Dog bites

Posted by Ozzy
Jul 3, 2009
Our dog has bitten us 3 times. The bites were when he was sleeping and we touched him or he was eating. I took him to a trainer who said to put him to sleep, which put my daughter into hysterics. Some of his other problems are he does not allow us to cut his nails or bathe him and we have difficulty getting a new collar on him. I hope you can help us I am at my wits end and I am hoping to avoid having him put to sleep at all costs.

Thank you,
Gegetta Myers
Posted by Idan-Kashi
Jul 3, 2009
Take a look at the Alpha Dog dog book you got when purchasing the Secrets to Dog Training. No need to put him to sleep...
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jul 3, 2009
Hi Ozzy,

Putting him to sleep should be the very last decision. Will you tell us more about your dogs as well as what did you do when he bit?

1. How old, how big and what breed is he?
2. How long have you had him?
3. Do you know anything about his previous life if you adopted him?
4. When did the behavior start?
5. Does he growl, or snap at you before he actually bites?
6. Are those bad bites? Did he break your skin?
7. How does he behave at the vet? Does he let the vet touch him OK?
8. What do you do when he bites? Do you reprimand him? If you do, how does he react to that?

Looking forward to hearing from you again.
Posted by Ozzy
Jul 4, 2009
How old, how big and what breed is he?- HE is 2.5 years old. We got him at the Humane society adn tehy said he was part beegle and part terrier.
2. How long have you had him?- we have ahd him since he was 6 weeks old
3. Do you know anything about his previous life if you adopted him?- we know nothing about his previous life
4. When did the behavior start?- After he was neutered(the vet was mean to him)
5. Does he growl, or snap at you before he actually bites?- Sometimes
6. Are those bad bites? Did he break your skin?- Yes he ahs broken skin. He only bites one place he doesn't keep coming back at you
7. How does he behave at the vet? Does he let the vet touch him OK?- He gets hysterical at teh vet and does not elt the vet touch him.
8. What do you do when he bites? Do you reprimand him? If you do, how does he react to that?- Yes we reprimand him. We read that we should ignore him for 48 hours. He whines
Posted by kjd
Jul 4, 2009
What did your vet do that was mean, Ozzy?

If you think his problems with the vet are because of this meanness, can you switch to another vet?
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jul 5, 2009
Hi Ozzy,

Thank you for letting us know about your dog and the situation. This is what I assume what causes the problem and what I would do if I was his owner:

1) You got him at 6 wks old so I think he didn't have enough time to be with litter mates. From 6 to 16 wks is the critical time to learn how to play and interact with other dogs and people as well. He missed this socialization period unfotunately.

2) You've had him almost 2 yrs and I assume he has been the only dog so my guess is that he has learned how he can get his way. In other words, you let him act like that.

>The bites were when he was sleeping and we touched him or he was eating.

This sounds like biting is a way for him to tell you "No! Don't bother me!"

3) If he is indeed a mix of beagle and terrier, he is an independent, stubborn, and strong-willed breed. He has his own mind and his own way. Thus, the bites happen to tell you "Leave me alone".

>He only bites one place he doesn't keep coming back at you

This indicates again that this might be the way that he has learned to communicate with you, although it is not appreciated by us human beings.

4) There are many dogs that don't like to be nail clipped, or bathed, or vet visits, especially when they have bad experiences in the past. It will be a long process but you can desensitize your dog by giving him positive reinforcements.

5) I personally don't like ignoring him for 48 hrs as a reprimand. Besides, he will not remember why he is being ignored after 5 minutes. Punishments should be quick and direct so that your dog can associate his bad behavior with them.

I think you will need to try obtaining his trust and confidence by giving him trainings using a lot of positive reinforcement. Try to touch his paws and nails. If he lets you touch them without growling or snapping, give him a praise and a treat. Changing the vet is a great idea. Next time you take him to a new vet, bring dog buscuits with you and give those as he behaves calmly. Make vet visits something fun and rewarding for him. Every routine should be reintroduced this way. Hope this will work.
Posted by KOPsarah
Jul 13, 2009
Hi Ozzy and thanks for your post, as others have mentioned I think that your dog thinks it is the leader of the pack and therefore entitled to show you when you displease it and generally rule the roost. I therefore would definitely recommend doing alpha training with your dog and have outlined the steps below along with some behavior correction methods. As far as your dog disliking being touched in certain places this will respond to alpha dog training also but will require desensitizing as well. It is best if you leave the desensitization training till your alpha-dog training is well under way and you can confidently handle your dog.

[B]Be the Alpha dog[/B]
It’s easier to manage your dog if you understand the rules of dog social behavior. Our bonus book “Secrets to Becoming The Alpha Dog" will help you become the top dog and rule your roost. The key point however is that if you act like the pack leader your dog will see you as pack leader, however if you don’t you dog will feel it has to assume the role itself.

Remember that in a wild dog pack the dominant pack member controls :
-access to food
-access to favoured sleeping areas
-any interactions with lower pack members
-access to favoured items such as toys

In order to show your dog his position as bottom of the pack you and your whole family can take advantage of these keys points. For example

1) Your dog must be the last to eat at every meal and should never get treats from the table, these can be saved for training treats later.

2) Your dog should never walk through doors before you. A good way to practice this is to walk around the house and make them sit at each doorway and wait.

3) If your dog is lying in the hallway or anywhere you have to get past make them move. If you think they will snap leave a lead on them so you can move them whilst maintaining a bit of distance.

4) When you arrive home completely ignore the dog for 15 minutes. Don't look at them, talk to them or pat them. After this go to them and give them some quiet attention only as long as they are relaxed and calm.

5) Only interact with the dog on your terms. If your or someone else is petting the dog or playing with it and it becomes aggressive or badly behaved immediately remove your attention from the dog by either removing yourself from the area or moving the dog to another area. You should do this without displaying any emotion such as anger just be a calm but decisive pack leader and the dog will appreciate knowing where it stands.

6) Similarly you can assert your dominance by not allowing access to beds and couches or by only bringing out favourite toys when you want to play and removing them when you are finished.

[B]Keep your dog challenged [/B]
Keeping your dog mentally and physically stimulated especially in the high energy teens months. There are a number of ways to keep your dog challenged.

Regular daily obedience training is a good routine - just five minutes a day spent rehashing familiar commands with your dog is an extremely effective way of reinforcing your authority and dominance while also keeping your dog mentally challenged. Be sure to use praise and/or treat immediately whenever your dog does something right.

Regular exercise is also very effective at improving your dog’s behavior and it can be both mentally and physically stimulating. Quite walks, while not particularly physically stimulating, keep your dog mentally stimulated especially if you vary the walking environment to include new and interesting places. Jogging if your dog is fit and healthy can provide a great energy burning opportunity.

Finally toys are also an important source of mental stimulation for dogs and are very useful for keeping dogs entertained when owners are out. Try to build up a collection and rotate them so your dog does not get bored. Toys which can be stuffed with food and require the dog to work the food out slowly are especially valuable.

[B]Correcting general disobedience or aggression[/B]

There are two main effective ways to correct bad behavior.
For general disobedience, use the “Alarm-No!-Command” method (p55 in your ‘Secrets to Dog Training’ guidebook).

Three steps to take immediately when your dog disobeys:
-Alarm your dog with a squirt from a water pistol or by shaking a pebble filled can
-At the same time say a loud “No!” or “Bad” or utter a sharp growling sound like “Aaahhh.” Be stern and sincere every time so that the dog associates the harsh word with stopping the behavior
-Redirect your dog with a command. ‘Sit and stay’ is a very good choice. Praise your dog as soon as it responds correctly.

Some dogs however can be difficult to alarm and personally for aggressive behaviors i prefer this second method as I believe it further reinforces that you are a calm strong leader. Set up a time out spot such as a crate, kennel or quiet room. As soon as the dog disobeys calmly and silently remove it to the time-out spot for a [B]3-minute time out.[/B] To make the situation positive again when the 3 minutes is up let your dog come back out and ask it to sit, when it responds correctly praise. Dominant dogs in particular are constantly seeking your attention and therefore removing your attention by isolating them with time out can be a simple and effective training tool.

Three minute times out are all that is necessary, long time outs are not effective because the dog will quickly forget what it has done and not associate the time out with the bad behavior.

[B]Using the Head Collar to help train safely and effectively[/B]
I would also highly recommend using a head collar such as a halti or gentle leader as a tool to help you do alpha training with your dog. With the head collar on you will be easily able to control your dog and instantly remove him for time out whenever he challenges your dominance or is aggressive without actually touching the dog and therefore more safely and confidently. It also means you can enforce the training without actually physically challenge your dog which is important because physically challenging the dog implies to it that it is the leader and you are trying to challenge it in this role. This therefore leads to further dominance and aggression issues.

Head collars are also excellent tools for helping you exercise your dog because you will have much greater control and can work your dog with more confidence.

-Use alpha training everyday, all of the little things will add up quickly and you will soon be pack leader
-Keep your dog stimulated toys and exercise to reduce energy levels
-Do regular obedience with your dog
-Use a head collar to help you train

All the best, and keep me posted on your progress. If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to ask.