Big problem

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Irish, Aug 20, 2005.

  1. Irish

    Irish New Member

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    Murray turned on me today. I am shocked. We've had him for 2 months now and he has been a great dog (came from a shelter, approx 3 year old collie mix). He has some really annoying habits like stealing the other animal's food. Today, I was constantly scolding him for eating out of Bear's and the cat's food bowls. He knows he is not supposed to. Well, I kind of got fed up, because I was trying to get my elderly cat to eat, and I made her some special food. I turned my back for a moment, and Murray was eating it. I yelled at him and swatted him lightly on the behind. He LUNGED at me, teeth bared and bit at me several times up and down my arms. It did not break the skin. He was growling and sounded quite ferocious. It really scared me. After the incident, I could tell he felt bad. My son yelled at him and made him go outside. He is still out there. What should I do? I've never had a dog of mine do this before. I know I probably scared him, but still.
     
  2. gaddylovesdogs

    gaddylovesdogs no touchy

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    I would start NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free) with him. If he wants something (attention, food, leash put on to go on a walk, etc.) he has to sit or lay down. That way he realise he has to work for you to get what he wants and that only when he does something for you does he get what he wants.
     
  3. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    He could have had a back flash of his former owner ....sit quietly with him and love on him...... let us know !!!
     
  4. joce

    joce Active Member

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    Not that he should have done that but maybe put the food somewhere else so he cna't get it. I'd never expect my dog to leave the cats food alone. It might be confusing him that the food is there yet he isn't supposd to eat it. It might just be giving him issues with the food.
     
  5. Becca_

    Becca_ chowchow

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    I put the cat food up out of reach of the dogs. They cant resist the cat food or the literbox!
     
  6. Sheba

    Sheba I W A L R

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    yes...he might of had a flashback from his origional owner...and it is a good idea to sit quietly with him and love him!
     
  7. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    I'd say all of the above is good advice, Irish. That sounds like it was a fear reaction, but he obviously didn't want to hurt you since he didn't. And a little quiet talk time wouldn't hurt either. :)
     
  8. littlesas123

    littlesas123 New Member

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    I agree with Renee750il.
     
  9. EliNHunter

    EliNHunter New Member

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    Yes, it sounds like you need to work on his trust. Was he a stray where you don't know his background? I'd keep him from situations where this could arise again. Like, partition off the "special foods" areas where he isn't tempted. And LOVE on him and gain his trust...
     
  10. Irish

    Irish New Member

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    Thanks everyone, everything you said makes perfect sense. Bubba, I wondered that too, if his past owner had maybe hit him and attacking back was his only defense? He was found as a stray, so who knows what happened to him before? Yes, I will love on him now, he seems to really need it. And I suppose I could find a way to keep him away from the cats food, its just that he takes Bear's too and he we've always trained our dogs to eat out of their bowls only. I guess he needs more work, but I'm more than willing to do it, he really is a good dog. I guess I should go have a talk with him now, we haven't "spoken" since the incident. Thanks again.
     
  11. Athebeau

    Athebeau New Member

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    For starters I would like to commend your dog on having a soft mouth or good bite inhibiton. Next, your dog is acting like a normal dog, this in no way reflects that the dog was abused ;) far from it! this is a form of survival for a dog. The dog that eats lives to see another day. It's a natural instinct to want to hord and eat what you can when you can as you never know what tomorrow is going to bring. Your dog is just doing what comes natural. The secret is, teaching your dog to do what doesn't come natural. Do not put tempation in the dogs reach and "expect" that the dog should know better...that is putting human emotions and rational thoughts into your dogs mind. You dog doesn't feel bad about guarding food, the dog does not realize it is doing something wrong. The dog is reacting to your body language after the fact...in no way is the dog putting two and two together and thinking...hey, my new owner just smacked me because I was eating the cats food again...I better rethink my day to day living now. All that you are doing is reinforcing to your dog that YOU are unpredictable and attack without warning. Your dog bit you, but, you have also attacked him...wrong move, you attacked your dog and in your dogs mind it was unprovoked...you turned on your dog. Please, don't put human thoughts and emotions into your dogs head...you have a dog, not a human in a fur suit.

    You have received some good advice. resource guarding responds well to desensitization and counterconditioning. I really urge you to pick up a book called "Mine! A practical Guide ot resource guarding in dogs" by Jean Donaldson. You need some professional reading material, or seek the advise of a professional animal behaviorist who specializes in positive training methods. This is not something to take lightly especially since you have children.
    For the time being, don't have any valuable resources or cat food where your new dog can get it...it sounds as though you are already going to do this. Don't leave potential hazards around that may cause the dog to guard and possibly attack again until you have professional help...the next time it may be one of your children. Impliment the NIFIL policy...but, don't count on this as a solution to your problem. You need to learn to countercondition this problem with professional help.
    Last, don't expect more from your dog than a human...and just because you have a resource guarder does not mean the dog was EVER abused. I have a resource guarder here at my house. I spent a year desenitizing him, he came from a great breeder in a great home where food was plenty...he was never abused, hurt or ever had food withheld from him....it is just his natural instinct to protect his dinner from the other dogs....I now have him so he will eat side by side with all 4 of my dogs...5 dogs all from different backgrounds and they all had some issues...they eat side by side daily with no issues at all. I had to work at it, and I used the NIFIL policy as well as some other techniques such as while he was eating having one of my other dogs sit beside me while I dropped great peices of meat into his bowl. He soon learned that good things happen when the other dogs are around. I can even give each dog a RMB with no issues and they will go out into the compound and chew side by side. It takes time and patience to teach a dog to go against it's natural instincts. ;)
     
  12. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    It does take time and patience... my dogs ( and grand dogs ) all know the term " mine"......I can now feed 4 dogs one foot apart ( grand dogs, Chip and boarder ) with no problems....each finish their own bowl, wait until the others have finished , then all lick at each other' bowls to make sure nothing was left behind...they're so funny to watch !
     
  13. Barb04

    Barb04 Love my pets Staff Member

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    Just some advice about the cat food and litter box. I don't know what type of house you live in, but we cut out a small opening in the bottom of our door going downstairs so the cats can go down to the litter box and also for feeding. This was our best solution to keeping the dogs away from their food and litter.
     
  14. Irish

    Irish New Member

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    Sometimes I wonder about myself, the things I read here always work, and I think - now why didn't I think of that myself? I've had dogs all my life but sometimes its like I'm a brand new owner, because I should know things just from past experience, but it takes Chazhound to get my thinking straight! :D

    Athe, you are obviously very knowledgable and I really appreciate you taking the time to post so much information for me. I realize now that thinking I could train Murray to only eat from his bowl just isn't going to work for him. He does not go after Bear's food when Bear is eating it, that a good thing. Its just when Bear leaves food that Murray will help himself. I was thinking that he did know better because when I scolded him for it, he would act ashamed, but I guess like you said, he was just reacting to the scolding - not thinking "oops I messed up again, not supposed to eat this".

    I really feel bad about yesterday for swatting him. (and I can't emphasize enough what a light swat it was, I do not believe it hitting my dogs). I know I damaged our relationship, if only briefly. He kind of held himself back from me all day, kind of stand-offish. But today, he seems himself. I know Athe is right, that in Murrays eyes - I became the unpredictable one. Ok, I learned a lot from this experience.

    Barb, I like the idea of cutting the hole in the door for the cats, thats the only way that will work to keep him seperate from their food. Well thanks everybody, seriously, I don't know what I'd do without Chazhound!
     
  15. bridey_01

    bridey_01 Kelpiefied

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    Athe, what a great post! You said everything I was about to, lol.
    Also, Collies are very sensitive dogs. I only have to look the wrong way at mine and his ears and tail droop like I've just beaten him. Funny thing is, he's only sixteen weeks old, but if a he and an older dog are playing and the older dog bites him too hard he won't squeel and roll like most pups will. He will actually bare his teeth and go after the bigger dog in a snapping fit! Does your dog "air snap" like collies do?
     
  16. Fran27

    Fran27 New Member

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    I have to seperate the dogs when they eat, or once they have finished their bowl they will go to the other one. If someone has a trick on how to train them to only eat their food, I'm interested!

    For the cat food, I just used half a cardboard bent in two, over a foot high, that I stuck between two pieces of furniture in the kitchen so that the dogs can't even see the cat food. The cats figured out pretty fast that they can get there by sneaking on the left and behind the cart that is on the left of the food, and the dogs don't fit in the opening. It works for us.
     
  17. Irish

    Irish New Member

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    Bridey -
    Is that a characteristic of a collie? - the "I'm not backing down from anything". I've noticed that with Murray - he is not timid one bit. (You could find my other dog - Bear - in the dictionary under "timid") Murray is a good dog but I see a side of him, kind of like a "tough guy". All my other dogs back down when the cats get firey, but not Murray - he'll get right in their face, almost daring them to scratch them. I was just wondering if that is a collie thing. I was told he was a mix, but my vet and groomer both thought he pretty much all collie.
     
  18. Martine

    Martine Trained by an Airedale

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    I am a new dog owner and have found it great to read all the great advice you've been given. Murray sounds like a good dog & two months is still a short time for settling in, all the best to you both as you work it out :)
     
  19. Irish

    Irish New Member

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    Thanks Martine! :) We are having a much better day today!
     

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