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Old 10-02-2014, 02:18 PM
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Help me

Hello,
My name is Patty, I am a new member and recently adopted a now 9 month old American Staffordshire from the pound. His name is Bane and he is growing everyday. For the past two months my boyfriend and I have been trying to get him under control, since we got him we haven't been able to have him submit to us. My boyfriend tried to do the 'alpha roll' this went on for a good half hour until Bane was so exhausted and clearly needed water that he let him go. So basically he lost his position as alpha by letting Bane get up to drink water because the puppy would not quit. He is VERY stubborn, ever since the failed alpha roll Bane has just owned us basically. I know it's not his fault, I don't blame the breed, age, or personality of the dog. I know its the owner's responsibility to handle their pets. I am in serious need of help, I don't know what else to do. We have grown attached to Bane despite his out of control behavior, there are some moments (mainly when he first wakes up) that he is just the best dog. Very sweet and calm but once he starts to play or walk or any type of activity really he becomes aggressive. I try to exercise him by playing with him (usually fetch because I want him to run!) he loves this! But about 10 minutes into the game his pupils dilate and he is in what we like to call 'shark mode' he just wants to bite bite bite. I have bruises all over my arms from trying to get him to stop. I have tried the yelping, crossing my arms, turning around, and nothing has worked. It works the first couple of times and then he just continues to bite. The only thing I can do is just leave him outside when he gets like this because he won't quit. All I want to do is tire him out for his benefit and for mine, this was he can relax be nice and tired and the three of us can just enjoy each others company. I don't know how to get him to snap out of it once he is overly excited. He is getting worse as the days pass, we can't even walk outside to greet him without him immediately biting us. He is worse with my boyfriend but I feel this is only because he is the one to pose a challenge to Bane. I try to be more of the calm assertive rather than try to dominate him. Does anybody else have this issue? I can be petting him and he is happy and relaxed laying on this back and then he just goes straight for my arm and I have to remove my self from the situation. It's stressful, please any comments are welcome! thank you
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Old 10-02-2014, 03:08 PM
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Hello,
My name is Patty, I am a new member and recently adopted a now 9 month old American Staffordshire from the pound. His name is Bane and he is growing everyday. For the past two months my boyfriend and I have been trying to get him under control, since we got him we haven't been able to have him submit to us. My boyfriend tried to do the 'alpha roll' this went on for a good half hour until Bane was so exhausted and clearly needed water that he let him go. So basically he lost his position as alpha by letting Bane get up to drink water because the puppy would not quit. He is VERY stubborn, ever since the failed alpha roll Bane has just owned us basically. I know it's not his fault, I don't blame the breed, age, or personality of the dog. I know its the owner's responsibility to handle their pets. I am in serious need of help, I don't know what else to do. We have grown attached to Bane despite his out of control behavior, there are some moments (mainly when he first wakes up) that he is just the best dog. Very sweet and calm but once he starts to play or walk or any type of activity really he becomes aggressive. I try to exercise him by playing with him (usually fetch because I want him to run!) he loves this! But about 10 minutes into the game his pupils dilate and he is in what we like to call 'shark mode' he just wants to bite bite bite. I have bruises all over my arms from trying to get him to stop. I have tried the yelping, crossing my arms, turning around, and nothing has worked. It works the first couple of times and then he just continues to bite. The only thing I can do is just leave him outside when he gets like this because he won't quit. All I want to do is tire him out for his benefit and for mine, this was he can relax be nice and tired and the three of us can just enjoy each others company. I don't know how to get him to snap out of it once he is overly excited. He is getting worse as the days pass, we can't even walk outside to greet him without him immediately biting us. He is worse with my boyfriend but I feel this is only because he is the one to pose a challenge to Bane. I try to be more of the calm assertive rather than try to dominate him. Does anybody else have this issue? I can be petting him and he is happy and relaxed laying on this back and then he just goes straight for my arm and I have to remove my self from the situation. It's stressful, please any comments are welcome! thank you

The best advice I can give you and your boyfriend is to stop trying to be alpha, the dominance theory is horridly outdated, dogs do not form packs, and is almost guaranteed to make all the behavior problems much, much, worse. Here's a thread about it, https://www.dogforum.com/training-beh...nce-dogs-4076/ Please do yourself and your dog a favor and read it.

What you have is a terrier, and I do feel for you, I had one LOL. They are incredibly independent aka stubborn. They also get over aroused and can fixate, what you describe as "shark mode". To best train that type of dog you have to convince them that what you want them to do is better then what they want to do, that does not mean using force (alpha rolls, hand bites, etc), but means teaching them what they can do and making doing what they want to do as unrewarding as possible. For biting teach him he can ONLY play with you when he has a toy, and when he keeps dropping the toy to go for you he gets left alone for a few minutes. Biting the toy and playing is fun, biting you means play time is over. You're going to have to be very consistent with it, it won't happen fast but could take a few weeks for it to click in his brain. Since you say that he's ignoring the crossed arms and spin method then I'd leave the room.

For the over arousal and fixating, you're going to have to stop playing before he gets over aroused, if you notice he's getting frenzied then it's time to stop, give him a nice chew and when he stops to chew on it further reward him by calmly dropping a nice treat by him. Once he's calmed down a bit you can go back to playing with him.

Fixating, when they become so engrossed in what they are doing (with my boy it was "KILL THE CAT. MUST KILL THE CAT", is hard to overcome. The dog becomes so fixated on what it's interested in that they literally can not hear what the owner is saying and they are pretty much immune to pain in that moment. You can try a special word, or high pitched noise to try and break the focus, make sure to pair the sound with a very special treat or extra special toy that he'll only get when he hears that sound, whatever you use has to trump what he's fixated on so think cheese, chicken, tuna, hotdogs, jerky (avoid made in china like the plague), etc. Once you have his attention then quickly move him away from what he was interested in.

After the alpha roll incident he's likely learned to fear your boyfriend, and is erring on the side of going on the defense. If a dog goes belly up in submission to another dog it's to say, I'm harmless please don't hurt me, not to say your alpha, also the other dog is not forcing the dog to roll onto it's side, the dog freely offers the position. If you've never done that to Bane then he likely feels safer with you then with your boyfriend.

Also take into consideration that Bane is now the equivalent of a human teen, and is at the age that dogs tend to be at their worse, they'll test boundaries, be much less interested in obeying commands, become more independent. It doesn't last though, in a few months he'll start settling down.

Check out this forum https://www.dogforum.com/training-beh...nce-dogs-4076/ it's loaded with training videos, articles on dog behavior, articles on training and what works and what doesn't and why. It's helped me tremendously with my own dog and to understand why what I was doing in the past never worked, I was like you and your boyfriend and into the dominance thing.

If all else fails then please hire a behaviorist but RUN from any that start talking about being an alpha, inserting your dominance, alpha rolling and hand biting, all that tends to make dogs worse and just masks the behavior. Check here https://www.dogforum.com/training-beh...iorist-113946/ for certified behaviorist.
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Old 10-02-2014, 03:46 PM
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thank you for the response! I do agree with what you are saying and I will try to reward him with something enticing that he redirects his attention. The only thing I would like to comment further on would be his fixation. Now I may not have made it clear enough but what he fixates the most on is ME, lol. So with you your dog wants to kill the cat. But with Bane he seems to want to kill me, even when he isn't over stimulated, like I mentioned he sits and I pet him, he relaxes, and lays on his side (willingly) for me to rub his belly. I go along with this thinking he just wants affection and then 5 seconds later he is coming up towards my arm that is petting him! (which is what I thought he wanted) and I back up and that's when the attacks start so I have to manage somehow to get inside or else I don't think he would stop. Just yesterday this happened and I even had a treat in my hand, when he started going ballistic I tried to offer the treat but this was the first time that not even the treat was worth it. He wanted me!
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Old 10-02-2014, 03:59 PM
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thank you for the response! I do agree with what you are saying and I will try to reward him with something enticing that he redirects his attention. The only thing I would like to comment further on would be his fixation. Now I may not have made it clear enough but what he fixates the most on is ME, lol. So with you your dog wants to kill the cat. But with Bane he seems to want to kill me, even when he isn't over stimulated, like I mentioned he sits and I pet him, he relaxes, and lays on his side (willingly) for me to rub his belly. I go along with this thinking he just wants affection and then 5 seconds later he is coming up towards my arm that is petting him! (which is what I thought he wanted) and I back up and that's when the attacks start so I have to manage somehow to get inside or else I don't think he would stop. Just yesterday this happened and I even had a treat in my hand, when he started going ballistic I tried to offer the treat but this was the first time that not even the treat was worth it. He wanted me!

With the petting, can you tell if he's playing and just getting to rough, or trying to get you to stop petting him? When my terrier was that age, in his mind, petting seemed to = oh she wants to play and he liked to play rough. I'd have ended up like you if I hadn't already taught him to get a toy if he wanted to play. BUT some dogs hate to be disturbed when they are relaxing / sleeping and I'm wondering if if could be what's going on with your boy. If it is it's a bit more worrying since he's using excessive force to get his message across and I'd really recommend you contact a behaviorist.

If he's trying to play and is just over stimulated then teaching him to play appropriately and quit petting him when you see he's getting amped up (like one pet on the belly then stop) should help. If it's leave me alone I'm relaxing then stop petting him before he's amped will also help but it's more of a band aide, your likely to need the help of a behaviorist to get to the root of the problem and help you formulate a plan to lessen it.
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Old 10-02-2014, 04:22 PM
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He welcomes the petting, he wants to be pet, he willingly rolls over for more. If I stop before he wants me to he whips around and starts biting. But it goes both ways, say I don't stop (same situation) he will still bite. I have hired a trainer and our first session is in 2 weeks, I just keep trying to find ways to educate myself before anything goes terribly wrong. It could be what you said, petting=play which is rough. I will try to teach him to get a toy if he wants to play. I will use what you said earlier, if he gets a toy we play. If he drops it and comes for me I'll leave him outside for a few minutes.
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Old 10-02-2014, 04:38 PM
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I agree with Rain. I have a pup as well (mine is about 6 months old) and he bites like crazy. Some dogs just like to have their mouths on everything, and on top of that, it's just how some dogs play. It's a far cry from my little terrier mix who has always preferred to play with toys and never really cared for the physical contact play.

What I do, and what seems to help, is tell him "stop" firmly when he starts biting and then give him options. I'll pet him or play with another toy. If he's good (lets me pet him, or plays with the toy instead of my hand) we keep playing. If he doesn't, he gets one more warning at which point I just walk away. There's been improvement but sometimes it's just something you have to keep doing until he gets the idea.

Again, as Rain said, dominance theory is out and alpha rolls are probably the worst component of that theory. They're not effective and if the dog acts out of fear (most will act from fear, very few dogs are truly aggressive without a fear component) an alpha roll can be dangerous.
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Old 10-02-2014, 05:02 PM
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thank you for your response. I think your pup is more on the playful side and you have better control over your puppy. I try telling Bane 'no!' and 'stop!' but he just gets lost in this haze. His eyes are so dilated and he's snapping at me, if I try to walk away this only gets him more upset (at least that's what it seems like to me) I fear if I turn my back it will be a costly mistake on my end. He will come bite my ankles and lunge at me. Its very difficult to try and calm him down when he gets like this, I have yet to be successful. He only gets more excited which leads me to having to go inside and leaving him in the backyard. It really sucks because I want nothing more than to be with him, but he makes it impossible. My bruises are no joke, its hard to tell 55pounds of pure muscle to 'stop'
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Old 10-07-2014, 12:46 PM
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Have you thought about teathering him on a long (or not so long) lead to heavy furniture or an eyebolt installed on the baseboards while you relax in the house? This gives you a safe way to walk away from him where he can not follow behind and bite.

Is there any way you can post a video of your interaction? I can't tell by your descriptions if he is playing or attacking. Sometimes, especially with puppies, it could be easy to confuse rough playing as attacking. Growling, air snaps, mouthing can all be forms of rough play. Not necessarily appropriate play, but play none the less.
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