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How to stop dog biting? (long thread)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
The dog in question is a 9 year old Mini Doberman Pinscher who has been living at my house. I am NOT the owner, and yes he does have an owner (also living here). He is blind in one eye and half blind in the other. He lives with another Mini Pinscher, who sometimes growls at him and sometimes cuddles with him. Usually he enjoys being petted. He has bitten me on two occasions now:

1- I was trying to get him to go into the "dog room", where we put the dogs while no one's home. He wouldn't come for a treat, so I reached for his collar and tried to gently pull him. He whipped his head around and bit my hand.

2- Today, the owner had been away for over 12 hours, at which point I realized that apparently I was supposed to feed the dogs, though no one had told me to do so. The other dog ate, but this one only had a few bites. I didn't want him to starve, so I gave him a Milk Bone. Being blind, he seemed unable to find it on the floor, so I reached for the bone to show him where it was. He bit me.

Just FYI, I am horrible at disciplining anyone. Instead of saying "NO" when he bit me today, I said, "Sorry for messing with your bone."

How can I prevent this dog from biting again? It's one thing for an animal to bite its owner, but when he's biting someone else....unacceptable. He can be sweet, but how can I avoid getting on his bad side? As far as I know he's never bitten his owner. He obviously nees to learn some discipline.

(By the way, these incidents were the first times I've been bitten by a dog, and let me say, it does so much more damage than being bitten by a cat!)
post #2 of 7
Both instances were common ones to be bitten. Bearing in mind his vision is poor - your movement probably struck him as "potential attack" hence the reaction (defense).

Make sure he is always aware you are grabbing for his collar (or moving towards him...Min Pins are well known for being nippy little dogs to start with, but given the sight I'd nip too. Even grabbing my own dog's collars I am cautious, as I have been bitten when I startled my own dog grabbing her collar.

Out of curiosity - when was his last vet check?
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Both instances were common ones to be bitten. Bearing in mind his vision is poor - your movement probably struck him as "potential attack" hence the reaction (defense).

Make sure he is always aware you are grabbing for his collar (or moving towards him...
You're right, I will be careful to make sure he notices me before I pet him or put him on the leash. I suspected his blindness had something to do with it.

I don't know when his last vet check was. The owner did say he sometimes gets bad stomachaches, and that makes sense with his not eating and feeling defensive. I guess I don't really blame him for biting. I'll try to make him aware when I approach him so that I don't startle him.
post #4 of 7
If the dog gets hungry he will eat. Dont worry about him not eating on a schedule, many dogs including older ones are grazers.

I agree that your movies probably startled him. Make sure to talk calmly and quietly and move cautiously when you are trying to get him to go somewhere. If you really need him to go somewhere you can make a loop with a leash and snag him with it to get him somewhere safely without getting bit and hopefully without causing to much stress to him. (that is if he is used to being leashed. If not this could be a bad idea!)
post #5 of 7
My advice would be to train him to realize that you are in authority over him. He should be going into the dog room because you tell him to, not for a bribe or by force.
Make obeying a joy for him, but make disobeying a chore. Have you tried stroking his muzzle and chin, and lightly over his eyes & ears, like a mother dog would during cleaning? This shows him you are assuming a parental figure which you need to be, if you are going to be giving him orders. When you give him a command, be sure you mean it - and remember that you only give orders to be obeyed because they are good for him and/or the rest of the family.
As for taking his bone, he can be conditioned to not be overprotective of food. If you are higher in the pack, you would have the right to take it anyway. It is safer for all in the household if you can accomplish this
Just make sure that the owner is in agreement with you training him because otherwise, the dogs will sense the discord. What you will end up with is a dog that you will feel happy & confident to have in your home - he will be a real treasure for the whole family
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice...I actually used the leash loop idea today because I was afraid he'd bite me when I connected the leash to his collar. Like I said before, though, I'm very bad about disciplining animals (Not authoritative or forceful at all).

On a related note, the place where I was bitten (broke the skin) is slightly swollen and a little sore to the touch. Is that normal or could it be infected (knock on wood, I hope not!)? None of my cat bite wounds ever swell or hurt the next day.
post #7 of 7
I would bet the bite is infected, and advise you get to a Dr ASAP.
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