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 Fixable problems, or too late?

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Arcan9ne
Newborn
Newborn
Arcan9ne

Join date : 2017-05-14

Fixable problems, or too late? Empty
PostSubject: Fixable problems, or too late?   Fixable problems, or too late? EmptyFri Jun 16, 2017 12:18 am

Hello, first time post here and unfortunately it is not as positive of a post as I'd like.

One month ago, my girlfriend and I rescued a 4 year old Husky from our local Animal Shelter. She wasn't available for adoption right away, so we put a hold on her and had a week or so to go back and visit and try and get a feel for her personality. The day she became available to adopt, we brought our other dog, Cloud, to the shelter so that they could interact and be the deciding factor whether or not we adopted her. Cloud acted the way he usually does around dogs he doesn't know, so I wasn't concerned with him. Noctis (as we later named her), pretty much ignored Cloud besides sniffing him and trying to play for a few minutes. So we adopted her, and she was spayed the next morning.

Everything seemed fine until a couple days later when she bit someone. It was two days after adopting her and her surgery when she bit one of my coworkers. However myself and everyone else believe it was provoked. He reached for her face without letting her sniff him and she turned and growled at him, so he pulled back. Then he went to pet her again and she bit his finger enough to draw blood. Everything ended up being fine, no stitches needed or anything like that but we were still concerned about the bite.

Another issue that's developed is her fighting with Cloud. I don't feel like she's meaning to be aggressive, but she tries to play with Cloud when he's not in the mood and it just escalates into a fight. We can usually break it up pretty quickly but she's actually managed to scratch him and make him bleed a little bit. Again, I don't feel like it's on purpose because most of the time they're perfectly fine with each other and play very well.

Fast forward to last night, we were having a family barbecue and had some people over. She had met every person who was there with the exception of one person and she was super sweet and friendly to all of them. But then out of nowhere the new guy puts his hand out for her to sniff and she bites him. Not hard enough to draw blood, but still a bite. No growl or anything like that.

So bottom line, my girlfriend and I are torn on what to do. On one hand, we've already become attached to Noctis and she seems to be attached to us as well. And her and Cloud do get along most of the time. But we're worried about her either biting someone else, like a child or something, and her and Cloud getting into a fight so bad that he gets mutilated or worse. I want to train her, but I'm not really sure on the best course of action in order to help her be a friendly dog that we don't have to worry about her biting someone. The last resort would be taking her back to the pound, but I'm afraid she'll get put down if she ends up biting anyone else.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you all in advance.
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aljones
Senior
Senior
aljones

Male Join date : 2014-08-18
Location : Terlingua, Texas

Fixable problems, or too late? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Fixable problems, or too late?   Fixable problems, or too late? EmptyFri Jun 16, 2017 1:15 am

Let's start by defining something - it sounds to me that your girl is exceptionally head shy, read the link and I won't have to explain a lot and then you can tell me if I'm on target or not.

For elucidation, head shyness is often apparent with an owner when the ears go back when you reach for him but a growl or nip isn't too unexpected with a stranger.  It's the dog's way of saying "I don't know you, I don't trust you, please back off."

It's learned behaviour and at 4 years old it will take time to unlearn, but it's doable - you just have to be very aware of strangers.  Dogs, btw, know that children are human puppies and cut them a lot of slack, but it still bears watching.

ETA:  It also sounds like you need to teach your friends about "doggie introductions."

Okay, I keep adding notes: How old is Cloud? Huskies typically play very rough compared with other dogs, It may just take time for them to settle, so that she knows how rough she can play and for Cloud to not think she's being aggressive (some dogs cannot read a Husky when it comes to play!)
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Arcan9ne
Newborn
Newborn
Arcan9ne

Join date : 2017-05-14

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PostSubject: Re: Fixable problems, or too late?   Fixable problems, or too late? EmptyFri Jun 16, 2017 1:48 am

I feel like she is head shy, but at the same time I'm not sure. She does pin her ears back when I go over her head, but she loves having the bridge of her snout scratched and she lets my girlfriend and I rub her neck and face without problems. Sometimes she does shy away from people trying to pet her or try to jump away.

Yeah, I'm gonna have to work on introductions. It's crazy, because Cloud will greet any stranger with tail wags and excited licking.

Cloud is also 4 years old, and also a rescue. I think you may be right, Noctis tries to play, but Cloud thinks she's being aggressive and tries to stand his ground, in turn exciting Noctis even more and causing fights to break out. Is that what you mean? Do I just have to give it time?
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aljones
Senior
Senior
aljones

Male Join date : 2014-08-18
Location : Terlingua, Texas

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PostSubject: Re: Fixable problems, or too late?   Fixable problems, or too late? EmptyFri Jun 16, 2017 2:32 am

I recognized it since I also have one who's head shy. I've had him for about 6 years and he still dips his head when I reach for him. Once I start scratching his head and ears it's all okay and thankfully he's never bitten anyone but has walked away from some people - good judge of character<???>

Sometimes it'll take a while before dogs warm up to each other. Last year I added a third to my pack and the two females went at each other, it seemed, constantly. Avalanche is my "perpetual puppy" who wants to play all the time so the two females have at least agreed to a truce. Sky, my newest, will invite Sasha to play and most of the time Sasha wants nothing to do with her; Avalanche and sky will start playing and Sasha will get into the mix - sometimes simply because the other two are running over her.

Avalanche is one pup that I've never had to worry about when it comes to kids, he loves them and even when they just "come at him" he's more than wiling to play - rough or easy depending on the kid.

I think all rescues are a work in progress, sometimes it's quick and easy and sometimes it takes a lot of patience. Sasha was very food possessive and she's bit *me* five times (yeh, sometimes I'm a slow learner) but after a couple of years of work, meal time is play time. Long time but such a reward!!
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Kmanweiss
Teenager
Teenager


Male Join date : 2016-09-01
Location : Pierre, SD

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PostSubject: Re: Fixable problems, or too late?   Fixable problems, or too late? EmptyFri Jun 16, 2017 10:53 am

First off, I think it's rare to ever have a problem that can't be dealt with given enough time and patience. I've helped many a shelter dog overcome various issues. It can be hard work, but it's worth it.

I think Al is spot on with the biting issue. Human perspective is that we are just trying to give a dog love and attention. The dog's perspective is that an unknown entity is invading my personal space. It's like hugging. Some people like hugging, others don't. If someone hugs you upon first meeting you, it can be awkward. Your dog is communicating her discomfort, but the humans aren't picking up on it (they likely don't understand dog language). Sure, she lets you enter her private space, but she trusts you.
Most people, even a lot of dog owners, don't understand how dogs work. So if you have a dog with a certain potentially dangerous behavior, it's on you to make sure the people you expose the dog to understand the dog's behavior patterns. Introduce people to the dog, explain the issue, talk about the warning signs.
"This is Noctis, he doesn't like people petting his head, and he's a little defensive around strangers, so make sure he gets a chance to sniff you before you try to interact."

As for the fighting, well, huskies tend to be VERY physical players. We brought a 3 month old husky into a home with an 11 year old lazy dog. You can imagine how well that went. But we set up boundaries. No fighting in the kennel, no fighting on the retaining wall, no fighting on the deck. The husky learned those boundaries and knows that the only place he can initiate physical contact is the yard. The older dog knows this too, so he knows where the safe spaces are, and if he's not interested in physical play, he avoids the yard.
Our previous dogs (the older dog and a previous dog) had a love/hate relationship. They'd cuddle up and hang out, but every once in awhile (maybe 2 or 3 times a year) they'd sound like wolves fighting to the death. Inevitably, one would end up bloody. They never did this with other dogs, just with each other. If we'd crate them after a fight, they'd whine and cry until they were reunited, then they lick each others wounds and cuddle like old friends again. They had some very specific boundaries they created, and they enforced them...with a vengeance.
I'd give it time to allow them to get to know each other better. They'll learn about each other and they'll learn how to say no, and when no means no. A little scratch here, a little bite there is fine. If they are taking out chunks, then it's time to consider other options.
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TwisterII
Senior
Senior
TwisterII

Female Join date : 2013-06-14
Location : Missouri

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PostSubject: Re: Fixable problems, or too late?   Fixable problems, or too late? EmptyFri Jun 16, 2017 10:55 am

My new boy is a bit head shy and has the bite of a pitbull. You exposed her to a lot it sounds like in her first month with you. That first month is usually easier if you spend it just getting to know her and her getting to know you and not anyone else. It can take a couple months before you really get to see their true personalities. She met a lot of people really soon and had a lot thrown at her. She will get over it but definitely going to take time.

It took a month before my latest got remotely comfortable and that's when I started having some outbursts between him and my other dogs. My other male hated him and my female was determined to put him in his place. My original male would growl and snap at him for the first 3 months (nothing too bad. Could be thwarted with a loud HEY!) but they haven't had any issues for the last month. My female and him had a couple nasty rows in month two but she did eventually get her point across and now he knows when not to mess with her. I'm four months in now and things are just now really starting to find its rhythm. It's such a learning experience, especially with huskies who seem to see the world through a different set of glasses than many other breeds.

You may look into taking her to a normal obedience class where she can be around a lot of dogs and people but in a controlled environment where the people have an instructor who will emphasize the proper ways to greet dogs so that she gets some proper introductions to help curb her distrust and knee jerk reactions.

With your other dog, being proactive is the best medicine. If you can tell she is starting to get on his nerves pull her away, distract her with something else for a bit to give him time to decompress. At the end of the day though your other dog is going to have to set his boundaries and she is going to have to learn to respect them. They will work it out. Just try to keep energy down as much as possible so the outbursts won't escalate so quickly.

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