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 Weird Aggression?

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Regular Guy
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PostSubject: Weird Aggression?   Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:30 pm

Hello all, our first post here, about our second Husky--hope you can help!

We're not total greenhorns; we had our first Husky (Tequila) for 17 years and it was a great, long run. After she passed we've been dogless for the last few years. There just didn't seem to be enough time to be able to properly take care of a dog. But the time has now come, and after having a Husky we are not interested in any other breed--you know how that is.

We got Kida 8 months ago in September; she was 8 weeks old. She is much more outgoing, loving, and sociable than our first Husky, Tequila. The best dog ever--except for this:

About a half dozen times over the last 3-4 weeks or so she has turned on us for no obvious reason that we can see: Kida will be laying on her side on the floor, or laying down but with her head upright, wide awake and watching us milling about the house. The last time it happened to me, I bent down and started scratching her head. She looked at me like I was the devil, gave a low growl, then instantly bit at my hand breaking the skin a bit.

It seems to happen in the early evenings, except for three days ago in the morning when my wife bent down to rub her side as she lay on the floor, wide awake. Same thing--a low growl and a fast slashing bite from her. The look on Kida's face, in her eyes, is really spooky. It's like she doesn't know us at all or that we've been beating her. It's just weird. Clearly, this can't go on but we don't know what to do about it. We're at the point where we don't pet her when she's laying down, unless she starts wagging her tail and licking her lips, in general obviously glad to see us.

This started about when she started her first heat. The last incident happened AFTER she passed through the heat cycle. We brought her to the clinic to get spayed, but she snapped at the techs there. They called us on the phone about it, and one of the vets who has a good reputation as a trainer said we will not be able to train this behavior out of her. Spaying will help, she said, but only a bit. So we cancelled the spaying and took a step back to think it over.

Is this unusual? I searched the forums but couldn't find anything similar. Our first Husky had zero aggression about anything. Kida has some food aggression, but these incidents don't involve anything. And after a half hour or so, she's back to being Miss Lovefest with us. She's Jeckyll and Hyde.

Could it be a mental illness? We know a person that would love to have her despite this; she would go to a good home and have a good life but we don't want to just throw her out like a bag of trash. We're already too attached to her...

What do you think? Is it heat related? Will it get worse as she gets older?

Thanks for anything you can tell us!
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aljones
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:56 pm

Hi Regular Guy and welcome to the forum. ... Now wait, you can't *really* be a regular guy if you're owned by a Husky, can you??

While I'm sure you'll get others to chime in my initial gut reaction from the way you describe it - something cross wired - call it a neurological condition. If that's the case, it's not heat related and she, probably, isn't going to get over it. Will it get worse ... who knows?

After I put my gut reaction out there I'm also going to suggest a couple of things. Since, with you, it's been while she's laying down I'd first suggest you have her eyes checked. If she can't see you and you reach out and touch her - I can picture that reaction.
You might also try - if you're willing to invest a scratch or two - calling her name or talking to her while she's laying down, before you try to touch her - again working on the idea that she simply can't see you and is surprised.

The same holds true with the vet, if she can't see well, and doesn't recognize their odors - yep, it's defense time.
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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:44 pm

The way you describe it sounds neurological... almost like something analogous to epilepsy. Ib think you might want to have her checked out by either a veterinary behaviorist or neurologist. Something just sounds weird.
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Kmanweiss
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:32 am

Neurological is a definite possibility.
Partial blindness also. Especially if it's happening in lower light conditions.

There could be other issues at play too though.
Animals often react to pain with aggression. Perhaps she isn't comfortable laying down. Joint or abdominal pain could be an issue. She's laying down, uncomfortable and generally unhappy, then someone comes out of nowhere and makes it worse by petting her and bugging her.

It could be tied to her heat cycle also. If it's only happening when she's in heat, it could be that her cycle just makes her very uncomfortable for one reason or another. Hormone fluctuations, irritability, nervousness, or even pain during ovulation...then someone comes along and pets her side.

It could also be a traumatic experience. A dog that experiences a traumatic experience will always be haunted by that particular experience. If a dog had a seizure in a particular corner of a room, that dog will likely never return to that corner of the room. Perhaps the dog was attacked while lying down when she was young and is just overly cautious now because of that.
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:45 pm

How long has it been since her heat cycle ended? My female is nasty sometimes when she is going into a false pregnancy. She's not bitten me but she is much older.

That said, we had a member some years ago who had to deal with a dog that was eventually diagnosed with rage syndrome and some of the things you describe, such as how she looks at you like she doesn't know you, is something I remember the member mentioning when she was trying to figure out what was going on with her dog. For the life of me I cannot find that thread. She did a pretty good job of describing what was going on and it would probably be good for you to read through it just to see how you compare. I will keep looking for it. If anyone else finds it that would be awesome. Think the dog's name was Luna.

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aljones
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:08 pm

@twisterii I normally pretty good at finding things (well, actually it's Google who does the finding) but, while I remember what you're talking about I can't even begin to find it. Not Luna, a search for 'Rage" turns up a few items but not this one. Any other suggestion on what to look for?
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:43 pm

I've looked for luna, rage, bella (think that was her other dogs name). I even went through all the members and looked for her avatar that had a grey poodle and couldn't find it. I think we even did a go fund me because the tests to find out what the dog had was crazy expensive.

Sheba! the dog's name was Sheba. No clue where the other name came from. I know she had another dog so one of those names must belong to it.

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Last edited by TwisterII on Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:49 pm

I remember the post too... Will look when i get to the pc, tablet not conducive.
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:52 pm

All of these are the threads that contain the saga of Sheba, a dog with behavioral aggression.

at wits end

behavior meds

update on sheba

Breaking point

saying goodbye to sheba

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aljones
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:21 pm

I didn't need to read about that again ... there are times when there is no resolution and Sheba was one of those times ... which doesn't make it any the less painful.

I cannot determine why a search or an advanced search with Google didn't find any of these since "rage syndrome" is prominent especially in the last thread.
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:21 pm

Well Regular Guy, you have a lot to digest.....I also will add it could be a spine issue. So my course of action would be to get your pups eyes checked first, juvenile cataracts are one of the issues with huskies. Then I would have her hormone levels checked, and then a physical exam checking her limbs and spine, etc. Get an extensive blood panel as well, check thyroid, diabetes, even lyme disease. My female also has false pregnancies, and has bitten my husband a few times, nothing major but she surely told him not to bother her, he was merely fixing the blanket that she bunched up on the couch and then bit him as one example. If all of these check out, then I would consult a neurologist, to see if there are signs of epilepsy and then also rage syndrome. At 8 months I would really look to the order I set out for you, simply because she is so young, and I really want to believe she is too young to be setting out on the rage issue. One thing that you will notice with the links Jenn provided to you is that Sheba unfortunately was not well bred. I am not saying your girl is or isn't, but this issue tends to come from less reputable breeders.
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Regular Guy
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:45 pm

@TwisterII wrote:
How long has it been since her heat cycle ended? My female is nasty sometimes when she is going into a false pregnancy. She's not bitten me but she is much older.

About two weeks she's been off heat. We are right in the middle of an episode as I write this: I was upstairs playing with Kida about 20 minutes ago; all was well. I broke off to do some chores inside, and she wandered off. Found her laying behind my desk chair; I walked up to her, she looked at me with those wild eyes, growled, then crawled partially under the desk. She acts as if I'm a complete stranger that beats her. She's curled up at my feet now, partially dozing. I don't dare reach down to her--I rubbed her hind quarters with my foot and she growled.

This has been the first incident in 3 or 4 days.

Thanks for the Sheba links, Twister; the first one sounds like Kida. It'll take a bit to get through them...
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Regular Guy
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:53 pm

@MiyasMomma wrote:
Well Regular Guy, you have a lot to digest.....I also will add it could be a spine issue. So my course of action would be to get your pups eyes checked first, juvenile cataracts are one of the issues with huskies. Then I would have her hormone levels checked, and then a physical exam checking her limbs and spine, etc. Get an extensive blood panel as well, check thyroid, diabetes, even lyme disease. My female also has false pregnancies, and has bitten my husband a few times, nothing major but she surely told him not to bother her, he was merely fixing the blanket that she bunched up on the couch and then bit him as one example. If all of these check out, then I would consult a neurologist, to see if there are signs of epilepsy and then also rage syndrome.  At 8 months I would really look to the order I set out for you, simply because she is so young, and I really want to believe she is too young to be setting out on the rage issue. One thing that you will notice with the links Jenn provided to you is that Sheba unfortunately was not well bred. I am not saying your girl is or isn't, but this issue tends to come from less reputable breeders.

Thanks, MiyasMom. My wife got her from the breeders--and looking back she sees warning signs, like meeting in a public place to turn over the dog--no visit to the home to meet the parents. Maybe we're reading too much into it, but I'm thinking they were not top shelf breeders...
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:13 pm

Nesting is a big issue with my girl when she goes through false pregnancy. Being under a table or in a tight spot really gets her wired. A good spay job will/should stop the false pregnancy and the urge to nest and the crazy hormone fluxes. Beyond that Renee gave you a good game plan of things to work through. Usually if it is false pregnancy related expect it to go on for a couple months potentially then stop. My girl is always a little off acting for a good month to month and half after a heat cycle. Her appetite goes to nothing and she just gets grumpy at certain times.

Not getting a home visit, not getting papers to prove the parents have been hip and eye tested, and not working their dogs are just a few things to look for in what we call a backyard breeder. They are people who breed dogs for money and not love or betterment of the breed.

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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:23 pm

Ugh...re-reading every one of the posts RE: Sheba.  The remark "don't want to muzzle her 24/7 the rest of her life" really hit home with me.  I struggle with making it ok that Z'ev wears a muzzle whenever out of the crate...and he spends a lot of time in the crate Sad   I let him out in the afternoon to follow me around for a few hours - its a time Ami prefers to spend outside.  I keep asking myself - "what kind of quality of life does Z'ev have?"  What is the prognosis for his future...am I just postponing the inevitable?

I really believe Kelsey gave it her all and had no choice.  

Sometimes I wonder if I am neglectful for not doing more...fairly certain if I sent him to Dream Come True K9 in NYC for the 8 week board and train program for behavior problems he would be fine - as long as the training was kept up at home.  But I don't have 7500. for dog training.  We're in early retirement and have to watch expenses.  And the rescue has bupkis...she's sent me a check for the crate, the muzzle and a couple of other incidentals, one box of food samples but that's it.  I've stopped asking for anything because I know the rescue is out of funds.  She's got a fund raiser going on but last I checked she got pledges of maybe 200 and those pledges don't always materialize.  I'll be taking care of his parasite control, he's supposed to have current rabies but I have no certificate and that is worrisome so I'm just going to repeat it.  If something happens and there is no certificate to prove current rabies, he'll be put down.

So this thread was quite the downer for me...sort of wish I hadn't read the old posts.  The good news for me, though...while Z'ev's episodes have little audible notice, there usually is some sort of trigger and after, he really tries to appease (which, I understand, we should not let him do - though several of my uninitiated  friends/family take that as "he knows he did something wrong," - the behaviorists suggest this is part of a, if I understand it correctly, dominance sequence.  Funny in a dog who gives so many submissive signals...

EDIT: The afternoon time is his "be loose in the house" time - he's also out for a morning walk for about 40 minutes, afternoon walk for 60-90 minutes and a midnight (or later Rolling Eyes ) pee walk. My post sounded like he was in his crate 23 hours a day - no no no.
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aljones
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:37 pm

Amy (and I won't even try to be punny, sorry for thatpost) the big difference between what I see with K'ev and Kida is that there's a definite trigger to the behaviour and it's not totally unannounced (maybe too quick but not without warning). Sheba, as I read it, was fine one minute and a literal terror the next, no notice, no apparent cause - just bing!

What you've done with him has been bordering on miraculous - though you may not see it - I think all of us who have read your notes do.

My time with Sasha - and remember it's been slightly over five years - have had more than our share of bumps and bruises. ( I'm glad that I still heal fairly quickly! ) I wouldn't have gone the muzzle route with her because I knew what the problem was an I knew how to work around it. Now I can actually play with her while she's eating (and patiently waiting to eat!) and not be literally afraid that she's going to take my arm off.
At the same time, it's obvious that we're going to run out of years before I can set two bowls of food down and expect he and Sky to eat side by side. Leave Avalanche out of it, he just goes away and lets them eat ... he knows he'll get his later.

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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:19 am

@Regular Guy wrote:
Found her laying behind my desk chair; I walked up to her, she looked at me with those wild eyes, growled, then crawled partially under the desk. ...

What you posted here, and keeping her age a consideration, leads me to believe this isn't something similar to Sheba. "Crawling away" from you instead of something like lunging towards you and attacking right off the bat, has me thinking it's more along the lines of what TwisterII talked about with heat cycle/nesting/hormones rather than a neurological disorder along the lines of seizure/epilepsy. She seems to have somewhat of a control (for lack of a better word) of her aggression whereas if this was a neurological type disorder, there would be zero control, in my opinion.
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:49 am

I have to say that agree with Jimmy on this ... there is definitely something going on ... I totally agree with his comment that "if it were a neurological type disorder, there would be zero control, in my opinion."

This is the second time, recently, where we've had a good dog who just loses it for no know reason with the original owners and that's good on the one hand - you know everything about her - but bad that it amount to an inexplicable conundrum.
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Regular Guy
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:54 pm

@Artic_Wind wrote:

@Regular Guy wrote:
Found her laying behind my desk chair; I walked up to her, she looked at me with those wild eyes, growled, then crawled partially under the desk. ...


What you posted here, and keeping her age a consideration, leads me to believe this isn't something similar to Sheba. "Crawling away" from you instead of something like lunging towards you and attacking right off the bat, has me thinking it's more along the lines of what TwisterII talked about with heat cycle/nesting/hormones rather than a neurological disorder along the lines of seizure/epilepsy. She seems to have somewhat of a control (for lack of a better word) of her aggression whereas if this was a neurological type disorder, there would be zero control, in my opinion.

Yes, that does make sense Jimmy...Kida does not attack or pursue; just don't bother her when she's quietly laying and all is good. As long as we know what to watch for things should work out. It's never been an issue in public during walks & hikes--she's too busy being on the go. We will keep an eye on things...
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PostSubject: Re: Weird Aggression?   Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:34 pm

RG, you kinda sound like me when Sasha came into my life. I'd never had a dog that I couldn't just reach down and take their bowl - never! It was more than just a shock when I reached down and started to move her bowl and she bit me. My response was pretty much along the lines of "WTF? over!" Over the course of a couple - three years she's bit me on five different occasions - even with me knowing that I can't bother her food! (( Suppose that says more about me then her, huh? )) I've gradually learned to not bother her when she's eating and she's decided she doesn't have to bite 'cause I'm not really gonna take her food away.

According to my PitaPata she's been here a little over 5 years and it's now not a problem. Oh, I don't go messing with her when she's eating - but I have moved her and her bowl without crises. She now sets nicely and waits - albeit *very* impatiently (but it's a fun impatience) - for me to tell her to "get it".

Were I you, I'd still go through the motions of seeing if there's some underlying problem - whether that's pain of some kind or she can't see well or ... well, you got the list earlier. My gut feeling still is that there's something going on, it's very unusual, in my experience, for a dog to attack it's owner without cause.
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