No, not really. I love my pets. However, one is displaying insane behavioral issues that I have never dealt with before. I know how to handle/train for certain areas, but this sudden shift is driving me nuts, and I am not sure what to do.
I have a 5 year old Queensland Heeler. Intact Male. He is intelligent, though there are time when you couldn't prove that to save your life, and usually well behaved and obediant. We have had him since 8 weeks old, and he has been socialized and trained. Over the last few years he began to get aggressive when trimming nails, and it progressed to anything that required any kind of restraint. He had never had an issue with it before. I proceeded to trim his nails, talking softly, taking it slow, and giving treats during/after. Then, all of the sudden he started growling at me. It was corrected, I slowed down and continued. Then he tried to bite me. And this was an actual attempt to bite. This came out of NO WHERE, and he'd never done it before. I bought a soft muzzle later that day, and with that, and the help of a second person, can still trim his nails. Going to the vet now requires heavy sedation (pill prior to getting there, and an injection once in the office). I should add that punishment/corrections have NEVER included him being beat. He might have gotten swatted on the butt for lifting a leg in the house, but we have never really hit him or done anything to cause him pain.
I should also add that with x-rays, lab work, and other testing, no vet has been able to find anything wrong with him that would indicate this change. We even took him to UC Davis in California at one point, and they were unable to find anything (brain tumor, etc) that could potentially explain this.
Then, he would do things that he has never done before such as urinating in the house, will walk up to my ds and urinate on him, getting into the trash...things like that. Again, no medical issue with the urinating, we've done tests after tests and found nothing. It is believed to be completely territorial/behavioral. No idea why, nothing in the house has changed. He would urinate in the house, and then he would hide somewhere. We'd go find him to put him outside, and he refused to come when called. So we would reach for him. Suddenly we have the death rolling crocodile on our hands. He completely loses his mind, and spins around attempting to bite us. And again, this is done with no reason or provocation.
His behavior just seems to be getting worse. Were he used to just to it to me when I was triming nails, giving shots, brushing, he now does it to everyone, including our son. I got up in the morning and went to the door to let the dogs outside (they all sleep in the room with us). The others went outside, but he didn't. So I turned around to go get him thinking maybe he'd gotten trapped by the door accidentally. Instead I hear him growling, and then that tell-tale sound of him snapping at someone. Turns out our son (8 years) came out of his room and went to pet his dog. The dog must have peed somewhere to be acting guilty, and when my son tried to pet him, he thought he was reaching for his collar and tried to bite him. I grabbed his leash, looped it around his neck and drug him outside at that point (And yes, you better believe he got booted for attempting to bite my child)
We don't know what to do with him anymore. He does this for no reason. Again, no vets can find ANYTHING wrong with him. We are not the type of people to get rid of a dog easily, but this is now becoming dangerous for my son. They are kept separate for now, and never around eachother without an adult. I am also expecting another baby, and can't imagine what he will do with a younger child. Will be pee on the baby during 'tummy time'? What about toddler aged? I can't risk my kids to keep a dog we all care about. Rehoming him, or putting him down, are a last resort, but they are quickly becoming our only options.
I know there are few on here who are good with dogs, and have trained them. What do you suggest? Would hiring a trainer be beneficial at this point, or should we be looking into rehoming/euthanizing due to the sudden changes...that are progressively getting worse?
***ETA - The behavior started before both my pregnancy, and the move 3 months ago. This has been ongoing for more than a year. It has just become progressively worse as time goes on. ****
ETA - He wasn't neutered because he was intended to be a show dog. Up until last year, he was 'co-owned' by us and the breeder, as she would have been the one to show him. When it became apparently early on that she was not planning on showing him, we asked if we could neuter him, and were told no. THere was a contract that stated that until a certain time had passed/he reached a certain age we would not surgically alter him.
We now fully own him, and have his papers. She has no say in the matter any longer. Multiple vets have recommended neutering him, however...at this age the chances of it changing his behavior is slim. That is why they recommend neutering at a young age, because it stops most if not all of the behavior issues. Once they reach a certain age, it is typical to see some change, but not a total change. This has been confimed by veterinarian, as well as personal experience/education with animals. We are planning on getting him neutered now, but we are NOT expecting to see any changes in behavior, nor is our vet.
ETA #2 - Yes I am pregnant. However, ALL of the issues started a long time before I became pregnant. More than a year before I became pregnant in fact. The pregnancy has nothing to do with his behavior.
In response to some of the other questions. Yes he has been trained. He went through basic obedience training, as well as some agility training. He is NOT permitted on furniture, and sleeps only on a bed that is for him. He does have an indoor kennel that he drags his bed into, and that is usually where he sleeps. He is not ever locked in the crate, we bought it when our rescue dog went through heart worm treatment, and our ACD decided that he wanted it as his cave.
He has had multiple full blood panels, x rays, MRIs, CT Scans, and ultrasounds. None of which have shown anything abnormal. My husband and I have spent close to $8000 dollars in the last 18 months just trying to find out what is going on with him, and why his behavior began to change...and has progressively gotten worse.
The only major changes in the house was a move. However, that has been close to three months ago, and he seemed to adjust well, just as our other two animals did. We watched closely for any increase in the behavior, but it didn't occur. And again, all this behavior began long before the move. He now has more room to run around outside, as well as being able to be outside more often. We haven't noticed any increase/nor decrease in this behavior since the move, it just as continued.