Why did my dog bite me?

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by jwardmagic, Sep 23, 2011.


  1. jwardmagic

    jwardmagic PetForums Newbie

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    I was training my 4 year old dog today, trying to teach him a new trick, to jump up. He was enjoying it and was excited and I was giving him praise (petting him and making a fuss) when he did it, and gave him a biscuit occasionaly. Then randomly he decided to bite me. He was in a good mood and excited and suddenly, in a split second he changed, growled and bit me. He then walked away, and went and sat in another room.

    This is the exact order I did things. I showed him the biscuit and he ran to me. I said sit. He sat. I praised him: "goood boyy, you can sit! etc" petting him at the same time. I said down. He went down and I praised him the same way. I said jump. He jumped and I praised him and gave him the biscuit.
    I then did it again, but in a different order: jump to sit to down. When I went to pet him for sitting he suddenly and quite randomly jumped at me growling and bit me. He then growled showing his teeth, then walked out of the room and went to sit quietly in another room.

    Why did he do this? Maybe his instinct because there was food around (my biscuit I was going to give him)? But it makes no sense. He was so happy, wagging his tail and enjoying it, and then (literally) out of nowhere he changed, showed his teeth and bit me within a split second.
    He has never acted like this before apart from when he was a puppy or when he's been eating and someone has tried to take his food away (or when hes been ill). Maybe he might be ill?
     
  2. Malmum

    Malmum PetForums VIP

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    Firstly I never teach the jump up trick in case the dog jumps up at someone he shouldn't. There are so many worries these days of dogs harming people, or being accused of harming people that I wouldn't risk teaching them to jump up to anyone. I had a re home Mal that was beautiful, very well behaved his only problem was that his former owner taught him to jump up for cuddles and because of this he failed two homes which would have been wonderful for him. Eventually got a home with someone who worked with him to stop this "trick"!

    Anyway back to your post: Could he have hurt his leg in some way, could he possibly have hip dysplasia which would be painful when standing on his back legs. When he walks for a distance how is his gait , I mean does he look at all stiff on the back legs - called a "stilted Gait" Am just wondering if he could have hurt himself and that's why he bit you.

    Large, heavy breeds should not stand on their hind legs particularly when young and their joints are developing as they could damage their developing joints. ;)
     
  3. Kivasmum

    Kivasmum PetForums VIP

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    Dogs don't usually just bite with no 'trigger' I would also think that maybe he hurt himself? Maybe as he sat after his jump he was in pain and as you reached out a bit sharply he snapped? Can't really think of any other reason a seemingly happy dog would just bite out of the blue if all you were doing was praising him? Sorry I can't be of anymore help :)
     
  4. Manoy Moneelil

    Manoy Moneelil PetForums VIP

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    Only you were there to see what was happening in the moments before the bite, it takes a few seconds for the dog to build up to a bite so you know what was the situation and exact process that triggered this.

    The fact that the dog bit then removed himself I think is a good sign, knowing that he did "wrong" and not remain to further agress you. If it was food aggression the dog would have remained and followed through.

    The nearest thing I have encountered similar to this was a semi-hard bite during fairly boisterous play as puppies, and the moment that he realised he had bitten me rather than the toy he reacted to appease me as I yelped and I responded in kind showing no sign of chastisement to him but just accepted grooming from him. (lick me)

    Dogs don't bear a grudge so I would do some play again to bond and re-establish your confidence in the dog, and do the 'trick' training again - but maybe not try to join the different steps together too quickly.

    If the dog is getting too excited you need to watch for this and tone down the training.



    I too wondered if there might have been a flash of pain from a joint issue causing him to respond back at you as he assumed you had bitten him, the dog does not know where the pain he felt come from. But again you know your dog and if this could be a factor to consider.



    This incident needs to be considered within the greater picture of your relationship with the dog, it would more likely be aggression if he pulls on the lead and does not allow you to interfere with 'his' food during meal times.
     
  5. Malmum

    Malmum PetForums VIP

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    Just wanted to add that if it was due to pain a natural reaction is for them to go somewhere else and take themselves out of the situation. Having had a dog with severe dysplasia I knew when Flynn had hurt himself as he would immediately stop what he was doing and take himself off, often lying behind the sofa. I only ever heard him cry out once in pain so this is the only indication I ever got that he'd hurt himself and he'd be very quiet for a while.

    Quite often you wouldn't know they are in pain as they rarely cry out with it.
     
  6. jwardmagic

    jwardmagic PetForums Newbie

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    He doesnt have a stilted gait and he has never seemed to be in pain before when standing on two legs. The vet has never noticed it either. However, Im open to all possibilities.
     
  7. Malmum

    Malmum PetForums VIP

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    It doesn't have to be anything as drastic as HD he could have just sprained his ankle, or caught his claw. Hopefully pain was the cause and not any food related issue, can't see why it would be if it was a game.

    Hope you get to the bottom of it. :)
     
  8. SleepyBones

    SleepyBones PetForums Senior

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    If it were pain it doesn't have to be in his legs, it could be anywhere, back, neck or a muscle, thats if it was pain, there were 3 actions, jump, sit & down each of these would put stress on different parts of the body.

    The fact he walked out of the room and displayed clear signs he wanted to be alone or stop interacting probably said more at the time than anything as this followed what seemed to be his behavioural statement "I have had more than enough of this", have you ever thought he might not enjoy this trick stuff as much as you might think? it is after all a human pastime, not a dogs.
     
    #8 SleepyBones, Sep 24, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  9. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    Sounds to me like he wasn't enjoying it as much as you thought. A wagging tail just means a dog is aroused- excited, frustrated, unsure, nervy- and it can be present in the body language of a biting dog, a lot of the time.

    Because he left the room afterwards does not mean he knows he has done 'wrong'- dogs don't have a concept of 'right and wrong' like we do. It just serves for him to create more distance away from you.

    Have you checked out the body language sticky on here? Have a detailed read of calming signals. Your dog may have been showing you loads of stress-signs, and you weren't picking up, and so felt that he needed to bite to remove himself from the situation.

    Food guarding is highly unlikely- it's not something that just appears from nowhere. Especially over a biscuit.

    Also:

    How does pulling on lead mean aggression? :confused1:
     
  10. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    I agree with Rottiefan that your dog wasn't enjoying the trick you were training or it could possibly be a soft tissue problem.

    What you describe I do with my dogs all the time because I want them highly motivated in training and yes I frequently get bitten. The difference is the nips are excitement/play - its never meant.
     
  11. Daneandrottiemum

    Daneandrottiemum PetForums Member

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    Sounds to me like he was p'eed off with having to do so much just to get a biscuit and was frustrated. He doesn't seem to have enjoyed the tricks if he was the one who put an end to it :(
     
  12. Malmum

    Malmum PetForums VIP

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    Just to add a thread of mine "Kennels urgently needed " is about a Mal on the Mal forum who jumped up at a passer by when out (on lead) caused a scrarch snd later seized umder the DDA. The case is still waiting to go to court - very worrying!
     
  13. Manoy Moneelil

    Manoy Moneelil PetForums VIP

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    I was trying to convey the concept of what is the manner of the dog in other situations. If the dog is pulling on his lead everywhere he goes, I am not saying that is any sign of aggression but the dog considers himself in charge of the walk. If the dog does not allow the owner close to food during meal times, again the dog sees himself of higher status than the owner.

    I thought that using the expression "within the greater picture" was a suitable expression to communicate this concept?

    Establish if this was an isolated incident/accident or a part of a puzzle that fits.

    Do you disagree with this idea?
     
  14. Andromeda

    Andromeda PetForums Senior

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    If dog pulls on the lead that means none one have enough time/patience to teach a dog not to pull. Dogs walking five time faster than we do.
    If dog pulls on the lead maybe he has problem with self control and something/someone makes him aroused.

    If dog guards - he doesn't trust that hand around a bowl is good thing to happen. He is afraid that food will be taken away from him.
     
  15. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs PetForums VIP

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    Dominance rubbish :rolleyes:
     
  16. albert 1970

    albert 1970 Guest


    in your opinion!
     
  17. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs PetForums VIP

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    Yes, and many others - those who employ more scientific methods, for example.
     
  18. SleepyBones

    SleepyBones PetForums Senior

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    lol, I hope you don't mean Dr Rachel Casey, Bristol Uni & her infamouse 'dominance' study sampling! for example

    Bristol University, Quack Dog Dominance Study, Dr Rachel Casey Dr John Bradshaw
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egX2q2Xejb4&feature=fvwrel



    .
     
    #18 SleepyBones, Sep 24, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  19. Manoy Moneelil

    Manoy Moneelil PetForums VIP

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    Depends what you have a dog for, also how the dog has been trained or not trained.

    My dogs are not banned from jumping up. :eek:


    Wow - I must be the worst, most irresponsible person on the planet.

    They must be killer monsters !

    It is simply that we consider that when they are guarding and reacting to someone on the property - we don't want there to be any restraint in them defending, it is one of their jobs. As for formal 'guard dog' training - just a few hours with a serving Army trainer based on her experiences with domestic dogs.


    A dog that is fearless in the face of a real threat is different from a lap dog that hides from it's shadow. The whole manner of the dog should be considered.

    The point remains that the reason for biting the hand that feeds is unanswered - the OP is the only person that can comment or speculate based on the bigger picture - our collective thoughts either provide a clue or help eliminate the cause from the puzzle.

    I support your right to express an opinion that something is rubbish - even if you do not offer an alternative suggestion to help the OP - please the stage is clear for your scientific methods...

    Explain and educate us.
     
  20. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Moderator
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    You took the words right out of my head! Please, you should be teaching your dog not to jump up under any circumstances. Supposing he were to jump up a child? He could terrify the mite of dogs forever.

    Not to mention he could damage someone's clothing and you will end up footing the bill, if not worse.

    I also agree with Malmum that a large breed dog should not be standing on its hind legs like that and it sounds to me as though he hurt himself, which he thought you had caused, which is why he bit you.
     
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