Dog Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We foster dogs, for different rescue organizations. We adopted our very first foster dog which automatically made us 'foster failures' which is really the nicest failure I have been in my life..

Anyhoo, long story short, we have had this 8lbs Chihuahua boy since Last November. He is heartworm+, has been and still is on medication. We are snow birds and are still in FL but we will be leaving to go North for the summer in about 2 weeks. The rescue org. this boy belongs to said we could take him home, and bring him back in October. If we don't do that he'll go back to the rescue organization, a very nice group of people, and he'll go back to the house that he came from.

Of all the foster dogs we have had in the past 4 years this boy is the sweetest, smartest, funniest dog. But... he bites. Not my husband or me, and he gets along with our Missy very well, but people who come visit us, or people we meet and talk to in the street, totally unprovoked. My son and d.i.l. stayed with us for 9 days, and my son was bitten 4 times. Yesterday someone visited us and we weren't fast enough, Tai had bitten him in the leg before we could do anything, drew blood, and it dripped in the man's sock... We were so unbelievably lucky that this victim is a dog person himself, and was not upset al all, at ALL.

This has made me think that we cannot take him home with us. We have many friends visiting, we'll have guests for a few weeks, and we take our dog(s) for walks in close by towns. I don't seem to be able to teach him to not bite.

He is very much attached to us and my heart breaks at the thought we will have to say goodbye to him. If not adopted over the summer (which is unlikely given the circumstances anyway) we will get him back as a foster upon our return in October. But I would so like to take him with us, if only he would not bite anyone.

Sorry for my long story, tried to tell it as short as I could. And my question is, if anyone has any suggestion how we can stop him from biting people? I feel like the biggest failure in my dog foster time. I can give my phone number if anyone wants to talk to me.

Anyway, thank you for reading this.
Sincerely,
Mildred Denney.
PS - forgot to mention he is VERY MUCH food and treat motivated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Need to add this to a sentence:

"I don't seem to be able to teach him to not bite" needs "and I cannot take a chance people to get bitten".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
906 Posts
I have to ask - if you didn't have the option of returning this dog to a relatively safe place, would you still be considering giving him up?

Anyway, is there any reason you couldn't condition your dog to a muzzle, and use it when you have visitors and/or ensure he can't interact with visitors by using baby gates, a crate or an exercise pen? Some limiting of his freedom is certainly better than having him bounce between homes. If you decide to use the muzzle, make sure you get a basket muzzle so you can safely counter-condition him to visitors.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,437 Posts
It's very unusual for a dog to bite for no reason. Most aggression is fear based. For many dogs, a good defense is a good offense. To keep people away, they bite. Some dogs don't give any warning of a bite because they've been punished for growling or lifting a lip in warning. Often humans miss the signs of discomfort that the dog is displaying. I don't know if that's the case here but it's something to consider.

Please consider looking at the site fearfuldogs.com

You can also watch a great tutorial on conditioning a dog to a muzzle on Chirag Patel's you tube site, called Domesticated Manners.

If you aren't prepared to help this dog change it's behavior, maybe you should relinquish him to the rescue. The sad fact is, a dog with a bite history like this one, will be hard to adopt. A dog that has bitten this many times should be seen by a professional so you can get some guidance and help. Find the right one by reading this article written by a friend of mine who is a fabulous trainer. Yes, I am biased. :)

https://pawsforpraise.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/finding-the-right-dog-trainer-harder-than-you-think/
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,820 Posts
It's work, it's a lot of work, and it's not fast, but you can work to teach him that people are the source of good things happening to him.

First you need to not let him have freedom when company comes over. You can leash him, put him in an ex pen, crate him, put him in another room with a baby gate. Whatever works for you. That will keep your guest safe.

Get your guest settled in, then you can try leashing him and taking him out. Keep him away from the guest and while the guest are in your home feed him extra special, high value, treats that have been broken up into small pieces that are around the size of your little finger. You can also give him a very nice chew that he'll only get when guest are present. You're teaching him that guest = great things. Don't let people pet him, tell them to not touch him and to ignore him. Trust me that is what he wants.

If you want to try more then that I'd hire a behaviorist since he's proven that he is willing to bite, and bite with little warning. http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/finding-trainer-behavior-consultant-behaviorist-113946/
 
  • Like
Reactions: Laus2002 and Grabby

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,437 Posts
If you are going to try counter conditioning, be sure the dog is associating the yummy food with the person. This isn't always as easy as it sounds. Use food treats that only come out for this training.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,652 Posts
this dog either needs to be contained while other people are present or he needs to be positively conditioned on a muzzle.
while counter conditioning him, you can not risk that your dog hurts other people.
If it wasn't a chihuahua but for example a german Shepherd this dog would have long been put down.
But even a small dog biting can leave permant damage on a person. An acquaintance of mine was bitten by the yorkshire terrier mix of his mom when he was a child, and the dog somehow damaged the sinews on his one foot. He has still problem with it and he's going towards 40.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
813 Posts
I can't understand why this dog has been allowed to practice biting people. Sure, at the bite you didn't know. The second bite should have rung alarm bells and the third and subsequent bites should not have happened. Had he been a large dog - how many bites would he have been allowed before action was taken?

As suggested by others, counter conditioning (teaching him to associate people with only nice things), is the way forward. Whilst there are people in your house and you are able to train him, he must be on a lead at a distance where he is not distressed and therefore able to accept treats from people. If he starts backing away, or barking, snarling, remove him to safety.

Let him calm down before attempting to introduce him to people from further away then before. The people should not be looking at him, talking to him or trying to touch him, just throwing treats towards him if he is calm/curious/sniffing the ground or air.

Good luck.

Does the rescue know he bites people? Would they offer support/trainer?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thank you all so very much!

Thank you all so very much for all the great advise and suggestions. In each and every reply there is something we are going to put into practice, and there are many things I want to react to. This short note is just to let you know I really appreciate all your help.

I'm going to address some of the answers, and I want to do it one by one but all in one and the same message. That's going to be quite a long message but I hope you will take a minute to read it, because some answers created more questions.

I'm working on it, hopefully today but by tomorrow for sure.

Kind regards,
Milli.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
My friend has a Chi like that she has a dog carrier and used it when she had company. About the only thing you can do is use the carrier and feed treats while in the company of others to condition the dog that seeing people is a good thing.
So would that mean that I am carrying him with me for as long as others are around?


I have to ask - if you didn't have the option of returning this dog to a relatively safe place, would you still be considering giving him up?
No, absolutely not. But fact of the matter is that I do have that option.


Anyway, is there any reason you couldn't condition your dog to a muzzle, and use it when you have visitors and/or ensure he can't interact with visitors by using baby gates, a crate or an exercise pen? Some limiting of his freedom is certainly better than having him bounce between homes. If you decide to use the muzzle, make sure you get a basket muzzle so you can safely counter-condition him to visitors.
I am not exactly sure what a basket muzzle is, and if those would be available in this petite size but I will definitely look into that (unless you are familiar with a place where I can find them).


It's very unusual for a dog to bite for no reason. Most aggression is fear based. For many dogs, a good defense is a good offense. To keep people away, they bite. Some dogs don't give any warning of a bite because they've been punished for growling or lifting a lip in warning. Often humans miss the signs of discomfort that the dog is displaying. I don't know if that's the case here but it's something to consider.

Please consider looking at the site fearfuldogs.com

You can also watch a great tutorial on conditioning a dog to a muzzle on Chirag Patel's you tube site, called Domesticated Manners.

If you aren't prepared to help this dog change it's behavior, maybe you should relinquish him to the rescue. The sad fact is, a dog with a bite history like this one, will be hard to adopt. A dog that has bitten this many times should be seen by a professional so you can get some guidance and help. Find the right one by reading this article written by a friend of mine who is a fabulous trainer. Yes, I am biased.
I do know that his biting is fear based. It was totally unexpected for me, all foster dogs have a past that may or may not have made them afraid, nobody knows, even the rescue org. often doesn’t know. I assume it is obvious that if I had known he would act like he did, I would have made sure he couldn’t have done it.

I will absolutely check out ‘fearduldogs.com’ and watch the Chirag Patel’s video.

I, together with the rescue org., are fully aware that he probably will not be adopted unless the behavior can be turned around. We (hb and I) are very much leaning to taking him with us and do our very best to get him get rid of this unwanted behavior so he can be adopted; reading through all the advise and suggestions from all of you I feel we can do it.


It's work, it's a lot of work, and it's not fast, but you can work to teach him that people are the source of good things happening to him.
We have all the time in the world.


First you need to not let him have freedom when company comes over. You can leash him, put him in an ex pen, crate him, put him in another room with a baby gate. Whatever works for you. That will keep your guest safe.
Gotcha.


Get your guest settled in, then you can try leashing him and taking him out. Keep him away from the guest and while the guest are in your home feed him extra special, high value, treats that have been broken up into small pieces that are around the size of your little finger. You can also give him a very nice chew that he'll only get when guest are present. You're teaching him that guest = great things. Don't let people pet him, tell them to not touch him and to ignore him. Trust me that is what he wants.

If you want to try more then that I'd hire a behaviorist since he's proven that he is willing to bite, and bite with little warning. http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/finding-trainer-behavior-consultant-behaviorist-113946/
Excellent. Sounds like a perfect plan.


If you are going to try counter conditioning, be sure the dog is associating the yummy food with the person. This isn't always as easy as it sounds. Use food treats that only come out for this training.
That is great advise, since he is very VERY much food and treat motivated.


this dog either needs to be contained while other people are present or he needs to be positively conditioned on a muzzle.
while counter conditioning him, you can not risk that your dog hurts other people.
If it wasn't a chihuahua but for example a german Shepherd this dog would have long been put down.
But even a small dog biting can leave permant damage on a person.
Absolutely Mathilda, I totally agree. Thank you!


I can't understand why this dog has been allowed to practice biting people. Sure, at the bite you didn't know. The second bite should have rung alarm bells and the third and subsequent bites should not have happened. Had he been a large dog - how many bites would he have been allowed before action was taken?
I cannot believe you feel we ‘allowed’ him to bite. And I don’t know what would have happened if he had been a large dog but I’m sure it isn’t good.

As suggested by others, counter conditioning (teaching him to associate people with only nice things), is the way forward. Whilst there are people in your house and you are able to train him, he must be on a lead at a distance where he is not distressed and therefore able to accept treats from people. If he starts backing away, or barking, snarling, remove him to safety.

Let him calm down before attempting to introduce him to people from further away then before. The people should not be looking at him, talking to him or trying to touch him, just throwing treats towards him if he is calm/curious/sniffing the ground or air.
You have no idea how hard it is to make people understand and follow the ‘No Look-No Talk-No Touch’ rule. It is virtually IMPOSSIBLE, we have discovered. People feel (and I can understand this somewhat) that they cannot loose a dog that may be unfriendly towards them out of their eye sight. And then they feel they have to make it clear to the dog that they mean no harm, and then... – you can fill in the rest.

Does the rescue know he bites people? Would they offer support/trainer?
They know since about 2 weeks ago. I haven’t thought asking them if they could offer support and/or a trainer, first I haven’t thought about that, and second, my guess is that financially they probably can not.

I wanted to mention that since about 3 or 4 weeks or so we take Tai out for a RUN, as an addition to the 4 daily walks. We live in an RV/trailer park for the winter, and many people have a golf cart to move around. In the early morning or after sunset when it is cool we have him (in a save way, absolutely no danger for him to get hurt) run next to the golf cart. I have a harness for him, and when I get it out he just can not wait to GO. He absolutely loves it and I felt it might give him an opportunity to get rid of some overflowing energy which in turn might make him less anxious and/or fearful.

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to make sure you know we are dedicated to get this straightened out. Thank you all so much.

Regards,
Mildred Denney.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
632 Posts
Quote:
"Originally Posted by Dawnben
My friend has a Chi like that she has a dog carrier and used it when she had company. About the only thing you can do is use the carrier and feed treats while in the company of others to condition the dog that seeing people is a good thing. "

So would that mean that I am carrying him with me for as long as others are around?

I don't think @Dawnben means that you will physically carry the dog around; rather, you will use a small carrier as a crate to confine the dog when you have company.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Quote:
"Originally Posted by Dawnben
My friend has a Chi like that she has a dog carrier and used it when she had company. About the only thing you can do is use the carrier and feed treats while in the company of others to condition the dog that seeing people is a good thing. "

So would that mean that I am carrying him with me for as long as others are around?

I don't think @Dawnben means that you will physically carry the dog around; rather, you will use a small carrier as a crate to confine the dog when you have company.
O, aha, I was picturing myself with a dog hanging off of my chest because the link went to the page for that carrier.. Thank you for clearing that up for me :eek:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,929 Posts
O, aha, I was picturing myself with a dog hanging off of my chest because the link went to the page for that carrier.. Thank you for clearing that up for me :eek:
Actually that is what my fiend Diane used to do at a party. She would carry her chi in a carrier on her person. That way the dog was in to company of others without being able to injure them. With the type of carrier I showed you can carry or just put the carrier in the room, the dog can see out but not get into any trouble.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,437 Posts
I don't see the point of carrying around a dog, in a carrier, if it is a dog that bites. That's simply exposing the dog to what it fears and it can't escape. Flooding doesn't help dogs overcome fear. If this person was counter conditioning the dog, that might have been helpful if she knew how to do it correctly. Most CC sessions should only last a few minutes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,712 Posts
I cannot believe you feel we ‘allowed’ him to bite.
You do allow him to bite. You keep putting him in situations where it happens. You need to stop it. You will never be able to fix this behavior until your take responsibility for your part in it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
813 Posts
You do allow him to bite. You keep putting him in situations where it happens. You need to stop it. You will never be able to fix this behavior until your take responsibility for your part in it.
Quite. If the biting hadn't been prevented, it had been allowed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
You do allow him to bite. You keep putting him in situations where it happens. You need to stop it. You will never be able to fix this behavior until your take responsibility for your part in it.
Okay, I think I got it. Thank you!

Quite. If the biting hadn't been prevented, it had been allowed.
You're right, thank you for pointing this out to me.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top