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Serious "training" issue

848 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  3doglady
Hello all,

Unfortunately I have a very somber topic to this thread. My fiance and I got our chocolate lab mix puppy at 7 weeks old. At the time I was working a lot, often gone first thing in the morning and home around 8PM and my fiance was out of work. During the day he was caring for the pup. He started out as a very friendly energetic little guy and I've watched him progress into a snappy and skittish dog. He is now 6 months old and stays across the room from me, doesn't often come when I call him and is very flinchy, often fear biting when I try to pet him. Last month I found out that my fiance has been taking his aggression of being out of work out on the pup, hitting him (not punching, but still just as bad in my eyes), yelling at him, or just leaving him in his crate, which I had reserved for when we are out or night time until his habits are fully under control. I was absolutely shocked and furious. He has been attending anger management for a month now and has changed completely in my eyes, and has been nothing but kind to our pup since. I have always shown the pup love and have never hit him and have very rarely even raised my voice to him.

I know he may harbor resentment toward my fiance for a very long time for this, possibly forever, but will he always be this way toward me as long as my fiance is still around? Any steps I can take toward rehabilitating this poor little guy would be completely embraced. I absolutely love my dog and will do anything to be able to keep him, and my fiance is completely ashamed and remorseful of how he has been. The anger management classes are really helping him and he is continuing to take them until we both truly feel he is in control of himself.

Thank you so much everyone

EDIT: To be clear, according to him he was not just hitting the dog for no reason, but as "punishment" when he did something wrong rather than using positive reinforcement. No better in my eyes, just a clarification.
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Wow, not an easy situation. I'll leave the anger management issues alone, and try to keep comments centered around the dog.

Right now, the dog is feeling insecure in his home. He doesn't have any allies, because one person has hit him, and the other has been relatively absent. He has no idea that people can be kind. You absolutely NEED to gain this dog's trust NOW, before it's too late. Read some of the stickies here - in particular, "the bite stops here" is a good one, and "NILIF" (nothing in life is free).

Does the dog like treats? You should start carrying a treat bag (just attach it to a belt loop) and randomly drop treats near the dog whenever you think of it. The idea is that the dog will create a positive association: you=good. Have you tried a basic obedience class with the dog? Training, even just the simple stuff, can be a fabulous way to build a bond between dog and owner. Figure out what the dog loves more than anything (food? toys?) and use that as a reward for whatever behaviors you like.

Last point: don't expect a dog to "come" if you've never trained that. Dogs don't speak English, so you have to show the dog what you want and consistently reward the behavior until it becomes second nature.
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