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Old 12-25-2009, 04:52 PM
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MandyPug MandyPug is offline
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Default Dog suddenly acting up...

So a friend of mine has a dog who came from a bad situation. Beaten pretty much for being a dog. So she naturally was fearful. Lots of hard work has been put into this dog to get her to the place where she can function in society and she really was getting much much better.

However my friend has a new boyfriend, and the dog has backslid alot and now goes after the cats and is becoming food aggressive and bites her and her boyfriend when they kiss or hug. She even pooped in my friend's bed.

All the advice she's getting is to use prong collars and to knock the dog off balance and force her down. They don't believe that there is any other way and the dog needs to be put in it's place. However there are a few of us that do not believe these methods have any place in dog training first of all and definitely no place when working with a dog that was abused for the first 6-7 months of her life. They believe she's just plotting to take over the house and trying to do it now, they don't think there's anything deeper than dogs wanting to overthrow humans... Quite ridiculous if you ask me...

Do you guys have any advice that i could give her? The dog is a bc mix, a little over a year i believe. This is obviously something that needs to be stopped but i can't let her be told that being physically rough with the dog is the only way, but i need something to back it up with.

Anyways, thanks in advance.
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Old 12-25-2009, 09:14 PM
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I would recommend that as a team, using rewards the owner and the BF work on basic known skills or find a fav game that the dog loves and encourage the bf to play it with her. Ignore all unwanted behaviour at this point but having said that they shouldn't be allowing her to do such things as bite either. I would put her away and manage her when any close contact is expected with the bf.

Harsh corrections at this point will have the dog associate the BF with bad things..........and the problem will get worse.
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Old 12-25-2009, 10:24 PM
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Not knowing what they are presently doing it's hard to say what they should change. You are right about using harsh aversive training. They need to reward the dog for correct behavior. But what else is going on? If the dog is biting or nipping I would first tell them to not allow the dog on the furniture or bed. Some people believe that a dog belongs in a human lap, but this isn't necesarrily good for the dog, and certainly not if she is biting the human that belongs to the lap. Dog should be on a high quality diet. SHe may even need supplements given her background. There can be definite genetic problems with this dog, but I'd start to rule out nutritional problems and training problems first.
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Old 12-25-2009, 10:39 PM
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She doesn't allow the dogs on the furniture, never has. They eat a balanced 100% raw diet. She basically (from what i know) says a firm no and gives the dog a "time out" in a room by herself when she acts inappropriately and tries to reward good behaviour. The boyfriend does nothing and doesn't think he should do anything. She's never been a 100% reliable dog and they only got her earlier this year. It took alot of time and training to get her to even a functional dog that wouldn't cower and pee even if you looked at her.

I told her that maybe the boyfriend should take the dog to a basic training class for bonding and to learn how to properly handle a dog.
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Old 12-25-2009, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MandyPug View Post

I told her that maybe the boyfriend should take the dog to a basic training class for bonding and to learn how to properly handle a dog.
Agreed, lol that is what I meant by *known skills* if it is available with a good trainer, agiltiy classes do wonders for such dogs and could also be good for the BF as long as he doesn't have unrealistic expectations as some guys do.
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Old 12-26-2009, 11:24 AM
Maura Maura is offline
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You know, your friend should listen to her dog. I wish I had listened to mine, then I wouldn't have married my first husband.

I know you should put humans first and all that, but when a man comes into your life and will do zero to help you with your dog who has been abused, well. In her best interest, she should put the dog first and ditch the boyfriend. Can you imagine this guy with a baby?
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Old 12-26-2009, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Maura View Post
You know, your friend should listen to her dog. I wish I had listened to mine, then I wouldn't have married my first husband.

I know you should put humans first and all that, but when a man comes into your life and will do zero to help you with your dog who has been abused, well. In her best interest, she should put the dog first and ditch the boyfriend. Can you imagine this guy with a baby?
This is a valid point, years ago before I married my husband. I went out with a guy a couple of times........my horse hated him and wouldn't even let him touch him. This coming from a horse that loved everybody and loved attention from anyone he could get it from. A horse that willingly gave kisses (licked your cheek).........I ditched that guy especially when he kept trying to force himself upon my horse. That guy turned out to be a drunk and an abuser to the woman that he ended up marrying. Smart horse
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:40 PM
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It sounds like the dog may have a fear of men (?). Could that be so?

And it sounds like this situation requires specific, context-centered directions in order to be reliably effective. However, I can suggest that if the boyfriend became a source of food for the dog, the dog would probably change it's behavior toward the boyfriend. This could at the same time address the food aggression.

Here is how I would address this:

But first, regarding prong collars and force.... I would suspect that your friend was doing a good job of being a patient, gentle, but firm source of authority and that the dog responded by taking second place and trusting your friend to lead. Now her boyfriend enters the scene and her manner or "energy" changed to be subordinate to the boyfriend. The dog sensed this and saw it as a faliure of leadership which required that space be filled and not by a stranger to the "pack". Hence the dog started being less submissive, more dominant, more defensive, more protective (biting when they kiss), and didn't actually know how to be the leader (and shouldn't be the leader!). In this case we don't really have an aggressive dog, but a dog that is fearful/dominant and responds with aggressive behavior. A pinch collar or choke collar in this case would probably only aggravate the situation.

So if an assessment were to actually indicate that this is all true, then my suggestion would be that the boyfriend feed the dog whenever he is there at feeding time. And there are some specific guidelines to be followed that will address aggression. But this requires the boyfriend to agree to help, of course.

1) Have the boyfriend get his hands into the food so that it has his scent. Then he should take the bowl, hold it up high enough that the dog cannot eat from it, take a handful of food from the bowl and hand-feed it to the dog. Any words used should be few and gentle but said with a feeling of peaceful confidence and care. All this must be done without any sense or sign of threat, because the dog would sense it and take it as a challenge that could lead to an aggressive response.

He should then hand-feed most of the food to the dog, then put the bowl down for the dog to take the last of the food himself. But the boyfriend should just stand there motionless while the dog eats until the dog either sits down or walks away.



2) Never take anything from the dog.

If something is to be removed from the dog (food bowl, toy, etc), you have to make the dog give it up rather than take it from him. Your friend should maneuver slowly and gradually and calmly to place her feet between the object and the dog. Start with the object between her feet and the dog, even if the dog has it in his mouth. I'm saying to approach from the front rather than the side.

If the dog growls and she becomes fearful that the dog may attack, she should stop and look away, but not back off if she can help it. In the case of a toy she can eventually get a toe on the toy to pin it down, and then just stay there motionless until the dog walks away. Then she has won.

The trick is to be able to assess how to do this so that it is gradual enough and peaceful enough that the dog will not feel the need to protect or defend. So one event could take half and hour in an extreme case.

The rule here is to always avoid appearing as a challenge or as confrontive. Gentle, firm, authoritative love, peace, and kindness is needed so that the dog sees leadership and no threat.

Good luck!

P.S. By becoming the boyfriend of your friend, he has become part of the "pack", like it or not. That is just the reality to the dog. And so he needs to interact appropriately with the dog according to the dog's needs.

Last edited by Paws4Fun; 12-30-2009 at 01:05 PM.
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