Rescued Mini Schnauzer is only aggressive with me, not my husband

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Rescued Mini Schnauzer is only aggressive with me, not my husband

Post by EPA_1187 » Sun Apr 03, 2016 7:09 pm

2 weeks ago my husband and I rescued a 2 year old male mini schnauzer. My husband has no previous experience with dogs, I on the other hand am a HUGE dog lover and was raised with them. The first 2 days he had kennel cough and a double ear infection and he gravitated towards me like a shadow. Now he only listens and follows my husband and has began showing agression towards me. He bears his teeth, growls, and has tried to nip at me on various occasions. He is not food aggressive, he is not aggressive with strangers or other dogs, he is pretty calm. He is not aggressive with me all the time, it will literally be at random moments. It is almost hit and miss. So far he's been triggered by me picking him up, giving him a kiss, and one time even staring at him made him growl. But there have been many other occasions where I do the same thing and he's just fine. Keep in mind, he has not once done that to my husband. I don't get what I'm doing wrong or why he is aggressive with me. We don't know his past other than he and his sister were surrendered to the shelter, then adopted by the rescue, and then adopted by us. I don't know if this matters, but the day we brought him home he had just been neutered. Help? Advice? Tips?

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Re: Rescued Mini Schnauzer is only aggressive with me, not my husband

Post by Erica » Sun Apr 03, 2016 7:33 pm

Hello and welcome!

To help you, we'll need a bit more information. We love long posts, so don't be afraid to include details :)

What will help us a lot is a rundown of his daily schedule (not just 8am walk, 9am breakfast, but "At 8 I take him for a 10 minute potty walk; when we return I put him in his crate while I take a shower. At 9am, I feed him Cheerful Chompies dry food in his crate. He's allowed to walk around the house while I work from home between 9:30am and 4pm. He likes to sleep on the couch but growls when I walk near him...").

So far, it sounds like he's still adjusting to life in your house and is stressed out by all this new stuff! The things you mention causing him to nip you are very common things for dogs to find threatening or frightening - for now, avoid picking him up or pushing into his space (eg, if he's sleeping on one end of the couch, sit on the other end instead of next to him; if you want to pet him, call him over instead of walking to him and see if he enjoys petting as shown in this video). Staring at a dog is also very confrontational; a glance with soft eyes and then looking somewhere else is a better idea.

The reason he sometimes is "fine" and sometimes is not is probably due to trigger stacking. He is stressed out by being picked up, or kissed, or stared at, but can handle it. If these things happen all in a short time frame, though, it's too much for him. Here is a good video that explains it a bit better - it's easier to understand with graphics. :)

I do not know you, so I can't say for sure, but often times people who love dogs don't always know how to interact with them in ways the dog finds enjoyable. You may see this a lot in sports - a dog finishes an agility course and the handler runs up to them, grabs their scruff, and shoves their face in their dog's face to give them a kiss. Nine hundred ninety nine times out of a thousand, the dog Does Not Like this. Learning to interact with dogs in a way they enjoy is something that often takes effort on the human's part! It's also a fairly big subject. "The Other End of the Leash" by Patricia McConnell is a book that could get you started learning this; I found it hugely helpful in learning to understand dogs better. The people I dogsit for are always jealous of how much their dogs like me, and a lot of it boils down to learning how to act in a way that dogs understand. This isn't about any "pack dynamics" or "alpha dog" bologna, it's about tone of voice, eye contact, body language, what direction you walk when approaching the dog.
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

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Re: Rescued Mini Schnauzer is only aggressive with me, not my husband

Post by Dibbythedog » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:09 pm

Well done for adopting an unwanted dog . :)
You had him a very short time and he has been through a lot . he is very stressed and uncertain so until he has settled , i would stop doing the things that set him off i.e kissing or staring .
Not all dogs like being kissed and cuddled and staring is considered threatening in animal body language .

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