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Hi, I came here looking for help on a bit of a problem I have with my rescue. On mobile so apologize in advance for format and length.

2 year old pitt, found emaciated on the side of the road in January of this year. We think he was a prior bait dog, he is as sweet as can be and loves everyone, never shown a mean bone in his body. As he gained weight there would be an occasional scuffle with the other dogs, that has since phased out as they all figured their place in the pack.

A few months ago he became incredibly painful in his stomach, unable to walk up the porch steps or jump into bed. I took him to the vet and they thought he had an upset stomach but was passig it, sent me home with meds. Leaving the vet I was unable to get him in the truck and picked him up to get him in. He snarled and growled but I said oh well, you gotta go, but once I let go he turned and latched onto my arm. Immediately let go but I did get hurt. I am 100% in the fault for that and it was incredible stupid. He was in pain and I provoked it.

So. After that everything has been fine and normal, he is the same happy lovable cuddly dude who is happy to meet everyone, dog and humans alike. We taught him to speak and he became quite vocal, would do this quiet, non threatening growl to his Ball or if we asked him to speak. Not the snarl I had heard that one day.

last week I got up in the middle of the night and didn’t see him, and tripped over him. We both stumbled pretty hard and he did yelp but nothing else. I felt horrible, gave him a ton of treats and tried to love on him but he had went into the other room on the couch and did quietly growl eventually when I went to love on him and apologize. Not threatening at all, but he did seem a little weird but considering his unknown history I totally got it. I left him alone and by morning it was like nothing had happened.

so that brings me to this past weekend. He had spent the entire night cuddling right in between my husband and I. I woke up thinking how cute he was being. Went to feed breakfast and he didn’t seem very interested. When I was like “what’s wrong buddy” and looked at him from a few feet away he did the quiet play growl so I backed up, he stopped and eventually left his bowl and ran to join my husband still in bed. I walked in a few minutes later while telling my husband he didn’t want breakfast, and he was laying at the foot of the bed wiggling his legs and wagging his tail crazy like he does when he is excited and wants people to come over and say hi. So I walked over, sat next to him on the bed and no warning he bit my face.

since then he’s been weird to me. That night I got into bed and he was laying at the end of it, he came over and gave me some licks on my hand and I petted his head, then he stared at me, opened his mouth barely (no teeth) and then went after me. I threw the blanket up and he didn’t make contact, got over it and jumped off the bed. We have kicked him out of the room since.

We’ve both been super cautious to each other since, he did the same growl at me once in the kitchen but I backed up and he stopped. Today is the first day he has seemed a little less weird with me and more friendly; but I am obviously keeping my distance and cautious because he really gives no warning.

he’s totally fine with my husband and my husbands friend who’s been visiting, was more than happy to see The sheriff who came for the bite, but not me. We are hoping to get a hold of a vet behaviorist when they are open tomorrow.

I’m just at a loss as to what is even going on. We have fostered and rescued and are no stranger to problem dogs but I’ve never experienced anything like this. Usually there is warning or previous agressive behaviors but seems like just a 180 to me. Google has been no help. Any suggestions?
 

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I don't say this about all dog bites - some bites are provoked, and some are circumstantial and therefore manageable - but with a dog this size doing this type of unpredictable biting, I personally would euthanize.

Sorry.
 

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There's a great deal of extra data that would be expected to offer you legitimate guidance in this circumstance. To what extent has the canine been with you? In your home? To what extent would he say he was benevolent while restricted to the home? Is it accurate to say that you were chipping away at any types of preparing? Does he have any comprehension of dutifulness? Would you be able to put him on a rope and walk him? What other non-verbal communication would he say he is showing when you drawing close? How are you moving toward the pooch when he shows this conduct?
Tutuapp 9apps Showbox
 

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You absolutely have the right idea with talking to a professional. It sounds like he is inhibiting his bites, which is a relatively good sign (you haven't mentioned a hospital so I'm assuming only minor puncture wounds at worst, is that correct?), but he definitely needs someone who can observe him first-hand, with experience working with biting dogs. A vet behaviorist is an excellent option, and I hope you did get to see one. Please consider medication if they suggest it; it really can make a world of difference to an anxious dog.

I'm not comfortable giving too much advice, because as someone who cannot see this dog in person and is not a qualified behaviorist working with bite cases, I don't want to tell you anything that will get you bit or make the issue worse. This is, however, also why I am in strong disagreement with the idea not to 'back down' when the dog growls. This is absolutely a situation where I'd want the dog to trust that I WILL back down when they warn me, so they don't feel they have to escalate to more aggressive displays to get me to go away. Don't push this dog's boundaries until you are under the guidance of a qualified professional who's directly observing your dog and his behavior (which, obviously, none of us can do).
 

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You absolutely have the right idea with talking to a professional. It sounds like he is inhibiting his bites, which is a relatively good sign (you haven't mentioned a hospital so I'm assuming only minor puncture wounds at worst, is that correct?), but he definitely needs someone who can observe him first-hand, with experience working with biting dogs. A vet behaviorist is an excellent option, and I hope you did get to see one. Please consider medication if they suggest it; it really can make a world of difference to an anxious dog.

I'm not comfortable giving too much advice, because as someone who cannot see this dog in person and is not a qualified behaviorist working with bite cases, I don't want to tell you anything that will get you bit or make the issue worse. This is, however, also why I am in strong disagreement with the idea not to 'back down' when the dog growls. This is absolutely a situation where I'd want the dog to trust that I WILL back down when they warn me, so they don't feel they have to escalate to more aggressive displays to get me to go away. Don't push this dog's boundaries until you are under the guidance of a qualified professional who's directly observing your dog and his behavior (which, obviously, none of us can do).
At this point I too would not stand my ground when the dog growls. It is too late for that. You need to find a way to change the conversation without retreat.

Yes to a professional. Expect to spend large money and likely still have the issue.

I have seen this same situation a few times. I have never seen it end well.
 

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When he growled you backed up. Right there you have taught him he can make you go away when he wants to. This will only escalate.
That's what you WANT. You want the dog to growl as a warning instead of going straight to the bite. Failing to back away will escalate the situation! Even in the very rare situation where a dog (a stable dog free of past abuse or anxiety problems) learns being "threatening" might get them what they want, simply not giving them what they want or managing the situation will quickly end it!

OP, please continue to heed your dog's warnings.

Giving this OP advice that BACKING DOWN is the dog "winning" is dangerous advice. There is no such thing as a battle for dominance between humans and dogs. There is no "winning" and "losing." The dog is afraid, plain and simple. Why? Not sure. Could be because of the incident with the car ride, could be because of the tripping incident, could be because of a number of other small things that you might not have registered at all, but all we know is the dog appears to be fearful of the OP, so the dog wants OP to go away. The dog does not want to control you or be the boss. It's a dog, not a little political minion. There are very simple reasons why they do everything. There might also be genetic issues at play here (which aren't so simple), but you won't know that without the consultation of a professional.

To me, the biting incident on the bed sounds like resource guarding. In the past, perhaps the dog was punished for exhibiting warnings such as growling, so straight to the bite it is. That's why there was seemingly "no warning." While you wait for professional help in this matter, you can manage this by not allowing the dog on furniture. He gets his own bed. Lure him off furniture with treats and reward him for being on his bed.

Other ways you can manage this situation is by using baby gates to keep him separate from you, depending on what you feel you need to do. Feed him in his crate. Chews are given in his crate. Don't stare at him, he might perceive that as a threat (when you were looking at him after you gave him his breakfast). If you are moving around your house, and the dog is in your way, throw a treat away from you and out of your way. Do not push love and affection on him. Allow it to be on his terms (if at all, if he's as unpredictable as you say). Give the dog as little opportunity to fail as possible.

In addition to seeking the help of a behaviorist, you might consider a vet visit where they test the dog's thyroid. The sample typically needs to be sent away to a special lab so they can properly test it. Thyroid issues can cause a ton of weird behaviors. Also check for conditions which may be causing your dog pain.

I hope the behaviorist can give you some more ideas and help you with this. Good luck!
 

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At this point I too would not stand my ground when the dog growls. It is too late for that. You need to find a way to change the conversation without retreat.

Yes to a professional. Expect to spend large money and likely still have the issue.

I have seen this same situation a few times. I have never seen it end well.
Okay. I've also seen Dr. Ian Dunbar - you know, the vet and animal behaviorist who devised a dog bite scale of severity that's still used in courts to this day - say that dogs with a bite level of three or lower (that's 1-3 punctures from a single bite, none deeper than half the length of the dog's canine at worst) often have a very good prognosis when treated by a knowledgeable professional and have a committed owner who complies with the rehabilitation program. I'll defer to his experience in this case, since dealing with aggression and bite cases has been a major part of his career and he's been specializing in behavior problems for 35+ years. He also 'retreats' from a dog if it's growling at him, fyi. And thanks the dog. He says it's a sign that he's messed up by pushing the dog too far past its comfort level.

Of course @Dustbunny08 will have to decide for themselves if they're willing and able to work through such a program while keeping themselves and anyone else the dog is in contact with safe. That's a very personal decision, and I agree that there's no shame in considering euthanasia if they decide that the risk is too high or that it'd be an unhealthy burden on their finances or mental/emotional health. Working with anxious dogs is hard, and an anxious dog that's willing to bite even more so. But I also don't think that we here have enough of a picture (or the expertise) to condemn this dog as unfixable.
 

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Yup. This dog needs a solid pro who understands... scientifically backed dog behavior and behavior mod techniques, and has a great track record of being able to help bite cases. Not anecdotes from a dog sport person who's never personally worked with fearful dogs or aggression, and is part of a community that apparently fails to rehabilitate biting dogs so frequently you're convinced that any level of bite under any circumstance is genuine human aggression and warrants euthanasia immediately. Oh, and as a reminder, we're also not talking about a bite-sport bred shepherd here, so it's a bit of a stretch to assume you understand everything about this dog's genetic temperament and motivation for biting from a single post.

Of course not all biting dogs can or should be saved. Of course the OP needs to take care and manage the dog to avoid any further incidents until a professional can advise them how to proceed. But the OP doesn't even clarify if this dog broke the skin, let alone detailed how severe the bite was. We do know that each incident where the dog made contact was a single bite and release. That's hardly an attack, though obviously still something that could be dangerous and needs addressing ASAP.

Heck, the dog hasn't even had a physical to check for health issues that can cause behavioral changes as of the original post. We cannot evaluate the dog over the internet with this information and current (lack of) expertise. Me included. With any luck, this dog has already seen a behaviorist who can tell the OP whether this dog is biting out of fear or anxiety, or the much less common or likely scenario of genuine human aggression. And hopefully the OP will listen to their evaluation and advice, not that of a bunch of armchair behaviorists in a random internet forum.

Not going to touch the part where you mock marker training and using treats without correction because you don't understand how training that way works. Not really relevant to this post, after all.
 

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Hmmmmm......

I'm no expert by any stretch.....but. IMHO. The owner should give the dog to a rescue or the local Humane Society.

The dog is threatening a family with growls and bites. Soon, it may turn to others outside the family.

Some can assume the best outcome is possible. I'm not sure if the best outcome is probable.
It is more likely the the situation will become worse.

The safety and health of the family is paramount importance.
 

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Here is the reality I have seen. Good dog, well bred, but with a strong personality. Dog ends up in a home where the owners are clueless... the dog learn how to make the people back down. At some point the dog needs a CTJ moment at a young age. Instead the dog wins or is rewarded with cookies for its behavior. The needed CTJ moment never happens. The dog become DANGEROUS.
I'm very curious to know what a "CTJ moment" would actually look like.

What would it consist of? Should I presume some sort of human-to-dog aggression? An egotistical show of physical superiority? In short, violence?

Breeder (who IS savvy) gets dog back TOO LATE.
Seems to me the breeder could NOT have been "savvy" at all if they placed the dog into a home where the owners were "clueless". That's the root of the matter right there. What that dog truly "needed" was a home, right from the onset, where the people had a firm understanding of dog behaviour and how to SUCCESSFULLY address issues WITHOUT the use of violence.

In ALL CASES the dog was euthanized.
It has NOTHING to do with "love and clickers and cookies" failing the dog. Those ingredients could quite possibly, and quite likely, have SAVED the dog if they were implemented properly and knowledgeably. That, AND much greater discretion on the breeder's part when it came to placement.
 

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Hmmmmm......

I'm no expert by any stretch.....but. IMHO. The owner should give the dog to a rescue or the local Humane Society.

The dog is threatening a family with growls and bites. Soon, it may turn to others outside the family.

Some can assume the best outcome is possible. I'm not sure if the best outcome is probable.
It is more likely the the situation will become worse.

The safety and health of the family is paramount importance.
This is actually a pretty bad idea. A dog with a bite history likely to be euthanized even in no-kill shelters even when it's not a bully breed, and honestly a home with the finances and willingness to work with a professional behaviorist (veterinary or otherwise qualified through a reputable third party) is probably going to have more time and resources to try to rehab the dog than any but the most specialized rescues. All you'd be accomplishing is making the dog's last days more stressful and upsetting in most cases.

Even if the dog is rehomed to the rare adopter who'd be willing to take on a bully breed with his record, the rescue/shelter or even the original owner can be held legally liable if he bites again, because they knowingly rehomed a dog with a bite history. If the owner decides they cannot work with this dog for whatever reason - as only they can evaluate whether they can do so safely (with the help of a professional evaluation, ideally) - the most responsible option left would be euthanasia.

It sucks. But there's way more dogs with behavior problems than homes willing to work with them, and this dog is ALREADY in a home that seems like they want to at least try if a professional agrees that it's worth a shot.
 

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DaySleepers. You may disagree, but the reality is this dog is a RESCUE, not from a breeder.

The safety and health of the FAMILY far outweigh the needs of the dog. If that dog was in my family with known risk and history of bites, then it would given to the local Humane Society. Family safety must be FIRST.

As I stated before. Many people assume the best outcome for the dog is possible. Often the "best outcome for the dog" is not probable.
 

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DaySleepers. You may disagree, but the reality is this dog is a RESCUE, not from a breeder.

The safety and health of the FAMILY far outweigh the needs of the dog. If that dog was in my family with known risk and history of bites, then it would given to the local Humane Society. Family safety must be FIRST.

As I stated before. Many people assume the best outcome for the dog is possible. Often the "best outcome for the dog" is not probable.
Yes. And as I said before, if the dog can't be worked with safely (which only the OP can decide with the help of a qualified professional), then it needs to be euthanized. Not passed on to make it someone else's problem. Because the grand majority of rescues, shelters, humane societies will kill this dog anyway. It has a bite history. It's a bully breed. They may face legal prosecution if they rehome the dog and it bites again.

Giving it to the local Humane Society is just disrupting the dog's life, putting it through the stress of changing homes and shelter environments, only to have it be put down anyway. My opinion is that this is irresponsible. The least someone can do in this situation is have the dog euthanized themselves to spare them that suffering.
 

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Yes. IMO it's wrong to pass the problem down the line to new owners or to a rescue/shelter when it comes to dangerous biting. A sizable biter is going to end up euthanized either way - if one handles it oneself, they reduce the risk of anyone else being hurt, and they can at least give the dog a peaceful, humane ending, not a scary death among strangers after days or weeks of stress in a shelter environment.
 

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DaySleepers. You may disagree, but the reality is this dog is a RESCUE, not from a breeder.

The safety and health of the FAMILY far outweigh the needs of the dog. If that dog was in my family with known risk and history of bites, then it would given to the local Humane Society. Family safety must be FIRST.

As I stated before. Many people assume the best outcome for the dog is possible. Often the "best outcome for the dog" is not probable.
Yes, but if the family is unable to work with the dog, or behaviour modification attempts fail (assuming it's behavioural and not medical), then the humane and responsible thing to do is to euthanize the dog so it can at least go out with the people it knows and loves, not dumped alone in a strange and terrifying place to die alone.
 

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Sometime ago I saw a post on a dog forum by a guy who said something along the lines of: "When I bring a dog home, if all four of its legs fall off the next day, it's still my dog and my responsibility."

I often think of that post, and I agree. It's one thing to rehome a dog that you can't keep to another, better situation. Dumping a dog on a shelter or rescue because you haven't got the fortitude to face what must be done is a whole different thing, and IMO unkind, irresponsible, and cowardly.

Further, things may be different in other countries than the U.S. and other states than Colorado, but here any shelter is going to ask about bite history. If the dog has one, it will be immediately euthanized. Any rescue is going to ask and probably refuse the dog if you admit a bite history. If you lie, you're risking liability for future bites, and yes, some people research the history of a dog that bit them. Why? For ammunition in a lawsuit.

This poor dog has a tragic history, and I hope the OP is able to get help and mitigate the situation. There are some things I see in the original post that I think could be better handled - like why is the dog on beds and couches? Those are privileges dogs earn over time by exceptionally good behavior - like moving out of the way or getting off something when they're told to without fuss.

All that aside, I'll admit any dog that bit me or anyone else in the face would be euthanized as soon as I could get an appointment. However, all this is from forum posts, and there's no way to know nuances. My exception to that blanket statement would be if someone was in a dog's face teasing, and people often think they're being affectionate or playing with a dog when they're teasing or intimidating by getting in its face, ignoring boundaries and canine comfort zones. It wouldn't happen to my dogs because I wouldn't allow it, and I know that because dummies have tried.

I hope this works out somehow for people and dog.
 

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I'm also going to call a moratorium on the euth recommendations right now. Given this behaviour started shortly after the dog had a medical emergency, it appears to have demonstrated bite inhibition, AND the OP is bringing in a behaviourist, it is far, far too early to be talking euthanasia. To the OP, if you're still here and reading, please let us know what the behaviourist says.
 
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