Dog beginning to show aggression?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!


Barked: Wed Jun 5, '13 6:46pm PST 
I have an unaltered 3 year old rat terrier mix and recently he has begun to show aggressive behaviors.
Normally he is playful and sweet; he only acts "aggressive" when he is corrected.
Ex. I tell him to go to his bed, he lets out a low growl..and doesn't move. I say it again, in a firmer tone and he goes, but then he bares his teeth, and snaps at me.
It is almost guaranteed that he will bare his teeth at me when I correct him-something he NEVER did before.
That is before, I adopted a fixed female puppy last November.

It's almost as if he's lashing out in jealousy! Is that possible?
Is he jealous of the new female dog? It is sexual frustration (he tries to mount her daily while they play)?
What happened to my sweet puppy?

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Barked: Thu Jun 6, '13 3:06pm PST 
Mishandling (manhandling too) a dog and 'correcting' early warning signs can lead to actual bites later on down the road. The fact that you mentioned that you've 'corrected' the dog for this in the past makes me wonder if you haven't accidentally triggered a snowball effect in this dog.

That kind of confrontation builds stress and accumulates over a long period of time until the dog finally lashes out to release all of the built up tension. Sometimes this doesn't come to a head for YEARS. But it does happen.

That's the problem with traditional methods; you can freak out a dog into 'submission' (which is only SUPPRESSING behaviors and causing stress to become harbored for a later date) and the method 'works' in the short term. As humans, we tend to react with impulsivity and cannot relate the long term effects these methods have on dogs, not until it's already turned dangerous in many cases.

Serious Face
Barked: Thu Jun 6, '13 6:27pm PST 
Might be worth starting over with positive training. Instead of correcting him with your tone of voice, get his attention with something tasty and entice him to his bed with treats, praise, or play. Start small at first, he's already learned that listening to you is no fun. You have to re-associate the behaviors you want with positive things. Make listening to you a game that your dog can win and be rewarded for, and he will be much less likely to react like that.

When you get upset when he doesn't listen, he totally feels that and gets even more defensive. It also teaches him that your emotions are unpredictable and can't be trusted. And yeah...that will eventually lead to a bite. At least he's growling before biting, some dogs have been yelled at for growling and taught to suppress any aggressive warnings; they go straight to biting when pushed too far.

If you don't like him mounting the puppy... having him altered might be a good way to help with that. Our last dog was unaltered and while there was generally no unwanted behavior from it, he would be absolutely obsessed with shoving his face in the privates of any lady dogs and trying to mount them (even if they were spayed).

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Barked: Thu Jun 6, '13 7:54pm PST 
A poster is asking for solution to something that bothers him or her. Don't know why some people have the need to predict bad things without being closely familiar with the case and without offering alternative solutions.
Anyway, it's possible that the dog being intact, contributes to escalating things. And don't forget it's a terrier. At the age of 2-3 the breed really plays a bigger role then before.
I will ditto the suggestion not to escalate matters and not initiate confrontations with the dog. Second, I will neuter him and if things don't improve, ask the help of a dog behaviorist/ trainer.

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Barked: Fri Jun 7, '13 1:26am PST 
The to previous poster, you are absolutely right! I was rushed in my response and didn't offer any constructive input. I also enjoyed the link you shared. To the OP, I apologize! Here are some ideas:

- Clicker training would be a great way to shape the 'go to your crate' game shifting the social tension when you try to crate. That would be a great way to teach what you want
- You can also use your dogs new training foundation to teach more appropriate behaviors around your new dog.
- I second altering him too... It can't hurt after all!
- You can also look into practicing a little tellington touch techniques to provide stress relief (for both of you!) and a sure fire way to strengthen trust and your overall relationship
- Make sure he is getting 'adequate' exercise. Generally a MIN of an hour of activity is sufficient.
- Keep doing what you're doing; research, research, research!