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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I am new and I am hoping to get some advice regarding my friend's nine year old Tenterfield Terrier (who now lives with me). My friend works FIFO so the dog spends only six days per month with his owner (I look after him) and he has had a lot of trouble adjusting to this over the past five months.

His food is the same and he gets on well with my dog (a female lab x kelpie almost the same age) but he urinates inside (seems to be a marking territory thing?) and whimpers and cries a lot and shivers. He urinated on my bag and my curtains in my bedroom the other day and when I rushed over to pick him up and put him outside he growled and bit me and broke the skin on my fingers and hand.

I understand that he must miss his owner and that he wants to be inside but when I allow him in he just urinates on things constantly and growls and yaps at me. He gets on the couch and the beds and when his owner is home she just laughs about these behaviours, even though she is aware that my dog does not have those rights. She has always treated him as a lap dog and thinks it's funny when he is grumpy.

I have tried so hard to be good to this dog and I understand that he must feel upset about his owner going away but I have just about had it with the stains and smell and his personality and now this bite has really pushed me to the end of my tether!

He is definitely dominant (?) over my dog (sleeping in her bed and trying to eat her food) even though she is larger and it is her house, so I am guessing he thinks he is dominant (?) over me too?

Can someone please help me understand this grumpy old man of a dog because he is getting harder to deal with, let alone like, as the days go on...? Yes I have read the stickies and I am trying hard with the calming... I am so appalled about the way he bit me though, and I need some expert advice.

Thanks in advance,
:)
 

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One problem is his owner allowing behaviors you do not like. I know they are only there 6 days a month, but to a dog this can be confusing.
Is he whimpering after he urinates? Has he been checked for a urinary infection?
I do not know how you feel about crating/kenneling him or baby gating him off so he can not potty all over the house. He is going to have learn your house rules for when he is alone with you. Do not feel sorry for him, he can sense that. Treat him as if he was your dog. What is happening when he is nipping at you?..oops just read it happened when you picked him up. Are there any other times?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much for your reply. The only thing I can do is keep him outside, because when he sneaks inside he urinates and then I find it later (yuck). I feed the dogs inside and my dog has always been an 'inside/outside' dog with free reign - she knows that if she gets on the couch etc she'll be told to get off, but he just acts like he owns the place. It's quite temperate here and both dogs have good raised beds with bedding outside but I know he's used to sleeping with his owner in her bed. There seem to be many rules that small dog owners have that medium/large dog owners don't.

He just seems to hate me and I can't show him the affection that I think he probably needs if he's going to be nippy and growly and now that he's actually bitten me I am just over him.

He doesn't whimper on urination, I am just describing his talking, but thanks for the suggestion :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
He nips at my hand when I am putting his food down as well, and pushes my dog away from her food (tries to!) which is odd, because she has always been quite a large personality and 'dominant' over many dogs - a tiny one is bossing her around!
 

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I am not sure what you mean by different rules. I have a Golden Retriever and two Chihuahuas all have the same rules in the house. That is some owners problem, they treat smaller dogs with kid gloves which causes them to have fear and show aggression. Can you take him for walks? This might help him come around to you. If you do have them outside most of the time, what will happen when his owner comes home? Does he potty in the house when they are their?
 

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The "dominance" paradigm has been long since debunked.
But nevermind, the dog actually sounds fearful and insecure.
Growling and snapping his happening because he is scared. From a dog's perspective someone rushing up to him and picking him up can be interpreted as a sort of "attack."

The peeing in the house can be made worse by his anxiety. He may also be not properly house trained.

I'd recommend a couple of things. First, don't give him the run of the house. Use baby gates etc to confine him starting to one small, easy to clean room. Take him outside frequently and when he toilets outside, give him a small treat immediately. This will strengthen his house training. If he is accident free in the one room you can start giving him more space, but take it slowly. This whole process of re-house training him may take several weeks. Make sure you clean up accidents with a good enzyme cleaner made for this purpose. Here in the states we use a product called "Nature's Miracle"... not sure if you can find that where you are but no doubt there is a similar product.

Second, I'd work on improving the communication between you and the dog. Its clear he's not totally comfortable yet in the home. All that yapping and growling and such are signs of a dog unsure of his environment and not quite trustful of you either. (not your fault... just due to the circumstances)
To help your relationship start doing a couple of very upbeat training sessions per day, only lasting 3 to 5 minutes each. It is important you use food to create a very pleasant association for him. Start with some words he already knows such as "sit" or "come" and give these cues in a very happy, upbeat voice. (not a "commanding" voice) When he complies praise him and give him a tiny treat. If he knows any other tricks such as retrieving or laying down, etc. ask for these. It does not really matter what you have him do. The point is, he is finding out that doing things for you is pleasant and rewarding and that he can trust you to be gentle.

That brings me to the third recommendation, and that is to make sure you interact with him in ways that don't frighten or intimidate him. To a small dog, we people can be like huge elephants. So understanding this will help you realize the origin of some of his nasty behaviors. You can start to modify what you do to help him. For example, dogs are scared by direct eye contact, people stooping over them, deep voices, people reaching for them or picking them up, of course also shouting or other behaviors can be scary too.

Lastly, make sure you take him for a nice walk daily. This is another bonding activity for the two of you, but it does more than that. The exercise will help the dog to release stress and let out tension. This will make him less uptight and jumpy and snappy.

If you try these recommends for a few weeks, I think you'll start to see some real changes in how this dog behaves and feels.

Hope that is of some help to you. I'm sure others will have some good ideas too.
Good luck and do let us know how things go.
 

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He nips at my hand when I am putting his food down as well, and pushes my dog away from her food (tries to!) which is odd, because she has always been quite a large personality and 'dominant' over many dogs - a tiny one is bossing her around!
I will add one more recommendation then. Start hand feeding him all his kibble. What you are seeing is a bit of "resource guarding" which can be helped greatly by hand feeding. He will come to see your hands as sources of food, not as threats to his food.

After you hand feed for a while, you can transition back to the bowl by putting the kibble a few pieces at a time into his bowl, letting him eat the bits, then adding more, and so on. Soon enough he will welcome the sight of your hands near his food because he will now associate your hands with the arrival of food.

ALSO... feed the dogs in separate areas so there is no stress between them. That is a management issue. Dogs don't believe in "being polite" about food, so never mind trying to teach them this human idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you so much for these tips posters, I really appreciate them. I will wait until my hand is better before I try the hand feeding, and that will give me time to cool down about him as well - I realise there is a lot of psychology between dogs and owners and I don't understand or know about it all but right now I am angry, frustrated and sore (and typing with less fingers) and I need to come around to a place where I can actually 'be bothered' with him... It was very hard to put him outside without throwing him after that bite! But I respect that he just did it out of fright - I am concerned about him being unsupervised with children now though.
People who know what happened are saying he should be put down but I think with training he'll come round - I am going to ask his owner if he has bitten anyone before though.
 

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Your doing good to walk away when you are upset. It will only make matters worse. I am sure with work he can be less fearful of people. I would watch him around children until he has over come some of his fears. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
LynneMarie I see what you are saying, I like that you have small and large dogs in the same house... I think my friend and I differ in our ideas of what dogs should and shouldn't be allowed to do, regardless of size :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks LynneMarie, that is really kind - I am so wound up by the situation that it feels like it's him against me but I know I have to be the human in this situation!!!
 

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Thank you so much for these tips posters, I really appreciate them. I will wait until my hand is better before I try the hand feeding, and that will give me time to cool down about him as well - I realise there is a lot of psychology between dogs and owners and I don't understand or know about it all but right now I am angry, frustrated and sore (and typing with less fingers) and I need to come around to a place where I can actually 'be bothered' with him... It was very hard to put him outside without throwing him after that bite! But I respect that he just did it out of fright - I am concerned about him being unsupervised with children now though.
People who know what happened are saying he should be put down but I think with training he'll come round - I am going to ask his owner if he has bitten anyone before though.
Sounds like a reasonably bad bite then, if your hand is so sore. I'm sorry. That is frustrating.

Maybe reading our sticky note about Resource Guarding will help give you a perspective on why dogs do this. Here it is. http://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior/resource-guarding-causes-prevention-modification-7511/

As you are realizing, there is a lot of psychology going on with dogs, and you are both angry with each other for what each of you have felt to be "attacks" by the other. Of course you have a real injury to show for it, unfortunately, which makes it harder for the human to see how the dog could possibly have felt threatened.

And I would agree you should be cautious with the dog around children, particularly if there is food or valued objects about. In general on this forum we recommend contacting a professional behaviorist if there have been actual bites involved, as we cannot accurately "diagnose" the degree of the problem over the internet.

Hope some of that helps in your circumstance. I think you are right to contact the owner and consult as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you Tess - it is a public holiday over here (I'm in Western Australia) so I am resorting to the Oracle (the internet!) to ease my mind and get me on the right track. Thanks for your advice and suggestions, I understand that you have rules about bites and discussions and I am grateful that I could get some immediate help here.
I will post to let you know of the outcome.
Kind regards and many thanks,
:)
 

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Thank you Tess - it is a public holiday over here (I'm in Western Australia) so I am resorting to the Oracle (the internet!) to ease my mind and get me on the right track. Thanks for your advice and suggestions, I understand that you have rules about bites and discussions and I am grateful that I could get some immediate help here.
I will post to let you know of the outcome.
Kind regards and many thanks,
:)
You've done very well to find DogForum. "The oracle" has a lot of garbage out there too, as I'm sure you know, but this site is very good in terms of the most up to date information on dog training and behavior.

Here are the other two educational threads I'd next recommend for you with your particular situation.

http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training/suppression-modification-shutdown-fallout-4776/

http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training/dominance-dogs-4076/

Hope some stuff in there helps.
Best Wishes,
Sue
 
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