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 husky is aggressive

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Join date : 2012-07-21

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PostSubject: husky is aggressive   husky is aggressive EmptySat Jul 21, 2012 8:39 am

Background: Before I start, I grew up with akc registered dogs, am well versed in training and know my way around most dogs. Before I rescued my Husky, I researched and prepared.... but I wasn't prepared for what I'm about to explain. Please, just give me some advice, don't chastise if that's what you're planning to do.

I adopted my siberian a year ago. She was 1 when I got her. Neglected, shut up in a kennel, malnourished. I finally got her to eat and we adopted another malamute/ siberian mix about month later from my inlaws. My siberian was food aggressive in the beginning and we fixed that with training and a lot of supervision on my part. I have asserted my dominance... the dogs know who is boss. I've had these rescues about a year now.

My siberian... is getting worse. She's not spayed (now that she's two, it's happening next month). She nipped at me once and I caught it and did not let it slide. I am not that owner that lets crap like that get by me. Well, today, I got both huskies bones as a treat for being really great over the last few months since we moved to a smaller place and have been doing great on walks together. My siberian, Rosie, took the other's bone. I went outside to grab it from her and it quickly escalated. Rosie attacked me when I tried to take the bone from her. She bit me in the bicep, leaving a really bad bruise. I'm not really sure how she didn't break skin. She's up to date on all shots etc and we have worked here with training and walks etc since we've had her.

Here's my question. I feel that I've done everything possible to assert my dominance, provide a great environment with great, natural, food twice a day, exercise and family environment where they feel like family. If that were my 3 year old daughter trying to take it, her arm would have been broken. That's how hard my dog bit my arm and pulled on it. I am in school full time, have a 3 year old and a husband in the military who works 14 hour days. I don't know what to do. Do I send her to a rescue and let them fix this and put her in a home with the time to fix it (I had no idea this was going to happen....) or do I euthenize her.... do I do something differently... I don't know what to do here. I have had dogs all my life and have never had this situation come up. I don't want my daughter to get into the middle of this situation or my dog to be put down or given to someone else but I do want what's best for my family and my dog. I love her to death. I absolutely want what is best for us all.... after my injury today I'm just scared of what may come and don't know how to proceed. Any advice is welcome as long as it's not degrading. Thank you.
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Husky Collector

Female Join date : 2009-12-13
Location : South Fl

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PostSubject: Re: husky is aggressive   husky is aggressive EmptySat Jul 21, 2012 9:39 am

Can you describe what you really mean by "asserting dominance" and "she knows who's boss?"

Often times we feel that food aggression (or resource guarding) is cured because the dog doesn't seem to attack anymore when we do things like shove our hands in the bowls or touch them while eating; in reality though most have simply learned that displaying their discomfort is a "bad" thing that gets them punished. In essence the resource guarding isn't cured, it's bottled up and masked.

So the dog has then learned that guarding it's food is BAD... You then introduce a higher value more intimate "resource" and the dog erupts in an outward guarding incident when you snatch it away. While you may have conditioned the dog to expect a negative response when it guards its food... The underlying issue is still present. That on top of dogs not generalizing well are what lead up to this "unexpected" outburst.

The only way to work through this is to tackle WHY the dog guards (mostly for insecurity either in themselves or in their place) not BECAUSE the dog guards. I would begin to work with lower value objects such as bits of kibble and work up to trading higher value items such as bones.

This dog doesn't deserve to be put to sleep because you neglected to read its body language and have squashed previous attempts of it communicating to you. While we may not view the way she communicates (when it's deemed aggressive) as appropriate, we are neglecting to see the prior communication and understand that before it escalates.

Force Free Training Thread
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Female Join date : 2011-08-25
Location : Santa Cruz, California

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PostSubject: Re: husky is aggressive   husky is aggressive EmptySat Jul 21, 2012 2:00 pm

Same question as Kristina, what training techniques did you use for her guarding when you rescued her? That info would help us a lot with trying to help you.

I don't like the word dominence either, because I'm really not trying to "dominate" my boy. I like to think of it as respect. I respect him, and in return I expect him to respect me. But that's just my personally opinion, and others can duspute that.

With some positive reinfocment training, trading exercises, and feeding exercises/routines, i think it is extremely possible to curb Rosie's resouce guarding. All of those training techniques are confidece boosters; when she feels more secure, she'll be less likely to lash out. Definetely not an overnight fix, but definetely doable.
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Female Join date : 2011-09-20
Location : Vancouver, BC

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PostSubject: Re: husky is aggressive   husky is aggressive EmptySat Jul 21, 2012 4:22 pm

I'm really sorry that you were bitten by your dog, and hope that your arm heals quickly. Even though it's a horrible experience, the good news is that she still demonstrated some bite inhibition by not breaking your skin. (There is an official scale devised by Ian Dunbar for classifying dog bites - here if you want to see it).

I think you are right to be concerned about interactions between your daughter and Rosie. When small children are bitten by dogs, it is usually in the dog's home. However, this doesn't mean that you need to get rid of her. You can make sure that they are always supervised if together, and use pet gates and/or a crate to keep Rosie separate if you can't supervise. You should also teach your daughter how to interact with dogs. There's some useful advice from Sophia Yin here. This is useful for her to know anyway, because it teaches her how to interact safely with any dog, not just the ones in your home.

Resource guarding is a problem that unfortunately lots of people have, and some of the dominance-based techniques tend to make worse in the long run, because like Kristina says, taking an item from the dog doesn't solve the issue. As Brooke says, you can use lots of positive reinforcement training exercises to work with Rosie and teach her how to give up items to you. For example, you can teach her to swap one item for another of higher value (you can make it seem higher value by making a fuss over it). You can do this with toys as well as with food. However, since you know she might bite, start with something easy and build up very gradually. In the meantime, don't try and take anything from her again, because you don't want another bite.

This is something a behaviourist would be able to work on with you. If you have insurance for her, it's worth checking the policy to see if it includes a behaviourist; some policies do. If you do this, find a behaviourist that uses positive reinforcement. They will work with Rosie themselves and also show you exercises to practise with her.

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Female Join date : 2011-07-24
Location : Los Angeles

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PostSubject: Re: husky is aggressive   husky is aggressive EmptySat Jul 21, 2012 4:26 pm

You've gotten some great advice here - I don't think rehoming her is the answer. This forum can help you work through the issues. Worse comes to worse, a local trainer can also help.

I'm sure you don't leave your 3 year old alone with the dog, but you may also want to teach your daughter never to take a bone away from a dog. As you progress with the food aggression training and Nothing in Life is Free training and feel comfortable doing so, you can include your daughter in the training so that both dogs learn to respect her as well.

Best of luck - hang in there! You have a lot of experienced husky owners here to help you through this. Smile
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Female Join date : 2011-08-07
Location : Michigan

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PostSubject: Re: husky is aggressive   husky is aggressive EmptySat Jul 21, 2012 5:36 pm

My Dog, Delilah, has resource guarding issues. I have been bitten, my fiance has been scratched and things have gotten out of hand. A lot of this, was due to the fact that we weren't approaching her guarding the right way. My fiance got very forceful with her, we were uneducated and thankfully found this forum. He thought dominance and being the alpha was the right way - He was wrong and got a claw to the face. He now knows it was his fault.

I got bit, and still have a scar from it. BUT, this was my dog, my rescue and my it was my responsibility to help her no matter what it cost. It didn't even flash through my mind that I should euthanize her. If my kid was bullying, would I do that? Absolutely not. I felt hopeless, and for a month or so, I thought I could do nothing. We spent about that long - 4 weeks hand feeding Delilah. She takes food very nicely, will let me get in her bowl and in her face - we do have an occasional issue with bones or high value items. I con her with an even more high value item (raw meat) and hold the bone in my hand for the duration of her chewing. This has allowed her to trust me, and trust that I am not going to take it from her.

This is just my experience, and it was scary, but I have learned a lot from this group and I think you will too. Good luck.
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