Aggressive Dog, I don't know what to do

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by tinamarie1, Jun 9, 2007.

  1. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    In the past 2 weeks, our dog has bitten one of difficult child's friends on the arm, for no reason at all. Then tonite, she bit difficult child on his foot, breaking the skin.
    She is a japanese spitz, about 3 years old, she has been fixed (that didn't change anything). We cannot have anyone over at our house because she barks constantly at them and then tries to bite them.
    I have thought about taking her to a trainer, but can they really change an aggressive dogs ways? I mean she is totally not provoked in these situations!
    I love the dog whisperer, and so i looked on his website and he says that most dogs are aggressive because they don't get enough excersize. So I have been walking her for the past 10 days every single day, for about 30 minutes...and no change..she still tries to go after our neighbors when they are in their own yard, the other day on our walk, a police car drove by kinda slow and she went nuts.
    How can I keep a dog that is hurting people? That is just not right. And one day it could get very ugly, thankfully the kids that she has bitten (she also bit another of difficult children friends about 6 months ago, just ran up behind him and bit him on the back of his leg)..there parents are "ok" about things. Oh and yes she has had all of her rabies shots and other vaccinations.
    I feel like the right thing to do is to take her to the pound, it will hurt emensly, but I feel like it is what I should do to protect my family and so i can invite people into my home. I just talked to husband about it and he doesn't want me to do it he wants to find someone to work with her. I just feel like its hopeless...its the way she is.
  2. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I love my dogs so much I don't know what I would do.
    I DO know that if you own a dog that bites your homeowners insurance can drop you. In some cases you would be required to purchase a special Rider insurance just to cover a dog.

    I did some research regarding dog bites a few years back. This was regarding a neighbors dog who would get out and attack my dog every time I walked it. First bite was when she was 3 months old. Within a 8 month period she had been bitten 3 times by this same dog. Each time requiring a vet visit.
    Even walking with a friend and her two dogs, this dog came out and attacked MY dog. My dog didn't do anything, was on a leash.
    I do not often walk that way (4 houses away). That dog no longer lives there.

    You do need to know that you and your house guests are safe. do you have a kennel for the dog? I would be careful on who the dog is around if it has a tendency to bite. There are some pretty severe consequences to face if the dog is considered vicious.
  3. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Tina, I've run across this a few times.

    I adopted a border collie mix once from a rescue who got so attached to me that he would bite people who got too close to me. I had to return him to the rescue.

    My bro and sister in law had to put down their cocker because she had "spaniel rage" and would bite for no reason at all. And even my own dear sweet Molly bit the mailman (a cliche---but true!).

    Have you called the vet to see if he/she has any ideas? It sounds as if this is a sudden change in behavior so I would take her in to be checked out. Maybe she is hurt in some way and thinks she is protecting herself? I don't know, but I would definitely take her in to be examined.

    I can tell you that a biting dog is unadoptable at the pound and around here they would euthanize her immediately. If it comes to that, I think it would much kinder to take her to your own vet and be with her at the end. :sad:

    Call your vet, Tina and have her looked at.

  4. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    husband has found a trainer (a couple) who come into our home and will help train her. they have a lifetime guarentee. they are in our new area, VA Beach...we will be moving in about 3 weeks. You pay them a flat fee and they will come out as many times as it takes and however long it takes. They teach you how to train your dog and you have to spend 15-20 min each day in the beginning doing what they have showed you.
    For now, we will give it some time and have them come over as soon as we get moved and unpacked. I don't want to give up on her. I also read some stuff online last night and found out that we are feeding into her behavior by doing things like "play attacking" making her bark and get aggressive, even things like playing tug of war with her can make her more aggressive.
    I can't stand the thought of her being put down.
  5. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Any time a dog or cat has an increase in aggression, a complete vet check-up is in order.

    When I was growing up we did have an insurance company threaten to drop us due to a biting dog. It was a Hungarian sheepdog with strong rounding up tendencies. He didn't bite when people came, he bit the Avon lady when she tried to *leave* and he would nip at the heels of kids woul tried to leave a group of kids playing.

    Good luck with the trainer. I agree I wouldn't take a biting dog to the pound. If it comes to that have your own vet euthanize her.
  6. bby31288

    bby31288 Active Member

    We have a dog suzie. She is some kind of collie mix. We have had her for about 6 years. She is a wonderful dog for our family and protects each and everyone of us...except for husband that is. What we do when kids are coming over, she tends to jump and stand between whichever of "our family" is home and the guest, She once nipped at one of easy child friends hand as she was walking and following easy child, so now when someone is coming over we put her in one of the bedrooms. She usually goes under easy child/difficult child 3's bed. This way she is safe and the visitor is safe. I personally don't know what I would do without Suzie. But you are taking step in the right direction getting a trainer.

    I will say Suzie doesn't care for husband at all, she puts up with him. She hates men, and hates them worse if they wear baseball hats.
  7. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I had a duchund that began biting after he had been hit by a car.
    He was unpredictable and one time bit a guest that was petting him and then reached for her drink. It was a bad bite and I wanted her to report it but she refused. The second bite was a friend of my son's who had tried to grab him. That also was a severe bite. I offered to pay for the medical bills and called for a euthansia appointment. My family and the kid who had been bitten were very distraught over this and begged me not to do it. I thought long and hard and then had an idea and called the vet back. I asked if he culd pull the dog's teeth instead. He said yes and that it is done frequently and often it has a psycological effect that makes the dog less aggressive. He didn't know why but said that there was evidence to that effect. They only pull the canine teeth because those are the ones that usually do the damage by puncturing. The dog can eat just fine. It is way more expensive than putting them to sleep but is a viable alternative for some dogs. (it cost me $700 about 8 years ago). The only side effect my dog had was that the tip of his tounge would hang out a bit. It made him look like one of those stuffed dogs. things went along fine for a few yeas but then we had our first grandchild. The dog went after the 8 month old baby who didn't do anything to him didn't even look at him. husband (whose dog it really was) picked the dog p and told me to say goodbye and took him immediately to the vet to be put down. It hurt but it was the right thing to do. -RM
  8. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I'm sorry you're going through this. I hope the trainers are able to work with you and your fur baby to overcome this.

    I agree with the others that said, if it comes to it, have your vet euthanize her. The shelters will not adopt out an agressive dog. On the off chance that she would be adopted and she bites someone, I would worry about the dog being mistreated. Vets see all too often the end result of an agressive dog and are willing to euthanize after all other options have failed. Hopefully it won't have to come to that.

    Good luck to you.
  9. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    husband & I had to have our dog Libby euthanized because of her fears/anxieties. She was very hand shy (we adopted her from a shelter); spent time & dollars with a trainer.

    However, she was standing face to face with several of our nieces & nephews & too unstable. She couldn't be trusted with children. After one bite husband & I decided the kids came first.

    I truly hope the trainer can help you - that was one of the hardest days in my life. I sat with Libby until she was gone.
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Where did you get the dog from? Have you had her since she was a puppy?

    As well as the trainers, I'd get a complete vet checkup. You never know, there just might be a physical reason she has suddenly turned aggressive.

    We adopted a tiny pup from the pound a couple of years ago. She'd been neglected and was in pityful shape. When we brought her home the vet didn't think she'd live over 48 hours. And the trip to the vet revealed she'd been used as a "target" dog for dog fighting.

    She had enough TLC for 5 dogs and we worked our fanny's off with her. But as time progressed she became more and more aggressive. We used socializing techniques, training (what I could find), and it did nothing. I even had her checked out completely by the vet. At first her aggression was only with our other dogs. Understandable given her past. But eventually it progressed to people. When she went to bite my daughter, we had her put down.

    I never cried so hard, or was so heartbroken. If she hadn't been so abused and neglected as a tiny puppy she'd have made a wonderful dog. :sad:

    I really hope the training works. But if it doesn't you should have her put to sleep. Taking her to the pound only risks someone else adopting her and getting hurt. Plus if she shows agression at the pound they'd put her down anyway.

    Keeping fingers crossed.
  11. sameold sameold

    sameold sameold New Member

    I have a daschund who can be aggressive with others. He is wonderful with family. I keep him in the bedroom when company is around. I wouldn't trust him around young kids at all. I can do that now, I don't have any grandbabies yet. And when I do, I guess he will stay in the bedroom or in his kennel when they are around. He has bitten one person, but it was because he walked into the house without letting anyone know he was around. Hmmm, guess he should have knocked.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Tina, I agree that you need to begin with-a vet check.

    In re: to training, you definitely need obedience training. I have dealt with-two aggressive dogs and both were rescues. (Both were abused prior to our adopting them.) Neither was completely "cured" but they were sufficiently socialized that they could live in the house, and be placed in the kennel if necessary when we had company. A kennel is essential. If you don't have one, buy one.

    When you take your dog for a walk, and you observe the dog going crazy when a car goes by, for eg., what do you do? This is a perfect training opportunity. You should use a choke chain (although with-a spitz you made need a prong collar and will have to learn how to use it--you can't jerk as hard as you can with-a regular choke). When the dog gets ready to bark, you jerk the chain and say "no bark!" in a firm voice. You can also say "No bark! Sit!" and make the dog sit until the car is gone. (That gives the dog something to do, plus, it creates a situation where you praise the dog for sitting, and praise is usually lacking in an aggressive situation. Sort of like our kids. LOL!)

    The key is watching the dog very closely. You say that your dog bites for "no good reason" and, assuming the vet check turns up nothing, I would doubt that. (Although it's possible your dog has developed arthritis or some infection that is so painful that any touch or perceived threat makes the dog panic.) I used to say the same thing about my border collie until I took her to a professional trainer. He showed me that she did, in fact, have a reason. One example was that I would pet another one of our dogs, and the aggressive dog would attack for no good reason.

    "No good reason?" he laughed. "You're petting the other dog! She's jealous."

    Solution? Practice down-stays several times a day. (The goal is to make the dog do a down-stay while you're petting the other dog, or doing whatever it is that normally makes it aggressive.) Start alone with-the dog for 5 min, work up to 10 min., 1/2 hr, 1 hr, 2 hrs. (You can do long down stays when you're at the computer or watching TV. To prevent the dog from racing to the door while you're typing for eg., tie the dog's leash to your belt. You'll get a jerk but so will the dog. And you won't have to get up to chase it.) Then you do down-stays with-distractions, such as on the street, in a houseful of noisy kids, etc.

    I wish I knew as much about raising kids as I do about dog training... although some of the techniques are similar... such as, cut out the long, involved explanations (which the kids won't listen to anyway), stick to basic instructions, stay calm, and always be consistent.

    In The Explosive Child, they say kids will do well if they can. In dog training, you have to catch the dog doing something right and then praise it.

    The hardest part is finding something to praise the dog or kid for when you're ready to smack them. The obedience instructor said that having the dog just sit is a good excuse for praise. So I transfered that advice to my own experience with-my difficult child, and would have him do something very simple that I knew he could and would do, such as put his backpack in the house, or feed the dogs, and then I'd praise him. (The hardest part is training yourself to think differently, to force yourself to create a situation where you know difficult child will succeed, just so you CAN praise him or her... IOW, overcoming the resentment that he or she should be behaving properly as a matter of course, rather than having you artificially manufacture a situation where they can succeed. But that's life and you have to rewrite the script.)

    Good luck and let me know how it goes. I'm actually pretty good with-dogs and would love to help.
  13. stepmonster

    stepmonster New Member

    Spitz are notoriously high strung.
  14. mum2JK&TH

    mum2JK&TH New Member

    Coming from a mum who's daughter has 3 scars on her face that will be with her forever, please please, be very careful.

    Our family dog many years ago bit husband on the hand but we thought at the time that as husband had food in his hand the dog had mistaken that husband was feeding it to him when in fact he had just moved his hand. We had no idea that aggression was setting in. Less than a month later, the dog tried to kill our daughter. Size was on her side and because she was not yet two years old that while he was trying for her neck it was to small, he bit the side of her face. She now has a long scar down her cheek and two smaller scars right beside and below her eye. It is something that lives with me forever, I should have clued in. We were told by the doctors that we were lucky she wasn't killed and/or lost her eye. She had many stitches, a week in the hospital, infections and shock.

    I love animals dearly and easy child eventually asked for another dog, but I will never keep an animal that shows an ounce of aggression. They are animals, the survive on instinct and no matter how much we think that we have tamed or trained them, if they feel threatened, no amount of "love" we think our animals have for us will stop them from doing what they think they need to do.

    I am so sorry for being a downer but this subject runs very close to my heart. If you do keep your dog, be very, very careful.
  15. hearthope

    hearthope New Member

    When the trainer's come they will explain to you what you are doing that makes your dog think it is acceptable behavior.

    Dogs react to our actions. They will teach you the proper response for her acts of aggression.

    I would work with the trainer. As a last resort I would find a no kill shelter that will place her in a home to work with her so that she can be placed in another home.

    Most aggresive dogs I work with have owners that unknowingly reward the dog for it's behavior.

    I don't have the problems with them that the owner's have because I establish the pack order in the beginning.

    Most of these behaviors start when the dog thinks he is higher in the pack than another family member, and most can be changed back simply by reestablishing the order.
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    If you can afford it, I would contact your vet and ask for a referral to a behavioralist. The walking and exercise is an issue, but if he is aggressive, then there are some dominance issues too, that need to be dealt with. A good one should be able to tell within the first session what will help.
  17. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    Thanks for all of your advice. You guys are a wealth of knowledge. To answer some of your questions:
    1. We bought lillian when she was a puppy, it was her and her brother left. The brother was bouncy and happy and all excited. But of coarse I wanted the shy puppy that was hiding in the corner, and that was lillian. She was my christmas present.
    We did not socialize her...she was not around other dogs (she is and was our only baby), she was never around people or kids until probably in the past 6 months.
    2. We know our vet better than any of our physicians, she is there so much. Between shots, getting fixed, and us taking trips out of town (they board her while we are gone 1-2 times a year), she has been there probably half a dozen times in the past year. He is more than aware that she can be agressive and has some nervous issues. She goes to the bathroom almost immediately when we enter their office (poo and pee) embarassing, but they are used to it. She has had many exams, most recently just a month ago when she got fixed.
    She is very particular about who she trusts at the vets office, so the one girl that she likes usually takes care of her.
    I am going to call the Vet tomorrow and just see if he has any other suggestions and to tell him about the trainers who we will get in VA.
    3. Someone questioned me saying that she bites for no reason. When my sons friends were over, she did just run up to them and bite them. The kids were playing on their own. Now maybe she is seeing that child as a threat since he is in close proximity to my child? I don't know.

    I won't be a prisioner in my own home, I know that. If the trainers don't give us any hope then we will have to put her down. When we have people over, we do put her in her kennel and she goes bonkers, howling, crying, barking, scratching to get out. Its ridiculous. I am starting to really pray that God will help us in this situation. She is such a part of our family, and it would be heart wrenching to put her down.
    Thank yall for listening...and for your input.
  18. SRL

    SRL Active Member

  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    3. Someone questioned me saying that she bites for no reason. When my sons friends were over, she did just run up to them and bite them. The kids were playing on their own. Now maybe she is seeing that child as a threat since he is in close proximity to my child? I don't know.

    YES! She's clearly nervous and overprotective.

    I won't be a prisioner in my own home, I know that. If the trainers don't give us any hope then we will have to put her down.

    Give her a chance... especially since you've got the kennel.

    When we have people over, we do put her in her kennel and she goes bonkers, howling, crying, barking, scratching to get out.
    When she does this, smack the top of the kennel and shout, NO BARK! until she stops. You have to train her not to do it. It doesn't happen naturally.

    Are you going to be in Tidewater VA? If so, I highly recommend Coastal Dog Training. (I can give you more info it you are moving to this area.) The owner literally saved my dog's life. I was going to have her put down, same as you. He was incredible.

  20. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    Terry, we will be in Virginia Beach...but i think Tidewater is not far from there? There is a couple that does training in Va beach that we have planned on using. husband called and got an estimate today, $450. Does that sound pretty typical?