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 14 year old Husky rescue

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janeset123
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Join date : 2019-02-04

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PostSubject: 14 year old Husky rescue   14 year old Husky rescue EmptyMon Feb 04, 2019 8:54 pm

Hi new here hoping to get some insight into husky behavior and how to manage!

My boyfriend and I adopted a 14 year old male husky (Lindsay Buckingham) in November. The owner had passed away and there was no one to care for the dog. So this presents a couple issues: dog is in new home, dog has new owners, we have no history on the dog. His owner lived alone with the dog and two cats (her husband died five years ago). There was no family nearby that interacted regularly with the dog.

So overall Lindsay is a sweetheart. Very calm, walks on leash well, overall well behaved dog. The biggest issue that I am having is intermittently aggressive with my boyfriend and bit him on one occasion hard enough to break skin through 3 layers of clothes. I thought this was just an "Alpha" issue but last week he bit a friend of mine who moments earlier he had been licking happily while she ruffled his ears. No growling, no warning.

It makes me so sad that I feel I can't trust him around other people now but I can't take the chance he will bite again.

What do I do? What do I do if I need to board him?

I am happy to provide more details or post in another section of this board but I am desperate for advice.

Jane
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aljones
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aljones

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

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PostSubject: Re: 14 year old Husky rescue   14 year old Husky rescue EmptyTue Feb 05, 2019 12:20 am

Ouch, you've got yourself a quandary there.  (( Oh, and thanks for stepping up with this older dog.  Really THANKS!!

Some people have taught there dogs not to growl and that's one of the worst disservices you can do.  The dog no longer can say "I don't like that!" so it does what it knows how to do ... bite.  Since you don't know the dogs history you are missing out on a lot of background, I'd bet the previous owner could have told you what his warnings were - but that was after a long time of just knowing.  The best suggestion I can offer thee is to have him on a leash and ANY time things don't look just right reel him in.

Boarding shouldn't be a real concern, I have (had, she's gotten a lot better over time) a food aggressive dog.  I didn't dare do anything once the food was in her bowl except set it down and back away.  I board with my vet which is convenient, but in any other circumstance I'd also have told the folks boarding her that she was VERY food aggressive.  Most folks who board have enough experience that if their notes say "randomly aggressive" or "food aggressive" they know how to treat the dog - basically with kid gloves during certain situations.

And, you're right, he's in a new house with new people so he's apt to respond 'oddly' at times. Knowing what you do, you can protect yourself and him by keeping the situations that excite him to a minimum until you figure out what's going through his brain.
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amymeme
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amymeme

Female Join date : 2013-12-20

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PostSubject: Re: 14 year old Husky rescue   14 year old Husky rescue EmptyTue Feb 05, 2019 12:41 am

We keep a muzzle on our randomly snappy boy. He's much much better now but I still don't trust him. He doesn't mind the muzzle, we all, including him, feel safe.
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janeset123
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Join date : 2019-02-04

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PostSubject: Re: 14 year old Husky rescue   14 year old Husky rescue EmptyTue Feb 05, 2019 10:55 am

@amymeme wrote:
We keep a muzzle on our randomly snappy boy.  He's much much better now but I still don't trust him.  He doesn't mind the muzzle, we all, including him, feel safe.

What kind of muzzle do you use? As much as I hate the idea, it would allow him to be social without concern of snapping.
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janeset123
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PostSubject: Re: 14 year old Husky rescue   14 year old Husky rescue EmptyTue Feb 05, 2019 11:00 am

Thank you! Glad to know I shouldn't have an issue boarding him. I think his main trigger is his neck/collar area. I don't think it is physical since he allows me to brush and pet him in this area with no issue. Honestly I think he is a big old scaredy cat and certain things seem to make him feel vulnerable. It would be so much easier if they could talk...well other than the husky "talking" LOL. He knows how to do that!

@aljones wrote:
Ouch, you've got yourself a quandary there.  (( Oh, and thanks for stepping up with this older dog.  Really THANKS!!

Some people have taught there dogs not to growl and that's one of the worst disservices you can do.  The dog no longer can say "I don't like that!" so it does what it knows how to do ... bite.  Since you don't know the dogs history you are missing out on a lot of background, I'd bet the previous owner could have told you what his warnings were - but that was after a long time of just knowing.  The best suggestion I can offer thee is to have him on a leash and ANY time things don't look just right reel him in.

Boarding shouldn't be a real concern, I have (had, she's gotten a lot better over time) a food aggressive dog.  I didn't dare do anything once the food was in her bowl except set it down and back away.  I board with my vet which is convenient, but in any other circumstance I'd also have told the folks boarding her that she was VERY food aggressive.  Most folks who board have enough experience that if their notes say "randomly aggressive" or "food aggressive" they know how to treat the dog - basically with kid gloves during certain situations.

And, you're right, he's in a new house with new people so he's apt to respond 'oddly' at times.  Knowing what you do, you can protect yourself and him by keeping the situations that excite him to a minimum until you figure out what's going through his brain.
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amymeme
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amymeme

Female Join date : 2013-12-20

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PostSubject: Re: 14 year old Husky rescue   14 year old Husky rescue EmptyTue Feb 05, 2019 11:07 am

I use a baskerville ultra muzzle. It allows the dog to drink, pant and eat with it on. Z'ev has even figured out how to pick up bones that the other dogs leave around (if he finds them before I do.) I periodically have fits of guilt about Z'ev and his muzzle. But then something happens and I am really really glad he wears his muzzle. Just last night, Z'ev was sound asleep on a chair in the sunroom. Ami likes to sleep on the floor behind that chair - Ami came inside late at night, all hopped up (chasing some critter, I think) and was pacing and panting before settling down. As he approached the spot behind the chair, it startled Z'ev and he woke up, growling. I think Z'ev has difficulty seeing at night - but, at least with the muzzle, even if he does start something, there are no vet visits and, most of the time, I have no injuries.
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TwisterII
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TwisterII

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

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PostSubject: Re: 14 year old Husky rescue   14 year old Husky rescue EmptyTue Feb 05, 2019 11:19 am

I would try to dial down what is his triggers before I would go to a muzzle. Muzzles can make a mildly nervous dog more so and cause unnecessary stress in some situations. Especially since he is an older dog. He could have arthritis in his neck or spine and too much petting/scratching, or massaging could cause him pain and that is why he lashes out. Since you don't know anything about him I would start by setting a baseline. Get a complete physical on him. Try to hunt down his original vet and talk to them about him. They may know of any mentions to if he has shown behavioral issues in the past or have had injuries that may have caused pain or nervousness. I have a male that is head shy. I tell people to not pet his head. He may not have had a lot of petting from the last owner except when he was getting ready to get nabbed for a bath or nail trimming so maybe if you pet him too long he gets nervous thinking there's an ulterior motive and lashes out due to that. Frankly, it's hard to say. You haven't had him very long and it's just a learning game with rescues. That's why they need people who are patient and willing to put in the time to be understanding and work with them. Thank you for taking him in. Few people would take a dog on at that age. Fewer would try to understand and help them.

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amymeme
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amymeme

Female Join date : 2013-12-20

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PostSubject: Re: 14 year old Husky rescue   14 year old Husky rescue EmptyTue Feb 05, 2019 11:56 am

I dunno, Jenn - I would rather figure out the triggers while safe than experience a bite. I have had 2 bouts of cellulitis from minor bites - not even bites, really, more a tooth caught. In addition there was the monstrous, months long infection I had in my leg as a teen but that was a nasty attack, trying to kill me. You've mentioned your mother still has trouble with a finger from a bite. We had one woman in our husky group who ended up with months of multiple IV antibiotics from a bite. Another woman from the group has also had a couple cellulitis episodes from a resource guarding dog. I no longer take these things lightly. And that does not mention the potential liability if a dog bites a non family member.

I've found that the muzzle actually helps calm the dog when his automatic reaction is cut off.
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janeset123
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Join date : 2019-02-04

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PostSubject: Re: 14 year old Husky rescue   14 year old Husky rescue EmptyTue Feb 05, 2019 12:16 pm

TwisterII I am with you in that a muzzle is less than ideal but him biting someone is worse. He has never even curled a lip at me but he did bite a friend of mine without warning so...it would not need to be all the time but it might make everyone less stressed (which will reduce Lindsay's stress) if we have guests.

As for history (sigh) - Lindsay hadn't been to the vet in over 5 years, so unfortunately they didn't have anything useful to offer. I've taken him to my vet who did a full exam and found no issues.

I'm feeling a little better about things though, I spoke with a kennel that was recommended to me and is owned by dog trainers. They have had plenty of experience with huskies and their particular "personalities". I am planning to go take a tour next week.

Thanks again for all the input, it really helps me feel not so alone in figuring this guy out!
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aljones
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aljones

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

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PostSubject: Re: 14 year old Husky rescue   14 year old Husky rescue EmptyTue Feb 05, 2019 12:49 pm

Oh, you're definitely not alone!! Those of us who have rescues have all, I think, had our fair share of setbacks as we and the dog learn how to read each other.

Remember my mention of my food aggressive dog? It's been literally years but over time we've gotten to the point that I can put her food in the bowl and set it on the table and all I get is a Whine "Dad, that's my breakfast ..." or I'll "bump" her because she's in the middle of the path to the back door and now all she does is move over, no growl, no bite ... she doesn't even get upset. But this the same dog who sent me to the ER for four stitches! Time, patience an a lot of love and understanding that things have changed for him as much as it has for you. (( and while you can teach an older dog new tricks, it just takes longer. ))

Ami has talked about Z'ev and if it weren't for her desire to give him a good home, he'd be history with almost any rescue - they just can't take the liability of rehoming a dog who's known to bite. Understandably, in their minds there is just one solution with a dog who has a history of random bites.

Because we know what you're going through I added the "Seriously Thanks" he may be an old fogy (and I am too!) but he still deserves to live out his remaining years in a family who cares and can care for him.
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TwisterII
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TwisterII

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

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PostSubject: Re: 14 year old Husky rescue   14 year old Husky rescue EmptyWed Feb 06, 2019 11:27 am

Every dog is different. Some dogs a muzzle timed right can interrupt the reaction much like we interrupt puppies that play too hard. But you need to know if your dog is going to be that way, so proceed with caution and care. Some dogs it will amplify the situation and that is why I advocate against muzzles as a first and often even second line of action. Muzzles shouldn't be used to replace training and people shouldn't treat them as a way to simply remove repercussions. Some dogs react to muzzles the same as a dog who has leash reactivity. I have tried them with kenzi's dog aggression and it took a long time to regain her trust when it made things much worse. As I have stated, not every dog is like that, but that is why knowing your dog before going that route is so important. Trying to find the triggers and remove them or slowly desensitizing to them before resorting to certain methods will always remain my first suggestion.

We know Kye's triggers. It's food. I'm not going to put him in a muzzle every time there's food around just so one of us might not get bit if we drop something on the floor. He would live his life in a muzzle, which is completely unnecessary in his case. While I know he doesn't have an amplified personality like kenzi, he is a dog whose feelings are easily hurt and a muzzle wouldn't calm him, it would just break his spirit.

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