Aggressive Dog Bite or Nervous Dog Bite; The Difference

Dominant Dog Bite or Submissive Dog Bite

Is your dog trying to dominate you or is he just scared and trying to get you away from him.

This is probably going to be the easiest thing I ever teach you, how to tell the difference between an aggressive dog bite and a nervous one.

1. An aggressive dog, does not let go of you after he bites you.

2. A nervous dog will give you one quick bite or a couple quick bites, dependent on whether or not you got away from him quick enough.

It’s that simple ; if a dog bites you and doesn’t let go, he’s an alpha dog that means business. As opposed to his more nervous brothers and sisters that will bite and release quickly. Because of my experience with aggressive and fear aggressive dogs, I have given expert testimony in court or through depositions on dog bite cases.

In my lifetime I have been bit many times because often you have to put yourself in an potentially dangerous position, to be able to help that dog out. The vast majority of dog bites in this country or the world for that matter, are the result of nervous or fear aggressive dogs.

Update, September, 25, 2008

A nervous dog will also bite on occasion, without any warning growl. Their body language of being very stiff along with a closed, almost clamped shut mouth, is our best indication that we should leave the dog alone. Remember an truly aggressive dog does not let go of you when they bite, while a nervous dog gives you quick bites.

The first link will show you what an aggressive dog bite looks like. The vast majority of dog bites are the result of a nervous dog striking out in fear at what they are afraid of. The dog in this video is not one of them.

Former Alpha

Former Alpha

No Worries

No Worries

Very Nervous Dog

Very Nervous Dog

The Spirit Dog
Copyright © 2008 A.S.Papszycki
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55 Responses

  1. Hi Beau,

    How often do you have guests over and how long do they stay ?

    Spirit Animal Sanctuary 2539 East Road Boonville, New York 13309

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  2. I have a two your old pittbull who is very loving and caring. But when i have guest he will nip at their butt or thighs when they are to close to me or walking away. I have been working on this and today he bit a friend in the thigh but did it more then once and ripped their shorts. I am at a lose of what to do as he is very loving but i can not have him doing this. I know he is stressed as we just moved into my brothers house and they have 4 dogs. I love this dog as if he was my kid but I have to be realistic as this could have been worse. He used to be abused when I got him but I have had him for like 14 months now. This only happens when people first come in, giving a hug or are leaving

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  4. I hope you can help me,
    I have a 18month victorian cross old tyme bulldog male who bites my dads hands, he doesnt bark or growl he will jump up at my dad and bite him even when he is pulled away and told off, he will go back for more.
    By reading your comments on previous letters I believe he is a nervous dog but I have a child and I am worried he may bite him. He has started to jump up at me and go for my hands.
    Even when my dad is sitting on the sofa my dog will even try and have ago at him then. Ive seperated him from us but as soon as I let him back in he will go straight up to my dad again and do exactly the same thing again.
    Whenever my partner comes round my dog has to get between us but he wont bite him, its mainly my poor dad who he mainly bites and he has left scars , on me its mainly his claws that scratch me he has’nt cut the skin. Please Please can youoffer me some advice as I really dont want to let him go.
    Many thanks
    Vicky

  5. hello…This is Priyanka and i have a beagle female puppy of 5 months +, nd her name is Ellie she have increased her biting habit….i think that she is nervous and feels insecure manytimes, she take things around the house and expect my family members to chase herfor that thing like t-shirts or any think which is kept…..and now the level she has increased of biting is….she growls at me when i pick her up she bites me…..i mean she doesn’t understand my verbal warnings….so shall i hit her with newspaper….or what should i do…i m really scared now..she is increasing this habit of biting day by day…and i will place her biting under nervous aggressive behavious…help me plz and that’s really urgent…anybody having the sam problem plz do comment…thanku

  6. Hi… I have an Italian greyhound who is 5. I love him to death but he’s nervous and every time i leave the house he bites my but. I have tried the bye Jaxson and no big deal but it doesn’t help. He has never been to training and I think I’m going to take him. Another thing is he is a nervous dog. I know its the breed. Any advice? oh and we adopted a pit/rhodesian ridgeback mix and I cant pet her with out my little one getting super jealous any help. I try walking them but she pulls and i got a halti but she gets super sad and wont walk,without it she pulls me all over. Jaxson the Ig is a great walker. just a few things I need guidance on

  7. thespiritdog,

    we’ve tried sternly telling him “no!” everytime he acts up with a soft smack on the behind, however this doesn’t seem to phase him, as he snarls and shows his fangs to US, his owners!

    he knows attacking our roommate is bad, because recently he’s throw his little attack tantrum, and then instantly run away into a corner, expecting to be scolded. if he knows he will be scolded, why keep acting this way?

    i feel as though he is trying to protect his owners (us) and is being way too overprotective… any other thoughts? thanks

  8. Hello Dan,

    Have you been doing anything so far behavior or training, in an attempt to help your little guy out ? If so, what have you’ve been trying.

  9. This is quite a long one, please help!!

    I have a littler over a year old male Pomeranian. He is neutered. I would have thought the neutering him would calm down his aggressiveness, however it didn’t really seem to work as I would have liked.

    We have a roommate who stays in a room in our backyard. He hasn’t done anything bad to my dog, however whenever my dog hears the roommate outside or coming into the house, he goes crazy, barking at him furiously through the glass door and jumping up onto the glass door. It doesn’t sound like an exciting bark, more of an aggressive one since there is a long growl that precedes it. There was once a time when the roommate was simply standing outside as the backyard door was open. My dog ran out barking at him, to the point where the roommate jumped onto a chair to escape. He (the roommate) is absolutely frightened of my Pom.

    It kills me to see him act so aggressively and to have to contain him somewhere else whenever the roommate is around.. What gives?

    When strangers approach the door, he aggressively runs to the door, barking, scaring my guests. As they walk in, he stops barking and starts jumping on my guests. This is “normal”, right?

    One last thing. My pup is playful around only one other dog, but when brought to the dog park, he gets stiff, and just keeps kicking his feet back, spreading his scent. At the dog park, his body language is quite stiff and doesn’t let people pet him! He quickly dodges peoples’ hands and looks extremely insecure. This also breaks my heart as the dog park is somewhere for him to have fun and be free, as he is an extremely HYPER Pom. However, at the dark park, it seems like he hates it there.

  10. Hello Maria,

    No, that’s not going to have anything to do with his separation anxieties. This is going to have more to do with his fear aggression or nervousness around strangers than anything else.

    It’s common for a relatively nervous dog to allow someone to pet them, while not being completely comfortable. Some people are just much better, body language and emotionally wise, while petting nervous dogs. While others, regardless of how much they like animals, convey the wrong body language while petting the same type dogs.

    Hope this helps.

    sincerely

    Alan Papszycki

  11. Hello,

    3 years ago we adopted a dog from the shelter so we don’t know his whole history but it is clear that he was abused to some extent because he was afraid of brooms and sticks and, for some reason still, the water filter. He also has bad separation anxiety and he is very fearful of new people. Most of his behavior has improved – he is used to our routine and does not suffer from separation anxiety as much anymore, and when we take him out he will let people pet him more and more now.

    But he has one strange behavior that we can’t figure out. If a stranger pets him, he will let them and will be friendly, but once they stop and move away, he jumps up and lunges and snaps at them. Fortunately, he hasn’t bitten anyone, but only because the person has already moved away and we yank him back, but he has come close to getting them. He doesn’t do this every time a stranger pets him, just sometimes.

    Recently someone suggested that this behavior might be part of his separation anxiety, as in he doesn’t want the person to stop petting him but doesn’t know how to respond appropriately. I can’t find any information about that aspect of the condition. Any ideas?

    Maria

  12. Hello Steve,

    First of all it’s virtually impossible for me to give you some type of behavior modification protocol without first meeting you and your dog.

    Having said that, I would suggest two things. (1) When you have company, keep the dog on a short leash near you, obviously you’re holding the leash. Make sure none of your guests are within his range with the leash full extended, just in case he surprises you. You do not wait for him to get up to tell him “no” or “lay back down”. I’m hoping you can tell when he gives you the look that he wants to go after someones feet.

    The second thing you should do is, put a muzzle on him when you are practicing this or when you have company.

    I wish I could be off more help.

    Al

  13. I rescued an approx. 1yr old stray American Bulldog mix (probably with a pit) 5 days ago. He seems to be a big love bug, very smart , and listens to everything my wife and i say. No food or toy agression at all. When i take him on walks he greets people and other dogs with kind of a low stretched out body but has a fast wagging tail. He allows these strangers to pet him without any issues and used to meet several people everyday at the shelter without any problems. However, when friends or family come over to the house he nips their feet when they walk around the house/ yard. After reading your blog im going to have to say that its a nervous nip and not aggression. When he goes in for a smell he has the same slow, low to the ground kind of stretched out body that i described earlier except his tail does not wag at all. He also will stare at them like he’s sizing them up. After about 5 minutes of this he seems like he’s back to normal…calm, even goes to sleep. But when they get up and walk around, he follows them and does a quick nip on the shoe. He’s got 5 people in 5 days and got my father in law 3x in about an hour. Since he seems to be fine with strangers on walks i had my father in law take him for one. He seemed fine and even listened to his “sit” command and accepted a treat from him without any weird body language(i was also along for the walk). But as soon as we got back to the house and off the leash he followed him around for a bit and then nipped him again. I told him NO and made him go lay down. My other friend sat in a chair and wiggled his feet right in front of him and he didnt react to that at all. But a trip to the kitchen and he got nipped. I’m now worried that maybe he wasn’t a stray and somebody turned him in because they couldn’t stop this nipping problem…Maybe it gets worse and i just havent seen it yet…i dont know. I’ve tried to distract him with toys but he shows no interest until they leave. My friends have tired the ignoring, dont look in the eye, calm demeanor but i know its Its hard for them to be calm because he has an over sized AM Bull head and is very intimating looking…its also hard to find a friend who is willing to be the Guinea pig and help us work this out…..both his eyes are tar heel blue so people always want to stare at him either in admiration or cause they’re scared and im not sure what vibes his picking up…..and now I’m kind of getting scared because ive been told that “what you see is what you get” when adopting an adult pit bull or mix. I’m not sure i believe that or not but at the same time the people who had him b4 me must of known about it and probably tried to correct it but couldn’t. I certainly do not want to take him back to the shelter and tell them why but at the same time i cant have him nipping people around the house. This needs to be corrected asap. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Steve

  14. Hello Ann,

    A dog that gets excited may snap at anything that is near him and as you mentioned the dog was startled. Also the dog may have made incidental contact with your sons face just from the bark alone, our skin is not very strong.

    After the dog had coward ( which is a clear indication that the dog became afraid of the big boss, your husband) he continued to growl because the dog already gave up and your husband most likely continued yelling at the him. In the dogs mind because he submitted the alpha (your husband) should of stopped his attack. And because he most likely continued to yell, it freaked the dog out and that’s what caused the continued growling.

    You still have not seen any of your dogs aggressive, what you saw was a scared dog.

    Hope this sheds some light on the dogs behavior for you.

    sincerely

    Al

  15. I have three golden retreivers, mom , dad, and son. Just last night my dad retreiver who is 6 years old, bit my son, who is his master in the face. He got him on the cheak, and the lip. My son was lying beside him on his bed, when someone came to the front door to leave a flyer, the dog was startled and all of the dogs ran to the front door barking. Malcom the 6 year old retreiver then bit my son and followed the others to the front door barking. When my husband went to yell at the dog, he coward but continued to growel at my husband. I have never seen any of my dogs aggressive, what does this mean.

  16. Hi Megan,

    What have you tried so far, technique or training wise ?

  17. Hi, we just rescued a 3-4 year old femail boxer x labrador. When she first went into her foster home she had a fear of men. But in a week at their home she had gained her trust in men and was really close to the two men that lived with her. (they have really high confidence with dogs)
    When she met my dad everything was fine. She was all over him.Which is great.

    We brought her home and she met my boyfriend and everything was fine. Then a few hours later she started barking and growling, I grabbed her collar before anything could happen so we’re not sure if it would have happened.
    When he was leaving she growled and snapped at his hand but missed.
    He was wearing a hat both times this happened if that could have anything to do with it?
    He doesn’t really have much confidence now that that happened and is pretty nervous around her.

    Is there any special techniques to get rid of this?

  18. This is an excellent distinction. I wish so much that more people are aware of this instead of lumping all bites into one category.

    My dog has bitten people, and already I can tell that most of these were when he was freaked out by their behaviors (quick lunge and nip). He has also bitten “aggressively” <- was territorial behavior when someone "trespassed" my yard. We are trying to work on this…

  19. Hello Darcy,

    Even if your new dog didn’t do a fear snap at the two of you, you always have to be careful with children around animals. If you’re not considering returning him to the rescue or wherever you got him from, just put him away when the kids are there.

    And remember, for the most part a dog that is comfortable with you petting or touching him will have an open mouth and his tongue will likely be hanging out. Some dogs that are uncomfortable in a given situation will have a closed mouth and display a pretty stiff body language. That should be a clear cut warning to you to stop touching him and leave him alone for a little while.

  20. Hello,
    I recently adopted a husky/shepherd mix, he is a 6-7 year old male who has been nothing but loving and friendly with everyone he meets. My boyfriend and I both take care of him, but I do almost all of the discipline, playing, exercising, etc with him due to my schedule. We have had him for about a month now and he has never shown any type of aggression towards anything. In the past few days he has neglected to eat his morning feed and I noticed that he had diarreah. Last night he was playing with a new toy and my boyfriend was playing with him, as always, and he snapped and bit at him and when I tried to put him into “submission” he snapped at me but didn’t bite. Later that night I was sitting on the floor with him petting him, and my boyfriend came over and started petting his neck, which was fine for a few minutes, then all of a sudden my dog bit him on the forearm, and again on the other forearm. They were def. nervous bites, because he let right go, but my bf has bruises and marks-no broken skin. My trust in him has gone from 10 to 1 and I’m just looking for any insight into how to avoid this situation ever again. I also nanny for two kids, who I bring around the dog, should I be concerned? thanks

  21. I was wondering why a dog would bite someone she has known and loved for 7 years just because he was leaving the house. She was sitting at the door and he was petting her saying goodbye and she bit him and it was a BITE not a nip. The family is understanably very upset. The vet says she is physically fine.

  22. We recently adopted a 7 year old small spaniel mix from a rescue society and in the four weeks since we’ve had her she has bitten three of our friends. The first time we thought we understood the reason as our friend picked her up even though we said not to since the dog had displayed nervousness around being picked up from the beginning. On that occasion she bit both our friend’s hand and afterward she bit her leg as though in retribution. The second time was more of a mystery as she’d already allowed the person to sit and pet her, but when he later was standing and lowered his hand to pet her she again bit both his hand and leg. Last night she again became aggressive with a friend who tried to pet her from above. I was out of the room and didn’t see the beginning of the incident, but suddenly she was literally charging at my friend who got scared, ran away and was trying to fend her off with first his foot and then a dining chair. The dog just kept after him until she finally scraped his leg. I felt helpless because I couldn’t stop her. We are now considering returning her to the rescue society because we don’t know how to handle her in this situation. She is trusting of us at this point and generally sweet and docile at home, so we’re not as worried about her being aggressive toward us, but if we can’t trust her around other people it’s hard to know what to do.

  23. Hi Adry,

    Nervous and submissive often go hand and hand. Not all the time mind you, but often. If she displays stiffness with a closed mouth while getting her tummy rubs, she’s nervous. But I’m going to guess she’s not all that nervous if she allows strangers to pet her. But then again, there are nervous submissive dogs that will allow someone to pet them, before they freak out and snap at the person if the individual went just a little to far with their affection.

    If it’s possible, take a video of her or at least some still shots of her displaying the behavior so I can see it. 30 or 40 seconds of video is much better than a million pictures, cause there’s a lot of little things you look for that can be missed with photographs. If it’s possible, that would be cool.

  24. My 21 month old Rottweiler often displays the same posture as the ”very nervous dog” you have posted in this article. How can I tell if my dog is very nervous or simply very submissive?

    She never nips or tries to nip people but she will have the exact same facial expression with her ears all the way back as the dog in your picture.She also likes to have her belly rubbed a lot by strangers . Thanks for replying.

  25. Hello Lauren,

    Obviously without me seeing Stella, it will be hard for me to give you a lot of options in regards to what you can do. But as you mentioned without you intervening now, this will most likely escalate to a bite. If your not apposed to it, she’s going to have to learn a hard lesson by you using your shock feature.

    Read this post and then get back to me if you need additional help.
    http://thespiritdog.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/how-to-stop-all-dog-aggression-behaviors/

    Good Luck
    Al

  26. Hi, I’ll try to make this as complete as possible. Our 4 year old spayed female Bernese has recently started to bite at guests entering the home. It has happened 3 times in about 6 -8 months. The first time it was a friend who comes over weekly to play music, has dogs himself, is very calm. He put his hand out to her in the entry of our home (the site of all three incidents). My husband was there to let his friend in. He had thick mittens on, so he wasn’t injured. We thought it might be a smell from some chemical he had been using to work on the house…We’ve since been extra careful with her around David. Each time the “bite” was accompanied by a single bark.
    The next time was a lady that my 5 yr old daughter let into the house, she also put out her hand to be smelled, also heard a bark and was told that Stella bit her (but no injury).
    Lastly was another guy over to play music, he’d been here before, my husband let him in, he may have reached over to pet her. This time my husband’s hand got in the way, it didn’t break the skin but was upsetting.

    So I think the problem includes Stella protecting the entrance and I thought I’d try to prevent her from galloping to the door to greet anyone for awhile. She is a little pushy, listens when she wants to. I’m trying to have my husband boss her around a little more, I think part of the problem was that I wasn’t there, but it shouldn’t matter, she can’t do this and we’re afraid of it escalating. She isn’t defensive about food, you can move her bowl while she’s eating or takeit away. But she does jump up on guests sometimes and can be pushy. We usually leave her outside when we go out because she doesn’t like staying in the house w/out us, jumps up and scratches the table and windows to see outside. She has a radio fence and collar. I guess I should use the shock feature more, she knows all her commands but only listens when she wants to ie food is involved.

    Do you have any other ideas. We will have to get rid of her if this doesn’t stop. We can’t take a chance on her hurting someone. Thanks, Lauren

  27. Hi, thank you for replying and Anny was my computer mistake, sorry about that! The dog seems to be the worst when I come home from work or walk into a room where my wife is. She seems bonded to my wife and I would really like to know what I could do to bring her around to me a little bit.

    Thank You, Brent

  28. Hello Brent,

    By trying to dominate a nervous dog you can make them more nervous. Also who is Anny ?

  29. ha

  30. Hi 2 weeks ago my wife and I adopted a 5 year old larger pomeranian who was rescued from a puppy mill. After 3 days in the home she was fine with my wife but all of a sudden started growling baring teeth and niping at me. I was told by the rescue people that she was trying to be alpha dog and that I should spread my hands to her let her snap and slowly back her into a corner and that she will realize I am in charge. Since then she seemed ok small growls but seemed a bit fearfull of me. After reading some of the information on your site I think she has fearfull aggression. What would you say my best course forward would be.

    Thank you, Brent

  31. Hello Sam,

    How old is your guy and how long has he been doing this?

  32. I wanted to inform you that the collar was put on today. I will keep you posted on what happens.

  33. My male american cocker spaniel is a really soft and loving dog, but if someone he does not know well reaches out to stroke him and he is unsure, then he will bite. Im pretty sure its just a nervous bite, but have you any pointers on trying to stop this, as I can see him getting into trouble someday because of it.

    I would much appreciate any help you could give.

  34. Do you think an electric collar would work?

    I will try to record some of his behaviors.

    Thanks

  35. Hi Chris,

    Contrary to what you may believe, this sounds like a very nervous dog.
    When you say, “I really don’t know how else to explain it. He gets so mad, hair stands up, shows teeth, and everything.”

    The reason for this, is dogs learn real fast what benefits them.What this means , is he has learned that by acting like a maniac he scares away what he is a afraid of. This is a normal behavior that a lot of dogs display, we may not like it or understand it, but it’s normal.

    Tell me why your dad is the only one that he doesn’t bother with. I bet ya your dad is the only one in the house that is not afraid of him. How does your dad talk and act with him ?

    Is it possible for you to make a short video of him doing this stuff and post it on youtube or some other video platform, then send me the link ?

    In the mean time read these articles.

    http://thespiritdog.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/how-to-stop-all-dog-aggression-behaviors/

    http://thespiritdog.wordpress.com/2008/09/22/how-dogs-display-nervous-or-fear-aggression/

    http://thespiritdog.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/2008/08/03/how-to-be-your-dogs-alpha-dog/

    Just in case ::: http://thespiritdog.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/2008/08/11/dog-training-finding-the-perfect-dog-trainer/ ALSO http://thespiritdog.wordpress.com/2008/11/21/how-to-find-a-dog-training-professional-if-you-have-an-aggressive-or-biting-dog/

    http://thespiritdog.wordpress.com/2008/11/01/dogs-cant-hide-their-emotions?referer=sphere_related_content/

    http://thespiritdog.wordpress.com/2008/10/26/nervous-dogs-and-barking/

    http://thespiritdog.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/make-a-nervous-dog-happy-through-playing/

    Oh yea, is it at all possible for you guys to get a couple of doggy gates and leave him in the kitchen or something when your getting ready to leave ?

    Remember he is a nervous dog, the more we get a nervous dog happy, the less they are nervous.

    I also know it’s not always easy, reading something and then trying to apply it. I’m just getting use to making video’s, so soon all this stuff you will be able to watch.

    Talk to you soon.

  36. I also forgot to mention that there was no bad experiences with a visotor or anything.

    The latest thing that happened to him was he got his head stuck under a shed. We thought we were going to lose him but luckily we got him out. The funny but sad thing about this is as we are trying to get him out he is biting us. He just doesnt learn!

  37. He does not have a crate anymore. We do put him in another room and sometimes put him on the chain but he still is able to sense when I am about to leave the house. It is the same routine everyday. He goes nuts. Actually, 2 days ago I got bit on my leg because he jump up and got me. Then everyone yells at him and he walks away with his head down and the hairs stand up on the back of his spine.

    In our home there are 4 people living here. This is not a new environment for him. I cant say he has been doing this to me for a while but I can easily say now for about a year. On the other hand he is very very wierd in the mornings. He is great with my father. He will never bite him because my dad is the one who walks him all the time.

    In the mornings my parents get up for work. My dad imediatly walks him and then my dog eats. While eating my mom goes and gets her stuff ready. At this point the dogs tail goes down but he continues to eat in a rush. If my mother is still in the house by the time he is done eating he will try to attack her but my father has the dog on the leash for this main reason. About 3 or 4 years ago early in the morning my mom went to say hello to the dog and the dog bit her in the face. Since that day he has been very very moody in the mornings.

    Whom ever he goes to sleep with noone else can enter that room besides my father. If I am sleeping in bed with the dog then he is fine with me. But my brother nor mother can come in.

    If my dog is sleeping alone on the couch noone can go near him at all. My father can but the dog is still upset by it but wont do anything to him.

    I really dont know how else to explain it. He gets so mad, hair stands up, shows teeth, and everything.

    We thought about putting him to sleep at one time but really its hard to let a dog go like this. He is great outside of all this. I was thinking about the electric collar. When he goes to attack or start barking at me at night or in the morning we hit the button.

    I dont know I need some advice. Also, when we went on vacation he had to get borded and then they only had him 1 day. They said he wouldnt come out cage and he would just try to bite everyone. My brother had to return home to get him. No my dog is banned from the bording place.

    Doctors visits are horror story!

  38. Hello Chris

    What happened recently with him ? It sounds like you must have had a bad experience with a visitor.

    How long has in acted that way after your shower and as yopu head out the door?

    A simple solution for your company problem, put him in another room or his crate if you have one. If you don’t have a crate for him, I cant tell you whether or not you should get one. That’s your decision, but a room will be fine.

    your big key here is to stop his barking, that is his excitable factor that will lead to the other stuff we don’t like. Stop the barking, and you have a real good chance of controlling all behaviors that succeed that.

    Tell me a little bit more about him, how many people live in your home, does he do this with anybody else, has he alwys done this, or is this a new development ?

    I will have a better Idea of what’s going on in his head, if you answer these..

  39. Hello:

    I have a big problem with my beagle. When I take a shower at night and get dressed for work or to go out he starts watching me then barking real loud. Once I head for front door he will literally attack me and jump up. Then I yell at him and he backs off but take another step and hes right back. Also, in the mornings you can not go near the dog. He acts very wierd and if you go to touch him he will bite you. However, mid-day he is fine. because we know the dog we are use to him and know when to leave him alone but for someone that doesnt they wouldnt know. What exactly should we do?

    He is 8 years old now.

    Thanks

  40. Hi Melissa

    This is not really a new problem, any dog that displays the same nervous behavior that she is displaying. Will eventually get nervous while in close proximity to someone, and you saw what will happen then.

    There are so many things I would have to know, before I could even begin teaching you what you need to do.

    I have wrote a bunch of stuff about making nervous dogs less nervous. In the right sidebar of this blog, click on “The mind of a dog ” or ” pets, dog behavior”.

    Look for any title that you think may help you out. Read a bunch of them, then if you need additional help get back in touch with me. I’ll have some questions I’ll need answered.

  41. We have a 1 year old dutch sheperd. She is very nervous around new poeple and takes a while to warm up to strangers, especially in our home. Typically she will bark and growl and then run under the table. After about a 10-15 minutes, she will inch her way out to sniff out the new person and eventually will lick them and let them touch her. Recently though, she snapped at 2 people I had over on seperate occasions. The second time she nipped my friend’s arm and broke the skin s little. She immediately peed everywhere and ran under the table. She is not an aggressive dog, she is very sweet and affectionate once she knows you, but what do I do about this new biting problem? Any suggestions?

  42. Hi Tim
    That photo is from about 10-12 years ago. What I often write about, is that the type of dog has no bearing what so ever in regards to exhibited behaviors.

    All DOGS do the same stuff, there is no such thing as breed specific behavior problems.

    But having said that, I know every bodies always curious as to what mix they may have.

    The big thing, is we have to get them relaxed and happy. You work with the dog in short increments of time, don’t try and push her.

    They really have to come around on their own. If she is stiff, with her mouth closed while you are petting her, you want to be careful. Talk calmly and slightly happy to her. Try to find out how she likes to play, I don’t mean by asking someone, try and figure it out.

    I’ve written some articles on this, under categories in the right sidebar click on “The Mind Of A Dog”. Look for the appropriate titles, then read some of them.

    If you still need help, get back in touch with me.

    AL

  43. Hello,

    I’m interested in the last picture above, captioned “very nervous dog.” The dog looks nearly identical to mine, whom i just adopted. I’m looking for any info. Do you know the type/mix. Mine also seems nervous and acts out, usually when she’s woken. So I’m looking for advice or clues to work with her.
    Thanks,
    Tim

  44. Hello Tamara

    Hopefully you received my email. Contact as many animal sanctuaries as you can, also check out doberman rescues and ask them for advice.Your probably going to have to put some time into your search.

    On average there are 27,000. dogs a day being given up for various reasons. If they are real lucky, a small percentage of those guys will find a forever home.

    Good Luck

  45. Our dog, a 7 yr old neutered Doberman recently attacked my boyfriend w/o provocation. He recieved several punture wounds on his arm and to the back of his head. It was a tramatic experience for us both and it will not be possible for us to keep him anymore. Advice from his trainer and babysitter were to have him put to sleep. Neither of us want this to happen but we also know that he can no longer be kept as a domesticated pet in any home. I was hoping you may have some advice on places we could send him where he could live with other dogs and have limited human interaction. Thank you for help

  46. Hello Diane

    First off, is that him “Anticipation…” ?
    I think those drugs tend to have more of a calming placebo effect on us, as opposed to our dog.

    When you say, “Originally he’d just growl or groan – but he’d let us put his leash on and take him. Lately it’s become worse – he’s growling, snarling and biting.”. I’m not surprised that the behavior has escalated a little bit, I am a surprised though, that it took this long to happen.

    Was this a contributing factor originally, to you putting him on Clomicalm ? If so, at the beginning did you try to modify his behavior along with the drugs. And I don’t think that stuff is meant for long term use.

    Anyway, back to your problem. If you can wake him safely, you can try getting a little more happier with you emotions, if you are not an alpha he knows it. So avoid confrontations at all cost, you will wind up making the behavior worse at that time. The following link article, can be applied to a lot of different issues we are having with our dog.
    http://thespiritdog.wordpress.com/2008/05/16/how-to-make-your-puppy-or-dog-less-nervous/ also http://thespiritdog.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/make-a-nervous-dog-happy-through-playing/ . Remember, a dominant or aggressive dog, doesn’t really growl at you, they just bite.

    This article has to do with the behavior your husband is displaying, I’m gonna guess he’s not that crazy though.
    http://thespiritdog.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/aggressive-dogs-and-stupid-men-or-nervous-dogs-and-assholes/
    Don’t take offense to the title.

    Now, you want a simple solution ? Why don’t you try putting his leash on and leaving it on him, a couple of hours before his last walk. This way when it’s time for his last bathroom break, you can just grab his leash.

    Hope this has been of some help to you. If you need me to go into more detail about anything, get back in touch with me.

  47. Hi
    Tommy our almost 12 year old mini-poodle, has come with issues that we’ve learned to deal with over the years. We got him when he was a year and a half old from the SPCA – he only spent one night there -but we do know that the couple who returned him did so because they felt bad leaving him alone for 12 hours a day. He was so sweet and wonderful for the first month – we never heard him bark – ever! But once he got used to things – he got into his own routine. He has separation anxiety – follows us around if he senses we are leaving – he rarely is not in the same room as me if I’m home. He’s barked and urinated when we’ve left him, and when he was younger would destroy things too if and when we left him..
    He’d also be overly protective in his barking- we live in a 4-plex – and he’d bark at any noise outside our door – i.e. any time anyone else comes up or down the stairs – rather than just when someone is at our door.

    This is all stuff we’ve grown used to – and he’s been on Clomicalm for years now. This has helped somewhat – but as I said – we’ve had him for almost 10 years now and we know that he’s got special needs and have learned to live with them.

    The problem is that recently – he’s become quite aggressive when we wake him at night to take him out. Originally he’d just growl or groan – but he’d let us put his leash on and take him. Lately it’s become worse – he’s growling, snarling and biting. My reaction at first is to say no – then back off and leave the room (he’s still into following me) and when he’s awake and no longer in la la land – he lets us put his collar on and off he goes for the nightly “drag”… He still does everything that he has to – so it’s not a matter of not “needing” to go to the bathroom. Thing is my husband wants to show him that he’s not the boss of us and will fight back – which of course never comes to a positive ending.

    I have an appointment with the vet in a week (he’s out of town) – but in the meantime – I’d love some advice if anyone has seen a change in behavior before like this and if you have any suggestions.
    Thanks!
    Diane

  48. Your Welcome Donna

    For these collars to work, they have to be very snug. When people call me and tell me they have already tried the collar and it didn’t work, they usually had it on to loose.

    Good Luck with little Bear, Bear.

  49. Funny thing is he (Bear) knows when people are getting ready to leave. He sees them get up and then he goes and stands guard near the door. When they leave he bites them.
    I now know to try and get him into another room when I know someone is leaving and then after they leave and I bring him back out he goes nuts jumping against the door they just left through. At times he even goes after me when I’m leaving him.
    As suggested I am going to try one of those collars.
    He is very sweet, lovable, loves everyone while they’re here, just doesn’t want them to leave. Most times, if I’m in a different room (he is my dog for sure) he will not chase them out the door.
    Thank you so much for answering so quickly.

  50. Hi Donna

    This is a common problem ( see Marlene on above post). If you want the simple solution, put him on a leash or put him in another room, before you get ready to say your good-bye’s to your company.

    It’s going to be much easier for you, to just remove him from the situation a little before hand. For me to help you learn how to get him to listen to you, I would have a lot of questions for you.

    The first being, under what circumstances ( distractions) does he listen to you now. The whole thing here is , if you have a hard time getting him to listen to you with, lets say barking at the door bell or some other smaller distractions. Then we would have to go through the whole learning process, of learning how to teach our dog to pay attention.

    Having said that, if you don’t feel like putting him away whenever company is about to leave. And this is a totally unacceptable behavior to you, that may lead to his eventual death in some animal shelter. Then I would tell you to try one of those electronic collars, they work real fast and you only have to use it a couple times.

    Good Luck Donna, if you have anymore questions don’t hesitate.

  51. My dog bites people only when they are leaving. I can’t stop him from doing this, any suggestions? He is great with people, licking them, loving them until they get up to leave the house.
    We were told the mother was a Yorkie, no idea what the father is but he’s 23 lbs.
    Really need help.
    Thank you

  52. Hello Marlene

    It’s a little difficult for me to answer without some additional information.
    To start off with ;
    1- How long have they been your roommates ?
    2- How do they interact with your dog on a daily basis, are they affectionate with your girl, not that comfortable around her, don’t pay much attention ?
    3- How old is she ?
    4- Any recent changes in your home, that will affect your dog.
    5- How long has she been showing signs of interest when they leave your home ?
    6- Whats her name.

    These are just a couple questions that will give me a better idea of whats going on in her head. I’ll have more questions, but this is a start.

  53. I have a question. Little by little my Rottweiler is getting more aggressive towards 2 of my roommates leaving the house. She barks and in the last couple days acts as though she wants to snap or bite them. This is only when they are leaving in the mornings to go to work. Where is this coming from? She doesn’t want them to leave? Please help.

  54. Your Welcome; and your a very lucky girl Lolly. If you were one of your bigger brothers or sisters and were misunderstood by people, something very bad would have happened to you.

    By the way, are you driving the motorcycle or riding in the sidecar ?

  55. Excellent distinction. Lolly is a rescue dog and initially displayed “nervous nips” when frightened by strangers reaching toward her unexpectedly; the nervous nips often didn’t even touch the stranger, and were followed by Lolly running to hide behind me. Thanks for posting this information. Sincerely, LuLu and LoLLy, http://www.LuluAndLolly.com

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