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 Accelerating aggression

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Val and Libby
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PostSubject: Accelerating aggression   Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:18 pm

Libby is not so nice. We adopted her from a shelter last week, she came in as a stray. We were told that a couple found her and kept her for a few days before bringing her to the shelter. This couple told staff that she was afraid of men, she would run from the man. At the shelter she was fine with any men who visited, she was fine with my husband when we visited and when we brought her home. The next day she would run from him, she seemed really afraid, the next 2 days she wasn't quite as bad. Thursday she started growling at him when he lay on the floor of the living room, about 6' away from her bed. Friday she started growling when he sat on the couch (even further away). Yesterday she was doing it when he entered the room. All of this has happened in the living room, while outside she will come to him cautiously to be pet, same with in the kitchen.
We were told to let him do all the fun things with her, offer treats, feed her meals, walk her. Makes sense, right? Not to her. She won't come to him for treats but will take them if he goes to her, she looks scared though. She's not a fan of meal time so it means nothing to her, she leaves the room if he offers her bowl. She runs from him when he asks her to come to get her leash on.
Today he went to put her leash on and she bit him, not hard but she did lay her teeth on him, then she ran like hell. I got her leash on and he took her out the door, she didn't want any part of it while he had the leash.
He doesn't raise his voice, I'm the one giving her crap for all the naughty stuff she gets into. As I'm writing this, he is on the couch on the computer, completely ignoring her. Every now and then she glances at him and growls, her ear positions change when she does this, she looks mad.

Sorry that was long winded but I wanted to cover everything. I'm now wondering if the people who turned her into the shelter were actually her owners and didn't disclose everything, this may be why she was never claimed.

Any insight, opinions, advice is appreciated. I will say though, I won't put up with a human aggressive dog.

Thanks for listening.
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vegeta819
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:27 pm

I wouldn't jump straight to the people who brought her in as the culprits but there are definitely culprits in this. Everything you said points towards abuse from a male in a previous home. She definitely associates males with something bad. I'm no trainer and have no real advice, hopefully others will chime in, I know there are several vets/experienced owners/trainers on here that have dealt with rescues that could give you some direction on this.

However, I do think what you're doing is right. He needs to be doing all the good things (treats, walks, food, training, etc) to help build up that bond. This is one of the drawbacks with rescues, you don't know the full back story. Although I do think getting a rescue is a very commendable act.
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Ghost
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:55 pm

I'm sorry you are having these problems with Libby. It is possible that it was her owners who turned her in to the shelter, as sometimes people aren't honest; but it's also quite likely they found her and wanted to keep her but realized they couldn't.

There is a great website called fearful dogs http://fearfuldogs.com/. If you look through the 'getting started' section there's some very helpful advice, including about fear of people, that will get you started. There's also a video that shows some of the signs of a dog being uncomfortable that will help you read her body language better.

You will find that reward-based training and gradual desensitization is the way to go. It will be much quicker if you can get a behaviourist in to give you some advice and they will show you how to gradually build things up. In the meantime you should try very hard not to push her to the point where she bites or runs away but take things slowly, use lots of treats and happy talk, and let your husband keep ignoring her as much as possible.

We are lucky in Vancouver in having several trainers who are CPDT-KA (that means they've studied a lot and sat an exam that shows they understand dog behaviour to a very high level). Let me know if you want some suggestions. Whatever you do, don't go to someone who suggests the use of a remote (i.e. shock) collar as with a fearful case, this can make things much worse very quickly. Best of luck and keep us posted on how things are going.
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dbingham12
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:01 pm

Wow this is rough. Sounds like she may have been abused with a leash or while on a leash and probably by a man. Also the growling sounds like she is guarding. Like she feels as though the living room is her space and he is invading it.

I'm not a trainer but have had some experience with rehabilitating a dog that was abused repeatedly with a leash and was also terrified of men . . . . so I will provide some of the information my family was provided that really helped.

1. Always approach the dog from an angle. Make sure the dog can see you but don't approach head on. Dogs don't speak but they can read body language and in the dog world approaching head on is a sign of dominance. So by approaching from an angle you are letting the dog know you are not threatening.

2. Keep the leash around and in view all the time. Associate the leash with good things. Have it near you but not on while playing, eating, loving, etc. gradually move the leash closer and ultimately work toward doing these things with the leash on so your pup learns that the leash does not equal pain.

3. Trust must be built and its a slow process. Building trust isn't just about fun its also about boundaries and discipline. Your dog needs to re-learn how to trust and this is done by showing your pup that you love and provide for it no matter what and that pain isn't part of that. But this doesn't mean NEVER providing discipline. However, when you do have to provide discipline and boundaries, do it in a positive manner. Use a low deep even tone voice (don't yell or raise your voice as this can cause a fear reaction) to issue the correction. Redirect to a positive behavior. Give a Treat.

Well thats the advice we were given and Paige became one of the best family pets we have ever had. She got so good on leash and with men that my brother was able to take her to shows and earn many blue ribbons for both show and agility.

As for the food not being motivating, this is not that unsual and probably has little to do with the past abuse. Some dogs just are not food motivated. Some are motivated by play, affection, etc. Just find what motivates your pup and use it.

I hope this helps a little and hopefully some of our resident trainers will chime in and provide their advice also.
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arooroomom
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:29 pm

Does she have any interest in any food at all (not from him?)

Peanut butter? Cooked chicken? Canned food?

She's obviously quite cautious of him and prefers to not be around him. I would suggest while rehabbing her to have him ignore her as much as possible and only have him interact with her when you're specifically working with them together. And at that point just have him toss treats in her direction.

I would look into BAT by Grisha Stewart... I use it so much with all my dogs now but specifically and most recently: Ewe with my brother. Every session we do I can see improvement.

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Val and Libby
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:13 pm

Thanks for all your advice and the link to fearful dogs.
We did hire a behaviorist a few years ago when we went through this with a different dog, that dog had to go back to the rescue. Again, another afraid of men but we thought we could work through it, she became really aggressive, always without warning. She would just suddenly lunge and bite. She was unsafe around my granddaughter, we couldn't risk her getting hurt.
We have been applying the same techniques with Libby, ignore, no eye contact, etc. It seems to be getting worse. She is now entering a room Jeff is in and growling at him. It hurts to watch this beautiful dog behave this way.
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Val and Libby
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:42 pm

Everything I've read and been told is to not stop the growling or barking because that's the warning. What do I do then? I'm at a loss, I don't trust her. I think she needs a home with no men and someone willing and able to work with her.
I run a rescue out of the home, I know the importance of a forever home but I don't think I can do this.
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SibeMomx2
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:08 pm

Val,

You are doing what you can in doing your best. Sad that her aggression sounds so fear-based. Just a thought, as someone above mentioned she might be "guarding" the living room... have you tried to take her to an area outside of the home to do more bonding type activities with her and your husband? Maybe the neutral territory might help...

We will certainly be your cheerleaders in trying. Which is all you can ask of yourself.

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Val and Libby
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:36 pm

Thanks Lyndsey.
When we're in the yard, she will approach him and nudge his hand for pets, I can be standing there or away from them. He can't do anything out there though, tossing the ball, etc. She'll cower and growl. She is super nervous on leash with him, not me. In the house, she growls and barks at him always in the living room but now in any room he's in. She will actually look for him to do this.

I think whoever had this dog before, let her walk all over them. I have never met a dog so unwilling to learn or please. I'm being as consistent as possible with things I need her to do, like "off". She knows what it means but keeps doing it. I lead her to her bed, tell her good girl and she's right back at it. I swear she's taking pleasure in my exhaustion. She holds no high regard to treats, food, toys.
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katiesham
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:11 pm

@Val and Libby wrote:
I have never met a dog so unwilling to learn or please. I'm being as consistent as possible with things I need her to do, like "off". She knows what it means but keeps doing it. I lead her to her bed, tell her good girl and she's right back at it. I swear she's taking pleasure in my exhaustion. She holds no high regard to treats, food, toys.

This actually sounds a lot like Pippa and I think a lot of huskies. You need to find something that she REALLY wants. Be it pieces of chicken or hot dog...something has to motivate her.
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Val and Libby
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:34 pm

Hi everyone, thanks again for all your insight and patience with me. I had a meltdown yesterday, today has been a bit better.
She doesn't listen to anyone, she knows what basic commands are but doesn't care, she does listen better when she's on leash. This is just something I'm going to have to keep working on and hope for the best.

I'm posting a video here of her growling and barking at my husband, and her body language when he goes to her. Would appreciate opinions. We just don't understand her. While outside, she'll approach him for attention, now when he goes to bed, she gets up on the bed with him and sit with him for 15 minutes for petting. Any idea what any of this means? She wants to like him but doesn't trust him?

I know now that she is not protecting me, he can hug me and she doesn't care, will sometimes come to us but otherwise doesn't seem to be concerned.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFyz2T_3cUc
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Ghost
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:59 pm

I couldn't watch the video, it says it is private.

I think you are doing your best for her. It sounds like, as well as the fear, she needs training. It takes time when a dog doesn't really know, and it takes a long time to get over fear too, but it can be done. She is probably too stressed right now to have much interest in treats, so as Katie says right now she will need something really good, like dried duck liver or bits of chicken or cheese. And you will need patience, but it will get better!

It sounds like for now your husband should only try and do things outside with her, if that's where she is more comfortable with him. Also, if she growls at him, he should just stop his approach. Look for signs before the growl, such as lip flicks, turning the head away, yawning - these all indicate that she is uncomfortable. I'll try and look at the video again later.

It is a good sign that she is sometimes approaching him. I think she is learning to trust him, but it will take time. Also, since you don't know her past, she may have triggers that you don't yet know, so you'll learn which actions/activities she is less comfortable with.
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Val and Libby
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:24 pm

I've fixed the video, sorry about that, it's the first time I've put one on youtube.

I've found a treat she likes, dog pepperoni, I cut it into little pieces. I've got a lot of work to do with her.
Please, if you get a chance, take a look at the video. She doesn't do the yawning, no fur stands up and she has never bared her teeth. Outside training is a great idea, thank you. Smile
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MayaAndSophie
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:44 pm

Lol, that video reminds me of Kay with my dad/brother. She doesn't seem like she's being aggressive to me at all. It's taken Kay a while to warm up to them but now she'll bark growl at them whenever she wants attention from them (petted or played with).
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:16 pm

This just sounds like she's talking!

PIppa does this all the time, whether it's because she's hungry, or bored, or wants outside, or feel like she hasn't been spoken to enough or petted enough...

It doesn't seem aggressive to me at all, but it may take some time for her to warm up to him. Pippa was a little wary of my dad at first, but now she talks to him more than anyone else.
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:17 pm

Oh she's a talker! If you look around on here, you'll find videos of other people's huskies talking. I think it's adorable, but if it goes on a lot then it can be a bit much!! Is that what she does when she goes into a room and sees your husband? If so she's saying she wants attention.

The only comment I'd make is that patting a dog on top of the head - although it's what everyone goes to do - is not as friendly (from their perspective) as patting them on the side or under the chin. They tend to prefer that, so with a dog you don't know well yet, that's a better thing to do.*

I think if you look in the videos section for some other huskies talking, you might feel a lot happier.

*Edited to add: I just mean if you think a dog is fearful already, they will feel more comfortable this way. Obviously once you know a dog then you get an idea of what they like and don't like.
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Ghost
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:26 pm

P.S. She is really pretty Smile And yay for pepperoni!
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Mschwax
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:05 am

Do you have Netflix? I just watched the first episode of The Best of The Dog Whisperer tonight and it dealt with almost this same issue, a dog that became aggressive with the husband ONLY in the house. Outside he was friendly. I know Cesar Milan can be controversial, but I was pretty impressed with how he handled it. This dog was really out of control. Anyway, if you are able to, check it out. Perhaps it will help.
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eluke81
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:51 am

She doesnt look aggressive to me at all either - just like she is talking!!! keep up the good work and give her some time to adjust - I was expecting her to lunge for your husband when he went to pet her - but she didnt - and she allowed him to pet her - all seems pretty good - she is just vocal Smile enjoy it, i love a husky talking Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:18 am

Ok, just watched the video and I agree, not aggression, she just has a lot to say to him! We always talk back to our dogs and apparently what we say translates into let's get crazy wild and race around the living room tackling eachother!

It is easy to misunderstand husky-speak when you aren't used to it.
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:59 am

Is this your first husky? She seems completely normal! Mishka is put off my some people and her barking like that usually just means she's nervous but in no way aggressive.

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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:43 pm

Thanks everyone, I feel so much better. Jeff kept saying she was asking him to come pet her, I didn't believe him. She won't talk to me or our daughter, just him.
She is our first Husky, we've had Malamute/Shepherd mixes in the past and most recently a pure German Shepherd.
She confuses us something awful but I suppose she's just as confused.
Thanks again for putting me at ease Smile
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Dot
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:49 pm

I've been wanting to watch that video so, so badly to see what everyone's talking about, but I can't cause I'm only on the computer when the little one is asleep (don't want to wake her haha). She's super cute!! I love her Smile Definitely a talker haha.
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:26 pm

Glad you guys are feeling better about it!

Huskies are definitely a different kind of dog, but once you understand her "talking", I think you'll understand her just as well, if not better, as your previous dogs. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Accelerating aggression   Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:58 pm

I'm glad you were finally able to see it Rhia. Katie, our Mal mixes talked a lot too but they weren't afraid of anyone so I really wasn't sure with Libby. I'm jealous she won't talk to me though, lol.
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