My dog bit me :-(

(24 Posts)
CocoNutter Wed 23-Jan-13 15:21:55

Not hard enough to leave a mark, but it hurt for a good ten minutes after! She's been snappy before with strangers who stroke her - so we don't let anyone stroke her now - but never, ever with me. I am so gutted. To be fair I was leaning over her to stroke her while she was lying down on her bed but I didn't starle her and I've done exactly that a hundred times before. Behaviourist says to take her to training again to reassert who's boss. Oh, and she's a Rottweiler so it's not like it was a nip!!

SpicyPear Wed 23-Jan-13 15:33:10

What else has the behaviourist suggested? I'm trying not to wade in tto strongly as it might just be that the advice was poorly expressdd, but it sounds like they might be into dominance theory (which is mostly nonsense).

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 23-Jan-13 16:21:14

I also agree this Behaviourist sounds like they like dominance theory. Though the incident suggests either bed guarding or fear. For now I would consider that her bed is her sancutary and not disturb her there. Maybe consider a different behaviourist as really issues like this need to be dealt with in a home visit not in a training class.

D0oinMeCleanin Wed 23-Jan-13 16:27:17

Run away from the 'behaviorist' quickly and don't look back. Your dog doesn't need to 'know who is boss', she just needs to know she is safe and needs to respect and understand your boundaries and have you respect and understand hers, for instance, not bothering her while she is in her bed, the chances are she has been telling you for months now that she does not like this but you've not understood her.

Find a new behaviorist Here Quiz them first ask which methods they use (positive = good, dominance or 'helping you become pack leader' = bad) and ask them if they believe in pack theory. The ones who use positive methods and do not believe in pack theory are the ones you want.

Read up on common stress signals in dogs www.amazon.co.uk/Talking-Terms-Dogs-Calming-Signals/dp/1929242360/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358958409&sr=1-1 and give your dog space from you when she wants it.

RedwingWinter Wed 23-Jan-13 16:47:58

I'm really sorry that she bit you, it must have been a real shock. It's good that she didn't break skin though which shows she has good bite inhibition (I'm sure it still hurt like buggery).

Dogs generally don't like being leaned over as it can make them feel uncomfortable, probably especially so if she was on her bed where she expects to be left alone. If you look at the book Dooin suggests then you'll be able to learn the subtle signals that show when she is getting stressed, which might precede a bite.

It sounds like you normally have good management strategies, so stick to those until you've seen a behaviourist (a positive reinforcement one, not one who says you have to be alpha). Also, if she is on her bed let her be; if you want to pet her, call her over to you. Her bed should be a safe space where no-one troubles her, not even you, even though you are the person she trusts most.

Im in a similar position to you. I have a rescue rottie (had him since end of November) and things are going well, but he bit me after trying to take something from him. He has a penchant for plastic - toys, carrier bags, bottles, he doesn't care. I took a toy from him and he snapped at me sad Didn't break the skin but did leave a bruise. Obviously we are still learning his temperament, and we know he's not had the best start. So if you don't mind, I'll be sticking around to see what advice their is

CocoNutter Wed 23-Jan-13 19:41:38

Thanks for your replies smile I think I wasn't very clear about the behaviourist - to be fair to him he was in full support of positive reinforcement, not negative. I think he meant that we should just be very strict with boundaries and follow through with making her sit, leave it, wait until told to eat etc, so that she knows we're in charge. He didn't mention packs, or shouting at her or anything like that. He said to use lots of treats (but take it out of her diet so she doesn't get like a heffalump!). The reason he didn't visit is because it was a friend of a friend who just offered some advice to start acting on immediately, so it's not really his fault on that one! smile

D0oinMeCleanin Wed 23-Jan-13 20:29:57

Hmm, maybe the behaviorist is just inexperienced then? His advise seems odd to me.

Going to obedience classes or making your dog wait to eat will not help this issue. Snapping is almost always a fear response. You need to get to the cause of fear and use counter conditioning or similar to get your dog used to the fear source.

I still reccomend a better behaviorist. All the obedience training in the world will not solve specific, fear based issues.

topknob Wed 23-Jan-13 20:35:33

Have you had dogs before?

Cuebill Wed 23-Jan-13 20:54:23

The behaviourist advice you have been given is incorrect so I would not follow it.

There is no need to make the dog know who is in charge or make it wait to eat (except for good manners). The idea that the command has to followed through is worrying terminology.

We can't see the dog, we can not pick up on the subtle body language but generally you need to allow your dog to be able to relax. Do not force, command or demand.

I do suggest you get help and a member of the APDT will be able to help you.

Re the dog biting when removing things from Imnotsoslimjim always swop rather than just remove especially with a dog with an unknown history.

Hold something very smelly eg cheese hotdog by his nose he drops the item you give him the treat. To start with if the item is not dangerous I would let the dog pick up the item again and then offer a treat again.

The dog needs to relax and know that when you approach good things happen, they will not to guard or be on edge.

Soon you will be able to remove without treating but to be honest I think the dog deserves a treat for giving up its loved item smile

SpicyPear Wed 23-Jan-13 23:35:11

Yes he sounds like maybe he is out of his depth on this. I have a fearful dog (but who runs/hides rather than snaps) and general obedience and being in charge are of no use to resolving it (although of course important for other reasons) I think you need someone experienced to come and observe your dog and give specific strategies for counter-conditioning. In the meantime do as advised below and call your dog to you to be petted. I can bother both my dogs in bed without being snapped at, but I don't because they don't particularly like it. It would be for my benefit rather than theirs and it's not, in my opinion, fair to force unwanted physical interaction on dogs unless for their own health or safety.

digerd Thu 24-Jan-13 18:40:38

I only had trouble with my Dachshund. My various Westies and Lhasa Apsos have never even growled never mind bitten. But they sat on the sofa with us and only went to bed when we did. But they are all small dog breeds.

CocoNutter Thu 24-Jan-13 22:06:46

NutterDog doesn't growl - I've only heard her growl once in the 8 months we've had her, and that was at another dog. She barely barks either. I think I need help interpreting her behaviour!

topknob I haven't had dogs before (although have spent a lot of time with them) but DH has.

topknob Sat 26-Jan-13 21:58:13

I ask as a Rottweiler is not a dog I would suggest for a non experienced dog owner...but you have the dog, and you need to get on with it. I don't know your dog but is it more responsive to food or play?

topknob Sat 26-Jan-13 22:01:09

Coco a growl is a warning prior to a bite, I assume the dog bit you without the warning?

frustratedworkingmum Sat 26-Jan-13 22:12:24

tobknob, rotties are known to not growl or give a warning if they are that way inclined.

My rottie bit my head (as in my whole head in his mouth) once when i got in the car with thim. That was pretty scary shite, he was a rescue and came with issues. I did have a lifetime experience with dogs and had owned a rott before and was ex vet nurse.

No no no to a rotweiller as a first time dog, especially if you have children.

Were you staring at her? Daft question as well but some rotties really don't respond well to direct eye contact they feel intimidated by it and will react.

Imnotaslimjim our rescue rottie had possesion issues and he snapped at me many a time if i tried to take anything form him, the trouble is, sometimes you have to - we used to play swapsies, so always had something really interesting to swap for things we wanted to take away from him. We didn't let him have his own toys because of this as him with things that were "his" would have been asking for trouble. You need to give it time, i knew we had cracked it with our boy when one day i was loading the washing machine and my head was down by his as he was eating his dinner and i did it without a second thought smile I dont think we did anything specific with him, we tried lots of trainers and behaviourists and found it all a waste of money, we just had to love him and build up his trust - he had been mistreated, it wasn't his fault.

Cuebill thanks for the advice, that is what I've been doing since the nip, but I actually thought I was giving in rather than praising him for giving it up - though it wasn't his toy I was trying to retrieve, it was my DS's! He is doing great though, and we've had rotties before so do understand them. Just never had one that nips!

bergedorf Sat 26-Jan-13 22:17:16

I'm having trouble with my dog snapping too, and at the groomers yesterday she snapped and apparently also bit one of them. sad
When I went to pick her up, she looked exhausted.
I've been to see a behaviourist and am waiting for their report. In the meantime I've been told to only interact with her when I start it, not when she asks for attention.
I don't really understand how this will help stop the snapping, but hopefully the report will clarify that.
I'm watching this thread with interest too, as it's just so depressing to have a snappy dog that you can't trust.

Thanks for the tip on the book btw, I'm going to buy it. Interestingly as my dog is a miniature schnauzer the behavioursit said it can be more difficult to "read" her signals as her face is so hairy!

PS behaviourist is at Langford clinic linked to Bristol Uni and is member of APBC. I just hope her recommendations work, even though they don't make much sense to me at the moment.

Sorry frustrated we posted at the same time. That must have been terrifying for you. To be fair, this is the only time that Butch has actually connected, though it is a bit of a chase to get him to give anything up. Now I know I'm going the right way about it, I'll offer a small treat before the chase starts, then praise him for swapping. He has started retrieving and leaving a ball on command now, so we're getting somewhere with him

topknob Sat 26-Jan-13 22:34:56

That is interesting frustrated..I have GSD who is my 2nd dog, we had a lab for 11 years before her, and spaniels my entire childhood. She growls when she isn't happy, for whatever reason and sometimes it seems to be for nothing whatsoever. But she responds fab to play toys rather than fod so I was wondering if op could coax her dog with one or the other?

topknob Sat 26-Jan-13 22:35:18

*food even

frustratedworkingmum Sat 26-Jan-13 22:42:07

Yep - a rottie is unlikely to be brash and barky like a GSD who tend to be all talk and no trousers wink The staring at a rottie thing is weird too - if a rottie is barking at you and growling your ok - if its staring at you intently, you are in trouble!! My rottie used to talk to me (my non rescue, no issues, gentle giant) and growl away if he wanted strokes or just general, then he would push his big head into my tummy for big love smile He was an amazing dog - i still miss him. The rescue rottie was great too, in different ways and i loved that he finally trusted us. He was a teenage deliquent when we got him from battersea dogs home but he became a wonderful member of the family. Sadly he died when he was quite young.

OP, do you have children?

topknob Sun 27-Jan-13 20:23:17

Dh once told me a story from back in the day when he was window cleaning (long before me ;) ) and he was cleaning a patio door, he looked down to see this Rottie just staring at him intently, then the dog walked away and turned and ran at the patio door repeatedly. Dh didn't hang around as the door was wobbling :D

You described my dog to a tee, all talk and no trousers, she barks manically at anyone knocking on the door then goes out to make friends..I despair of her as a guard dog.

CocoNutter Sun 27-Jan-13 23:33:25

Oh drat. Wrote a longish reply and it hasn't sent despite telling me it had. Stoopid iPhone app hmm

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