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Hi, my name is Julie and I have a 9 month old called Willoughby, he's a lovely dog, but in certain situations can become aggressive. He doesn't like you holding him by his collar and will try and bite you, and this weekend we bought a harness for him so we could attach him to a seat belt in our car, when I tried to put the harness on him today, he really growled and bared his teeth in a vicious manner, and actually had his teeth round my hand, there wasn't too much pressure, but enough to make me nervous, I told him NO, but I'm sure the same thing will happen again. We did have a similar situation when it came to cleaning him after walks, he didn't like you cleaning his front paws, and bared his teeth, but I kept telling him NO and he now seems to be ok with that. How is it best to deal with this sitution, I'm sure it's because he's nervous as he's also like it when you look in his ears, I worry that if he has to go to the vets for anything, he might bite the vet. Any advice would be much appeciated, thanks. :)
 

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Welcome to the board! You have a lovely boy.

Desensitizing him to the things he dislikes is a good method. When you present the harness give really good treats, don't necessarily put the harness on at first, just let him start to associate really good treats with the harness being near, then progress in steps, really good treats when the harness is just hung on his neck, etc., until you can put in on him and buckle it up without him protesting.

You can use the same method with his collar, handling his feet or his ears. Just start by treating while you just touch those places, and then continue treating when you progress to trimming nails, examining inside his ears, and so on.

I would also find a good trainer that uses positive methods and work with them on his issues. Having someone with experience on hand is invaluable.
 

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One of my rescue dogs Charlie one was the same and as mylissyk said treats work well as well as a firm No but no raised voice just a firm voice.

Charlie turned out a real angel in the end :) and i see your from the UK take a look at the social groups we have a UK group there.
 

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have you had his ears checked? we had a golden in the rescue i volunteer for and she bit the foster, the first owner and the vet, but they found out she had massive ear infections and matting around her ears so she was in pain and would bite because of it. if they are sensitive around their ears or neck, it might be a pain reflex? also a good trainer (positive style)

beth, moose and angel
 

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chew chew chew
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If he's not yet neutered, I'd make that top of the list. Then, get a good trainer in to help. Look up 'nothing in life is free' and start that 'lifestyle' with him as well. If it's not a health related issue, it's more than likely he's a bit of a brat and thinks he runs the show - totally normal at that age.

Good luck, he looks like a very nice boy!

Lana
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Willoughby's aggressive behaviour

Hi, thanks for all your advice, I'll certainly give the treats a try and let you know how I get on. I don't think Willoughby has an infection in his ears, strangely enough he's always happy for me to brush his hair under his ears, the part which could get matted quite easily, I think if he was in pain he probably wouldn't let me do that. As for getting him neutered, I'd heard that it was better to wait until he's a little older, so I was thinking of doing that next spring time, I'd be interested to hear how you think it would benefit him now though. Thanks again Julie :)
 

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Humankind. Be both.
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Definitely work on some handling stuff by pairing treats with the harness/feet/grooming, etc. As for neutering now vs. later, at his age he's just starting to experience the effects of testosterone and it's very possible that it's contributing to his desire to tell you to back the heck off when it comes to handling. I personally would want to stack the deck in MY favor when working a training program --- by not having the added element of testosterone in place.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi, ok I'll take on board your advice for neutering sooner rather than later, but are there any disadvantages to doing that? Thanks Julie
 

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Improvement....

Well it's now 3 days since I put up my first post about Willoughby being aggressive towards me while trying to put on his harness. I've put into practice the treats while getting him used to the harness, and today he let me put the harness on him without any fuss, so it's definitely working...thanks! I just need to work on how to stop him from digging holes in our lawn, any suggestions would be greatly received!:)
 
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