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Hi everyone,
I have wanted a dog for sometime and came across a Cockapoo that is a year old, not my first choice, but I wanted a small dog and when I went to look at the dog, I really liked her. She is a beautiful dog, long curly hair, cute little face and looks like a little bear. I really don't know much about the dog other than the lady that had her could not handle her and she had to get rid of her, mainly because she could not walk her on a leash. Now I have had the dog about three days and the first night was tough, just because she was very wild, running all over the house, jumping on the furniture and such, but it has been getting better and she has calmed down and actually started to become very friendly with us, until tonight. My kids came out of the bedroom and said the dog had something in its mouth and was snapping and growling at them. So I came in the room lifted her ear to see what it was and that quick she bit my hand and took a chunk of skin out. Now with a reaction, I smacked her face and she then became very angry and aggressive, I could not handle her, she was very wild. So I got control of her and put her in the cage for a hour and she is now fine and very loveable again. I really do not want to get rid of her, I am however very mad and I am very Leary of the dog and don't know if I can trust her now. I am by no means afraid, but I have always said that I would not deal with a dog I could not trust. So what should I do? I love the dog and the kids love her too, she is very loveable and it is so hard to belive that she did this. I really do not see her being a vicious dog, but she may have some protection issues and that worries me. What should I do??
 

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You just took a dog probably out of a situation where it was understimulated and neglected. Get this dog on a NILIF program (read the sticky in the training forum) and do lots and lots of training. You've got to release all that pent up energy. How often are you walking her?

Sounds like your dog is resource guarding. When a dog has something in its mouth or even in its vicinity, they may show aggression to prevent that resource from being taken away. Was the dog fed properly before you adopted her? Neglect can definitely lead to a dog being possessive. To tackle this issue I'd suggest you call a behaviorist and for now WARN your kids to NOT take the dogs toys, treats, or food from it!

I would not be using the crate as punishment. This dog is in a brand new environment and needs a place where it can feel safe and be alone. Using the crate to punish the dog can be detrimental to a lot of aspects of training. I'm sure you know it, too, that slapping the dog only made the situation worse, thus it is not an acceptable or effective form of correction.

Edited to add that growling is actually a VERY GOOD thing because it shows that the dog is voicing its intentions without being a sneaky aggressor. While you shouldn't encourage it I would NOT outright punish growling because you will wind up with a reactive dog that bites without warning. Make sure your kids are exercising good manners around this dog. While the dog may be lovable and sweet, all dogs have a threshold; it would be wise to supervise your kids' interactions with this dog. Not only because of her possessiveness but just to be 100% safe.
 

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I agree with what Miss Mutt said. However, there should never be any circumstance where you "smack" your dog and you should not ever be "very mad" at a dog. Frustrated or disappointed? Yes. Very mad or very angry? No. IMO you really need to think about whether you can stay calm enough to be a good owner for this dog.
 

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I think the "smack" was probably a reaction to being bitten...it happens and while it wasn't the best reaction ever, it's done and nothing can be done to undo it, so no point in harping on it.

Have you taken the dog to the vet to make sure she doesn't have any underlying problems? I think that's a good first step, it's good just for the fact that she probably needs a check-up.
Other than that thought, I think MissMutt hit the nail on the head with the resource guarding.
 

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Ok, you have a dog that's resource gaurding and children, I don't care how small the dog is, keep them SEPARATED! You don't want a serious bite, and yes, a dog that size CAN deliver a serious bite. Serious bite = euthinization, especially if it involves kids.

Next, you NEED to get a professional in to evaluate the dog and set up a plan of action training wise to get this dog settled down and the RG under control.

In the mean time, start working on thsese training excercises to TRIAN the dog to leave things be.

Doggy Zen


a good book on RG
MINE! A GUIDE TO RESOURCE GUARDING IN DOGS


affordable training video by the same author/trainer (one of my favorites)
PERFECT PAWS IN 5 DAYS FEATURING JEAN DONALDSON'S MODERN TRAINING METHODS DVD
by Jean Donaldson
 

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I think the "smack" was probably a reaction to being bitten...it happens and while it wasn't the best reaction ever, it's done and nothing can be done to undo it, so no point in harping on it.
Fair enough if that is the case. I've never been bitten by a dog. So I guess I don't know how I would react. If the OP doesn't think he or she will aggress against the dog again, I guess moving on is the best thing to do. Posting here is a smart, responsible first step on the part of the OP.
 

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1. Don't panic as your new little dog is carrying a lot of baggage. Said baggage was living with somebody the 1st year of life who in all probability gave no guidance/control to dog at all. You have a year of bad habits to adjust/readjust as needed. You did not mention what it was that dog had in mouth food/toy/bone etc.
Whatever it was eliminate it for a while.
2. You said kids came out of bedroom and said dog was growling/snapping etc and you really don't know what kids did(I never believe kids)but that's my personal problem. As Carla said above right now this dog and these kids cannot be trusted together, you are the supervisor so take control. All feeding done in a safe place so dog can eat in peace and 15 minutes later any food left is picked up as that will eliminate any problems there. The NILIF program is good place to start and obedience is good plan after dog adjusts more to new environment. Remember this dog came from a house with no kids, If my wife and I now had to move in with a family with kids I would be growling and snapping it's a huge adjustment/change for the dog. As stated above somebody with more knowledge would be handy.

The bite, since I am a dog trainer I view a bite as a carpenter views hitting his thumb with a hammer. It's not the end of world, again don't panic. You now know what you have to work with, I too understand the hit and while not the best way to handle it I can understand it. The dog will survive.
Good Luck
 

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1. Don't panic as your new little dog is carrying a lot of baggage. Said baggage was living with somebody the 1st year of life who in all probability gave no guidance/control to dog at all. You have a year of bad habits to adjust/readjust as needed.
It's a perfectly natural impulse to want to get right down to the business of being best friends with a new dog and loving her up. When people bring home an adult or adolescent dog, this can cause big problems. Especially with kids in the picture. You all need some time to size each other up and get to a place where you can predict each other's reactions to situations. That's the minimum requirement. As the dog becomes more comfortable in her new environment, serious behavior issues may begin to reveal themselves. More serious than what you've already seen.

Give the dog her own space and limit interaction with her to situations that you control completely. Develop some trust and rapport with the dog before trying to tackle discipline. She's only 1 year old; you will have a decade or more together. Why rush things?
 

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Oh I agree with WV and Carla especially.. this dog is new and needs space although she is (from your description) resource guarding. DO keep kids and dog SEPARATED. IF you have kids and dog together, NO DOG TOYS, NO FOOD, NOTHING FOR THE DOG THAT IT WOULD TAKE And guard. Keep the dog on a leash with you at the other end around the kids. If you cannot supervise, Separate. Keeps kids safe. Keeps dog safe.

If, OTOH, you feel you cannot handle this dog using the advice above, perhaps taking her back is a smart move (if that is possible).

No.. one bite with a dog you don't know is not fatal. However, it is a warning and so you need to heed that warning.

Are you planning to take the dog to obedience class? That would be a good idea. Take kids with you (if allowed) so they cna learn about handling and training this dog too. Make if a family effort.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
1. Don't panic as your new little dog is carrying a lot of baggage. Said baggage was living with somebody the 1st year of life who in all probability gave no guidance/control to dog at all. You have a year of bad habits to adjust/readjust as needed. You did not mention what it was that dog had in mouth food/toy/bone etc.
Whatever it was eliminate it for a while.
2. You said kids came out of bedroom and said dog was growling/snapping etc and you really don't know what kids did(I never believe kids)but that's my personal problem. As Carla said above right now this dog and these kids cannot be trusted together, you are the supervisor so take control. All feeding done in a safe place so dog can eat in peace and 15 minutes later any food left is picked up as that will eliminate any problems there. The NILIF program is good place to start and obedience is good plan after dog adjusts more to new environment. Remember this dog came from a house with no kids, If my wife and I now had to move in with a family with kids I would be growling and snapping it's a huge adjustment/change for the dog. As stated above somebody with more knowledge would be handy.

The bite, since I am a dog trainer I view a bite as a carpenter views hitting his thumb with a hammer. It's not the end of world, again don't panic. You now know what you have to work with, I too understand the hit and while not the best way to handle it I can understand it. The dog will survive.
Good Luck
Thanks for the post. I will start by saying that we put this behind us and we are moving forward. I am going to enroll her in some sort of training this morning. As far as the kids, they are not young kids closer to teens and they were not in the room long, they followed the dog into the room to see what she had in her mouth. It winded up being a piece of plastic, nothing that would really seem to be protective of. I would have understood food or a bone for the attack.

I would also like to reply to Bonn1997. I have had dogs my entire life and I have never been bitten or attacked by a dog unprovoked. I have been a great pet owner and I can handle the dog. It was a knee jerk reaction to being attacked, there was no warning when she bit me. My hand was covered in blood and none the less did not feel too good, I was close to going to the hospital, just to get it checked, considering that I had a major surgery last year.

Since you seem to be mad at me rather than the dog, I would like to see how you react when your friendly dog takes a chunk of skin out of your hand unprovoked. I was actually more hurt by the situation more than mad. The whole family loves the dog and we were all shocked and stunned and the kids were upset when I said I was going to take the dog back. As I said, we decided to keep the dog and get a trainer. The dog will have a good home and will recover from the little tap she got, just like I will recover from the flesh wound.
 

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It is important that you look for a behaviorist, someone who is knowledgable not only about "regular" problems such as housebraining, early obedience, etc, but someone who is really well versed in dogs who have behavior problems like aggression or fearfulness.

How doe she act around her food? Is she possessive of that as well?

Again I want to ask how much she's being walked. You mentioned in your first post that she was "wild," so I'm wondering what kind of exercise she's getting to drain her energy.
 

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Fair enough if that is the case. I've never been bitten by a dog. So I guess I don't know how I would react. If the OP doesn't think he or she will aggress against the dog again, I guess moving on is the best thing to do. Posting here is a smart, responsible first step on the part of the OP.
my dog has bitten me before and trust me ,things get out of hand very quickly and i think a natural reaction is to yell, push the dog away, hit the dog, do whatever your body thinks will get the pain and attacking to stop. i am always very suprised when i see dog whisperer and he doesnt even flinch and stays so calm when the dog attacks and even draws blood from him. ( NOT trying to bring cesar in to this, lol, jsut saying that hes the only one i've ever seen get bit and NOT react in a typical way) people scream, push the dog (which normally makes things worse), flail about, hit the dog, etc. personally i normally yell and jump back (which taught my dog that to get me away , biting works!). shes a lot better now with more training and exercise.

the best thing to do is probably start over and spend a lot of time training her. also if there was something in her mouth that caused this, after teaching other basic commands i would teach 'drop it' asap. this has helped SO MUCH with my dog's guarding/food/toy aggression. well good luck =)

oh and i think it might also help a lot if you have a very consistent, regular schedule aroudn the house. that way it might make the dog feel more secure and get 'used to' things more quickly and less 'jumpy' in a way
 

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You have more experience than I anticipated from the original post. The darn problem with the internet is you can't just ask questions. I assumed the least knowledge (the safest way to give advice is to assume little knowledge, you can always add more later).

I would try something with this dog. Do not allow her to just eat her food from her bowl by herself. Hand feed her every morsel. However, don't JUST hand feed her. Make her do something first for each morsal of food. "Sit!" bit of food; "Lie Down" bit of food; "Stand'"bit of food etc. If you are feeding kibble, one kibble at a time.

Don't let her have ANY toys at this stage.

Invoke NILIF.. which means ANYTHING she wants, she has to do something YOU want first. I would also not allow her to sit on the furniture next to you at this time. That puts those teeth way to close to your face. It also is another part of discipline. When you have her better trained and she is not resource gurading anymore you can use getting on the couch next to you as a reward but have her do something (like sit and stay) to earn this first.
 

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Ok, so yu have teens/older kids, instruct them NOT to chase the dog, but to call her to them (using happy, playful voice) and have a GREAT reward in hand if she has something in her mouth, show her the reward (it can be a super yummy treat OR a favorite toy) and have get her to drop whatever's in her mouth, once she has this down, name the action ("Give" is a good command and different from "Drop" which I use when playing fetch).

You also STILL need to train "Leave It" which the doggy zen does as it also helps with the dogs self control (which is sounds like this pup needs).

YOu want the kids involved in the dogs training too, they have JUST as much responsibility to be BENEVOLENT leaders as you do.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It is important that you look for a behaviorist, someone who is knowledgable not only about "regular" problems such as housebraining, early obedience, etc, but someone who is really well versed in dogs who have behavior problems like aggression or fearfulness.

How doe she act around her food? Is she possessive of that as well?

Again I want to ask how much she's being walked. You mentioned in your first post that she was "wild," so I'm wondering what kind of exercise she's getting to drain her energy.
Hi Miss Mutt.

She really has not eating very much. I filled a bowl of food and she has been picking at it. She was being fed table food and dry food with some wet food on top. I really want to break this. I prefer to feed her dry food only. I will buy the best that I can, but I really do not want to get into the wet food. I have been giving her some treats, she likes Pedigree Marrow Bones and I have mostly being giving these to her start training her, she takes them very gingerly and shows no aggression. She can sit when instructed, but nothing else. I have also been giving her some small rawhides and she loves them, she tosses them in the air and plays with them for awhile. I have taken them from her and threw them trying to play fetch, this is why I am so shocked that she bit me over this piece of plastic.

I have been walking her quit often, every couple of hours. I bought a gentle leader head collar. She is adjusting to it, but she does not like it. She loves to pull when walking so I am hoping this will help. I did let her off the leash to run around the yard and she started to run off and into the street and just stood in the street staring at me. She did come back to me, but she really is not coming to me when I call her, she just stares at me??. I am going to look into fencing options, I would like to see about a invisible fence, but I prefer to train her first and try to keep her from running away and coming to me when I call her.

I know I have my work cut out for me, I have only ever owned Black Labs and Golden Retrievers, so this is a little different. She has calmed down alot, she has been resting, but she gets real excited when someone enters the house, she jumps all over the person, it is amazing how high she jumps, it is like she is on springs.
 

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Hmm, perhaps it was on the defensive since she had been chased, it could have scared her and she bit. She was probably never taught ANY kind of bite inhibition as well so that may have made it worse than was intended.

The the fact is that we can't tell here, dogs will RG weird stuff at times, which is why we advocate NILIF. Get the book I told you about, it will help and can be used for prevention as well.
 

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Very very interesting that you don't mention any aggression with food and treats. In a way, it's good; in another way, it's not, because it means the thing she'll guard are probably going to be more random and actually harmful if she ingests them (ie., plastic).

This may very well be a fluke. I don't want you to let your guard down, but as Carla said, maybe she was more spooked than anything; she just found something on the floor and wanted to see what it was and here comes the kids to try and investigate. Sure, that's technically still guarding, but there might be a separate fear element to it - "who are these kids? I don't know them that well and they're making me uneasy since they're so close while I'm chewing on this thing." You know?

Definitely keep your floor spotless of any garbage that may trigger this reaction from her, and be conversative at best with toys and treats. If she's not really eating I don't think that the hand-feeding would be the best thing right now, as it may only make her uncomfortable and turn away from the food altogether. Down the line I do think it would be a good idea, though, so she gains both confidence in you and respect of you.
 
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