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I don’t want to get rid of my dog, but cannot take it anymore. I adopted her from a shelter about 2 years ago, and have since had such a hard time training her. I have had many dogs in the past and successfully trained them. However, I knew there would be complications with her as she was an abused dog they found tied to a fence. She was doing well for a long time, but after my husband and I went on our honeymoon, we came back to a completely different dog. She was resentful. She is very territorial of my husband, and often times has even snapped at me for being near him/around him. We have tried multiple things, even letting him step back and me being the primary care taker, me taking her to the bathroom, me putting her food/water down - none of it works. As funny as it sounds, she looks at me as competition or like I am her bitch. Things seemed to get better for awhile there, but then things have recently went so downhill, it’s causing severe strains on my day to day life, to the point where I cannot even go to bed at night time because of her behavior. I can’t leave her alone, she destroys things, tools, couch cushions, her own bed, her blankets. Recently, she had started humping me and clawing at my legs, trying to bite me, snapping at me. And has now also turned her sights to my husband, and she now sits on our bed at night time, or any time we are in bed, and barks and barks and barks until she gets in our faces and tries to snap at us. She humps the side of our bed, she doesn’t listen. We have tried EVERYTHING. We have tried being stern with her, she is cage trained so we put her in the cage when she acts like this, we have given her a bed she sleeps with us sometimes, she’s well fed and well cared for. But now will not even let us sleep.. She has also bitten a stranger once before after letting the man get close enough to pet her. She is not fixed, but I am working on it. I am at my wits end and do not want to give her away or put her up for adoption, but do not have much of a choice left when nothing is working. I cannot afford a doggy boot camp or professional training for her, as money is tight right now, but she is totally out of control. I don’t know if medicating her will help, I have tried calming treats, I have tried literally everything at this point. She does not listen. Please, if someone out there has any other solutions I am desperate.
 

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I think a good place to start is stepping back and trying to remove some of the labels you've put on her. This sounds like a very anxious, insecure dog who's overwhelmed and doesn't understand what's expected of her, not resentful or spiteful or jealous. It can be helpful to realize that she's not acting this way because she's trying to be difficult, but because she's just freaked out and doesn't know what else to do.

Have you worked on helping her feel like her crate is a safe, calm space rather than a punishment? Knowing she can stay in her safe crate and be comfortable and happy and unable to destroy anything could help a lot here. The frantic pawing and humping screams 'overwhelmed, stressed dog' to me, so using the crate as a cool-down space where you offer relaxing enrichment instead of a prison cell where she's being punished might be more effective. Start freezing all of her meals in Kong-style fillable chew toys, so that she spends a lot more time daily chewing and licking. Chewing is naturally calming behavior for dogs, which she could definitely benefit from. If you have several a day, you can give her one in the crate when she gets worked up like this to help her learn that she can manage her stress though an appropriate outlet like chewing her Kongs or other chew toys/edible chews.

I'd also commit to doing some low-pressure, fun training with her every day. I'm talking easy behaviors and cute tricks. Stuff that you can keep short, reward-based, and positive for both of you, so you can hopefully start building a bond and better understanding of how to communicate with each other. Touch a target with her nose or paw, spin in a circle, give her paw, that kind of thing.

This may be a dog who will benefit from anti-anxiety medication. Ideally you'd have a behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist evaluate her and help you make that call, but your regular vet may be able to help you as well, or even do a phone consult with a veterinary behaviorist on your behalf for less money than an in-person appointment would be. It'd be worth calling your vet practice and asking about the options with that. Be up front about the money issues - most vets understand that their clients don't have unlimited funds and appreciate that you're trying to find solutions that won't bankrupt you.

Similarly, you can check organizations like the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (Certification for professional dog trainers and behavior consultants) or International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants), which both have a 'find a certified behaviorist near you' function, and price out what a single remote consult would cost. Prices vary a lot by region, but many trainers and behaviorists are doing way more work through online video services these days due to the pandemic, so you may be able to find someone within your budget who will talk to you for 40 minutes-1 hour and set up a basic plan. You'll have to be committed to enacting that plan on your own, but a single consult like that is more affordable than paying for regular hands-on guidance for multiple weeks or months.
 

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You need to establish boundaries. This does not mean you have to be corrective. It means that you need to decide what you want this dog to do instead of what she is doing. It means you need to not allow certain things anymore.

First you need to crate her at night. No more sleeping on the bed. If she destroys the bed in her crate then the lays on the bare insert (I have a very well trained dog that cannot have any sort of cushion in his crate.. he has a piece of plywood).

When you cannot be there to watch her, she needs to be crated. When you can watch her and she is loose, even in the house, attach a leash to her collar and keep an eye on her. If she goes to destroy something, redirect her with food and a toy. Be clear and consistent with her.. and you can step on the leash to stop her.

Humping can be from excitement. Again, because she is wearing a collar and a leash you can redirect her. If you are both present one person can step on the leash so the other person moves away. Humping the bed will no longer be an issue because she is no longer allowed on the bed.

I would stop feeding her from a bowl. I would make her do something for every bit of food she gets. Use her dinner to train her. Sit, Down, wait, here.. all useful commands. Stationary commands start with just doing the action and then duration is added a few seconds at a time. I dissuade people from Stay.. if the dog is down or sitting the dog is staying. Teach a marker for doing the command correctly (I use Yes!). Get your timing right.

People often talk to much to dogs. Dogs are not verbal. You don't talk to the dog. Only use ONE command for what you want and only one command. Most people have 7 commands for recall. This is confusing to the dog.

Agree with what Day Sleepers has said in seeking hands on help. You need that too. Seek it and GOOD LUCK!!!
 

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Step one is taking her to the vet and getting her checked for thyroid and similar issues that can cause behavior changes, or sources of pain which may cause her to lash out. If she has a hormone problem or ongoing pain no amount of training or management is going to correct this issue.

How much exercise is she getting daily, and what type?

I hesitate to give actual training device over the internet regarding a dog that is already at the dangerous level of biting people. This really calls for an eye-on evaluation with a qualified professional. I strongly second the management recommendations above of slow feeding, rethinking how crates are used, and the use of a leash/collar around the house to make her easier to handle.

I know money is tight these days, but paying to see a behaviorist or a reputable, highly-qualified positive trainer (this dog is already way over threshold just in normal life...you don't want to see someone who uses shock collars or physically forceful methods) will be less expensive than a hospital bill or replacing damaged property. If it's at all feasible to do so, you need to.
 

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I agree with the other post. I know this has already been answered, but for anyone else with a similar problem, the dog is NOT SPITEFUL OR DOMINANT OR AGRESSIVE. She is insecure and nervous because she was left behind for a while. It might have brought up bad memories. Since she is experiencing the anxiety and does not know what to do with it, she is acting in a way that can be perceived as aggressive. She needs calmness, love and consistency. Try doing fun things like hikes with her if possible, and maybe purchase calming chews. Corrections and being "firm" is probably the last thing she needs. She needs to learn to trust you again.
 

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I think a good place to start is stepping back and trying to remove some of the labels you've put on her. This sounds like a very anxious, insecure dog who's overwhelmed and doesn't understand what's expected of her, not resentful or spiteful or jealous. It can be helpful to realize that she's not acting this way because she's trying to be difficult, but because she's just freaked out and doesn't know what else to do.

Have you worked on helping her feel like her crate is a safe, calm space rather than a punishment? Knowing she can stay in her safe crate and be comfortable and happy and unable to destroy anything could help a lot here. The frantic pawing and humping screams 'overwhelmed, stressed dog' to me, so using the crate as a cool-down space where you offer relaxing enrichment instead of a prison cell where she's being punished might be more effective. Start freezing all of her meals in Kong-style fillable chew toys, so that she spends a lot more time daily chewing and licking. Chewing is naturally calming behavior for dogs, which she could definitely benefit from. If you have several a day, you can give her one in the crate when she gets worked up like this to help her learn that she can manage her stress though an appropriate outlet like chewing her Kongs or other chew toys/edible chews.

I'd also commit to doing some low-pressure, fun training with her every day. I'm talking easy behaviors and cute tricks. Stuff that you can keep short, reward-based, and positive for both of you, so you can hopefully start building a bond and better understanding of how to communicate with each other. Touch a target with her nose or paw, spin in a circle, give her paw, that kind of thing.

This may be a dog who will benefit from anti-anxiety medication. Ideally you'd have a behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist evaluate her and help you make that call, but your regular vet may be able to help you as well, or even do a phone consult with a veterinary behaviorist on your behalf for less money than an in-person appointment would be. It'd be worth calling your vet practice and asking about the options with that. Be up front about the money issues - most vets understand that their clients don't have unlimited funds and appreciate that you're trying to find solutions that won't bankrupt you.

Similarly, you can check organizations like the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (Certification for professional dog trainers and behavior consultants) or International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants), which both have a 'find a certified behaviorist near you' function, and price out what a single remote consult would cost. Prices vary a lot by region, but many trainers and behaviorists are doing way more work through online video services these days due to the pandemic, so you may be able to find someone within your budget who will talk to you for 40 minutes-1 hour and set up a basic plan. You'll have to be committed to enacting that plan on your own, but a single consult like that is more affordable than paying for regular hands-on guidance for multiple weeks or months.
I think a good place to start is stepping back and trying to remove some of the labels you've put on her. This sounds like a very anxious, insecure dog who's overwhelmed and doesn't understand what's expected of her, not resentful or spiteful or jealous. It can be helpful to realize that she's not acting this way because she's trying to be difficult, but because she's just freaked out and doesn't know what else to do.

Have you worked on helping her feel like her crate is a safe, calm space rather than a punishment? Knowing she can stay in her safe crate and be comfortable and happy and unable to destroy anything could help a lot here. The frantic pawing and humping screams 'overwhelmed, stressed dog' to me, so using the crate as a cool-down space where you offer relaxing enrichment instead of a prison cell where she's being punished might be more effective. Start freezing all of her meals in Kong-style fillable chew toys, so that she spends a lot more time daily chewing and licking. Chewing is naturally calming behavior for dogs, which she could definitely benefit from. If you have several a day, you can give her one in the crate when she gets worked up like this to help her learn that she can manage her stress though an appropriate outlet like chewing her Kongs or other chew toys/edible chews.

I'd also commit to doing some low-pressure, fun training with her every day. I'm talking easy behaviors and cute tricks. Stuff that you can keep short, reward-based, and positive for both of you, so you can hopefully start building a bond and better understanding of how to communicate with each other. Touch a target with her nose or paw, spin in a circle, give her paw, that kind of thing.

This may be a dog who will benefit from anti-anxiety medication. Ideally you'd have a behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist evaluate her and help you make that call, but your regular vet may be able to help you as well, or even do a phone consult with a veterinary behaviorist on your behalf for less money than an in-person appointment would be. It'd be worth calling your vet practice and asking about the options with that. Be up front about the money issues - most vets understand that their clients don't have unlimited funds and appreciate that you're trying to find solutions that won't bankrupt you.

Similarly, you can check organizations like the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (Certification for professional dog trainers and behavior consultants) or International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants), which both have a 'find a certified behaviorist near you' function, and price out what a single remote consult would cost. Prices vary a lot by region, but many trainers and behaviorists are doing way more work through online video services these days due to the pandemic, so you may be able to find someone within your budget who will talk to you for 40 minutes-1 hour and set up a basic plan. You'll have to be committed to enacting that plan on your own, but a single consult like that is more affordable than paying for regular hands-on guidance for multiple weeks or months.


Thank you for your response. We’ve taken her to see a vet and she is being prescribed anxiety medication. My original post came from my own place of anxiety and fear and while I do stand by the original things I said i.e. about her jealousy and resentment, she does have these qualities and we are learning to deal with them as they come. She has a lot of anxiety that comes from jealousy no matter what happens between my husband and I, we are not able to sleep in the same bed because she attempts to bite me all night, we cannot be intimate when she is around, not even a kiss. But I do agree with what you said about her anxiety and taking some of the labels off of her - we took on the responsibility of an abused dog because we felt we could take her on and still feel that way. I think my original post came off the wrong way - I was just at my breaking point as I work very early mornings and she had been keeping me up all night. I took your advice about the cage as well - she LOVES her cage, but I was starting to fear it beginning to look like a punishment, now we put her in the cage to calm herself down with a kong chew toy and she loves it. She comes out a completely different dog. Thank you for your advice and for taking the time to reply!
 

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You need to establish boundaries. This does not mean you have to be corrective. It means that you need to decide what you want this dog to do instead of what she is doing. It means you need to not allow certain things anymore.

First you need to crate her at night. No more sleeping on the bed. If she destroys the bed in her crate then the lays on the bare insert (I have a very well trained dog that cannot have any sort of cushion in his crate.. he has a piece of plywood).

When you cannot be there to watch her, she needs to be crated. When you can watch her and she is loose, even in the house, attach a leash to her collar and keep an eye on her. If she goes to destroy something, redirect her with food and a toy. Be clear and consistent with her.. and you can step on the leash to stop her.

Humping can be from excitement. Again, because she is wearing a collar and a leash you can redirect her. If you are both present one person can step on the leash so the other person moves away. Humping the bed will no longer be an issue because she is no longer allowed on the bed.

I would stop feeding her from a bowl. I would make her do something for every bit of food she gets. Use her dinner to train her. Sit, Down, wait, here.. all useful commands. Stationary commands start with just doing the action and then duration is added a few seconds at a time. I dissuade people from Stay.. if the dog is down or sitting the dog is staying. Teach a marker for doing the command correctly (I use Yes!). Get your timing right.

People often talk to much to dogs. Dogs are not verbal. You don't talk to the dog. Only use ONE command for what you want and only one command. Most people have 7 commands for recall. This is confusing to the dog.

Agree with what Day Sleepers has said in seeking hands on help. You need that too. Seek it and GOOD LUCK!!!
Thank you for your reply. Things are much better now after taking her to see the vet. Thank you for your advice and for taking the time out to help!
 

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Step one is taking her to the vet and getting her checked for thyroid and similar issues that can cause behavior changes, or sources of pain which may cause her to lash out. If she has a hormone problem or ongoing pain no amount of training or management is going to correct this issue.

How much exercise is she getting daily, and what type?

I hesitate to give actual training device over the internet regarding a dog that is already at the dangerous level of biting people. This really calls for an eye-on evaluation with a qualified professional. I strongly second the management recommendations above of slow feeding, rethinking how crates are used, and the use of a leash/collar around the house to make her easier to handle.

I know money is tight these days, but paying to see a behaviorist or a reputable, highly-qualified positive trainer (this dog is already way over threshold just in normal life...you don't want to see someone who uses shock collars or physically forceful methods) will be less expensive than a hospital bill or replacing damaged property. If it's at all feasible to do so, you need to.
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my original post. We’ve taken her to the vet and since things have gotten a lot better. She runs around our yard a few hours a day and my husband is always playing fetch with her, she also runs around quite a bit with my sisters dogs. Thank you again!
 

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I agree with the other post. I know this has already been answered, but for anyone else with a similar problem, the dog is NOT SPITEFUL OR DOMINANT OR AGRESSIVE. She is insecure and nervous because she was left behind for a while. It might have brought up bad memories. Since she is experiencing the anxiety and does not know what to do with it, she is acting in a way that can be perceived as aggressive. She needs calmness, love and consistency. Try doing fun things like hikes with her if possible, and maybe purchase calming chews. Corrections and being "firm" is probably the last thing she needs. She needs to learn to trust you again.
Thank you for responding. Calming chews were a no go for her. We’ve taken her to see a vet and gotten professional help with this. While I stand by what I said about her aggression, as she was being very aggressive - perhaps I was not completely clear on everything she was doing - but it was very much so aggression and since taking her to see the vet and crating her when she needs to calm down and giving her chew toys to take her anxiety out on, she has gotten a lot better. We take her out a lot, and she loves it, she also loves to be around other dogs which she does quite often. Thank you for taking the time out to give your advice, it is very helpful!
 

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Thank you for taking the time to reply to my original post. We’ve taken her to the vet and since things have gotten a lot better. She runs around our yard a few hours a day and my husband is always playing fetch with her, she also runs around quite a bit with my sisters dogs. Thank you again!
Glad to hear it!

In my experience, nervous dogs benefit a lot from learning an organized skillful "job" like obedience or nosework. (If you find formal obedience boring, like I do, Rally obedience is a more fun alternative). If you use positive force-free methods it seems to build their confidence and engage their brains in something other than fretting. It also really improves the bond and communication between handler and dog. You might think about giving it a try...if you want something that's easy to do at home by yourself in limited time, maybe check out "Do More With Your Dog" trick training - they have Facebook groups and youtube tutorials and it's all very lowkey and upbeat.
 

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I'm so glad to hear you're talking with your vet and trying anxiety medication! We get so many people here that we never hear a followup from, and it's really heartening to get a report of so much improvement. As an anxious person myself, I absolutely get it, and I'm so happy for you that you've got direction now and are figuring out what works for her and your household.

I'd also look into resource guarding resources - the jealousy you're describing is likely related to that, as many dogs do see humans as a resource to guard. This can also come from a place of fear - a fear of losing access to the resource or not feeling in control of their environment - so it's not surprising that an anxious dog has some of these behaviors. Mine! by Jean Donaldson is a good primer on basic resource guarding issues and techniques for working with them, if you want some more insight. Sometimes the best thing to do is just not let the dog practice the behavior - ie sleep on the bed - so I absolutely think that's a great choice. Hopefully you'll see these behaviors lessen over time as she becomes less anxious and stressed overall.
 

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Thank you for responding. Calming chews were a no go for her. We’ve taken her to see a vet and gotten professional help with this. While I stand by what I said about her aggression, as she was being very aggressive - perhaps I was not completely clear on everything she was doing - but it was very much so aggression and since taking her to see the vet and crating her when she needs to calm down and giving her chew toys to take her anxiety out on, she has gotten a lot better. We take her out a lot, and she loves it, she also loves to be around other dogs which she does quite often. Thank you for taking the time out to give your advice, it is very helpful!
I'm so glad you were able to get the problem sorted out :) Sounds like your dog is doing great!
 
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