Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Out of control dog

Posted by on Oct. 15, 2012 at 9:33 AM
  • 20 Replies
  • 472 Total Views

My husky/cocker spaniel dog (he turned a year old the day after Father's Day) is driving me crazy.

I guess you need some background information. We got him when he was 5 months old. The owner's before us us to abuse him. There was a man, wife and their 3 kids. When we received him, we took him to the vets (who's male) and right away he started growling and barking at our vet. The vet told us that he was abused by a guy. He was fine with the women there. And we think that he was abused my kids too.

When we first received the dog, my son, who's 7 years old (Alex), would try to pet him while he was eating. Big mistake because Ajay (the dog) would growl. So I was suggested that if my son started taking care of Ajay's food and water dish that the dog would stop growling. Alex has been doing this for almost 9 months and Ajay still growls at him.


And there has been a time where Ajay bit my son. I just don't know what to do. I've told Alex to not be afraid of Ajay but he is and I think that the dog can sense it. Ajay feels like he's dominate over my son. I don't want him to think that.

We have a 3 month old baby boy (Sam). Ajay is perfect with the infant.

As a matter of fact, last week, Alex was laying next to Sam and Ajay was laying on the other side of Sam, when Alex touched Sam, Ajay growled and barked at Alex.

What do I do?

Ajay's food and water bowl is in the kitchen near our cupboard. Alex goes there every morning because that's where our food is and Alex has to get his snack for school and food for breakfast.

Our house is pretty small so moving the food/water dishes some place else, i can't see that as being an option.

I'm thinking whenever Alex gets near his food bowl and Ajay starts growling, I'll just take Ajay by his collar and put him outside so that Ajay knows that he has to wait for Alex to get done eating before he can finish his breakfast. 

Or maybe Alex should take him outside so that Ajay knows that Alex is in control and not Ajay.

I don't know what else to do.

Can someone please help me because I have to get rid of him?

by on Oct. 15, 2012 at 9:33 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
ChelseaatNutro
by on Oct. 15, 2012 at 11:01 AM
1 mom liked this

I honestly would recommend hiring a professional dog trainer to come over to your house to help address Ajay's fear of Men and Children, you can do this with Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT), but it does take time.  Resource Guarding can easily escalate if not handled correctly either, so a professional dog trainer can help you!

I am glad for the moments that Alex is around Ajay's food that he growls, because at least Alex is getting a good warning indication, as opposed to a silent biter. Speaking of bites, when Ajay bit Alex where was the location of the bite? Did it break the skin?

Ajay may be good with Sam right now, but I am so worried thinking about what would happen if Sam grew bigger, more mobile, and then Ajay started to develop a different prospective of him and started growling at him too. Because Sam is not going to stay a baby forever.

referencing back to your statement:

"I'm thinking whenever Alex gets near his food bowl and Ajay starts growling, I'll just take Ajay by his collar and put him outside so that Ajay knows that he has to wait for Alex to get done eating before he can finish his breakfast."

I am concerned that when you go to collar grab Ajay and remove him from the room that he'll start to redirect the growling at you. He's growling because he is fearful that your son may take away his food and never get it back. Not only is that a problem but, he is fearful of your son. So this is trigger stacking: meaning that when a dog has a bunch of stressful experiences, all the stresses add up in his system and he suddenly blows a fuse (or  reaches his “Bite/Reactivity Threshold”. I am fearful of spiders, height, and tight spaces. I can handle each of these stresses differently, some better than others, but if I were locked in a closet with a spider, on top of a mountain cliff, I would freak out! I would assume that having your son Alex in the presence of Ajay, around his food bowl is trigger stacking.

So now if you remove Ajay from the room with your hand, Ajay could now start to perceive you as a threat also. Is there anyway that for the time being that you have him that you could feed Ajay in a crate? I would make sure Alex eats first so he is far less likely to come into the kitchen while Ajay eats, but I still think it would be safest to crate Ajay while he eats so there is no chance he could bite Alex, if Alex still enters the kitchen.

Unless you can have a professional dog trainer come out to your house, it sounds like Ajay is not a suitable fit for your family with young children. Living in stress or fear is not fun, and I am sure there is a family with older kids or no kids at all that can love him as much as you all did. I am sure he is a great dog, and you are a wonderful family, but that does not mean that you were meant to be together. Sometimes we do not always mesh. Your situation right now must maintain extreme management to prevent another bite from occurring. But having two young boys, there are management fails that are sure to come. Nobody can maintain a %100 safe and managed situation. I have to remind my clients of this. There is no guarantee that the management will be %100 fail proof. Accidents do happen.

What Ajay is displaying is resolvable but it is time consuming as far as rehabilitation goes. Please do not hesitate to PM me if you have any questions you want to ask me. I hope this helped.

Only Good Things,

Chelsea



erinsmom1964
by Member on Oct. 15, 2012 at 3:21 PM
2 moms liked this

SPOT ON ADVISE!!!!!!!!!!!

Quoting ChelseaatNutro:

I honestly would recommend hiring a professional dog trainer to come over to your house to help address Ajay's fear of Men and Children, you can do this with Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT), but it does take time.  Resource Guarding can easily escalate if not handled correctly either, so a professional dog trainer can help you!

I am glad for the moments that Alex is around Ajay's food that he growls, because at least Alex is getting a good warning indication, as opposed to a silent biter. Speaking of bites, when Ajay bit Alex where was the location of the bite? Did it break the skin?

Ajay may be good with Sam right now, but I am so worried thinking about what would happen if Sam grew bigger, more mobile, and then Ajay started to develop a different prospective of him and started growling at him too. Because Sam is not going to stay a baby forever.

referencing back to your statement:

"I'm thinking whenever Alex gets near his food bowl and Ajay starts growling, I'll just take Ajay by his collar and put him outside so that Ajay knows that he has to wait for Alex to get done eating before he can finish his breakfast."

I am concerned that when you go to collar grab Ajay and remove him from the room that he'll start to redirect the growling at you. He's growling because he is fearful that your son may take away his food and never get it back. Not only is that a problem but, he is fearful of your son. So this is trigger stacking: meaning that when a dog has a bunch of stressful experiences, all the stresses add up in his system and he suddenly blows a fuse (or  reaches his “Bite/Reactivity Threshold”. I am fearful of spiders, height, and tight spaces. I can handle each of these stresses differently, some better than others, but if I were locked in a closet with a spider, on top of a mountain cliff, I would freak out! I would assume that having your son Alex in the presence of Ajay, around his food bowl is trigger stacking.

So now if you remove Ajay from the room with your hand, Ajay could now start to perceive you as a threat also. Is there anyway that for the time being that you have him that you could feed Ajay in a crate? I would make sure Alex eats first so he is far less likely to come into the kitchen while Ajay eats, but I still think it would be safest to crate Ajay while he eats so there is no chance he could bite Alex, if Alex still enters the kitchen.

Unless you can have a professional dog trainer come out to your house, it sounds like Ajay is not a suitable fit for your family with young children. Living in stress or fear is not fun, and I am sure there is a family with older kids or no kids at all that can love him as much as you all did. I am sure he is a great dog, and you are a wonderful family, but that does not mean that you were meant to be together. Sometimes we do not always mesh. Your situation right now must maintain extreme management to prevent another bite from occurring. But having two young boys, there are management fails that are sure to come. Nobody can maintain a %100 safe and managed situation. I have to remind my clients of this. There is no guarantee that the management will be %100 fail proof. Accidents do happen.

What Ajay is displaying is resolvable but it is time consuming as far as rehabilitation goes. Please do not hesitate to PM me if you have any questions you want to ask me. I hope this helped.

Only Good Things,

Chelsea


NatalieMH
by Member on Oct. 15, 2012 at 9:22 PM
I'm sorry to hear that you are dealing with this!

I know it is not want you want to hear...but i would be finding a new home for the dog :-( it sounds like the risk is just too great. If you would be able to get a trainer that could help you....i think it could help but i would still be concerned.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
marshsmom
by Group Owner on Oct. 16, 2012 at 11:15 AM
1 mom liked this

Here are my responses to your post in the other dog training forum:

Is the dog crate trained?

I would first say, never allow any one, a child especially to interact with a dog that is eating.  Sometimes dogs are food aggressive for no reason at all except that they are dogs.  Other times they can be posessive with their food because they had to be that way to survive.  There's no way of knowing why your dog is doing this, btu when there is food in the bowl you should leave him alone.  If he is crate trained allow him to eat in his crate.  You can begin to work on training this aggression out, but it can be a slow process and may not be successful.  One step in the right direction is hand feeding the dog.  Do not put the food in the dog bowl, as this could be a trigger to protect (the bowl is his and he knows it).  I would suggest you or another adult start and then when you feel comfortable that the dog is responding appropriately gradually let your son be involved in the feeding.  Slowly work your way up to your son doing the hand feeding, don't expect too much too soon, as you have already seen a negative reaction towards your child, and his safety should come first.  The next thing I recommend is googling NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free) and begin a strict training regime.  Work in daily sessions (15 or 20 dedicated minutes) and make sure your son is involved in those sessions giving commands, etc.  Don't let the dog do anything without working for it first, no affection, no playing, nothing until he has done something for you first (like sit, or lay down).  Also, stop allowing the dog on the furniture.  Being on the furniture with you is a privilege and he must earn his place there.  Later after his behavior is more reliable you could allow him up by invitation, but for now he should have his bed/crate the floor and the yard.  Remember, the dog lives with you, you don't live with the dog. Lastly, I strongly recommend only using positive reinforcement for training.  A verbal correction with a negative sound or a firm no is all you need, then guide the dog to the desired behavior and reward him for it.  Don't spank, hit, yell, etc...  Good luck!

I forgot to add, you guys should eat before the dog.  So let your son get his snack and food before the dog is fed.  If you are free feeding stop that now and feed on a schedule.  Put the food down at whatever times each day and give him 15 minutes to eat, if he finishes or stops eating pick up the food bowl and feed again on the next feeding schedule.  If he is free feeding it may take a day or two but eventually he'll learn to eat when he can.  He will also learn that you are controlling the resources, not him :)

furbabymum
by Member on Oct. 16, 2012 at 11:24 AM
1 mom liked this

 You need to pick the food bowl up when it's not in use. No reason to leave it out. Put it wherever you store the dog food. Won't take up any more space. Or if you're free feeding it's time for you to put that dog on a schedule. I disagree with marshmom to an extent. My DS can be in any of my dogs dishes while they are eating without incident. They are very desensitized and a human can do anything to their food/bones without issue. So, it's possible but this dog obviously isn't there.

I agree with Chelsea that Ajay may totally change in his view of Sam when Sam becomes mobile. Children learning to walk look like little aliens to dogs, not human at all. Can make some dogs very uncomfortable.

As for the dog gaurding the baby from your son. I'd get on the dog for that immediately. To me, your dog owns things and I do not allow my dogs to own anything.

Agree, get a professional trainer!

marshsmom
by Group Owner on Oct. 16, 2012 at 11:43 AM
1 mom liked this

I didn't say it wasn't "possible" ,  I just don't think it's a good idea. I have a dog that could care less, but I have another dog that would rather be left alone....I don't let my son or anyone else bother any of the dogs while they are eating, anymore than I let my son play in my plate when I am eating.

Quoting furbabymum:

 You need to pick the food bowl up when it's not in use. No reason to leave it out. Put it wherever you store the dog food. Won't take up any more space. Or if you're free feeding it's time for you to put that dog on a schedule. I disagree with marshmom to an extent. My DS can be in any of my dogs dishes while they are eating without incident. They are very desensitized and a human can do anything to their food/bones without issue. So, it's possible but this dog obviously isn't there.

I agree with Chelsea that Ajay may totally change in his view of Sam when Sam becomes mobile. Children learning to walk look like little aliens to dogs, not human at all. Can make some dogs very uncomfortable.

As for the dog gaurding the baby from your son. I'd get on the dog for that immediately. To me, your dog owns things and I do not allow my dogs to own anything.

Agree, get a professional trainer!


furbabymum
by Member on Oct. 16, 2012 at 11:52 AM
1 mom liked this

 I see your point and I understand. I have 2 that would prefer to be left alone as well. We do tell him to leave them alone but on the occassion when he runs up and grabs a handful of food to "feed" them himself I do feel perfectly confident that they won't harm him. I'd never let him run up to just any dog like that though.

I just have video of my DS learning to climb up on things. He'd climbed up on the pyr's food and was literally having the best time throwing it everywhere. The pyr was munching up all the food he'd tossed about. Was just one of those rather adorable moments. I realize my dogs should be sainted. :)

Quoting marshsmom:

I didn't say it wasn't "possible" ,  I just don't think it's a good idea. I have a dog that could care less, but I have another dog that would rather be left alone....I don't let my son or anyone else bother any of the dogs while they are eating, anymore than I let my son play in my plate when I am eating.

Quoting furbabymum:

 You need to pick the food bowl up when it's not in use. No reason to leave it out. Put it wherever you store the dog food. Won't take up any more space. Or if you're free feeding it's time for you to put that dog on a schedule. I disagree with marshmom to an extent. My DS can be in any of my dogs dishes while they are eating without incident. They are very desensitized and a human can do anything to their food/bones without issue. So, it's possible but this dog obviously isn't there.

I agree with Chelsea that Ajay may totally change in his view of Sam when Sam becomes mobile. Children learning to walk look like little aliens to dogs, not human at all. Can make some dogs very uncomfortable.

As for the dog gaurding the baby from your son. I'd get on the dog for that immediately. To me, your dog owns things and I do not allow my dogs to own anything.

Agree, get a professional trainer!

 

 

vinalex0581
by on Oct. 16, 2012 at 11:56 AM

i just let my son put food in his dish and then the dish stays there the whole day.

i let my dog eat during the day whenever he pleases.

um........but then at 7pm every evening, i put his food and water dish up for the rest of the night.

is this bad? what i've been doing?

and you said that i should put his food down for 15 minutes and then put it up for 15 minutes? should i be doing this throughout the day?

i think i'm confused as to what you are trying to explain.

Quoting marshsmom:

Here are my responses to your post in the other dog training forum:

Is the dog crate trained?

I would first say, never allow any one, a child especially to interact with a dog that is eating.  Sometimes dogs are food aggressive for no reason at all except that they are dogs.  Other times they can be posessive with their food because they had to be that way to survive.  There's no way of knowing why your dog is doing this, btu when there is food in the bowl you should leave him alone.  If he is crate trained allow him to eat in his crate.  You can begin to work on training this aggression out, but it can be a slow process and may not be successful.  One step in the right direction is hand feeding the dog.  Do not put the food in the dog bowl, as this could be a trigger to protect (the bowl is his and he knows it).  I would suggest you or another adult start and then when you feel comfortable that the dog is responding appropriately gradually let your son be involved in the feeding.  Slowly work your way up to your son doing the hand feeding, don't expect too much too soon, as you have already seen a negative reaction towards your child, and his safety should come first.  The next thing I recommend is googling NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free) and begin a strict training regime.  Work in daily sessions (15 or 20 dedicated minutes) and make sure your son is involved in those sessions giving commands, etc.  Don't let the dog do anything without working for it first, no affection, no playing, nothing until he has done something for you first (like sit, or lay down).  Also, stop allowing the dog on the furniture.  Being on the furniture with you is a privilege and he must earn his place there.  Later after his behavior is more reliable you could allow him up by invitation, but for now he should have his bed/crate the floor and the yard.  Remember, the dog lives with you, you don't live with the dog. Lastly, I strongly recommend only using positive reinforcement for training.  A verbal correction with a negative sound or a firm no is all you need, then guide the dog to the desired behavior and reward him for it.  Don't spank, hit, yell, etc...  Good luck!


I forgot to add, you guys should eat before the dog.  So let your son get his snack and food before the dog is fed.  If you are free feeding stop that now and feed on a schedule.  Put the food down at whatever times each day and give him 15 minutes to eat, if he finishes or stops eating pick up the food bowl and feed again on the next feeding schedule.  If he is free feeding it may take a day or two but eventually he'll learn to eat when he can.  He will also learn that you are controlling the resources, not him :)


marshsmom
by Group Owner on Oct. 16, 2012 at 11:59 AM
1 mom liked this
Quoting furbabymum:



Lol, the joys of parenthood and dog ownership. My son has recently learned that he can feed the dog under the table and then try to convince me that he ate all his dinner :D
furbabymum
by Member on Oct. 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM
2 moms liked this

 It depends on your schedule. We feed our dogs at 5pm when we get home for work. We measure out their food and when they are done eating it (at least 2 of them eat the entire amount but 2 of them do not. When they stop eating is what I should say) we put the dish back. Whether they finished all the food or not.

What you are doing is free feeding.

Quoting vinalex0581:

i just let my son put food in his dish and then the dish stays there the whole day.

i let my dog eat during the day whenever he pleases.

um........but then at 7pm every evening, i put his food and water dish up for the rest of the night.

is this bad? what i've been doing?

and you said that i should put his food down for 15 minutes and then put it up for 15 minutes? should i be doing this throughout the day?

i think i'm confused as to what you are trying to explain.

Quoting marshsmom:

Here are my responses to your post in the other dog training forum:

Is the dog crate trained?

I would first say, never allow any one, a child especially to interact with a dog that is eating.  Sometimes dogs are food aggressive for no reason at all except that they are dogs.  Other times they can be posessive with their food because they had to be that way to survive.  There's no way of knowing why your dog is doing this, btu when there is food in the bowl you should leave him alone.  If he is crate trained allow him to eat in his crate.  You can begin to work on training this aggression out, but it can be a slow process and may not be successful.  One step in the right direction is hand feeding the dog.  Do not put the food in the dog bowl, as this could be a trigger to protect (the bowl is his and he knows it).  I would suggest you or another adult start and then when you feel comfortable that the dog is responding appropriately gradually let your son be involved in the feeding.  Slowly work your way up to your son doing the hand feeding, don't expect too much too soon, as you have already seen a negative reaction towards your child, and his safety should come first.  The next thing I recommend is googling NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free) and begin a strict training regime.  Work in daily sessions (15 or 20 dedicated minutes) and make sure your son is involved in those sessions giving commands, etc.  Don't let the dog do anything without working for it first, no affection, no playing, nothing until he has done something for you first (like sit, or lay down).  Also, stop allowing the dog on the furniture.  Being on the furniture with you is a privilege and he must earn his place there.  Later after his behavior is more reliable you could allow him up by invitation, but for now he should have his bed/crate the floor and the yard.  Remember, the dog lives with you, you don't live with the dog. Lastly, I strongly recommend only using positive reinforcement for training.  A verbal correction with a negative sound or a firm no is all you need, then guide the dog to the desired behavior and reward him for it.  Don't spank, hit, yell, etc...  Good luck!


I forgot to add, you guys should eat before the dog.  So let your son get his snack and food before the dog is fed.  If you are free feeding stop that now and feed on a schedule.  Put the food down at whatever times each day and give him 15 minutes to eat, if he finishes or stops eating pick up the food bowl and feed again on the next feeding schedule.  If he is free feeding it may take a day or two but eventually he'll learn to eat when he can.  He will also learn that you are controlling the resources, not him :)


 

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)