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I now own a biting dog

Spoiled
April 12th, 2004, 01:56 PM
OK, now I'm sure you've heard about Bentley. Just some information, he's a neutered male Poodle X, and 14 months old. We've had him for a year now.

Lately he's taken to biting. He's bitten about three kids, maybe he missed some though. He's shown aggression to every member of my family, bitten me about five times now, and tried to bite my brother a LOT of times now. I get really mad at him when he does it, but I don't hit him. I give him a scruff shaking. It wasn't seeming to work, so I've been giving him a little longer of a scruff shaking lately (5 seconds, maybe.) Now that I've been scruff shaking him for a little longer, he has started submissive peeing on the floor. Also, even if I don't do anything to him to punnish him, right after he tries to bite me he gets really submissive. He tenses up, puts his ears back, runns to his kennel, or grabs onto something with his paws. I've only scruff shook him about ten times in his life, he's always been a really good dog. I've only scruff shook him about two times after he bites. He's started this about a week ago. I thought it was a leadership thing, but I don't think it is, although I'm not sure.

I really don't want him to start biting people that he doesn't want to see... or that he loves dearly.

Does anyone know how I can stop this behavior or what is bugging him so I can make him stop it? ANY ideas would be apriciated.

Luba
April 12th, 2004, 02:32 PM
You have to be more specific Spoiled.

What is generally happening at these times, is he being told to do something he does not like, is he playing too roughly or other? Touching him and he doesn't want to be touched?

Give a little more info so we can help out!

If it's a matter of densensitizing him to touch then DO NOT scruf shake him, you're contributing to the problem.

But, lets hear a little more from you :D

amaruq
April 12th, 2004, 03:54 PM
I'm not sure this would work for you or not but it has worked for me.

I read (in wolf books) That eye contact is a way of dominance. When the Alpha makes eye contact (like a staring contact) with another wolf who ever breaks eye contact is the submissive one.

I have modified it a bit. I do grab scruff of neck get about 10" away from face bar my teeth and growl and look her right square in the eye. When she breaks eye contact i tell you she is as good as gold. This has absolutely helped me in training.

You could give it a try and see?

Spoiled
April 12th, 2004, 05:01 PM
What is generally happening at these times, is he being told to do something he does not like, is he playing too roughly or other? Touching him and he doesn't want to be touched?

If say he's sleeping and I touch him, I get growled at. If I don't back off (which I never do) I get bitten. And he just bit me and drew blood a minute ago. HE DREW BLOOD THROUGH A TOWEL!!!:mad:

Talk about strong jaws. I don't think its a problem with desensitizing him. I think he is trying to take over leadership. With a dominant Golden Retriever, I managed to make myself boss by scruff shaking him. Why isn't it working with my little dog?:confused:

I have tried staring at him, and growling, and showing my teeth. I've even tried leaning over him to show my leadership, but he still refuses to give in.

How do I make myself be in commmand?

Lucky Rescue
April 12th, 2004, 05:13 PM
First he needs to be checked out at the vet, to determine if his agression is being caused by a physical problem.

If not, then you must stop meeting aggression with aggression! Stop any physical punishments. No yelling, hitting and no scruff shaking.

Here is the best article detailing just HOW to put yourself in charge.
Alpha boot camp (http://www.sonic.net/~cdlcruz/GPCC/library/alpha.htm)

Everyone in the household must follow the rules. This really works!

Luba
April 12th, 2004, 05:54 PM
Spoiled you're not gonna win that way and it is just going to get worse. LR is right! Read the alpha bootcamp page it has great information.

Announce yourself to the dog before you awake him with a touch and get his hearing checked out!

I agree, find out there is no physical/medical problem first.

Don't let him up on beds, sofas or chairs. He has his own bed on the floor or in his crate.

Lots of stuff u can work on so don't be discouraged.

Spoiled
April 12th, 2004, 07:50 PM
Thank you for the artical LR. Bentley isn't alowed on the rug, so we have no problem with him on the furnature, but what about laps? Should he be cuddled like we usualy do with him on our laps? And I don't usualy yell at him; he usualy is guilty enough looking so I don't have to correct him much, just a growly "no." I don't hit him either.

Luckyrescue, do you mean that I should just let him get away with what he's doing? If he bites me or someone else, should I just let him get away with it?:confused:

Lucky Rescue
April 12th, 2004, 08:44 PM
If you follow the program, the biting should stop as your dog understands that YOU are in charge and not him.

Since the scruff shaking isn't working - and could even be making the problem worse - something else needs to be tried.;)

I would keep him off laps for now too. Does he jump on your lap or do you lift him up? Don't allow him to get up when he decides to, without earning it. He must earn everything - pets, treats, privileges like lap-sitting - by doing something, which could be as simple as a "sit" or "down."

Have you taken him to obedience school? I highly recommend it!

amaruq
April 12th, 2004, 09:01 PM
Hmm how about time outs in a crate? Once he's bad boom in the box he goes for like 10 mins????

Luba
April 12th, 2004, 09:31 PM
Completely agree with LR

You keep a pocket of small training treats or kibble...before he gets any treats he MUST sit for you.

Feed him in his crate, make him sit before you put the food down.

He sits before you put his leash on and before you open the door to go outside. HE does NOT go outside before you do, you step foot out the door first, not him.

A great trick I saw, when you are filling his bowl of food on the counter..behind it place a cracker or something that he can't see.

Allow him to see you pick something up, it will look like it's coming from his food bowl. See, leader of the pack always eats first.

You eat it in front of him while he waits and sits.

Once you finish your cracker you walk over to the crate, make him go inside and sit for his food, then you put it down.

When he is finished, take the bowl away until the next feeding.

Now, play....never play tug of war with him and never let him take anything from you without you giving it to him.

Playing ball ie fetch, make him sit before you throw the ball.
When he brings it back give him a treat (one kibble) and praise him.

Make him sit for you to throw it again etc....

He'll begin to notice that you're taking control.

Remember use a happy voice, not stern shouting voices. No shaking, growling etc.... at him..he'll think it's competition and guess what he just may challenge you and you do not want that.

Teach the other members of your family the same things that you are doing, so that it is consistent.

Again, never just pat him or touch him while he's asleep...call his name first if you need to wake him up, in a quiet happy tone.

What do you mean by he's not allowed on the carpet??

Spoiled
April 12th, 2004, 10:16 PM
Does he jump on your lap or do you lift him up?

He "asks" (by jumping up on the person) which I don't aprove of. For me on my lap he always waits until I pat my lap or else he knows that he'll be dumped.


Have you taken him to obedience school? I highly recommend it!

There has never been a need. He knows all the commands and more. He has always been a well behaved dog until now.

You keep a pocket of small training treats or kibble...before he gets any treats he MUST sit for you.

I to do not agree with people who just give their dogs treats for no reason.

Feed him in his crate, make him sit before you put the food down.

I don't feed him in his crate (I'll try it, but I don't think it'll work. He has the odd habit of pulling all his blankets up and putting them in his food and water dishes) but I always make him sit before he gets the food.

He sits before you put his leash on and before you open the door to go outside. HE does NOT go outside before you do, you step foot out the door first, not him.

I try to always make him wait before he goes out.

Playing ball ie fetch, make him sit before you throw the ball. When he brings it back give him a treat (one kibble) and praise him.

He doesn't get the treats, but I think its enough of a treat just to have the ball thrown again. I'll try making him sit before.

What do you mean by he's not allowed on the carpet??

He isn't allowed on the carpet because when he was young, he wasn't house trained, and we didn't want him making messes on the carpet. He caught on really quickly, and now he knows where he can venture and where he can't. Its really a handy thing now, because if he didn't know this, he would be eating everything there! He also would be trying to play with stuff he shouldn't... Just in case you're wondering, we're in the kitchen most of the time, and the kitchen is quite roomy, with lots of matts he's allowed to lay on. He's really quite comfortable, and he knows his boundarys.:)

Luba
April 13th, 2004, 11:47 AM
IMHO

Dogs being pack animals need to be with the pack. I don't believe in segregating him from walking on the carpet. Keeping him off furniture yes but not from where you all enjoy the living room while you watch tv or sit and do tasks. I know you say you are in the kitchen a lot but still, to me it's not fair to him.

Try some of the things I suggest.

Crate feeding works!

Spoiled
April 16th, 2004, 09:39 AM
Dogs being pack animals need to be with the pack. I don't believe in segregating him from walking on the carpet. Keeping him off furniture yes but not from where you all enjoy the living room while you watch tv or sit and do tasks.

Well, the living room isn't used that much. Thats all there is to it. No one watches TV, I certainly don't. Maybe once every two months (if that) we'll get a movie to watch. I usualy don't even want to watch it, so I end up actualy watching a whole movie about five times a year. And we usualy use the downstairs TV for those, and then Bentley gets to come with us to watch. And as for tasks? We don't do tasks in this family:D (kidding)

Chany
April 16th, 2004, 10:30 AM
Hey spoiled! Our dogs are also not allowed on the rugs due to housetraining. They're allowed to be in our family room with us only because there is a 5 by 8 foot piece of lino right before the rugged area.
But Bentley definitely sounds like he's alpha. Small dogs often try to be leader more often than big dogs because they're little and don't seem too threatening.
Did you let him chew on your hands when playing before? That might have started it. With Abbey if she attempts to chew on my hands when I'm playing with her I take 2 fingers and lightly tap her muzzle on the side and say no mouthing. I had to get the point across to her only twice, now I just have to say no mouthing and she quits.
Some might not agree but it got the point across and I didn't hurt her in doing so.
I think your definitly going to have to let him know who's boss. But again thats just my opinion. ;)

Spoiled
April 16th, 2004, 05:12 PM
But Bentley definitely sounds like he's alpha.

Hmmm, I think he could be, but listen to this: He sits whenever told, willingly enough. He doesn't try to run away when I call him when we're on off leash walks. He comes when called unless another dog or person is near that he wants to see, and even then, he is pretty good about coming. He acts submissive if I speak to him like I'm mad at him, by rolling on his back. Why these submissive behaviors if he is Alpha:confused:

And yes, I started the "off the rug" because of house training to. I'm glad to hear that someone else understands my situation.;)

Bill & Bob
April 16th, 2004, 07:11 PM
As far as the growling at him with your face close, I'd stay away from that strategy. I mentioned this to a friend of mine and they asked if I knew on the human body where the highest number of dog bites occurred. The face. I don't think that growling and mimicking a dog close to it's own mug is such a good plan.

That is strange that the dog hasn't done this for a long time and now does. I'd agree with whoever said take the dog to the vet. Might be something that's not overtly apparent to the eye or touch.

Spoiled
April 17th, 2004, 12:06 PM
He sees, smells, and is sensitive to touch OK. Just the other day, he spoted some birds and went crazy. Then I brought some chocolate up to my room with him, put them on the dresser, and he was sniffing around to find them. If he's asleep and you touch him really gently only on the furr, he notices it. I don't really think it could be something wrong with his health.

Anyway, he is going for his anual vet check at the end of April.

His behavior has actualy been getting better latley! I've been making him sit before everything, and while he does it great, I think he's making some headway.

Is there any excersizes that would make me "leader" that you know of?

woodbyter
April 17th, 2004, 06:48 PM
Just curious. I have owned a Standard Poodle for 9 years and they can be aggressive. Mnay people think of them as fluffy lap dogs but not so. What size is Bentley?

Chany
April 17th, 2004, 07:11 PM
I'm glad to hear that sweetie Bentley is behaving better! :)
The poodle we had when I was young was a little terror, some days he'd let you cuddle him but then he thought that made him king because you were adoring him. :rolleyes:
Just keep on reinforcing that your alpha, don't let him get away with anything( even though he's so sweet ) its going to be hard to do sometimes. :(

Luba
April 17th, 2004, 08:12 PM
Are you crate feeding him and taking a bite of food from behind his bowl before you put his dish down like I suggested?
Also, remember to take the dish away immediately after he has done eating from it!

Luba
April 17th, 2004, 08:12 PM
Are you crate feeding him and taking a bite of food from behind his bowl before you put his dish down like I suggested?
Also, remember to take the dish away immediately after he has done eating from it!

Spoiled
April 18th, 2004, 10:44 AM
I don't think crate feeding him is going to work. First, he eats whenenver he wants, and second, when he eats, he first takes the food out from his dish, scatters it around, and then eats it, making a lot of crumbs.:rolleyes: I don't want him to be sleeping in that. And he has a problem of taking his towels or blankets, and stuffing them into the food and water dishes with his mouth. I have no idea why.

Spoiled
April 18th, 2004, 10:58 PM
Originally posted by woodbyter
Just curious. I have owned a Standard Poodle for 9 years and they can be aggressive. Mnay people think of them as fluffy lap dogs but not so. What size is Bentley?

Poodle X is short for Poodle cross. Bentley is crossed with Chinese Crested Hairless, but because its so long to say, I usualy just call him a Poodle X.

Bentley is about 15 pounds. He is a fluffy lap dog, but sometimes to much of one! A few days ago he tried to jump on to a lap, but hit the table with a bowl on it instead and knocked it onto the floor! But we also enjoy doing other things like obedience training, games like fetch, football, and our new invention called Scaling. We really enjoy the outdoors.:)

Luba
April 19th, 2004, 01:19 AM
Hey Spoiled

He shouldn't eat whenever he wants to begin with.

You make his meal and give it to him, if its not gone in 15 mins you take it away.

NEVER leave a bowl of food for him to 'munch' on through the day. You should be in control of his food.

See, leader of the pack always eats first and if he has food laying around to eat whenever he wants then he's leader of the pack. Nobody else has eaten it so, they must KNOW its' HIS and he owns it, you're fearful to take it from him.

So, do like I say, ...prepare the food in his bowl, eat a piece of food from behind the bowl to look like its coming from his bowl.
Then in his crate (gateopen) make him sit and then put the food down. TAke bowl away when he's done......!!

IF he doesn't eat it by 15mins time take it away.

Don't feed him all in one meal. He should be eating 3 or 4 times a day.

amaruq
April 19th, 2004, 08:59 AM
Spoiled we have something in common. I got bit last night by Lizzy. It's totally my fault. i think she had enough poking and stuff this weekend but i wanted to clip her nails. I got it right in the face. Between nose and mouth. Nice puncture wound. Keeps opening cause like you got to talk :) It will be fine but taught me a good lesson :(

Luba
April 19th, 2004, 09:08 AM
:eek: are u okay?


hold on i'm calling stupid sue sternbubblehead on you!!

Spoiled
April 19th, 2004, 02:45 PM
Ouch! Make sure it doesn't get infected.:(

Luba, what times should I feed Bentley? If I feed him before a meal (that I eat) like in the morning, will he get the idea that I'm letting him be boss, even if I eat a cracker like you suggested before feeding him? Also, I don't want to feed him after a meal (that I eat) because we always go for walks right after. Any suggestions? I fed him after our walk today, but its hard to remember to do. I also took his food away, and it seems like he's getting onto it!:D

amaruq
April 19th, 2004, 06:28 PM
Yea I'm ok..:D I was gonna put an earing in there so it don't look so bad lol!
I feed 2 meals one at 7:30 am and the other at 4:00pm

Luba
April 19th, 2004, 07:01 PM
How old is Bentley now ?

So, you're looking at breakfast...keep a consistent time say no later then 8/8:30 (doesn't he get u up) lol

Prepare it on the counter, placing a cracker or something behind his bowl. You take a bite of the cracker, finish it..then go to his crate where you get him to go inside and sit...then you put his bowl down for meal time.

Remember to remove it after he's done. If not finished within 15/20mins take it away.

Do the same thing for the following meals.

I'm not sure how old he is now ??

Dogs should eat 2 or 3 times a day as adults. As puppies 4/5 times a day depending on their age. No less then 3x a day.

Dee_petlover
April 19th, 2004, 07:57 PM
Sounds like you are getting a lot of good advice on dominance issues (as is usually the case around here) I just wanted to add that if this problem has gotten to the point that he is actually biting people like you described and has bitten kids, then this is probably serious enough to get professional advice from someone who specializes in behaviour problems in pets. Biting is very serious and can cause serious injury to someone, especially children. Once a physical cause is ruled out, if the dog has dominance issues to the point it is biting you and your family I personally would use a professional to set up a plan for dealing with it. I think that maybe it is beyond the point of trying this and that, biting is serious.

Sorry if I repeated anything already said, I am reading fast as I haven't been around in a while!

Good luck, sounds like you have made some progress!

Chany
April 19th, 2004, 08:24 PM
O.K meal times for the dogs in our house are between 6-7 a.m and 4-4:30 p.m. Which needless to say is before we eat. We've never had a problem with them begging at the table either.
I always put down Abbey's food and say "wait" to her, as soon as she hears o.k. from me she dives in. Try that with Bentley, sitting for his meal isn't good enough anymore.
There are so many different opinions out there about dogs it gets to be overwhelming. Figure out what both you and Bentley like and dislike, what works for some people doesn't necessarily work for all. I'm sure you'll be fine. ;)

P.S. Yes, Dee, it has been awhile. Glad to see that your back!! :)

Dee_petlover
April 19th, 2004, 08:33 PM
Thanks, Glad to be back!

Spoiled
April 20th, 2004, 09:39 AM
When Bentley getts fed, he always sits for the food, and knows not to move until I take my hand off the dish.

Luba
April 20th, 2004, 09:51 AM
How are things working out?

homer
April 20th, 2004, 12:09 PM
I just want to re-emphasize the food issue. Luba and Lucky are 100% right!

Food is the #1 resource for most dogs. The one who controls the food is the leader.

Make sure the dog ALWAYS sees that you, the leader, both give and take away the food. This dog must be reduced in rank for everyone's sake!

Never leave the dish out for the dog to eat when it wants.

More often than not, dogs take well to this gentle type of demotion, since they no longer have to worry about being the leader.

Best

Homer

Spoiled
April 20th, 2004, 12:17 PM
Good! We actualy haven't had an incident today! Except... how do you get dogs to stop picking up gum? We got the poop issue cleared, but the gum...

Spoiled
April 21st, 2004, 10:37 PM
Yay!!! Luba, that idea worked! I now feed Bentley in the morning, and evening! I tried the "cracker method" and Bentley thought it was really strange the first time, :rolleyes: but now he waits carefuly until I'm finished my eating and put down the bowl, and then he comes and eats. I was getting worried before also that he wasn't eating enough because there was still food left in his bowl most days, but now he eats the whole bowl of food.

I just want to say thank you Luba! :D :) :D :) :D :) :D

Luba
April 21st, 2004, 10:49 PM
AMAZING!! Great stuff keep it up! Looks like you're doing a wonderful job.

I can't take credit for the idea though, it's another one of Dr. Stanley Coren's fabulous ideas....I'm so glad it worked for you.

Record his 'Good Dog' program it's on a 9am incase you're not home at that time. He's my favourite!

Spoiled
April 22nd, 2004, 11:01 AM
On TV? We don't have cable, would I still find it?

Luba
April 22nd, 2004, 11:08 AM
I don't think so its a specialty channel.
Maybe one of your friends can tape it for you :D

Spoiled
April 22nd, 2004, 09:38 PM
lol. Bentley seems much happier than usual. Could this be because of his new "position" in our "pack?"

Luba
April 22nd, 2004, 10:12 PM
It could be because he now knows his place and doesn't have to figure it out himself you did it for him :D

Great to hear you keep it up!

Spoiled
April 23rd, 2004, 10:10 AM
Wow, big change today! I was bugging him around his mouth which he usualy dosn't tolerate, and he didn't even raise his lips at me, which is what he usualy does! I'm just so happy that you could help me!