All About Dalmatians – My Male Dalmatian has become AGGRESSIVE.

by Syeisha
(India)

I have two Dalmatians. I got both of them when they were 1 month old, so basically both of them have lived together the entire time. They are now 1.5 years old, and now my male Dalmatian has developed some ANGER MANAGEMENT issues. He has now started to snarl and snap at my female dalmatian, over little things, like if she passes by him when he’s sitting on the bed, and sometimes he even snaps at her for apparently no reason. Just yesterday, he was chewing on a bone while he was sitting near my feet on the ground, and my female Dalmatian was sitting on the other side of my leg, the male one brought his bone near her, left it on the ground, and suddenly 10 seconds later, he snapped at her. I don’t know WHATS WRONG!!! We try to cuddle him, and make him feel wanted, because sometimes we feel maybe its out of jealousy, but his snapping occurs sometimes due to NO REASON. Though he IS NOT like this ALL THE TIME. They do tug on toys together, run together, sometimes he just sits next to her and chews on her ears sweetly. Its just randomly that these scenes take place. He even gets irritated sometimes if you scratch him, THOUGH he LOVES getting scratched, randomly he growls certain times if you scratch him. Please help me with my dogs Behavior!!

Our Response

Hi and thanks so much for your detailed question – I can tell you are are committed dog owner and if it helps at all I love Dalmatians they are one of my top ten favorite breeds. I will start by explaining a little general information to watch out for and then some breed specific information about Dalmatians and we will then go in to the problem a little deeper. I hope you understand – although I can give advice it is very difficult without seeing your two dogs together and watching them interact together.

Dalmatians love to be around the family – they love to play and are very energetic and loyal to a respected and consistent owner and trainer. They need to have boundaries and are also known to have a stubborn streak. This breed need lots of exercise and stimulation and can become aggressive if they are locked up or not provided with the right amount daily routine and being walked regularly. This breed can be aggressive to other dogs during ‘play-time’ but this is normally with smaller breeds and not a dog that has been living together for years.

1. Has your male dog been neutered? This is very important as not only can this reduce aggressive behavior it can reduce the risk f problems associated with the Prostate Gland – although this is normally best in the first year – speak to your vet about the pros and cons of this.

2. Check that your dog (the male that is causing the problems) has NOT developed any health problems. Although these health problems normally develop in old age (with any sudden behavior changes always check with your vet that your dog does has not got a medical problem). Some health problems that develop in older age is Arthritis – this can cause a dog to be very short tempered and aggressive at times. Another problem is Hip Dysplasia and bone spurs.

3. I would start by making sure that you give both your dogs lots and lots of exercise and reward all aspects of positive behavior. A tired dog is often less likely to show aggressive tendencies. Try enrolling in dog obedience training classes as they are an excellent way for a trainer to spot and correct any negative behavioral problems as they happen.

4. When your dog takes his bone over to your other dog – if he growls or moans take the bone off of him – say ‘No’ and wait for him to be quiet. Use a command such as sit or lie down. You want your dog to know that you are the pack leader – when he is quiet give him the bone back. Try and avoid Tug toys as they may just reinforce the behavior that your dog is displaying. Give your dog equal praise and equal play time.

5. Take your dog to obedience classes – can’t stress this enough this may cure the problem – a dog trainer can be relatively cheap – go by recommendation.

Hope this helps.