Pet dog aggression towards owner

Good afternoon, can anyone help with our problem? My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson in 2011. Since January this year quite severe dyskinesia has started due to increased medication and our dog (a Terrier cross, adopted in 2015) has become progressively really agressive towards him in certain moments and situations (when he stands up and walks, swaying). The attacks are very scary and nothing will dissuade the dog - he has bitten him on the hand and ripped a hole in his trouser legs. We have consulted an animal behaviourist ( we are waiting for the second appointment with her). Other times the dog seems ok with him and he goes for walks with him or sits next to him on the sofa. It would seem the dog does not recognise his owner in certain moments. This has been happening more frequently recently and is very upsetting as my husband loves his little companion. Any ideas or information would be most grateful. Thanks.

Hi Liz and welcome to our forum where there is always support and encouragement.
I a sorry to hear about your dog, but you must remember it will be distressing for them as well. My spaniel runs to the other side of the room and shakes when PD causes me to be different from the norm. Once I’m sort of back in control I always let him know that I’m ok and make a big fuss of him. I do hope that the animal behaviourist can assist you both. :sunglasses:

Thank you very much for your reply. It was very much appreciated. I hope the dog behaviourist can helps us to solve this problem as we both love our little dog.

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I hope they can help you. All I can think of is the dog is frightened. There’s probably a simple solution somewhere.
I know with mine I have 6 a couple are quite old I did a little while ago teach them to recognise the word HELP. They then come and sit around me. Then I say I am ok then they move. I taught them a while ago because of my COPD and my coughing fits which sometimes knocked me off my feet.

I hope you find a solution.

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Thanks for telling your experience! If anyone else can help with ideas it would be much appreciated

Any news on how you are getting on?

Hi Bub 1, We have seen dog behaviourist again she came up with idea of stair gates and gate across living room door plus training tactic giving him small piece of
cooked sausage every time husband gets up from chair in order for focus to be on treat and not on husband. It does distract him but fact is I’m not always there with my little container of sausage pieces and I very much doubt whether it will solve problem as dog physically shakes in certain moments when movement takes place. She also suggested having a dog pen in room or large crate to be used when husband wants to move and dog is reacting. A nightmare!Yet dog is very happy to sit on sofa with head on husband’s knee! Don’t know how this will progress and would never have imagined a similar situation. Dog is a terrier cross, a rescue dog and we’ll have had him 4 years on 1st November - he is now around 7. He has always been very “hyper” full of life - gets on well with other dogs and really likes people but unfortunately has bad habit of jumping up and “soft biting”. Will let you know how I get on.

I don’t think putting the dog in a pen or crate will help as the dog may see it as punishment.
I am wondering as dog was a rescue dog even though it was a while ago whether something in his past comes forward and movements that your husband makes triggers it. He is content sitting with your hubby because he is not making any moves.
Let me think on this one and I will get back to you. There is a solution out there.
What about trying him not with sausages but with a dog treat when he’s not jumping up etc.,
Maybe get him to sit with hubby and say are you being a good boy etc. Then give him a treat.
I will have a think and get back to you.

I’m not sure if this is of help…but this unusual personal experience may provide some insight.
We recently had to visit our local vet as our ageing Irish Setter lass was taken ill. While sitting in the waiting room, we were suddenly startled by the loud aggressive growls and barking emanating from a previously very friendly large poodle - directed at me! Even the owner was perturbed and tried to calm his dog. It was only then that I noticed that I was having quite a bout of tremor, and when I hid my hand in my pocket - the dog quieted down…
It would appear that the dog interpreted my tremor as some form of threat…and i wonder of this may not have some bearing for your situation.

Hi Bub, thanks for your ideas I much appreciate them. I am not too keen on turning the house into a high-security prison either really don’t fancy a pen as he would just stand there barking like a lunatic. A big crate would be better as he spent nearly 2 years in one at the rescue place before I went to get him. He has a medium sized crate we use if we go on a .
Anyhow thanks for your interest. Best regards Liz48 longer outing (like 3-4 hours) and he likes it with his soft bed, water and I always leave it three-quarter covered up and radio on. Problem with a “crisis” crate would be how to get him in it when he has “lost it” if he doesn’t like how my husband is (swaying or unsteady) - he is not interested in any treats. So at moment I am trying to “train” him with these tiny pieces of cooked sausage (as advised by dog behaviourist). I always keep his harness and lead on (all day) so I can intervene if necessary. The idea is to distract him from any movement. It is a very difficult situation and if I have to leave husband and dog alone if I need to go shopping he either goes in the garden or in his crate - certainly not how it was meant to be

Hi there SB -thanks for your very helpful intervention- it really is similar to our dog’s behaviour: a sudden change of attitude and unbelievably aggressive - only our dog has already bitten my husband’s hand twice! Not a nice thing to happen. He shows aggression to him when he stands up from sitting position and starts unsteadily walking or swaying. My husband is very tall and obviously must look very menacing to a medium-sized dog. The dog behaviourist reckons we don’t have much choice: re-homing not an option as he has already bitten(and I would never want to upset him again after 4 years with us), having him put to sleep or making these tactics work. Fear is definitely at the root of this problem. best regards Liz48

Please keep trying.
There is always a solution.
Have you tried asking your vet for either a calming collar.? Or asking if there is anything else you can give him.

Just another thought can you remember when it all started ?

Hi there Bub! It all started after diskenisia really set in after increase in medication dosage so husband really started swaying when upright so probably looks threatening to dog. I will certainly try to get calming collar from vet. Thanks for your interest. Liz48

They do calming collars, calming coats and medication.
So speak to your vet.

How are things going?

You have raised a very interesting subject - I, too, am a victim of the dog agression that your husband is experiencing. I have always felt comfortable with dogs and vice verse, up until about 10 years ago, I have been fighting PD for 26 years and am now profoundly affected by dyskinesia (involuntary movements) and to add insult to injury provide the local dog community - large, small, fat, thin you name it- with enough latent provocation to keep them on their toes. Fortunately they have always been restrained. I can walk into a room and the fattest, oldest most docile pooch will suddenly regain his/her youthful aggression and rear up barking and showing every intention to attack me. I am sure that if they weren’t restrained I’d have been bitten.Now is it the smell of our anti-parkinson’s medication or the twisting writhing movements that we are afflicted with that provokes aggression.Let’s explore this

Hi, this is very interesting and for me a possible warning as I have not come across this matter before. When i was diagnosed with YPD last year, there was a focus on having another dog, having had a white German Shepherd previously. With me been home alone most days we felt there was capacity to have a companion for me to be at home with and to venture out with but this turns matters upside down!

Dogs like horses are hyper-sensitive to our overall health, could it be, that it is such unusual behaviour that we display, that they simply cannot fathom it out and thus interpret Dyskinesia as a threat, or perceive us to be somebody else, within our episodes?

Now that may sound a little deep and eerie but my lengthy experience with both horses and dogs is that they do not generally go into fight mode without perceived provocation, on the back of that, could it also be, that the dogs are also protecting the other family members?