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..... to feel like getting rid of the x@$%** dog!!!!!

(54 Posts)
CheekyGirl Fri 11-Sep-09 22:14:15

Hi,

A bit of background: my sweet, sensitive, deep feeling/thinking 8yr old dd has been dog obsessed for over a year. She has been desperate for a pet dog for this time, but never nagged or anything. I am not a dog person. We also have an energetic, stubborn, boisterous 4.8 yr old ds.

After sponsoring a dog at the local dog rescue for a year, and visiting it weekly, the staff told us about a 6mth old terrier/daschund cross looking for a home. After discussing it with dh and doing some research, we decided to go for it. This was one month ago. The whole family is in love with dog. I am not. Very.

I freely admit I don't know much about dogs, although I am trying. I am worried about a few things:

- Dog growls in his throat quite a bit, and it's getting worse eg. if we approach him and he doesn't feel like being stroked, if we say 'no' and he doesn't like it or sometimes if ds just approaches him. He has never bitten or seriously attempted to bite the kids. Just 'mouthing' sometimes.

- He sort of attacked me the other day when I tried to move hime away from a hole he'd dug in the lawn. He'd growled a few times when I'd tried to call him away, and I then put my hand down and tried to get him by the collar. Before I'd touched him, he went mad, snarling and lunging for my hand. He didn't bite me, but only because I moved quickly!!

- He barks alot when we aren't in the house. Neighbours patient at the moment but how long will it last??

So, what to do? Will it get better? Do we all need 'training'? I know my dd will be utterly DISTRAUGHT if we have to get rid of dog. Rest of family would be upset but would get over it. I feel totally trapped. Help!!!!

HigherThanAWombat Fri 11-Sep-09 22:17:09

He should have training. All dogs should ideally. It is possible that he isn't the right dog for you, but I'd try training first,as you say it means training everyone.

perdu Fri 11-Sep-09 22:17:20

Gawd (I too have a PITA dog that I could live without), so what about training if he really is only 6 months old. could be worth a try

Our dog runs away all the time - he is awol at the mo and I could strangle him....

TheWolf Fri 11-Sep-09 22:20:47

Do you know anything of his background?

Was he mistreated at all?

Oxymoronic Fri 11-Sep-09 22:23:13

We have a dog who's four now, and I'm not a dog person at all (much prefer cats) but I have fallen in love with ours, she's just soo gorg.

I think what you said about 'Do we all need 'training'? hits the nail on the head, it's about learning dog 'language' and then learning how to control the dog. Dogs like a pecking order, and if you want a well behaved dog, they have to be at the bottom of that order. Not in a nasty/abusive way, but know that you and your family are above it. This can be anything from not feeding the dog until you've eaten (cos you're higher up) to not letting them on the setee.

There are plenty of tips you can pick up online, on the telly, at local training centres in the village hall etc. Each tip will build until you and your pup can understand each other smile HTH cos I know how you feel, it can feel out of control.

hercules1 Fri 11-Sep-09 22:24:07

He needs training - you all need training in order to train him. I am surprised he was ever rehomed with you considering you have young children and no experience.

mummytotwins Fri 11-Sep-09 22:24:20

TBH if the dog has gone for you it could go for your children I would speak to the people at the rescue centre about training and maybe even rehoming. I am a dog lover, I have a 3 year old boxer who is very, hmmm how shall I put it, exhuberant, yet he is as soft as they come and would never ever go for me, DH or my 18 month old twins - who use him as a climbing frame and a toy to tug on.

You havent had him that long and better to maybe have to rehome him now than to all bond with him and then do it or godforbid find him biting someone and having to have him destroyed.

I hope you find a solution x

hercules1 Fri 11-Sep-09 22:25:16

The whole pack thing I believe is pretty much discredited now. I would get a professional behaviourist in personally.

CheekyGirl Fri 11-Sep-09 22:29:07

As far as I know, he wasn't mistreated at all. He has had one previous owner who just couldn't cope with a puppy.

I said that we all need training as that's really what it feels like!! I want to learn dog language and how to care for him the right way as much as he needs to learn not to pull on the lead etc.

I have just told dh we need to get a basket. Up until now, we've just let him sleep on a blanket on one of our sofas which has rapidly become 'his sofa'. Maybe not best idea, then?

Oxymoronic - I'm a cat person too! Alas, dh is allergic!

Ninks Fri 11-Sep-09 22:30:42

My feelings about dogs are well-documented on AIBU. Teeth, they have, and jaws. And in most cases lots of muscle. Even in tiny form they will have hugely stronger jaws, massively sharper teeth and will be one hundred times stronger and faster than your little child in terms of weight and speed.

Oxymoronic Fri 11-Sep-09 22:32:07

How has the pack thing been discredited hercules1? Dogs are pack animals, and their base instincts/behaviour are still pack oriented, if you can interpret that behaviour you can train the dog, any dog.

CheekyGirl Fri 11-Sep-09 22:34:49

But mummytotwins, we have bonded already!! Well, I maybe haven't!

He is due to be neutered next week. Is that likely to help?

I have to say, 80-90% of the time he is a delightful if rather licky dog. It's just that the growling is getting more frequent, and then there was the snarling/bite attempt with me. Could it just be that we're not dealing with him properly? We never hit him or treat him roughly ( I don't think!)

mummytotwins Fri 11-Sep-09 22:41:50

Ahhh I know you will have bonded with him what I mean is that as he has only been with you for a fairly short period of time it might be less disruptive now for him and for your family if he had to be rehomed. As I say I am a dog lover but the growling and how you describe how he attacked you is concerning especially with LO's about, you would be able to fight him off, its possible they couldnt. I would seriously think of either getting him trained asap or rehoming him, Im not sure it what you want to hear but I know what I would do x

hercules1 Fri 11-Sep-09 22:45:10

Without some serious knowledgeable long term intervention and training he is going to get worse. You either get help immediately or take him back.

MitchyInge Fri 11-Sep-09 22:52:45

training will improve things hugely - you can teach him a 'leave it' command, for example so you don't have to get in to physical struggles like with the hole in the lawn

in the meantime could you try distracting him by throwing a ball or luring him away with something of higher value (bit of cheese? toy?)

he definitely needs his own bed, perhaps even a crate (you don't have to shut him in there, it's just a den where he can enjoy his own personal space) - most dogs love them

what food is he on? do you think he is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation? is it worth having his thyroid checked?

Merrylegs Fri 11-Sep-09 22:53:19

Right, first off, terriers tend to be diggers. So in the garden he was doing what comes naturally. They are also feisty. So when you tried to pull him away from the hole, he didn't like it because he was doing his thang. Training would really help here - a stern voice command, or a distraction with a treat may have given him some warning that you were going to ask him to stop.

IME barking dogs tend to be nervous dogs. The barking when he is alone and the snappiness suggests to me that he is nervous and not very secure This isn't good because it can manifest in aggressive behaviour. Something like his own safe place to stay in at night and when you are out would help reassure him. A crate is ideal for this, but it does take time for the dog to get used to it.

Lastly I am really surprised the rehoming centre let you take a dog seeing as you have a four year old. I don't know of any round here who would let a dog go to a child under the age of 8.

TBH you are going to have your hands full. Well done you for taking on a dog in need of rescue, but honestly, if you have any doubts about him at all I would be getting back in touch with the centre and telling them of your concerns.

Having said that, puppies are MAD. In fact it doesn't really get better till they are about 18 months. So whatever happens you are going to have a bit of journey ahead of you.

DailyMailNameChanger Fri 11-Sep-09 22:56:23

Go back to the rescue, I would suggest this dog is not coping well in your house for some reason. It could be stress, it could be that he finds there is too much going on, a technique/approach someone is using that is too much for him, perhaps he finds it hard on his own... a multitude of options really.

Whatever it is it is not fair to leave things to a point where the dog really causes trouble, it is difficult for a rescue to really predict how a young dog will behave once out of kennels and settled in a home, some of them change drastically.

The rescue may give you some tips, may give you a decent behaviourist or may tell you that the dog is not suited to you - whatever happens you can be sure they will be using their experience for the good of the dog and, hard as it is, your dc will learn about putting the needs of their pet above their own needs - a very harsh lesson possibly but definitly the right one.

Please call them, it may be a fairly simple fix!

Good luck smile

Oxymoronic, pack theory is based on flawed research on wolves in captivity. Wolves in captivity do not behave like wolves in the wild and domestic dogs do not behave like captive or wild wolves. The theory was discredited 10s of years ago but has had a resurgance thanks to Ceasar [spit] Milan.

Pikelit Fri 11-Sep-09 23:05:22

Oh joy! There are others here who also scoff at the ludicrous dog whispering dominance theories. Having said that, a dog does need kind but definite leadership and terriers more than most. Your dog is just a pup right now and pups are constantly testing their boundaries. So you need to be kind, firm and above all, consistent in how you treat him. But I get the impression that you don't actually like the dog very much and he'll have picked that up. I'd take him back to the rescue and get advice because sadly, you may not be the right humans for him.

DailyMailNameChanger Fri 11-Sep-09 23:11:08

Pikelit, IMO a lot of what he says is great, the whole consistancy thing, calm behaviour and so on - all good. He just makes me cross when he tells people to hold their dog down (whilst they bite you) to be able to clip their nails - because they have to know you are "pack leader" or some such idiocy. [spit]

If he dropped all that nonsense he could be a great advocate of proper dog training and handling, as it is we have another Babs on TV setting dogs back years.

Pikelit Fri 11-Sep-09 23:24:08

Agree wholeheartedly. I don't write him off either but Jan Fennell makes my blood boil.

MitchyInge Fri 11-Sep-09 23:25:10

although she does have good taste in dogs

yorkyporky Fri 11-Sep-09 23:27:26

I would get advice from a behaviour counsellor APBC or contact the rescue centre.

Re the pack animal thing, try googling "dominance myth"

DailyMailNameChanger Fri 11-Sep-09 23:29:33

yorkyporky, do I know you?

Hando Sat 12-Sep-09 00:01:40

If I were you I'd have taken it right back down to the animal shelter.

I love animals, they are part of the family and I'm sure that with some training this dog will learn to be obidient and not snap at or try and bite people.

However, your kids come before the pet dog. It may bite one of the kids before it is trained - there is no need to take that risk. Or alternatively can you find a temporary home for the dog until he has been trained then have him back?

A spiteful cat, angry hamster etc are bad enough - just not lethal... but a dog bite could easily kill a child.

valhala Sat 12-Sep-09 00:02:38

Firstly, all credit to you for not handing him over to a pound where he could well be PTS or to any old interested party.

In my experience, as a dog rescue volunteer, fosterer and owner, and one who has trained a 6 month old terrier out of such behaviour it seems that your dog is taking the pee and testing the boundaries. I would suggest that you lay those down as you doubtless do for your children - i.e. that your kids know that no amount of bad behaviour will get them what they want when you have said no and that you as Mum are in control.

I'd start by being very firm, but not unkind, about pooch sitting on the sofa. If he is growling when you tell him to get off or when he doesn't want to do as he is told and you give in he quickly learns that this is the way to get results and the problem will escalate until someone does get bitten.

He needs to know his place. So, if he is on the sofa make him get off - use a VERY firm tone (sometimes a mans works better unless you have a mouth like mine lol!) and don't back down. A crate is a good idea but for gods sake don't put him in it as a punishment or it will be a place he definately won't want to go into. Introduce him to it with a toy and treats or chewy bone, and leave the door open so he has somewhere to go when family noise and chaos is too much for him - that way he will make it his own.

Each time he returns to the sofa, do the same. Feed him after the family and let him see he has to wait and ensure no-one gives in to his pleas or demands for titbits until you are ready to do so (I confess I'm a beggar for sharing my pizza etc wih my two dogs but only cos I know they will not get assy in other ways and get snappy if they don't get their own way). If you give him what he demands when he demands it he will soon learn, as he appears to have, that being bad-mannered works.

And yes, DO ask your rescue for advice. If they don't help, shame on them! But all is not lost. My own local rescue has a forum - come join us and we will do our best to advise further, the owners included, we're a friendly lot. We can be found by Googling poplar Farm Kennels Forum.

Also you may like to join the forums of other organisations like Dogpages or Biggsd - the latter is primarily for GSD owners like myself but caters for all typed on its forum "doggy chat" thread and again the members will be happy to help you.

Whatever you do please try hard, as you are doing now, before you give up. I see so many dogs in pounds and struggle to save them and get them into no-kill rescues before they are PTS (ref my thread on here "Considering owning a dog..."). I am sure that you will understand where I am coming from if you have the time to read that thread. If I can help further please pm me - or if the pm system doesn't work for any reason say so on here and I will give you my contact details somehow.

All the best!

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