Owner of ‘vicious’ Scottie dog seeks help

A reader writes:

I am at my wit’s end. I have a little Scottie, Gladys Knight, who just turned 4. She is my 4th Scot, but my first female.

My daughter, a 3rd year vet student, says she is vicious and most recently, in the last month, as I have moved above my parents, she has bitten their dog twice.

She is the sweetest dog (my Gladys, and my parents’ dog as well), but she has drawn blood on both occasions and stitches on the one.

Both occasions were different circumstances. I don’t want to have to get rid of her, because I love her so much, but I don’t know what to do.

I am in the Chicago area, so if you have any advice or suggestions, please, I implore you HELP.

Take it away, readers and Scottish Terrier experts.

16 thoughts on “Owner of ‘vicious’ Scottie dog seeks help

  1. Hi, Rachel from California here. I would talk to your vet to see if she might do well with meds while taking some training classes. I put this out to my Scottie online group. Hopefully they will comment also. I would seriuosly think about joining our group. They have great ideas and have Scotties much longer thatn me. I have two girls and my oldest used to be very bossy. The groups name is–nothingbutscotties@yahoo.com.

    1. Hello,
      My Theo was a truly a problem rescue with biting problems among others. He went on 20 mg. Prozac and he was another dog. I wish we started this earlier. The vets even designated him a dangerous dog. If nothing else works, try this.

  2. Hello again. This is Rachel. Someone in my group has told me that there is a man that works in the childrens zoo inside the Brookfield Zoo. He trains dogs and she has heard that he is good. You can e-mail me offline if you wish at sealyscots@yahoo.com.

  3. You may want to try the Scottish Terrier Club of Chicago. One of the longtime leaders there is Sue Severtsen, (815) 568-8872, and she’s got more experience in her little finger than you could imagine.

    There are TONS of Scottie lovers and breeders in the area (i used to be involved in scottie rescue there), and STCC has the best resources.

    Good luck.

  4. Here’s another great group with lots of experience nationally and internationally from breeders, pet and rescue owners: http://scottyfriends.ning.com .
    First of all, I’d keep my girl away from other dogs. I have no idea what goes through their silly little minds but I do know that there are some dogs my Scotties just don’t like! I know there are dog behavioral psychologists around and of course you could contact Cesar Millan through his website…I’m told he’s helped others and I don’t think he’s ever worked with a Scottie on his TV show…maybe he’d be interested in taking her on?

  5. Hi, I really feel for you and your situation. I have read and heard that sometimes this behavior can be cause by a thyroid problem. It’s as easy as a blood test your vet does and if there is a problem they put them on medicine. I have heard people that have had great results from this along with some training. They claim that behavior stems for fear believe it or not. You wouldn’t think that though. But, a simple blood test would be a very simple solution. Good luck and please let us know.

  6. Does she only bite the other dog in the house or is she agressive to all dogs? If it’s only the resident dog she is trying to establish her position in the pack. This is normal. You can re-inforce the other dogs position by making sure the other dog is always first to go out, first to be fed, first to get attention. For a while, I’d keep a leash on each of them and let them just drag them around. That way you can ‘correct’ the offending dog. You can tell when an offense is going to happen…the offending dog will lower their head and stare. When they do that, jerk the leash and say NO. If they continue to stare..pick them up, say NO firmly and remove them to another room. Putting them in a crate in another room for 10 minutes is even better. As long as your dog isn’t aggressive with others dogs, this should work.

  7. One (sometimes both) of ours have these aggressiveness issues. Used to be the most docile, playful things — and 98% of the time, they still are. 2%, though is enough. We’d been to trainers who want to condition to like all other dogs with positive reinforcement, but either we aren’t doing it right, or it didn’t “take.”

    MOST important is to separate the two until you can get some other solution (if one exists). We’ve taken the “try to avoid the bad situations” tactic mostly.

    Much as I LOVE my boys, though, they are “terriers” and they are bred to be aggressive. This is not to say that we tolerate or encourage it, but you can’t deny it or ignore it either.

    Horrible problem — one I can very much empathize with.

  8. Attacks don’t just occur – they are always communcated before the strike. There is more going on here than this post communicates (the opinion of a third yr vet student aside). Find a behaviorist that specializes in dogs. Chicago must have more than a few licensed animal behaviorist. If not Chicago try getting in touch with Dr. Patricia McConnell at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

  9. Hi,
    Our first Scottie, Watson, was a biter, we have two now that are not aggressive. We have watched a lot of Caesar Milan’s videos, and have been saddened because of what we didn’t know with Watson. According to Caesar “The Dog Whisperer”, it is not a matter of training, but behavior. I never knew there was a difference. I think there is a lot of hope for your Scottie, but a trainer may not be the solution. Maybe you can locate a dog “behavior” person by getting in touch with the folks at Cesar Milan’s site.
    Good luck,

  10. As soon as Westminster’s over, I’m going to write to my contact at National Geographic TV and tell her we’ve got a candidate for Cesar Millan!

  11. I’d like to get an update on your situation, I’m dealing with a very similar situation with my 4 year old female. She used to be very sweet and loving but in the last year -year and half she has become increasingly agressive with our male and other pets including biting.

    I was also surprised to hear that someone mentioned a thyroid problem as I have been thinking that she has a thyroid problem for a while now but have not gotton the test. Interesting that there might be a link between the two.

    Thanks for posting this scottie news~

  12. My Theo is a rescue so I don’t know his exact background. Inside he is fine but outside he and his (non-Scottie) sister terrorize the apartment complex. I’ve gotten Theo to ignore people walking past him but if they get near any dog, all hell breaks lose. Wheelchairs, bicycles, kids…it’s an obstacle course. One night Theo somehow became detached from his leash (probably my carelessness) and immediately attacked a dog, drawing blood. I was very lucky that the owner was kind, but if we get into this situation again with another kind of owner, I’m afraid. I have to accept that that is the way he is, I guess, and keep him away from all stimulation, but that doesn’t make the walk enjoyable, anticipating and dodging potential problems. Especially when bike riders get right behind you with no indication that they are there. They deserve a bite but it wouldn’t be a good idea.

  13. I share your frustration, I have 3 Scotties. Hamish Macbeth is a joy to bring visiting to nursing homes, volunteering at canine events, Door County Scottie Rally, Celtic Canine Exhibit at Wisconsin Highland Games. My other 2 are terribly other dog aggressive. I work with them constantly but think they’re doomed to stay at home. MacDon Henley actually climbed the fence to attack a dog being walked by. To make matters worse Tartan Trouble and Henley who are brothers will sometimes turn on each when they are in the other dog aggression mode. I too am at my wit’s end with them.

    1. I have had a few biting issues with my 4-year old female Scottie but not with dogs, humans. She is my second Scottie, the first I had no problems with. This one has snapped at and broken the skin on two different people that extended their hand to pet her head. I’ve taken her through a “reconditioning” class and am told that when most dogs behave this way, it is because they were not properly socialized as a puppy. Socialization is key. We have a group of dog-walkers organized by a few individuals here that meet twice per week strictly for the purpose of socializing our dogs around people and other dogs of all makes and models free of charge. There are experienced people in the group and it’s controlled but helps the “fear” factor many dogs have. I was told my dog bit out of fear, not aggression. However, as she gets her daily walk, there is a Dachshund that they both go ballistic at each other. Dogs are unpredictable and we must always be aware of our surroundings and in control of our dogs. You may have to just keep the two apart. I’ve noticed my dog always reacts now to ANY Dachshund she sees. When I walk her on the beach and see another dog coming, I always walk several feet away so they don’t pass closely. I agree with many of the above posts, you need a trainer who deals with special issues outside of basic training. Good luck – love these little Scots!

  14. We have a 15 yr old female Scottie that the older she gets the moe aggressive she is. Can anyone help with a solution to remedy this. We love her bunches!!!

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