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my dog just bit my friend - advice please :(

(50 Posts)
mumnosbest Wed 19-Nov-14 18:20:35

My dog has just turned 1 and although he has calmed down a lot is still rediculously disobedient and full of energy.

He is completely untrained, despite our best efforts and I'm coming to think we made a huge mistake in taking on a dog and completely underestimated the responsibility. Me and DH work 5 days a week but my DM is here when we are not. He is walked every day but stays on the lead (extending lead). He has a garden to run around in and goes out whenever he wants.

I have 3 young DCs and he's great with them and the numerous friends that are in and out. On the otherhand he goes mad and barks at anyone who walks past the house or knocks at the door. My main issue has been him escaping from the house. If visitors don't close the gate and he gets out he runs and wont come back untill he is tired out. Untill now he has avoided being hit by a car somehow sad If I follow him he runs the other way. He will not let me or anyone hold his color and lays on his back baring his teeth but untill now hasn't hurt anyone.

Tonight he got out and when a friend held his color for me he went for her, snarling, jumped up and bit her hand. She was understandably upset but he has only just marked her skin and as a friend she has been understanding. I on the otherhand am devastated. He's currently sulking and crated up but I don't know what to do next. I don't know whether to see about training classes or rehoming him. Is this just his nature? Can he be trusted with the DCs again? I am making an appointment to get him neutered, will this help?

Any advice much appreciated as I'm at my wits end sad

NCIS Wed 19-Nov-14 18:24:47

Have you been to any training classes yet? TBH it sounds like he's bored as a result of being untrained. My dog is 16 months old and I do some training with him every day, lead work, sits, stays, downs and recall and that's just what I do outside classes which are twice a week and some at weekends.
What breed is he?

VivaLeBeaver Wed 19-Nov-14 18:27:28

Neutering unlikely to help.

The good news is that as he's only marked the skin then it was an inhibited bite which shows he was still controlling himself so that's good as compared to properly sinking his teeth in.

He needs to,see a vet to rule out any health problems causing him pain in that area.

Then see a Qualified behaviourist and work on desensitising him via positive reinforcement to having his collar held. Tell kids not to hold his collar for now and ideally noone else to.

youbethemummylion Wed 19-Nov-14 18:27:46

What breed? How young are your children?

NCIS Wed 19-Nov-14 18:36:43

I do think you need to prevent unfettered access to the garden especially as you can't rely on people to shut the gate, that, at least, should stop him escaping.
Echoing Viva if a dog wants to bite properly they do.

mumnosbest Wed 19-Nov-14 18:44:03

Tahnks for your replies. He's a Jack russell and German Shepherd X. DCs are 2,7 and 9 and he is fantastic with them. They all know how to behave with him and are never left with him. After the first few escapes we are all pretty careful but obviously not careful enough. I have tried training him myself but he doesn't respond to food or toys so rwards are difficult. He loves to be stroked and fussed but even that doesn't tempt him into obedience. I will definately look again at training classes but haven't yet found anything local.

mumnosbest Wed 19-Nov-14 18:45:00

He does sit, stay and give paws but only in the house. Outside he goes deaf!

FoxgloveFairy Wed 19-Nov-14 18:47:56

I would have him desexed if he isn't. It isn't a magic cure but it would at least slow down the laddish hormones that can make aggression worse and it sounds like he is "feeling his oats" as my Dad would say. Then, training classes. They are really good I found with ours. They teach techniques to show a young dog their place in the pack ie. very junior member after the kids. Dogs are assertive critters and will take charge if you let them. I don't mean that you suppress all the personality out of him but he needs to learn his place. Your friend's hand on his collar, in dog language, may have been felt as a strange person nipping him on the scruff- other than pack leaders. That's what older dogs do to young dogs to pull them up when they are misbehaving! All this is my thoughts- not a dog trainer but had loads and did these classes with them and learnt a lot. Good luck- sounds like you have a feisty lad on your hands!

Aliennation Wed 19-Nov-14 18:49:34

I think you'd be best seeing a behaviourist. A decent one will need a referral from a vet and your vet will probably know of one.
Almost all dogs can be trained with a bit of work.

NCIS Wed 19-Nov-14 18:53:32

It does need loads of practice, both inside and outside the house. Regardless of how much physical exercise a dog gets they really need to be mentally stimulated especially as you have a cross of two working breeds. Look at Sprinkles (google it) and try doing that with his food, he'll have to search for it, my collie has spent 15 minutes searching for his supper in the garden and then taken himself off to bed as his brain has been 'worked'.
Also don't just walk them but train as you go, walks alone just make them fitter.

SunshineAndShadows Wed 19-Nov-14 18:57:10

Neutering may help with roaming but not aggression. He sounds nervous and bored. Is he well socialised? Was he startled by being grabbed by someone he doesn't know that well? It sounds as if he snapped a warning rather than bit properly as your friend is uninjured and this is a good thing - it shows he doesn't want to hurt and is showing bite inhibition and control. But it's a warning that he doesn't like to be grabbed and indicates he could be quite nervous.

How much exercise does he get? Dogs don't exercise themselves in a garden, and a muddy patch of grass is pretty boring for most dogs. Research shows that owners with gardens often use them as a quick fix and a mix like your dog is likely to be high energy and smart - he needs mental and physical stimulation and is telling you that by escaping. He needs proper exercise and training. Research shows that dogs which aren't exercised off lead are more likely to exhibit behavioural problems. So working towards training him to be reliable off lead would be a good start. Dogs need time attention and mental stimulation. There are lots if things you can do to help the situation and proper positive reinforcement training is the first step

VivaLeBeaver Wed 19-Nov-14 19:21:58

Having him neutered could actually make aggression worse depending on the reason for the aggression. Which is why you need to find a behaviourist. Not a training class. A group class is going to focus on sit, stay, etc.

You need to work out the answer to a specific problem.

mumnosbest Wed 19-Nov-14 19:29:34

Wow! lots to think about here. He's not really a nervous dog but doesn't know my friend so probably was startled. He is smart so makes sense that he needs mental stimulation too. Will google sprinkles thanks - I'm intrigued. He does go for long walks everyday but does need to be let off the lead, just know he wouldn't come back. Will start with a call to the vets tomorrow and hopefully find a behaviouralist to help. This is sounding like a long and costly journey and I'm just not sure if we're the right people for ihat. I had dogs growing up but didn't realise just how much hard work is involved and am now regretting getting him. He is loveable and has the makings of a loyal dog if we can stick it out.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 19-Nov-14 19:39:12

Might only take a couple of sessions with a behaviourist to give you ideas/strategies to take forward. When you say he's not interested in treats have you tried really high value stuff like cubes of cheese or ham?

My aggressive dog isn't interested in dog treats but will respond for ham/cheese.

mumnosbest Wed 19-Nov-14 20:29:58

yep, tried cheese, ham, sausages and liver. He loves them all but not if he's playing. He'd rather run around the garden than eat. Doesn't seem interested in his dog food either, eats it but doesn't wait or ask for it.

Lindy2 Wed 19-Nov-14 20:36:59

This doesn't help with the dog behaviour but could you fix one of those spring things to your gate so that it automatically closes after someone has gone through it? That might help prevent escaping.

Booboostoo Wed 19-Nov-14 20:42:57

Why haven't you taken him to training classes yet? They are an essential part of owning any dog but especially part and parcel of taking on a pup. I don't mean to be abrupt but some of your comments about his behaviour, e.g. lack of recall, seem to suggest that you expected him to come ready trained.

How many walks does he go on a day, how long are they and how active are they? You have two very intelligent, very active breeds, bred to do a job (completely different jobs, I am not quite sure why anyone would breed this mix or why anyone would chose it, aside from the logistics of mating a JRT with a GSD!!!) and you need to give him stimulation and exercise.

I think you need to man up and start putting some work into this dog. Thinking about re homing should be the last thing on your mind, you need to sort out his issues and give him the attention he needs.

Expedititition Wed 19-Nov-14 20:43:36

A Jack Russell crossed with a German Shepard. That is impressive! I'm hoping the mum was the GS!

RiverTam Wed 19-Nov-14 20:49:35

I'm not a dog owner but the amount of people I see out with dogs that have zero recall drives me nuts. Please take him to training classes (oh, and don't use an extending lead, they are a menace!).

If a dog bit me I would be very unimpressed. If it bit DD I would go ballistic.

Stalequavers Wed 19-Nov-14 20:51:05

Oh god I had jack when I was growing up. She was a twat!!!

She would run around the living room at lightning speed. She would run along the back of the couch gong mental at people walking past. She took all my barbies behind the couch and chewed legs,arms and head off. If she managed to get out she would leap down the road like a fuckng gazzel. She had a addiction to cheese.

I loved her!

Stalequavers Wed 19-Nov-14 20:52:29

She should also drag cushions/teddies in to the middle of the living room when we were out and dry hump the fuck of off it. grin

mumnosbest Wed 19-Nov-14 20:53:17

Booboo and river I am here for advice not a lecture thatnks all the same.

mumnosbest Wed 19-Nov-14 20:56:47

Expedititition Unfortunately for mum she was the JR! We thought we were getting a JR and saw mum, dad and sisters but apparently they can stay in season for a few months and our little mut was the product of mum being a bit of a naughty girl. We didn't get what we expected and only realised after a month when he was already bigger than any adult JR and his tell-tale GS colouring and markings came out. Still a beautiful dog though.

ModreB Wed 19-Nov-14 20:57:25

We have a potentially aggressive Labrador. Never to family, kids, but to strangers. He is now 9yo (old for a Lab) He has never bitten anyone, but has come close, when he was about 2yo. I had dogs for years, and recognised the behaviour, so he is never allowed a chance to bite.

I, then DH, then DS1, DS2, DS3, etc etc are above him in the pack. He has mental and physical stimulation, but, even though he has not shown aggression for years, I know he has potential. So, he doesn't have the chance. Ever.

The house, garden, gate, car etc are dogproofed against him escaping. Despite determined efforts, he hasn't yet. Fingers crossed.

It's a pain sometimes that he cant go off lead, but worth it, as he's such a part of the family.

mumnosbest Wed 19-Nov-14 20:58:29

stalequavers I think your dog may have been reincarnated as you just described mine to a T!

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