crazy little- bundle of joy
|Barked: Thu Nov 25, '10 10:20pm PST |
|Fish (2.5 yr old intact male Catahoula) and I live with my parents and their 1-year-old neutered male Shiba Inu, Boh.
Within the past two weeks, Fish's occasional dog aggression has turned into occasional human aggression (towards visitors), and now regular human aggression (towards us). I cannot figure it out. Nothing has changed in his schedule (1 - 2 hours of exercise a day, 2 meals administered separate from the other dog and only after he sits politely), nothing traumatic has happened that I'm aware of, and nothing has changed in our family situation.
The rapid descent started when he lunged/growled at an afternoon visitor who had met him before, liked him, and wanted to see/pet him. My mom let him out of the room, and he did his usual friendly sniffing for a few minutes - then changed his mind. The woman knows dogs well, and so didn't run or engage him, but just remained calm and quiet and turned away until my mom (I was not home at the time) was able to remove him to a separate room.
But since then, he's lunged/growled twice at my brother (who he's known for at least a year and visits about 3 times a week), my mom (while she was holding Boh), and now me, three times. He's also attacked Boh more and I no longer trust them alone together.
The first incident with me occurred last Saturday night, when I returned from an overnight stay out of town. I got home around 10 pm and entered as I always do and called out for him. At the time, Fish was in the kitchen with my mom (as he often is), and she opened the swinging door to let him out to see me. He came towards me, saw me, and began growling/lunging/barking immediately. I was shocked, but assumed that perhaps he didn't realize it was me. So I waited for him to recognize me and go "Oh! My bad - thought you were a stranger!" but...it didn't happen. He just kept growling at me, even when I tried talking him down in a calm voice. Eventually, I was able to get his leash hooked onto him and he settled a bit - then slowly the aggression seemed to fade.
The next incident was last night - I arrived home after midnight, found him in the office, and received the same treatment. Startled, I did yell at him, immediately realized that it wasn't going to help (of course), and so tried to calm-talk him down out of it instead. Once his growling had diminished somewhat, I again put the leash on him, took him outside, and walked him around a little. He growled the entire time - even while he was peeing on a bush! Again, I waited and talked to him in a calm voice until he quieted, and then put him in a sit (even while growling, he was still obedient to commands - even falling naturally into a heel without having to be told). In the sit, however, I saw that his pupils were dilated and he was trembling powerfully.
Then this evening, when I was preparing to leave the house for Thanksgiving visits, he growl/barked at me again - he was lying on my bed and we were just work-playing through some commands (shake, other paw, sit pretty, etc.) and he was getting treats when he just suddenly changed his mind and began growling. I tried to ignore the growl and offer him another treat - an attempt at distraction. He took the treat from me, but continued to growl. Deciding that I'd rather not play whose-room-is-it-anyway with him when I arrived at home later, once he settled down, I took out of my room and put him into the office with water and a snack (he had already eaten dinner and been out, etc.). Glad I did, because when I got home and went to let him out, he started to growl at me the minute I opened the door, and escalated it when I entered the room. I left him and tried again a few minutes later - same thing. I left him again and haven't gone in there since.
So I don't know what this is all about. The growl isn't an I'm-going-wild-and-vicious growl, and it's definitely not the worst I've ever heard him make, but it's an I-mean-business-back-up! growl with barking mixed in and one or two lunges, but no snapping.
I'm guessing there's some root medical/physiological cause, and so I've made a vet appointment for tomorrow. But what could it be?
The only things of note in the past 2 weeks or even within the past 3 months are:
1. Boh got neutered (3 days ago)
2. I found 4 ticks on Fish - only 1 attached, though (3 weeks ago)
3. Fish hurt his rear right toenail (2 weeks ago), but it hasn't completely healed. Doesn't seem to cause him pain, and he lets me touch it without complaint, but I see him licking it a lot and it's still a little angry-looking.
4. Fish has thrown up 3 times in the past week - but he's always had a sensitive stomach, and so I didn't think much of it at the time, since we were in the midst of switching dog foods in response to a potential allergy.
5. A skin rash/allergic reaction that appears on his chest/under-forelegs, itches him, and may have been related to the Science Diet he was eating. (past few months).
Help, please - in any way that you can. Answers, suggestions, questions I should ask the vet - anything that helps Fish helps me.
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