View Full Version : What to do...

16th March 2007, 01:00 PM
My 18month old ruby is starting to get very aggressive. We have a blen and he is the total opposite. She is well socialised but for some reason she is getting more and more growly and today she snapped at someone (she has never done this before).

What should I do to help her out of this?


16th March 2007, 02:22 PM
I don't know how to answer this, but some questions occurred to me. Do you think there could be something physically wrong with her? Is everything else about her perfectly normal--eating, pooping, etc.? When some dogs are in pain their behavior will change. Is she mostly growling at humans when they start to approach her in any particular way? Is she growling or snappish with your other dog or only with people?

Heritage Cavaliers
16th March 2007, 04:41 PM
I agree with the previous post regarding underlying health issues.

I would also suggest obedience training.

Your little one may be in an unfamiliar surrounding and it can be scary is a stranger is reaching to pat her - I always feel that obedience training is a good way to help build confidence.

18th March 2007, 02:32 AM
As you probably know this is very unlike a cavalier and I would not consider it normal.
If it were me I would be having a good look at her and her environment.
I would firstly have a good physical check by either yourself or your vet or both and check she is not in any pain or any unusual things have popped up.

Then I would be looking at eating, sleeping, playing, and toileting, are all these things normal ?

From there I would be looking for triggers, where was she and what was going on when she snapped ? could she have felt threatened ? Was there a resource she was gaurding such as food or toys ?

If you rule all these things out maybe then consult a trainer/behaviourist for help. Good look :flwr:

18th March 2007, 02:41 AM
My dog Luke was doing this last October and it turned out he wasn't feeling well. His eyes were bulging and he was growling and snapping and he was sensitive when touched in some places.

I looked at what had changed in his diet and realized that I may be feeding him too much of a new thing I was trying. Once I took this out of his diet, he went back to normal.

If this had not worked, I was planning on a vet checking him out to see what was the matter.

18th March 2007, 03:21 AM
Already some great suggestions from others.

Has your girl been spayed? If not, is it possible she may be coming into season? Some of mine have gotten a little grumpy around their seasons.

20th March 2007, 09:08 AM
Thanks for all your replies.

Yes, she has epilepsy which we have been medicating since we got her in November and no fits (TG). She has also been spayed. She did have a bit of stress as a puppy (she was with another family) and I think the training is the answer now to help her. I've watched her closely over the weekend and I don't think she understands her place in the 'family'!! While she is very confident, she is still very unsure of herself by times, if you know what I mean.

The next question is where is the best place to bring her for training in Dublin...

20th March 2007, 09:53 AM
Unfortunatly epilepsy can lead to aggression in some cases.
I know a number of epileptic dogs that become aggressive ( we had a mongrel & gsd ourselves)

On the other hand we've had many epeleptic dogs who were lovely natures.

First I would take her to the vet for them to see her ( & perhaps alter her medication to see if that helped ) it could be that the aggressive & unsure episodes are some type of fit.

20th March 2007, 10:13 AM
Hi Thelly,

I sent you a PM with the details of a trainer I used, she is very good. Good luck

20th March 2007, 11:46 AM

Our resident board trainers and behaviouralists are Tara (TKC) and Lisa (LisaW), who run Dog Training Ireland out in St Margarets:


Tara also helps me run Irish Cavalier Rescue and is especially familiar with cavaliers and some of their health issues. They have run cavalier-only training classes for us in the past and one should be coming up soon -- either a seminar or a full obedience class, depending on what folks are interested in and what numbers we can drum up. :)

They use only positive, rewards based training and both have internationally recognised APDT certifications -- almost NO trainers in Ireland have *any* sort of actual training or behavioural background though this would be standard in many other countries and brings a much deeper knowledge of dogs in just the kind of situation yours is in. For this reason I use Tara extensively to evaluate cavaliers that I have in rescue as many have difficult backgrounds and she is adept at temperament testing and giving me and new owners proper training advice that also suits a cavalier personality.

I would suggest PMing TKC directly on the board and she will give you a call. She can do one on one consultations as well.

Barbara Nixon
20th March 2007, 12:16 PM
Teddy did the same thing, at about the same age. The vet found no reason for his behaviour, so it's been an uphill slog to sort him out. He started objecting to grooming and being picked up, also stealing things like socks and defying anyone to take them from him. I decided to ignore him, as the growls seemed like bravado grumbles from someone who wanted to be boss (Izzy was boss and never challenged), but one day he bit. He would attack, but not bite Joly, who would shrink away (Teddy seemed to enjoy this) or layed back Monty, who ignored him. If he jumped onthe bed or a chair, he would growl defiance at anyone trying to move him.

We started strict discipline. He was put straight into his crate in the bedroom, so he didn't get chance to jump on the bed. If he got grumpy , he was put into his crate ( I know people say that a crate shouldn't be used as punishment, but he had to go out of the other dogs' presence). After a few incarcerations, though, he would take himself off ( closing the door), to cool down. He only needs to be told 'Crate if you're grumpy' and off he goes, coming back when calmed down.

I started putting him into sits and downs, with a small treat, sometimes, so he was obeying me and not vice versa. The one thing I still will not do is take something from him. He is offered a treat or made to think I've dropped a treat , as distraction and then I grab. I also wide-eyed stared him out, if growling, sometimes baring my teeth, too and made sure he was first to look away.

Thses things won't work for everyone, but they worked for Teddy. 95% of the time he's fine now. He has the odd grumble and is told to go away if he growls for more than a couple of seconds. If he objects to being picked up or examined, he is talked down and then I proceed, handling so he can't bite, but he hasn't actually tried since the one incident, nearly two years ago. I've learned to predict a mood, by his body language and so don't get into confrontational situations. Little problems are that he will growl at a dog moving in the dark (Is he being aggressive or not sure ?) and that he 'talks' in growls, so we (humans) sometimes tense, then realise he's only talking.

I now have to work on his attitude outside, as he can be charming, but some days, will grumble and lurch at just some people and dogs (black ones usually).

He is actually calmer since Izzy's passing, as he is now top dog, in the same way as Izzy ie in a passive way. This has shown itself in the way his tail is carried , like Izzy's was, up and curled, when he's moving about with the others. He won't be challenged , because Joly and Monty aren't interested in leadership.