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TOPIC: Grumpy Max

Grumpy Max 06 Jan 2013 11:42 #7823

  • 2Inus2012
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As some of you know we rescued Max about 6 months ago to join our family and be a friend to Suki our female Akita puppy.

Max is a very loved and loving dog but more recently has become more grumpy and certainly more fearful of strangers. This seemed to start around the time of his first birthday.

When we are out walking he will bark at strangers (who can be quite some distance away) Usually men and always men walking with no dog. If we stop and talk to other dog owners, who Max has met several times and played with the dogs as a pup, he will continually bark and sometimes show his teeth. Obviously we tell him firmly NO ! and will also pre empt certain situations by telling him Ah, Ah, NO ! before he barks. We have never scolded him. We only use the same commands and aways lots of positive GOOD BOY when he has done well, our dog trainer suggested the use of a water spray, which does work, as soon as he sees the small bottle, let alone spraying it. But, we don't always remember to take this with us.

He has also started acting differently at home. When we had him he would jump on, lick and cuddle all the family members. I have two children a girl aged 16 and a boy 12. Both would groom Max, sit with him while watching TV and there is even a picture posted on this site where my son is cuddled up with both Suki and Max while we all watch a film. Recently though Max has started to growl at both the children and me. He won't let me fuss him (unless I have a treat for him) and will not let my daughter near him at all. He has snapped at her once when she came in to the lounge to say hi to us after she had returned home from an evening out. Whist we respect that he doesn't want to be mawled all the time and his low grumbly growl is his way of saying "please stay away from me" I am concerned that he is showing signs of trying to be leader of the pack and this might lead to him being aggresive towards family members. He always seems to be protecting Neil even though we all spend equal amounts of time with him, we all feed and walk him.

Max is well socialized. He meets other dog owners, friends of the family and we have always made sure he is introduced to everyone that enters the home. Both children are well aware of the nature of the Akita breed and always ensure that any of their friends are correctly introduced when they come round.

We are continuing to be firm with Max and re-enforcing the bounderies (he isn't allowed on the furniture, humans always walk first through doors etc etc) but I would be interested in any further advice any one has to offer.

Re: Grumpy Max 06 Jan 2013 23:33 #7824

Well, he's definatly showing that he's at the teenage stage isn't he. It might help if the children could do some training with him, just perhaps 5 mins a day, they could do some sits, downs and other excsersises such as stay on the move, the kids will like that one these excersizes might show Mr. Maxy who the boss is Also a very good trainer said to a friend of mine that "nothing is for nothing" implying that the dog never gets treats for doing nothing An idea for the grumbling at strangers (my old Benny started to do that when he was about 10 months old) is to ask to aske them if they'd be okay obout giving a treat to Max, so if a stranger stops to pet Max or for a chat, offer them the treat and tell them not to look at or pay any attention to Max but when he stops grumbling they can just hold out the treat in a flat hand without looking at him or saying anything, let him take the treat and as long as he's behaving they can offer another treat in the same way, eventually Max will start to see strangers as a treat source and that thye're a good thing and not something to feel threatened by, but only if he doesn't growl this also worked with my Asia, I was very lucky to have a few strangers approach who were very willing to help

I can't remeber, has Maxy been snipped yet? if he hasn't that might help him settle a bit

I wish I had more ideas to help, but I know short training sessions every day helps a lot, and everyone in the home should be involved, it'll be fun
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Re: Grumpy Max 07 Jan 2013 10:16 #7825

  • AkitaInu
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Ok, firstly it's unlikely he's trying to become leader. The 'pack dominance' theory has been shown to be mostly incorrect and can cause damage.

He's telling you he doesn't like to be touched, the most common reason for this is that he's uncomfortable, this is commonly a physical issue. His skin could be itchy, he could have an ear infection, he could have knocked something out of alignment so have a sore back, tooth ache or any number of small niggly physical issues that would make him grumpy and irritable. First thing to do is a full check up at the vet and probably a chiro.

Jumping on and roughhousing with the family isn't such a good idea and can cause problems it it gets out of control.

Really, it's impossible to provide good advise without seeing him as there are so many reasons for this type of behaviour. Previous handling, training, physical conditions just to name a few. Coming up with a program to rectify these issues also requires a one-to-one approach. Supressing the symptoms (by telling him to stop barking or growling rather than resolving the reasons for it) or just 'showing him who is boss' often results in no signals until he's been pushed way too far and feels he HAS to snap or bite. Better than you recognise and resolve the issues well before this point otherwise you end up with a dog who will bite rather than growl or bark if he's uncomfortable,

You need to meet up with a GOOD trainer, what area are you in and maybe someone can suggest someone.

Re: Grumpy Max 07 Jan 2013 11:12 #7826

  • 2Inus2012
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Thanks both for your replies.

I agree with you AkitaInu with respect to rectifying the issue and have been concerned that if we don't sort out the root of the problem that it could lead to Max biting with no warning. We are always respectful that when he growls he wants to be left alone.

We will get him checked out at the vets just to ensure that there is nothing that may be causing it.

We are in the Derby area and our other Akita attended Chris Briggs training classes.
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