Aggression

We took a bit of a break from the blog the past week and a half.  Our computer time was limited after a long trip back to Chicago from Virginia, 5 days in Southern Illinois, and a lot of reorganizing at the apartment.

Of course that blogging break did not mean that Link and Eve stopped getting bigger and more mischievous.  In fact, they’ve gotten a bit too confident with all of their cross-country travels.

Eve in particular has gotten us a bit worried.  She’s obviously a big puppy who will grow into an even bigger adult dog.  Her size plus the fact that she is pure black (even her eyes are like midnight) makes her a scary looking beast to many creatures–including others dogs and small children.  Lately Eve has been getting a bit aggressive with those others.  While in Southern Illinois, she barked a little too much and played a little too hard for the 2 and 3 year olds who were meandering about.  And she has gotten noticeably more agitated at other dogs, particularly ones smaller than her.  During a puppy play date last night with Indy (an adorable duck-tolling retriever pup), she had to be restrained nearly the entire time.

These developments have obviously gotten us concerned.  Many  possible explanations exist, so it is way too early to make any broad assumptions about her being a naturally aggressive dog.   Link is still as easy-going as ever…willing to roll over on his belly for just about anything that moves.  So it may be simply a breed difference, with Eve coming across as particularly aggressive only when compared to Link.

She still is getting readjusted to the Chicago apartment after more than a month away.  Also, she underwent the most traumatic experience of her life earlier this week–she was spayed (more on that in a later blog post).  And in the end she is sill less than 5 months old, so she still has many different puppy cycles to go through.  We shall see how she develops these next few weeks.

Regardless, she remains the best cuddle-buddy in the entire apartment.

-Paul

link, eve, golden retriever, great dane, puppy, chicagoeve, great dane, puppy, chicago, 2guys2pupsphillip, fetch, link, golden retriever, chicago, 2guys2pups

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5 responses

  1. Laura

    We had this same problem with our two labs- they liked to play too aggressive with other dogs. They eventually grew out of it. But my parents new dog, Taffy, is a pit bull and she tends to be more aggressive towards other female dogs (maybe feels naturally threatened?). She probably should have been socialized more as a puppy. She’s a sweetheart and one of the gentlest dogs I know (despite the stereotype). I’m no expert, but my guess is that if you keep socializing Eve with other dogs of all shapes and sizes, she will be OK. 🙂 Every time I read your posts I want a Great Dane more and more!

    August 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm

  2. We have been taught to play “gentle” with smaller dogs – very small ones we have to lye on the ground to play with them.
    Maybe you guys should implement something like that with Eve?

    From Laura – Let Eve play with smaller dogs, but correct her if she is playing to rough and praise her for gentle playing. If she doesn’t respond to verbal correction, go and remove her from the play session, until she has calmed down and then let her go and play again. I can’t really tell you whats actually going on as I can’t see her behaviours – but thats a suggestion that may help.
    Keep in mind though that if she starts showing forms of aggression while on a lead walking past other dogs, she may well be seeing herself as pack leader.

    Good Luck,
    Laura, Lexi and Jasper

    August 22, 2010 at 7:53 am

  3. Thanks so much for the suggestions, Laura(s), Lexi, and Jasper.

    We are planning to implement all of your thoughts. In particular we are trying to be more consistent and careful with Eve’s “time-outs” when she crosses the line. We’re confident it will help.

    On a side note, yesterday Eve played wonderfully with a new 4-month old Ridgeback puppy from across the street. In fact, she got along better with the puppy thank Link, which has never been the case before.

    That play session occurred in the Ridgeback’s own front yard, which may have factored into it. She is much calmer when not in her own stomping grounds.

    August 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm

  4. AC

    A strange dog had invaded her home, she had been away for a month, and she just had gotten spayed – it may have been just as concerning had she not gotten worked up haha.

    Also there’s a huge difference between a 10 minute play session and a 3 hour long encounter. The long puppy play sessions can always lead to some form of aggression from any dog.

    Also, Eve’s the best – those ears!!!

    August 25, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    • You make a strong argument with all of these. The post does seem a little harsh on her. We probably should have waited until after everything returned to normal to judge her.

      August 28, 2010 at 7:20 pm

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