Ruckus bit someone (again)

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by dogsarebetter, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. dogsarebetter

    dogsarebetter EVIL SHELTIES!!!!

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    and I soooo blame hubby! We have not had any issues in nearly a year either! We had a visitor while I was at work. Hubby was home. He let the visitor in, Ruckus was barky but behaved pretty well. When company was leaving Ruckus bit the guy in the butt. It didnt break skin, but did bruise.

    I am so mad at hubby right now. He knows that Ruckus has a history of biting people when they leave. I have no idea why he didnt put up or leash Ruckus before the guy left!
    Hubby feels bad and I doubt he will ever let something like that happen again. The guy that Ruckus bit is not hurt, and isnt even mad. He actually has came back over since then to drop off some movies for us to watch. Ruckus came to the door, barked some, and then wanted to be petted. Tommy (the guy he bit) petted him and there were no issues or aggression on Ruckus's part. When Tommy went to leave I put Ruckus in a down stay and he growled some, but didnt get up.

    Why would Ruckus behave this way?
    Its easy to prevent, just put him in a down stay. but WHY!?
     
  2. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    Ruckus sounds underconfident, and underconfident, fear aggressive dogs will often take "cheap shots" i.e. biting people when they aren't looking; people looking at them tend to intimidate them enough that they just bark a lot. Along with the down-stay, I would give him lots of treats, or a favorite toy so that good things happen when people leave.
     
  3. FoxyWench

    FoxyWench Salty Sea Dog

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    dodger is actually this way too.
    the difference is he doesnt actually bite...instead he just dives at their feet and barks as iff trying to scare them, if you stand still even not looking at him he doesnt do it and will even stand there looking for attention...but walk away and he decides your feet need ot be yelled at.
    he only does it when they walk with some speed though...

    i do agree its a confidence issue though.
     
  4. Brattina88

    Brattina88 Active Member

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    I know its not funny, but I had to laugh that he bit the guy in the butt. ;) sorry!
    I'm glad the guy has no issues with him, that's good. They don't always end that way.

    Have you ever thought of doing agility with Ruckus? I know he has some issues, but even a private instructor, or some things to practice in a backyard or field could help. I've seen dogs with no confidence gain confidence while learning to do agility-like things.
     
  5. dogsarebetter

    dogsarebetter EVIL SHELTIES!!!!

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    yup :) Ruckus does agility usually weekly.
    we finished our advanced agility class last fall. now we do it in the backyard. I seen a big difference when we started agility, Ruckus is more confident because of that. we have really went a loooooooong way from where he was.
    thanks for the tip though! I recommend agility to anyone with a fearful dog.
     
  6. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    Gonzo snaps at stranger's butts, too. :/ I feel your pain!!! He has never made contact, he just air snaps, but people are taken aback by it. I, too, am thoroughly confused by it. It never happens outside of the house. He never EVER snaps at people's hands/faces/anything, just their butts or their ankles and only when they're walking away from him. After he meets a person and feels comfortable with them in the house, he won't display this behavior, and he seldom does it to women or calm people. It's like a weird, re-directed herding behavior. The only thing that really works for me is veryyyy intensive introductions, supervising him constantly, and calling him to me if he's starting to fixate and rewarding him for leaving it/chilling out. I don't down/stay him, because he can still fixate in a down/stay and I hate that. If I can't take it slow and watch him carefully, I also crate him. It sucks because he is SO sweet and trustworthy toward anyone that he knows/trusts, but he randomly doesn't trust certain people in the house and he feels the need to herd them around. Fortunately, these are herding dogs with bite inhibition, and not protection dogs... I am always so glad for that. And, I would honestly rather have spazzy herding dogs who want to herd people and who are obvious about it than a dog who really goes for people with no percievable warning.

    Gonzo and Ruckus would be friends. ;)
     
  7. Brattina88

    Brattina88 Active Member

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    I couldn't remember if you did or not, lol. Sometimes I get members mixed up :eek:

    Missy and Tucker didn't have very much confidence when they first came to us. With both of them, hiking in the woods - with backpacks - has helped. Maybe I'm just crazy, but something about being in the natural, sometimes challenging terrain and having a job to be responsible about seemed to work its magic. After I while I asked Missy to "brace" herself - in case I stumbled or needed her help. Tucker's smaller, so we asked him to jump on and stay on logs (for example) to be "out of the way". I made sure to pick a spot that I know they'd be successful with. But, I know not everyone has access to places like these. I had Mia trying to balance on the cement parking space blocks the other day :p she hasn't had a chance to get out in the woods a lot this year, and I can tell (she's been nervous-y acting)
     
  8. dogsarebetter

    dogsarebetter EVIL SHELTIES!!!!

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    thanks! Ruckus does like you said Gonzo does! it NEVER happens outside the home. and only happens when people are trying to leave. We go to petco, the dog park, etc etc and he has never showed signs of a problem. but at home its different!
     
  9. puppydog

    puppydog Tru evil has no pantyline

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    He is a herder, herders tend to nip things heading away from them. Sounds like you know how to handle things. Bite your hubby in the butt now!
     
  10. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Sorry, but I wouldn't pin this on a herding behavior. It's insecurity and bad manners on the part of both dogs. Not a herding behavior.
     
  11. puppydog

    puppydog Tru evil has no pantyline

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    I didn't say it was herding behaviour, I said it was the most likely place for a herder to bite.
     
  12. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    I was more referring to this comment. "Wanting to herd people" has zero to do with Gonzo and Ruckus' behavior. Plenty of non herding fear aggressive dogs will take cheap shots at people's butts too.

    Anyway, how is going for someone's rear as they pass giving off warning? The person's back is turned and can't even see what the dog is doing. It's cheap shot. I'd rather deal with a confrontational dog that postures and growls so I know that he's unhappy with my presence, and I can do something about it and not get bit as I stroll by.
     
  13. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    Herding people should no be allowed, either. That is a huge 'no' in my book. You herd livestock, not people or dogs.

    I'm not sure saying, since he's a herding class dog, that it has something to do with where he would bite? To me, Ruckus's bite didn't sound like he was trying to herd them. It sounds like he either didn't want them to leave or, like Romy said, it has something to do with fear.
     
  14. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Imo (which I will admit isn't worth all that much) it's likely insecurity/fear issues. It doesn't sound like redirected herding behavior to me. First of all a balanced herding dog should know the difference between a person and livestock. Also, I'd hope a herder didn't bite hard enough to leave a mark- bruise or not. Whenever I've seen a herder go after someone, it's a very gentle nip and it's almost always to the ankles. I've never seen one go for the butt or go hard enough for it to bruise. I'd be pretty concerned if my dog had bitten someone hard enough to bruise for no reason.

    Anyways.... Trey was a biter and it was basically impossible to teach him not to. He just was NOT a well balanced dog, and from the sounds of the way you describe Ruckus, he sounds like he has similar issues. It wasn't just because he was a herder but because he was a herder with an improper temperament and I really think he was missing a link in his brain to read body language in dogs and people both. For him it was managing his tendency to bite. Trey NEVER went after a stranger, but family members knew to watch him and their movements with him around. Sharp turns in front of him could cause him to sneak a nip when he was really worked up. So I'd keep an eye on his excitability and when he'd get into that mindset, I'd stop what we were doing and make him calm down.

    There were a couple times he left bruises and marks and those times were absolutely not herding dog related. Those were every time fear reactions. If you know what will set him off, then maybe even leash him or send him to another room when your guests leave? I know how much a liability a dog like that can be.
     
  15. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    I am not saying it's acceptable, AT ALL. Hence the incredibly extensive process I go through to introduce Gonzo to anyone in the home... to avoid him getting into that mode. I know he is fearful of some people, although I would not call it fear aggressive.

    I have had some of the best behaviorists I know of over to observe him, and all 3 of them felt that he was not aggressive, he would simply resort to "herding" people that he percieved as erratic or unpredictable. He literally follows them, crouching, and giving them an intense eye... people who are dog-savvy can easily spot it, and he usually doesn't herd them, anyway. But people who aren't tend to either ignore him completely or do stupid things like run at him/away from him. He is also quite vocal about giving warnings and again, does not actually touch people. He does the same thing to dogs who are behaving rudely/rambunctiously, and I know he knows that other dogs aren't livestock!

    I will always be managing his behavior, as in the past 7 years it has gotten better but I doubt that I can ever trust him completely with strange people in the home. It's hard to even explain it without seeing it. I'm not claiming that he is a balanced herding dog - he is from shoddy breeding, hard mouthed cattle lines, and his socialization/good experiences as a puppy seems to have been non existant. Additionally, this isn't a breed that is famed for their friendliness toward strangers. It obviously is fearful behavior, but it does make it easier to have a dog who has been bred for hundreds of years to not use their mouth.
     
  16. dogsarebetter

    dogsarebetter EVIL SHELTIES!!!!

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    I play chase games almost daily with my dogs. I let them herd me, then I will herd them. they do jump up and nip at me, but its not hard what so ever. just barely an pressure at all. Are these games encouraging Ruckus bad behavior?
     
  17. Brandyb

    Brandyb New Member

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    Have you proofed against people walking away?? Instead of just a down stay? When he's in a down stay is he still highly focused on the person leaving?
    My suggestion would be to treat as the person walks away. No down stay, just make sure he's on a leash, as the person walks away, you can focus him on you with a "look at me" and then treat treat treat. Build this up big time so that he associates someone leaving with high value treats. If he's just in a down stay and still focusing on the leaving person, to me, it's possible he's building up more frustration. Keep it loose and happy, not that structured at first. Person leaving, treat (but always on a leash). Hopefully the association will sink in, and you'll find him turning to you as a person leaves, instead of focusing on that person.
    And personally, I wouldn't be playing chase with him. If he can not control himself as someone else moves away from him, I wouldn't encourage it with the chase game.
    I only play this game with dogs who can control themselves. And because chase is "run after the person that's moving away and possibly nip" you could be encouraging the reaction to someone moving away.
    Hope that helps. :)
     

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