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Protective Dog

poodletalk
January 13th, 2005, 08:32 AM
My dog is a husky mix(Probably with Border Collie) she's 9 months old. I fostered her since she was eight weeks old since she had a bad case of kennel cough. I decide to keep her, my vet told me she has a very dominant charcter, so when she was better, I took her to dog obidence school. She's very well socailized, shes use to playing with children and other dogs. Anyone could approach her and she would sit and let them pet her. I had people over who she saw many times before. She let them pet her, and then all of a sudden she would jump,bark and try to BITE.(The people did nothing, one time it was my niece whos 2.5 years old and she was playing with my husband) This is compteley out of her charcter! Every time she tried to do this, she was sitting near my husband or me. Her routine has changed because of the cold winter months. When we go for walks, we don't nearly see as many people we would in the summer months. She's home alone durning the day.I try to come home at lunch, so she can go for a walk.She has the complete run of the house while I am at work. She doesn't chew anything nor pees on the floor. Yes she's spayed. SHe has plenty of toys to keep her busy while I am work. This behavoir problem is something new,(Since Christmas) and it needs to be corrected ASAP! Any tips?

Lucky Rescue
January 13th, 2005, 10:43 AM
If this aggression is sudden, new and completely out of character, it's possible there is a physical reason.

Before anything else, she needs a complete checkup with blood work done. Thyroid problems can cause aggression. She's young to have this, but it needs to be checked anyway.

Dukieboy
January 13th, 2005, 10:47 AM
How hard are the bites? I mean is he chomping down or just holding? Growling or snarling?

poodletalk
January 13th, 2005, 11:17 AM
Thankgod, she never has made any contact! I am waiting for my vet and dog obidence trainer to call me back.In November, I had a babyshower at my house 25 people all animal friendly. She was there, and she was a perfect angel. My niece was playing with her, (my niece has been around dogs since day one and we are teaching her to be gentle and respect animals)she didn't growl, snap or anything. Just since Christmas this behavoir and I am very worried. If she did make contact, it would be a very serious bite. My husband and I NEVER hit her, she knows by the tone of my voice when she was a bad girl or a good girl.

twinmommy
January 13th, 2005, 11:27 AM
What does she guard normally? Food? toys? bed? all three? Was it just one incident, or have there been more things since Xmas? Does she growl and snap or just growl. What does her body language look like? Dominant or fearful? And where are you located?


sorry to pummel you with questions!! WELCOME, by the way :D

poodletalk
January 13th, 2005, 12:03 PM
When she jumps, she very dominant, shes not a fear biter. Shes not dominant over her toys, food or her bed. She only does this when she's close to me or my husband. She's protecting us! I really don't think she thinks shes the alpha towards me. I am the one who took her to obidence school and practiced with her.and still practicing. Unfortunally, I had a situation this morning while walking her. A man was walking by, and he stopped to talk to me(he was a stranger). I told my dog to sit, which she did. She sat for awhile, and then she jumped up and tried to attack.(It was completly out of the blue) The man jumped back, and I grabbed her by the collar and made her lie down. I told her NO!!!bad girl in a harsh voice and she cowarded down. I didn't pet her for the rest of the morning, and she looked very upset when I left for work. (It made me feel guilty) She wears a normal collar not a choker collar. Up to recently, when she saw people, I had the opposite problem she didn't want to leave them because she loved everyone! She plays with the dogs next door, a beagle pup, she wrestles with him, but never hurts him and my other neighbour has 3 golden retrievers. She is fine with my neighbours. She has lots of energy, we take her for minium of 2 walks aday, an hour each time. We spend alot of time with her by walking or playing ball. By the way, I live in Montreal.

db7
January 13th, 2005, 12:03 PM
If she wanted to bite she would have made contact, they have much faster reaction time so in a situation like this it sounds like she is sending a message to back off. (disclaimer! simply my opinion, would have to be there to really know). Twinmommy is bang on,you have to learn to read the dogs body language to determine what is triggering the aggression. It could very well be that the dog is sending signals 'leave me alone right now' and you are not picking up on them, well before the outburst. You have to start by figuring out if it is offensive or defensive aggression.

twinmommy
January 13th, 2005, 12:20 PM
she seems threatned by strangers for some reason....

what happens when the doorbell rings, for example. You could use that example (if she barks and attacks) to change her mindset of what strangers are, and how she reacts to them. Keep in mind she is just protecting the pack, basically doing her job. So you must be particular in the way you reprimand her.

Being in Montreal, me too by the way :D , you could contact a fantastic trainer who helped me very much with my dog, Gypsy. And on this site Tenderfoot and Luckyrescue give great advice on agression, to name a few.

the trainer's name is Larry Liljedahl in Hudson 450-458-4788. He ROCKS!!
(type Tri-L kennels into Google and read about him, see for yourself. :thumbs up

poodletalk
January 13th, 2005, 12:48 PM
Thanks....I just got off the phone with my trainer.She thinks my dog is very domaiment and territorial. Even though, I practice sit, heel, etc my dog is spoiled. I recently allowed her on the sofa. I through the ball when she brings me the ball even though I don't want to play ball.She thinks I should kick my dog off the sofa and despoil her and show her I will protect the pack not her and she will come back to her old ways(Hopefully). When the door bell rings, she doesn't bark or attack. She comes with me to the door, and I tell her to sit and she does.

db7
January 13th, 2005, 04:38 PM
Also watch the circumstances very carefully. There may be something, some trigger she has learned on her own due to some past event or perceived threat that sets her off. Dogs don't due very much "out of the blue" . If you could pinpoint that it would go a long way in helping her to desensitize to the situation.

twinmommy
January 13th, 2005, 07:11 PM
Look at www.alphabootcamp.com (I'll get you the right addy if that doesn't pan out) It's very informative.


good luck and keep us posted.

tenderfoot
January 15th, 2005, 07:14 PM
Her age has a lot to do with this behavior. She is just entering her teenage stride and she is challenging you and others for her turf. She loves you and it sounds like some of her obedience has gone well, but if she had complete faith in your leadership then this would not be showing up to this degree.
She is protective and possessive about you - because she doesn't believe you can lead the way in her life or yours.
If this were a child acting out you would not tolerate such anti-social behavior, so don't let her make you feel guilty for a second.
We have drills that we do that establish a clear leadership role that go way beyond come, sit, & stay. Working your dog throughout the day is important as constant reminders of who is the leader in the relationship. if you are only a good leader 50% of the time then he is obligated to step into the role the other 50% and he will constantly challenge you for the remaining 50. Does that make sense?
Personally we don't care if the dog is on the couch or the bed just so long as he gets off when you tell him to and doesn't argue. The furniture issues that trainers get upset about are really just symptoms of an out-of-balance relationship they aren't the problem itself. It's like a house with cracked walls - the walls are not the problem, its the foundation of the house that needs fixing.

poodletalk
January 17th, 2005, 07:29 AM
Thanks Tenderfoot. I am doing the "alpha boot camp" with my dog. Some parts of it is going well, and its a good refresher course for all three of us but I also feel we are taking couple of steps back.
I am working with my dog outside doing sit, down and stay. When people are walking on the opposite side of the street, I make her sit and watch them She seems to like this. When she does well by sitting and lying outside, I reward her with a treat. Before I feed my dog her breakfast and supper I practice with her as well for couple of minutes and then the "big test"I tell her " sit and stay" I put her food on the floor and I make her wait till I say "come" (I make sure she sees me eat before I put her food down) Its only a minute or two before I tell her to come. If she comes before I say, I pick up her food and I wait for 5 minutes before we do the test again. Normally we have to do it twice and then she's allowed to eat. (My trainer told me to do this, she must earn what she eats) The problem is, my dog was comptely house trained for months, but since this "alpha boot camp"(We started on Wednesday or Thursday)she is now peeing on the floor and she's stealing food off the table which she hasn't done for months either.(She's not peeing on the floor because shes afraid of me, I take her for along walk come in and then she pee's on the floor.) I know this is her way of acting out, and trying to show she's the boss. I can't "displine her" because I didn't catch her in the act. (I never crate trained my dog, when I went out when she was a young pup, I would put her in a room, close the door and she would never chew a thing.) Displine her, I mean No, Bad girl! Down and stay. She knows when I mad by the tone of my voice. I will continue to do this alpha boot camp, her sitting and staying has improved, but how do I handle this new problem? Peeing and stealing food?

tenderfoot
January 17th, 2005, 06:27 PM
1 - Make sure she gives you eye contact before you release her to her food. It's like her asking permission to eat. Have the leash on and if she breaks before you release her then you should back her away from the food and start over again immediately. Don't wait. Give her the chance to make a better choice right now. She should only challenge you 3-5 times and then she'll submit and be patient.
*In fact make sure she gives you eye contact regularly. Before she goes in or out of any doors or gates. Before you release her from any instruction. And do not pet her unless she is looking at you and then you stop petting before she looks away.
2 - Having her on the leash in the house, connected to you, is great for these training snafus. Keep her on the leash after your walk - monitor her for 10-15 minutes - let her out once more to see if she has to go and then come in and give her some freedom to test it. If she makes a mistake then she goes back on the leash. If she can't show that she can be trusted in the house then she will be treated like a tiny puppy until she can be trusted. It is important for you to be aware of her when she is not on the leash because that is the only opportunity you have to correct a bad choice. It might only take a day or two of focused attention, and then she's back on a good track.
3 - Make sure she knows the direction "leave it". Then set her up to practice. Put food on the edge of the table, in the middle of the floor anywhere she might be tempted. Have her on the leash (your control) and allow her to choose. When you see her even thinking about stealing the food is when you stop her. First with your words "leave it", and if she persists then back it up with a correction and some energy in her direction backing her away from the object. Then go right back to tempting her again. In a matter of minutes you should be able to get to the point where there is a plate of food in the middle of the floor and you are on one side and she is on the other - you call her to come and she comes to you while making a wide circle around the food - showing you that she respects that it is yours not hers.

poodletalk
January 18th, 2005, 06:52 AM
Thank-You Tenderfoot!! She does give me eye contact, its a stare exactly like a border collie. I went to your website, and saw the books that you recommend. I am going to my book store on Thursday to see if they have any in stock. Have you ever heard of the book-Dog Whisper? I was told by someone that would be a good book for me to read.

tenderfoot
January 18th, 2005, 09:50 AM
The Dog Whisperer book is different than the Dog Whisperer National Geographic show. Niether of them actually use 'whisperer' techniques as we know them. Actually, we trained with Master Horse Whisperers for 20 years and our methods are the only ones I know of which actually use the same means of communication. We have developed drills to do with your dog before you ever do a dit, down or stay, which place you in the correct balanced relationsihp with your dog and get him to start looking to you for the decisions in his life NATURALLY - not through force or bribery.
All animals communicate through the same means and we are all about teaching people to recognize the signals your dog gives you and to respond effectively, but with the least amount of energy possible for your individual dog. It is fast and easy.
The DW book talks a lot about being 'zen' like with your dog (if I remember correctly) and the DW TV show says a lot of great stuff but I think he uses force too quickly and doesn't focus enough on teaching safe, effective skills to the people - not everyone can take a pitbull down and not get bit.
My favorite books are by Ian Dunbar and Bruce Fogel. They are common sense and down to earth. Of course our DVD is my absolute favorite but I am biased.

poodletalk
January 31st, 2005, 10:28 AM
I am working with my dog and we are making progress. Like I stated in other posts, my dog was never aggressive towards people it started around Christmas. At the end of November, my dog got groomed at a very reputable place it was her first time.The groomer said she was very nervous with the water, and she was terrified of the dryer. Everytime he put under the dryer she got sick and he took her and rebathed 3 times!!! The third time he decided to let her drip dry!(Apparently the dryers sounded like a vacum cleaner, which she doesn't like) I was mad, and I told the groomer he should have called me after the first time and I would have picked her up. Walking her to the car, she was sick and I brought her home and she was sick. I took the afternoon off of work, to be with her. Do you think because of this very bad experience, this is the reason why she became aggressive towards strangers or people she doesn't see on regular basis??? Before the groomers, she use to let me clip her nails, after the groomers she wouldn't let me touch her paws. I am using the treat method, everytime she lets me hold her paws, I give her a treat. I am at the point, where I can hold her paws and the clippers in the other hand. She sniffs the clippers, but I haven't clipped her nails yet.

twinmommy
January 31st, 2005, 10:45 AM
That could definitely contribute to it...poor thing, and poor you!! The groomer;s can be really traumatic for them, and have lasting effects.

Good for you for working on it!!

Outside the grooming, as most dogs don't care for that too much, how's the agression? What is going on now with your baby? :love:

poodletalk
January 31st, 2005, 11:11 AM
Were working on it...she now sits and waits before she comes to her food dish. She waits and I go out the door first. Its not 100% perfect, but its coming along. As for her aggression, well I am not sure. When we walk, and I see people coming, I make her sit and she watches them. She doesn't bark or show any signs of aggression. I still bring her to the depanneur in the morning, and I make her sit outside while I get the newspaper. (Its literally 1 minute she sits outside by herself at the store and I can see her) No reaction...she sits there looking around. When I come out, I praise her and tell her shes a good girl. She still loves my neighbours...and cries to go outside when she sees them. She loves my parents and their dogs, she doesn't want to leave their house when we go and visit. Yesterday, people came up from behind us and they had a dog and she was busy playing with the dog and didn't care about the people.(We didn't know the people) I am hoping she's coming back to her old ways...were still doing the "alpha boot camp" So I am hoping for the best. In the spring, I would like to take her to the dog park, but first I need to make sure I won't have anything to worry about if someone wants to pet her. I am trying to let her socialize...but in a controled atmosphere....

twinmommy
January 31st, 2005, 11:18 AM
sounds good!! Make her sit for EVERYTHING!! Even sometimes just call her over and make her sit before you touch her.

Is she aggressive with ohter dogs too? What things are still residual?

poodletalk
January 31st, 2005, 11:26 AM
No she's not aggressive towards other dogs. She LOVES other dogs. My neighbours beagle who's 4 months old nipped her pretty hard the other day, and she started bleeding. She yelped and continued playing with the dog. If she was aggressive, she would have attacked...

It was very sudden that she was aggressive towards people..before she loved people even strangers she would pull on her leash to go towards them. When I was home, I would bring her everywhere I went, I had nothing to worry about. It was after she got groomed...she was never an angel, she was a typical pup, but aggression was never one of her faults...

twinmommy
January 31st, 2005, 11:29 AM
Sounds like things are going well, good for you poodletalk!!! :thumbs up

You could start to cut her nails a paw at a time (I used to take a whole day break in betwee paws with Jake!! :rolleyes: ) It's a confidence thing, and she might have been nipped in the quick at the groomer's,.... :(

tenderfoot
January 31st, 2005, 11:32 AM
Q'est que c'est le depanneur? (did I say that correctly? - my french is very rusty)
Sounds like you are doing a great job. Sorry about the horrible grooming incident. It surely put her over the edge and might have forced her to start being more assertive. She was scared and no one was there to rescue her so she decided she need to start rescuing herself when she was unsure about a situation. So having you start acting as the leader in all situations will teach her that you are in charge and she can ease off.
If she has a problem with vacumm cleaners then it would be good to desenitize her to them. You could make a long recording of a vacuum and play it at increasing volume levels during her meals. We look at it as if she grrew up in a vacuum store then she would not have issues with vacuums. She would become desensitized to them.
When you have a fear you have to move through the fear in order to get over it. But don't do it cold turkey - do it is little increments at a time. But each time you do it you need to see a shift in her attitude or else you aren't helping. It's as if you were scared of snakes. I would first just tell you there was a snake in the other side of the house. I would not let you know it was gone until I saw you relax and take an emotional deep breath. Then I would let you know that it was in a room closer to you and closer and closer until it was across the same room as you were in. I would not force you to look at or touch the snake. I would continue with this until you could stand near the snake and not freak out. Each time you would have a fearful moment but then realize that the snake was no threat and become a little braver. She just needs to realize that the vacuum is no threat and get over it.

poodletalk
January 31st, 2005, 11:47 AM
My husband and I are trying.... shes far from perfect, she wouldn't win a prize for the best behaved dog but its not that bad either. When she acts up inside the house, and we won't listen we give her a "time out" Just like parents would do with their kids. I put her leash on, and tie it to a door and she sits there for couple of minutes. We don't talk to her, she relaxes and she ok.after. My goal for her, is to take her to the dog park in the spring and I don't need to worry if people want to pet her.

TenderFoot, depaneur is a cornerstore....I think your French is " Tres Bien"!!!

twinmommy
January 31st, 2005, 11:58 AM
Waht does she do when she acts up? If the time out is loosing effectiveness, can you try to ignore her? I was surprised at how that worked wonders with Gypsy!! She used to make a big deal about getting out of my bed until I just closed the door o her and left her there with no attention.

WEll!! I opened the door a few minutes later to a big suck , on the floor of her own accord. :D

Could this work for you?

poodletalk
January 31st, 2005, 12:08 PM
She doesn't do this to me so much, but to my husband. When we watch TV and she wants to play..she puts her two front paws on the sofa and stands up on her hind legs. She hits him with her front legs...and then she goes down on her 4 legs. She does this over and over again very quickly.If we ignore her, she grabbs his sleeve of his shirt or the cuff of his pants and starts shaking it. She brings the ball and drops it and starts barking. We tell her to stop, sit but shes too excited...So time out time. We dont do it often enough so it hasn't warn off yet. When we are home, she gets plenty of attention....this is her way of acting up.

poodletalk
January 31st, 2005, 12:15 PM
I don't know if it worked...but here is a picture of her....

twinmommy
January 31st, 2005, 12:56 PM
Yup!! I'd ignore her further still!! Let her wait until YOU, ALPHA, wants to give attention. Do not even look at her when she behaves like this, if you have to change rooms do so.

(I know it's hard to do that, but it's for her own good. Soon she'll learn her place in the pack.


p.s. she's adorable btw!!!

tenderfoot
January 31st, 2005, 03:08 PM
Gorgeous dog, I wonder if there isn't some Akita in there.
Ignoring can work, but she is being quite demanding - if she were to ever come forward with those paws she could do some major scratching damage. I would tell her 'off' in a very firm tone and stomp towards her and back her up a few steps. Ask her to down/stay or sit stay. Give her a few minutes and then release her. Time outs don't teach her to control herself because she is being forced to control herself by being tethered. Asking her to choose to sit/stay (and making sure it happens), gets her to choose her behavior and use her brain. Having her on the leash for this can be helpful. She needs to understand that she is invading your space and you have every right to guard it. She also needs to understand that demanding your attention will not get her what she wants - but being calm and patient will.
I would like to see you step up the Leadership role a bit by correcting the bad choices, and then ignoring her, and when she is calm to reward her with praise and attention. Watch other dogs at play. When a dog gets too rough - one will typically correct the rough behavior and then walk away. When the assertive dog learns to suplicate then the other dog will play again and all is well.

poodletalk
January 31st, 2005, 04:07 PM
ok tenderfoot-when she acts up again, I will make her sit/stay.
As for her breed, we are not sure. Her mom was a stray and gave birth to 12 pups on someones lawn. Her mother is a medium size dog, compteley white with brown eyes. All the pups looked different, some where grey, all black and couple looked like German Shepards..I can see why you think maybe she has a touch of Akita.

tenderfoot
January 31st, 2005, 04:56 PM
Mixed breeds can be hard to decipher.
That litter could have 12 different fathers! More likely 1-2 different fathers. So though some pups might have looked shepardy others could have been part toy-poodle!- slight exaggeration on my part, but you get my point.
No matter she's wonderful!