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I'm looking after a dog for a friend who has gone on holiday for two weeks - i've known this dog for quite a few years, but never looked after him before, and never known or seen him be aggressive. I have a puppy myself and have had several dogs in the past - all well behaved. It's not been twenty four hours and i've been bitten several times (not badly just a couple of scratches, one a little more serious and i'm badly bruised). He keeps jumping up, growling etc. It's real aggression not play and i don't know what to do. Being firm makes him back down but not for long. I know his owner wouldn't tolerate any aggressive behaviour, though he does rather spoil him and isn't the boss. Is he challenging me because he's used to being in charge? Or is it the new situation? Am i doing something wrong?

I've always been comfortable around him before but having a full grown rottie lunging at you knocking you over isn't fun. I'm not that big or strong and he could easily do alot of damage if he was serious.

It has been suggested i muzzle him but i think this would only exacerbate the situation. I don't think he's ever been muzzled - I wouldn't like to have to get it on and off. I wish i knew why he was doing it as when i've walked him before with owner he's been perfect and so obedient.

I tried to contact the owner at hotel where he's staying and was only able to leave a message, which hopefully he will get and call me back.

The only thing i can think of is kennels. Will kennels accept the dog given his behaviour? I am not exactly flush with cash at the moment either.

Oh byw he's living with me rather than leaving him for long periods at his home. He has his usual stuff around but otherwise i guess everythings new, though he has been to my house at least once or twice a week for as long as i've known his owner. He and my collie/lab mix puppy have always got on well but i've kept them seperate since he started becoming too aggressive - though he's only been aggressive towards me not the puppy. I have managed to walk him but not for as far or as long as i would have liked - thats when it started. I don't think i'm gonna try again as i don't want to pose a risk to anyone else.

Think kennels are the only option if they'll take him whatever the cost. Gonna make the calls first thing in the morning. Dunno what i'm gonna do if they won't.

I've always though of my friend as a responsible owner as his dogs always been so obedient if a little spoilt - he goes to advanced training classes and everything, so can't help but think this is somehow my fault.
 

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What exactly precedes the dog jumping up and biting? What have you done to "be firm" with this dog that made him back off for a bit? What do you mean when you say the owner isn't "the boss" over this dog? More information is needed.
 

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This won't help much but it might reassure you that it's not your fault.

I've cared for a couple of dogs that I would never take care of again. Both belonged to single women and had never been separated from their owners before. They didn't much like it. One of them got under our kitchen table while we were trying to eat (big dog BTW) and growled at me when I tried to extract him. The other prompted me to say, when his owner came to pick him up and asked how it went, "You're both lucky I don't own a gun."

I'm happy to care for my "grand-dogs" who know me and seem to like me, but I'll never take care of someone else's dog or ask anyone to take care of mine. I DO own a gun and I'm wouldn't trust myself not to use it on a dog that attacked me in my own home.

It's probably not the dog's fault, but almost certainly not yours, so don't put yourself at risk. I'd probably call animal control, but I have too little patience with such things.

I guess nobody on dogforums will be asking me to dogsit any time soon.
 

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Does he obey commands to sit/stay etc for you? If so, can you do some work with him, treating him often to reinforce positive behavior?

If you can walk him without having him get loose or without getting near other people, I'd try to walk him for about an hour in the morning and evening. It may be that he is stressed, and walking will help relieve that.

Rather than a kennel, can you put him back at your friend's house and visit 3 times a day to walk/potty/feed? Even spending the night there with him every other night, if your friend is agreeable might help. Could be that the new environment is just stressing him out too much.
 

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I guess nobody on dogforums will be asking me to dogsit any time soon.
Uh. No. :)

You never know what you're taking on when you bring a dog into your home. Dogs do behave differently depending on who is in the room. My dog will push my husband's buttons like crazy but if I'm around, she stops. I think she would completely ignore anyone else. My fault for not training her properly.

If you can arrange it, calling in a good trainer for an hour session might give you an objective opinion on what's happening. A local vet, dog club, or dog daycare could recommend someone. Cost would be around $75 based on my experience. If I were the owner, I would reimburse you and then some when I got home.
 

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I guess nobody on dogforums will be asking me to dogsit any time soon.
I would.

What? I didn't say my dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Initially he was dropped off and his owner after making a big fuss left to catch his flight. He naturally went straight to the window jumping up to see where he'd gone and started to bark. I called him to get his attention and offered a treat which he snatched from my hand, covering it in rottie drool! I decided after a little while (as he seemed to have so much energy and his owner said he hadn't taken him on his usual morning walk) to go out with him. He sat nicely when asked but as soon as i opened the back door barged past knocking me hard into it. I repremanded him with a loud NO and asked him to sit which he did. Once we got onto the street he started going for his lead becoming more and more aggressive growling - again i told him no and to sit but he just jumped at me growling - that was the first and most serious bite. I must have made a loud noise of pain cause he instantly backed off. This behaviour is so out of character i've walked him before with no problems. I'd never agree to look after a dog i didn't think i could handle. By firm i mean calm assertive repremand (NO). I never have and never had to be physical in anyway with a dog especially not with such a powerful one. By not the boss i mean the dog is obedient and in no way have i had even a whiff of aggression but he lets the dog get away with things i wouldn't i.e jump on the furniture, gives treats and attention on demand, generally spoils him rotten.
 

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Rather than a kennel, can you put him back at your friend's house and visit 3 times a day to walk/potty/feed? Even spending the night there with him every other night, if your friend is agreeable might help. Could be that the new environment is just stressing him out too much.
I really agree with this. His home is familiar and will calm him. It is annoying to drive back and forth, but for your safety and the dog's you should really keep him in his home instead of a kennel. It is tough to find a good kennel, especially a cheap one.

I think he is really just stressed from his owner's departure.

Good luck with everything and stay safe.
 

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I guess nobody on dogforums will be asking me to dogsit any time soon.
I would.

What? I didn't say my dog.
I have a neighbor's Daschund over on the next road you can have for a few days. Keep the gun handy... and I will provide the ammo and the cleaning...

To the OP I first and foremost suggest you absolutely keep yourself safe. I do not know if this dog is Crate Trained, but if he were in my care, he would be by the time the owner got back.

How long are you going to have this dog with you? IMO a day longer is too long, but you signed on for it so it will be what it will be.

In the mean time, and since the dog is trained, I would reward the dog with a small bit of food for obeying any cue you ask for and I would absolutely use NILIF if for no other reason than to let the dog understand you will give him what he wants but only if he does what you ask him to.

No friendship is so valuable it is worth getting badly bitten over. It may be in your own best interest to get this dog boarded as soon as you can. Around here board runs $15-$25 a day and you provide the food.
 

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I have a neighbor's Daschund over on the next road you can have for a few days. Keep the gun handy... and I will provide the ammo and the cleaning...
I hope most of you understand that mine was an exaggerated expression of my frustration with dealing with someone else's problem dogs. I haven't been able to hunt for about 40 years and, when we had a mouse problem in our house, I was catching them in live traps and driving them about ten miles to release them.

I won't be shooting any dogs any time soon, but I won't be dog-sitting, either.

I will say, I had one canine house guest that was so much fun, I hated to give her up. The difference was the owner.
 

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I hope most of you understand that mine was an exaggerated expression of my frustration with dealing with someone else's problem dogs.
It was clear to me that it was an exaggeration. Anyone who has read your posts would know that.

I agree that it's an owner problem. I love my sister and her little Maltese but it's not the dog's fault that he pees and sometimes poos when he's in someone else's house. My sister and her family never trained him not to go in any inside space. She deals with it by watching him and cleaning it up vs. trying to train him. :confused:
 

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Rather than a kennel, can you put him back at your friend's house and visit 3 times a day to walk/potty/feed? Even spending the night there with him every other night, if your friend is agreeable might help. Could be that the new environment is just stressing him out too much.
the problem w/ this is that then the dog is in his own territory...if he's being aggressive at their home, what's he going to be like in his own home?...i don't think that that would be a good idea/scenario....

how long is the owner supposed to be gone for?...can you do any working w/ the dog and try to change things a bit, after all, this is probably quite stressful for him....

i know my kids, tho they would not get aggressive, would be a handful for someone they knew to take care of....they would reek havoc in someone's home, just being down-right "naughty" and not listen.....
 

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I hope most of you understand that mine was an exaggerated expression of my frustration with dealing with someone else's problem dogs. I haven't been able to hunt for about 40 years and, when we had a mouse problem in our house, I was catching them in live traps and driving them about ten miles to release them.

I won't be shooting any dogs any time soon, but I won't be dog-sitting, either.
I will say, I had one canine house guest that was so much fun, I hated to give her up. The difference was the owner.
Well, yes.. My response was absolutely Tongue in Cheek... (or maybe foot in Mouth?).

However, I can't bring you the OWNER.. Very hard to catch, stuff in a crate, drive to you (halfway cross Country) and then have much left for you to "owner sit" ....

(Ah the lighter side of the DF....)

I will say that one of the issues is getting a dog to generalize commands or cues from a new person (be it a Kennel Ower, Ron E or the OP).

Dogs respond to body language and position better than vocal commands to begin with. So, here you have a dog left sith someone else who is different looking, does different things, moves a different way when asking for a behavior etc.

Just as dogs do not generalize cues to new situations with out a lot of practice, they often do not generalize commands from a different person. It takes practice to get them to do this.

One of the concerns with Police dogs is that they will obey a cue given by a "bad guy" so they often train the dog to respond to commands in another language (usually German). IMO this probably is not needed. The dog is not likely to do what anyone but his handler anyway. My dog certainly would not. I expect this is not specific to German Breeds such as Rotties and GSD's but it might be more so with those breeds.

Just mentioning this as the OP's issue is with a Rottie.
 

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Amber,
Seriusly, put on a pair of gloves and start this with him Doggy Zen , Use high value treats and then start getting him to sit and wait for EVERYTHING. Yelling 'no' really isn't going to do much, dogs don' really understand what 'no' is and it's too general.

Also, Rotties play is VERY rough, it sometimes WILL look like aggression, trust me, if he wanted to hurt you, he would have done it already, I do believe this isn't true aggression but a form of 'bullying' you, he knows he has you buffaloed. When you tell him to do something, keep your body language STRONG, stand square, feet planted and voice firm (do not yell though) don't let him back you down anymore. Seriously, watch Victoria Stillwell, when she's working with a dog, THAT'S the body language and voice you want to take with him.
 

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I would tend to agree with the above. If that dog REALLY wanted to hurt you, he would, and you would be VERY hurt.
 

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Sorry, but I'm a little uneasy with that assessment.

It implies that, if a dog is physically capable of killing you, anything less means he's not being aggressive.

The dog under the kitchen table that growled at me was a rott/shepherd mix and certainly capable of inflicting great bodily harm. He didn't lunge or try to bite me, but his behavior was threatening, menacing and unacceptable. I was too stupid and angry to be frightened, but I couldn't wait to get the dog out of my house.

That was one night. The OP has this dog for two weeks.
 

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Which is why a strong hand has to be taken without threatening the dog. It really sounds like the dog is trying to test his limits. There may be some fear or anxiety there as well since the owner is away and the dog is in a new place. We've had fosters act out this way, and we let the dog know that we won't be bullied by the behavior. In the long run it makes the dog feel safer and more secure to know that SOMEONE is in charge and it doesn't have to be.

DO NOT show fear, but be respectful of the dog. Avoid reaching over the head. Do not look the dog directly in the face or put your face near the dogs, no staring contests!

Remember to REWARD desirable behavior HEAVILY. Make your presence a good thing when the dog is acting appropriately.
 
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