26quot; when you raise your voice to it being a %26quot;subordinate%26quot;.

It can very easily follow thru on it%26#039;s threat. You need to talk to a trainer NOW...ASAP. Otherwise, you need to find a rescue willing to rehab the dog or as much as I hate to say need to put it down, it is going to hurt someone, most likely you.

I have dealt with aggressive dogs for 15 yrs, this is no joke and he%26#039;s not bluff%26#039;n.
Reply:Definatley take him to a trainer. It seems like a dominance thing. He def senses you getting nervous when he does it, which will make him do it more, not stop it. If he thinks he can dominate you he will. I would def recommend taking him to a credible trainer or behaviorist. Good luck!
Reply:Basically, put him in his place. You have to be the dominant owner. Start when he%26#039;s a good mood. You have to get your face close to his and then raise your head above his. Then place your hands on his neck and put some pressure on it. Then, move your head closer to his neck with the ultimate goal being you pushing his head down with your head. This is dog talk for dominance. If you can accomplish this, you%26#039;ll never have a problem with a dog again. If that doesn%26#039;t work, a small slap on the nose will teach him. This how mothers teach their pups, only they nip at the nose. Since that is not an option, use your hand and gently hit his nose. Not hard though, dogs noses are very sensitive. Tell him a stern voice to stop, or knock it off. After a few nose taps, saying stop will be enough.

After I read this I should have put the disclaimer on here that it depends on how comfortable you feel doing this. That%26#039;s obvious. It takes a lot of patience and you must remain calm the entire time you do this. Be his buddy then display to him who is in charge. I hope this clears up any confusion.

If you%26#039;re not comfortable with that then yes definitely look at a behaviorist or trainer.
Reply:the first time i saw that in my friends dog, i punched him in the grill. problem solved. but you are beyond that point now so...

onyx nin... gave you all the right answers so I%26#039;ll just say to him -yup.

adam%26#039;s answer was good too, but it could also get your face bit off. that depends on the dog and depends on you. i can%26#039;t see you from my house so i don%26#039;t advize this action for you.


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