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I may have gotten in a bit over my head. My boyfriend and I together have four dogs -- a coonhound, Aussie, Doxie, and tiny Yorkie mix. They're delightful dogs. Thankfully we also have two houses with two big, fenced yards. :)

The other day, I reached out to a rescue willing to sponsor a Blue Tick/Coon Hound/Walker mix that was on verge of being euthanized. I got him, Cooper, day before yesterday. He was, of course, tired and confused and in pain from that day's neutering. I have set up his crate in my mud room.

Introducing dogs went swimmingly, but the bf took our four to his house for the time being so I could get a little (ha) peace. Cooper is a sweet dog, but it's a bit of a battle. He has attempted to get into my son's guinea pig cage -- relentless. I know, he's a hound. But I can't even begin to think about normalizing him to them as he absolutely loses his mind. I had to drag him away. Guinea pigs are now safe in upstairs bedroom.

He appears to have been starved, so food is a huge issue. We're feeding him twice a day, and he goes ape. I expected that. Eating near him is a struggle. I expected that. Keeping him off the couch is a struggle, but I'm working on it. He play bit (maybe?) me today when I was reaching for him to pull him from the couch.

Tomorrow, now that he's seeming to feel far better from the surgery, we'll start walking the neighborhood... see if we can burn some energy. Any other advice, words of wisdom, encouragement... would be appreciated. It's been a long, tiring few days. I just keep reminding myself to stay cool and stay compassionate. He's a lovely boy. cooper.jpg
 

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First off, congrats on taking on this role. It takes a special sort of person to care enough to do this.

In similar cases I have suggested to the carers that they treat the dog as a new puppy and start training everything from scratch. Right back to basics with evertything. If you know how to use a clicker then work him through all the basics in short sessions and see how far along he has been trained and then you can go back and work on the areas needing work.

You need to nail the growling bit hard and fast so I would work on getting yourself into a place where you are more rewarding when he listens to you. Being food motivated, this wont be hard. Hand feed his meals and make him work for each spoonfull - sit , drop, hand shake, spin, grab the collar etc. Give him a bed in a corner and shape him into going to "his" spot.

Good luck and have fun.
 

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Thank you so much for helping him. He looks like a handsome fellow!

I had to laugh reading your post. It's a perfect description of life with my dog, who has more than a bit of beagle in him. I never thought I liked hounds, but 6 months with a beagle mix has taught me that I love stubborn, obsessive, loud hunting dogs. Who knew? I've been looking at getting a second dog, and I'm seriously leaning towards a beagle or coonhound (likely some kind of mix).

Definitely start clicker training from scratch and give him some leeway. It's been a rough patch for him, with lots of disruptions and stress. He'll calm down.

Don't ever pull a dog off a couch or bed. You're setting up a situation in which the dog will respond with growling and biting, especially a dog fresh from surgery with residual pain. Coax him off with food and teach the "off" command.

Don't ever punish growling. Growling is good. Growling gives you a chance to avoid a bite, without growling, all that is left is the bite. You don't want that.

As to the guinea pigs, well, he's a hunting dog. As were a hundred generations of his forbears. Guinea pigs are pretty much the definition of prey, so I'm not surprised he can't be trusted with them. You may just have to keep them separated. I certainly wouldn't blame any dog for killing a guinea pig, or any such small prey animal.

You're doing a good thing. Hang in there, it'll get better.
 

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I agree with all of Amaryllis's suggestions.

in addition, I find that leaving a comfortable basic harness and short traffic lead (basically a hand loop) on a foster dog all day lets me safely grab him when needed without reaching for a collar. Very convenient and adds to the safety of other dogs around a new one.

While your specific issues are different, I'll refer you to a thread I wrote to follow the progress on my previous foster dog. The point being that HUGE changes can happen and progress will be made: Luna-foster-pit-bull
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all so much. Seriously, it helps. We never did clicker training with ours, so that's something I'm going to research tonight. And I'm going to go ahead and get a harness. He's strong and wily, my friends.

Today we're working on normalizing him more in the house; plus it's hot as hades out, so time in the yard is limited. Dinnertime is hard. I stepped away to throw a piece of plastic in the trash and he was up and on the counter in an instant, eating all the tortilini. Yowzas.

And the jumping. Holy cow.

And we press on! Thanks again.
 
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