new husky....need help!!!!

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by racerx520, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. racerx520

    racerx520 New Member

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    almost 2 weeks ago we adopted a male husky from the humane society (est. 1-3 yrs old) they found him wandering around a neighboring town....we took him in and named him sky. me and my girlfriend (i live at home with my parents and my brother) were training him to sit and stay while we were trying to house break him and surprisingly within the first day he understood sit and a little bit of stay....he still peed in the house though.

    i wasnt home for a couple days out of the week and i dont know what happened but apparently somewhere the training for this dog went out the door.

    then two nights ago i was walking sky, and someone was walking their dog with no leash (theres a leash law in my town) and the other dog trotted up and then his dog and mine got into a fight...i didnt read anywhere that you shouldnt get in the middle and i was dumb and did just that and was bitten decently good

    then that night the dog was laying with his toy and tearing it up like he normally does and my mom gently asked 'what are you doing to that bunny rabbit?' (the toy is like a rabbit thing) and the dog snapped at her and i would say mouthed her....my dad got up and yelled 'what did you do?!' and went to grab the dogs collar when the dog bit him...sinking his teeth in and drawing blood.

    the next day my parents went back to the animal shelter and they said hes not an aggressive dog, he thinks he's the alpha right now and that we need to train him that hes below us.


    does anyone have any suggestions? hes apparently not good with other dogs and has a lot of energy that im trying to get rid of, he needs to learn his place in the 'pack' and we all kinda need help with that...does anyone have any tips or suggestions?

    thank you very much
    -brian
     
  2. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    I don't think he's dominant/alpha at all or thinks he's in charge, and he does not need to be "below" you, that is a common way of people to think about dog training these days unfortunately. He does need to learn how to behave with you though and to respect you. The first bite does not worry me as far as the dog's reasoning goes, it's hard not to get bit when reaching into a fight, I do hope that you recover well and that it was not too bad. This was also not you or your dog's fault, it was the owner who let the dog wander up to yours, from now on be sure to shout "my dog is not friendly, please call your dog!" and try and scare the other dog away. You may even want pepper spray if the owners fail to call back their dogs or the dog has no owner present and will not be deterred by you yelling or using threatening body language.

    Is Sky aggressive with all dogs or just with dogs while on a leash or just certain dogs? does he only get aggressive when he interacts or does he act aggressive simply when he sees another dog?

    The way Sky responded to your mother leads me to believe he is a resource guarder. He is afraid someone is going to take his stuff and he must guard it. This is a trait all dogs can develop, it is a method of survival, if they don't guard their stuff they loose it and die. Of course when living with humans it is not acceptable. Check out this thread, it applies to a bone but bone or toy it works the same, make sure you are always remembering that the dog is AFRAID YOU WILL TAKE HIS THINGS so make sure he is not right, he should learn it is good to give you his things but that you never take them (see the difference? In one situation he willing gives because he has learned it's good to do (he has had practice giving you his stuff, getting a reward AND getting his stuff back), in the other situation he learns you force things from his mouth): http://www.chazhound.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30744

    Also keep in mind he might guard other things, so keep an eye out for him guarding food and sleeping areas, you might want to start now to prevent food guarding by walking by his bowl at dinner and tossing yummy bits of leftover meat from YOUR dinner (so just have him eat after you) into his bowl and later once your sure he is safe actually reach your hand down and put the meat right into the bowl (ONLY if you KNOW he will not bite, if you are afraid don't bother, stick to tossing so at least he is fine with people walking near the bowl). Teach a command to get him off the furniture if he is allowed on, if he does guard furniture then don't allow him on anymore.

    The last bite was also understandable, he felt he was going to be attacked, he got yelled at WHILE guarding a toy, after already biting (so was obviously in a high state of agitation already) and was then grabbed, probably by a hand reaching over his head. All this was a recipe for disaster. grabbing a dog in anger (or not in anger although you can often train a dog to accept that) can often result in a bite, especially if he was previously abused/ "trained" with force (which I call abuse).

    So your three problems are probably
    Dog aggression
    Resource Guarding
    Possibly uncomfortable with certain handling like being grabbed by the collar.

    Until you get this under control there are no more toys out and about, they are put away until you are ready to play with him or surprise him as he destroys it, unless you are trading/tossing a treat to get him away don't ever take his toys. practice the trading game daily so that the occasions you DO actually take the toy at the end of the game are rare.

    I know this was an urgent situation where he tried to bite so I understand your dad trying to grab him but in most cases that only makes things worse. So when upset, unless someone's safety is in immediate danger, don't attack the dog back, that will get you nothing except more attacking.

    He's a fast learned it seems so take the time to teach him lots of commands using positive reinforcement and even clicker training if you'd like. Teach "come", "Sit" and "focus" or "watch me" which means look at my face. These will be very helpful in dealing with his dog aggression (if he's sitting and watching you he can't be staring at the other dog and getting all worked up, if comes when called you can avoid interactions with other dogs).

    Sorry my post was so long, he sounds like he will take quite a bit of work and I really think you should look for a professional who uses positive methods (nothing that involves you hitting or grabbing the dog (like with alpha rolls and scruffing) as these things do not make the dog less afraid of you and can easily get you bitten). Good luck and keep us updated! Hopefully more people will be along to give more ideas.

    If you need housebreaking help check out threads we already have in this section and the puppy section.
     
  3. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    I also wanted to mention that you might want to get the book "Mine!" by Jean Donaldson, it talks about dogs who are resource guarders.

    The book "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons can be a huge help with aggression towards dogs and people.
     
  4. racerx520

    racerx520 New Member

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    thank you very much for the much needed info...our first dog was a white shepherd mix...she was very sweet and kind but unfortunately her time was up when she was 14 and a half...we got this dog in attempt to fill the gap left from our prior dog (savannah) and we underestimated the amount of energy this dog has...he is a very very sweet dog its just that we need training as much as he does.

    hopefully once he's neutered he will calm down a bit and be more manageable, none of us want anything bad to happen to him but unfortunately my parents arent as trusting right now after they were bitten....granted i am a bit weary too at times but i do not look at him the same way that my father is right now.

    again, thanks very much for the help and if anyone has any tips or info on training or anything that would be very helpful too

    also one last thing, does anyone have any advice on training him to stop mouthing? its a habbit that he really needs to break
     
  5. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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  6. racerx520

    racerx520 New Member

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    yeah he seems like hes just playing, he just rests like an arm or hand in his mouth and doesnt apply pressure...i just feel that hes getting too comfortable with it and that this may have contributed to the problems a couple nights ago with the whole biting thing becuase as far as im concerned...i feel as though allowing a dog to mouth is allowing yourself to be a toy
     
  7. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    I just want to add, it's not very suprising that your dog bit your mom the same day he got into a fight with another dog. He was probably still quite worked up, and the smallest thing would have set him off. You can keep that in mind if this ever happens again - when he gets in a fight, give him a couple of days to cool off, and give him plenty of space during those few days!
     
  8. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    Actually, allowing a dog to mouth WITHOUT pressure can teach a dog how to control his jaw so that if he ever DOES need to bite (for whatever reason, such as in a warning bite) he'll know how to do it without causing damage. BUT if pressure is applied i agree your hands are viewed as play things, that is why a lot of people, when teaching a puppy not to mouth will allow the puppy to put your hands in his mouth so long as no pressure is applied and then will be quick to end all contact with the dog as soon as the pressure is applied so the dog learns the difference.
     
  9. racerx520

    racerx520 New Member

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    i agree with you lizzybeth that he could have been worked up still...the people at the humane society think that he could have still been worked up or (seeing as how hes a stray) something that could have been brought back out of him from being on the streets for as long as he may have been or something from a previous owner.

    all of these are maybes and could be's...and i dont think that we'll ever know the true reason why just because dogs cant speak english


    and about the mouthing thing, i hear ya on that, my girlfriend has a silky and it plays rough but thats a silky vs. a husky with possibly some malamute in it too (hes awefully big for a husky) and i personally dont condone the behavior of mouthing which is why i am going to try to break it, my mom is in it with me but my brother and my dad im sure are going to give up


    oh and another thing that i dont agree with that my father and brother do is play decently rough with the dog, my dad has a habit of playing with dogs with his hands such as with sky he would hold his mouth shut as a form of playing, which we could do to our old dog because she was more comfortable with all of us and she was far from a puppy
     
  10. LuvsDogs

    LuvsDogs New Member

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    I know what you mean, my oh has always teased any dog he comes across. Ours included.
    Maxy has given you some excellent advice. sky needs to feel safe in her new environment & the family members as well. I would be standing with her whenever she eats. Tilba my 8.5 mth pup was nearly 12 w/o when we got her. The 1st time I gave her a raw bone she snatched it & ran off. I looked on the net for some pointers & found that if you still have a hold of the bone, or whatever, its still yours. Its not until you let go that the dog thinks its his. So I started doing that, & I can now be with her while she eats her bones. I was even able to move it to a different position, but I wouldn't suggest you do that for the time being. Normal meals was no problem, I can pet her while she eats.
    Did sky growl at any time b4 he bit? That's usually a warning to keep away & if its not heeded, that's when a bite happens.
    I think you need to start at the beginning with his training, using food treats. It will take more time than a new puppy, but I'm sure with patience & love you'll get there. You just need to have a talk with your dad & brother & see if they are willing to help you. If not your facing an uphill battle. A good behaviourist would also be of help.
     
  11. sisco16

    sisco16 koda bear

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    They have alot more energy than your normal breed of dog and when they play they do tend to use there mouth if they were not taught at a young age not to do so but both my sibes still play using there mouth and they have a play growl but they know when to stop, You need to set boundaries and ignore the dog when the play becomes to rough and if it continues kennel him for a few minutes untill he calms down.There really not a breed you just jump into owning they require alot of time hard work and commitment on your part, they really do need excercise and never trust a sibe off leash unless your fenced in trust me from experience.
     
  12. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    Good behaviorist! Now.

    http://www.apdt.com

    If this dog is biting, and drawing blood, you NEED to consult a behaviorist. People on the internet cannot accurately assess what you and your dog need to do. It does sound like the behavior is related to over-stimulation/lack of training... and it would be absolutely worth the money (which isn't all the much) to get hands on, personal advice from a certified behaviorist. Of course, you should also be signing up for Obedience classes (positive reinforcement based) asap, too! Good luck, and please keep us updated.
     
  13. Cessena

    Cessena New Member

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    I have a sibe as well, and if you haven't already I can't recommend enough you reading some sites about owning a Siberian husky. We got ours from a breed rescue and did a lot of research, but we still struggle with typical sibe traits.

    There is lots of information available online about the breed, here is a link from a local siberian rescue:
    http://www.huskyrescue.org/isahuskyforyou.shtml
     
  14. racerx520

    racerx520 New Member

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    thank you all for all this help....i am spreading on everything that i learn from books, internet article, and forums to my family to try to see if we can help out sky....again, he isnt neutered so he may have extra energy from that too we've been told and that at his age (1-3 yrs) and having not been neutered, hes like a teenager with too much testosterone.
     
  15. noodlerubyallie

    noodlerubyallie Sprayin' the spiders

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    There's a Sibe forum I love, thehuskyforum.com, that you can also go to to talk several experts on the breed.

    I agree with what has already been posted, especially the behaviorist option and obedience training classes. Keep in mind this is a highly intelligent, very active breed that will take a lot of patience and practice to mold him to become a more manageable dog.
     

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