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Old 07-05-2003, 03:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: The Event Horizon
Experts of dog behavior?

I donít consider myself an expert; or a novice. I taken a couple of obedience classes with my first dog (1/2 German Shepard / 1/2 Akita) and read a few books.

A little over a year ago I got a pure bred Rottweiler. I found him at an animal shelter. The staff told me he was a year old. After having him for a couple of weeks I determined he was a show dog. He sat arms crossed and proper, responded to all basic commands, and was very much a gentle dog. My other dog bonded with him with days. Other than an overly strange obsession/phobia he has to any spoked vehicle (ive learned to deal with) he has been a great dog, and Ive considered myself lucky.

2 weeks ago; out of nowhere he has begun to act very strange. He continues to go to my closet as if having to get in for his life. I shut the door so he lays in front of it looking straight at it. He has started acting very sketchy with his eye going back and forth as if he is afraid of something (or of me). He is acting a little fearful of me. I have spanked him a couple of times hard because of going after people (which he doesnít do if they're not riding a bike) and an occasional swat on his behind if he gets out (he knows how to open doors-so I have to lock everything) Its almost as if he is on drugs and having some kind of paranoid delusions.

Iím going to the vet in the morning to get some guidance, but Iím asking anyone that has any knowledge with Rotts or even dogs in general for any tips, suggestions, info, etc. I never thought I could get this upset over an animal but watching him is bringing tears to my eyes; he has become like my son and a good friend. Iím very concerned because his behavior is getting worse.
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Old 07-05-2003, 05:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Northeastern US - please send help!
It could just be a quirk of his personality coming out. I've got two dogs, each of whom has shown various stages of weirdness as they've aged.

I would suggest, though, not swatting/spanking him as discipline. It might make him skittish everytime you raise your hand, which you don't want. A shock collar is very effective on big dogs when used as negative reinforcement. (Test it on your arm or hand first, so you know what it feels like and know to use it sparingly.) Use it in conjunction with a stern "no" and you'll only have to use it for a few weeks, most likely.

Dogs do remember if you hit too hard, though. I've only hit my dog once - more than nine years ago when he literally dug up a linoleum floor in an apartment I was renting (boy, was I pissed!). He's never forgotten it - and I've regretted it every day since.
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Old 07-05-2003, 06:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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They say that animals can sense things that we cannot.

Perhaps there is more to this then meets the eye.
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Old 07-05-2003, 12:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: the phoenix metro
Quote:
Originally posted by *Nikki*
Perhaps there is more to this then meets the eye.

do you keep transformers in your closet? (i'm so so sorry... i saw the joke and had to make it)


you should be careful... i've heard so many reports about how nice, friendly rotties turned into killers. if these behaviours continue or intensify, you should call your local animal control and get their opinions... they will be the people who know about these things.
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Old 07-05-2003, 01:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Wisconsin, USA
Do not call your local animal control. These people are not experts on dogs or animals in general let alone behaviour. They just have the fun job of collecting problem animals. Find a rottweiler rescue group in your area. These people specialize in the breed, and are used to seeing personality quirks of every type. They can help you out.

Sounds to me like a vet and/or a behaviourist would be where you'll end up, but there's a lot more info we would need to be able to say for sure.

No dog suddenly transforms into a killer except in the case of a mental illness. Brain tumors can cause odd behaviour changes or aggression for instance. I wouldn't wait for things to get worse.
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Old 07-05-2003, 02:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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First of all, don't spank your dog. This will surely lead to the dog possibly cowering in fear everytime you are near him or simply raising a hand to him. Training your dog to obey without spanking is the better way to go, IMO.

Maybe the dog saw something in your closet, an insect, mouse, etc? This might explain why he's staring at the closet and his eyes going back and forth.

Spend some time making sure you are giving plenty of TLC to your dog. Amazingly they do sense kindness and will reciprocate it back to you if you treat them well.
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Old 07-05-2003, 02:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input everyone I really appreciate it. I brought him in today and had labwork drawn on him. After I get the results Im going to decide whether to hire a trainer to come to my house or send him away to a school for a month. The vet said it all boils down to whats going on in his bloodwork. If its physical she can help if its not its a pyschological issue stemming from training (me). Thanks again.
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Old 07-06-2003, 06:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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first off, I want to reiterate that you should not hit the dog at all no matter how hard or for what reason. It sounds to me as though the dog has been abused in the past and it probably had something to do with a bike. Could be that his previous owner would run into him with a bike, or hit him from the bike, etc. People's cruelty to animals knows no limits and when you have an animal that has been abused, extra TLC must be employed to help the mental wounds heal.

Second, you should NOT send him away AT ALL. Above all, animals - especially rescued animals - need stability. If they keep hopping from place to place they will NEVER feel secure. The dog has no way of knowing he's only being sent away for a month - as far as he's concerned he's being kicked out of your house and is now going to live with someone else. Then a month later he'll think he's being kicked out again.

The dog wants in the closet. Let the dog in the closet and watch what he does. That can provide clues to his behavior. If he runs in and hides in the corner, then he's frightened of something. Animals often look for enclosed spaces when they're scared. Does he have his own bed? Preferably a crate inside the house? If you establish a routine of putting him in a crate every night when it's time for bed, he will eventually come to view the crate as "his" space where he's safe from anything. Any time he's feeling scared he can go to the crate for security.

Of course, it could be as simple as he smells a mouse in the closet, or he's just curious as to what's behind that door. It'd be very interesting to see what he wants in there. Let us know.
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Old 07-06-2003, 06:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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If he's anything like my dog, he saw a bug fly into the closet and now he KNOWS there's a bug in there and he WANTS to chase it. My girl Cooper's weird-obsessive about things like that sometimes.

Hard to imagine something in the bloodwork that's going to cause a fixation on a closet. But what do I know, I'm not a vet.

Also, it could just be that he never saw bikes as a pup, and never socialized to them. Cooper was rescued from a box by the side of the road, and so knows all about most sorts of vehicles, and has basically no interest in them. But several things she saw for the first time after she was a year old freak her out, including people of certain ethnicities. That's right, my dog's a racist.
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Old 07-06-2003, 08:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Please keep us updated on the lab workups and what the vet has to say about your pal. I hope all goes well with your four legged freind.
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Old 07-07-2003, 09:56 AM   #11 (permalink)
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When does he go to the closet? Is it all the time? Is it when something happens around him? What is going on in the house when he goes for the closet? Who is in the house? What is in the closet? Is it only THAT closet? If you open another closet door does he go there? What does he do when he gets in the closet? And you coax him out of the closet with food or a favorite toy?

Dogs cannot verbally tell us whatís wrong. Itís up to us to discover the problem and then fix it or help them learn to fix it themselves.

You need to understand canine body language Ė the eyes, the ears, the mouth, breathing, movement Ė all these things are clues to what is going on inside the dogs head.

And a professional in canine behavior will be able to read all these and help you find the answers.

Sending the dog away wonít help Ė the problem is in your house and the answers must be found there.

The issue with the bike is another area where training Ė POSITIVE training will help fix the problem. If you want I can write up a detailed plan to work on that issue and post it here. Just let me know!

I currently own 6 dogs, have raised and trained dogs for 20+ years, fostered special needs dogs and at one point in my life I was running basic obedience classes. But Iím learning new things every day!! I used to do the ďDo it Or ELSEĒ type of trainer. Now Iím more the ďDo it because ÖĒ type! Iím much rather have a dog work for me out of desire (they are going to get something good for it) instead of fear (they are going to get punished if they donít).
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