Author Topic: Branston, what's up  (Read 414 times)

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Offline Mudmagnets

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Branston, what's up
« on: July 24, 2017, 02:18:00 PM »
For quite a while now Branston has sometimes been acting erratically towards his fellow dog housemates. He has been suddenly lunging at them and this is usually preceded by a certain 'stiff' stature/look. Usually if I see the look, I can forstall any 'attack', but sometimes unfortunately it is not possible. No blood is drawn but it does scare the pants of both the other dogs. He is always worried afterward and takes himself off to his crate. Took him to the vet about two months ago who said there was nothing physically wrong and not to worry about it. So I toddled off and just kept an eye out.

However yesterday we were passing some springer spaniels on lead (as were all mine) minding their own business, when Branston suddenly got very vocal and snarly, I apologised and got a well earned filthy look from the springers owner.

I have changed vets today and have an appointment on Wednesday pm to see if indeed there is anything physical or mental that could be causing this.

Remembering Smudge 23/11/2006 - 3/8/2013 now at the Bridge.


Offline Geordietyke

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Re: Branston, what's up
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2017, 04:36:19 PM »
Aw Irene, I hope to get to the bottom of it, poor Branston  :luv:  Keep a note of every unusual thing about his behaviour and where he was/what he was doing at the time, it may be useful.  Get the vet to give him a full check up and maybe bloods taken?  Fingers crossed it's nothing to worry about.  Lesley x
Both taken away from us far too soon. x  RIP Angels Odie & Archie, causing mayhem at the Rainbow, no doubt!

Offline Mudmagnets

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Re: Branston, what's up
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2017, 04:51:11 PM »
Thanks Lesley, it's a bit strange because it does not happen every time. so when it does it is all the more shocking. an example- he was fast asleep on the settee with me the other night and the other two were down by my feet one got up and he just went for them, but he can be wide awake at other times.

Remembering Smudge 23/11/2006 - 3/8/2013 now at the Bridge.


Offline PollySpaull

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Re: Branston, what's up
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2017, 05:29:09 PM »
You've just described very similar behaviour to my little Ernest, and how he sometimes acts with Monty. Like Branston, Ernie will sometimes suddenly lunge at Monty for apparently no reason. He isn't happy when there is food about so for that reason I try to keep them separate in situations where food is involved, but it's interesting you say about the "look". Ernie also seems to do this. He stays quite still and just gives a sort of warning stare. When I see this I try to distract him and take his focus away from Monty.
I've had him castrated and that made an initial difference but he seems to be getting back to his old ways.
I am currently waiting for confirmation from a behaviourist for an appointment, but wonder if I should pay a visit to the vets. Sometimes I do question his hearing, and wonder if it's that he thinks Monty has snuck up on him!
Will be following if you wouldn't mind keeping us posted?

Offline Mudmagnets

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Re: Branston, what's up
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2017, 06:53:16 PM »
No of course not, I will certainly try to keep the post updated. I wondered about his hearing too, but initial vet said no. and his sight but that was good too.

Does Ernest have a sort of wheezing sound when asleep, Branston sometimes sounds like an overworked lawnmower.

Will be interesting what the new vet has to say on Weds.

Funnily enough both were due to start new training classes next week as the lady we used to go to has retired, but I think atm I will have to just take Toby until I know what is happening with Branston - not sure he would cope with new dogs very well  :'(
Remembering Smudge 23/11/2006 - 3/8/2013 now at the Bridge.


Offline PollySpaull

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Re: Branston, what's up
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2017, 08:13:53 PM »
No of course not, I will certainly try to keep the post updated. I wondered about his hearing too, but initial vet said no. and his sight but that was good too.

Does Ernest have a sort of wheezing sound when asleep, Branston sometimes sounds like an overworked lawnmower.

Will be interesting what the new vet has to say on Weds.

Funnily enough both were due to start new training classes next week as the lady we used to go to has retired, but I think atm I will have to just take Toby until I know what is happening with Branston - not sure he would cope with new dogs very well  :'(

Hmm, no Ernest doesn't make a noise when he's asleep.

It's never happened outside our house or with other dogs. Ernie seems to only have a problem with Monty at home. I'm sure Ernest's problem is mostly resource guarding (food, me, etc) but it does seem incredibly unpredictable at times, which is why it's so hard to pin point the problem setting him off.

Ernie goes to agility classes and he's a total angel, actually the calmest and most well behaved dog in the class!

Let us know how Branston gets on, I hope you can get it sorted. I know how stressful the situation can be xx

Offline Jaysmumagain

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Re: Branston, what's up
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2017, 09:07:21 PM »
I am no expert in any dog field other than owner :shades: but I had a westie and you never knew which way the wind blew with him, we had no other dogs it was more with my Mum, Dad and me.

We were told by a police dog trainer who we saw via the vet ( 20 - 25 years back) that he wanted to be leader of the pack/top dog and needed to be brought right back down.  As you have several dogs just wondering if its this.
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Offline Mudmagnets

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Re: Branston, what's up
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2017, 09:17:43 PM »
I am no expert in any dog field other than owner :shades: but I had a westie and you never knew which way the wind blew with him, we had no other dogs it was more with my Mum, Dad and me.

We were told by a police dog trainer who we saw via the vet ( 20 - 25 years back) that he wanted to be leader of the pack/top dog and needed to be brought right back down.  As you have several dogs just wondering if its this.

Certainly worth a thought, thanks. But he seems to be genuinely worried afterwards, so I do need to make sure there is nothing medically wrong.
Remembering Smudge 23/11/2006 - 3/8/2013 now at the Bridge.


Offline lescef

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Re: Branston, what's up
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2017, 10:49:48 PM »
I have had a similar experience with Maddie. She became fear aggressive due to a number of incidents. She would fly at Bramble or redirect at her for what appeared to me for no particular reason. After she had done this she would seem miserable and go and hide in her crate. Our trainer was worried that she was shutting down. She was basically worried about everything and that was her way of coping. We had to give her lots of space and really manage all situations. As her anxiety reduced so did the outbursts. My two only tolerate each other so we are always careful but she is fine now. Good luck
Lesley, Maddie and Bramble

Offline Mudmagnets

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Re: Branston, what's up
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2017, 12:12:22 AM »
My two only tolerate each other so we are always careful but she is fine now. Good luck

This is what is peculiar, Branston and Toby and to an extent Minstrel will play together, lie on the same sofa or on my bed at the same time and I can have them sitting patiently side by side for a biscuit, no problems at all. The incidents don't  happen every day which is why I don't think it is an attempt at dominance or he would be doing it more often (as if to press home the point)

Who knows what goes on in those little heads  :dunno:

Will see what the vet says Weds, thanks guys for your input, much appreciated, will keep you posted.

Remembering Smudge 23/11/2006 - 3/8/2013 now at the Bridge.


Offline hoover

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Re: Branston, what's up
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2017, 01:19:46 PM »
Hope your new vet can offer you more ideas, especially as this is a new thing for your dog rather than something that was creeping up generally as maybe part of their personality.

There is a bit of a difference in scenarios that you relate as precursors to the aggression (although as you're only giving a couple of examples it's hard to know if there's a trend)..in the first scenario your dog was on the couch with you whilst the other 2 were at your feet - so, in a way, already in an elevated, desirable position that perhaps he was keen to maintain, and with a lot of potential for guarding you or guarding the settee - especially as it sounds like he was startled awake, which can be a common trigger for more over the top aggressive display.  The other situations you describe are when the dogs are all in the same position together and the situation is more 'equal' for all - ie. all on the bed together, all waiting together patiently for a treat.  It may be that Branston will act if he feels a sense that he has a higher status at any given time in an attempt to maintain that, but when in situations that he perceives he is on more of an equal footing the desire to 'pull rank' is not there for him so readily.  This of course will change from minute to minute depending on his very individual sense of relative status and may give the appearance of unpredictable behaviour. If it is something like that (and this is of course speculative) then ensuring he doesn't find himself in a position that is more desirable than that of the others may mean he does not feel the need to act to maintain that position.

Offline Mudmagnets

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Re: Branston, what's up
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2017, 01:42:05 PM »
Hope your new vet can offer you more ideas, especially as this is a new thing for your dog rather than something that was creeping up generally as maybe part of their personality.

There is a bit of a difference in scenarios that you relate as precursors to the aggression (although as you're only giving a couple of examples it's hard to know if there's a trend)..in the first scenario your dog was on the couch with you whilst the other 2 were at your feet - so, in a way, already in an elevated, desirable position that perhaps he was keen to maintain, and with a lot of potential for guarding you or guarding the settee - especially as it sounds like he was startled awake, which can be a common trigger for more over the top aggressive display.  The other situations you describe are when the dogs are all in the same position together and the situation is more 'equal' for all - ie. all on the bed together, all waiting together patiently for a treat.  It may be that Branston will act if he feels a sense that he has a higher status at any given time in an attempt to maintain that, but when in situations that he perceives he is on more of an equal footing the desire to 'pull rank' is not there for him so readily.  This of course will change from minute to minute depending on his very individual sense of relative status and may give the appearance of unpredictable behaviour. If it is something like that (and this is of course speculative) then ensuring he doesn't find himself in a position that is more desirable than that of the others may mean he does not feel the need to act to maintain that position.

Thanks for your input Hoover, much appreciated, all you say certainly makes sense, and thinking about it, I am not at all happy if I get woken up suddenly very disorientated - so that could be what Branston feels in that situation too. Maybe it's time to level things out a bit - sometimes it takes other folk to point out what may seem obvious unless you are involved. I really don't want to put him through the stress of medical tests if the answers are more basic and behavioural.

I am pleased I wrote about the problems I was having as with the input received it has given me the chance to rethink and look at other ways of dealing with it. Having said that I will take him to rule out anything I may be missing
Remembering Smudge 23/11/2006 - 3/8/2013 now at the Bridge.


Offline hoover

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Re: Branston, what's up
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2017, 05:42:41 PM »
Good idea to check with vet to be on the safe side.  Like you we have had moments of leash reactivity when Ollie has started growling or snarling at other dogs - this can be to do with them feeling they can't escape the situation so they launch a kind of pre-emptive warning - leave me alone.  I think it can make a bit of a difference watching your body language when you walk as well, I feel that when I walk more strongly and confidently and treat Ollie as a dog that has joined me on MY walk rather than me walking to appease his whims that he senses more strongly that I am in control and he doesn't have to be - because I think this can often be a sense when they are walking - 'I'm not sure who's in charge here..wait..maybe it's me...ok, what do I need to do to control any potential threats?' So I walk purposefully with him to heel on a short lead, I don't interrupt my stride for him,  or the swing of my arms for him, I rarely look at him - I just do my walk and he happens to be with me and that way he knows I am in control, I will take care of any issues.  It also means you can briskly walk past any potential triggers - I often find that it is that little bit longer exposure time that is a trigger to reaction.

I think sometimes changing household dynamics can play a role in their behaviour in the home too..as dogs can gain or lose power according to their relative health, age, closeness to owner etc. - which are all in flux. Of course for many dogs this doesn't matter one hoot - they are not driven to act according to how 'powerful' they are, they don't need to tell other dogs off etc but I think for others it is a more compelling motivator for them.

Offline Mudmagnets

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Re: Branston, what's up
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2017, 07:06:00 PM »
Thanks again for your informative and interesting reply.
Remembering Smudge 23/11/2006 - 3/8/2013 now at the Bridge.


Offline Jaysmumagain

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Re: Branston, what's up
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2017, 04:04:17 PM »
Irene - just wondering how you have got on at the vets with Branston..........been thinking about you both.

Julie and Ollie
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