Okay, we got a dog, now tell me if this is a problem or normal

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by noob, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. noob

    noob New Member

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    We found a dog through Petfinder--she's a mutt (lol) but her previous owner was told she was a husky/shepherd/lab mix. She is spayed (has been since about 8 months old or so), and is about 17 months old.

    Here's my issue: She was raised with two little girls (now 10 and 2) and my girls are 7 and 4. She is generally very patient with my kids, as she was with her previous kids. Often when they are running a little wild, as little kids do, the dog will just ignore them. But sometimes she gets a wild hair and as they are running, she will follow/chase and nip at their heels or hands. She also does this when we return home after being gone a little while--jumping around, biting your shoe, mouthing your hand, and generally acting spastic.

    Does this mean she is an aggressive dog, or is it just typical of her age/breed/etc.? How do we stop her from doing this? We are definitely wanting to do obedience training, the problem is that the only place listed in the phone book isn't taking new signups until after the first of the year, apparently the lady does do private lessons but she hasn't returned my call. :rolleyes:

    We saw her with her previous owners (well, the lady of the house anyway) and she would play mouthily with her, and the lady would kind of bat at her open mouth with the flat of her hand--so the dog tries to play with us that way too. The problem is, I REALLY don't like that--it scares me that she is going to bite off a finger or something. :( She said that her husband would roughhouse with her, and so she tries those tricks with my husband, but he doesn't want to play that way with her either. They told me they thought she was still teething some--she has one of those supposedly almost indestructible Nylabone thingies and she has already gnawed small chunks off. I have a Wal-mart knockoff Kong toy, but she's not really interested in it, even if I put stuff inside (treats, etc).

    Also, shortly after we returned home with her, my BIL and nephew (age 5) came by because he wanted to see the dog. Afterwards I have read that it probably wasn't a good idea--she was hyper, barking like crazy, and supposedly she has a harder time warming up to men anyway. Well, he told my MIL that the dog nipped at his son, I didn't see it, but now I'm nervous that I've got some kind of wild attack dog on my hands. Do you think that was just due to the fact that she was heavily stressed at that point?

    This is the first time either my husband or I have owned a dog, so we really are flying by the seat of our pants here. Unfortunately I was really afraid of dogs as a little kid so now some of that is coming back. We have a six foot wood fence around our yard, but our neighbors on two sides have dogs, and sometimes when she's out there, they will all start barking and she barks so loud and growls at them and it makes me afraid that she's going to maul me or something. *sigh*

    I'm sorry for sounding so dense, I guess I just need a little reassurance and help and encouragement. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    She sounds like she's perfectly okay. At 17 months old she's still got a lot of playful puppy in her. And as far as the heel nipping goes, that's a herding behaviour, not an aggressive behaviour.

    Right now she's stressed. She's been taken from her home and thrown in with a bunch of strangers and now she's learning to think of you as her family. It's actually a good sign that she wants to play with you the same way she played before. Since you were afraid of dogs I can understand why you're a bit freaked, though.

    Try taking an old sock, putting a tennis ball in the toe of it and tying a knot halfway up. Offer that to her, shaking it a little, when she wants to play with you. See if she'll start tugging on it. When she's figured out it's a really fun toy, then you can start tossing it a few feet away for her to run after.

    When she's barking and growling at your neighbors' dogs she's showing you that she's going to protect you and her new territory against all comers. She's letting them know that she's there and won't put up with any challenges from them.

    Get yourself a copy of the books and/or videos from the Monks of New Skete. They have a very effective way to learn how to communicate with and understand your dog that will enrich your life as well as your dog's.
     
  3. Barb04

    Barb04 Love my pets Staff Member

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    I just watched all 3 videos from the Monks of New Skete. Even though I have pets now and have had others in the past, these videos were fascinating. I liked watching them train the dogs. The videos cost more than the books, but I think visually watching the monks with the dogs was more informative. Thanks, Renee, for suggesting these to me a while back.
     
  4. roni

    roni K-9 lover ;)

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    She sounds very normal. I think that when you return home and she jumps around and acts spastic she is letting you know that she is soooo happy you came back. I have a 7 month old blue heeler / lab mix and he acts very similar. In fact it was so bad at first that we couldn't leave him alone at all. Now he is finally realizing that we aren't leaving him forever. That in fact, we are coming back (and probably with plenty of treats). :) I agree completely with Renee about the barking. You should feel very good that she has taken to your family so well, and so quickly. Goodluck.
     
  5. noob

    noob New Member

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    Thanks for the input. I really appreciate it. Unfortunately it's one of those things where when you are worried about how a dog is behaving, you come across these rescue-dog-goes-berserk stories in the most unlikely places. :(

    We bought a crate today and it is sitting in the living room with the door propped open. She hasn't gone in there except to retrieve a treat we threw in there. At least that went well.
     
  6. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Since you got her at the shelter, she may equate the crate with being in the shelter, especially if it's one made of wire. To lessen that, try draping a light blanket over the sides, leaving both ends uncovered so that there's enough air.
     
  7. noob

    noob New Member

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    She actually didn't come from the shelter--she went straight from her previous owners to us. But they had never crated her. So we'll see.
     
  8. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    That's good that she doesn't have any negative conections to a crate. Some dogs are naturally wary of going into something that could be a trap, though. If you're going to crate her, have a special toy that she only gets when she's in the crate. Shiva has to stay in the laundry room when we're gone (she forages; tables, counter tops, cabinets, you name it), but she actually seems kind of relieved to go out there when she knows we're leaving. I think she knows she can't keep from getting herself in trouble and she does want to be good, so she's relieved to be away from temptation. I've started making sure she's got her own bone that stays in the laundry room so she won't feel like she's being banished.
     
  9. SizzleDog

    SizzleDog Lord Cynical

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    I'd say it's normal. Some dogs are just more mouthy than others. It should be easy to discourage the behavior if you don't like it, so that's a good thing.

    My dobe is extremely mouthy, to the point where I wear a thick coat or layers when I'm training her. When she gets excited, she will grab a sleeve or a hunk of shirt and clamp down. It's onyl when she's really being drivey, and it's her way of self-rewarding.
     
  10. terrack

    terrack Pittbull lover

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    my pitbull KoKo has the same behavior. Im a newbie with dogs myself, but I didn't like what KoKo was doing and everytime she does it I would tell her "no" if she stop when you say "no" make sure you pet her and say praise "good girl/boy" eventually she will know what the word "no" means and will start realizing that you don't like that so they would find other means of playing with you like bumping their nose at you, or hopping around your feet. I would assume that alot of dogs are just playing and we take it as rough behavior but in their world its just playing.
     

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