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 Newly Adopted Adult Husky is a bit Aggressive

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anthonyANDgabriel
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PostSubject: Newly Adopted Adult Husky is a bit Aggressive   Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:46 am

Hello everyone! This is my first time posting. I had some issues with my 6 year old adopted husky, Gabriel, and found a ton of helpful advice from previous posts. So before I go into my issue a quick note about Gabriel's (or just "Gabe") past...

His previous owners were keeping him in an evicted home all by himself. The family would stop by daily(ish?) to feed him and let him out for a bit. When the family failed to come back, the volunteers came and rescued him. The organization is small and the guy who runs it takes care of almost two hundred dogs on one site. Gabe had to stay there until a foster family was available, because there were non-neutered males on site, he was crated, which is fine, but because of the guy's schedule (or whatever reason) Gabe was crated nearly 20 hours a day. Finally, a foster daddy (who is awesome with him) took him in and started crating him since he had his own two dogs to worry about when he wasn't home, but Gabe got out of his crate and when the owner got home he noticed that Gabe is fine when left alone (nothing damaged nor other dogs were hurt). So for 3-4 months Gabe stayed with his foster family, being pampered and loved and trained.

Then I adopt him. I am in love with this pooch. The first 2 weeks he had some accidents and a ton of separation anxiety. That was easy to overcome with love and attention and these forums. I have had him for nearly 2 months so we are still getting use to things, but he has had a few incidents with aggression. First time, I wasn't home: my roommate and his girlfriend ordered food and were going to eat on the couch. Gabe jumps and when my roommate told him to get down, Gabe ignored, so my roommate went for the collar to guide him down and he lunged and snarled at him. So that was with food and he never attempted something like that while I am around. He showed aggression to me once when I bought him a new large squeak toy he tore into shreds in a matter of minutes. He just growled at me, but I was able to calm him down and take away the toy. The final straw (and the reason for this lengthy thread) came yesterday. I come home from work to walk him and get some energy out before I have my class. At this time my roommate is their with two friends and Gabe and no problems. After the walk,I was talking with them while petting Gabe when one of the friends calls my dog over to them while they are sitting. Gabe goes over to them to get petted and lunges at the person's face. Everyone is okay, but they are frightened. It all happened at a fraction of a second, but I noticed she sat up and leaned forward while Gabe was approaching her.

Obviously, I blame myself. I know (and tell everyone) not to get eye level with him and not to get into his face. I can do it with no problem, but I still know he doesn't like it so I don't do it. He is really sweet and calm, but this is something that I want to correct ASAP. There has to be more to his past, I've noticed him flinch or recoil sometimes when I go to pet him (especially after the incident when he knew he did wrong), like I am going to hit him. Also, I know I need to have my rooommate come out with Gabe more because there seems to be a trust issue on that part. He has a dog who is living with his sister at the moment who we wanted to bring back as a playmate since Gabe loves to play, but he is wary now after the two experiences he has had (obviously). I am pricing out behavioralist today, but would love to hear your experiences/wisdom. Please excuse my grammar...I am kind of all over the place this morning.
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Tika
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PostSubject: Re: Newly Adopted Adult Husky is a bit Aggressive   Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:44 am

Welcome.

If I had to peg it fast, and just in text, it reads like a lack of trust. Gabe really doesn't sound as if he has had a fair shake when it comes to humans for a very large part of his life, sad as that may be. He obviously was neglected, and probably abused if he expected to be hit or flinches away like you say when highly emotional or intense situations arise. You may even notice ears folding and downwards head movement if you or someone else waves their hand over his head or raises it high above them (I'm not suggesting you test that, no reasons to induce stress or trigger defense, but it may be something to keep in mind)


Thanks to the forums, my wife and I rescued a 5y/o who had a similar lack of trust. Never to the extent of aggression, but she would yelp, cower, or flinch if we grabbed or touched her certain ways. She also seemed to have a distrust towards men. She wouldn't approach me nearly as much as my wife and would pull away from random men walking.

It sounds like over the 2 months or so you've had Gabe that the trust has built between you two, but he still doesn't have it with other people who aren't as big a part of his life. How I would deal with it is first by finding out Gabe's very favorite treat. Stronger the smell the better but really anything will work.

Anytime I had company over I would give them a handful if they felt comfortable. I'd then ask them to reward Gabe anytime he came up to them with interest. It should help build confidence and trust in random people. Ask them to avoid eye contact and to try and avoid "invading his personal space". Especially going OVER him or Leaning in, it takes a lot of trust for a dog who has experienced being abused in the past to just be ok with someone over and above them. It is a position they can't really see, defend, and generally where they have been hit before.

After a while you can switch up the reward for only when called or asked for a certain trick, but for right now I would reward any and all interactions that aren't intense. Keep it calm, Keep it safe. Doing so outside of the house may also help the matter. Being in an environment that isn't part of his territory may set him at ease in terms of human interaction.


It is very possible he will have ZERO aggression with other dogs, even if he shows it towards a human. I would however be careful of bones and toys though around another dog at first. Either way I would setup a meetup away from the house at first, again in a neutral place. We have a solid thread on here about how to safely introduce two dogs.

IAHT - How I Introduce new Dogs


Quote :
First time, I wasn't home: my roommate and his girlfriend ordered food and were going to eat on the couch. Gabe jumps and when my roommate told him to get down, Gabe ignored, so my roommate went for the collar to guide him down and he lunged and snarled at him. So that was with food and he never attempted something like that while I am around. He showed aggression to me once when I bought him a new large squeak toy he tore into shreds in a matter of minutes. He just growled at me, but I was able to calm him down and take away the toy.

Here is how I would deal with these two specific issues.

1) It isn't "mean" to introduce boundaries to a dog, especially around food. Food can bring out so much excitement in a dog that things can just get out of hand.

We ask our girls lay down or be away from us both while eating our food, or during food prep. We used body positioning and motion to explain it to them, without ever needing to lay a hand on them. Moving slowly towards them and backing them up with our body positions until they were in acceptable locations and praising and backing up right away.

This is how I would move most dogs I deem in unacceptable locations. Grabbing a collar or scruff is another one of those intense feelings for a dog who doesn't have trust in the person doing it. Either voice or motion/positioning will be a much safer form of movement.


2) Look into teaching Gabe about trading (IE taking a valued item away from him but rewarding him with a high value one). It will build trust and good expectations when you need to take something away later on. We have loads of threads on it mostly under "Food Aggression" .

Some toys are made rather flimsily and a 10 minute shelf life just happens, but if you notice destruction for the sake of destruction I would remove the toy until relaxed personally. I'm talking an all out kill on the toy (Shaking, intense fixation, and extreme biting). A lot of those things can be normal dog playing behavior, but if it gets too intense I always like to just let my girls calm down a bit. For me however I don't want them suddenly shaking one of the cats or a smaller dog at the dog park one day.


Honestly it sounds like you are going about it the right way. I just think it will take some time and patience.

Best of luck to you, and I hope anything I rambled on about helped even a tiny bit. Either welcome to the forums again and feel free to vent, update, or just post random nonsense like the rest of us Wink


~Chris~

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Is this about the cake problem? What's the matter with you mathematicians, cake is never a problem. - Professor Lazlo
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anthonyANDgabriel
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PostSubject: Re: Newly Adopted Adult Husky is a bit Aggressive   Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:26 pm

Thank you so much for the quick response, Chris! I appreciate it. All of the aggressive behavior happens in the home so it makes sense to take him out of that environment. Anyone who we have met on the street are drawn towards him because of how stunning he looks (those blue eyes will get you), so I am extra careful, but he has been fine with anyone who has approached him (usually because they know how to approach a dog right) and he genuinely loves the attention. The only negative emotion he would give anyone is just lack of interest (he just wants to go outside and see everything). Emotions are running high in my house so your post puts me at some ease. I just need my roomie to spend some time with both of us and getting Gabe to trust him more. Again Chris, thank you!
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Iluvmyhuskies
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PostSubject: Re: Newly Adopted Adult Husky is a bit Aggressive   Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:53 pm

Hi there and welcome!!

I totally agree with Chris.

Your poor guy has been locked up most of his life, so I agree it would be a great idea to introduce him to the world and to other people. I had a singleton pup who acts just like Gabe..only difference is she was a singleton puppy so she never knew anyone else but us and her parents. I think to this day she is still a little bit skiddish around other people, but her new owner has taken her out for hikes, swims, all places where she can see and meet new people. Sorry for blabbing, but all it takes is some time, love, and training!! I'm sure he will get better....good luck!!
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anthonyANDgabriel
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PostSubject: Re: Newly Adopted Adult Husky is a bit Aggressive   Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:08 pm

@Iluvmyhuskies wrote:
Hi there and welcome!!

I totally agree with Chris.

Your poor guy has been locked up most of his life, so I agree it would be a great idea to introduce him to the world and to other people. I had a singleton pup who acts just like Gabe..only difference is she was a singleton puppy so she never knew anyone else but us and her parents. I think to this day she is still a little bit skiddish around other people, but her new owner has taken her out for hikes, swims, all places where she can see and meet new people. Sorry for blabbing, but all it takes is some time, love, and training!! I'm sure he will get better....good luck!!

Yeah I know. I guess I am just a bit batty right now since it just happened and my roommate is a bit wary now. I just need to get him to hang out with Gabriel a bit more outside and socialize him more often. Gabe loves meeting others (canine or people) , but for now its only going to be outside of the home ... at least for introductions or under low-key scenarios. You guys are awesome by the way. Thank you so much. Not only are these forums giving me great advice, but they're giving my brain a bit of peace.
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