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Thread: Pheromone anger

  1. #1

    Pheromone anger

    We have two dogs, both adoptees. Big Dog is a Boxer mix and has been neutered. Blue Dog is a pit bull and is not spayed yet. Both dogs were raised around kids and have never shown any aggression towards them. Adults don't get that free pass, though. We live near a golf course and there have been a few unfortunate interactions with ground hogs and chipmunks. Big Dog is three years old, Blue Dog is four.

    Blue Dog went into heat a few weeks ago and it all broke loose when she did. Big Dog would posture up and go for the kill if she got near him, rather odd for two dogs who would clean each others faces after eating. Resource guarding generally involves biting lips and ears to establish dominance, Big Dog was coming from behind and targeting Blue Dog's neck. All three of us took some damage.

    My question is whether someone else has had experience with pheromones pushing a neutered male into attack mode? I've done some research on this and found some information saying it happens, but there's nothing on if it goes away when the heat cycle is over. Blue Dog is scheduled for her spay in September, 30 days after estrus so the uterus has time to recover before surgery.

    We have a veterinarian and a certified trainer working with us on this, neither of which can offer any certainty that things will return to normal for our pups.

    I appreciate any help offered. Thank you.
    Last edited by Tigger; 08-07-2019 at 08:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Oct 2018

    Re: Pheromone anger

    Welcome to the forum Tigger

    I'm certainly confused about the behaviour you're describing here. I've never heard of a dog getting aggressive at a bitch in heat, especially a boxer. You would think, if anything, Blue Dog may be getting aggressive towards Big Dog, not the other way around.

    I would think that after getting Blue Dog spayed, Big Dog should calm down since it seems to be associated with her being in heat. I've not had any experience with this type of behaviour, so I can't give you any more direct advice. Maybe consider keeping them apart until she comes out of heat if that's possible?

    May I ask though why you've chosen to wait thirty days before getting her spayed? Was this something your veterinarian recommended?
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  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    South-West UK
    Blog Entries

    Re: Pheromone anger

    This does sound odd, and I can't say that I understand it either, but there has to be a logical reason in Big Dog's mind.

    It is usually the other way round; the female usually gets defensive and snappy at any eager males "hitting on her" (even neutered ones, who may well still show great interest), except for during those 4 or 5 days right in the midddle of her heat, when she won't mind the attention at all!

    But for it to be reversed, and the male to be annoyed...well I have not heard of that before.

    Has Blue Dog been "courted" by any other males during her heat? If so, then maybe she has their scent on her? That's one thing came to my mind.....

  4. #4

    Re: Pheromone anger

    Yes, the thirty day wait is to give the uterus time to recover from the heat cycle.

    There's plenty of information on the female getting snappy during estrus - I can assure you that Big Dog was the aggressor. She was laying at my wife's feet one day and he walked in front of her, turned around and went after her. I had fed them both one morning, as is typical they came into the LR where I was having my coffee. As a rule, they spend this time cleaning each other or rough housing. Big Dog was on the couch behind her and just launched at her neck. That day we bought a gate and have had them seperated since. A few days ago Big Dog was in the backyard and I took Blue Dog out to the fence - He didn't display aggression, gave a couple of kinda playful yips and just stood there. Was it the fence between them effecting his behavior? Not sure. I was hopeful we're getting past this issue, but I wasn't taking a chance.

  5. #5

    Re: Pheromone anger

    No, it's just him and her. Fenced yard unless I have them out walking. We've been rotating them outside and whenever she's out he is all nose. I have noticed his behavior seems to have backed off with her timing out of estrus. He's a loving dog (He's a 80 pound ear nibbler. If you're brave enough for that kind of thing.) and has been his usual affectionate self to my wife and I. Blue Dog spent the weekend with her original family, so they'll have had four days apart tomorrow afternoon. I'm going to allow them to meet at the fence again and see how that goes. She was inside the fence one day and when he got there she wanted to play. Again, we kept them apart because, quite frankly, I'm tired of getting my forearms wrecked when they get into it.

    I appreciate your input. The vet suggested it could be Blue Dog starting things, she's been with us for about 7 months and could be getting comfortable so she's being more assertive towards him. I can't disagree, but I watch this dog deescalate tensions between her and Big Dog all the time. She's a purebred blue pit and was raised with her two much, much larger brothers. These two don't fight over food (just once)any longer, they eat and when the other dog is done they go lick their bowl. We had a resource guarding issue with toys, so we bought more toys. I'm clearly thinking this is a pheromone issue, but I'm not an expert on this, In fact, this is the first non-spayed female I have owned in 50+ years of having dogs. It's baffling.

  6. #6

    Re: Pheromone anger

    Not long to go before your female is neutered. I sincerely hope that this resolves your problems. You mentioned "...they came into the LR where I was having my coffee." What is LR? Is this some American abbreviation?

    Please come back and tell our members how things go after the operation. We would like to know.

  7. #7

    Re: Pheromone anger

    Living Room. It's used in real estate.

    I will absolutely return and post about this topic. It's clearly not common for this to happen and that, of course, has raised more questions. I have spoken with people who talk about the age that a male gets neutered having an effect on their personality. Big Dog isn't high strung, but he's high energy. He relaxes well, but when it's time to go he is full throttle. I don't know about the age/neutering idea, I will ask the vet what he thinks on that topic.

    I just picked up Blue Dog from her weekend with her former owner. We adopted her and the former owner is my granddaughters mom, so we don't have a problem with the dog visiting on occasion. It makes for great pet care when we're going away for a weekend. Her vulva is a lot less swollen than when she was dropped off Friday. I put her in the fenced yard and let Big Dog out on the driveway. He was reaching his paw through the fence towards her, no aggression involved. It seems he really just wanted to play. We're going to have to get to the point of reintroducing them face to face, I'm hoping these few minutes spent nose to nose are spurring some good memories. Our trainer says 'Dogs don't hold grudges'. I hope she's right.

  8. #8

    Re: Pheromone anger

    OK. It's been a few weeks and I must say we've seen some great progress. Big Dog has become his old self again, he's a lot calmer and back to his old loving self. Blue Dog is a few weeks away from surgery, but the swelling has gone down and we're sure she's past estrus. They are still separated, but we've lifted some of the restrictions: We let them interact through the fence, whether outdoors or at the gate in the house. Last night we all shared a bowl of watermelon at the gate and when we were done they started licking each others faces. The Big Dog, like all of us, is still a little frustrated at being separated. Frankly, I've shed enough blood and we're going to be taking it slow with the reintroduction. I honestly don't think he's going to attack her again. He reaches his paw out between the slats of the gate when she's standing there, trying to get her closer to him. No aggression at all.

    The change in Big Dog is a big deal. When I say he's back to his old loving self he is demonstrating behaviors we really enjoyed. Having an 80 pound (36kg) beast sit on your lap isn't going to be enjoyable for everyone. When this dude wraps his neck around yours in a hug, you feel pretty darn special.

  9. #9

    Re: Pheromone anger

    Glad to hear that things are better. Please come back later and tell us how the operation went. In the meantime, we would love to see some photos!



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