Beagle bites in a surprising moment!

Posted by Nightwish
Sep 17, 2010
Hey there!

The reason why I started looking for help is that my beagle-hound
mix (2 years old) is a very nice and loving dog, also pretty jumpy and
energetic, but that hasn't been a serious problem to us by now. A couple days
ago was the third time since we have him that he had attacked someone. Only this
time it was a family member. We do not understand Pancake's (my beagle)
behavior, because this time he didn't even show any sign of aggression, no
warning, no growling, nothing.

I had just recently bought him a new Kong to play with and put some treats in
it, but Pancake once again was a bit too lazy to try a little bit harder to get
the treats out, so maybe he eventually got frustrated about that (not 100 % sure
about that, he seemed calm!!). Then my mom moved his toy around so that some
treats fall out and Pancake can finally have some. After that she sat down on
the chair to watch him together with me trying to get more treats out of the
Kong. Then Pancake sat on her foot and just stared at his toy. We thought it was
pretty cute and funny that he (once again) sat on one of our feet and leaned on
the leg.

But then it got kind of annoying to my mom to have him sitting on her foot, so
she simply removed it under him. And that was when he suddenly out of nowhere
jump up on her and tried to bite her (his teeth touched her nose!) and scratch
her and barked real loud and repeatedly, which was a VERY uncommon behavior for Pancake. He usually never is
aggressive towards anyone, but that was the third time in 2 years that it
suddenly happened out of nowhere. He seemed to regret it afterwards once we
immediatly pulled him into his crate and made a very loud sound.

Since that day (a couple days ago) my mom avoids our dog, which of course won't
do the situation any good, and says that she first needs some time to trust him
again. It is up to me whether we get rid of him or not, but I can't just get rid
of my sweet Pancake, he is one of the little things that make me most happy!

So my question is, if you have any idea why Pancake did this, what might have
triggered it, how dominant he might be (is he dominant over all of us more than
we knew?), etc, etc. And especially: What can we do to avoid this and not make
it happen again so that we can trust him more again, since it seems to come out
of nowhere, because he usually never acts anything like that. And I might add,
that I train him a LOT, I just resently have taught him a new trick!

I'd appreciate your answer, I am desperately looking for help, this is my last
try to be able to keep him at home, if something happens again, I will give in
to my responsibiliy..


Posted by kjd
Sep 17, 2010

Have you taken Pancake to a vet? There may be a medical reason for Pancake's attacks. For example, if he has a problem in his rear end, when your mother moved her foot from out of under him, it may have hurt. When was the last time a vet did a thorough exam of Pancake?

You describe Pancake as energetic and jumpy, but also lazy. He could have hurt something while jumping around. Dogs aren't like people. They tend to hide their pains from us, so we must be quick to pick up on it when something strange happens.

Tell the vet exactly why you are coming in. Describe each incident as best you can (you might want to write them down and give him the descriptions to read). He may want to muzzle Pancake while checking him out.

I understand why your mother needs to regain her trust in Pancake. He seems to have attacked for no reason. If the vet can find the reason, and help Pancake with the problem, your mother will quickly regain her trust. She will even be more loving to Pancake once she realizes why he did it.

Please see a vet and tell us what he found,
Posted by Nightwish
Sep 17, 2010
I appreciate your advise. I actually haven't been with Pancake to the vet since probably 3 months. He never seemed to me like he was in any kind of pain, but if he is, then he must really not show it. Which is why I will be immediatly taking him to the vet the coming week.

I was also wondering: Even if Pancake was in pain or not feeling good, is it still a normal behavior for him to attack my mom just like that? And also, he has attacked a friend before who he had seemed to not like at all. She had stayed overnight on my couch and Pancake had watched her the whole night. The next morning he attacked her while sitting in the kitchen. So that is why I assumed that it just has something to do with him being too dominant in our house.

But I guess for now I'll first of all go see the vet and get Pancake checked. I will let you know what he said.

Again, I appreciate your advise.


Posted by KOPCaroline
Sep 18, 2010
Hey Jackie,

I think a vet check up is a good idea, sporadic behaviour changes can indeed be a sign of pain or agitation due to some underlying medical cause.

Im a little worried over Pancake's leaning on your mother before the attack. Sitting on people and leaning on them is a sign of dominance aggression. How often does your mother come over? Does Pancake listen to her when she gives him commands? He might see her as "below him" in the house hierarchy, especially if he doesn't normally interact with her in a commanding relationship. When she comes over in the future, work with her to establish her as a dominant figure in Pancake's life; have her work with training him (even things he already knows, she can have 10 minute sessions of command and reward for sit, down, shake, whatever). She can feed him if she's there at dinner time. Don't let Pancake through doors before her, and if he tries to sit on her or lean on her, she should tell him "no" sharply, and tell him "away" or another command he knows to move. Simply moving out of his way can (as you know) trigger a worse display of aggression, and in a way is allowing him to get what he wants. You and your mother need to make sure Pancake knows its not acceptable, not just avoid the situation.

Let us know what the doctor says, and work on your mothers command over Pancake, I think he'll understand quickly