The Most Dog Friendly Community Online
Join Dog Forum to Discuss Breeds, Training, Food and More

Aggressive dog HELP!


New Member
Reaction score

Join our free community today.

Connect with other like-minded dog lovers!

Login or Register
I apologise in advance for the essay:

I am stuck in the biggest dilemma of my life. 4 years ago coming we welcomed a female boxer puppy into my life. I had one for 10 years previous who was an absolute angel and was my loyal companion. I have 4 young kids and I had concerns from the beginning. I contacted the breeder in the early days to voice my concerns but he wasnt much help. Puppy was growling and snapping at my kids. I was always closely supervising them and they were always gentle. They knew boundaries and puppy had a quiet place to settle when needed which the kids knew was out of bounds. I took her to the vet to check for pain etc and all was clear.

I decided to bring her to a dog behaviourist and he assessed her and was happy with her. But I've always had a bad vibe and could never settle myself.

Fast forward 2 years and we were out playing with our dogs in the garden. She took off like a flash under the fence and chased someone down our road and bit her on the back of leg. We were absolutely horrified. Was awful. The lady had to go and get a tetanus shot. We called to see her and were so apologetic. At that stage I took her back to a dog behaviourist and assessed her and took her for intense training. There were no triggers found.

This made me feel even more uneasy. She was so unpredictable. She would attack my other dogs (they are all sweet natured and have never fought back) I have 2 other boxers and a large poodleX. These were always unprovoked attacks.

I have had her at the vets several times to see if anything underlying. Nothing has ever been found.

We recently got a shih tzu (my last one was with us for 18 years)

We have a huge garden, kennels for large dogs whenever we are at work(in the house overnight) shih tzu comes to work with me. They are all exercised morning and evening and more frequent when we work from home. Between my partner and I we are at home 5 days out of a week.

This morning I was exercising dogs in the garden. Playing fetch and when I was bringing the large dogs back in the aggressive boxer full on attacked my shih tzu puppy. I was there when it happened. Totally unprovoked. She come in wagging tail all happy and then turned. My kids were in the kitchen getting ready for school and my 3 year old was near in the middle of it only i was there. I would never leave my kids or dogs unsupervised when around my house.

I have grew up with dogs and would be very knowledgeable and would have a common sense approach in all aspects of their care and training. But I am in over my head here. I have had countless dogs from I was a child right through my life and I am an animal lover to the core. We have several different animal's. My dogs are all well socialised from they arrive, are met with love and patience and have everything they need in life. They know their place and i have the kids including 3 year old involved in their training to enforce this.

I have never in my life owned an aggressive dog until this one come along. I feel like a failure. I have never given up on a dog. They have always been with me from they arrived until death. But I have 4 young kids to consider here and 4 other friendly dogs (and I don't want her behaviour to impact them) I am lucky my poodleX who she has targeted more than once is not reactive and is a real sweet natured easy going soul.

I have tried to manage her as best as I can but it's those split seconds and unpredictably that has caused havoc and I cannot wait about for another incident to happen which could potentially involve my child next time round.

If you were in this position, what would you do?

Our pounds and rescue centres are over run with unwanted dogs and even full bred puppies. What chance has a problematic 4 year old boxer got in the current climate of finding a good home?

But she isn't going to have the life she deserves with us as I can't trust her in the slightest even for that split second as mentioned above. I am absolutely devastated. Have cried all day. I am just really looking different perspectives here but my mind is nearly made up and my partner has had his fill too. (These are my dogs so I will have the final decision but I don't want it to be one I regret.)

Thanks so much for reading.
I'm so sorry, you are in a very difficult position.

The only question I can think of is what methods the behaviourist suggested, and what ”intense training” she was given. If I interpreted that correctly, the dog was taken away - I'm not keen on that for three reasons.

First, dogs don't generalise well so 'do this in place A' doesn't always filter through as 'do this in place B'.

Second, a huge amount of training is training the owner to train the dog, if that makes sense.

And third, you don't know what they are doing to your dog.

I'm not saying the answers to these will offer a solution but there just might be something we can think of.

I'd also suggest muzzling her meantime, to keep everyone a bit safer. Done properly, a muzzle is just another piece of kit like a collar or harness - this is a good video.

It bothers me that the behaviourist said they were happy with her when there was obviously an issue that needed to be addressed. A problem with intensive training, in addition to what Joanne has mentioned, is that this isn't a matter of training per se - it's a matter of changing your dog's emotional makeup, and that's a lot harder and never going to be an overnight fix. Did the behaviourist have any advice on how they thought you should 'fix' the behaviour?

I'm wondering if there's any other dynamics going on - your other dogs, and your children, will presumably be nervous of the boxer, and you will be on alert when she is near them. It's possible that the boxer is picking up on this and it's making her more on edge herself.

At least for now, management is vital - muzzle, stairgates, separate walks/play, whatever is needed. My dog had a few issues and always wore a muzzle on walks, which he was completely happy with. Keeping the boxer apart from your children and other dogs may help them relax, which will help her relax.

Whatever you decide you need to do, you aren't a failure by any means - you have experience, and you are doing everything you can.

Welcome to Dog Forum!

Join our vibrant online community dedicated to all things canine. Whether you're a seasoned owner or new to the world of dogs, our forum is your go-to hub for sharing stories, seeking advice, and connecting with fellow dog lovers. From training tips to health concerns, we cover it all. Register now and unleash the full potential of your dog-loving experience!

Login or Register