Aggression or something else?

Posted by kbillman
Oct 8, 2008
We got Lucy, a 6 month old unaltered Boxer from another family almost 2 weeks ago. Lucy's previous family had her since she was 12 weeks and she appears to have been well cared for. She lived with another adult female Boxer and a family with 2 young children. They were "rehoming" her as their 4 year old was having trouble treating the dog appropriately.
It's been about 7 years since we've had a dog, so we are retraining ourselves as well, so could use some help with advice on a couple of things that are concerning. Our house consists of myself, my husband and 2 boys, ages 7 and 6.
Generally, she is a very sweet (albeit sometimes stubborn) pup and will roll on her back and expose her belly to us. She is crate trained, mostly house trained and can sit and lay down on command.
Here are the concerning behavior issues:
1. Occasssionally she will attempt to "hump" the kids. When they tell her "off" she gets down but will immediately sniff a little and then pee, even if she has just gone. Is this a form of marking? She is scheduled to be spayed next week, should this behavior cease afterward?
2. When my husband or I are in the back yard, she will start racing around the yard, then circle around us with her front legs crouched, ears flat back, eyes look aggressive (she will stare us in the eye) and bark at us in a very intimidating manner. She will then charge at us and jump off all fours and try to put her teeth on our hands or forearms, but doesn't bite down. When she is like this, she'll run if you take a step toward her, and if you crouch down and speak softly to her, trying to get her to come to you, she'll just keep doing this, barking at us and running in circles around us. We've tried ignoring her, walking in the house and leaving her outside when she acts this way, but she'll follow us to the door jumping and barking the entire way and it scares the children (and us to some extent). Again, she tends to pee shortly after this behavior, as if exerting dominance?
Appreciate any suggestions you have.

10/10/08-I've noticed that some posts don't seem to get any response. The forum is one of the reasons I decided to purchase the product, as it's always good to hear of actual situations and results. I'll wait a while longer in hopes of a response.
Posted by Maggiesmom1
Oct 12, 2008
I am so glad to hear you are having her spayed soon. I do think this will help with the humping/peeing problem. She'll probably calm down a lot too, which may help other issues.

My thought when I read about the way she runs at you in the yard is that she is just playing. I work at a dog shelter. That is exactly what dogs do that want to play. You should redirect her with a toy---maybe throw a ball and have her retrieve it. I wouldn't "ignore" her at this with her. She's a puppy...she wants to have fun. If she nips you, say "NO mouth!!!" and cry out a little like it hurts.

She needs to be exercised---a daily walk is essential for active dogs like boxers. She would probably love to go to a dog park and run with other dogs.

I would also highly recommend a puppy training class for you in beginning obedience in addition to reading the sit, stay, fetch material. Professional training will give you a lot of confidence, and it will help the two of you bond with her even more. Boxers can be powerful dogs when they are full grown. You need to feel confident in reading your dog's intentions.

Good luck, enjoy her. Don't let her know she scares confident and have fun with her.
Posted by kbillman
Oct 13, 2008
I appreciate your response!
I was starting to wonder if she was trying to play rather than stare us down and kill us (ha ha!) She does get exercised and doggy play dates, which she does very well with and seems well socialized. I'll take her to dog parks after she is spayed.
The "humping" isn't much of a concern and I'm sure will settle down some after her spay.
She is very gentle and patient with the kids and not even slightly bowl aggressive, which was the issue with our last dog and probably the concern going into getting another dog...not wanting an aggressive dog around the kids (our old lab snapped at and connected on our 8 month old).
Again, thank you for responding to my concerns. I look forward to a great relationship with our new pup!