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Advice please - snappy dog

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by catralense, Jan 23, 2012.


  1. catralense

    catralense PetForums Newbie

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    Hi

    I wonder if anyone could please give me some advice regarding our new dog. He's a rescue dog and we've had him for two weeks and already love him to bits. He's fun and friendly and already part of the family! However, we have had a couple of incidents when he's snapped at us, usually when we've tried to move him. He has only actually bitten once (he snapped and bit at my 5 year old son) but this morning I was trying to get him to come indoors, he was ignoring me so I went up to him to try and move him and he snapped quite aggressively twice.

    I've got no idea how to handle this! We really love him and there's no way we want to return him to the sanctuary, but I'm a little bit concerned!

    Many thanks in advance :)

    P.S. re his previous history - he was with a family that had a marriage break up and was teased quite badly by the Dad and small children.
     
  2. ClaireandDaisy

    ClaireandDaisy PetForums VIP

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    Train him. Train a Come - Lure, call and reward him . Then you can move him safely.
    When he`s more settled teach a Bed or Blanket command so he goes to a particular place.
    In the meantime you can keep a harness and a short trailing lead on him so you can move him.
    I don`t need to add that the child should be kept away from him do I?
    It will take months (at least) before he relearns to trust, so give him time.
     
  3. catralense

    catralense PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you! He can have all the time he needs! He's already pretty good - he comes when you call him (most of the time) and will go to his bed when you tell him. It just seems that when he's concentrating/interested in something he decides he doesn't want to do as he's told and gets cross if you try to make him (a bit like my kids I suppose!).

    The kids are always supervised with both of our dogs. I just hope he grows out of this as it has made me a little nrevous - I suppose I was just shocked when he snapped at me as he's normally so loving and gentle!
     
  4. lucysnewmum

    lucysnewmum PetForums Senior

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    Your devotion to this dog is admirable - HOWEVER -

    I must say that this post is also concerning as he has a history of abuse from men and children and you have a 5 year old!

    I would suggest a behaviourist to help you with this snapping problem as this could quickly escalate to a full on bite.

    In the meantime...keep your distance!

    The dog needs time to realise that you are not going to hurt it and you certainly should not (in my opinion) be trying to lift him. Encourage him all the time to places you want him to be. lots of praise (over the top wont hurt a mentally scared dog like this) but no hands....just soft, cooing voice.

    And keep the children well away from him, especially at feed times.

    In time, i hope he comes to love you as much as you do him - but thats what he needs....time.

    good luck with him.
     
  5. Shrap

    Shrap PetForums VIP

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    A treat every time he comes inside, and throw a treat to his bed every time you tell him to go there. It will make him less likely to ignore. Keep a house line on him so you can take him by the lead should you need to move him.

    Work on showing him that hands coming towards him are a good thing, invest in a clicker and read up on marker training.

    The dog has obviously been hurt/scared by people before so he's not being grumpy about not doing something, he's just scared of getting hurt again!

    If you reinforce his recall with treats and praise you're less likely to have to go and get him, if you do need to, you will have the lead on him, and combined with the clicker training for hands coming towards him - this should reduce any incidences of biting in THAT situation.
    However, how many other triggers are there that you don't yet know about?
     
  6. catralense

    catralense PetForums Newbie

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    This is not a dog that would allow you to keep your distance - he's like our little shadow and follows us everywhere. The minute anyone sits down he launches himself on their laps and loves to be cuddles and petted. We give him lots of treats and reassurance and 99.9% of the time he does exactly what he's told i.e. goes to his bed when we're eating, sits when told, sits to have his lead put on, etc. He normally loves to be picked up and cuddled. I think that's why I was so shocked when he snapped!

    Having talked to my in-laws who have years and years of experience with dogs I think I'll try training him to a particular word so that he knows I'm calling him to have a treat, and we'll see how that goes.

    Thanks all for your responses...:eek:
     
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