Sudden aggression

Posted by Willowton
Jun 22, 2010
My 4yr old staff started showing aggression 6mths ago, after getting a dog trainer to the house we found it to be fear aggression , although from a pup shes not been hit or shouted at.

Most attackes are directed at my grown up son when he comes down at night, but she triggered by sudden or loud noises, even when we laugh or raise our voice while in conversation. We have followed the trainers instructions , sit stay and quietly , on your bed , if she attacks , but they are so sudden you just dont expect them , sometimes I just feel Im gettin nowhere she scares me. she also takes her moods out on our other dog who just ignores her but how do u ignore a dog whos one second a little diamond then the next is charging you and jumping up at you with such aggression.

She has been checked over and nothin is wrong
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jun 24, 2010
Hi there, sounds like a bit of a handful! Fear aggression is difficult, as it is easy to inadvertently reinforce the behaviour.

Most cases of fear aggression can be treated and improved with desensitization and counterconditioning. This means building the “bank” of noises and situations your dog considers normal, by using them daily and exposing her to them more and more often. I realize with a suddenly aggressive dog this is a bit intimidating; an option is to use a muzzle on her until her attacks are less severe and less often. Have your son come around more often, and not only at night. A sudden entry of someone into the home at night is more understandable as a cause of alarm to the dog, try to get her used to him being around.

Really good move consulting a trainer quickly; as they advised, counterconditioning by having her stay calm on her bed is a good start. Don’t reward or reassure fearful aggression – this means don’t babytalk her or try to pat her when she becomes fearful, this is saying “its ok to act like this” to the dog. Try ignoring her, or, -without physical punishment- taking her to her bed or kennel, speaking sternly to her. Always pay attention to and reward her calm reactions. Incorporate her trigger noises into happy times for her, such as when she is being fed or play time, so that she starts to associate them with good feelings.

There are medications and other such treatments for aggressive dogs. Your vet can prescribe or give you advice on sedative type pills, or you could try DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone), which is an in house treatment that helps to calm the dog in its own environment.

Hope this helps, good luck!