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I am looking for an explanation for strange dog behaviour

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posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 04:56 AM
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I do not know whether i am posting this in the right area but i am sure the mods will redirect as necessary.

We were given a patterdale terrier dog by our sons ex girlfriend a couple of months ago, a bit like a slightly furry, miniature greyhound with a goatee beard. It is a lovely dog with a very loving nature and will spend it's entire day trying to be stroked and tickled by anyone and everyone. It's name is "Ruby".

The ex girlfriend got it from a rescue centre and doesn't know its history, just that it is almost 3 years old and it doesn't like other dogs. The only thought i have on the subject is that, after living in the same house as Ruby for just over two months i do not think she would rank anywhere near as high as other dogs if she was to sit down and take an I.Q. test.

The problem arose over the weekend when our son in law's 9 year old son came down from the north of the country to spend a week of his summer holiday with us (we all rent a large house). This lad, or the impression that i have always had of him, is he is a very nice, normal if slightly mischievous, young lad who is full of fun.

As soon as he walked through the front door the dog went for him, viciously biting his leg, teeth bared and showing a side of her temperament that i havent seen before. He was a bit shocked to say the least and ever since then we have kept her away from him as much as is possible. My wife has been the dog's minder and made sure she was always with her but it has gotten to the point whereby i am beginning to think that the dog is paranoid about the boy. She can be asleep, snoring (yes she does that) and as soon as he moves out of the other room she is up and trying to get to him.

She had never seen him before he first stepped through our front door and she has never reacted in any negative way towards anyone else so this is really confusing us. I am at work from early in the morning until late at night but my wife described yesterday as scary. Every time the boy and the dog passed each other she growled and snapped at him, biting him twice more on the leg. His father smacked her and so did our son but nothing will deter her from attacking the lad.
My thirteen year old daughter came up with exactly what i was thinking was causing this behavior, which i was very proud of but i would like to hear what you guys think. I suppose by the very fact of me placing this thread in this area you have a major clue as to what i believe to be the case but please, let me know what you think.




posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 05:17 AM
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I would guess the dog has had a bad experience with a different boy,of about the same age,before the dog was rescued.
I have had 3 rescue dogs-and they were all scared of something.
My jack russel was ill treated by a farmer,and she would attempt to attack my Dads friend (who was a farmer).
My Mongrel rescue dog was locked in a shed for months with a broken leg.
She got scared in big open spaces,but she got over it thankfully,and re-learned to love the outdoors.
Dog number 3,A collie cross was found in a box,on the roadside,with the rest of his litter.He spent a week in rescue kennels before we found him,and during that week a huge thunder storm ripped the roof of his kennels!
He still goes into fits of shakes,complete with chattereing teeth,in any thunder storm.
I think dogs have bad experiences "hard wired" into their character,especially when they are young.

It would be easy to see if your dog has a particular problem with boys of that age-just borrow a friends kid for a while,and see if the dog has the same reaction.
To help the dog get over the problem,try to get the kid in question to do some fun activities with the dog,walks,chuckin sticks etc...this will eventually show the dog not to be afraid of the kid.

The other idea I have is that maybe your 9 year old is afraid of the dog in some way-dogs sense fear in people,and sometimes react by attacking.
Good Luck!!



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 05:20 AM
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As the dog came from a rescue centre, and in regards to it's strange behaviour to the boy and other dogs, I am going to say that the Dog's old home before the rescue centre may have been one where it was mistreated by children, perhaps a boy or boy/s of similar age to the boy the dog does not like, hence the dog's dislike of the boy.


If the boy is boisterious and loud, the dog may immeadiatly be put on edge.


The dog is fearful of being harmed by the boy, and I am sad to say that being smacked for biting the boy, no matter how understandable, only reinforce's the dog's view of associating the boy and children in general with pain.


As for being afraid of other dogs, this could be due to never interacting with dogs before the rescue centre, and being frightened by the dogs at the rescue centre. Remember, your dog is small. A labrador is a monster in his perspective.


I would try to build up a relationship between the boy and the dog, treats, walks, fuss-making, in a quiet area under supervision, and perhaps with the dog muzzled.



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 05:44 AM
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Thanks to both of you for your comments but there are a couple of small things i would like to mention.

The boy is in no way scared of the dog, he is still trying his best to befriend it although it is doing it's best to deter him.

The dog is fine with the boys and girls who play in our street and take it for walks etc. We have never had a problem with the dog until this boy walked through the door, although i am definetely not blaming the boy, he has done absolutely nothing to make the dog behave like this.



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 06:32 AM
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It's hard to determine the reasons behind a dog behavior if you don't know about the dog's past unfortunately. But you believe it is paranormal? Why have you come to that conclusion? Have you had paranormal activity in your house?



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 06:43 AM
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Why the hell would you condone anybody hitting the dog? Does the dog learn anything from being smacked? All it does is make the dog afraid of whomever was doing the smacking.

The dog was probably abused by whomever had it before, (they probably hit it also) and quite possibly they had a child.

I'm sorry, but if you can't invest more time in training the dog by means that don't include hitting it, you probably shouldn't have it.

I'm amased at the stupidity of some pet owners! Hitting a dog is abuse, just like it would be if you hit a child!



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 06:46 AM
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Hmm,well if the dog is OK with other kids that age,maybe its something as simple as the type of soap/washing powder the kid uses.
Dogs can associate smells with events,like we can.
Maybe someone who used the same type of washing powder mistreated the dog before you got it?

I gotta say I feel sorry for the boy,he probably thinks its his fault the dog is funny with him.

If the boy was a bit older,maybe 14 or so,I would try to leave them on their own together for short spells,to get used to one another,but maybe 9 is a bit young for that,in case the dog does try to hurt him.
(I'm sure he would'nt,but its always best to supervise kids with animals,as I'm sure you know)
I'm sure the dog will soon come around though,once he susses out the boy is no threat to him.
Like Regensturm said,Treats and fuss are probably the best way to acheive this.



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 06:48 AM
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u dont need to know the dogs history. A dog dosent live its life in the past like we humans do they live in the moment. This seems to be a leadership issue where the dog thinks its the pack leader and not the humans. YOU need to do psychology on the dog to let him know he isnt the pack leader you are... Seen the dog whisperer? if not check him out u can learn a lot



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 06:53 AM
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I have some strange dog behaviour to add to this.

My third oldest dog has become afraid of it's water dish or any other dish with water in it.

He sneaks up on the water and acts like it's going to hurt him.

This really is a weird thing to watch.

I'm going to try an eye dropper today because the dog looks like he's not getting enough
hydration.

It's the dangest thing I've seen in a long time.



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 06:57 AM
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Originally posted by Blanca Rose
I'm amased at the stupidity of some pet owners! Hitting a dog is abuse, just like it would be if you hit a child!


treating a dog as if it were a child is abuse.

a dog is a domesticated wolf. it is a pack animal. it sees you and your family as a pack. it establishes its relationship within the pack based on the ability to overpower the other members physically. if the dog physically attacks and is not physically repelled, it will assume that it had a right to physically attack.

OP, dogs also use smell and body language signals, it might be that the boy smells like someone else or walks like them or something like that. maybe test it out by spraying the boy with some of your deodorant or something. see does it confuse the dog.



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 07:09 AM
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Originally posted by pieman


treating a dog as if it were a child is abuse.


I did not say that you have to treat a dog like a child. I said hitting it like a child is abuse.


it is a pack animal. it sees you and your family as a pack. it establishes its relationship within the pack based on the ability to overpower the other members physically. if the dog physically attacks and is not physically repelled, it will assume that it had a right to physically attack.


Establishing a pecking order can be done without physical abuse. I have owned many dogs over the years, of different breeds and sizes. Some were adopted from animal shelters who were already set in their ways. I have never had a dog be agressive, or bite anybody, except for one time when somebody jumped over our fence into our yard. This was a 14 year old kid who used to hit the chain link fence with a baseball bat while the dog was in the yard to scare it.


OP, dogs also use smell and body language signals, it might be that the boy smells like someone else or walks like them or something like that. maybe test it out by spraying the boy with some of your deodorant or something. see does it confuse the dog.


Yes, it very well could be that the child smells like a person who abused it in the past. The dog should immediately be removed from the room the child is in, and placed in either a kennel, or some other confining place. A time out, so to speak.



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 07:11 AM
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Originally posted by dizziedame
I have some strange dog behaviour to add to this.

My third oldest dog has become afraid of it's water dish or any other dish with water in it.

He sneaks up on the water and acts like it's going to hurt him.

This really is a weird thing to watch.

I'm going to try an eye dropper today because the dog looks like he's not getting enough
hydration.

It's the dangest thing I've seen in a long time.


Crikey mate,any other symptoms?
I don't mean to scare you but,isn't hydrophobia a symptom of Rabies?


Rabies, especially a set of symptoms of the later stages of an infection, in which the victim has difficulty swallowing, shows panic when presented with liquids to drink, and cannot quench his or her thirst


en.wikipedia.org...

It says late stages of infection,so you would have probably noticed other,worse symptoms if it was rabies I guess.
Maybe get the dog checked out though,sounds weird.



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 07:15 AM
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Originally posted by Blanca Rose
Why the hell would you condone anybody hitting the dog?

For the same reason you would smack a child.


Does the dog learn anything from being smacked?

Mine did, a few times, and she still gets a crack on the arse from time to time.


"All it does is make the dog afraid of whomever was doing the smacking."

Beating the dog will yes, reprimanding them, similar as to how their mother would reinforces the fact that the dog is the submissive one in the relationship.


Hitting a dog is abuse, just like it would be if you hit a child!

In the eyes of the P.C brigade, I guess it is.

To answer the OP, this is just a thought, but try getting the child to do most of the feeding and providing water, as it will show the child has a higher status.



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 07:25 AM
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To me it sounds like a typical dog that has dominance over your family. He has maybe established itself as the boss over the time its been at your house. You said it wont sit, that could be because it knows it doesnt have to listen to any of you. If you think this is a possiblity, make sure you take your dog out for walks everyday if possible, dogs build up anxiety when trapped in a house, even with a biggish yard. When they get back, the dog would be more calm and happy since dogs LOVE to walk. Also it would be best for your wife or whoever spends most time with the dog to take a more dominate role, be the leader of the dog rather than the dog lead her. If you need more information about aggressive dog behaviour, im sure this site you will find very helpful.
www.cesarmillaninc.com...



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 08:25 AM
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Originally posted by loner007
u dont need to know the dogs history. A dog dosent live its life in the past like we humans do they live in the moment.



I disagree. A Dog remembers experiences and learns by them. It learns house-training as a basic example, and remembers the people it lives with. When it sees you, it wags it's tail in greeting. It knows who you are.
When you tell a dog to sit, it sits, remembering that sit means to sit on it's haunches, remembering when it was taught to do so, and when you get the lead out for walkies the dog goes bonkers. It also remembers bad experiences, and things that relate to those bad experience.


Pavlov proved Dogs can remember experiences and react when presented with similar experiences that associate to them in the present.


Pavlov would continually feed dogs and ring a bell as he did so, until eventually, all he had to do was ring a bell and the dogs would dribble in anticipation, associating the bell with food.


I would go with what Silcone Synapse said about scent the boy gives off to the dog, as in that a person who may have abused it in the past at it's former home may have worn the same scent.


It could be washing powder, deodorant, talcum powder, soap, anything of that nature.



[edit on 4-8-2009 by Regensturm]

[edit on 4-8-2009 by Regensturm]

[edit on 4-8-2009 by Regensturm]

[edit on 4-8-2009 by Regensturm]



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 08:34 AM
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Originally posted by dizziedame
I have some strange dog behaviour to add to this.

My third oldest dog has become afraid of it's water dish or any other dish with water in it.

He sneaks up on the water and acts like it's going to hurt him.

This really is a weird thing to watch.

I'm going to try an eye dropper today because the dog looks like he's not getting enough
hydration.

It's the dangest thing I've seen in a long time.




Try washing the dishes throughly, it could be another animal's scent is frightening off the dog, perhaps perceiving to be that animal's 'watering hole'.


Take a note of which of your dogs drink from those bowls the most. It might be the dog who is reluctant may feel that the dishes belong to another dog of yours who may have grown possessive of them.


Might be worth investing in more water dishes so one dog does not dominate them over the other dogs.



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 09:16 AM
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Thanks for all your thoughts.

I would like to say that i havent, as yet, smacked the dog because i havent been in attendance when she has gone for the child although i have seen how "on edge" he makes her. I would have no problem smacking her if she does it while i am there to "educate" her on the fact she has done something i disapprove of.
How do you PC muppets think anyone in this world learns anything? But i am not getting into that argument.

Last night as we were turning off lights to go upstairs she was sitting with my wife on the sofa. when she realised that we were turning in for the night she jumped off the sofa and went straight into the other sitting room where he had been watching a film. She "made sure" he wasn't in there and then, quite happily, came out and ran upstairs to sleep with us in our room.

I tend to think that dogs can see our auras and can sense from them whether a person has a good nature or not, that is why i placed the thread where i did. I haven't really ever educated myself on the possibilities of practicalities of auras but i have witnessed enough examples of certain people "having a way with animals", my youngest daughter for one. She can walk right up to virtually any animal and it will treat her like a long lost friend, this from a child who was badly bitten by an Alsatian when she was six years old.

I have virtually the same ability with animals and i couldn't hurt another living creature, never have, never will, but i reprimand my children in exactly the same way; verbally, then stronger verbally, then shout and then a clip if they haven't learnt by that time.
The difference i have seen is that the dog "senses" certain things, i have kept dogs all my life and have seen it before. Ruby cowered in her bed when my wife and i were arguing on Saturday, shivering in fear. I must stress that i don't air my feelings in this way very often at all, i certainly haven't while the dog has been with us. I am normally very laid back, the sort of person who lets everything build up and then goes to the end of the garden and screams his anger away out of earshot of every one else. My wife, on the other hand, likes to air her differences quite often.
I didn''t realise the dog was cowering in this fashion while the argument was going on but my daughter told me later. This surprised me as she wasn't being shouted at and i didn't even see her around just before the argument started, which again makes me think she could sense something was going to happen.
I have to get back to work at this point but i would like to hear whether i am "barking up the wrong tree"(sorry) with this theory or could there be something in it?



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 09:42 AM
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Originally posted by Blanca Rose
Why the hell would you condone anybody hitting the dog?


Because it was repeatedly BITING someone. Duh? Hello? What the hell would you suggest to do in that situation, throw it a treat and call it a good boy?

Hollering at it and clapping loudly for the first offense would be appropriate. If a dog continues to nip and bite at someone though, yes it is most certainly justifiable to smack the hell out of it.

Common sense.




posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 09:50 AM
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It would seem that the dog has PTSD. It may be related to some kid like this boy who was abusive. It could be his voice and body odor. I knew of a friends dog that was the jealous type also.

The dog apparently hated many people that came to the door. But I did notice the dog would yelp when the storm door opened. That could be a noise such as the door hinges that hurts the dogs ears. There's people that I sometimes instantly don't like either, but I haven't yet bitten any of them.




[edit on 4-8-2009 by aleon1018]



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 10:25 AM
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How do you PC muppets think anyone in this world learns anything?

Or got by without them for thousands of years.


I tend to think that dogs can see our auras and can sense from them whether a person has a good nature or not

I can believe that.


i would like to hear whether i am "barking up the wrong tree"(sorry) with this theory or could there be something in it?

It is a possibility, but with so many factors surrounding the dogs history, it would be hard to pin point that for the dogs behaviour.




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