Any trainers? Dog behavior problem

Discussion in 'Working and Companion Animals' started by Kathleen in WI, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. Kathleen in WI

    Kathleen in WI Formerly Kathleen in AR

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    Hello,

    I don't post very often on these boards but I'm a little concerned and thought maybe all you good people might have some advice for me.

    My daughter works for a lady who breeds Bullmastiffs and Bordeauxs. Not a puppy mill. Very nice farm. Anyhow, her sister also breeds but is not as ethical as she is. And the sister's husband is a jerk. A couple of months ago they gave my daughter a 6 year old Bordeaux (retired breeder) that he apparently beat and kicked regularly.

    She was so sweet and lovable. We were so happy to get her. They thought she was bred. But she wasn't and bled for a week (?) Now suddenly she is acting aggressive. She barks at my husband and 2 younger kids. This morning she lunged at my 10yos and barked and growled. One of my other dogs got between them and she stopped. He was just sitting watching tv.

    She has been banished to the yard because I can't risk my kids. She is very attached to me and never leaves my side otherwise.

    I just don't know what to do. I'm very upset. Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It takes a couple of weeks for a dog to get the feel of a new home. They are often more submissive than usual during this period. Your new dog is attempting to position herself in a specific rank. She's letting the kids know that she is higher ranking than they are. If she had wanted to bite them, she could have, but what she is doing is warning them.

    She needs to know what her position in the family is. I suspect you have all been very nice to her. Stop it :nono:

    Use NILIF with her (Nothing In Life Is Free). She must sit at the door before it opens, and she must wait until you tell her "out" before she goes out.

    She must stay off the furniture and beds. When she gets on the furniture she is raised in rank, and you don't want this. You can turn the cushions up if she is getting on the furniture when you leave the room.

    I would also have the children feed her. Younger children enjoy feeding one kibble at a time, and this would be perfect. The child tells the dog sit, the dog sits, then gets a kibble. The child tells the dog to do something else, the dog does it, then gets the kibble. The kibble can be taken from the hand, off a spoon, or tossed on the floor. Feed her this way twice a day, more often if you'd like. If you are feeding raw, cut it up to feed to her this way. You should notice the dog giving more respect to the children. When the dog is behaving well you can go to feeding her twice a day, but make her hold a sit or down while you prepare the food and place the dish on the floor. She must wait until you give the release word, then she can eat.

    DO not give her treats unless she has earned them, and until she is behaving well you may want to nix the treats altogether. Enroll her in an obedience class. It would be great if one of the kids worked her in the class. Even if she has had obedience training, the class will be a good bonding session for the kid and dog, and give the dog mental stimulation.
     

  3. Ella

    Ella Active Member

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    I am going through this exact situation right now. I have even talked to a trainer about it because I was so concerned. My female's personality completely changed, night and day, when she came into heat. :(

    Okay, my female also displays aggressive nature when in heat. Not a little irritable, or a little moody – aggressive. Unfortunately, it is quite common in some breeds. The good news is that my girl is coming out of heat now and is coming back to her old self. It was very rocky for about two weeks, but she is really much better now.

    It is rare for a mastiff to bite its own family, but where this is a recent adoption, she may not view you/your daughter as her family. A female is much more uncomfortable and anxious coming into heat than going out, so it will get better as she goes out. Also, canine nearsightedness played a part in our household. A dog cannot tell who a person is at a distance of 10-15 feet, so our dog became overly aggressive not knowing who she was directing her behavior at.

    I was very cautious with my children and the dog during this time. I kept her on a long-line so I could control her all the times. I limited contact with my children and NEVER left them unattended (although I never leave dogs and children unattended anyway).

    I am very glad that I gave my female the benefit of the doubt and let her heat cycle pass before doing anything rash. Good luck and exercise caution! Don’t forget that she has likely been abused and may not trust people.
     
  4. Ella

    Ella Active Member

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    Actually, I feel like I need to say more about this. I am not 100 percent certain that my female’s behavior was caused by the heat cycle. There is still a chance that she is an aggressive female coming into her own (this was only her second heat). I am less likely to believe the latter because she seems to be coming back to herself, but the possibility is still out there. When I am absolutely certain she is out of heat, I am going to wait an additional five days and then test her. I will set up the scenarios just as they happened when she got aggressive and test her reaction. I will be prepared with a nice leather leash, a prong collar and a backup collar and leash. If she passes the tests, I will wait another month or two and get her spayed. If she fails the testing, I will go to an animal behaviorist and get things worked out.
     
  5. Kathleen in WI

    Kathleen in WI Formerly Kathleen in AR

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    I never thought about her behavior being caused by her going into heat. I'm actually surprised that she is in heat since it was just a few weeks ago that they took her for an ultrasound to see if there were any pups. I figured it would be quite a while before going into heat again. I thought it was a twice a year thing.

    And I agree that we have been marshmallows with her. :) She was so afraid when we got her. Everytime my husband moved she would cower thinking he was going to hit her. But she has always snuggled with the kids and licked their faces. Now they are afraid of her. :(

    I like the idea of keeping her on a long line. I'm obivously not fast enough to grab her if she acts up. So we will work on these things and hope it helps. The breeder said to sell her but how could I do that knowing she may hurt someone. She also suggested "beating the c**p out of her. I said I figured that was why she was this way to begin with. So I will work with her. And will happily consider any other advice.
    Thanks! :)
     
  6. comehomesoon

    comehomesoon comehomesoon

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    I would have to say that your spoiling or coddeling her did not help as she probably thought she could over rule you. I did not mean that to sound mean but with some dogs who have had a bad past you can do that with and have to with this one it sounds like not a good idea. Its a hard line with some dogs to where they feel safe but know there place in the family. I agree with the NILF philosophy and I would have the kids do more with her with you right there. Feed, take outside and other things to help with her feeling superior to the kids.
     
  7. HeatherDriskill

    HeatherDriskill Well-Known Member

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    I am wondering if she has gotten so attached to you that she is jealous of the rest of your family. She may resent them because they get your attention, too and she wants you all to herself. I would think she needs to bond with the rest of the family.
     
  8. Kathleen in WI

    Kathleen in WI Formerly Kathleen in AR

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    OK, here is a little more detail, if that helps. I guess (looking at my calendar) we got her the last week in June. They said she had just been bred the previous week. They said to keep her in a kennel because she had never been inside.

    We went out of town the weekend before the 4th of July so my son and his wife stayed here to take care of the animals. He is a marshmallow too and let her in the house in in bed with them.

    She never had any "accidents" so she stayed in the house and got along great with our other dogs. She would snuggle with the kids who take her for walks every evening. She gets lots of attention from us all but seems to prefer to be with me.

    2 (?) weeks after getting her they took her for her ultrasound. No puppies. Shortly after she started bleeding. Not just a little like our Rottie used to. But quite a mess. (and hubby was too pigheaded to get doggie diapers so guess who got to scrub everything) Its been about a week but there is still a little bloody discharge. Not much. We thought maybe there was a false pregnancy because she started collecting any toys that squeeked and carried them around like her babies. I took them away thinking maybe she was protecting them.

    She started acting funny Saturday night. My 10yos had his friend come to spend the night. She started barking at them all so I figured she was a little overloaded with so many kids playing. So I took her in my room and closed the door.

    I would like to mention that she does not get on the bed or anything. But we have a futon that she likes. I didn't care because she stays off the couch. But I will keep her off of it. At night she sleeps next to my bed beside me. The other dogs sleep with the kids.

    I have her on a leash now in the house and she is laying at my feet. The kids have been in and out and she just raises her head to look. Nothing aggressive like this morning yet.

    So I'm not sure if that will help. But I thought a little more detail might be better.
     
  9. NCGirl

    NCGirl Well-Known Member

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    Was It Play Barking or aggressive barking? If kids were running around she may have just wanted to join in the fun.

    It is VERY difficult to tell what is going on via a message board. If you are still unsure how about getting her evaluated by a local trainer? It shouldn't cost that much and she is a BIG strong dog who may need some training if she is to fit in with your family. I think Maura's posts could go a long way towards helping. NILIF is a good idea. "Beating the c**p out of her" as suggested by the previous owner is just plain stupid and would solve nothing and could get the beater the lesson of their life.

    Good Luck with her, sounds like she has become quite attached to you and I hope you are able to work thru the problems.
     
  10. Kathleen in WI

    Kathleen in WI Formerly Kathleen in AR

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    To me she looks afraid when she barks. Tail down. Head down. Lowers herself and steps back. Then lunges forward and starts barking. I will work on the things posted here amd see if it helps. If we continue to have problems I will try trining classes. I know how to train for basic obedience as we have had lots of dogs. I've just never delt with a dog with these kinds of "issues". Thanks everyone for all the help. :)
     
  11. Hip_Shot_Hanna

    Hip_Shot_Hanna Well-Known Member

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    My first suggestion is to get her out of your bedroom completely and at all times. That is the alpha room.
     
  12. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Keeping her tied to you is a great way to find out what is really going on, how the kids are treating her, etc. With her hormones flying here and there, you may not be getting a true picture of her. The display you pictured suggests fear or submission. It's possible she thinks the kids are hurting each other. When you see her act like this, have everyone quiet down and step away from the dog. It is also possible, as suggested, that she is joining in and the laid back ears are to remind everyone that she is just playing. The kids should still quiet down when she does this because you don't know how she is going to try and play with the kids and she could scare them or accidently hurt them.

    I think you are doing fine, it isn't always easy to figure out what is going on in those lemon heads.
     
  13. mizattitude

    mizattitude Well-Known Member

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    Ever tried a prong collar on her?
     
  14. mizattitude

    mizattitude Well-Known Member

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    Go to the Leerburg dog training forum.....look under questions and answers about aggressive dogs. This man is very well educated about dogs and straight to the point.
     
  15. Kathleen in WI

    Kathleen in WI Formerly Kathleen in AR

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    Its funny that you say that Hanna because I just said that to my husband. :) I'm just not sure about keeping my door closed at night. I guess I'd get used to it. I always worry something will happen with the kids and I won't hear it. Just me being paranoid. :)

    Mizattitude, I havn't tried one yet because the ones I have aren't her size. And honestly I haven't seen a need up until this point. But I may pick one up tomorrow because I have to go to PetSmart and how. I had one for my Rottie but when he died I left it with him. :(