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Serious Dilemma

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by johnny ola, Feb 11, 2019.


  1. johnny ola

    johnny ola PetForums Newbie

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    If anyone can share some advice I'd be grateful.

    My sister got a Jack Russell puppy last spring, so he's not even a year old. My sister is mentally ill and she didn't train or discipline the dog. She allowed him to sleep with her, eat the same food with her, and poop and pee in the house. Come her monthly binge drinking and aggression the dog freaked out and attacked her several times. One day a friend brought her to the hospital to bandage up her hand. Later that day I actually had to kick him to get him off of her.

    My sister is in a psychiatric clinic for the thousandth time and I took the dog before she even went because I was afraid of him attacking her. It's going on three weeks. I've done what I could; every time he acts out I put him in the cage. I've managed to minimize his indoor pee by giving him 4 long walks and scolding him if he misbehaves. No hitting. I've gotten him to sit sometimes. I use treats and such.

    For the most part he's a good dog, high energy, demanding. Yet since I've had him he's twice tried to bite me viciously. Both times it was because a friend visited the house. Actually the first time it was at another house and when someone was coming in I had to hold him down cause he was thrashing and growling violently. Then yesterday I had a friend over and the dog simply freaked. He totally switched demeanor from a whiny little puppy to a buffed up beast and he was challenging me. He tried to charge me a couple times but in order to avoid having to kick him in defense I put a chair between us and after some loud yelling he went in the cage to avoid a conflict.

    Later that same day, I let him out of the cage and he was cool. But then he went into my bathroom and peed. I tried to grab him behind the neck (as mother dogs do) to bring him to the pee and scold him but I could see he was much stiffer than usual, probably a result of earlier. In any case he wouldn't allow me to scold him. As soon as I tried to grab him he tried to attack me. I held him for dear life cause if I let go he would have got me. I put him in the cage.

    So why haven't I found a new home for him? Cause my sister will freak and I'm afraid of her having a self-destructive reaction. After yesterday's scene though I'm convinced the dog is too dangerous and she doesn't have the capability to assert her dominance and train him. I did find a trainer, but alone and at home I fear it will backfire.

    I'm just looking for some advice. Given the circumstances, should I try and find him a new home or should I give him another chance? I feel really bad for the dog since he's known only us for almost a year, but I just feel that allowing this high-maintenance and dangerous dog to be around my sister is asking for it. I can't keep him because he's just too demanding and I can't work or do anything in my home without him there asking for attention. Plus I don't wanna have to worry about him attacking me and getting my guitar hand. Ideally I would find a new owner with a yard or something, but then there's also a risk of him getting beaten given his behavior....
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    There is a lot to unpick here but I would guess this dog isn't dangerous, but is confused and scared which triggers his fight or flight response and he isn't so much attacking as defending himself.

    He likely got anxious with your sister's behaviour, and your kicking him and grabbing him by the neck will not have done anything to help his trust of you.

    Do I think you should rehome him? Honestly, yes. If your sister can't cope and you are not able to keep him then it really would be the best thing. Please do it through a reputable rescue, don't do it through Facebook or gum tree.

    If you keeping him did end up as an option i would urge you to learn a lot more about canine behaviour and body language; dominance theory has been thoroughly discredited. Also rough handling a nervous dog that is already afraid of you is making him even more anxious and more likely to attack as it's his only defence to make you keep your distance. Poor lad.
     
  3. danielled

    danielled Guest

    Dominance theory has been debunked. So you kicked the dog? Honestly if I were the poor dog and you kicked me I’d bite too. It’s cruel. Never use the crate for punishment.
     
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  4. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Scolding a dog for peeing isn't helping either. He has to pee, he pees. He doesn't understand why you are yelling at him and grabbing him. He's not been trained to pee outside.

    Like the others have said his "aggressive" behavior is completely understandable, considering how terribly he has been treated all his short life.

    Please, take this dog to a breed specific rescue now. Be honest about his issues. The rescue will help him learn to trust, and find him a safe loving home.
     
  5. Laney_Lemons

    Laney_Lemons PetForums Senior

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    what a tragic tale for this little puppy... :( So many things wrong in this post I don't even know where to start. However well done for seeking advice

    The pup doesn't sound aggressive - he sounds like hes living in fear in an unstable home and the only way to protect himself as all other signals have been ignored is buy lashing out now... He doesn't seem to have any structure or positive training in his life .. one minute hes allowed to toilet anywhere, sleep anywhere - next think hes getting shouted at and pulled by the scruff? Have you introduced the crate to him slowly and gradually? are you praising and treating him when he does things that are good? is he getting stimulated? walks, play time, etc ?


    In my opinion you need either professional help (however you need to have a good think about if you want to keep this pup and put in the alot of time and training) OR you need to seek a new forever home for him who can give him a better quality of life ... You sister cant care for this pup with being in and out of hospital - please dont give this pup back to her as you implied she is aggressive and I took this towards the pup - apologies if im wrong.
     
  6. johnny ola

    johnny ola PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for your replies. I was lucky enough to find a home for him today, and though I don't have a guarantee that it will be perfect, at least the guy owns a pet food store and has a ton of dogs. He offered for me and my sister to come by and see him any time we want, and that tells me he doesn't plan on mistreating him. I'll try to avoid that though since it'll probably confuse him.

    I understand the sympathy for the dog, but if any of you ever find a dog which has latched onto your sister's hand, she's screaming her head off and blood is gushing everywhere, I challenge you to stop and consider your doggie's feelings. Obviously this behavior was exacerbated by her condition and her not training him, but that attack was unprovoked, as were others. A tough situation with no easy solutions.

    In any case it was obvious that this dog needs someone with the time and devotion to train him and gain his trust. Although it was very hard to do this behind by sister's back and she's gonna hate me for it, I feel it was for the best. I've been feeling dejected all day but the guy called me up and said the dog is fine, which made me feel a lot better.

    Anyway I doubt I will have to post here again; I just came to reassure readers that crisis was mostly likely averted and it seems one dog who's been through a lot will get the chance to have a stable home.
     
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  7. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums Member

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    Johnny, thanks for the update (we don't seem to see many of those!) and I feel sure you've done the right thing. I would just say that dogs don't attack for no reason - very few are actually psychotic, but the vast majority only attack because/when they feel they have no choice - it's a defensive action; it's based on fear - perhaps we don't understand why the dog is fearful, but there it is. Please do understand that I am not criticising your actions - you did what you thought was the right thing and no one can ask more than that. I only mention it in case you have dealings with any dogs in the future (hopefully this experience has not put you off dogs for life!) Anyway, you've done the right thing here; first in seeking advice; and second, in finding a home where the dog will hopefully be able to settle down and become less fearful. All the best.
     
  8. danielled

    danielled Guest

    Thanks for the update.
     
  9. tealover

    tealover PetForums Junior

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    I hope you don't mind me hijacking this thread but I was so drawn to this reply. Particularly your saying that dogs don't attack for no reason, but it tends to be a defensive action. Could I please just outline my issue at the moment? I have been feeling so despondent about this, that your post has brought me some hope.

    My dog is a 2yr old JRT, neutered. Came to us from a family with a young school age child and a toddler when he was 8 months old, because the toddler was allergic to him. A very good dog in many ways, very demanding as is often the way with JRT, we have an issue with "doors" at the moment, but my greatest concern is his behaviour when walking. Since we got him he has walked fairly well, reacts to the obvious - tractors, bicycles, joggers etc but I am keeping one step ahead of him and reining him in when I see a potential that he will "lunge" at. It also became obvious that he has a dislike for several dogs - will pull towards them (again, I cross the road.....turn around and go back if that is possible but not always....so try to minimise the problem) but he will pull towards them and bark and bark and bark, front legs off the floor. As soon as they have passed he is fine. It isn't all dogs but tends to be Labradors, poodle types, anything golden or light. But this last couple of weeks he has now snapped at a dog walker. The first occasion was the male owner of a cockapoo that was off lead (my dog on lead but an extendable), that my dog sniffed and ignored but when the chap approached me to say good morning he started pointedly barking, the chap put his gloved hand down (palm inwards for him to sniff) and he pulled his lips back and lunged for it. Luckily no contact made. This week we were walking on shorter lead in the village. A lady approached with a dog that we have met before, that my dog sniffed and ignored, she also then gently put her hand down (also gloved) and he began to snarl and lips went back and he lunged. I had kept him on a very short lead because of the other incident. She was absolutely fine, took her hand out of her glove and said perhaps it is my glove......but by this point he was just pointedly barking at her.

    I don't know what it is that is making him so unpredictable, today we have walked in the park and he has ignored everybody and everthing just to enjoy himself. Clearly, my priority now is always to say please don't touch my dog......but what can I do to understand his behaviour and manage it so that I can walk him without any fear? I have thought about muzzling him but whilst that would stop any potential issue, it doesn't address the problem.

    Sorry to have offloaded. Thank you
     
  10. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    you'd be more likely to get the help you need by starting your own thread.
     
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  11. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    It does sound as if your dog is fearful of strangers @tealover. He is being defensive rather then wanting to go out of way to bite. He barks to tell them to go away, but when they don’t and make things worse by putting a hand out he has to resort to nipping to make his point.
    Dogs have an escalating scale of how they are feeling, it’s called the Ladder of Aggression. Google it, or I expect someone will be along with the info. At the bottom rung the signs are so small (to us) that they are barely noticeable but they will be things like stiffening, looking away, lip licking, showing the whites of the eye. These are all signs that a dog is feeling uncomfortable in a situation. Unfortunately because the signs are so slight they are often missed by humans who continue to push their dog into a situation they don’t want. The signs we do see/hear are growling/barking and finally a bite.
    For your little dogs happiness keep him away from strangers and don’t allow them to try and stroke him, put him behind you if you are interacting with strangers so that he will feel safer. If you do decide to muzzle him, and that is no bad thing, make sure you buy a muzzle of the correct size and one that will allow him room to breath and pant properly, and to introduce muzzle wearing correctly. There are plenty of YouTube videos showing how to kindly introduce a muzzle to a dog so that they are happy to wear it.
     
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  12. tealover

    tealover PetForums Junior

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    Thank you so much for your very helpful reply. I have just looked at the Ladder of Aggression, and I take all the points you made on board.

    I am not entirely sure if he feels unsafe or ballsy......I read from a link about the forms of aggression - territorial, personal etc which was also very interesting. I have looked at some muzzles on line - I do have one of the black fabric ones that fit over the snout but am not sure it is particularly robust. I don't particularly want a basket one for him, so have seen a Good Boy Muzzle guard which looks sturdy and padded too, whilst allowing him to drink / eat / pant.

    Do you have any recommendations - as you can see from the pic, he is only a small dog.

    Many thanks
     
  13. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    The fabric ones hold the dogs mouth closed and are really only a temporary method such as when the dog is at the vets. Please don’t use this as a muzzle when taking the dog for a walk as he won’t be able to pant. The basket style ones are better tbh.
    I was at a country show last year on a very hot day and spotted someone with a little mixed breed dog which probably had pug in it, wearing a tightly fitting fabric muzzle totally unable to open its mouth to pant. I couldn’t catch up with them to try and tell them what could happen.
     
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  14. tealover

    tealover PetForums Junior

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    Understood. Thank you. I am just a bit panicked about it.

    I had a trainer last year who I will contact again and get him to come out and do some assessments. He said that he didn't consider him to be aggressive when we met last year - in his basic assessment it was the first time we had met. It does seem very unpredictable behaviour but I probably tense up every time somebody approaches. The other thing is that there is only my partner and me, we don't have kids, don't get a lot of visitors, and I wonder if that maybe contributes to it? But, thank you so very much.
     
  15. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    It’s possible that in his previous home he wasn’t socialised properly when a puppy. The socialisation period for puppies is only up to 16 weeks, so if his previous owners didnt spend much time letting him meet different types of people during this period then it’s likely he regards new people as something to be wary of.
    Anybody he meets from now on has to be a positive experience for him, however it’s unlikely that random strangers you might meet out on a walk are going to be positive from his point of view. He would probably be happier if everyone ignored him and this is what I would encourage you to ask people to do. Hopefully he will start to relax when in the company of strangers that totally ignore him, not even look at him, this to him would be a positive thing.
     
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