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Rescue dog growling and snapping

(19 Posts)
diavlo Sat 05-Nov-16 20:52:05

We got our dog 3 yr old lab/spaniel x in June.

He was very skittish, with no manner etc, but that side of him has calmed down a lot. He is mostly friendly and loves to be right beside us, but he has always done a lot of snarling so we've done lots of work to find out what he doesn't like and approach those things differently. However this behaviour is increases and he has pinched me now a few things, with a bite yesterday. This was because I was telling him to get off of the sofa.

I am at a loss what to do, I feel that he probably shouldn't have been placed with a family(we are his 3rd home), but unfortunately we are all now attached to him and this is just a small part of his personality.

Any tips for how to deal with this? I obviously don't want to risk harm to my children.

Shriek Sat 05-Nov-16 23:06:41

I dont think its a small part of his personality as that diminishes the risk and how much of a dangerous problem this is. Very disappointed that a snarling ddog would be allowed to ne rehomed in a family. You have obviously been very committed to improving and supporting your ddog.

You cant automatically expect yourself to be able to deal with such challenging behaviour. My first thought is whether the rescue will now help you with this?

diavlo Sun 06-Nov-16 00:01:30

Thank you Shriek,

We've taken him to training classes every week in the hope that things would improve, but I think it is time now for more action. I just hate the thought of abandoning him, as I said before we're his 3rd home.

He has just gone onto his crate really nicely, so he got loads of praise, I gave him a treat and went to stroke him which was quickly followed by bared teeth and growling!

Shriek Sun 06-Nov-16 00:09:18

On herw it would be very difficut to assess whats going on with him, but the rescue needs to supportyou with this if this is how he came to you or is this new behaviour for him?

Are the weekly classes ones that you sourced for yourself?

A crate could be easily related to bad experiences and also guarding his space like he did with sofa.

TheoriginalLEM Sun 06-Nov-16 00:09:24

he is kennel guarding. One of the reasons im not overly keen on crate training some dogs.

It seems he is guarding things he views as "his"

we had a rottie with food possession issued and it took us a long time to be able to safely take things away from him. That was all it reslly was though, time. £££ on behaviourists got us nowhere but just time for him to stop perceiving him as a threat.

If you have young children though i am not dure you have thwt luxury.

I would have to think long and hwrd about rehoming him. Think of it that you have settled him down greatly do that he may well be able to find a suitable home.

Shriek Sun 06-Nov-16 00:10:29

If new. Always get vet check for pain/injury/illness

TrionicLettuce Sun 06-Nov-16 00:10:58

Does the rescue offer any kind of back up? Not taking him back or anything but many will have a behaviourist they work with who can help with any issues that surface in dogs they've rehomed.

If not then I'd suggest looking for a behaviourist through either the APBC or the CAPBT.

I'd also book him in for a check up at the vet, just to rule out any physical issues which may be making his behaviour worse.

Ylvamoon Sun 06-Nov-16 07:48:49

" I feel that he probably shouldn't have been placed with a family(we are his 3rd home),..."

So sorry for you, but ^ said it all. This dog, however sweet otherwise, does have behaviour issues, that are probably very deeply routed. If your children are young, under 10/12 I would not keep the dog! Above that age, you would need the whole family involved in training which is time-consuming and involves sticking to certain rules at all times! To me, it sounds like he is not a family pet but a dog for a very experienced dog owner.
Before you start throwing money at this dog, go back to the rescue centre. Find out, why he was returned previously and what kind of help they can offer you. Don't let them fob you off. They may not have financial resources, to pay for an outside behaviourist but they should have someone "in house" that should be able to help out a few hours / week- free of charge.

diavlo Sun 06-Nov-16 08:19:29

Thanks everyone, that's all really helpful. My children are 11 & 14, so not babies.

He has always growled, bared his teeth etc but the behaviour is increasing. He was very toy possessive when we got him, but this has improved massively, thought he has never been possessive with his food.

We'll contact the rescue centre next week for advice, and will pop into the Vet with him too, but it's just so heartbreaking...he's sitting looking at me now with big puppy eyes, looking like butter wouldn't melt.

TheoriginalLEM Sun 06-Nov-16 08:26:40

How do you react to the growling?

diavlo Sun 06-Nov-16 08:52:11

LEM, I very sternly say no or stop.

TheoriginalLEM Sun 06-Nov-16 09:15:14

and does he? do you then go ahead with what you were wanting to do? with my rottie i would just ignore and say don't be a wanker and do what i needed to do anyway. generally with my heart in my mouth. So that way he learnt that he couldn't boss me around or that behaviour didn't modify mine. im not saying i was never scared and he was sat in the car more than once ready to go back to battersea but it would have been a death sentence for him because he had bitten me on occasion.

others might disagree but I'd lose the crate at least for niw as he will continue to guard it. lots of dogs do this. I work at a cets and the nicest dogs can turn into the devil incarnate once in a kennel. obviously they are also scared but my boy was the same.

I think a stern no or stop is fine but try not to raise your voice. try and continue to do what you were doing so that he learns it was ok and that he cant manipulate you.

I agree tgat your kids are olk enough to be ok with him.

we didn't give our boy toys per se as he would be too possesive.

Needastrongone Sun 06-Nov-16 09:37:03

Have you tried encouraging him to get off the sofa for food? Scatter favourite treats on the floor so coming off the sofa is a positive thing for him, then rewarding with his best food?

Same with toy possession, it's got to be worth giving up his good stuff for better stuff.

It might be a long road though and sorry, this is a rushed post as I'm on the move. smile

Needastrongone Sun 06-Nov-16 09:38:32

Clicker train good behaviour can work.

Might be a long road OP, but you look like you love the dog and want it to work. A positive behaviourist will help too, if your willing.

Cherryskypie Sun 06-Nov-16 09:45:45

You need a good behaviourist. In the short term, remember that growling is him telling you to back off. Stopping him growling without treating the behaviour just removes the warning.

diavlo Sun 06-Nov-16 11:10:42

Thanks everyone, there are some great tips here. I think we'll keep trying for a while, as he does have some very endearing qualities.

TrionicLettuce Sun 06-Nov-16 12:05:50

Definitely stop telling him off for growling. Growling is good, he's clearly communicating his unhappiness with certain situations.

If you put him off growling without dealing with the reason why he feels the need to do it then you risk him bypassing that stage of communication and going straight to snapping or even biting.

MrsJayy Sun 06-Nov-16 12:13:05

Our dog can be like this he is 5 and a rescue thankfully no small children when we got him we dont let him on the sofa get off was a trigger he has his bed which is his that we dont go near. Ialso have a jaunty but firm STOP THAT if he snarls it seems to break his focus. Contact the rescue centre ours was brilliant with ongoing support we used their behaviourist for a year after we got him.

GinIsIn Sun 06-Nov-16 12:20:13

Ok firstly the crate is the dog's space so you mustn't try and stroke them when they've gone in there and certainly not whilst they have food or treats.

I think rather than dog training you need a behaviourist, who could help you to set clear boundaries and read the dog's signals better.

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