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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I have a male maltese who is a year nad a half old. I had Puddy neutered in December and ever since he has become more agressive. He used to be the goofiest dog in the park wanting to play with the other dogs but now he'll just sniff and then snap at them. And in the last 2 weeks he has bit my husband 3 times. If anyone has any suggestions it would be much appreciated.
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Terri
 

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I don't know what Puddy's background is, but unfortunately some puppy mill dogs become aggressive when they mature, about a year or 1&/2 years old. As you found out, neutering doesn't change this behavior at all.

Biting is very serious behavior. Even a little dog can do serious damage, especially to a small child. Owning an aggressive dog, even a little Maltese, is like leaving a loaded gun around.

This is not behavior you can correct on your own. You need to consult a professional trainer asap. Ask your vet to recommend one. The trainer will come to your house and evaluate Puddy, then train you how to hopefully modify his behavior.
 

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Could he be in pain? I've heard of dogs who have an ear infection, for example, snapping or biting anyone who gets near their ears, because they have ear pain. I would definitely discuss this with your vet first and have him take a look at your baby. Then I would call a trainer to help you. Does your husband feed him and take care of his needs. If not, he may see himself as alpha to your husband....
 

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My husband tried to corner him to get a sock away from Puddy. That's when he bit him. It wasn't hard enough to draw blood it was just more of a nip. Do you think that he felt threatened and that's why he acted that way. Also Puddy isn't from a puppymill and he has had one on one training classes with a trainer. I'm thinking maybe it's me and I'm not firm enough with him. Thanks for your input.
 

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I was having this same problem with Lexi a couple of months ago. You need to talk to a trainer ASAP. You can't let this go. You need to figure out what is triggering it and come up with a plan to fix it. If you don't it will get worse.

I talked to a trainer and Lexi is doing much better now.
 

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If they don't see you or your husband as alpha they will do that. Catcher tried that with me a couple times early on. Now, I can take anything out of his mouth with no problems at all. It's tough because when they have something they love they don't want to give it up. Mine love socks too... !


You can try giving something else instead of the sock. Also, I will ask for it usually, at least I did at first and that helped. I didn't startle him but would tell him to drop it or say something to him and then take it. It's nice to give something to replace it, though.

You really need to work on this because if he had something dangerous you need to be able to get it easily.... it could be a matter of him swallowing something bad or not. I can take stuff out of both K & C's mouths with no problem at all....... I'm sure you'll get to that point with a little work...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks so much for your help. I was worried I had a bad dog but I think it's just me! I just hate being mean to my baby!
 

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Originally posted by Terri@Apr 19 2005, 10:40 AM
Thanks so much for your help.  I was worried I had a bad dog but I think it's just me!  I just hate being mean to my baby!
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Oh, don't think it is you or the dog! It is something that you have to work at. A trainer would help a lot. I've noticed that when I start getting lazy with the training Lexi starts to think she is in charge. Also Puddy is kind of in the teenage years so he is trying to test you and your husband to see how much he can get away with.
 

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I'm on a "weird" computer and can't for some reason see the "reply" button for your post but regarding your mentioning having to be "mean" to your baby... no, no, no... there is no need to ever be mean to them... I am never mean to mine... never.... You can let them know you are alpha and they seem to feel more secure knowing someone besides them is in charge. That's all.... but you don't need to be mean to be alpha!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I would never be "mean!" I'm just way to much of a pushover when I look at his little face!
 

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You know, I think that does create some of the behavior problems.... they are just so darn cute that it is hard to be alpha with them. This happened with my first Maltese, Rosebud. She was alpha her whole life... I never did get that problem fixed. Believe me, it is so much better when I am alpha and not them! Some dogs are naturally submissive such as Kallie. She was easy .... Catcher is a bit more dominant and he struts around like Mr. Hot Stuff! But he sure knows I'm boss! It's amazing, really....
 

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I'd recommend buying the book "The Culture Clash" by Jean Donaldson. JMM has recommended it many times here. We even had on on-line discussion/book club on it. It explains how dogs think and how to train them successfully using that knowledge. Many of the behavior problems our dogs develop are the result of us treating them like humans instead of dogs. It's especially hard to think of Maltese as dogs, isn't it?
 

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I agree with what everyone said. I have to warn you that it will take more than just being strict with your baby. You need to call a trainer now. This won't go away on its own. It takes work but without doing anything, things will only get worse. There is no excuse, its not the sock and its not you or Puddy. Its just that dogs need training. Do yourself a favor, you will never regret it, call a trainer/behaviorist today. I speak from personal experience.
 

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if you search about this training method "nothing in life is free"....that might work.

i met this lady who had this dog that would bite her when she would try to pet him. so whenever he wants anything...she makes him do a few tricks (like sit stay). and that you dont let them on the furniture unless you make them sit first and then you invite them.

they get scheduled feedings and they have to sit before they get a meal.


its really hard---but it makes your dog respect you.

and do a lot of walks and exercise to make him really tired.

good luck!
 

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1. Rule out a physical problem. A chemistry panel, bile acids, and thyroid panel would be appropriate. A variety of health conditions can increase aggression or make the dog uncomfortable and hence more apt to bite.

2. Once a physical problem is ruled out, find a trainer or behaviorist who uses positive methods of behavior modification. Recommendations would include a leadership program like Ruff Love or Nothing in Life is Free, positive training like clicker training, setting a schedule, taking away priveledges, taking an obedience class, working obedience daily, playing the trading game, etc. If the trainer recommends physically correcting the dog, find a different trainer. Treating a aggression with aggression is asking for disaster.

3. While you are getting your referrals and finding a trainer, start a nothing in life is free program and restrict your dog's priveledges. Basically it means your dog has to do something (sit, down, a trick) before it gets any attention, food, pats, going outdoors, etc. If your dog sleeps in bed, have him sleep in a crate or on a dog bed on the floor. If your dog sits on the couch with you, give him a bed on the floor instead.

http://www.sspca.org/Dogs_TANSTAAFL.html

He has figured out that by biting or threatening to bite you, he is in charge of the situation. This behavior has been effective for him. He gets to keep things or get out of doing things. Unfortunately, this is a dangerous behavior that is inappropriate. It is also a very common problem in toy dogs who rule the house, especially manipulative Maltese. These are smart dogs!

Professional help is the best way to go. Any advice given on the internet does not fully take into account your specific dog or how you and your dog interact. A trainer or behaviorist who actually watches you interact can often give better recommendations to help improve your relationship with your dog.
 
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