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moved over from aibu: Dog had 'red mist' moment and bit DH, AIBU to think that with training this won't happen again?

(26 Posts)
Antalya1 Wed 27-Nov-13 12:27:33

At the suggestion of posters, Imoved this over here for some advice...sorry it's a bit lengthy but I've included 2 posts that I've mae so that you have the full picture and the update today:

We are a family with DS17 & DS20. About 4 weeks ago we got a rescue dog, he's about 2 ish and a cross between a shitsu and a yorkshire terrier we think. He's a little thing and has been an absolute joy and has brought a lovely new dynamic to our family.

As I was at home more of less for the first 3 weeks the dog has bonded with me and then next I suppose with DS20, we both have spent a lot of time playing and just generally being loving with him.
DS17 is indifferent and DH has been pretty loving also. We all take responsibility for feeding and walks.

As he was so shy and frightened when we first got him, we allowed him into our bed and he's just sort of stayed there.

When I'm working from home, he cuddles up and spends the day with me.

Over the last 10 days or so, the dog has been growling sometimes at DH, especially when DH comes near me, tries to stroke him, or DH tries to get in bed.

This evening I was sat in bed doing some work and DH came up to the bedroom, the dog started growling at DH so I told DH to pick him up and put him out of the room until he stopped. DH picked him up and the growling got much worse and the dog seemed as though he was going to bite DH, so DH dropped him, the dog sprang at DH and seemed to have a 'red mist' moment, jumping up and bit him, breaking the skin 4 times on his legs and stomach.

We were all really shocked. DH is OK and has been to be checked out but is really shaken and upset and talking about getting rid of the dog.

I'm devasteted, first that the dog who is incredibly loving mostly would do this to DH and also really frightened that DH will insist that we take the dog to a dog and cats home.

I've been in tears tonight thinking about this but I know that if there's a chance that he would do this again then there would be no choice. I've persuaded DH to wait until I can get in touch with a dog behavioural expert tomorrow and I'm pinning my hopes that there is something that they can do...AIBU to think about keeping my dog and that there is something we can do to stop this happening again?

Today's update:
I've had a long chat with DH this morning about next steps. DH does want to keep the dog but has warned that another further episode will be the last. He's still upset and at this moment feels that although he will feed/walk he can't trust the dog and feels wary.

I've thought a lot about the last few weeks, hindsight is great!. DH from the very start has had the right approach but it's been myself and DS who have totally gone over the top spoiling the dog as we wanted to make him feel secure.

I can't even begin to tell you how guilty I feel about this, this is down to me, not the dog, and I will do everything that I can to make sure that I'm treating the dog in the right way. Saying that it's incredibly difficult as the mothering instinct in me, knowing that he's had a hard time just wants to shower him with love and affection to make him feel secure - I know now that this was doing the exact opposite.

I've contacted the rescue centre and had a good long chat and they've given me some advice:
For the next week, no stroking (basically ignore), keep off all furniture, must be in a bed downstairs (already have) and in no circumstances allowed upstairs. All to continue have equal responsibility for feeding/walking. Any growling to met with a firm NO, if dog not listening then I'm to reiterate the NO.
It will take months for the dog to earn privilages, such as being allowed upstairs.

They have given me the contact details of a dog behaviourist they use but have suggested that I wait a week to see how we get on. We can also take the dog up to them at the weekend for them to have a look.

Thank you so much everyone for all your posts, I've read them all and the help has been so useful.

Any thoughts/advice would be very very welcome

Whoknowswhocares Wed 27-Nov-13 13:21:24

Well I'm by no means an expert, but that sounds like resource guarding to me. DDog has come to view you as his most valuable resource and is averse to sharing. Without help, then yes, I think it could happen again.

I'm surprised at the advice from the rescue centre tbh. Most experts would advise heavily AGAINST trying to stop a dog growling. What happens is that the dog complies and no longer growls, but goes straight to his next move ie. biting
If you take away his early warning sign of being uncomfortable with a situation, then he has nothing but a more severe response to go to.

You need the help of a qualified behaviourist. Does the rescue provide such a thing? If not, you could look for one privately but they aren't cheap! It really does need someone experienced to watch his body language though to make sure what's going on and correct it.

Whoknowswhocares Wed 27-Nov-13 13:25:42

Eta. All that talk of earning privileges and suchlike sounds very much old school pack/dominance stuff tbh. Understanding of dog behaviour has moved on considerably in recent years to a more positive reinforcement based way of training. Run an absolute mile from any 'expert' not using these methods.

FuckyNell Wed 27-Nov-13 13:30:31

I thought that sounded like good advice! Shows you what I know.

Blistory Wed 27-Nov-13 13:33:56

You need a behaviourist and not some randoms on the internet quoting outdated pack theory bollocks.

Please don't tell a growling dog off. The dog will have demonstrated some behaviour even prior to growling to indicate its discomfort. This was ignored so it growled. This was ignored, the dog was pushed beyond his threshold and responded accordingly. If you don't recognise step 1 and take away the dog's step 2, you run the very real risk of the dog going straight to step 3.

You need help to recognise the initial signs of distress and help to recognise the source/cause of the initial reaction. It's up to us as dog owners to understand our animals and not put them in a position where they feel the need to attack.

You and your family have had years to understand how your household works, the dog has had 4 weeks. And while he absolutely has to fit in to your household, he needs a little bit of help in understanding what you want from him.

Don't withhold affection - just make sure every encounter is a positive one but not necessarily a pandering one.

A good behaviourist will work wonders but only if you and your family put in the work.

Good luck - I have no doubt that a wee bit of guidance will result in positive results for all of you.

InTheRedCorner Wed 27-Nov-13 13:36:50

I'm marking my place out if interest after reading the AIBU thread.

Whoknowswhocares Wed 27-Nov-13 13:49:02

This is a good video demonstration of different dogs body language. It might help you spot the signs a little earlier in future.......

mistlethrush Wed 27-Nov-13 14:57:01

I would be getting DH to do a serious amount of work with the dog to make sure that the dog realises that DH is actually part and parcel of the 'good home' - so, all food coming from DH - not necessarily as a meal, but ideally small pieces hand fed when DH has asked for the dog to approach - or even get DH to see if the dog would take to clicker training. Can you find a dog training class nearby with a positive reinforcement type trainer (rather than a pack theory, choke chain old-school trainer) - and get DH to take the dog (you might need to go along and see what is being suggested.

The one thing that I would do for the moment is to get the dog sleeping not on your bed. Our last dog slept in her basked in the hall or on a vetmat on the stairs - but mistlehound has decided that sleeping in the same room as us (well, me actually blush) is required. She has her own bed - sometimes comes to see me but goes and settles back down on her bed or lies by the side of ours. I wouldn't necessarily force him to spend all the time downstairs though.

StrattersInTheTARDIS Wed 27-Nov-13 14:59:31

Absolutely what Blistory said, plus (and I know I keep banging on about it, but it works) get him a crate, don't shut the door, put his bed in it, and his toys, cover it with a blanket, and make it his den, his 'safe place'. Leave him in peace whilst he's in there, let him learn that it's his bolt hole, a comfortable, enjoyable place for him to retreat to when he's had enough.

And learn dog language; he gave you all the warning signs he could, he was trying to tell you how stressed and scared he was. Don't tell him off for growling; work out why, and rectify the situation.

Let your DH be the one to feed him, let them bond over walks and playing, but take the playing slowly for now, you don't want to stress him out even more than he is already.

Four weeks is nothing in the lifetime of a dog, it will take months and months for you all to learn how to get along. Be mindful, listen to him, and be kind without babying.

And don't listen to any pack behaviour/alpha bollocks. It's absolute rubbish, and will stress him out even more.

Lilcamper Wed 27-Nov-13 16:02:53

Dog wary of your DH, DH ignored his warning (growl) and picked him up, then DH dropped him, he defended himself. Never ever tell a dog off for growling as said above.

The rescue was spouting rubbish that is outdated and dangerous. You need someone from the APDT or APBC to help you out.

Whoknowswhocares Wed 27-Nov-13 18:30:50

I noticed on your other thread you are speaking to the rescue centres behaviourist tomorrow.
Bearing in mind the weird and outdated advice they have given you so far, I'd be a little bit wary. Maybe the behaviourist doesn't subscribe to their theories, but chances are they are all working the same way and the rescue are taking their cues from the behaviourist.
Check out their qualifications and google for any info you can find before taking any advice from them.
I recommend petforum's forum to get some info too. Lots of people who post there are professionals or very experienced owners who compete. A post asking for recommendations will doubtless lead you to the best practitioners in your area.
Good luck.

Antalya1 Wed 27-Nov-13 19:20:05

Thank the person I'm speaking to tomorrow is recommened through local vets. If posibble I'm going to try and get Friday afternoon of if she can see us as DH is off this week and I think it's important that we go together. After all the advice that I've had on MN I'll know that if she starts talking about pack mentality to look for someone else.

mistlethrush Wed 27-Nov-13 19:25:03

Its a bit like the difference between a Victorian Orphanage and how children are brought up now... in the former they behaved because they would be whipped if they didn't. You do need boundaries for the dog, just as you do for children, and you might need to decide whether you need to work on those (eg the bed). But if you can use positive reinforcement of 'good' behaviour you will have a much happier and settled dog.

Whoknowswhocares Wed 27-Nov-13 19:38:41

If you can, it would be better for the behaviourist to visit you and see god dog in its home environment.
Some offer this service.

DeathByLaundry Wed 27-Nov-13 19:47:57

It's like a parallel universe in here. Same OP but rational responses grin

PeanutPatty Wed 27-Nov-13 19:50:21

Never tell a dog off for growling. The dog was warning you/your DH that he was unhappy. Like others have said, growling is good. It gives you opportunity to change your behaviour.

I'd be checking out the behaviourists qualifications. Without being rude, vets don't always know what they are on about when it comes to behaviour. Their area of expertise is animal health.

Awesome Facebook page called Dog Training Advice and Support. They also have a list of positive reinforcement behaviourists who are qualified and are recommended. I also agree that they would probably prefer to see you in your home environment with your dog.

DeathByLaundry Wed 27-Nov-13 19:54:17

That's not rude Patty, it's a sad fact. To my eternal shame.

Lilcamper Wed 27-Nov-13 19:54:53

Second the Facebook page, very sensible advice and no judgement.

Booboostoo Wed 27-Nov-13 21:47:52

God almighty OP that is some crap advice from your rescue! Outdated and dangerous.

Get a decent, qualified behaviourist to assess your dog. He does sound like he is resource guarding. The behaviourist should mention things like Time Out, NILIF and Adaptil colars/Zylkene pills, although no one can assess your dog on line, he has to be seen to be understood.

In the meantime take his growling to heart. Do not pick him up when he growls and if you need to get him off the furniture do it hands off, e.g. tip the bed until he, gently, falls on the floor then click and reward him for being on the floor. That way you are not putting yourself in harm's way, you get the behaviour you want and you can reward the good behaviour.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 27-Nov-13 22:27:19

>It's like a parallel universe in here

Whew, yes. Good luck, Antalya - hope you can get that appt. together with your DH.

TooOldForGlitter Wed 27-Nov-13 23:14:14

I read this original post in AIBU and I was at work and couldn't get a spare minute to respond. I'm really chuffed you asked for it to be moved here OP. I think it was mistlethrush who made the spot on reference to victorian orphanages and todays child rearing advice. Pack theory/alpha status is very outdated and was flawed even in its time. You can certainly help your new dog fit in and get over this initial blip but PLEASE discount pack theory rubbish!

Antalya1 Thu 28-Nov-13 19:00:39

Just a quick update, I had a long telephone conversation today with the vets behaviourist, she was wonderful. Very pragmatic but sensible approach, nothing about packs but she did say say that the dog really didn't wish to be responsible for me and was probably causing him a lot of stress.

DH off at this week and has been feeding dog and taking him for walks, today he allowed him to put the lead on, good when utside, when they came back in and Dh took the lead off, dog bared teeth at DH..way to go yet.

Behaviourist coming in this weekend specifically to see us, so fingers crossed.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 28-Nov-13 19:07:16

Excellent news! smile - apart from the baring teeth bit of course. But the dog is still discombobulated - I hope your DH can hang in there and carry on the good work.

Blistory Thu 28-Nov-13 19:39:48

Hope it goes well. You and your DH sound committed to this dog so hopefully the dog will get the chance to reward you for your patience with him.

bellasuewow Fri 29-Nov-13 23:30:33

I would recommend also looking at the breed characteristics as this is a strong minded combination to help understand the dog better. Rescues can be insecure and agree it sounds like resource guarding. Also you know the dog so trust your instinct as well and make sure you are firm with him in all areas so he can relax knowing he is not the boss. I don't believe in whacking dogs but I am a bit old fashioned in that I don't believe in dogs on beds and I also believe I am in charge and they need boundaries to be happy my dogs seem to live rules and routine.

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