New dog is fear aggressive and I'm struggling.

(46 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Tue 30-Apr-13 22:35:27

Got a six month old dog at the weekend so I'm aware it's very early days. Dog came from a breeder but hadn't sold, however it seems very unsocialised. But he was lovely when we saw him at the breeders house.

He is fine with my 12yo dd all the time. He follows her round like a shadow.

He is always fine with me if I am on my own or if its me and Dh. If dd is there as well he will sometimes growl and snarl at me when I come in a room.

When dd is at school he follows me like a shadow and is fine with me. But then if Dh comes in a room he snarls and growls and lunges at Dh.

If Dh is home alone with the dog then the dog is fine with Dh and follows him around.

We've read up on dog body language, our body language. We're ignoring bad behaviour and praising him for not growling/been good. If he growls we turn our back on him and move away.

We've got the dog a dap collar and he has a crate so he could retreat there if he wanted to. I've made an appt to see a dog trainer on Thursday for a one to one.

I spent all day yesterday with him either by my feet or on my knee.

He's fine with people coming to the door but occasionally lunges snarling at random objects like bags. He lunges at other dogs on walks when he first meets them but will then walk alongside them fine for ages. But if they start playing with each other amongst themselves he will start barking and leaping about, like the excitement tips him over the edge. He's kept on his lead and other dogs are off their lead....which he's ok with as long as they're walking nicely. Do I keep walking him with these dogs for socialisation or take him on calmer, quieter walks?

Dd had a friend round tonight and dog was mainly ok with the friend. I wasn't here so didn't witness this but apparently dog was doing occassional growling at friend and then nipping at her trousers. Dh got fed up with this and ignored all I'd told him and pinned the dog to the ground. Dog then bit him.....has left a bruise but not broken the skin so not a proper bite. I've pointed out to Dh that he's probably made the dog even more scared now so it won't have helped.

What do we need to be doing to resolve this? Will it just take time and effort? Is he beyond hope if he's not been socialised by six months?

Aww he's so small, hard to believe he can cause so much bother smile

VivaLeBeaver Fri 03-May-13 15:13:00

He's beautiful Jumiper and does look a bit like mine. I've uploaded a photo of my mad hound.

I've uploaded a pic of my ddog. He's so photogenic grin

My dog looks like a fox too. He's a rescue small lurcher though.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 02-May-13 13:07:49

Wiry. Looks like a little fox.

Sweeeet. Is he shorthaired or wiry?

Glad things seem to be improving and I applaud your patience.

<off to google the breed>

VivaLeBeaver Thu 02-May-13 12:26:17

Session with the trainer went well. He was getting me to focus on when the dog is been agressive towards other people/dogs to put him behind me while telling him "enough". Trainer thinks the dog is quite terratorial but he needs to learn that its up to me to decide it other people/dogs are a problem not him.

He's already walking on the lead better, walking past other dogs without going nuts and seems to be picking up "come" as well. Need to keep practising all this. But I feel a lot more positive.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 02-May-13 07:37:23

He is happy in his crate btw. I'm trying to ignore as much as possible. The one thing I can't is the cats.....but I'm not shouting at him or anything, just saying no firmly and picking him up. Then praising him when he stops.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 02-May-13 07:35:57

I do think we're moving in the right direction. He hasn't growled at me this morning though dd is still here. He only did one tiny growl at Dh.

I told dd to not have friends round and have told her again. She promised me she wouldn't. Then last night while I was at work she had two over, they were running round the garden shrieking and not surprisingly he was chasing and growling. They ran onto the trampoline for safety and he wouldn't let them off!

He slept through last night and didn't bark at a cat in the house this morning. I was holding him and praising. I think if he'd been on the floor he'd have gone for her.

idirdog Wed 01-May-13 16:31:14

VivaleBeaver I would not be too worried at this stage. You are right it is very early days.

Your new dog is actually being very well mannered in his communication to you. He lets you know he is unsure and could have bitten you OH hard but again used restraint when the dog was terrified.

I think you are right to highlight your concern to the breeder BUT do give things time.

I would not be taking him out and about just yet. Let him get used to household things first so let him potter, you have given a space to retreat to praise him when he does. Keep everything very low key and do not ask anything of him except the right to remove himself if things get too much. Big ask but could your DC's go to friends houses this week instead of having friends round to yours.

See how things are in a week when all pressure has been removed from the dog - he has a lot to get used to just in the house and no need to add to his stress levels at the moment. When he trusts and is happy with you going out will be easier.

Keep your voice and actions upbeat if he shows fear as you would with a toddler, "don't worry it is just a scary plastic bag, lets go"

I would generally at this stage ignore a lot of his behaviours, ignore the following.

Is he happy in his crate?

Things may look very different in short time - be careful with any trainer who makes him face up to his fear or uses aversives in their training - I promise you that will make things 100% worse.

Imsosorryalan Wed 01-May-13 14:41:14

I feel for youhmm my dog was very nervous and scared of everything when we first got her. The best thing we did was crate. You may not agree but this is her safe place when it gets a bit too much. She even has a blanket over it to make it dark and den like.
She is now so much better. After a month or so of having her she bit my dd1 who is 4 and growled twice at my dd2 (2). I flipped and got a behaviourist in straight away.
The crate means she can retreat in there if not happy and I actually close her in so she doesn't follow me round all the time. This stops her getting seperation anxiety.
It's also a good visual cue for my dcs. They know never to disturb her if she's in there.
Please take some advice from a behaviourist if poss. And just to add its a long road with a fear aggressive dog. We have had ours a year and there's still lots to do. I've really had to rethink my 'vision' of a family dog.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 01-May-13 11:16:56

My gut instinct is that he's not a bad dog.

And that with time and work he will get there. I'm scared I don't know what to do as I've always had trouble free dogs before. This is one hell of a wake up call.

I know all about the not telling him off for growling, etc. But I've had to tell him off when he's been snarling at the cats as the cats are now living in the garden, too scared to come in and they're used to dogs. (breeder said dog would be fine with cats).

He does seem to be understanding "no" and is getting better with them. One cat came in today and after an initial erupttion and then I said "no" he was quiet. Then sat on my knee watching the cat with me praising him for been good.

finickypinickity Wed 01-May-13 11:14:18

Viva you have been through a lot with losing your other dog it might be worth gritting your teeth and stepping aside for someone else to have this pup and hand her back to the breeder.

I dont think i would personally want to get myself into a big battle like you could have ahead of you with one to ones and behaviour experts so early in your pups life when there is a quick get out clause by handing her backsad It sounds very defeatist advice from me i'm afraid.

The micro chip might hold some answershmm

Try not to panic. Easier said than done, I know. What's your gut instinct about this dog?

VivaLeBeaver Wed 01-May-13 11:01:30

And I really thought it was a good breeder. She's the person who introduced the breed into the country, has won with them at Crufts and loads of other shows.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 01-May-13 10:59:53

I wonder if the breeder knew there was a problem?

She said to me to be careful that the dog didn't get to attached to one person as then he might be snappy towards other people. I just thought maybe it was a breed thing but now I think it should have rung alarm bells? And of course after a 3 hour journey back home sat in the car next to dd he was totally besotted with her.

Why am I so bloody stupid?

Underdone Wed 01-May-13 10:55:52

In all honesty, if you can return him to the breeder I think you should do. Unless, you can get help from a behaviouralist (not just a trainer) then you are in for a world of pain. The issues that he has will probably never go away completely. You may learn to manage them but that will take a very long time and a lot of commitment from everyone in the family.

Pinning the dog to the ground has got to be just the worst thing to do in terms of rehabilitating behaviour. I know it is very confusing when there are so many opinions (rather like child rearing!) on how to discipline and teach your dog - but the most modern force free methods (APDT) really are the way to go. But unfortunately, it does not sound like he is happy being a family pet. He may well be happier living with just one person. If you do decide to keep him best of luck.

My dog is fear aggressive towards other dogs, mainly on lead, but I have no experience of fear aggression towards people. I use BAT techniques for the on lead fear stuff, but I don't think you can avoid people in your own home. Hmmm. I hope the trainer can help. Be aware, though, that unless they use wholly positive training methods, they might well make the situation worse. A fearful, anxious dog will only get more fearful and anxious with punishment imo. My dog is ridiculously sensitive to even a raised voice.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 01-May-13 10:54:24

He's a Portugese Podengo.

Can I tell from his mircochip number if he's been registered with someone else?

You didn't say his breed?

*been returned not be!!

I reckon he'd be returned.

My dog was fear aggressive but towards dogs. Took a few weeks but I got him socialised. He hates toddlers though and can't change that but I just keep him away from them. Also off the furniture as he was snapping at dcs when eye level with them. But he's lovely and so much better than he was. I got him at 16 months.

Good luck with yours. I used the dog whisperer techniques with my dog. I know he isn't popular on here though wink

VivaLeBeaver Wed 01-May-13 10:46:57

He'd started off living in the house but then was kennelled. She had done some stuff with him, so maybe its wrong to say he's totally unsocialised. He's been to a dog show and came first (so I was told).

He's been for another walk today with my friends and their dogs. Spends the first five mins lunging and snarling at them but then trotted along happily for the next hour.

Was he kennelled, Viva? Or living in the house?

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