Posted by: Anon | 2010/08/30

Confused about sudden aggression

Hi everyone.

I hope you can help me pls. My (almost) 3 year old male Maltese X has suddenly started showing signs of aggression since our (just turned) 1 year old female joined us 10 months ago. We introduced them slowly and within the first month or so he would growl if she climbs into his ''mandjie'', but wouldn''t bite or anything, just protest. While playing he has snapped at her on occasion, but she does play dirty sometimes and we made if off the be his way of ''putting her in her place'' as it were.

A few months ago we started noticing this behaviour, the growling and bearing of teeth, when they are lying by us while we watch TV. If he lies by me, my husband cannot stroke him or pet him and certainly not touch is face, as he really growls and bears his teeth. He has nipped me twice allready. The same goes for when he lies by my husband.

What on earth could be causing this behaviour?? Could it be that he is like this because there is a female in the house. He has never shown signs of aggression before and is usually quite nervous of other people and animals, allthough he has ''accepted'' the new addition to our household. This really concerns me and I would like to know how we can reverse this behaviour to him being the pet we once knew. He is truly a lovely animal and this is really making me quite fearful of him.

Pls help, any advice or questions would be appreciated. I hope I have provided you with enough info to give me some advice. Thank you!!!

Not what you were looking for? Try searching again, or ask your own question
Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi Anon

I cannot give you any advise as this is a complex problem. I advise that you seek the help of a qualified behaviourist - if you live around the Cape Town area please phone the Animal Behaviour Centre in Hout Bay or ask them if they can recommend a behaviourist near your area.

Web link:

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Anon | 2010/09/01

Thank you CV!! Will give them a call!

Reply to Anon
Posted by: Anon | 2010/08/30

Hi Chill,

Thanx for your reply. Interesting that you say he thinks he''s the boss! I never thought about it that way. We stupidly thought he is trying to ''protect'' the new dog. Boy, were we obviously wrong. LOL!! I will ask the Vet if he can recommend a behaviorist.

Thanx again!

Reply to Anon
Posted by: Chill | 2010/08/30

I think your best bet is to consult a behaviourist. I suspect there''s a problem with your dog''s perception of ''rank'' in your home - he thinks he''s the boss, and all the attention (as well as being allowed on the furniture) is supporting this notion in his mind.

There are ways of addressing this, and no, you don''t have to be cruel at all - you just have to learn how his mind works, and how you can adapt your relationship with both dogs in order to sort out this dominance thing.

Reply to Chill

Have your say

Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.