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 At a loss with Gage

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capblossoms
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PostSubject: At a loss with Gage   Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:28 pm

So we recently adopted Gage from a bad situation. Tuns out, he has a prey drive the likes of which I haven't seen before. He chases the cats, and I'm really afraid he will turn into a cat killer. Earlier today he cornered the smallest cat up inside a chair. I just could not break his concentration. I tried calling him, nudging him, treats, food, OUR food...he wouldn't even look away. He sat there for over 45 minutes either crying, digging at the chair to get at her, or laying in wait with his tail wagging.

When I finally went over to pull him away, I put my hand on his collar and he whipped around and grabbed my arm. HARD. It's been over 4 hours and I still have the teeth marks. If his teeth weren't so ground down and rounded on the tips I'm almost positive he would have broken skin. And this isn't the first time. This happens every time he gets locked onto something. I've tried catching him before he locks on, when he is just looking but it doesn't seem to work. I've also tried leaving a leash on him and trying to use that to pull him off, but he still snaps, and the bites are getting increasingly worse.

My husband and I have been talking, and neither of us want to send him to a rescue, but we have NO CLUE what to do with this and are afraid someone, cats or us, is going to get hurt. Is there anything we can do, or does he just really need to be in a small animal free home?
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MayaAndSophie
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:47 pm

We have the same problem with Kay, she'd most likely kill a cat and has a really REALLY high prey drive and i thought Maya's was high. We have lots of cats and she's ripped some fur off the oldest when she pulled her out from under the couch. She'll hide in wait for them under the table or sleigh bench and when they get close she goes after them. But we have the house fenced off so that the Cats get the basement and upstairs. Now the cats know to stay far away from Kay and never come into the dog area. So i'll be interested in the replies to this thread too. Smile
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Hayden_69
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:11 pm

I'm not sure if I'm taking what you said the wrong way, but what I don't understand is why he was allowed to carry on acting like this for 45 minutes? Was that cat cornered for that long? This is something that should have been corrected immediately. If food or whatever wasn't working you should have removed him right away, not wait 45 minutes and then move him. As far as the biting goes, it possibly could have been avoided if he wasn't in the situation for so long as he was. He was fixated on the cats and he may have thought you were taking him away and he didn't like it.

I would keep Gage completely separated from the cats at this point and slowly start introducing them back together. Maybe have Gage in a crate and let the cats into the room. Then move to a tether and make sure you correct him as soon as he shows any kind of inappropriate behavior. Then, when you feel it's safe, have them in a room under you're supervision and see how he does.

From this point on, I would never trust him with the cats. I don't trust mine with my cats and they are constantly supervised when they are with the cats. I never leave the cats alone with my Huskies! I will lock them in the basement even if I step out of the house for a second to check the mail.

If this seems like too much for you, perhaps it would be best to speak to someone about possibly rehoming him to a home without small animals. Some Huskies just aren't small animal friendly.

Again, I don't know if I read that wrong and if I did I'm sorry.
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hypers987
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:23 pm

Kale chased Dusty once... once, and I put the fear of Satan in him. He doesn't even look at Dusty anymore. You have to correct the behavior immediately. They are like toddlers, I wouldn't let my nephew this weekend get away with acting up ( while his mom was Evil or Very Mad ) it's the same with our pets. He needed to be physically removed from the situation immediately. Gage will most likely never be fully trustworthy with cats, but under supervision and lots of work, they can co-exist.

If Kale would have ever bitten me like that, he would have gotten his muzzle grabbed, instructed to sit his ass down, then to lay down, then glare at him in the eyes while growling. Then a time-out would be in order. I'm not one to allow my dogs to be rude or mean. Kale knows when he's in trouble, he automatically sits and gives me the "I'm sorry" eyes.
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capblossoms
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:28 pm

He actually did sit there for 45 minutes. I was talking to mheath0429 in chat the other day about his snapping when his collar or scruff is grabbed, and she suggested trying to avoid grabbing his collar so I was trying during that time to find a way to get him off the chair without grabbing him. We tried the muzzle grab after the snap but when he snaps he seems to go into this irrational fear thing and he just keeps fighting and snapping and trying to get away.
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Niraya
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:36 pm

Wheelbarrow the dog. Will prevent you from grabbing the collar and getting bit.

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Hayden_69
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:42 pm

If he's putting one of you're pet's in danger, I wouldn't have cared if it was right or wrong to grab him. I would have grabbed his butt and let him know what he was doing was wrong.

Some may disagree, but I would have taken the bite and then he would be corrected for the bite too.

Kill 2 birds with 1 stone.
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mbarnard0429
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:11 pm

@capblossoms wrote:
He actually did sit there for 45 minutes. I was talking to mheath0429 in chat the other day about his snapping when his collar or scruff is grabbed, and she suggested trying to avoid grabbing his collar so I was trying during that time to find a way to get him off the chair without grabbing him. We tried the muzzle grab after the snap but when he snaps he seems to go into this irrational fear thing and he just keeps fighting and snapping and trying to get away.

If the cats lives are in danger grab him. When it comes to the cats, I will negatively punish - I'm not mean but I am firm. I do a firm (but not hard) muzzle grab and a firm "NO!" with mine and bring their attention elsewhere, usually by making them lay down on the ground until calm. Then, I grab the cat cat and throw him over the gate, where he can stare at Cato through the gate and mock him while Cato has to sit and be a good boy until I release him.
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:59 pm

I think I have some good advice on this one! Firstly, I wouldn't recommend grabbing Gage's muzzle. If he's turning to bite you when you are trying to remove him then chances are you're going to loose a finger trying to hold his mouth close when he's in that prey state of mind. Instead, to remove him from the situation- use a slip lead. You can use his regular leash and just put the clip part through the handle- then slip the loop over his head<- if that makes sense? Then I would slowly, start to pull, SLOWLY in the direction you're going(to the side,) if his head/ears turn your way at all say "lets go Gage" and then pull and move him to say, the kitchen (if this takes place elsewhere or vice versa.) I would then put him in the kitchen alone or a crate if he's crate trained. This way, he will learn "if I do this, I end up here alone." He'll get it eventually and I definitely wouldn't trust him alone with the cats in the meantime. As for the collar grabbing, practice collar grabs! LOTS of them! This is especially important if he goes to public places, like the dog park. All you have to do is find a treat that he REALLY likes, (it can even be chicken or cheese.) Call him over-(if he has a good recall) and then grab his collar with one hand and treat him with the other. It's really important he gets used to people handling his collar/neck area. If he were to get loose and has tags on- you want someone to be able to be able to read them and get him back to you Very Happy I hope I understood what you wrote correctly, and if you have any questions let me know Smile Just trust me on this- aggression doesn't match aggression and you really don't want him biting and breaking skin! Good luck Smile
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mbarnard0429
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:21 am

Aggression doesn't match aggression - but when my cats lives are on the line there is not room for waiting for them to get the point and I don't believe anyone suggested being aggressive. I didn't say to be hurtful, on the contrary.

I also told her that she should consider treating him if she DOES pull the collar, but this is a rescue case and things take time. She isn't just going to be able to pull at the collar instantly. She doesn't have time to treat the dog and hope he moves, one wrong move and that cat could be gone.

In almost all cases I suggest positive reinforcement, but you have a life here and the dogs must know that it is unacceptable to see the cats as prey.
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hypers987
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:34 am

I don't think grabbing a dogs muzzle, making them sit down, then into a laying position and making them behave is aggressive. And by no means was I telling her so use the method I use with Kale, as I have a very strong relationship with him, and he knows his place. this is a life that is in danger and quick action is nessecary. If Kale was acting like that with one of the cats, or even a rescue of foster acted that way, by no means would I act nonchalant and not give some sort of punishment. Just a time out won't do much with a dog with such a strong prey drive. They need to know, immediately, that behavior is unacceptable and the punishment is not worth repeating that said behavior. But that's just my opinion.
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dahowlers
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:47 am

I would leave a leash on him at all times to be able to remove him from the situation whenever he shows inappropriate behaviour, this may lessen the chances up you being bitten if the bite is being triggered by grabbing him around the head area (ie: collar, muzzle, scruff...) if he is reacting out of fear as well as hypered up from his fixation.
Do not allow him to fixate like that, especially not on the cats. The longer he is allowed to fixate,the longer it will take to break the habit, most likely. In your case, I would suggest removing him from the situation even when he starts staring at the cats intensly. If you cannot get his attention from just staring, remove him from the situation to prevent him from chasing. Chasing is a self-fulfilling habit that can be hard to break without constant monitoring and corrections, IF it is break able. Some dogs just have to high of a prey-drive but it doesn't sound like this is the case here, based on your description.
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:51 am

I completely agree with Megan and Brooke!

If it was something small like guarding a toy then what rigbyjek suggested would be fine.

Since it is a life we are dealing with, I believe a different more assertive approach should be taken.
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:24 am

Sounds like Odin. When he came here he would go berserk over the stupid cats. So the cats were separated at all times and we would have sessions (with the pinch collar) where we would go in with the cats and work with him. He now doesn't even look twice at the cats and actually really likes one of them and grooms her when she's I'm my lap. Not saying that will happen to you but co-existence is possible.

Keep a leash on him and keep the cats safe away from him. Don't give him a chance to screw up. Always be on top of their interactions.

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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:25 am

Ceara is right. Wheelbarrow. Grab Gage's back legs and pull backwards. It throws their balance off so far they can't bite. It's the "safest" way to "grab" a dog that is in bite mode. I wouldn't stand for that kind of behavior and it needs to be corrected right when it starts, not 45 mins later. I also wouldn't condone the muzzle grab in this instance. Gage doesn't trust you yet, the way he is fighting back sounds like he's scared of you and what you are going to do to him.

Appa would snap at us whenever we touched his collar, even putting a leash on him, when we first brought him home. Through consistent training he has overcome it. Work on it with Gage when he's in the right mindset to learn. When he's clearly not in the right mindset don't grab his collar, move him like a wheelbarrow, with his back legs as the handles.

I don't think there's a one size fits all dog training method, but for those of you with dogs with super high prey drives check out http://www.preydrivedogtraining.com/ - Just like the best way to teach yappy dogs not to bark is to first teach them to bark on command I believe you are going to have to learn to teach your high drive dogs when it's appropriate and when it's not. I don't think you'll ever "turn it off." Teach them when to "hunt" so you can then teach them when not to.
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:55 am

The one and only time I wheelbarrow a dog was at work. That dog whipped around faster than I could react and latched onto my shoulder, the Dr had to get him off me. I think keeping a leash on him at all times is safer. Quickly remove him/redirect his attention to you, make him sit, lay down, eye contact, say your "bad dog" or "No", and then put him in a place where he does not have access to toys/fun for a little while. If the cat is agitated too, dont try and remove her, let her come out when she feels safe. Cat treats may help, or lunch meat.
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:57 am

What prevents him from turning around and lunging while you're trying to control him with the leash? The leash has far too much slack and risk for injury is far greater IMO. It's not a bad suggestion - just not something I would with a dog this reactive.

If he wasn't as reactive I'd say the leash would work. With the wheelbarrow method you have to keep the dog moving in some way so that it cannot turn around. Dog is more concerned about keeping it's balance than biting something. It will also break all concentration/obsession/focus the dog has far more quickly than trying to redirect with a leash.

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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:15 am

I think the key here is to see the signs of fixation, and to remove the dog before they get fixated, therefore using the wheelbarrow metho is null and void. But yes, I do agree that that method might work better for a dog that has been fixated for 45 mins. I was referring to the latter, I should have specified.
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:50 am

I have to say that I disagree with a lot of the advice on here. A couple of things I've noticed:

1. Muzzle grabbing and staring a rescue dog down before he's fully trusted you is a great way to get yourself bit and break down any sense of trust and respect that you've already built. You CANNOT force that relationship on a dog. While it doesn't "seem aggressive," physically overpowering your dog (by clamping his muzzle shut) and staring him down IS ABSOLUTELY AGGRESSIVE to the dog. I would never recommend doing that to a dog that doesn't trust you. Sorry.

2. Some dogs are not meant to be in a house with cats. I would think long and hard about the amount of time and energy you have to put into retraining Gage's prey drive. I love that you rescued him, but not every dog is a good fit for every home. I'm sure there are rescues that allow you to foster and they can help find him the right family if you decide that you and Gage are not the best fit and I don't see anything wrong with that. If I found a cat on the street, there's no way in hell I would consider keeping it permanently. It wouldn't be fair to us, Koda & Hailey, or the cat.

3. Everyone is right. 45 mins was way too long to let him fixate and he has basically learned nothing. If you can't grab his collar, I think keeping a leash on him and dragging him away is the best thing to do while you work on the collar issue. I actually very much agree with most of what Rigbyjek said.

4. I am just as much an advocate of negative reinforcement where necessary. However, I think many of us are forgetting that rescues do not and cannot operate the same as a puppy. That sense of trust takes MUCH longer to build and we can't just strong arm a rescue into doing our bidding. Please remember that does a lot more harm than good. You can be just as effective by being firm and leading your dog away from a bad situation and it doesn't damage a dog's bond with its owner or family.

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mbarnard0429
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:02 am

True Tori, it's a really sticky situation. I'll admit, with my rescue I had no issue, and what I do with Cato is different, because I have had him since he was a puppy.

Please, let us know what you decide and how things go. Good luck.
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:28 am

I never once advocated the muzzle grab for this dog, I said that's what i would do with kale, because I have that bond with him. Let's not take things out of context. For this case, I made it clear I am an advocate for the leash method and to give a couple commands and a short time without toys, I hardly call that aggressive or detrimental to thier mental state. Neutral
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:45 am

Should I try a choke or pinch collar with him? Also, he does the same thing with our rats' cage, which is why we moved it from the living room to the bedroom. He will do the fixated thing, and as soon as you pull him off, he goes right back. would it be better to recreate the situation and try to train him, or is avoiding the situation as much as possible more the route to go?
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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:50 am

You know - honestly this doesn't sound so much like "prey drive" is the only thing at work here. I'm sure he's prey driven as most are. HOWEVER. This sounds like obsession - "As soon as you pull him off he goes right back". That's not prey drive or at least any prey drive I am familiar with.

I would actually just get a behaviorist that is extremely familiar with Siberian Huskies to come in and assess the situation.

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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:12 am

He just sounds like a Husky who didn't have proper socialization with smaller animals... I would remove the cats/other animals from his view throughout the day (or have him in a kennel away from them) and specifically have them interact in a controlled environment where you have real control (we started our sessions with the cats on one side of the gate and us on the other.) I used a pinch collar because I feel it gives the best correction the quickest. I do not like choke collars.

That being said- my cats aren't ever loose in the house when i'm not home because I know what my dogs are capable of. I don't think they would- they've never given me a reason to doubt them... But they are a high prey drive breed.

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PostSubject: Re: At a loss with Gage   Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:15 am

Brooke, you need to stop taking things so personally. First off, you weren't the only one who suggested something similar. Secondly, this is a forum. People are going to see things differently and they are going to discuss issues. That usually means having people on two different sides. Since you made this about yourself though, I will point out why your post is misleading.
@hypers987 wrote:
Kale chased Dusty once... once, and I put the fear of Satan in him. He doesn't even look at Dusty anymore. You have to correct the behavior immediately. They are like toddlers, I wouldn't let my nephew this weekend get away with acting up ( while his mom was Evil or Very Mad ) it's the same with our pets. He needed to be physically removed from the situation immediately. Gage will most likely never be fully trustworthy with cats, but under supervision and lots of work, they can co-exist.

If Kale would have ever bitten me like that, he would have gotten his muzzle grabbed, instructed to sit his ass down, then to lay down, then glare at him in the eyes while growling. Then a time-out would be in order. I'm not one to allow my dogs to be rude or mean. Kale knows when he's in trouble, he automatically sits and gives me the "I'm sorry" eyes.
While you were talking about Kale, your first paragraph was talking about Gage and how his situation should have been handled (ie removed immediately, and isn't trustworthy). However, you never offered advice on how she should have handled it. Instead, you talk about what you would have done with Kale. Now, at the lack of advice to handle it properly, and immediately leading into what YOU would have done... it very much leaves the impression that that's how you would have handled it if it were your dog. You never once mention that the OP shouldn't try that because her dog is different. In fact, your entire second paragraph seems completely irrelevant to the topic if you WEREN'T advocating such a method for the OP.

Your post, therefore, was taken perfectly in the context in which you presented it. But again, MY POST, was about no one in particular. You weren't the only one who mentioned muzzle grabbing.

And I'm sorry-- WHEN did I say that your post specifically was aggressive and detrimental to their mental state? Now who's taking whose post out of context??

ETA: Kristina and I are on the same page. If you are going to continue to work on this, removing them from the situation and only having them interact in a supervised and controlled environment is the best course of action.

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