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Out of control dog

Posted by on Oct. 15, 2012 at 9:34 AM
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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 9:34 AM
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Replies (1-3):
marshsmom
by Member on Oct. 15, 2012 at 5:53 PM
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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!

marshsmom
by Member on Oct. 15, 2012 at 5:59 PM
1 mom liked this

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 :)

Dominosmommy
by on Oct. 19, 2012 at 6:00 PM
1 mom liked this

Abuse and fear do not always run hand in hand. My dog was horredously abused but he is stable enough not to let it have any adverse affects on him.Stop letting your son touch the dog while he is eating. You should be the one controlling the food. Second, the dog has bit your child. In my house that would be a one way ticket out of this planet. The dog is not trying to "dominate" the child.  He is terrified of the child and the child won't leave him alone.  He needs to be rehomed to a family WITHOUT children. He will never stop being afraid of children and forcing a child on him is not doing him any favors.   He needs to be in an adult only home.

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