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 Aggression and snapping

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ZiMan
Newborn
Newborn


Join date : 2018-05-18

PostSubject: Aggression and snapping   Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:51 am

Hi all - looking for some guidance and ideas. We are four weeks into our time with Zi, an almost 2 year old sib. We’ve been doing pretty good getting into a routine, schedule, and exercise plan. Learning each others likes, dislikes, and personalities. We’ve been crate training and it is going really well.

However, in the last five days or so, we have started to see aggression and increased biting. When he came to us he was definitely mouthy, but there was bo growling, baring teeth, or snapping. This has changed and we are not sure why. The other night he was the aggressor in two separate dog fights, not husky play, trye fights. And ge definitely started them. One over his water bowl, one just out of the blue with another dog that was playing rough but well.

Additionally, we are trying to teach him to ‘leave it’ and/or take food. I know there are mixed reviews on trying to take chew bones or food back from a dog, but we have friends with small kids and it will happen with them. So I need to get Zi to allow for people to pull food back without him reacting negatively. Last night my husband was working with him as he was chhewing a bully stick. He approached. He gave praise. He asked for the bone, he reached. And there were growls and bared teeth and then he bit my hubs hand.

We were both pretty shocked. I’m concerned. And not sure what to do. In all other ways he seems to be acclimating so well. But this new aggression with other dogs and the possessive biting is not acceptable.

Advice, please?
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aljones
Senior
Senior
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Male Join date : 2014-08-18
Location : Terlingua, Texas

PostSubject: Re: Aggression and snapping   Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:33 am

Hi guys, welcome to the mad dog / angry human club!!!  Relly I don't suppose either are mad but confused is too light a word for the feelings I had when Sasha bit me.  A little background about a dog I picked up in San Antonio who I found was very food possessive and what I did to work with her (the last time she bit me I had 4 stitches and promised that if she ever bit me again it would be the last time!)

First off, let's deal with a term that helps work with attitude - what you're dealing with is not aggression, it's possession.  In my terms, aggression is defined as a dog who who attacks for no reason or any reason and is definitely a very dangerous dog because you don't know what to expect.  What I'm hearing you say is that you have a dog who is very uncomfortable and protective about someone being around or taking something that he sees as his.

What I did with Sasha was a course of carefully planned steps to help her understand that I have enough food for her and my other dogs and that she will get fed - but it's going to be on my terms.
Here's a thread where someone else went through what you're going through.  (I know I have a thread here discussing me and Sasha but I can't find it!)

In one regard, his reactions isn't too uncommon - let's picture you in a restaurant and the Surf & Turf you ordered has been set in front of you, you pick up knife and fork and the waiter realizes that he gave your med rare to another customer and gave you his med well so he reaches over your shoulder and takes your plate!  Can you honestly tell me that you wouldn't do anything?  I can picture all sort of reactions ranging from "What the hey!?!?!?!" to "What the blazes to you think you're doing?" to "Put that steak back now or you're going to wish you had!!!"  See, that's our steak!! We can respond verbally and will in most situations, a dog can't so he responds in the best way he know how (at the moment!)

You have a dog who's been moved from a couple (I think you said 4?) different homes, he's got reason to be 'antsy'; he really isn't sure about what's going to happen and you need to set a lot of guidelines and expect him to learn and obey them ... and this doesn't come quick.  You're not only teaching him what he needs to learn, you're also going to spend a lot more time helping him UNLEARN a lot of things that he has learned.
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ZiMan
Newborn
Newborn


Join date : 2018-05-18

PostSubject: Re: Aggression and snapping   Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:29 pm

Thanks for the thread. I’m reading it through. I need to do way more research on the hand feeding. Right now he eats when he’s hungry (and not much since he came our way). I leave his bowl out for him because he hasn’t had much of an appetite, although it’s started to come back the last week. Maybe I need to do defined food times.

I also think his crate was used as punishment and he was hit while in it. When he does something wrong and we correct he sometimes goes to the crate, which I don’t want to lock him in, but he takes a very defensive posture/behavior in there. We are leaving it open during the day so he can come and go as he pleases, and when he needs a time out for bad behavior are trying to redirect to lay on his bed and then we let him up in five minutes or so. In his crate, if you point at him, he growls and bares his teeth, like he’s expecting us to reach in and hit him. It’s really sad.

My husband keeps telling me to be patient, and the same thing you said, lots to learn as well as unlearn. More time. More patience. And I love this forum as it is helping me stay calm and focused and frankly hopeful that it will work out with time. Really appreciate it!

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Husky911
Puppy
Puppy
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Male Join date : 2017-03-30
Location : Toronto, Ontario, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Aggression and snapping   Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:01 am

HI ZiMan!

I had a puppy who was initially very food motivated and very food possessive  Wink .  He would literally jump into the bowl as I was putting it down, and then circle it while eating and finish the whole thing in like 5 seconds.  He would growl and nip if I brought my hands close.

Here are a couple of things I ended up doing over the course of the year and a half that I've had him now...

  • Feed inside the crate - Creates sense of positivity in the crate
  • Feed inside the crate with the door closed
  • Don't allow them to eat the food unless you say so (I did this with the "leave it" and "go" command...difficult to do at first since he was soo food motivated, essentially I would make him wait outside the crate in a seated position, and he would try to bolt into the crate many times but I just shut the door on him...he got his foot caught in the door once as he was trying to bolt in...I think that was the turning point  Rolling Eyes )
  • Repeat above with the door closed (Let him go inside with the food, ask him to sit, keep saying leave it until you close the door, then "go!")
  • No open feeding, my dog is fed twice a day...that is all...no more, no less, I find this fosters dependency on you, you are in control of his food, which is very important if your dog is food motivated
  • Hand feeding (I spoon fed for a couple of weeks, it was weird, like feeding baby...LOLz)
  • While your dog is eating, you can get close to the bowl by putting more food/treats.  Hopefully he'll realize that by being close and touching his food you're actually adding more and tastier things to it...
  • Pet your dog while he's eating.  Gets him used to him being touched and having someone nearby while he's eating


Other more drastic things I've resorted to doing at some points along my journey is poking/grabbing the scruff of his neck and giving him a firm NO the moment he growls at me when I go close to his food.  I will admit I've even pinned him to his side once, but I urge extreme caution with you on this one.  Since your dog already has a history of abuse he could take this very negatively and associate you with his past which isn't something you want.  I've had Echo as a puppy and he's very strongly bonded with me.  I've seen him play rough with other dogs, and seen other dogs terrorize him without any problems so I feel very comfortable in putting him in his place "doggy style" when he steps over the line with me.

I will happily say now at a year and a half, I can take his food bowl mid meal, grab a raw bone from him, even take it out of his mouth without as much as a glance.  The other day he even came over and offered me his half chewed raw beef bone mid snack and while I was touched, I was like "eww no...get that that away from me" lol!

Best of luck! Keep at it!  You are doing an amazing job so far!
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aljones
Senior
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Male Join date : 2014-08-18
Location : Terlingua, Texas

PostSubject: Re: Aggression and snapping   Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:11 am

I'll agree with a lot of what @Husky911 says, but touching, especially grabbing, a dog who's learning to trust you is apt to set the whole thing back.

I've had Sasha for 6 years now and I can safely tell her to move back from her food, set, wait - what I'd do with any dog who wasn't food possessive. While I can tell her to move and nudge her to let me past which she does willingly, I wouldn't walk up to any of my dogs and grab them while they're eating. Once we got past the "It's MY food!!" stage we've had a lot of fun times. I don't say set, normally, it's a hand motion and it takes her about 1/2 a second to get her tail on the floor - looking at me! "Speak" and she'll grumble at me but she knows it's part of the game and more importantly, it's not a dangerous grumble, it's a play grumble. "Wait" keeps her away from the food until I can get it in her dish and on the floor with her watching the cup as I move it. "Get it" is her release and as far as I'm concerned it's her food and I'm not going to mess with her while she's eating. If I drop something while I'm in the kitchen, "Leave it!" means they all do just that, no problem, no hassle - it's mine until I tell them they can have it.

When I hand fed, BTW, I literally had a cup of dog food in reach (of me, not her) and would take a few kibbles and hold my hand out flat so she could eat them, then we'd get some more. She wasn't being challenged (my taking food that I'd given to her) I was, almost literally, saying "This is my food and I'll let you have it - on my terms!" The first few months were challenging since I'd think we'd made great progress and the do something to take us back a step or three ...

And as Husky911 says, "Best of luck! Keep at it! You are doing an amazing job so far!"
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ZiMan
Newborn
Newborn


Join date : 2018-05-18

PostSubject: Re: Aggression and snapping   Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:46 am

Thanks all. We are trying a version of hand feeding. Since he’s almost two, hand feeding four cups of food a day would take quite some time, so we’ve modified. Now, before any food hits his bowl, we make a big deal of getting his empty bowl, filling it, and before we set it down hold out a handful that he eats nicely first. If he refuses, we put the bowl up and sit down with our hand out. That must be eaten first. Only a couple days but he’s getting the hang of it. Also, the bully stick snack is now a designated spot. He goes to his bed. We hand it over, leave him to it for a while. Then we ask him to come and provide a peanut butter spoon (he loves it). We take the stick and make a show of putting it up for a couple minutes. He gets praised while we aren’t taking it out of his mouth. Again give it back in a few minutes and he finishes it with no interruptions, and he’s getting the hand of sitting on his bed politely to ask for it. Lastly on walks we’re working on leave it and he is starting to understand what that means. Although like a husky absolutely deciding when he wants to actually leave it. But I’m going for us talking the same language right now and him understanding what we’re talking about. We’re finding our way. He’s such a doll and getting more used to us and affectionate every day. It makes me so happy that he’s happy and starting to see us as his pack. He’s actually greeting me when I get home from work 🤗. Big wins with him taking us in, so thanks again for the advice, sanity check, and support!

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

PostSubject: Re: Aggression and snapping   Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:12 am

Wow, he eats a lot of food. My 75 pounder was only getting 2.25 cups when they were still fully on kibble. Glad it's going well. There really is something about that first breakthrough when they act like they might actually care a little that you exist. Makes you want to do a happy dance.

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ZiMan
Newborn
Newborn


Join date : 2018-05-18

PostSubject: Re: Aggression and snapping   Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:13 pm

I agree TwisterII! He seems to still be hungry at three cups, so, we upped to four. He eats bil jac picky no more and it’s small pebble... we’ll see. We didn’t want to try new food on top of the other adjustments, but in time we’d like to migrate him to something else.

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

PostSubject: Re: Aggression and snapping   Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:36 am

The main thing with food amounts is just finding what works for your dog. I have two dogs that are bottomless pits. If I let them eat until they weren't hungry they would eat 50 pounds of dog food. The amount that works is the amount where they have good solid bowel movements, and they aren't packing on excessive weight. Bill jac does have corn meal in it, some flavors anyway, and that doesn't always sit well some huskies so when you are ready to make the switch there are a lot of good options out there and information on here about quality foods.

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