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dogs suddenly biting

wallflower67
May 4th, 2006, 09:48 AM
I adopted a beautiful black lab last December. My neighbors found him wandering as a stray on an Indian reservation...she's a doctor there and visits from time to time, and she saw this lab several time. people were being mean to him. She asked around and no one claimed him, so she brought him home. She had two very small dogs, and they were terrified of a dog that big. So I adopted him and named him Cody.

He was already house broken, and I've trained him to do basic commands like sit, stay, down and come. He was pushy and mouthed, and I got him to stop that behavior with me, but my 11yo daughter is not doing such a good job with the training.

I have two other dogs. A 12 year old lab/shepard, and possible rott mix (Zach), who is so far away from being alpha dog that we call him zeta dog. My other dog is a Sheltie (Maya), who I was sure was dying at the time I adopted the lab. It turned out she had low thyroid, and with medication she is back to her old self. But she is 12 and arthritic. She had alpha status over my mix.

Cody soon became dominant over Zach, which I expected. He pretty much left Maya alone, since she is mostly a couch potato.

However, Cody, in his young energy, will sometimes run right over Maya. She has just recently started to bite at him, and he goes at her. He went for her throat and she has a wound....not severe, but I'm now alarmed.

I would need to get him an anti-bark collar to make him a completely outdoor dog, as my neighbors will protest at his barking. On days when very hot or very cold weather would prevent him from staying outside, I suppose I could muzzle him when I'm gone.

I know i have to leave them separated when I'm not at home, unless he is muzzled.

I'm afraid I may need to get him a new home. My daughter is crushed, as am I. She considered him her birthday present.

Does anyone have any other ideas? Truthfully, I'm not sure I can trust other members of my household to follow through with remembering to leave him outside or muzzle him when they leave.

Laurie

Rottielover
May 4th, 2006, 10:45 AM
no sound dog would hever hurt a bitch,. You do not have history on him, so you do not know anything about his back ground. A muzzel is not a good idea, it will just make him more aggressive if that is what it might be.
Have him as an out door dog is possibly putting someone else at harm.
Have you ever brought him to training???
If not do it ASAP.
As for playing, these dogs should not be put into harms way. When you are not able to stop something before it starts ( reading body language) he should be seperated from the others. I say doggie boot camp is in order.
NILF ( nothing in life free) make him work for everything.

OntarioGreys
May 4th, 2006, 11:48 AM
A muzzel is not a good idea, it will just make him more aggressive if that is what it might be.


Greyhounds are raised using muzzles especially at the track it allows them to socialize without causing damage to another since they have very thin skins that even a playful nips can cause gaping holes , and they are far from agressive as a result. Any dog can go after a weakened older dog as a way of trying to usurp its alpha position which is likely what is happening here with Cody, the sex has no bearing when it comes to overthrowing the alpha spot. My suggestion is if you want to keep Cody that you do keep him muzzled when you are home and seperated when away, because he can still use his physically body strength to pick on Maya, this includes turning them into the yard seperately. Because Maya's health is failing you have to do what you can to protect her from his bullying her for the alpha position. Once she passes away things will settle down as he can then be allowed to have the alpha role since Zach is not interested in the role and therefore won't be seen as a threat.

This kind of behaviour can also occur in longtime existing packs where the older alpha starts to decline rapidly in health and a younger alpha type dog will realize it and will attack the older dog to destroy and take control of the pack This is natures way of keeping the pack strong and healthy but in pet household it is not something we can allow, so to manage, seperating becomes necessary to protect to older failing pet when you have a younger challenger.

Rottielover
May 4th, 2006, 12:14 PM
I do not agree with keeping a muzzel on the dog, it does nothing other than lower their self esteem, and makes them more agitated. the difference between greyhounds and many different breeds as they are trained to wear them. For racing. You can not tell me that allowing a greyhound off the track interact with an unmuzzeled dog with not cause problems. The other dog has all advantages, and the greyhound would become more agitated. . A dog with dog aggression ( possible ) will become more so due to the fact they can not defend itself. Not all cases but most.

technodoll
May 4th, 2006, 12:22 PM
if you are not home to supervise Cody, put him in a crate. A large, thick wire one will provide great ventilation and visibility, you can drape with a blanket to make it into a den, his own space. hang a water bucket in there, some treats, his favorite toys, a blanket... peace of mind for you, and everyone else in the house. :)

jessi76
May 4th, 2006, 12:33 PM
if you are not home to supervise Cody, put him in a crate. A large, thick wire one will provide great ventilation and visibility, you can drape with a blanket to make it into a den, his own space. hang a water bucket in there, some treats, his favorite toys, a blanket... peace of mind for you, and everyone else in the house. :)

wonderful idea! however, if you are not already using a crate for Cody, introduce it slowly, so it's accepted. Don't just put him in and leave him there for a full work day. Start off with SHORT intervals gradually building up the time he spends in the crate. Each time you crate him, give a treat or toy and PRAISE!

Put the crate in a busy area of the house (I keep mine in the kitchen), and leave it there. Leave the door open. Let Cody get used to it, and have the opportunity to USE it when he wants.

there is alot of information online and in books on crate training.

OntarioGreys
May 4th, 2006, 01:30 PM
I do not agree with keeping a muzzel on the dog, it does nothing other than lower their self esteem, and makes them more agitated. the difference between greyhounds and many different breeds as they are trained to wear them. For racing. You can not tell me that allowing a greyhound off the track interact with an unmuzzeled dog with not cause problems. The other dog has all advantages, and the greyhound would become more agitated. . A dog with dog aggression ( possible ) will become more so due to the fact they can not defend itself. Not all cases but most.

The muzzles are not introduced until after they are a year old, the muzzle that is used for racing is different than the one used in the kennel, this is occuring at the same time they have been moved off the breeding farm and transferred to a training farm where now they are suddenly having to be around other greyhounds that are strangers to them, so if the muzzles were going to cause agitation it would occur then , and like any other breed they will fight for alpha positions if necessary, they are not some magical type of breed they are like any other dog breed when comes to pack status and dominance and some will get along and some don't depending on their personality, in general they are less dog aggressive that certain breeds. also all my fosters were introduced to my eskimo and cats and strange dogs while muzzled, they have no clue that the other dog is muzzled or not, they react based on how another dog reacts to them not by the fact the dog is wearing a muzzle, when my bridge girl Callie who was my alpha thought another dog was trying to challenge her , she reacted the same way whether she had a muzzle on or not, the muzzle simply prevented her from being able to chunk out of the dog it had not bearing on her behaviour, if they want to fight they will still try to do so the muzzle simply prevents damage the dog while in the heat of the moment will not think they are risk simply because they are wearing a muzzle not do they think of themselves as being defenseless. When I wenmt to the dog park I took the muzzles along in the even someone brought small dogs into the park, since at times they could be iffy with some of the smaller breeds, so If some one came in with a small breed I put their muzzles on until I knew for sure they would be okay or corrected if they attempted to chase, they acted no differently with the other dogs at the park just because now they where wearing a muzzle, of course while they were muzzled I paid much more attention to dogs entering the park to ensure their safety, especially with Callie who I knew would take on challengers muzzled or not and regardless of size I had one very dominant foster who would lay into any dog that he thought would be a challenge to him, and he would try to grab them by the neck and roll them to make them submit to him despite being muzzled he still attempted to do this with my 2 greys, I have had 2 aggressive dogs over the years that were non - greyhounds and used muzzles then, and it did not change their behaviour, dogs do not have that level of reasoning skills to associate that a muzzle will leave them defensiveless, the behaviour is still going to be present whether the dog is muzzled or not, the muzzle is only a piece if protective equipment it has no effect on personality. A leash that is used to restrain has a far greater impact on personality when around other dogs than a muzzle can ever have, you can often take the same adult dog that is aggressive on leash and not well socialize with dogs , plop on muzzles and introduce them to socialize with other dogs offleash with far greater results.

wallflower67
May 4th, 2006, 02:23 PM
Thanks, everyone for the ideas. I've never used a muzzle before, and haven't really been for it. But it sounded better than putting Maya at risk. He seriously could kill her.

I crated my two older dogs until they were about 3-4 years old when they were past their chewing phaze. Zach, especially, was a furniture destructor.

I did try crating Cody at first, and he went completely nuts, having been outside most of his life, I'm assuming. he had to hunt for his food and was not neutered, so I neutered him and had him de-wormed.

I have a 5 foot fence, and he has never shown outright aggression towards humans. It's hard to tell about his body language. when something captures attention, he'll run over anything to get to it. I've got a training collar I use when he runs in the house. That's getting better, because he definitely doesn't like it (the high pitched noise...I've never used the "shock" option)

That's generally what starts the fighting. He runs over Maya on the way out the door because he heard it open from the other room. She snips at him, and he takes her down....just like someone said, by the neck.

I think i could do all your suggestions. But I'm not sure I can trust other family members to follow through as well. My 11 year old daughter just isn't mature enough to "get it" about training, and my elderly aunt is getting forgetful. i can see her forgetting to leave Cody outside when she left.

My daughter wanted a puppy, but they always say to adopt an older dog, and there one was at the neighbors and she fell in love with him....i've always liked labs. My husband's sister, who lives with us, wanted a puppy too, so i don't think she's been that crazy about him. My husband is currently working in another state, and he won't be home for good until October.

I've always disliked people who give their animals away, and now I'm afraid I may be in that situation, since if the rest of my family isn't on the same page regarding discipline, this just won't work.

I'm starting to dislike myself!

les
May 4th, 2006, 04:04 PM
Maybe if YOU want to keep this dog, you have to lay down the law with your family members.

You said your daughter is devastated about getting rid of Cody so why not tell her that she'll have to start with helping and remembering in order to keep him?

Maybe you could have a reminder by the door and maybe somewhere else to help everyone remember at least at first. Sounds silly but it might make them remember =)

SunGurl372
May 4th, 2006, 05:45 PM
Absolutely agree with les. Your daughter is at a wonderful age to help you with caring for your pet, while learning critical lessons in responsibility. As far as I know, most 12 year olds are allowed to stay alone at home by themselves and can babysit younger children. So this could just be considered as priming her for those types of activities.

And I don't think there's anything silly about posting notes to remind others (and ourselves) about the little things that ultimately protect those in your care. Far from it, I think its a great idea and a wonderful learning tool.

wallflower67
May 4th, 2006, 07:02 PM
Well, since I firt posted, I've pretty much been told by my aunt and my sister-in-law that they don't want him here. I can't MAKE these people follow through. My aunt is getting forgetful and I do have tons of notes around the house for her, for my daughter, and even for me!

This is something that could have fatal consequences, not just a mess on the floor, if someone forgets, especially if they don't want to be bothered with it.

My daughter has developmental issues. In some ways she's 11, but she's way behind in maturity. She jumped into the middle of them and almost got bitten herself.

I think I've learned a harsh lesson. Everyone else wanted a puppy. I wanted to rescue, and then the neighbors had this dog.

If you can't get your family on board, you may not be able to rescue a dog properly if there are discipline issues. And since they are not cooperating with me on this, they are NOT getting a puppy either!

I have contacted a couple of lab rescue organizations, and I will drive him anywhere in the Midwest to a good home.

In the meantime, I will have to stay in religious phone contact with my family to make sure they are adhering to the separation rules.

I"m sorry for posting this when I'd halfway made my decision. I guess I was hoping for some magical anti-fighting spray or something.

I'm trying to make myself feel better by telling myself I gave him a better home than living on his own for a few months, and by neutering him and teaching him commands I've made him a better pet for someone.

If anyone knows someone who wants a lab...or knows of a lab rescue organization that I could contact....

I am googling and contacting people.

les
May 4th, 2006, 07:09 PM
Personally ... if it was my house it would be MY rules. If it's their (your aunt and sister in laws) house then I understand - - otherwise - - I'd tell them they can follow the rules or they know where they door is!

Prin
May 4th, 2006, 08:22 PM
I just hope you tell them exactly why you're giving him up. Holding back will only get him rehomed again and again.

And please don't get a puppy- if you thought this guy was hard, a puppy is WAYYYY harder. There are so many waves of adolescent testing behavior- so many places to go wrong. If anything, get a much older rescue dog. ;)

Good luck.

wallflower67
May 4th, 2006, 11:13 PM
My aunt is elderly, so I really can't kick her out! My sis-in-law will be moving out in a few months, which explains her lack of commitment. It's not her dog, and she's not home much.

I will be very honest about why I'm giving him up. I don't want him moved from home to home either.

wallflower67
May 4th, 2006, 11:24 PM
Oh...and nobody is getting a puppy. They got that rant from me tonight.

Writing4Fun
May 5th, 2006, 08:20 AM
Just wanted to add my two cents...:o

There's a huge difference between getting an older dog from a rescue and taking on the stray that the neighbours happened to pick up one day.

The stray is an unknown quantity. There's no history to go along with it. There was no behaviour testing done. There was no screening.

A rescue will place their dogs in foster homes. The dogs will be tested & evaluated in different situations. Then, when a prospective adopter comes along, the rescue can pair them up with the dog that best suits their situation. In your case, they would not give you an alpha with dog aggression issues. They'll give you a dog that has been proven trustworthy around other, elderly dogs and young children.

So, for what it's worth, my advice would be to wait until the SIL has moved out (one less stress factor for you ;) ), then get yourself an older dog from a rescue who has been living with their foster for a while and is known to be nonconfrontational and good with young children (to help your daughter build up her responsability).

Sorry, I don't know where you're located. But, you can Google "Labrador Breed Club" + "your location". The breed clubs should be able to refer you to some good rescues.

Best of luck to you all! :pawprint: