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Behaviour issues out of nowhere

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Hi guys, my BC is now 2 years and a few months and recently he has had a few problems. Around a month ago he bit a family friend, who he has known for a considerable amount of time and knows very well. Then on Friday on a walk he darted from me and was picked up a mile away. Now just last night he tried to bite someone again. This friend had stayed with us for a few days and took him on a walk with us earlier today. Now we took the decision not to neuter him a few months ago as he has never displayed any interest in bitches, and to this day he still doesn't react to them out on walks. My question is, can this behaviour arise due to him not being neutered? Is it too late for us to get it done now as a precaution?

I am just very confused as up until the start of this year he was the friendliest dog you could meet. 

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It seems to me there was a recent thread addressing something similar. You might want to search for it.

Look for things that may have changed in his environment. See the vet for a check to see if there's something going on with him. Pain or thyroid issues could be possible causes. If you have his thyroid checked be sure they run a full panel. I only send blood for thyroid testing the Hemopet.

I sincerely doubt his being intact has anything to do with it. There's actually some evidence that neutering can cause or increase aggression, contrary to popular belief.

I would recommend consulting a veterinary behaviorist or a certified behavior consultant ASAP.

In the meantime be sure to keep him on a leash when out and limit his time with other people. Though you didn't mention how severe the bites were, he now has a bite history and could be considered a dangerous dog by authorities.

Wishing you the best.


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Hi, yes I have read through that previous post however my circumstances are almost opposite.

He is in a very stable environment, which has not changed at all since we got him. Same family members, same daily routine which includes two walks which always include some intense exercise for him. (We are the only owners he has had)

When he first bit it was one of my sisters friends. He had made it known for a good while beforehand that he was upset and was wanting to be left alone (he was growling and trying to avoid them) and he was separated from them. However they went back to him despite being warned, and one of them went down onto the floor with him and was face to face with him, which was when the bite occurred (I'm not trying to defend him biting but just stating all the facts). As punishment I told him off verbally and took him through to another room and ignored any attention he tried to get for a good hour or so, he definitely knew he had done wrong, as he was very sheepish and quiet for quite a while afterwards. Due to the circumstances of the bite, after keeping him on a tight lead for a few weeks in which he was entirely his normal self, I began becoming more relaxed with him again. This includes seeing regular faces on walks off the lead and him mixing with big crowds in pub etc. which he always loves. He will make a point of going to say hello to everyone he can tail wagging and perfectly happy. 

However this time was, as far as we know, completely out of the blue. He was laying on the floor next to someone, she lent down to stroke him and he jumped and went to bite her. Now like I said he had spent the last few days with this person, and had displayed no warning signs beforehand. The only thing linking both the incidents is they occurred at home, and have both happened to friends not those he lives with. He is not a particularly territorial dog, he will have the odd bark when someone knocks at the door but as soon as he sees its a person he is always tail wagging and wanting to get a stroke off of them. He is also used to having his mouth be handled when having his teeth brushed etc and he has never once closed his jaws on my while I have been doing that. 

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11 hours ago, Harry.B said:

...he definitely knew he had done wrong, as he was very sheepish and quiet for quite a while afterwards.

Actually there's no evidence that dogs understand that they've done wrong or experience guilt. In fact, some fairly recent studies have demonstrated that dogs will react in that same guilty-looking way even when they've done nothing to deserve the scolding. What they're reacting to, most likely fearfully, is their owners' obvious displeasure even if they don't understand what caused it. All they know is that something's wrong, their people are angry and that they'd better be cautious around them. I see this all the time when I'm correcting one dog when caught in the act of something inappropriate that the other will look just as guilty, if not more so, as the one who was doing something wrong.

There could have been something he perceived as threatening in the behavior of both the people he bit, even if it wasn't obvious to you or to them. For example, many dogs find it threatening for someone to reach to pet them on the tops of their heads, or to make direct eye contact, especially if it's prolonged. The latter is a threat or challenge in dogs' body language.

I also notice that both of the people he bit were on the floor with him. No sure just what this might signify, but there's a good chance it has something to do with it.

Still recommend a thorough vet check and behavioral consult.

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I agree with GL on this. Consult a behaviorist on this and work to try to find the trigger, because in this situation you describe it sounds as if there may be one. What were these people wearing, for instance? Did they have hats or big hair? How did they move? Many dogs do not like to have anyone come close to their face or touch the tops of their heads. 

It is also very important for you to realize that as GL said dogs do not by any means necessarily know they have "done wrong". they are wired differently from people and do not feel guilt the way we do. It is more the case that they react in the moment to whatever stimulus is there, positive or negative. I too have seen dogs many times "look guilty" when they have done nothing. It is not guilt - it is appeasement behavior.  If you work with this situation correctly starting immediately you may very well find out why your dog reacts this way and by careful counter-conditioning change it before it gets worse.

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22 minutes ago, D'Elle said:

...It is not guilt - it is appeasement behavior...

Thanks for adding that very important difference that I neglected to mention.

Rather than the dog feeling guilty and knowing he's done something wrong, what he's actually doing is asking you not be angry with him or to attack him.

It's a big difference.

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Another thing to note is that what appears to us to be "completely out of the blue" is never completely out of the blue to the dog. It only appears to us that way because we don't understand the dog's point of view, and/or have missed his signals that, if we understood them, would have accurately predicted his behavior or reaction.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your dog is simply to observe. I don't mean just look at the dog occasionally, I mean study the dog as if you were going to have a life-changing final exam on the dog's body language and what it predicts. Observe obsessively. Doing this, and at the same time reading up on the common signals that dogs use to communicate how they are feeling, such as tongue-flicks, turning the head away, slow tail wags, position of the mouth and so on, will allow you to understand what the dog is saying and that will lead you to knowing what situations the dog finds uncomfortable and/or threatening. This is the road toward understanding and prevention of unpleasant or dangerous incidents. 

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I would second GL that both people bitten were on floor with dog. Our old feller Bruce, pictured left, was a gentle well mannered soul but would get really agitated and nervous to the point of giving warning signs if anyone, including myself were to squat or kneel to be face to face with him. 

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