Comments for 7 m/o Neut. Male Coton de Tulear and Displays of Aggression - Growling, Attempting to Bite Humans

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Jul 30, 2010
aggression needs exercise
by: IRIS

My sweet and loving Coton also has some aggression issues.He was left alone for long periods as a puppy, that affected him emotionally. He does have some separation issues I am constantly working on. I think it is also caused by his confusion as to who is the Alpha dog. Tuffy thinks he's the boss, and yes he was neutered very early,( at four months), but he still has a lot of strong male traits and mating instinct. Tuffy thinks anyone in the house the family, extended members,visitors and friends are all his pack members. (also any other dogs he plays with and friendly strangers,) he want to keep us all, he does not want to let them go away. Except for me, he will growl and bark at anyone who leaves him, literally running up the back of their legs trying to stop them from going away. With me it is different, When I walk up the stairs he will gently tap and scratch the back of my legs for a second, but I tell him to stop and to go up with me, and he does listen to my commands. and does not growl at me. When I leave the house for up to few hours he is not happy, and when I return he is hysterical and frantic for about five minutes. Again, ignoring it escalates his anxiety and extends the time he is stressing, so I try to calm him down. Sometimes the best thing I can do is carry him around and rock him like a baby(Oh boy, can't wait to hear remarks on that one). Yes, i had a personal trainer, yes, I know you don't pick him up, as the trainer said, would you be doing that with a big dog like a Lab? I stopped picking him up after she told me that but my dog is too smart for al of us, he, like a spoiled child, knows what buttons to push and which chain to pull. So, sometimes I have to pick him up. that's what is working for me and he calms down enough for me to put his leash on and take him outside.
We are firm with him when he does get aggressive telling him no, and stop!. Ignoring it only worked for a brief time, then he started getting rougher and more vocal.
When I play with Tuffy he like to play arm wrestling, my arm, his neck. I think he really misses having other dogs to play with and rough house with and to get the Alpha status. I have also noticed this rough play is when he is not getting enough exercise. The weather has been awful, storms and continual heat over 90 degrees, and I cannot breathe in the heavy humid air, so the daily walks right now are inconsistent and sporadic. Without the energy outlet of exercise and walking Tuffy's behavior goes from depressive to aggressive. Sometimes I start out walking him up the street and I can't breath, the air is so oppressive, so we have to turn back. Instead we play indoor games,fetch, tug of war, and getcha !(I chase him around in circles) that helps get some of that excess energy out.

Jul 29, 2010
Help for puppy aggressive behavior
by: Gale

Hi Lola - As a rule, the Coton de Tulear is in fact a very sweet and gentle dog. There are always exceptions to everything, right? Three of the most common reasons a breed like the Coton de Tulear may have issues with aggressive behavior (assuming there's no medical reason) are they either had a traumatic experience (abuse, neglect, etc), they developed fears due to inadequate socialization, or they weren't bred by experienced breeders who specifically breed for certain temperament traits. Too often, dogs found in pet stores, shelters or bred by local amateur breeders fall into these categories.

BUT, regardless of why your dog is exhibiting aggressive behavior, you love your dog and want the best for him and those he comes in contact with. If you've tried all the tips on this page and haven't seen any improvement I would recommend working with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. A good trainer can show you hands on methods for behavior modification and can let you know if there's anything you're inadvertently doing to reinforce his behavior. For instance, when you say he's drawn blood when playing it sounds like you may be reinforcing some of his aggression. Here are some tips for dealing with puppy biting.

I'm glad to see you're working hard to resolve the problem; unfortunately, too many people give up when their dogs have behavior problems and then they end up in shelters. Good luck to you and your Coton dog.

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