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I've had siberians for the last 26 years. (2 dogs, one lived to be 12 and the other almost 15). I got sick of the running away so I did a ton of research and found a well known breeder of a breed in development. This breed is supposedly highly trainable and devoted to the owners. It's got a lot of stuff in there such as border collie, german shepherd, some husky, and more. Right now he is about 40-50lbs and will grow to be around 80-100lbs.

I've been talking to the breeder for months on end and we agreed that I would get one of her older puppies when I returned from vacation. I have watched a million vids of this particular dog and he looked amazing/sweet/well behaved/already trained. Saturday I pick up this dog who has been living with the breeder and her 15 dogs. He is terrified of me. I cannot touch him. She had to get him in my car. We get home and he won't let anyone touch him - he's flinching and flighty, startling at everything. He doesn't want to explore the house or play with any toys at all. I have 3 children (ages 3, 5, 8) and they're naturally curious and want to play. He is terrified of them and dodging them and trying to hide. Yesterday he snapped at my 5 year old twice and my 8 year old once, and me once. And not for any real reason at all - for example, my son just walked past him and his arm unintentionally brushed along his side. The dog freaked, spun around and snapped with his tail in between his legs. My kid didn't do ANYTHING to him. He snapped at me when I reached for his collar.

But then when I'm alone and quiet with him he just lays at my feet and is very submissive and gives kisses. He WILL NOT leave my side in the house. If I step to the side, he steps to the side. I can't go to the bathroom without him. If I close the door between us he freaks out barking/crying/trying to get through.

He cannot be confined at all. He has bent the metal bars of his crate and broken out. So today I put him in the kitchen and gated it off when I went to the doctor. This gate is not a pressure mount gate. It is screwed into the wall. He totally damaged it and is dismantling it. I literally don't have anywhere else to put him. He has completely destroyed the rug in the dining room (while he was IN the crate - he somehow was able to grab the edge and pull it in. Now there is a 2ft x 2ft HOLE in it).

I am walking and walking and walking him to try and burn off this negative energy. So my question is: Is this dog a lost cause? Is this dog too dangerous to have around 3 little kids? Do I need to send him back to the breeder?
Sorry for the long post. I can't believe how extensive our problems are in a mere 3 days.
 

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If I were in your shoes (3 young kids) I would send this dog back. I do think the dog can learn to adjust and find a comfortable normal in your life. But he may or may not EVER be loving and safe around your children. If you keep this dog, it should be if you deliberately want a project dog, to help him overcome his fear. But honestly, this breeder sounds highly unethical. You don't just 'make a breed' and aim to make a more biddable husky by doing it the way your breeder did it. The fact that your breeder insisted you take him (saw the fear, knew you had kids, got this dog into your car) either shows they are just in it for the money or they do not know squat about dog behavior.

If you keep this dog, invest in a certified dog trainer who focuses on positive reinforcement based training. IAABC and CCPDT are two organizations/websites you can check for certified trainers in your area. Your post makes it sound like you do not have much experience with fearful dogs (which is okay! they are very different). For example, you wrote "And not for any real reason at all - for example, my son just walked past him and his arm unintentionally brushed along his side. The dog freaked, spun around and snapped with his tail in between his legs." A terrified dog being accidentally touched by someone who he is terrified of is a very real reason why fearful dogs bite. In your eyes, it was not enough of a reason. But when you are working with fear (and dogs in general), you need to see situations from the dog's perspective. Just an example of why I would recommend getting help, if you choose to continue with this dog.

But like I said, if I were in your shoes I would look for a more typical, good-natured husky. Yeah, huskies are very prey driven and have a reputation for running. But it's not like huskies are not trainble. Normal owners are just challenged to motivate these northern breeds in effective ways. But is keeping a dog on a leash or long line really so bad compared to having a dog you don't trust around your kids? Either way, best of luck in your situation. I'm sorry it's been hard for you and your family these last three days.
 

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If your dog is truly unstable, I don't think anyone here can can provide any answers for you. Questions like yours really require a thorough 'eyes-on' evaluation by a professional trainer or behaviourist.

However I will say this. Giving your dog ample time to acclimate to his new home may help. "A mere 3 days" is generally far too little time for most dogs to feel comfortable, and begin to fit in. In the interim he needs very light training, space, security, and from the sound of things an abundance of peace and quiet. Once you've given him an appropriate time period to adjust, then you can increase his inclusion in family situations. And at that point, more intensive training is likely part of the solution as well. Keep in mind that dogs, especially puppies, seldom / virtually never come "already trained". Again, a pro trainer should be able to assist with that if you feel you don't have all of the skills yet to do so on your own.
 

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To put it bluntly, the dog was not as advertised. Send him back and get a refund and go with different breeder, or choose one of the ten skazillion shepherd-husky mixes currently available at rescues and animal shelters. At 7 months old, this dog is the breeder's creation, both by nature and by nurture, and dealing with his problems is their responsibility, not yours.
 

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If I was in your situation, I would return the dog, as well. You purchased a dog from a breeder and were expecting a pup with a stable temperament. Puppy mouthing and general lack of manners I would expect, but fearfulness to the level of snapping is not something I would want to deal with around 3 young children. More time may allow the dog to settle...but I doubt it. Based on your description, I feel this will be a project dog that you will likely never be able to trust around your children, or your children's friends, for that matter, should they visit your home.

I think I would avoid this breeder in the future, as she appears unethical in placing a fearful dog with a family with small children, or just ignorant in general. I am interested to know where you found her, though. Does she have a website?
 

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It sounds to me as though this naturally fearful pup was not socialized to life with a family and is now overstimulated and terrified.
Personally, I would not keep the pup because of the children. It's too risky and stressful for everyone, including the dog.
 

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Oh my.....I thought I had a tough time finding a decent breeder in China. I don't know what country you are in....but you have successfully found a Mutt Breeder. Who advertises a "new breed" that is highly trainable and devoted to the owner. The "highly trainable and devoted to the owner" phrase describes many current breeds. Poodles, Border Collies, Schnauzers........

This dog is not a family friendly dog. It had early training in a pack with 15 other dogs, likely with minimal human contact.

I agree with the others. Return the dog. Find a true breeder or cruise the local rescue shelter for a better adjusted dog.
 

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Do you want to spend the next 12ish years with a dog that may never be safe around your own children and will almost certainly not be safe around their friends? If not, take the dog back. I agree, three days is not enough time for a dog to settle in and show its true personality, but this much fear immediately, before it even left the breeders home, is a bad sign. Go to a rescue and get a mix that's been living in a home with children and is used to them. Husky mixes are a dime a dozen and many of them have a good temperament but were just too energetic for their first families.
 

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Hi, thanks for your responses. Things are a little better today. He seems to have warmed up to the kids now, and is not really reacting to them anymore. He is starting to show them affection (giving kisses, resting his head in their lap, etc). So that is hopeful right? Since I can't confine him I had him sleep in my bedroom last night and he was pretty quiet all night and did have a pee accident on the rug. It was a much more peaceful night and he was not destructive at all.

This morning I put him in the kitchen and closed all doors and used the gate where there is no door. I was gone for 5 minutes (dropping my kid off at school) and when I came back he was out of the kitchen. So I am worried about separation anxiety since I have heard awful things. I don't know yet if he's got separation anxiety or if he's just nervous about the new place. How can I tell? I've never had a dog with that problem so I'm not sure. I would also really like him to eventually be a therapy dog for nursing homes (almost all of the breeder's dogs are certified), so the fact that he's very resistant to strangers touching him is concerning. The breeder had taken him to a bunch of puppy socialization classes and obedience training, and he did graduate from obedience but is still afraid of strangers. Is it just a matter of tons of exposure and desensitizing him? I just want a calm dog.

My husband really likes him and wants to keep him, I am a little less sure about this with all the problems. But we need to make a decision very quickly. Hopefully I will see lots of progress. I am happy to share the breeder's information via private message to anyone who wants to know - I don't want to bash her publicly. She is quite well-known in the tamaskan community and they are starting to introduce her dogs as approved outcrosses for tamaskans.

Any advice on the "stranger danger" problem? Thank you all.
 

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Therapy Dog?????

This is a tough road. The dog needs to be highly socialized with the ability to handle any situation. The dog must be calm and submissive in all situations with patients. The dog must not have adverse reactions to sudden noises or surprises like an unexpected touch or pull or push.

Depending on your locale there could be extensive training and license requirements.
 

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Having knowingly and willingly taken on a 7 month old "project dog", I encourage you to return this animal to the breeder. It isn't fair to your children. Even if the dog never bites them (or their friends) he will be a huge timesuck. So are vacation cottages and sailboats, but the emotional work of nurturing this dog is going to be maternal energy, patience, and time that you WON'T have for your three very young children.

There will be time for that later. Your babies will only be babies for a very short time. Once it's gone, you don't get it back.

You will have time for a third Husky way too soon. Saving a traumatized dog can be bittersweet balm for an empty nester's heart, especially when life doesn't turn out the way we had hoped. That isn't the chapter of life you are living right now. You don't want your children to grow up resenting dogs or seeing them as something that takes your time and energy away from them. If you want them to grow up with a family dog, that's great! For their ages (3,5, and 8) I would think a Lab or Golden would make a great choice.
 

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Based on your description, no, I don't think this dog is ever going to be a therapy dog. He sounds very nervous about new situations and new people. He may warm up to your family, but if you decide to keep him you may have to put him away when you have company. And, you now know he doesn't like to be put away. I would seriously consider how willing you are to deal with safely confining a dog who may snap at strangers, but doesn't like to be confined and will destroy his crate to get out. You will be dealing with crying and barking the entire time you have company for the next 12-15 years.

Also, Tamaskan dogs are prone to separation anxiety. I would say there's a pretty good chance this dog has it. It's genetic, so there isn't really a cure. You have to spend a TON of time training, and possibly medicating, to make this better. And sometimes it doesn't get better.

So yes, it's good that the dog is warming up to your family. But, you know he doesn't like strange places or strange people. What are you going to do when your kids have their friends over? When you have weekend visitors? When you want to go on vacation and need a sitter or a place to board him? How are you going to keep guests and dog safe? This isn't impossible. Many people successfully raise fearful dogs, but you have to decide if you want to adjust your life to accommodate the dog. It's perfectly fine if that answer is NO.
 

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UPDATE:

Hi all, thanks again for all your responses and advice. I made my initial post prematurely after only 3 days, without giving him a chance to settle in. The pup is now very attached to me - all he wants to do now is be with me and give me kisses/cuddles non-stop. He is totally calm and happy around the kids now, and my husband. He goes wild with the kids in the backyard! He is now friendly and approaching the kids and neighbors at the bus stop and happily taking treats from them and getting petted. He comes to my 5 year old's kindergarten school for pick up and just watches the kids running past him instead of thrashing around on his leash trying to get away. I just have strangers ask him to sit and give him treats. He is no longer trying to dodge them or hide behind me or thrash around on his leash trying to escape.

He is extremely dog friendly and is also wonderful with my cat. He is now basically a submissive lap dog with me and all he wants are kisses and cuddles. He still likes to follow me around the house and be in the same room as I am, but it's a totally different vibe now. Before it seemed like anxiety/desperation and now he's just relaxed and hanging out. He's not perfectly housebroken yet but we are working on it. The breeder has been communicating with me non-stop and helping me resolve any little issues that pop up.

So of course now I feel TERRIBLE having written my original post - this dog could not be further from what I first described. It's amazing what a difference a week could make. So anyway, in case you haven't figured it out yet - I'm KEEPING him!!! :D
 

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Super glad to hear things have improved! I'd still take his initial reaction to coming home with you as a sign that he might be quite a sensitive boy, and be really conscientious about taking socialization and exposure to new things at his pace. That's frankly good advice for any dog, but especially important with sensitive ones! Good luck, and may things continue to get better.
 

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UPDATE:

Hi all, thanks again for all your responses and advice. I made my initial post prematurely after only 3 days, without giving him a chance to settle in. The pup is now very attached to me - all he wants to do now is be with me and give me kisses/cuddles non-stop. He is totally calm and happy around the kids now, and my husband. He goes wild with the kids in the backyard! He is now friendly and approaching the kids and neighbors at the bus stop and happily taking treats from them and getting petted. He comes to my 5 year old's kindergarten school for pick up and just watches the kids running past him instead of thrashing around on his leash trying to get away. I just have strangers ask him to sit and give him treats. He is no longer trying to dodge them or hide behind me or thrash around on his leash trying to escape.

He is extremely dog friendly and is also wonderful with my cat. He is now basically a submissive lap dog with me and all he wants are kisses and cuddles. He still likes to follow me around the house and be in the same room as I am, but it's a totally different vibe now. Before it seemed like anxiety/desperation and now he's just relaxed and hanging out. He's not perfectly housebroken yet but we are working on it. The breeder has been communicating with me non-stop and helping me resolve any little issues that pop up.

So of course now I feel TERRIBLE having written my original post - this dog could not be further from what I first described. It's amazing what a difference a week could make. So anyway, in case you haven't figured it out yet - I'm KEEPING him!!! :D
Wow! This is an amazing turn around. But I'm GLAD you posted the original post because it's a good reminder to us all that stress can do REALLY AWFUL THINGS to a dog. And sometimes what you bring home is not what the dog ends up being a few weeks or months later.

Our dog was good with US when we brought him home (and great with dogs), but he was so stressed he didn't know how to settle. He was all go go go go go. And very bitey when stressed so he'd leap at me and try to snatch toys and end up getting my arm or my hip (and one time even my boob! ouch!). It took him a couple months to completely destress and the dog we have no is SO different.

I am so so glad to hear that everything is going so well!!
 
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