Asking Dog Owners For Help/advice

Lounge By Adevag Updated 6 Jan 2011 , 2:48am by steffiessweet_sin_sations

Adevag Posted 2 Jan 2011 , 7:28pm
post #1 of 23

I know this forum is about cake, but I also know many here have dogs.

As a first time dog owner, I am trying to figure out how to go about this problem. Yesterday our dog bit me. Hard and in a very aggressive way. It was not playing, it was definitely out of fear and he did not let go -ever!
I don't understand why he would attack his owner? He loves me.

It's hard to understand why without knowing more, so I will try to keep this as short as I can. We were at the park and I had him on an extendable leash. I have three kids so we were at the play ground. The dog was playing with a stick and I threw it as far as the leash could reach and he would run after it. He loves it. But then the leash got tangled around his back leg and this scared him. He started attacking the leash, and it just made it worse as he spun around and got himself more tangled in. He got worked up and almost panicked. I think he was scared and obviously did not understand what was happening.

I was holding the leash and he started jumping up trying to bite me, but I held my arm out long enough. I tried to come closer to lift his leg and get the leash away from him, but as soon as I came close to him he would come after me. I just could not calm him down.
So I thought that instead of untangling the leash from my hand I could take it off of his harness and it would be easier to just pull it away from him. It attaches between his shoulder blades. So I am holding on to his harness right there by his shoulder blades as he now has no leash attached to him.

This is what surprised me. He started attacking my hand that was holding his harness. And I just had to hold on until I had the leash issue resolved. No matter how I yelled, he would not stop. If I got my arm or hand out of his mouth, he would right away attack again. It was a real battle. Finally I got a hold of his neck and pressed him (gently but firmly) down to the ground and he could no longer reach me. I got the leash back on and helped him calm down.

Then it was as if this had not happened. He was fine and calm again and I took the kids and the dog home again.
That bite had so much pressure my finger turned purple. It was scary.

This is a situation that could easily happen again, since a leash is more than likely going to get wrapped around a playing dog. I don't know what to do when he freaks out like this.

Is this normal? I think he gets nervous and scared over things that would not bother most dogs. I just want this resolved before he is full grown. That would not feel safe at all.

Thanks, I know this ended up being very long.

22 replies
Elcee Posted 2 Jan 2011 , 7:53pm
post #2 of 23

What an awful incident...for you, the dog and your kids! I'm sure no one needs to tell you not to leave your children alone with the dog until you get to the bottom of this. It doesn't sound like this is a puppy. Something could have happened to him that this remined him of and sent him into a tailspin. One of my dd's dogs (a shelter rescue) is terrified of kitchen utensls. We don't like to think about what that means.

My advice would be to get the dog into a training program pronto. My dd is a dog trainer and they know how to address behavior issues and will be able to help you prevent something like this from happening in the future. Even a basic obedience program would put you on the right track. With time and training, in a similar situation where the dog is starting to panic you should be able to get him to sit or go down and stay upon command, giving you the time and opportunity to remove whatever is hurting/scaring him. When my dd tells her dogs sit and wait, she can hold any kind of treat under their noses and those dogs WILL NOT move until she says OK.

Good luck!

Adevag Posted 2 Jan 2011 , 8:22pm
post #3 of 23

Thank you for your reply.

He is also a shelter dog, we adopted him almost two months ago.
He is still a puppy, almost five months old and about 35 pounds.

We adopted him from the Humane Society, so we were not given many details about him. But obviously he has not had the best start in life.

I agree with the training. We are working on it but are not at the point where he can follow commands while he is distracted. So a class is probably the best solution. But yes having a command work to distract and calm him down is a great goal. Thanks.

deah Posted 2 Jan 2011 , 9:02pm
post #4 of 23

I, too, have a high strung dog. Electrical cords, air vents, vacuums and the list goes on. If a cord is lying on the floor he will not cross it. We've tried tying him up outside while we are working in the yard and he is scared to death of the cable, he sits down and won't move. Our dog was born in the local shelter and we adopted him at 8 weeks so I don't think he was mistreated.

It sounds as if your dog got into a panic and doesn't see you yet as his rescuer. Give it time and he will. Meanwhile, make sure your kids know how to treat him and don't leave him unattended with your kids. It's better to be safe than sorry. Another thing, probably obvious but just in case, since you now know that entanglement in his leash is a trigger, don't play with him while he's tethered.

Savybee Posted 2 Jan 2011 , 10:36pm
post #5 of 23

You could try signing up for a class. We got are dog from a breeder. I never had that problem. WHAt kind of dog is it?

Peridot Posted 2 Jan 2011 , 10:53pm
post #6 of 23

I am so sad to hear what happened to all of you. I agree with Elcee completely. You need to enroll in a training/behavior class with him immediately. I think that trying to do this yourself might not me the answer. What a sad situation for your dog - to be that stressed and upset to actually bite you.

It is hard to imagine what could have happened in his short little life to have caused this type of behavior. We got our dog directly from the breeder who breeds show dogs and treats her dogs and their puppies like members of her family.

Our dog is not as trained as Elcee DD (wish he was) but he is not aggressive in any way and he just turned 8 years old. Best of luck to you and your family with your dog and I hope that you can find a good training facility where you live.

Elcee Posted 2 Jan 2011 , 11:45pm
post #7 of 23

Oh, and I also wanted to say I'm so glad you are looking for a solution instead of just giving the dog back! The classes at your local PetSmart or Petco (if you have one) are great. It's also a bonding experience for the whole family when you all learn and use the same techniques with the pup.

Peridot, I've never had a dog as well trained as my daughter's dogs, either! She works with them a lot as she takes them to work with her as good role models and to prove that what she teaches really works. She has the time to do it since I have no grandkids, just grandpuppies and a grandkitty icon_wink.gif!

dldbrou Posted 3 Jan 2011 , 2:14am
post #8 of 23

I am not sure if this will help, but we had a puppy that was wondering around the city with two other dogs. Somehow the puppy got into our fenced in yard and the others left her. I found her and bathed her and tried to find her owners, but no luck. We decided to keep her. She is a Border Collie cattle dog mix and very smart. When she turned about 1 year old, she started fear snapping. We had no idea why, but knew that if a man wore a baseball type cap, she would snap. She would also heard our company, snapping at their heals to make them stay in the same area we were in. They could not wander around our patio/yard or in our house.

I hunted around for someone that trains dogs on a one on one basis. I was able to find a guy that trains the police dogs for our city. He worked with her and told me that something might have happened to her before we found her and she has issues with men in caps. As far as her herding, she would never be able to break that habit, it was her breed and we would have to keep her on a leash when we have company. He did work with her and got her to understand commands and that works wonders. It can actually save her life when given a sit/stay command or come command.

I think that maybe a vet should check out the dog to make sure it does not have any injury from its past that she might have been hurting from when you held its or maybe its leg had an injury in its past.

If you are trying to find a trainer, try to find a one on one trainer. When you have a dog with a problem, you can not address it in a big group and it might get worse with other dogs. A trainer probably would want to see the dog at aggressive to be able to address the behavior and this cannot be done in a group.

Good Luck

emrldsky Posted 3 Jan 2011 , 2:20am
post #9 of 23

Animals (any animal) can become aggressive when in pain or scared. Although this incident is now over, in the future, just drop the leash immediately when the dog is caught up in it. The dog probably also sensed your unease with what was happening and it caused his fear and anxiety to increase.

Training is a great idea, but have you taken him to the vet for a check-up recently? If not, maybe call in and let them know about the situation and ask there what you can do. Some animals are a bit higher-strung than others, and some vets might prescribe anti-anxiety meds.

I am sorry that you were injured, but it's not likely that your dog has turned violent and will never be the loving animal you know him to be. Things happen, and just like people, animals can lash out when scared or in pain.

I hope you can find a solution to help your dog overcome this, and learn to trust him again.

tryingcake Posted 3 Jan 2011 , 3:18am
post #10 of 23

I am a firm believer in spending the bucks on a dog trainer. You will get more out of it then any amount you spend. I wasn't thrilled with Petco or PetSmart for anything over and above the norm. I found a local doggy day care and checked out heir trainers. Oh! What a difference. My dog has special needs (including needing prozak on a regular basis). I would not trade her trainers for the world.

Adevag Posted 3 Jan 2011 , 4:10am
post #11 of 23

Thank you all for lots of great advice. I really like the idea of a one on one trainer where you can focus on individual problems (that we have). I would still say he is a gentle and friendly dog who loves people and other dogs.

Since we got him, I have noticed on a daily basis that he is scared of the world around him. He would not even walk up our stairs to our front door the first day! We solved it by putting pieces of hot dogs on each step thumbs_up.gif Now he walks the stairs just fine, but a little thing like a plastic bag will scare him. When it's garbage day he can't walk passed a garbage bag that is on the street.
And new streets are frightening (during walks). So I try to walk the same streets for a while and then try a new one again. Hopefully he will learn that it's a good world too! I just never thought he would turn this anxiety into biting!

I always supervise the dog when the children are around and will of course continue to do so. At least he seems to feel safe at home, which is a good start since he has had too many of them already in his short life!

It always amazes me that even if this site is cake-based, there is SO much expertise in regards to almost any topic! Thank you, this has really helped me!

scp1127 Posted 3 Jan 2011 , 4:19am
post #12 of 23

He could have bitten you harder, so he did recognize you, but still panicked. Get Cesar Milan's books on dog training, watch his show on Nat Geo channel. And since you are inexperienced, get a trainer. All dogs need to be trained and they need to know who is boss.

Auryn Posted 3 Jan 2011 , 3:11pm
post #13 of 23

I completely agree about the training, it makes a world of difference.

Personally I really dont like Cesar Milan's training methods- they force the dog into submission.

I prefer Victoria Stillwell's method (her show "its me or the dog" on animal planet is fantastic).

Until you get your own trainer, check out her websites, there are tons of great training tips and her own website has a forum with lots of great people and professional trainers that will give you lots of advice.

She believes in positive reinforcement of the desired behavior , we used her training techniques on the terrier we adopted from the shelter 2 years ago as well as the whippet that we got from a whippet rescue.
It works wonders and its great help in bonding with your dog.


http://animal.discovery.com/tv/its-me-or-dog/
http://positively.com/

Elcee Posted 4 Jan 2011 , 12:47am
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Auryn

Personally I really dont like Cesar Milan's training methods- they force the dog into submission.




My dd is also opposed to Cesar Milan's methods. The PetSmart she works at offers private one on one lessons for behavior specific issues. Maybe yours does, too. icon_rolleyes.gif I'm sure they couldn't possibly have a trainer as good as she is, but maybe close! icon_rolleyes.gif

Kayakado Posted 4 Jan 2011 , 5:40pm
post #15 of 23

I agree obedience classes for this dog are a must. No matter what the situation, he needs to respond to voice commands. I had a german shepherd that I trained and no matter what she was involved in she would stop on command. This was instrumental in her not getting hurt and her not injuring us. We also trained her not to eat out of any other bowl, but her own. Nothing is worse than entering a friend's house and the dog goes straight for their cat's/dog's food. These are essential training behaviors that will keep the dog safe and make them a pleasure to be around.

Marina Posted 4 Jan 2011 , 6:10pm
post #16 of 23

This may be also just a one time occurance...I had a similar incident with my dog, Wolfgang, when he was a puppy (about 4-5 months old at the time). He got tangled up in the cords and cables from my childrens video games. He panicked and he bit me very hard (he was actually injured, dislocated his arm because of him trying to pull away from them). I have never had another incident of him biting me or anyone else. He is now almost 12 years old and the most loyal dog I have ever had. I love him so much, he's my baby!!!

Karen421 Posted 4 Jan 2011 , 8:21pm
post #17 of 23

A trainer may also be able to address the issue, of having a leash get tangled around his legs. As a dog breeder, I always recommend either Puppy Kindergarten or Obedience Training, it is truly helpful! icon_smile.gif

Otter Posted 4 Jan 2011 , 9:21pm
post #18 of 23

Don't use the extendable leash. It makes it difficult to control the dog in the case of an emergency.

Take the dog to an off-leash park or fenced-in area to play. That way he has nothing on him to get tangled in. He was in pain and frightened, probably.

Training is the best way to deal with these issues. An experienced trainer will know what is best to do. Don't go to just the cheapest you can find, either. Find one who has experience in your personal issues with the dog.

Adevag Posted 4 Jan 2011 , 10:52pm
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marina

This may be also just a one time occurance...I had a similar incident with my dog, Wolfgang, when he was a puppy (about 4-5 months old at the time). He got tangled up in the cords and cables from my childrens video games. He panicked and he bit me very hard (he was actually injured, dislocated his arm because of him trying to pull away from them). I have never had another incident of him biting me or anyone else. He is now almost 12 years old and the most loyal dog I have ever had. I love him so much, he's my baby!!!




Yes, that is very similar to the situation I was in. I am hoping that the more positive experiences he will have, the better his outlook on life will be and the safer he will feel.
Your story definitely gives me hope. Our dog is a mix of at least Lab. and Vizsla (the shelter's guess but most likely more). We took him to the vet yesterday and he is already 37 pounds. I was guessing 35. And he has about five more months of growing. When we got him he was just under 20 lbs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Auryn

I prefer Victoria Stillwell's method (her show "its me or the dog" on animal planet is fantastic).

Until you get your own trainer, check out her websites, there are tons of great training tips and her own website has a forum with lots of great people and professional trainers that will give you lots of advice.

She believes in positive reinforcement of the desired behavior , we used her training techniques on the terrier we adopted from the shelter 2 years ago as well as the whippet that we got from a whippet rescue.
It works wonders and its great help in bonding with your dog.




I love that show and I love her. She is so calm and patient (Victoria) and definitely a role model for me for the best dog owner. I have learned so much from her shows and started to DVR them. I have even taken some tips towards parenting my children (esp. the one about not repeating a command because you devalue your word/meaning and teach that it's ok to ignore the first time -something I have to remind myself when talking to my kids as well) She definitely makes training look easy!

Thank you all so much!

Auryn Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 4:34pm
post #20 of 23

I am glad your puppy is doing better.
Just remember its going to take him a while to get used to you guys and feel like you are really his family.
Our dogs, took them close to a year before we felt comfortable letting them roam around the yard without a leash and not worrying that they would run away
(its a 2 acre fully fenced yard but they still found ways to burrow under the fencer or through the gate).

mistiek2006 Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 10:40pm
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Auryn

I am glad your puppy is doing better.
Just remember its going to take him a while to get used to you guys and feel like you are really his family.
Our dogs, took them close to a year before we felt comfortable letting them roam around the yard without a leash and not worrying that they would run away
(its a 2 acre fully fenced yard but they still found ways to burrow under the fencer or through the gate).


We also have a rescue dog. She is a pure breed Basenji that we got from an older couple. After we got her home, we started noticing things.it turns out the people operated a puppy mill and abused the dogs verablly as well as emotionally. It has been a yr since we got Isis and she is trying to learn how not to be afraid. She goes to dog training with our girls in 4h. She is starting to play. I think that when your dog got caught he paniked. It sounds like he may have been abused or traumatized. It can sometimes take up to 6 months for a dog to feel completely secure in their new home. Our dog trainer recogmends a leash 6 feet in length. This way the dog has freedom to move around but owner is in complete control. There is an AKC canine good citizens program that is awsome for teaching obiedience. Then after they complete and pass the testing, you get a certificate and a special dog tag that allows you to take your dog almost any public place like amusement parks. This program has been great for all our dogs. We have 1 that has completed and our basenji and other dog are in it too. Dogs are like kids, when mom panics it makes them even more scared. Hang in there and keep loving your dog.

steffiessweet_sin_sations Posted 6 Jan 2011 , 2:48am
post #22 of 23

oh poor thing!!!! he was frightened out of his wits obviously!!! honestly, my daughter is a dog trainer, and i agree he needs to respond to voice but when a dog is that frightened, its difficult to get them to respond to you. and i also agree that the petsmart method works much bettre than cesar milans. what needs to happen is to get the dog over the things that frighten him, so he doesnt end up in a situation like that again. try your local pet smart and i hope they have a great trainer. where are u? maybe my daughter will know one of them.

steffiessweet_sin_sations Posted 6 Jan 2011 , 2:48am
post #23 of 23

oh poor thing!!!! he was frightened out of his wits obviously!!! honestly, my daughter is a dog trainer, and i agree he needs to respond to voice but when a dog is that frightened, its difficult to get them to respond to you. and i also agree that the petsmart method works much bettre than cesar milans. what needs to happen is to get the dog over the things that frighten him, so he doesnt end up in a situation like that again. try your local pet smart and i hope they have a great trainer. where are u? maybe my daughter will know one of them.

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