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My dog has bitten another dog, Minimu? Val?

(12 Posts)
Midori1999 Sun 04-Sep-11 11:15:37

I am furious and extremely upset.

I had a lay in with the baby this morning and my DH thought he'd do me a favour by walking Buster, the 'rescue' dog and one of the Golden Retrievers. Apprently an older man with an older Golden came round the corner and was very close. He asked if our dogs wanted to say hello, DH said yes, both dogs had a sniff and then Buster bit the other dog on the nose, although my DH has the sense to pull him away after that. Buster by this time was being very aggressive to the other dog, so my DH says he didn't really have any choice but to take him away and couldn't speak to the man.

Buster has a history of showing aggression towards other dogs, which I believe is down to fear, but he is fine with my dogs and I have been careful to manage him so he never had the chance to come into contact with another dog. We have just moved house and prior to moving I had managed to get him to ignore other dogs and focus on his ball, provided the other dog wasn't too close. We were lucky enough to have access to a secure fenced area for exercise and a 'private' beach, so he could get off lead exercise there. Since moving he has been more nervous/anxious and it's not helped by the fact that he has gone from rarely seeing other dogs and if they walked past the garden they were about 15ft away, to having a dog next door and lots of dogs walking past the fence in close proximity.

We did see a behaviourist where we lived previously (Northern Ireland) but he wasn't that much use tbh. We always intended to see another behaviourist when we moved here and I have an appointment booked, although hbe couldn't come until 17th Sept. He is a APBC accredited behaviourist and requires a vet referral to rule out any physical problems (as is the APBC policy as far as I am aware) and I am hoping he can help, not least as I feel we now have one very stressed and unhappy dog on our hands, although he is not like that all the time.

DH has totally over-reacted and suggesting Buster might bite the DC. hmm I have told him this is a ridiculous. He then tried to blame the dog for what happened, said he is a nightmare etc. I have told DH that there is no way he should have let Buster anywhere near another dog and that he is firmly at fault. He feels our 'dog situation' is stressful, as we have to keep our four dogs seperated into two lots of two as two of the bitches won't tolerate each other (happened since we got Buster) whereas I simply see it as a bit of a shame and a nuisance, but just that we have to manage the dogs in a certain way. He sees Buster as a total pain in thew backside, whereas I see a highly driven and motivated dog who has some issues that can hopefully be resolved or if not managed and is super easy to train and very affectionate. It has ended in a huge row about the dogs taking over my whole life.

Anyway, I now feel I have no choice but to muzzle Buster. I am not sure how to do this, as he will not tolerate anything around his face at all. He gets so distressed he will not even take a treat or pay attention to his ball. I obviously want to be very careful about how to introduce a muzzle so as no to put him off at all and therefore think it is maybe something that should wait until the behaviourist is here, but I am now reluctant to walk him at all without a muzzle, although he can't really go without walks for the next two weeks. I suppose the other temporary 'solution' is to walk very early and very late so as to avoid other dog walkers as much as possible?

Sorry, I am not sure if this even makes much sense. blush

RandomMess Sun 04-Sep-11 11:20:08

Midori, I think your dh has a point? He was completely thoughtless to let Buster get that close though.

Perhaps you need to agree a time limit with your dh, that in 6 months you will no longer need to keep your dogs split into 2 groups etc Could it be possible that Buster will be calmer and happier in a household with fewer dogs?

ChippingIn Sun 04-Sep-11 11:25:11

Midori - I'm so sorry this has happened when you have been working so hard with Buster. I would go with the walking very early & very late until you see the behaviourist.

I'm sure Val will be along soon though to give you some proper advice!

As for your DH WTF was he thinking??? I would be LIVID with him.

Empusa Sun 04-Sep-11 11:30:03

Sorry, no advice. Just wanted to say, I'd be fuming too. We had a dog like that, and it's hard work, I always worried we'd find ourselves in the same situation as you.

Hope it all works out ok.

Midori1999 Sun 04-Sep-11 11:30:12

It is certainly possible that Buster would be happier in an only dog household and that is something I've considered, but he does get on well with all my dogs and is sociable with them. It is something I will discuss with the behaviourist though.

Regarding the bitches, I fully expect that they will always have to be kept separate and rehoming any of them isn't an option as how things are works well for them.

RandomMess Sun 04-Sep-11 11:31:22

Do you think a soft leader would work better than a muzzle?

Hope the experts are along very soon.

Keylime Sun 04-Sep-11 11:31:47

deep breath,

It is OK. How about a head collar like a dogmatic rather than a muzzle so the head is close and under control if need be. Actually other than your DH being stoooopid, nothing has changed. You still have the nervous/aggressive potential biter that you usually walk. Keep on lead, move away from other dogs, tell people to keep their off lead dogs away and keep walking. Early and late makes it easy.

It does sound tough though...hope the behaviourist can help out. Am sure Val or minimu will be along soon and until then have some sympathy... I have one of these models too.

silentcatastrophe Sun 04-Sep-11 11:40:26

I think you are a very experienced dog owner? I'm saying that before I suggest something you have thought of already. Most dogs like being stroked under their chin and behind their ears. I find it instictive to stroke the top of their heads, but seemingly dogs really hate it. Does Buster let you touch any part of his head or neck?

I think it is us people who put value judgements on things like muzzles. It is NOT a weapon of Mass Destruction which will make your dog die in an excruciating and drawn out way!!! Could you give Buster treats through the muzzle without actually putting it over his head, so he becomes unafraid of it? Leave it lying around so he gets used to the sight and smell of it?

Some dogs get very wound up with other dogs on leads, and if they are on a lead as well, the tension can be horrible. Moving house is terribly stressful. You have succeeded in distracting Buster from trouble, and ensuring that you are leading him. Perhaps since the move, some of the relationships have been a bit upset and he thinks that he needs to take responsibility?

I'm sure you'll get there. A few times when Toby had run off, I was left at home tearing my hair out, shrieking down the phone to dh, not knowing what the hell to do. It is awful feeling so utterly inadequate.

Sorry not to be of any real help. I hope one of the mn experts comes soon!!

MotherJack Sun 04-Sep-11 12:56:28

I'm so sorry to hear that you are upset, Midori. You poor thing. I think any of us would be, but sprinkle in your new baby, house move and DH adding more stress into the equasion you must feel terrible.

I can't offer any advice better than Minimu so I'll leave it to her (although I believe that SilentCatastrophe is on the right lines for introducing muzzles if you feel it is necessary) but I just wanted to say that I hope that things go well and you all end up feeling a little less stressed than you are currently.

minimu11 Sun 04-Sep-11 13:37:42

Congratulations on the babygrin how old what type?

Re dog. It is extremely natural after an incident like this to feel confused, angry and a bit panicky so maybe give your OH a teeny weeny bit of slack. However he must realise that he probably caused the situation a bit (ok a lot)

A dog that has a problem with other dogs will not automatically have a problem with people (as you already know) So unless Buster has shown aggression towards the DC he will not do so now. In fact many dogs that are dog aggressive are actually guarding owners and extremely friendly to them.

I do not see why Buster has to be on a muzzle if he is on lead. Off lead then yes he will need to be but maybe exercise can be done on lead until you have see the behavourist. I remember you saying your OH runs - well that would tire Buster out and he does not need to go off lead.

Usually this is a problem that can be managed (well and easily) rather than cured and it may be that Buster will never like dogs in his face but that can be avoided. Do not let him have nose to nose encounters at all - I don't let my dogs do this anyway.

I would not walk him early morning but walk him in places where he can see dogs but will not be affected by them. So any on lead area where you can control the interaction will be fine. I would be doing the clicker look dog training situation or this link here has a great demonstration BAT. functional rewards. Equally though when I am busy and not able to give the time for training then I would find a quiet location to exercise him.

Your situation is difficult with having to keep the other guys separate and only you can work out if you can deal with all of this. Usually a happy compromise can be met. (I have sometimes to keep fosters separate and still have fear aggressive collie with me but it does need the support of the whole family). Don't think that Buster will be better off with someone else, homes that will look after fear aggressive dogs correctly are thin on the ground. So even if he has a compromise with you that is far better than he may get somewhere else.

Re the muzzle start just by putting in on the floor next to his food bowl for a while. Then hold it when you are playing with his ball - maybe even keep his ball in it. Can you train him to drop his ball into it and pick his ball out of the muzzle. Go really slowly. Then hold food one side of the muzzle (I do this with my hand in the section that the dogs noise goes in) and the dog gets the food by coming close to the muzzle as you can push your fingers through to the outside of the muzzle. Just work gently up to being able to get him to put his head into the muzzle the right way around to get the food , do not do it up for a long time.

Don't dwell on the incident - Ok it happened move on. What can you do to avoid it happening again, stay lead distance from all dogs, Buster will not turn into a raging savage dog overnight - he is just an anxious, over protective lad who was put in a situation that was too much for him.

Midori1999 Sun 04-Sep-11 21:38:45

Thanks for the replies, thanks Minimu for such long and detailed reply. smile The baby is a girl, she is 11 weeks old tomorrow, she is more demanding than any puppy I've ever had... grin

I'll try and remember to answer everything. We have tried a halti as after I was on bedrest last year he'd learnt to pull and I felt it would make training him easier and give me better control. He hated it and wouldn't take treats while anywhere near it, let alone wearing it. It was impossible to walk him in it. I'll get a muzzle and start leaving it around when he has his dinner and try giving him treats through it until the behaviourist arrives.

I have walked Buster twice this afternoon/evening and not seen a single dog. We heard a couple barking in nearby gardens, and although he noticed and his hackles went up, he otherwise ignored them. The behaviourist did suggest avoiding them for the time being until he has been and I think for now that may be best. We are having to stick to on lead walking here, but am trying to make up for it by lots of ball throwing/off lead training in the garden.

There's no way Buster would bite the DC. Well, no more risk than with any dog. I have discussed with DH and have calmed down a lot now. I am going to walk Buster myself from now on, so the responsibility is all mine and any work with him after the behaviourist can be utterly consistent. DH has agreed to take a serious share in walking the other dogs so I can concentrate on Buster more.

I think I have seen the man with the Golden at the park. I am going to look out for him when walking the other dogs and apologise profusely and explain. Obviously also check his dog is OK, and there were no vet bills involved. DH did say he didn't think the other dog was hurt, but obviously we can't be sure. The poor dog and owner.

RandomMess Sun 04-Sep-11 21:51:27

Glad harmony in the home has been restored.

Hope it goes well.

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