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The Devil Dog is regressing and is snapping at people again.

(17 Posts)
DooinMeCleanin Mon 13-Jun-11 01:18:05

Well snapping at dd1. I was not there but Dh claims that she was just sitting next to him and did not move when he turned on her snarling and snapped at her arm. She has a bruise apparently.

He is a very strong dog and I have no doubt had he wanted to hurt her she would be in A and E not in her bed. I also believe she probably did move and nudge him, even if just slightly, that's all it seems to take with him.

I have a plan to deal with this, but would like your thoughts on if it's the right thing. DH's plan involves drop kicking the dog out of an upstairs window, which obviously will not be happening, well, not to the dog at least hmm

My plan involves:

Investing in yet another bed, to go under the table in the living room, so he can be near the family, but still have his own space. He has a bed which is meant to be moved to the living room during the day, but no on ever bothers moving it.

Not allowing him on the sofa at all during the day/early evening when the dcs are up, as he gets very possesive over his space on the sofa - this is a rule already in place, but Dh doesn't always follow it.

Not allowing him on the sofa unless he is invited up by me or DH at anytime day or night - this rule is one that is also already in place but forgotten about.

Asking dd1 (under very close supervision) to invite the dog onto the sofa and feed him treats so he starts to equate sharing the sofa with the dc as a good thing that brings him treats - this is the new bit.

Or should I just keep him off the sofa, full stop? the thing is I like having him up there with me for cuddles.

Also does anyne have any insight as to why he does not snap at me when I sit by him on the sofa, if I move he simply growls at me and the buggers off to sulk somewhere. It's only ever DH and the dds he snaps at.

We are out of training sessions with the behaviouralist and I don't want to book anymore because he's booked in for obedience classes after our holidays, those have cost me £70.

oxeye Mon 13-Jun-11 01:35:19

It sounds like you have posted about this dog before, but I haven't seen other threads

The dog doesn't snap at you because you are top of the pack. If naps at DH and DDs then in his mind the pack is you, dog, DH, DDs. This is clearly not ok. Dog should be last. At the very least you should not have dog on the sofa at all, ever, never. If you want cuddles, invite the dog to sit at your feet while you are on the sofa. Nice as cuddles may be, not worth bitten child

Personally, and I have had and worked with "devil dogs" I would not contemplate having the dog in the house with my DDs at all...

oxeye Mon 13-Jun-11 01:36:03

sorry, should be "it snaps" not "if naps"

Reading back this seems a bit curt, not meant to be, but on my way to bed and wanted to reply rather than leaving you hanging!

DooinMeCleanin Mon 13-Jun-11 01:48:53

The dog has snapped me at previously, but not to do with his space on the sofa, to do with getting him to go to his bed. He now goes to bed just fine. The sofa issue had previously been sorted by not allowing him on there during the day, which is what our behaviouralist advised, it would seem this rule gets ignored when I am at work, hopefully this is the wake up call DH needed, although to be fair in the last few months he (the dog) has been coming on in leaps and bounds, so I can understand why DH might have thought it was okay. The reason I want to train him to accpet sharing his space with the dc is just incase this rule is forgotten again. He did not intend to hurt dd1, he just wanted her to move away from him.

I don't mean to be rude and really appreciate your thoughts, but this is not a 'pack' issue. My dog is fear aggressive and was nervous of children when he first got here. He is also very possesive of his space and his things.

Also Devil Dog is just his nickname. He is a Fox Terrier x, not a bull terrier type, although I do adore Bull Terriers and hope I get one to foster soon.

minimu1 Mon 13-Jun-11 08:10:30

Oxeye I disagree with your comments and also recognise that the pack theory is out of date.

However DooinMeCleaning I would not let DD onto the sofa at all. - if you want a cuddle you will have to sit on the floor with him.

No mad pack theory or dominant dog just that this is a trigger area for him and therefore keep him away from it and it will prevent the situation.

Maybe (with a lot of supervision) get dc to give him treats when he is around them but I would not get them to feed them directly to him but drop them on the floor near them. The reason being is that if he associates them with treats he could start to snap and pester at the DC's hands but if the food is always on the floor he will start to snuffly at their feet.

I know that you have worked so hard at this and do everything to keep the situation safe.

emptyshell Mon 13-Jun-11 08:27:27

Sounds to me like a spot of resource guarding added with general cantankerousness?

What about getting a crate/soft crate if you think they look too hideous (I personally do) as a "den" for him downstairs - he won't be able to be accidentally knocked on the sofa then and you can cover it up and make it his little spot to chill out in?

Dropping treats etc sounds like the good idea as well - you want him thinking "small people are fab cos nice things fall from the sky when they're around - coooooool".

There's also at least one episode of Me or the Dog where she teaches the dog the on/off sofa game - rewarding the "off" so that becomes much fabber to do than the "on" - and you can just tell the dog to get off the sofa if you want to sit down, rather than it being "his" patch. OK so I'm a tad hypocritical on that one since we have a permanent canine fixture on my own sofa but he DOES understand and "off" straight away it's called for (albeit with a pained expression on his face and much huffing and puffing).

You'll get the usual barrage of "oooh it looked at a child funny get rid of it before it eats your babies" comments as well - but you know this already! As for the nickname - anyone who hangs around here knows you call him Devil Dog - just like I call mine Ratbag or FartMonster or ASBOdog - he's none of those things (well apart from the fart thing)!

emptyshell Mon 13-Jun-11 08:28:20

However DooinMeCleaning I would not let DD onto the sofa at all. - if you want a cuddle you will have to sit on the floor with him.

I've been on here too long - read that as not letting DD in the Daughter sense of the word onto the sofa!

DooinMeCleanin Mon 13-Jun-11 08:52:29

Not letting the daughters onto the sofa sounds like it could be a plan grin wink

Okay, no dog on the sofa. I will buy him a snuggly bed, so he can be near us but have his own space. I'm not sure that he likes his cuddles that much anyway hmm. I might have to steal the whippy one from DH or rescue another cuddly dog wink

When I am in he's not really allowed into the living room at all unless I am with him because of how possesive he can be over the sofa. It's only the sofa that is an issue now.

chickchickchicken Mon 13-Jun-11 10:45:34

dooin - i read your OP and was nodding along to all your suggestions, then i read minimu and empty's posts and agreed with them. not being very helpful am i? grin

additional bed under the table sounds a good idea though

chickchickchicken Mon 13-Jun-11 10:47:18

i though DD meant daughter too and thought that was a bit harsh of minimu grin and i would never tell family members to get off the sofa so our oldie can be more comfortable

Threadworm8 Mon 13-Jun-11 10:58:58

I'd be tempted to keep your dog off the sofa as aswell, though it is sad to lose that cosiness.

I can't tell you how relieving it is for me to hear a discussion of snappiness that doesn't involve the reflex idea that a snapping dog is totally persona non grata. My terrier is wary and I know he would snap at people if I let a trigger situation arise in which he was afraid of "attack" (he is a complete sweetheart with the family). The biggest problem is at the vet of course, where I have to muzzle him, and you would not believe the complete lack of acceptance I found from one or two of the younger vets. When he was very young and had his neutering operation I was more or less told I should have him destroyed -- because he was showing fear aggression towards the vets. I was stricken, it made me feel terrible, and I genuinely considered their advice for a while.

Over the years I have tried very hard to build up his tolerance of strangers. I can't cure him but the situation is entirely manageable: I just make sure people don't mob him and that he is away in his crate when we have guests.

DooinMeCleanin Mon 13-Jun-11 11:05:43

I'm considering buying a beanbag for me and him to share grin. I'm a big softy. My dogs snaps at someone and gets bought a new bed hmm

I'd never consider putting him to sleep, if the situation arose whereby it was dangerous to keep him here I'd do my upmost to find him a rescue or home without children, as it is he is a lot better with the children than he used to be. When we first got him he would growl at them just for walking past him, out of fear, not nastiness. The only issue now really is the sofa, they can walk past him while he is sleeping on the stairs/landing and he's fine. Obviously he considers the sofa to be a very high value item. I wonder if I could buy a mini sofa to take out as a training aid? hmm grin

DooinMeCleanin Mon 13-Jun-11 16:48:11

Well we hvae bought him a new bed, he sniffed it and then pissed on it, so I guess he approves grin

minimu1 Mon 13-Jun-11 16:51:40

Sorry didn't mean to confuse -of course DD meant devil dog - you can see where my priorities lie grin

Can I come and live with you dooin - if I am a bit grumpy will you buy me something nice and new (promise I won't wee on it!)

midori1999 Mon 13-Jun-11 17:09:16

Sorry you're having this problem, I hope your DD is OK and not too shaken up?

I am giggling away to myself at not letting your DD's on the sofa at all... not least because in this house (and yours it seems... grin ) if one of my dogs 'did something' to one of the DC, I would immediately want to know what said DC had done to upset the dog... blush

DooinMeCleanin Mon 13-Jun-11 17:13:03

Yes dd is fine, she has a slight graze on her arm and that's all. She's just been out in the yard with me blowing chicken flavoured bubbles for him, so I think she has forgiven him.

MotherJack Mon 13-Jun-11 17:20:14

lol at weeing on the beanbag! (both Devil Dog and Minimu..)

Just wanted to say good luck with this issue, Dooin. You have worked so very hard with him and hats off to you.

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