TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › Cats and Other Animals › Troubling Stray Dog Behavior
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Troubling Stray Dog Behavior

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
About two weeks ago, we took in a stray dog at my work. My boss is a real dog lover/dog person and didn't want to let this poor boy keep running loose.

In that time, she's had him neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, bathed, and has started training him. He spends days with us at work (on a lead tied to her desk with frequent breaks) and nights at home with her and her partner and their GSD. She's looking for someone to adopt him as her partner is traveling 4 days out of every week and two large dogs is too much to handle for her long term.

Rio (the dog) is about 60 lbs, and I guess he's a mix of yellow lab and either husky, chow, or akita (some breed with a curled tail and dense fur). We guess he's about a year old and was probably a "yard dog" as he doesn't seem to really understand houses. He LOVES my boss and her partner and gets along well with their dog.

Here's the troubling part. Over this past week he's started to show sudden agression. Violent barking at client's he's met before and "made friends with" (we're a graphic design studio and have vendors and clients in and out throughout the day). He's lunged at a sales guy who (quite foolishly) approached him and started petting him around his neck when he was barking at him. Today he snapped at a client (who's he's met before and liked) and grazed her wrist.

He bit me on the leg a few days ago, but it was different. I stepped near him to hand my boss a message and felt something strike my leg (he was asleep) and by the time I looked down, he was all happy panting dog, wanting to be pet. I don't think he even realized he bit me, it was so fast and silent that it was almost like something instinctual. It even took me a few seconds to realize he bit me. (Though I do have quite the series of bruises now!)

We basically have a cute furry lawsuit on our hands if we don't curb this soon! He's really a sweet dog *most* of the time. We can't figure out what's triggering him, as he's barked at men and women, white people and black people, new people and "friends". He does seem more calm if we greet the person verbally as soon as they come in the door.

Any tips or insights? For now, I'm not walking past him when he's asleep and I'm warning clients to not approach him.

Thanks for any help anyone can give and sorry for the long post!

~Julia
post #2 of 13
i'm no expert on dogs, but what it sounds like to me is that he's starting to bond with you, and so wants to protect those he knows, and his "domain", from strangers.

do you ever watch The Dog Whisperer on National Geographic channel? one thing that guy says is to disipline the dog (with a noise or a "no!" or a tug on his chain) the MOMENT he starts showing aggression or barking or even undue interest in someone. for instance, if a client knocks on your door, before you even let them in, if the dog is barking, tell him no and make him go sit in the corner. only let the person in once the dog is calm and has surrendered to you.

good luck, i hope you figure out the problem
post #3 of 13
He has become comfortable with his new people and his aggression is his alpha tendency coming full force. With the mix of what you think you he is, I get the shudders. Several of the breeds you mentioned are unpredicable and known to attack their owners. Aggression in dogs stems from fear and he has probably encountered triggers, perhaps it is being restrained all day- maybe he spent his early days on the end of a chain in a backyard and was terrorized from time to time? Aggression can also be food allergies too and changing the diet gradually might help. I would definitely stay away from this dog and suggest they crate him at the job instead of chaining him to a desk or what have you.

We had a GSD a few years ago, Chewy was rescued from an abusive home and when we got him, he was pretty much ruined. They did horrible things to him, food starved him, kept him in a small box where he couldn't turn around, shot him several time with pellets, beat him- poor dog. The first time I fed him, I will never forget it, he picked up his full food bowl and holding it carefully went out the dog door with it and buried it in the backyard- a survival technique of a starving dog.

If they are going to keep him, I would suggest a good behaviorist to come in and help them modify his behavior.
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
The first time I fed him, I will never forget it, he picked up his full food bowl and holding it carefully went out the dog door with it and buried it in the backyard- a survival technique of a starving dog.
aww I think that brought tears to my eyes. poor guy.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you both for the fast replies. My boss was also thinking that he's finally starting to settle in and now he's protecting us or the office space.

He was in pretty sorry shape when she lured him in. We actually thought he was much older because he was so thin and his coat was in horrid shape and he seemed pretty stiff. Turned out he just needed a good bath and some quality food. We have no idea how long he was out running around.

I don't think he was abused as he shows no sign of food or toy agression and will happily roll over for belly rubs. I do think that he wasn't properly socialized as when we first took him in he didn't know any "doggy words" (walk, treat, potty, toy, sit, come, etc.).

My boss is good about immediately disciplining him. She makes him lay down and uses "leave it" as the general "Your actions are not ok" command. That's a good idea about locking the door though so we have time to make him settle. Normally people just walk in and he does seem to react stronger to those clients that really blaze in.

I really hope we can curb this. He can be such a silly goofy sweet dog and then he just gets agressive but will go back to being Mr. Laidback within just a few minutes! Very bipolar.

Do you think that it's possible to get a handle on his agression issues, or is he already too old and perhaps too unsocialized to really make this problem go away?

MA - what happened to Chewy? That's such a tragic story. My boss's GSD is also a rescue baby. Found hit by a car on the side of a highway. He's got quite a story as well, but was lucky and is now a 110 lb lap dog! He's the biggest sweetie. Maybe he'll rub off on Rio.

~Julia
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
Several of the breeds you mentioned are unpredicable and known to attack their owners.
one of those is the Chow, right? I've heard they can be really aggressive/unpredictable..i'm just curious which is the other breed that is unpredictable/attacks his owners? also (because you seem to know ) is it true that St. Bernards can turn on their owners, or is that just a myth spawned from the movie Cujo?
post #7 of 13
Yes lovable looking St. Bernards can turn on their owners. My husband's mom used to raise them and had several turn on her. Akita's are another unpredictable breed and a husky if not allowed to run long distances on a daily basis can become easily bored and aggressive. I really hate indiscriminate breeding in dogs because the pups grow up so gentically conflicted when so many breeds are involved.
post #8 of 13
There have also been incidences of Blue Heelers, Cocker Spaniels and Golden Retrievers turning on their owners or other people. This is an unfortunate possibility of having any dog, sometimes they just do. In my opinion nearly 100 percent of the time it is to do with something that has happened in the dog's history - regardless of how it was raised - sometimes something that we think is totally innocuous can be a trigger later on. There are certainly breeds out there that have more aggressive tendencies, usually as a genetic characteristic of the breed and something that was bred into it from the beginning to serve a particular purpose, and these dogs need to be raised especially carefully or their genetic makeup will show through eventually. However, it needs to be remembered that any dog has the potential for aggression and must be handled properly and with positive discipline at all times.
post #9 of 13
here in SF there was a horrible case, a boy killed by his own family pit bull :/ it happened not that far from my house, and for some reason every time i drive down that road, i think of it.

i dont think all pit bulls are bad tho. i had a friend who had one, and she had two toddlers, and they would climb all over him and tug on his ears (of course she told them not to when she saw, but you know how kids are), and he never so much as curled his lip at those kids. they'd try to get on his back and ride him and he'd just look up at you like "i'm getting a big bone for this later, right?"
post #10 of 13
It almost sounds like he could have what I would call a "rage syndrome" where maybe even he doesn't realize he's attacking people, it just happens. However, his breed mixes really aren't know for it to my knowledge, it's mostly a Golden Retriever/Springer thing.

I think his owner needs to put a choke collar, fabric or otherwise and take him back to the basics of obedience. When he goes to get up and bite someone he needs to be told to "leave it" like they've been doing, and made to lay down BEFORE he bites someone. He could be being territorial, but this needs to be nipped in the bud if he's serious enough to bite someone. The barking also needs to stop. He needs to stop barking when told to stop barking, and if you guys can, catch it early one.

I would seek the advice of an obedience trainer. If anything, it sounds like he needs a job, and because no one has given him one, he's taken it upon himself to guard the building. I would also try crate training him and keeping him in a crate if he can't be controlled to not bite people.

Many people don't like choke collars, choke chains and prong collars are the same thing [no matter what people say, it's the same principal, choking the animal] however, I have found if used properly, really get the point across without hurting the dog. It's based off of "release" you correct the dog, then release, and most dogs usually learn to respect it right away. I have trained both of my dogs using one, neither of them have suffered any ill effects, and both of them behave now in a regular collar and leash. I think this dog just sounds like he needs to have what I call a "come to jesus moment" where he learns the rules of the building, and what he should and shouldn't be doing. Biting people isn't acceptable, barking isn't so bad as long as he stops when asked, biting is just asking for trouble.
post #11 of 13
The dog has become more comfortable and has now assumed the role of alpha. Part of an alpha dog's job is to protect his "pack". The other role is for an alpha dog to choose whether to flea, fight or freeze. In an enclosed area, his only option is to fight, therefore he attacks people that come into his space. One of the things that an alpha dog does to show his place in the pack is to put his arm or mouth over the neck/back of other dogs. When someone approaches an alpha and tries to pet them on the head, neck or back, the alpha feels that his place is being challenged and he will fight back.

Someone suggested that you watch the Dog Listener show - it is on the Animal Planet but only in U.K. The woman on the show, Jan Fennell, has a number of books out and the best one to read (quickly) is the Dog Listener. There are 4 basic concepts you need to start doing immediately with this dog to remove the dog from the alpha role. In Jan's words, "change places". You will need to read the book to understand why these methods are effective.

1) Feed the dog twice a day. Fix his bowl up on a counter and also fix yourself a plate with a small tidbit of food. Eat your food first in front of the dog. When done, put the food down without looking at the dog and walk away. If the dog leaves before finishing the food, take the bowl away. (an alpha eats first and controls the food of his pack)

2) When taking the dog out for a walk, never allow the dog to exit the door before you. Walk to the door, wait until the dog totally calms down, then open the door and exit first. If the dog won't settle down, take off the leash and walk away for a while until they settle down and try again. (an alpha always leads the hunt and a walk is closest to a hunt)

3) When you (or anyone) enters the room with the dog, ignore him, and that includes not making eye contact, talking to him, or acknowledging his presence in any way. Once he calms down, you may call him over to you to pet him. Jan suggests a 5 minute rule before you interact. If he jumps on you, gently push him away and if it pursists, remove him to another room and isolate him. (an alpha dog acknowledges his pack once he is ready and his alpha status is always challenged upon return from a hunt)

4) If the dog over reacts when someone comes to the door or walks by (barking, jumping on things, etc), simply walk over to the door (or window) and very calmly thank the dog for telling you that there are dangers out there. If the dog persists, calmly remove him from the room and isolate him until he is calm. (an alpha protects his pack and if the alpha doesn't feel there is danger, he responds by remaining calm)

My dogs are generally great dogs, but when I started doing these 4 simple things, they turned into outstanding dogs within a few days. Some dogs take a lot longer, but seriously, if you do this consistently, you will see a sharp improvement almost immediately. I'm not saying this to sell her books, I'm saying this because it really works.

http://www.janfennellthedoglistener.com/

http://www.janfennellthedoglistener.com/books.htm

Read Jan Fennell's book. It has saved the lives of many aggresive dogs.

And btw.....ANY dog can turn on their owner - it it not limited to a handful of breeds. You hear about the larger breeds because if they do turn, they can inflict serious damage. It is in how they perceive their place in the world that makes them aggressive. We as humans have the ability to influence how they see their place.
post #12 of 13
I LOVE the Dog Whisperer on National Geographic. The owner needs to watch either the TV show, or get a few videos (about $20 at K-mart).

I agree with the other posts about this dog settling in and now going for alpha role. One thing that needs to happen is he gets walked regularly, for about 45 minutes before ever coming into the office. If his owner can give him a pack to carry, so much the better. This will get rid of some of his excess energy that can contribute to aggression.

Then the owner needs to firmly take over as number one. As MOM said, the owner walks ahead of the dog. Use a very short lead. (Basically a long lead pulled short.)

We have an akita, and let me tell you, she would gladly take over as top dog. And she is very smart about how she does it. I got her at 8 months, and had her for a few months before I realized she knew her basic commands. She acted as if she didn't know sit, lay, etc, and if you worked with her she started to get it...but I never spent enough time to really get her trained. One night we had pizza, and for a piece of crust she could do about 3 commands instantly.

Because akita's are very aggressive and protective, we require her to sit quietly when anyone comes into our home. We also greet them warmly. Because if you allow someone into your home with an intelligent dog, but they perceive that you don't really want the person there, they will be on guard against the person. (Our dog is especially protective of the kids, and sits betweeen visitors and the kids. Wags her tail and smiles, but I know she is there just in case!)

Once a dog has bitten or acted aggressively towards someone, they need to submit, or lay on their back showing their belly to the person.

I definitely suggest some Dog Whisperer videos, AND signing the dog up for obedience classes.

I had a dog that had been starved once, too. No matter how much we fed her, her food bowl was never empty. She saved some for later just in case. Same with water, she never never let the bowl get totally empty. She was a lovely girl, but it was heartbreaking to think of how cruelly neglected she had been.
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany
The dog has become more comfortable and has now assumed the role of alpha. Part of an alpha dog's job is to protect his "pack". The other role is for an alpha dog to choose whether to flea, fight or freeze. In an enclosed area, his only option is to fight, therefore he attacks people that come into his space. One of the things that an alpha dog does to show his place in the pack is to put his arm or mouth over the neck/back of other dogs. When someone approaches an alpha and tries to pet them on the head, neck or back, the alpha feels that his place is being challenged and he will fight back.

Someone suggested that you watch the Dog Listener show - it is on the Animal Planet but only in U.K. The woman on the show, Jan Fennell, has a number of books out and the best one to read (quickly) is the Dog Listener. There are 4 basic concepts you need to start doing immediately with this dog to remove the dog from the alpha role. In Jan's words, "change places". You will need to read the book to understand why these methods are effective.

1) Feed the dog twice a day. Fix his bowl up on a counter and also fix yourself a plate with a small tidbit of food. Eat your food first in front of the dog. When done, put the food down without looking at the dog and walk away. If the dog leaves before finishing the food, take the bowl away. (an alpha eats first and controls the food of his pack)

2) When taking the dog out for a walk, never allow the dog to exit the door before you. Walk to the door, wait until the dog totally calms down, then open the door and exit first. If the dog won't settle down, take off the leash and walk away for a while until they settle down and try again. (an alpha always leads the hunt and a walk is closest to a hunt)

3) When you (or anyone) enters the room with the dog, ignore him, and that includes not making eye contact, talking to him, or acknowledging his presence in any way. Once he calms down, you may call him over to you to pet him. Jan suggests a 5 minute rule before you interact. If he jumps on you, gently push him away and if it pursists, remove him to another room and isolate him. (an alpha dog acknowledges his pack once he is ready and his alpha status is always challenged upon return from a hunt)

4) If the dog over reacts when someone comes to the door or walks by (barking, jumping on things, etc), simply walk over to the door (or window) and very calmly thank the dog for telling you that there are dangers out there. If the dog persists, calmly remove him from the room and isolate him until he is calm. (an alpha protects his pack and if the alpha doesn't feel there is danger, he responds by remaining calm)

My dogs are generally great dogs, but when I started doing these 4 simple things, they turned into outstanding dogs within a few days. Some dogs take a lot longer, but seriously, if you do this consistently, you will see a sharp improvement almost immediately. I'm not saying this to sell her books, I'm saying this because it really works.

http://www.janfennellthedoglistener.com/

http://www.janfennellthedoglistener.com/books.htm

Read Jan Fennell's book. It has saved the lives of many aggresive dogs.

And btw.....ANY dog can turn on their owner - it it not limited to a handful of breeds. You hear about the larger breeds because if they do turn, they can inflict serious damage. It is in how they perceive their place in the world that makes them aggressive. We as humans have the ability to influence how they see their place.
This is the best advice. Try googling NILIF program. This is basically what Amy is referring to above.
And yes, there are many myths out there about certain breeds turning on their owner but they are generally fear based myths. Any dog can turn unpredictably for a myriad of reasons.

If you don't see results in a short time, bring a professional in to work with the dog. And don't keep him leashed. Crate him.
Good luck! He sounds like he's great despite his issues.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cats and Other Animals
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › Cats and Other Animals › Troubling Stray Dog Behavior