Discipline aggressive husky need help ASAP or she'll go to shelter

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by juliefurry, May 2, 2005.

  1. juliefurry

    juliefurry Rusty but Trusty

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    My husky, Shelby, is in DESPERATE need of help. Saturday and also today she tried to attack me when I disciplined her. Saturday she was eating our Taco Dip off the bed and I yelled "No Shelby!" and I went to pull back on her collar. She immediately turned and growled and tried to grab hold of my hand. I dropped the collar and then everytime I went to grab it for a few minutes she would snarl, growl, and lung at my hand. Finally I was able to grab it, put her collar on, and take her in the kitchen. The weird thing is when I went back in there an hour later she was just so sweet, like her usual self. She wagged her tail and licked my face and hands. Then today (Monday) she had escaped from the kitchen and was trying to eat the crackers that my daughter was eating in her height chair and I said "Shelby, NO!" and I agian went to pull her back and she didn't growl but she turned her head to snap at me. I put her in the kitchen and she got out and ran into the bathroom. I agian went and got her, she was half way to the kitchen and then she started growling and lunging to bite me. We have small children so obviously she is going to have to go to training or get brought back to a shelter. Does anyone have any advice on how to train her or somewhere to bring her. Due to unforseen events we can not afford an expensive trainer for her. We are in the Northwest Indiana area.
     
  2. Purr

    Purr ~3 Mutts~

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    How about NILIF training?
     
  3. Rose's Gal

    Rose's Gal New Member

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    Just incase you don't know, NILIF training is every single time your dog wants something (a belly stratch, food, to go outside, etc.) it has to do something for you like a sit, down, etc.
    Maybe Shelby was abused before you got her? So then when you go to scold her she goes into defencive mode? Does she show any other signs of dominance? Like growling at you when you walk past her food bowl, barking at you when you give a command, stiffing when you pet her on the shoulders, etc.? Has she had any obedience training at all?
     
  4. juliefurry

    juliefurry Rusty but Trusty

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    Anytime you raise your voice she gets aggressive. Even when walking her if she goes to dart out in the road and there is a car coming (she's always on leash of course) and I say no and go to grab her she will snap at me. She is trying to be the dominant dog in the house (we have one other dog). She isn't food aggressive (in fact I can stick my hand in the dish while she is eating and she will just eat around it). She doesn't bark when getting a command either. She has always seemed a little shy when go to pet her she will sort of stiffened up like she is scared. We haven't gotten her obedience classes but we were thinking about it. The only time she is aggressive is when she knows she's done something, and you go to grab onto her collar. We called two different shelters today and they said they wouldn't even think of taking her but if they did she would most likely be euthanized.
     
  5. AndrewF

    AndrewF MIiA

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    I'm not a behaviorist, but it sounds a lot like "food agression". If Shelby is aggressive around food and you show signs of aggression, it'll escalate.

    I don't honestly know how to overcome it but these are the things I'd try.

    Firstly, speak softly to Shelby and lure him away with a treat or something.

    Secondly, put him in a crate or another room when meals/snacks are being served. Make it a positive experience though...a kong with filling works.

    Thirdly - and please note, this is what I'd try and I'm not recommending it - scrap the food bowl altogether and feed him by hand for a while so he gets the idea that you're providing the food - not competing for it.

    I'd definately start with the first two suggestions though.

    I really hope things work out.

    Andrew
     
  6. Purr

    Purr ~3 Mutts~

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    It sounds like Shelby was abused. Maybe someone used to grab her collar and hurt her. It sounds like she was yelled at a lot, too. Not many shelters will take a dog like that. You can probably find her another home, though. Maybe instead of saying NO switch to DON'T, because maybe her previous owners yelled NO to the point of making her scared of the word. Best of luck!

    ~Purr
     
  7. juliefurry

    juliefurry Rusty but Trusty

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    I'll try switching to another word, and not pulling. If you don't yet at her you can grab her collar without her snapping. But once you yell than that is when she will start snapping and trying to bite. My main concern is for my daughter's and stepson's safety. If they were maybe 10+ years old I wouldn't be so worried but my daughter's only 1 on my youngest stepson is 5. I think we might try to find her another home but definetely not with small children, and the people would have to be experienced with dogs as well. I hate to give her up but she worries me. She also doesn't seem at home here either, it looks like she is constantly trying to go somewhere (like she's trying to get somewhere). I don't know maybe she's trying to get home, but she just acts like she doesn't feel at home here.
     
  8. Love4Pits

    Love4Pits Playful Husky Pup

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    Sounds like food aggression to me
     
  9. juliefurry

    juliefurry Rusty but Trusty

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    I have another question. I don't even know if pulling on their collar could be consider mistreating or abusing them. I just want to assure everyone that I am not trying to be mean or anything, to her. If it is considered abusing them or whatever I would stop right away, I just don't know. I didn't want people thinking I was abusing my dogs. I love them very much, and I would hate to think I am the reason that she is like this.
     
  10. juliefurry

    juliefurry Rusty but Trusty

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    I'm confused. A lot of people are saying it's food aggression but she's not aggressive around ALL food. Like if I feed her in the morning I can literally stick my hand in her food bowl while she is eating and she will not growl or anything, she'll just eat around. In fact like the past few days she hasn't gotten aggressive until my voice got raised and I said "no". I'm just confused, are there certain types of food aggression?
     
  11. Saje

    Saje Island dweller

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    Julie I really encourage you to read this article http://www.k9deb.com/nilif.htm and follow the advice. Even if you don't want to you should at least read it for some insight. I think it could really help you. Also, the link to 'social isolation' at the top of the page would probably help you a lot. You need for her to learn to respect you and how to be a member of the family. You can't over power her or force her to do it and I wouldn't want you to try. People swear by this method so please read the article.
     
  12. shredhead (DOG LOVER)

    shredhead (DOG LOVER) Dog Spoiler

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    It seems a lot like food agression. I'm not too sure on how to fix that. Never had that problem.

    -Jon
     
  13. juliefurry

    juliefurry Rusty but Trusty

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    Great article. Thanks, it sure does remind me a lot of Shelby. I am going to try the social isolation therapy tomorrow. I was wondering if it would be ok, through certain parts of the day, if she was muzzled (just while my daughter was out and about). Not forever, just until I see an improvement that would bring back a little trust in her. I mean would that be too mean of me to do, or would that be ok?
     
  14. Saje

    Saje Island dweller

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    I think it would be much better to put her in a separate room or crate if you have one. I'm not a fan of muzzling.

    I hope that NILIF works for you! I think you have to be sure to do the whole thing for it to be successful. Good luck
     
  15. juliefurry

    juliefurry Rusty but Trusty

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    She usually is in the kitchen throughout the day (she isn't housebroken yet). I'll just keep her in there. I have never muzzled a dog, and to me it did look a bit mean as well. I've had three foster dogs, one of which was VERY food aggressive (you couldn't even stand near the dog while she was eating) and I never muzzled. Thanks!
     
  16. Rose's Gal

    Rose's Gal New Member

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    Well, I hope all goes well. If she has a problem with you grabing her collar, you could attach a short leash to it and let her drag it around. So then if you needed to grab her, you could grab the leash unstead of her collar. Good luck!
     
  17. Saje

    Saje Island dweller

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    I do think that's the best way to go. I really hope it works out. Just give her time and help her out. She'll figure it out. :)
     
  18. CreatureTeacher

    CreatureTeacher New Member

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    I'm a reasonably expensive trainer, so I'll drop my two cents. :) Before I start, please don't take any of this as snotty or critical. I don't mean it to come across that way. Having a somewhat abrupt manner (my mother calls it "brutal honesty") came naturally with dog training. You know I luv ya, julie, so please take this in the spirit it's given.

    I wouldn't muzzle her. That's just going to mask your problem, not solve it. As Saje said, just keep them separated. I was going to suggest NILIF training. My article along those lines is here: http://www.dogsday.8k.com/custom.html It's the second article down on the page. (Forgive the website. It's being made better as we speak.) You may want to look it over just for a slightly different view on the same model. Please read this too: http://www.chazhound.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4022 (You can never know too much about dog behavior!) :)

    I know it seems like it now, but this is not, in the grand scheme of things, that big a problem. And you're not alone. I probably get a dozen calls a year from owners having the same problem. If you work with her, you'll discover that she is absolutely not too far gone to be "repaired" (for lack of a better word).

    First, if I were your trainer I'd take your dog's collar off completely unless she was going outside, and then take it off again when she came back in. You can bang a little nail into the wall by the door to hang it on, if that helps remind you. But you don't want to tempt yourself with being able to grab her collar whenever she's doing something you don't like. She is telling you that she doesn't think you should grab her collar or pull her by it. Respect her feelings, and find another way to communicate with her.

    If there's something she shouldn't be eating, don't give her access to it. It's hard to blame a dog for eating treats that are left alone. The doggy rules of possession say that if you leave it, you relinquish your rights of ownership and it's fair game for the first lucky dog who comes along. You shouldn't be saying, "Why did that stupid dog eat my sandwich? Bad dog!" You have to learn to say, "Why did this stupid human leave the sandwich where the dog could get it? Bad me!" Any time an unexpected behavior occurs, it's imperitive that we ask ourselves what we could have done differently to facilitate a different behavior. 99.9% of the time, when I think, "Okay, what did I do wrong?" I come up with a reasonably clear answer. That last tenth of a percent is the rare instance when the dog reacted in an unpredictable way. This is so rare that you have to drop some ego and adjust your behavior in order to adjust the dog's.

    Second, the word "no" needs to become a four-letter word in your household. "No" is like the collar; it's a crutch that isn't working. If you think about it, "no" isn't even a verb. It only says "don't do that"; it doesn't give her something to be doing instead. It's really something of an abstract concept, so let's ditch it. We need to be crystal clear in our communications with Shelby from now on. So instead of telling her, "don't do that", tell her, "do this instead of that." Use your training; give her a command that conflicts with her current activity. If she's jumping on people, tell her to "sit". If she's mouthing an arm, have her "speak". The secret to a well-behaved dog is a creative owner. (A side note: make sure you've taken the time to train each of the commands you use. Too many people just assume their dogs know what "sit" means without actually teaching them. Without training, commands are meaningless. I'll attach a list of books that will help you with some positive reinforcement obedience.)

    The most important clue that we have to Shelby's behavior is the way she treated you an hour after your confrontation. She was a regular old happy dog. This tells us that she wasn't being "aggressive". She was merely exercising her social rights. Using NILIF and resource control training will demonstrate to her, in a way she innately understands, that she is no longer within her rights to snap at you or anyone else. It's critical that you follow the suggestions consistently, or the social adjustment will backfire. Consistency is the key; I can't stress that enough. It's a good idea to work on basic obedience at the same time you practice resource control. It gives your dog the chance to interact with you on your terms in a positive way. She has control over her reward (or lack thereof), and she will learn quickly that the harder she works, the more of those all-important resources you provide her.

    My final suggestion may sound silly, but try it and see how much it helps. Type yourself up a little sheet that has six "headlines" and then space for you to fill in your comments. In my problem solving program I call it an "emotional events diary". Make these your headlines:
    1. Situation (Describe the events surrounding the event; try to be perfectly matter-of-fact. First this happened, second this happened, third this happened....)
    2. Shelby's Emotional Response (Describe the reaction by your dog to the event. Try to see the situation through your dog's eyes. Use descriptive emotional words like "angry", "sad", "happy", "irritated", "surprised", etc.)
    3. Action Shelby Took as a Result (Describe her actions immediately following her emotional response. Then, and this is important, describe what you think Shelby was trying to accomplish by acting this way. i.e. "Shelly reached back and snapped at my hand. She was trying to make me let go of her collar.")
    4. My Emotional Response (Now turn those descriptive emotional terms on yourself: "I was angry and annoyed that Shelby was eating my dinner".)
    5. Action I Took (Describe your reactions to Shelby's actions, and describe why you did what you did. "I grabbed her collar so I could pull her away from my food.")
    6. What Could've Been Done Differently? (Be constructive here. Go step-by-step. Could the problem have been prevented all together? If Shelby has a reliable sit-stay, you could've put her in position before you left your dinner unguarded. You could've put your dinner up high before you left the room, or you could've brought it with you. Next, how could you have reacted differently? You could've gotten a good "sit" and then cleaned up the mess, gone out back for a minute to calm down, then come back inside and worked on some obedience before returning to your dinner.)
    This may seem like a lot of work, but it's really not hard. And the benefits you gain in understanding your dog's actions are enormous.

    If you follow these steps, I can just about guarantee that Shelby will improve dramatically in approximately a week-and-a-half, and you'll note a dramatic improvement in her behavior in a month to six weeks. This is not an "at-risk" dog. She's just confused. Doing these things will straighten her right out.

    Book recommendations coming...
     
  19. CreatureTeacher

    CreatureTeacher New Member

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    If you start with one from each catagory, you're on your way!

    Training Books

    "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Dog Training" by Pamela Dennison

    "Clicking With Your Dog" by Peggy Tillman

    "The Power of Positive Dog Training" by Pat Miller

    "Beyond Fetch" by Caroline Coile

    Behavior Books

    "The Other End of the Leash" by Patricia McConnell

    "Don't Shoot the Dog" by Karen Pryor

    "If a Dog's Prayers Were Answered, Bones Would Rain from the Sky" by Suzanne Clothier
     
  20. Saje

    Saje Island dweller

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    You're awesome Emma. :D
     

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