All About Behavioral Problems in Dogs

What To Do about Psychotic Dogs

It’s very rare that I come across a psychotic dog, but because they do exist, it would be irresponsible if I didn’t address this issue. Some puppies have been bred very poorly and suffer brain damage as a result.

These dogs can become very vicious and are a danger even as very young puppies. This problem is identified by erratic or fearful aggression responses in very atypical situations.

There are two categories:

  1. Erratic Viciousness – At unpredictable intervals, dogs with erratic viciousness will growl fiercely from the belly. It may happen when his owner passes his food bowl, approaches when he’s chewing a toy, or even walks by him. At other times, the dog is perfectly sweet—a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality.
  2. Fear Biters – These dogs show dramatic fear in or a startled bite response to nonthreatening situations, like turning a page of the newspaper or moving an arm. They can act extremely confused or threatened when strangers approach. Please note that many well-educated dog people use this term incorrectly. There is a big difference between a dog that bites out of fear and a fear-biter. Don’t automatically assume the worst if someone labels your dog with this term.

Please don’t panic if your dog occasionally growls at you or barks at the mailman. A lot of puppies growl when protecting a food dish or toy and the guarding instinct is strong in many breeds. These are behavioral problems that can be cured or controlled with proper training.

Even many biters can be rehabilitated. The situations I’m speaking of involve severe aggression—bared teeth, hard eyes, a growl that begins in their belly, and a bite response you’d expect from a trained police dog. These personality disturbances are seen very early, usually by four months of age.

It’s both frightening and tragic because nothing can be done to alter their development. Their fate has been sealed by irresponsible, greedy people. If you suspect that your dog might have either of these abnormalities, speak to your breeder and veterinarian immediately and call a specialist to analyze the situation. These puppies must be euthanized. In my career, I’ve seen only six; five were purchased from unknown or suspect breeders and the sixth was a mixed breed.