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    1. #1
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      rlcoleman9484's Avatar
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      New Wife's Male Rescue Dog Showing Aggression Toward My 3 Female Labs

      Apologies in advance for the long post.....Need some unbiased advice!

      I just got married in December. The wife has a 5yo dog, a Rottweiler/Shepherd mix, that she adopted when he was 1yo and she was in a previous relationship. They ended up splitting....and he started peeing in the floor and becoming neurotic. He was high energy and wild, but she took him to obedience training and crate trained him and his behaviors did improve. He would go to the dog park, go on walks, and he did well. No aggression issues whatsoever. She enrolled in school....and randomly, he began to pee when he knew she was leaving the house. She took him to training again and the trainer said that he had dominance issues and he was "submissive peeing" and that she had to hold him to a very strict routine. The second the routine was broken (even feeding him 1-3 minutes late) he flipped out, jumped, pawed at her until she bled, etc.

      She then went through a series of roommates that had dogs and the aggression issues with other dogs really started....lots of scuffles and dog fights happened, both at his fault and the fault of the other dogs. Mainly, possession over her.

      She then moved and got her own place. The peeing started again, and got so bad to the point where she would come home from work and he would immediately pee...he would get into the trash, destroy the door, scream when she left and continue it for the entire day (in an apartment complex). She couldn't reprimand him, because he would pee everywhere. She maneuvered her entire life around to accommodate his behavior, routine and schedule, and things became tolerable.

      Enter the situation with me. We are now married. She moved in at the end of December. That's when the current issues started.

      He has MAJOR separation anxiety issues....whenever she leaves the house to run errands, he literally screams and howls like someone is tearing him apart and scratches at the doors, even though I'm here. He's also extremely territorial and really possessive of her. The first week they moved in, we started having issues between our dogs. I have 3 female senior Labradors who are the most docile, calm and sweetest creatures alive. Week one, he was super possessive of her and nipped/snarled at my dogs when he was on the couch and my dogs got even somewhat close to them from walking by. So now, he's not allowed on the couch at all. This has clearly made him more resentful toward them, causing more aggression. All toys have had to be put away because of territory issues and fights between them. There have been multiple instances of him RANDOMLY biting/attacking my Yellow Lab for no reason whatsoever. She'll just be standing nearby and he will latch on to her face. Blood has been drawn on multiple occasions. Once, after he bit her, my wife grabbed him and flipped him onto his back and he urinated all over her and himself. He's always trying to grab food off of plates...paws at you until skin is broken...doesn't listen...and is really unhappy with the change. He clearly hates my dogs and the fact that he no longer has full dominance over the situation and access/attention to his mom. The submissive peeing is really ramping up any time you raise your voice at him or if he does something wrong.

      Over the last two weeks, he's shown aggression towards me. He's never bitten me, but he has twice raised a lip and made a growling noise. The level of anxiety that we have over this is extremely high, which the dogs can clearly sense. It just isn't working.
      We thought we would give it time because of the changes, but it's gotten worse after two months. He's totally unpredictable. Thinking of the future, a child cannot be exposed to that type of animal. Tonight, she brought up the topic of finding him a new home because he clearly cannot be around other dogs due to attachment and behavioral issues. She admitted that she probably shouldn't have kept him after she adopted him because he was so out of control, but she held on to hope that things would get better after training, as she was living alone with no other dogs.

      So, here we are. She's had him for 4 years....he worships her....but it's literally tearing our home-life apart. Would we be major jerks for re-homing him after she's had him that long? We are both really concerned about the safety of the Labradors and have to keep them separated whenever we are not home. Our schedules are about to change to where we will both be gone more frequently, and I worry about my dogs. No one in the house is happy.

      ANY advice would be greatly appreciated.






    2. #2
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      janedoe's Avatar
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      Welcome. I am sorry about your situation. Have you consulted a behaviorist?

    3. #3
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      Labradorks's Avatar
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      This is not dominance. If the dog were dominant, why would he submissive pee? Honestly, that "trainer" should not only be fired but banned from training dogs.

      He has severe anxiety, probably the results of genetics. The flipping him most likely make his issues worse as did new roommates, new dogs, adding you and your dogs, and moving. Any dog that is insecure or has anxiety is going to benefit from routine and clear rules and expectations as well as having someone around all the time. Changes can turn their world upside down and each change brings more anxiety. It's not that the dog is so dominant (he is the opposite of dominant) that if she is late or if her world does not revolve around him, he pees or does bad things because he is angry. He is a dog and dogs absolutely do not have the capacity to think this way. Change is hard for a dog like this. Being without your security blanket (your wife) is hard too. This dog was not genetically set up to handle life.

      It's going to continue happening with someone else. The dog is her -- and now your -- responsibility. Get the dog to a behaviorist (at a university, for example, not some random "trainer"), get him on meds (prozac or similar can sometimes help) and if he is still so miserable that his behavior is erratic, frantic and fearful and he is screaming and out of control with anxiety, have him humanely euthanized. He doesn't want to be like this. Imagine how awful and confusing it would be. It is much kinder to put a dog like this who cannot be helped with behavior therapy and medication out of his misery than to allow it to continue. Who would possibly take a dog like this anyway? You make it sound like you can put a five year old mixed breed dog with severe anxiety that can't live with other dogs or kids and can't be alone and pees in the house on Craigslist and be good to go. No reputable rescue is going to take this dog either. A shelter would be your only option and it would be downright cruel to put him in that situation, not to mention the liklihood of him being returned is very high.

      While the dog is living with you, you need to actively manage him and the situation. That might mean keeping your Labs in another part of the house for awhile as I am assuming that segregating him causes more anxiety and behavior issues. And, give the dog a break. I know it's a pain and it's difficult and all of that, but the dog has mental issues. He can't help it. Have some empathy toward him and toward your wife. I am sure this is really hard for her. And, stop with the rolling and other "dominance" stuff. It's outdated and proven to be not only total BS but damaging to the dog and to the relationship with the dog's owner.

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    5. #4
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      I think you should consider consulting a behaviorist for professional assistance wth the dog. If he has a lot of issues, giving him up will likely land him in long term foster care or euthanized; he doesn't sound adoptable except to a very experienced dog owner or professional. He might need to be muzzled inside the house for everyone's safety, and you could try a belly band to possibly discourage peeing. Good luck.

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    7. #5
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      No, she previously went to three separate trainers over the last couple years. We have not seen a behaviorist.

    8. #6
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      Thank you for taking the time to reply, but wow. I was just relaying information given to my wife by three separate trainers, however crappy they may have ended up being. I also fail to understand how I have not shown empathy to the situation or my wife. I have been the one encouraging working on it and not giving up. My wife also has anxiety issues and epilepsy and and this entire situation is anxiety-inducing and making it worse. I'm merely trying to explore options by reaching out to a forum.
      Last edited by rlcoleman9484; 01-29-2016 at 03:08 AM.

    9. #7
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      Labradorks's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by rlcoleman9484 View Post
      Thank you for taking the time to reply, but wow. I was just relaying information given to my wife by three separate trainers, however crappy they may have ended up being. I also fail to understand how I have not shown empathy to the situation or my wife. I have been the one encouraging working on it and not giving up. My wife also has anxiety issues and this entire situation is making it worse. I'm merely trying to explore options by reaching out to a forum.
      No one, including me, is attacking you. However, I did not see in your post much concern for this dog. It seems that you are reaching out to the forum because of the concern for your Labs, yourself and your wife, which is obviously valid and understandable, but not much concern for the dog who is clearly suffering. You say he is resentful and hates your dogs for taking her away -- but that is just not possible as it is a dog, not a human. Don't get mad at the dog (flipping him, raising your voice -- things you pointed out in your post). He can't help it. I am sure your wife feels a ton of anxiety over the situation. I'm glad you're being supportive of her. The situation is awful for the person who is invested in the dog in this type of situation. Unfortunately, the anxiety that person feels just grows as they try to keep peace between the human they love and the dog they love. It's kinda like when a single parent gets a new spouse and that new spouse and the kid can't get along. It's a difficult position and a hard situation all around!

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    11. #8
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      Agree with all above. It can be difficult to find a behaviourist. There is no licensing or testing required, any old Joe Blow can hang out a shingle and proclaim him or herself an Animal or Dog Behaviourist. You won't go to the Behavourist, that person will come to your house to observe what goes on there.

      Association of Professional Dog Trainers


      The link is a place to look for help. No guarantees but at least the members commit to training, CE and a code of ethics. You can also ask your Vet, your boarding kennel, your friends if they know someone who has had similar issues.

      I don't think anyone has mentionned it but is the dog completely healthy? Sometimes a health issue can affect personality. We usually suggest a health check when there has been a change in behaviour but it's a good thing to keep track of anyway. Good luck. Your poor wife, it sounds like she has tried so hard to do right by this dog.
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    12. #9
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      First, welcome to you and your large dog family!

      It kinda sounds like this dog is a hot mess. While serious, it sounds like he HAS NOT bitten or attacked anyone? I'd say that's good. I'd be lost if it were me in the same situation. I also know that there are millions of trainers with differing thoughts and ways of doing things. It also sounds like what has been tried has not yet worked. I'd also contact a behaviorist and maybe do an overall veterinary exam/blood panel to rule out any illnesses. Hopefully you guys can work as a happy household soon!

    13. #10
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      Welcome to the board! I am so sorry all of this is happening to you and your wife! Definitely not the way that you'd want your first year of marriage to start you. I don't have many suggestions because I do think this situation requires professional help, but I would agree with others that your first step should be to separate the dogs. Needing to separate dogs is actually incredibly common. Whether it is when they are first meeting each other or sometimes for their whole lives, I think you would be surprised how often it is necessary. Hopefully this first step will alleviate some of your stress because at least you know your dogs will be safe and can then focus on next steps moving forward.
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