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So I posted a thread a while ago about my dog (a 50lb Plott Hound estimated to be around a year old, who we've had for around almost two months) suddenly biting and chewing my arm while on a walk, but things have progressed a little and I have more information. I had thought before that she might think that I was teasing her with gloves, and she might have thought they were a toy or something and just went crazy. But after a few more walks with her, I really can't figure out what triggers the behavior.

I'd like to point out that it's not aggressive biting-- or at least, it doesn't seem to be like she wants to hurt me in particular. She doesn't snarl or go for blood. It seems more like she suddenly thinks my arm is a tug toy. She's only done this twice, and I can't think of any correlating causes, or any causes for that matter. The first time she did it, it was freezing cold out, and we were kind of far away from home, and I put my gloves on. She started biting at my hand until she got a glove of, and then the other one until she got that glove off. Then she started playing with one of the gloves a while, until she started jumping on me and biting my forearms, trying to pull the sleeve of my coat off my arm. She ripped the whole thing, and eventually I just took it off (I was feeling really ill at the time, and I didn't have any strength to fight her). She did the same thing with my second jacket, tearing it up, until I was in my short-sleeved shirt in the freezing cold, and I had to drag her home with her gnawing on my arm. This was a couple weeks ago, and it led me with some swollen arms and bruises. She didn't draw much blood. This morning, she did it again, but it was just on the corner of the street so she didn't have the opportunity to do much damage. She started going for my sleeves again, and biting my forearms, and she kind of wrapped her forelegs around my waist so she could get a better angle. I dragged her home again, and I have a bit of a bruise, but it's not near as bad as last time.

I would like to point out that she's not an aggressive dog. She doesn't do this often, and most of the time she's well-behaved all the time, as well on walks. She's a little rough when playing, but nothing more than general dog roughness. And she only does this with me (there are two other people that walk her regularly), which I don't understand. I'm not a mean dog owner or anything like that, and when we're inside she's affectionate and sweet as any other dog. There are some walks where she's perfectly fine and happy, and then for these two walks, she just suddenly flips around and starts biting. I can't think of anything environmental out of the ordinary, or any part of our walks that might make her upset or make her suddenly want to bite me.

Apart from these walks, she's a pretty normal dog. We plan on seeing a trainer (a kind of locally-renowned trainer, who works with therapy dogs and police dogs), but we can't do that until we get tax refund money, so I wanted to see if anyone had any advice as to what the problem means or how to deal with the problem. Like I said, I'm sick and I don't have much strength to fight her off when she starts biting. What's the best way to discipline her and keep it from happening again?
 

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On the occasions where she starts biting at you was it after you didn't let her go the direction she wanted to go in?
It kind of sounds to me like she thinks she is the boss on the walks and if she doesn't get to go her way she is putting you in what she perceives as your place. You can be the boss in the house but you also need to be the leader outside too.
 

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First of all, she's not trying to "be the boss". That's bull. A dog is not trying to control you. That theory- dominance theory, pack theory, whatever- has been debunked.

I would agree that this doesn't sound like aggression- to me is sounds like a large breed dog that hasn't been trained properly as a younger pup and engages in inappropriately rough play behavior when she gets excited/overstimulated. I've had a similar experience in the past- my 40lb lab/BC/mutt used to try to literally drag me to the ground during walks/in the yard. Don't worry- it can be trained out!

A note on the trainer- that is definitely the first thing I would suggest, but I would double check that they use mostly/only positive reinforcement. Be weary of any trainer that talks about dominance theory, and defnitely approach with caution a trainer that suggests choke chains or prong collars. A lot of people on this board are 100% against these training aids, personally I don't really approve of choke chains, but I do think prong collars can have their uses when fitted/used correctly and I used one to train my own high energy dog during her phase similar to this. If the trainer suggests electric shock collars I would avoid them- the only time I've ever approved of the use of a shock collar was in teaching dogs at a riding stable not to chase the horses. A trainer involved in training police dogs could be great, or could be involved in a lot of harsh training methods that IMO are less than ideal and can do more harm than good in a lot of dogs.

What do walks look like with you? Is she under control the whole walk or is she allowed to pull? Does she have to stay on one side of you? Does she ever have to halt and sit and stay for a second before moving on? What gear does she use to walk in (ie, flat collar, no-pull harness, head collar, etc). What do walks look like with the people she doesn't do this with?

My first guess would be that they have 'rules' on their walks with her that stop her from going into a frenzy. I would suggest working on structuring the walks as much as you can- having her stay on one side of you the whole time, not pulling, sitting every block or so and holding it for a short period.
 

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Please link some articles for where that has been proven wrong as I would be interested to see the science behind it.

I guess that means the dog of mine I thought was more dominant humps his brother because he is gay and not trying to dominate him. Not sure why he guards the food till he has eaten since I always assumed it was also a dominance thing.

I would like to learn more about this especially with 99% of trainers and behavior experts I speak with, read about or see on TV still following pack and dominance theories. We should also write into Caeser Milan to let him know he is wrong when he is teaching owners with misbehaving dogs on walks that it is a leadership thing
 

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I guess that means the dog of mine I thought was more dominant humps his brother because he is gay and not trying to dominate him.
Mounting occurs for a variety of reasons. Over-arousal/excitement is very a common cause, sexual, rude behavior/lack of understanding of social cues, as well as dominance between dogs.

Not sure why he guards the food till he has eaten since I always assumed it was also a dominance thing.
That is classic Resource Guarding. We have a sticky about it if you would like to read about it here. Dogs that RG tend to not be confident, assertive dogs, but rather nervous dogs who are worried you will take what they are in possession of.

I would like to learn more about this especially with 99% of trainers and behavior experts I speak with, read about or see on TV still following pack and dominance theories. We should also write into Caeser Milan to let him know he is wrong when he is teaching owners with misbehaving dogs on walks that it is a leadership thing
There is a host of trainers you can check out that do not practice dominance theory. Off the top of my head, I would recommend you check out: Karen Pryor, Patricia McConnell, Jean Donaldson, Emily Larlham, Zac George, Susan Garrett, and Victoria Stillwell (if you're into TV trainers!)

You will not find many CM fans on this site. His tactics are outdated and plain dangerous. What he considers "calm submissive behavior" is actually a dog that is completely shut down. You can read all about that here
 

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The key word you have in your title which makes me really want a medical visit is 'sudden'. Dogs don't suddenly change behaviour in most cases. I wonder if she is in pain (thyroid, muscular, etc) or if this may be neurological and something triggered a connection to be made.

See a vet, and if they have nothing see a vet behaviourist (who is also a licensed vet). I'd love to hear what response they have to your situation.

I feel like a trainer would first advise you to see a vet, too. There are training things you can change to improve this if you're dedicated but the more direct route could be to just see a vet and once pain is cleared up or managed, the problem goes away.
 

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@Jesse1 - The first time she started biting, it was on the usual route that she seems to like just fine. The second time, it was just taking her out back for the bathroom.
@Moonstream - She used to pull a lot on walks, but we got her a Gentle Leader head harness about a week and a half before the first time she started biting; she did really well on walks in comparison to how she was before. There's usually a pretty set routine for our walks. She doesn't walk on the side of any of the people she walks with, and often she's pretty gentle and well-behaved if the head collar is on. She sniffs around a lot, but like hounds do, I suppose. With anyone else, she's pretty normal on her walks. Sometimes she tries to chew her leash (as far as I can tell she does that when she seems tired out), but usually it's pretty easy to get her to stop. There are occasions when I walk her or take her out and she's perfectly fine, too. As for the trainer mentioned in the thread, I've talked to a lot of people that have had their dogs trained there and he has exceptionally good reviews. I don't agree with harsh training either.
@Kwenami - There aren't a great number of local options for vet behaviorists, but she is scheduled for a checkup with the shelter vet soon, so I'll see if they have anything to say. This has only happened twice before, and under pretty normal circumstances.
 
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