help my dog is acting strange

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  • #14580
    Tinkerbell
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    My dog tink has always gotten along with all family members in the household. She is very loving with the 2 yr old and loved herding her. But just recently she started acting strange, she now growls at anyone and everyone including me and my husband, (we are the alpha’s in the home) that walk past or come into our bedroom, she is hidding under our bed all the time now, when she does come out she is stealing socks and clothes and taking them to her bed or under my bed, i have found 5 pairs of socks and 3 tshirts and my 12yr olds throw pillow under there.
    When my husband tried to see if she was ok she shook so hard and was acting like she was terrifed of him. But when she is in the rest of the house she is back to herself playing and herding the kids. (Tink is almost 5 yrs old and is not spayed or never had been mated)
    I love my dog but if this behavior continues i am afraid i have to get rid of her and that is not possiable, for she is truely one of the family. PS she has attacked her favorite playmate Smokey the cat for no reason. Plz help with any advice or comments

    #16500
    KaylasMom
    Participant

    There is an underlying reason for why animals (and humans) do the things that they do. Attacking your cat “for no reason” is not accurate. There IS a reason why Tink and Smokey got into it, but it is a reason that you may not understand. Cats, dogs, and all animals communicate in a way that each other doesn’t understand. Learning dog communication, body language, and behavior is SO important when owning a dog, especially a breed that is under such scrunity as our is. You have to be on your guard at all times.

    Since we don’t live with you, it will be hard for any of us to really be able to determine what is wrong. We cannot see body language, sounds, and other factors that Tink may be showing that you may not be aware of. Obviously, Tink is reacting to some sort of stimulus in the home. Dogs just don’t change their behavior for “no reason”.

    Has Tink been to the vet for a complete check-up? Many times when dogs are feeling under the weather or are in pain for whatever reason, we cannot see it, unless there is vomitting or loose stools. The only way they can tell us is by altering their behavior. If Tink has recently had a clean bill of health (that includes CBC panels, etc.) then it may be something else in the environment.

    With behavior such as stealing objects, hiding them under the bed, and growling at anyone who walks by, that sounds like a resource guarding issue. Maybe Tink has fallen in love with certain objects and has chosen to keep them under the bed and doesn’t want ANYONE near her stash. Kind of like a cheetah who hides her catch up in a tree. That is HER stash and she will fight any other critter who comes near it.

    One thing to do is to shut the door to that room, and keep the objects that Tink wants away from her. Simple as that. If you don’t want a dog getting something, don’t allow her easy access.

    Dogs can begin resource guarding at any age. I would suggest that you get in contact with a canine behaviorist to start to work on the issue at hand before it gets out of control and something really serious happens. Resource guarding is common and many dogs battle through it. If you can start working on it now rather than later, things have a better chance at returning to normal.

    In the meantime, restrict access to the areas where Tink is becoming possessive and keep all the stuff that she likes out of her grasp. If she is “herding” you child, sometimes that herding can escalate into nipping and biting. True herding dogs nip and bite at the hooves and legs of cattle, sheep, and the such to get them where they need to go. I doubt that your dog is actually herding, unless she is a mix with a dog with a strong herding drive.

    Your dog is a terrier, and terriers have a high prey drive for ANYTHING that moves quick, and that includes children and cats. That drive may have just kicked in more than you are used to. You need to watch your 2 year old and monitor the behavior to avoid anything further than just “herding”. Kids makes noises that sometimes bothers dogs, as do other animals. Tink could have just hit a point where some environmental changes need to occur.

    This is NO reason to get rid of the dog. Dogs are not disposable. Get in contact with a trainer/behaviorist and check with your vet for any potential health issues that may be causing Tink some discomfort.

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