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So my fiancee and I adopted a sweet little 1.5yr terrier mix this past saturday from a shelter. The shelter said she had some behavioral issues and so we waited about 2-3 weeks until we brought her home. During that time we went to the shelter to visit with her and took her to some of the training classes there, and she was great! We could pet her forever, she would lay down and want her belly rubbed for as long as we were there! However, now that we've brought her home she tries to bite us when we try to pet her, and not a playful bite, but a mean bite. I'm assuming it's the change in environment, but it is very stressful and I'm scared to even put on/take off her leash because I never know if she's giving me "the look" and is going to bite me or just watching what I'm doing. She doesn't growl, just bites, which is almost worse because if she growled at least I would know to stop! :( She does have resource guarding issues which the shelter let us know about and gave us info on how to train her out of it, so we don't think we have anything out that she's guarding, unless she is just guarding herself. Any tips?
 

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So my fiancee and I adopted a sweet little 1.5yr terrier mix this past saturday from a shelter. The shelter said she had some behavioral issues and so we waited about 2-3 weeks until we brought her home. During that time we went to the shelter to visit with her and took her to some of the training classes there, and she was great! We could pet her forever, she would lay down and want her belly rubbed for as long as we were there! However, now that we've brought her home she tries to bite us when we try to pet her, and not a playful bite, but a mean bite. I'm assuming it's the change in environment, but it is very stressful and I'm scared to even put on/take off her leash because I never know if she's giving me "the look" and is going to bite me or just watching what I'm doing. She doesn't growl, just bites, which is almost worse because if she growled at least I would know to stop! :( She does have resource guarding issues which the shelter let us know about and gave us info on how to train her out of it, so we don't think we have anything out that she's guarding, unless she is just guarding herself. Any tips?

That is worrisome, but you've only had her for a couple days so hopefully with love and patience she'll overcome it.

How are you petting her? Are you reaching over her, to pet her or petting her head? Can you give a bit more of a description on what is happening when she snaps at you?

How are you working on the resource guarding? If you are "claiming" what she's guarding then you'll erode what trust she may have in you since you are "stealing" what she has. http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/resource-guarding-causes-prevention-modification-7511/

It's hard to advise you without knowing more of what's going on.

A few tips I can give is to let her come to you for attention. When she does so pet her a few times, then stop. Let her ask for more attention.

Don't pet her head yet, wait to do that until she's more comfortable with y'all.

Don't reach over her to pet her. Come at her from the side.

What's her body language when she's "asking for a belly rub"? My dog seemingly solicits belly rubs from strangers, but he does NOT want his belly pet. If you look at his body language he's turned away from the person, his tail is tucked, and he's lip licking (tongue flicking). All of that is fear based, appeasement behavior, his way of saying please don't hurt me, please leave me alone. If your dog is looking like that then don't pet her.

If after a few days she's still snapping I'd call in a good, positive reinforcement behaviorist. You can find one here http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/finding-trainer-behavior-consultant-behaviorist-113946/
“Three days, three weeks, three months.” That’s the mantra of many dog trainers and behaviorists, when welcoming a new dog into their household. The “magic of threes” is especially relevant when adopting an adolescent or adult dog into your home. Dogs, especially non-puppies, are often in a bit of shock for the first three days in a new home, and don’t show you too much about who they are until they’ve been there a few days. After three weeks many dogs have settled in such that they behave as though they feel like they are “home” now, but don’t fit into your routine until about three months have gone by. The number three has another relevance to new dogs: See below for the three ways we most confuse new dogs, and how to prevent it. - See more at: Three Ways to Confuse a New Dog
“Three days, three weeks, three months.” That’s the mantra of many dog trainers and behaviorists, when welcoming a new dog into their household. The “magic of threes” is especially relevant when adopting an adolescent or adult dog into your home. Dogs, especially non-puppies, are often in a bit of shock for the first three days in a new home, and don’t show you too much about who they are until they’ve been there a few days. After three weeks many dogs have settled in such that they behave as though they feel like they are “home” now, but don’t fit into your routine until about three months have gone by. The number three has another relevance to new dogs: See below for the three ways we most confuse new dogs, and how to prevent it. - See more at: Three Ways to Confuse a New Dog
 

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I'm sorry to hear this. It must be very worrying for you.
Do you know anything of her background . How did the Rescue suggest you handle the resource guarding?
I think you're right to say that the change of environment has affected her. She must be feeling very insecure and unsettled. I wonder if at sometime she wss punished for growling and is now going straight to bite.

Do you have your own yard? For now I would avoid the circumstances that cause her to bite, such as petting and putting a lead on . Establish a routine such as feeding and toileting and bedtime. Avoid direct eye contact but talk to her in a happy way . Let her come to you in her own time.
Will she take a treat from you ?
 

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Thanks everyone! So she does gladly take treats from us, and when we visited her in the shelter it didn't matter how we petted her, she loved it all. But now she does roll over to her back with her belly up and sometimes it's the scared version and she's going to bite you and sometimes it's not. We are definitely working on reading her body language better. I don't know much about her past other than the last time she was adopted she didn't do any of this beforehand and then the family returned her and she had started with the resource guarding but nothing about the biting (according to the shelter).

With the resource guarding we took everything she was guarding away (when she was done with it, we have never taken anything from her mouth or from in front of her), and are slowly starting to give one toy at a time and get as close as we can with her staying relaxed, and throwing treats. We hope that she lets us get closer and closer, but only time will tell.

I know she will need time to adjust to us and the environment, I just hope she does eventually. She seemed so sweet at the shelter and now not so much lol. My fiancee is adamant about giving her a chance and I agree she needs a chance, it's just a little disappointing because you always want a dog that you can play with and pet and show love to and she doesn't want that from us yet.
 

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Thanks everyone! So she does gladly take treats from us, and when we visited her in the shelter it didn't matter how we petted her, she loved it all. But now she does roll over to her back with her belly up and sometimes it's the scared version and she's going to bite you and sometimes it's not. We are definitely working on reading her body language better. I don't know much about her past other than the last time she was adopted she didn't do any of this beforehand and then the family returned her and she had started with the resource guarding but nothing about the biting (according to the shelter).

With the resource guarding we took everything she was guarding away (when she was done with it, we have never taken anything from her mouth or from in front of her), and are slowly starting to give one toy at a time and get as close as we can with her staying relaxed, and throwing treats. We hope that she lets us get closer and closer, but only time will tell.

I know she will need time to adjust to us and the environment, I just hope she does eventually. She seemed so sweet at the shelter and now not so much lol. My fiancee is adamant about giving her a chance and I agree she needs a chance, it's just a little disappointing because you always want a dog that you can play with and pet and show love to and she doesn't want that from us yet.
It sounds like you are on track with the resource guarding. That link I gave has some videos on games you can play with her that will also help with it.

Check out the training and behavior stickies, they have some that'll help you read her. This book may also help

After she reacts badly to you try and think what she was doing, what you were doing, and what was around, when she reacted, see if you can figure out a common denominator, if you do then work to make it a positive experience for her.

The other tip I can give is never fuss at her, or punish her, for reacting like that, it'll just backfire on you in the long run.

I think that as y'all learn to live together, and she learns that she can trust you, you'll have the dog you described, or she'll start to act like the girl she was at the shelter.
 

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It's totally possible she used to growl in the past, and her warnings were either ignored or punished and over time the warning went away.

You've already got awesome advice. She's probably stressed, and just needs some time. Just try to make yourselves the most awesome people ever - don't push her, give her lots and lots of treats, be as happy as possible (if you feel frustrated, take a walk - been there!), etc. Do lots of trading games with the resource guarding; don't take anything away (even if she's done) without giving her something better in return.

I think over time she'll settle down and you'll be a happy family. My little terrier mix can be fun, sassy, and spunky but there are days she's just grumps....and I give her her space :) Wouldn't trade her for the world though!
 

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Looks like you got some good advice......this poor dog needs to adjust and will take time.....in my experience, approaching, trying to fix and approach is overwhelming.....
 

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Thank you everyone for your awesome advice and support! I took her to training class at the shelter I got her at today and they reinforced what you all said too! Don't push her too much until she gets adjusted and keep being positive :) she really is a sweetie and I just need to be patient!
 

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With the resource guarding we took everything she was guarding away (when she was done with it, we have never taken anything from her mouth or from in front of her), and are slowly starting to give one toy at a time and get as close as we can with her staying relaxed, and throwing treats. We hope that she lets us get closer and closer, but only time will tell.

I know she will need time to adjust to us and the environment, I just hope she does eventually. She seemed so sweet at the shelter and now not so much lol. My fiancee is adamant about giving her a chance and I agree she needs a chance, it's just a little disappointing because you always want a dog that you can play with and pet and show love to and she doesn't want that from us yet.
Sometimes when dogs are returned to shelters , the owners don't always tell the truth . She could have been returned because of resource guarding and the owners didn't like to say so.

Have hope. I'm sure she will improve , you are doing the right things. I understand your disappointment . its so exciting adopting a dog but the settling in time can be stressful more so when your dog acts aggressively towards you.

Well done for giving this little dog a chance. She could have so easily ended up as a yoyo dog and living her life in kennels.
 

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Just wanted to update everyone, she is doing great! We got her Saturday and by Tuesday/Wednesday she was MUCH better and not biting or snapping at us and now all she wants is to be pet and played with :) we are very very happy now! She still takes awhile to warm up to other people, but I can handle that and work with that! Thanks for all the great advice!
 

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This is a very encouraging update. I'm glad to see your new dog is starting to settle in and settle dog. You'll continue to see changes for the next several weeks and even months. Good luck!
 
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