An update on Poppy...

(54 Posts)
Fifyfomum Sat 05-Apr-14 08:22:41

Okay so I posted about three weeks ago about my new dog Poppy who is six months old.

Well we've had a pretty rough few weeks all in all, mostly she has been fine, learning to walk on the lead, learning to behave in the house and she has been jumping up at us when we walk through the door a lot less.

But she doesn't understand that we don't want her to bite us and her 'play bites' are getting more and more aggressive and scary. Yesterday I was out in the garden trying to just get her to sit and wait nicely for a treat and then moving away from her and getting her to come to me and sit nicely for a treat rather than bounding around and she got very excited (as she does) and started jumping up and snapping in my face. I turned my back to her and folded my arms as I have been told to do and she started biting my ankles, she bit my hip and she was jumping up and trying to bite me where ever she could. Obviously just nips or I would be in hospital but it was SO scary and I couldn't control her at all, she was running around the garden at a rate of knots, barking and then jumping up and biting me sad I was, frankly terrified and quickly got inside the house and left her outside.

Then I took her to the vet, who couldn't even get a microchip in her or even stroke her head after 10 mins of trying to pet her. They brought her back through and said that they could pin her down and do it but she would be ruined for the vet and that if she got really sick she would be untreatable which would be awful. They recommended I got her a muzzle, put it on sometimes at home and brought her down to the vet just to sit in the waiting room and get a treat etc, so she didnt associate the vet with bad stuff.

They didnt charge me for my visit, said if I keep the dog I need to get a behaviourist because Poppy has deep seated abuse issues (she was fearful of the vet not aggressive) and will cost me a fortune in behaviourist treatment. Obviously this is quite worrying for us with two small children (not that she's been odd with them, shes very patient with them)

Anyway so yesterday after lots of upset and trying to find out if it would be better for us to rehome her with someone who knew what they were doing a bit more, or to find someone who could come and work with us, we spoke to a lady near to us who said she could foster the dog if necessary and would be on the end of a phone if we needed her, she is a dog trainer and I asked her what to do in a variety of situations and she let me know which was really good.

Then I got contacted by a charity called BLIZE who are a rescue and support charity specialising in Husky's and they said they try to help as much as possible to keep the dogs inside a home and then will find them new homes if needed. Which is amazing so they are coming to visit us in the next few days and are on the end of a phone if I need to talk to them.

Its been incredibly upsetting and sometimes very scary for us but I am hopeful that with the right support we can help Poppy regain that trust that she has lost from her abuse and also understand how to be a good doggy and live in the world without scaring humans or needing to resort to biting to 'play'

You had good solid advice about what to do on your first thread. You ignored it all. What do you expect now?

thinkingaboutfostering Sun 06-Apr-14 00:32:14

Ffs! You need to rehome this poor dog now!!! Find a reputable organisation to take her on. She needs a good knowledgeable home with someone with lots of experience not a novice owner who bought the poor dog over Facebook on a whim!!!

furlinedsheepskinjacket Sun 06-Apr-14 00:40:51

we could all see this coming op

Is a family with small dcs and no experience of what sounds like quite a big, powerful dog, the best place for a very frightened and unpredictable animal> Doesn't sound like it to me.

musicposy Sun 06-Apr-14 00:53:29

I'm sorry but this is all so predictable. You were given advice from people who had dealt with dogs like this before and you would not take it. I had to sit on my hands not to post on the last thread because you insisted on training this poor dog right from the start, wouldn't give it space as people advised, kept it way over stimulated for a dog in a new environment. Of course it is now biting.

I want to put this in perspective for you. 7 weeks ago we took on two rescue dogs, from a rescue. We've done this before and have a lot of dog experience but even then the rescue warned us that one of the two was very, very damaged and it would be a long uphill struggle, taking 6 months or more before we even begin to see anything like normal dog.

One of the two dogs, the more confident of the two (who you would at first think had no issues), we tentatively started training two weeks ago. That's over 4 weeks of just letting her be, letting her have quiet time, not bothering that she is completely untrained. Now she can sit and is walking on lead and occasionally off lead if it is quiet. We're slowly getting her used to the car. But it's a slow process. We have to be very careful to keep her calm and not spook her. However, she's doing very well. She wouldn't be if we'd tried to do all these things at the start.

The other dog still spends most of the time hiding under the table. We've had her longer than you've had Poppy and still we just allow her to hide. She bit us more than once in the first couple of weeks, through fear. Every time was our own fault through approaching her too fast. So, we've just let her stay there. She hasn't been walked. She's fed and encouraged into the garden a few times a day with the other dogs. She's had many, many accidents in the house and wees just about anywhere that isn't under the table or in her basket. But slowly, surely, we are getting there. She now slightly wags her tail when she sees us. She sometimes comes out from under the table just a little at meal times. The toilet accidents are getting less frequent. She's starting to let us stroke her. She's licked our hands once or twice. She's visibly relaxing more day by day and I think we're going to have an amazing dog one day. I have high hopes she will be good at agility because I think she's very bright and she can certainly jump! However, that is all in the future. Had we tried to train/ walk/ socialise this dog when we got her (or even now), we would all have been bitten to ribbons and got absolutely nowhere.

You were told to ignore the dog, not to walk it so much, not to train it yet. You said it had been ignored enough and you weren't going to have an untrained dog. But no one was telling you it had to be forever. Our poor damaged rescue is not going to live untrained under our table forever and one day she will do all that our other happy, lively, lovely dogs do. But you have to be patient and come to these things when the dog is ready.

I get the impression you are still trying to do too much at once with this dog. Step back a little. Make sure she has a calm, quiet, predictable environment where life is the same, day in day out. The more confident of our two I am just starting to take out with me to see a few new places. But even with her I am having to go slowly as I can see it is scaring her a little - and scared dogs are unpredictable, particularly those with unknown history. Keep your dog at home. Keep her quiet. Give her her own space. Make her life boring. Ignore behaviour you don't want for now, quietly and gently praise that you do. Stop trying to turn her into a good dog - it is too soon! She needs to be a secure dog first and she quite clearly isn't yet. One day you can do all the dog training and taking her around with you you like, but that day is not now.

I really hope you can work it out with this dog because she has been through enough in her short life. Good on you for getting support. Keep posting on here because we all need every piece of advice we can get when dealing with dogs like this and you will have an uphill struggle on your hands (as will we, I know). Just try to listen.

MuttonCadet Sun 06-Apr-14 00:53:33

They contacted you? Do you think the vet let them know that you can't cope?

I was on your first thread, you were extremely dismissive of excellent advice you were being given.

I wish Poppy the best of luck. You need to be strong enough to make the right decision for this dog.

If you read through the original thread, and read the excellent post above by musicposy, and read the Facebook group that you joined, that will help.

Please accept the advice offered, but you have to read it with an open mind. Which I am not sure that you will.

She is a fearful 'doggy', she doesn't need to learn to be a good 'doggy', she needs to feel secure first and foremost. You must accept this.

SnakeyMcBadass Mon 07-Apr-14 17:40:16

Sad to read this, but not surprised. Although kudos for posting at all, OP. As I said on your other thread, my spaniel is dog aggressive through fear. That is stressful and challenging enough, so I can only bow down to people who manage fear aggression against people and turn it around. I know I couldn't do it. And there is no shame in me knowing I couldn't, it is much better left to people with real insight, patience and experience of dog behaviour. Sometimes it is better to admit we have made a mistake than to blindly carry on down a path that could end badly.

Fifyfomum Mon 07-Apr-14 17:56:26

Okay well the lovely lady from the dog rescue has just left, she assessed poppy and agreed that though fearful, she was non-aggressive and just remarkably untrained which, she said, was as hard for poppy as it was for us. She advised against shutting the dog out of the room when she was biting us/playing up/misbehaving and to use simple, one word commands to express what we needed her to do.

So Poppy came in, she got over excited with the dog lady, the dog lady was very very firm with her, she continued to get over excited, tried to take her nose off at one point (basically exactly how she has been with me in the past) and the dog lady just totally asserted who was boss in the situation, when that had happened poppy totally relaxed, she was calm and submissive and it was really, really interesting to watch.

She gave me some great games to play with Poppy, like 'hide' and also taught me to get Poppy to lie down while we did recall games rather than just sit which helped poppy stay calm.

She said she could see how good Poppy was with the kids and how much she loves me, shes on call for constant support but said get her to understand hiding, get her onto really good quality raw dog food and teach her that she is the bottom of the pack and things should be a lot easier for us, just seeing her command poppy to be calm was really, really good for me. I can definitely do that.

In every other way Poppy is very calmed and getting on beautifully in our house, it was all common sense stuff but we needed to hear it and we needed that support. She's just been amazing and agrees that the best place for Poppy is here with us.

Feeling much better, have just bought a chest freezer for Poppy's chicken carcasses and lamb on the bone and will be making sure I am the only one who feeds her and that she has lots of good games to play. Going to get some low price ham and teach her to fetch tomorrow! Things are actually great.

I will say nothing at all about anything else, as it has all been said before (including that pack theory is now dismissed by up to date trainers - google APTD and dominance theory...that is the association all reputable up to date trainers are part of)

But I will say a raw diet is fantastic at helping dogs health and behaviour. I raw feed. But don't rush in without learning the basics as it can be dangerous if not done correctly...only 10% of diet should be bone, 10% offal and 80% muscle meat. Join raw feeding Uk on facebook and make the most of the information files and experience there before you even start. There is a quickstart guide pinned at the top pf their page. Good luck.

Fifyfomum Mon 07-Apr-14 18:09:16

she recommended a mixture of chicken carcasses and lamb carcasses? Does that sound okay?

Fifyfomum Mon 07-Apr-14 18:25:51

By the way, I just want to say that I didn't buy Poppy, she was offered up to 'the next person who could pick her up' and as such, even if she does end up at a rescue and having to be rehomed, I am glad that it is all happened how it has happened. Because I dread to think what would have happened otherwise.

N

No that is way too much bone on its own, there is no offal and also not enough variety. She needs a mixture of meats based on 80% meat (no bone), 10% bone and 10% liver and kidney. But it needs to be introduced slowly. Chicken mince is the usual to start. Chicken carcasses are often around 50% bone. Green tripe is a good muscle meat to feed and is available at pets at home in the frozen section.

No one is knocking you for wanting to help Poppy. Just recognize what you do and don't need help with. I am confident raw feeding now but have invested several days of my life researching it by now grin.

Join the fb page I recommended, it'll be a great help to setting you on the right path and lots of info on suppliers too smile

Fifyfomum Mon 07-Apr-14 18:35:59

Well shes on minced turkey at the moment. I'll have a look at the facebook pages, sounds like that is for the best smile

Minced Turkey is a reasonable start. You won't regret raw feeding her I'm sure. It is well worth investing the time to get it right. You'll end up getting obsessed with sourcing weird stuff like the rest of us!

Fifyfomum Mon 07-Apr-14 18:46:21

I've been advised to Nurturing By Nature but even that is a minefield! Anyway we've just bought a deep freeze and it won't be here for a couple of days so not going to be making any orders immediately, enough time to learn everything for sure!

The raw feeding pages have seperate ones for suppliers so have a good look and see what suits you. You have a lot of options if you have a seperate freezer.

Fifyfomum Mon 07-Apr-14 18:58:40

My dog lady is going to help me make the first order which is great, I'll learn smile

You will and the more you read the more passionate you'll get aboutbit when you see the benefits. As I said earlier, it is worth the time learning all you can and reaping the benefits of some of the wisdom other share on those pages. Lots of wise folk who can make your experience alot easier!

Floralnomad Mon 07-Apr-14 19:22:09

Pack theory is outdated nonsense and you should steer clear of any dog trainer still spouting it . Your dog does not need to know she is bottom of a pack its rubbish.

Fifyfomum Mon 07-Apr-14 19:34:12

She is jumping up to nip us in the face as a part of 'play' she definitely needs to know that we are higher than her. This woman has two children and 8 huskies, she knows what she is talking about (as well as being very well trained)

Floralnomad Mon 07-Apr-14 19:40:15

Why do you think Cesar Milans books are being removed from pet shops ,it's because it's been proven to be cruel nonsense. If you want your family pet to be submissive and scared of you then carry on . Just because someone owns 8 dogs ,doesn't make them right .

Fifyfomum Mon 07-Apr-14 19:42:56

Nothing she suggested would make Poppy scared of us, it was little things like not letting her up on the sofa, not letting her upstairs, giving clean one word commands to her behaviours and lots of treats and rewards.

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