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Thread: Sancho hates my stepmom

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    Drool Catcher Become a 4 Paw Member redhed's Avatar
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    Default Sancho hates my stepmom

    Hi all, I have a question on my bully’s behavior that I hope you can give some advice on.

    i have a 6 year old (7 in a couple of months), neutered male bulldog. We have had him since he was about 4-6 months old. We adopted him from a veterinarian friend In Houston after he was abandoned at the clinic due to a (false) positive parvo test.

    From the beginning he was a very dominant dog. He was kicked out of every doggy day care program we tried despite us taking him to numerous training programs, where he’d be fine as long as we were hyper-vigilant. As he’s gotten older, he’s gotten even less tolerant to the point that he pretty much just does not like other dogs and will immediately go into attack mode if he is free. He will not do this while on leash, and is very respectful to other dogs while on a walk or with friends’ pets, etc...as long as he’s on the leash. It’s strange that we have another dog, a giant standard poodle that is the only dog ever in the world that Sancho has tolerated–and he just ignores him for the most part. They do play and Sancho will respect his boundaries and even let him take his toys. The poodle, Radar, was trained as a service dog and has excellent manners, so that probably has something to do with it.

    While it’s annoying and sad for us that Sancho cannot be around other dogs, it’s been manageable if we keep him inside. He’s never gone after people... until yesterday. My dad and stepmom came to stay with us for the holidays and unfortunately we were not home when they arrived. They came in and thankfully did not let the dogs out of the crates, but apparently she tapped Sancho’s crate and he just lost it. They were barking at the new people anyway but he went full-on attack mode. We got home about 10 minutes later and we let the dogs out...they did not tell us this happened and he’s never been aggressive toward people before so we had no reason to think there would be an issue.

    Anyway, we let them out, fed them, and then went to put our stuff away. Apparently, my stepmom was sitting on the sofa alone and Sancho lunged at her. Didn’t bite, but lunged and snapped. She and my dad tend to overdramatize things, so when they told me I said we’d keep an eye on him and kind of dismissed it. Well, he did it again today and I was literally floored because I’ve NEVER seen him do that to a person.

    Some things to consider:
    a) we had several guests over today, including a 4yo, and we were opening gifts and being a little loud and excited while the dogs were in the crates. It was after gifts that this occurred, so possibly overstimulated?

    b) he has never shown aggression to the 4yo, but we do watch Sancho with him because he does not know his strength and could easily topple a toddler

    c) I HATE my stepmom. With a passion. She is a horrible human being and I only tolerate her for my dad’s sake. I truly have bad feelings in my heart for her to the point that I can barely stand to be in the same room. is it possible he is picking up on my feelings toward her?

    d) he has met my stepmom multiple times in the past, both at our home and theirs, and all was fine. Since the last time (about 2 years ago) she has had some health problems...could he be reacting to her changed “chemistry” as she called it?

    e) about 2 years Sancho had a very bad ear infection that spread to the inner ear and caused temporary paralysis on that side of his face. The paralysis eventually went away but he still tilt away his head sometimes and the vet said there could be possible permanent nerve damage in that area...not sure what impact this could have, but if he feels vulnerable I could see where this could affect his behavior.

    TIA for any advice. Im very concerned about this situation...I can’t sleep and my stomach is in knots. I love my Sancho and do not want to end up in a position where he hurts someone.

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    Default Re: Sancho hates my stepmom

    So sorry to hear this. I hope others with experience of such issues can help out. Although I have now advice to offer, I'm pretty certain Sancho picks up on your feelings towards your stepmum, and possibly also on her medical issues. Dogs are good at sensing such things. The best option for the future would perhaps be that your dad came alone to visit...


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    Default Re: Sancho hates my stepmom

    I agree with @cefe13 Being that Sancho is a sensitive and a dog who has strong "opinions" I believe he is picking up on your vibes. Dogs usually sense things, and he may also be sensing that she is not a good person. You really don't know if she "tapped" on his cage, or if it was something more. There are also many dogs who are very protective of their space (cage). I would not take any chances having Sancho with your stepmom, if he bites her-YOU may be in big trouble! I would also be very careful around children. If you have a room you can put him in,when they come-if not, put his crate in another room and put him in it, when you have company. If they are staying for a longer visit, take him out for frequent walks-do not let him loose around them. Just my advice. @redhed
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    Default Re: Sancho hates my stepmom

    @redhed I would rent him out to people that donít like their in-laws

    Ok seriously now, I would agree with the others that Sancho sense youíre not too keen with the stepmom especially if she tapped in, on around his surroundings. That sure wonít help her with Sancho. I had a beautiful GS and was raised very friendly towards everyone. He got attacked 2x as a pup cause of irresponsible owners in dog parks. Why to this day I avoid. As Major grew he became less n less tolerant with any dogs, cats etc. He was perfectly trained n all but his brain would escalate to a point he blanked out in his brain n just went for the other dogs. Had him diagnosed n had to do with a chemical imbalance. I couldnít just put him down as he was absolutely terrific n great with us, family n friends. Tolerated his behavior for 8 years till out of nowhere he went for a baby carriage. That was my wake up call. I couldnít have a 125lb alert GS attacking a child or one of my sonís future children. Not in his condition. I ended up putting him down. Iím NOT telling you to put him down either. My case was a bit different. What Iím trying to say is, at the age of your dog, bad habits are hard to break. Heís been always dominant n his paralysis tilt head could of affected his mood swings too. I personally would never leave him on his own especially with children like mentioned. Basically youíll need to keep an eye on him all the time when you have visitors. Just put him in his kennel to be safe. Heís been like so since he was young. It is what it is.

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    Drool Catcher Become a 4 Paw Member redhed's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sancho hates my stepmom

    Thank you all for your advice. We have taken him for two long walks today and also have kept him either crated or in an area closed off by baby gates. He has shown no aggression at all today, but we are still not chancing it, especially since now she is scared of him. We’ll also continue to keep a close eye on him with my nephew. For the most part he ignores him, but like you said...you never know. I don’t think he would do anything, but then I never thought he’d lunge at my srepmom, either.

    Being that he’s older and stuck in his ways, do you all think am in-home trainer would be beneficial? He’s good with us and we are good at de-escalating him when he gets too excited, but is there more we could be doing?

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    Default Re: Sancho hates my stepmom

    Quote Originally Posted by redhed View Post
    Thank you all for your advice. We have taken him for two long walks today and also have kept him either crated or in an area closed off by baby gates. He has shown no aggression at all today, but we are still not chancing it, especially since now she is scared of him. We’ll also continue to keep a close eye on him with my nephew. For the most part he ignores him, but like you said...you never know. I don’t think he would do anything, but then I never thought he’d lunge at my srepmom, either.

    Being that he’s older and stuck in his ways, do you all think am in-home trainer would be beneficial? He’s good with us and we are good at de-escalating him when he gets too excited, but is there more we could be doing?
    For him to lunge at anyone even if it’s someone he or you don’t like is a big no no or like you said “ for most of the part he ignores him”. Should not be lunging nor “for most of the parts”....All you need us that one time he does something n it’s going to be when your back is turned for that one second. An in-house trainer, a good one that is, would see what triggers him when the stepmom or nephew is at your house doing their thing. Could be a good idea if you’re not sure why he gets aggressive for certain situations. A dog is a dog...they can’t talk to tell us why pees them off so they will act out like yours is and think that’s ok when it’s not.

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    Default Re: Sancho hates my stepmom

    Quote Originally Posted by redhed View Post
    ...but apparently she tapped Sancho’s crate and he just lost it...
    JMHO...
    I'm not going to come right out and declare that your step-mom is a liar...but someone is not being truthful...ok, nevermind, she's lying.
    Maybe I'm wrong but common sense says otherwise.
    What would incline anyone to "tap" on a dog's kennel, whether the owner is home or not? A child might do that. Normal adult people don't do that. Someone looking for a reaction MIGHT do that...she got one. There's more to this story that you have not been told and likely never will. Sancho has a good memory and is a very good judge of character...he's very protective of his domain and I'd bet, his family.
    What's done is done and you are using sound judgement by handling things the way you are. Sancho isn't happy when she's around so keep them apart. Don't do it for her, do it for Sancho.

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    Default Re: Sancho hates my stepmom

    Quote Originally Posted by oscarmayer View Post
    JMHO...
    I'm not going to come right out and declare that your step-mom is a liar...but someone is not being truthful...ok, nevermind, she's lying.
    Maybe I'm wrong but common sense says otherwise.
    What would incline anyone to "tap" on a dog's kennel, whether the owner is home or not? A child might do that. Normal adult people don't do that. Someone looking for a reaction MIGHT do that...she got one. There's more to this story that you have not been told and likely never will. Sancho has a good memory and is a very good judge of character...he's very protective of his domain and I'd bet, his family.
    What's done is done and you are using sound judgement by handling things the way you are. Sancho isn't happy when she's around so keep them apart. Don't do it for her, do it for Sancho.
    Totally agree... not all is being told.

    I also think an in home trainer is doing a bad idea... see if they can give some insight on handling his behavior or look for triggers/signs.

    That is how we handled Banks... learned her signs and triggers so we know when to remove her or something/one else.

    Banks also only ever went after one person in all her 9 yrs... she was very dominant and protective of space.. she never did anything out of line towards us or children, but she was not good with dogs or cats... she full on went after my brother one day, he walked in (loud and obnoxious), I donít particularly care for him and he is somewhat of a real @$$... she, in my opinion, sensed it and did not hesitate to keep him out.

    I had to leash her to get her crates... she grumbled and growled the whole time he was in the house.


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