Food aggression - VENT and advice pls?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Sweet72947, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Poor guy.

    When he gets it though, you're going to see those wall come down in a hurry, I'll bet. :)

    Something really special happens with dogs who have had a harsh existence when it sinks in that there isn't going to be anymore hitting or brute force used against them.
     
  2. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    It sounds like small improvements are being made, but he still concerns me in what you describe. You're doing super and hopefully, he's coming to develop a little more trust. Here are a few ideas, not proof or evidence that this will help. These are just my impressions and ideas, I guess from my own experience and so forth and from what I am interrpeting from your post. I could be perceiving your description incorrectly, of course.

    Maybe rather than using that firm tone to ask him to sit, you might try capturing a sit that he does on his own accord, then give a treat...maybe a piece of kibble or like it was mentioned, Cheerios (something not as smelly, but still tasty) for now that you keep in a plastic baggie. (not that he still can't smell it, but it might help a bit) It's really important not to show him the treat first. Leave it in your pocket until he sits or displays behavior you like. Or when applicable, in random places that you can go to quickly, but unpredictable places, to him. If he's showing you relaxed body language and behavior, pull a treat out and give it to him fairly frequently. If he acts pushy, DO NOT give him anything. Ignore him, as you've been doing. But give him another try in a minute or two. Anytime he displays behavior or a state of mind (Gawd, I sound like Ceasar Milan:eek:) that you feel is relaxed and happy, associate or pair more good things with that.

    Is there anything else you can notice he might like besides food? His likes might be different than most dogs' likes. A few sits here and there that are rewarded will build up and eventually, he'll start offering that more, where you can then put your cue to it, but in a sweet tone that perhaps he didn't hear in his past. A different word might help, except in this case, other people aren't going to know what word he has learned and will likely use "sit." So, change your tone a little, I guess. Use a hand signal with it IF that doesn't intimidate him.

    You know him best. Some dogs I've worked with can be startled or over-whelmed by a normal, cheerful voice. I have to remain very quiet and calm...monotone...level, not face head on, some of them. Certain hand or body gestures or positions can worry them. To some dogs, the most basic things we do, that we don't even think about can make them nervous or on the defensive. You just have to get a feel for the dog. So, you'd be the best one to know what kinds of things you can do to put him most at ease.

    From what you describe, I'd avoid eye contact unless you reward it every time and really consciously work on establishing a very positive outcome for him for eye contact. He may be construing that as a threat from humans, especially if that's been associated with mistreatment in the past.

    I'd also avoid sitting or placing yourself so that your face is at his level, right in front of his face or leaning toward or over him. When you're walking him, you might be "all business" for now. I don't mean unfriendly, but keep things pretty low key and matter of fact. (I get the feeling you already are. I'm just tossing ideas out just in case, that I think might help) Just walk and stop and stand still once in a while, but keep facing straight ahead....see if he'll sit on his own, but don't command him (for a while until you develop trust between you two) and then you can reward him. If he doesn't sit, that training can wait for a bit. It's more important to develop more trust and a feeling in him that you are a safe and strong leader. And reward his good behavior with what he likes and consistently ignore his growly, pushy stuff. (everyone who interacts with him should be advised to do the same...they should never challenge him when he does that.)



    He apparently does have issues with firm or stern commands and any physical manipulation. So, if it were me, I'd keep more quiet and not talk too much. Dogs aren't naturally very verbal learners anyhow and it appears to be making him nervous. I'd avoid reacting too much to him at all. Using a leash to guide him off the bench, in this case, may also be too physical for him right now. So, simply getting up slowly, smoothly, quietly (but NOT apprehensively or tentatively) and walking out ahead of him a little, with as little leash pressure as possible, would have been enough to get him and you out of that position. Or if you wanted to sit back down with him remaining on the ground, you could get up and walk off a few steps, reward him for following you, then sitting back down on the bench. If he jumped up again, repeat. (If he were to start making a behavior chain out of this, (where he thinks the behavior is: getting on the bench, getting off, getting a treat, getting back on the bench, getting off, getting a treat over and over) you'd have to increase the duration that he stayed off the bench little by little before he'd get the treat and keep the treats coming as he stayed off the bench...just tossing them around on the ground.) No talking, very little leash action and reinforcing for his getting off. But like I said, at this stage, I'd avoid sitting and having my face at his level at all....for the time being.

    If you want to teach him what words mean, that can come later...when he starts offering say... a sit often. After being rewarded for sitting a lot of times. That goes for anything. I doubt he knows what "get off the bench" means. So, wait until the behavior you're looking for has been rewarded enough times that he starts offering it a lot...like he's made the connection between the behavior and reward...THEN start adding in your cue.

    I find that with these nervous, distrusting and defensive type dogs, the less talk, the less you react, the better, other than a little low, soothing, friendly voice now and again. I don't know if this helps or if you already are doing most of this...I just thought I'd toss out some tips that I find help with certain kinds of dogs. I can only estimate what this dog is like from your posts and my interrpetation of them...which might be off. Keep up the great work. I hope that with this continued good handling, he may come around a little better. I hope that others will follow your lead, as you're doing such a good job with him. Good luck. Be safe and take things slowly. :)
     
  3. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    Thank you for your advice. Actually, that bold part is EXACTLY what I will be doing. Let me tell you something that happened Monday. My coworker S took Quins for a walk accompanied by my other coworker, we'll call her T. Quins growled at T and jumped up and S told him no and pulled him down, and he growled at her too. So its not just me. :p

    What I will be doing, when I walk him (when I can, we are short handed right now and this week has kicked my ass and I've had no time), is just walking him. No play yard. No sitting on benches. Just get him out, walk, put back, and that's it (with some happy talking now and again probably). He is not ready for actual training yet. Quins does not throw off calming behaviors (or appeasement behaviors) like other dogs, (he just goes stiff and stares) he probably learned long ago they didn't work. I am EVER so happy he still warns with a growl. That tells me he really doesn't want to bite, he just wants to keep himself from being hurt, and to tell us to back off. He goes on the defensive for the littlest things. But I will do what I can to show that I am Friend.
     
  4. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    That sounds like a good plan you have. I do hope he can get to be more trusting, poor thing. And I hope everyone there understands that he needs particularly careful, gentle, but decisive handling. I wish someone like you could adopt him...someone who can understand him and has the patience to work through some of this. He shouldn't, of course be adopted with anyone with kids or kids who come around.
     
  5. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    I completely agree with you on this, but you know what's funny? His old home had kids in it, and I was told they used to lay on him and everything! But those were kids he grew up with and knew. I doubt he'd be as accepting of strange kids. :p
     
  6. phillo

    phillo New Member

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    I don't have any advice to add I just wanted to say I've been following this thread and really rooting for Quinn - he's lucky to have you on his side.
     
  7. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    Thanks Phillo. :)

    Here's a little update on Quins since I haven't posted one in a bit. Last week a coworker and I took him into the exercise yard (I'm not going to take him myself yet) and he had fun. Quins ran around, sniffed, did dog things, and stretched his legs. When my coworker and I tried to get him to come to us so that we could leash him and put him back, he just looked at us, grinned and laid down without moving an inch from where he was standing. Quinns is a smart ass. :rofl1: One thing that did happen was that I left the exercise area sometime after that to grab my water bottle, I was gone for all of ten minutes (my coworker said he watched for me the whole time), and when I entered Quins at first seemed happy to see me, and then he seemed to be a little confused, as if he wasn't sure whether he should be protecting his space (or perhaps my coworker, he seems to like her; he has a protective nature), but yet he likes me, and he jumped on my back and growled and slobbered a bit on my neck/shoulder area. I just stood there as a tree and waited for him to finish, then I had my coworker leash Quins and I put him back. Sometimes I think Quins is a bit confused by me personally, because I don't do what other people might do. Other people might scream no at him, or things like that, and I just calmly stand there. lol

    Fast forward to today, I took Quins on a walk, and he did fine (I wasn't able to walk him earlier than today, I've been sick, but today I'm better). We came upon two of my other coworkers who were sitting in chairs, and he solicited attention from them, which they were happy to give. I feel, at this moment, that Quinns is tolerating my presence, because I walk him. :p But he is getting better, he really is (besides the exercise area incident, but that can be worked on). :)
     

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