Author Topic: what do i do?  (Read 2870 times)

Offline islander

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what do i do?
« on: February 20, 2006, 10:27:08 pm »
Right now i can't believe i am posting this.  Long story sorry.  My 3 yr old dane just bit (i think) my husband again!!  First this dog is VERY (read overly) bonded with me and always has been, until recently my husband worked out of town and was only homw wknd so thought this behaviour was a pack thing , but now it's been 9 mths or so in the same house.

First tonight we were sitting on the couch Thunder walked by hubby and he (hubby) jumped and said the dog bit him!!  I am not sure what happened, he had just barked at something outside before he walked pass hubby.  I didn't see the bite but hubby says thats what happened (he has 2 small scratch type marks on his shoulder.

This has happened twice before, once we were chasing eacxh other around camp and i screamed, the dog ran across the camp and nailed him in the shoulder.  He got in majot sh*t from me but was kind of understandable given the circumstances.  About a year ago, my hubby and teenage son were arguing and hubby grabbed son by the front of shirt, again dog bit hubby on upper arm shoulder area.  Again kind of understandable given the circumstances but......

With this happening tonight hubby says the dog goes, I am VERY attached to this dog BUT dont want my husband getting bit either.  Thunder has always barked etc at hubby if he raises his voice etc, he is very protective of me and the kids and our home.  He is great at the dog park with 100 people petting him and 100 dogs around (literally).

So I dont know what to do, I don't want to re home him, i really think that is not an option due to his obsesive attachment to me, I dont think he'd do well anywhere i wasn't (and no, I am not being overly dramatic or selfish with this statement).  Plus, i am not real comfortable re homing a dog that may or may not bite someone (he is good with the kids).  So either my hubby changes his mind or I think the only other option is to put him down.......... .....what a choice......wh at to I do??  Anyone?

We have had him at OB classes, did ok once the distraction of other dogs was done.  Trainer looked at him, wasn't real thrilled with his temperment but was ok with the way he listened to me.  We purchased him from a breeder at 8mths old after he's been taken back from previous owner who i believe abused him--- some sort of broom/stick/shovel etc, still doesn't like them to this day and will leave the room if he can when he sees one.  There are no behaviourist here either (4 hrs away) plus i am not sure hubby would agree to him staying at this point anyway for evaluation etc........... .  HELP

cricket36580

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Re: what do i do?
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2006, 11:26:04 pm »
I feel like I should jump in here.  I also have a dane that is extroidinarily attached to me and was abused by a man in the past.  It's been a roller coaster ride from the time we got him...he was already 2 (ish) and had been through a couple of homes.  The foster home he came from didn't have any men in it and he was crated for the majority of each day.  Anyway...on to the story.  Fos would bark like mad at dh, not mind him, paniced if dh looked his way, poop all over himself and the house if he happened to get stuck in the same room, etc.  He never bit dh but he came close a few times.  It's to Fos's benefit that he didn't cause I probably would have put a bullet in his head.  Dh was adamant, too, that we give him a real chance.  So dh started taking Fos with him everywhere, feeding him, bathing, everything.  he would corner him on purpose and love on him.  He started playing with him - and he's still the only one Fos will play with.  Long story short...he's still not over his phobias and will still bark at him but the behavior is getting better. 

my point is that your dh needs to step up and become the alpha.  Not by force but by involvement.  Thunder needs to recognize your dh's place in the pack.  If he worked out of town and Thunder got so attached to you, then he probably still regards your dh as a stranger that won't leave - sort of like a bad house guest.  He needs to feed, bath, love, play, etc.  And during this time YOU DON'T GET TO BE A PART OF THIS.  You have to ignore him completely while dh is home and with the dog.  You don't realize that you are reinforcing Thunder's behavior but you are.  In body language, looks, pupils dialiting, intake of breathe, heartbeats speeding up or slowing down...etc.  There is hope for the dog and your home but it's going to take a concentrated effort to get there.

Offline islander

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Re: what do i do?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2006, 12:04:46 am »
Actually Thunder had never listened to hubby--until lately, I've been staying out of it when he is told to do something (ie 'go to bed') etc, he has begun listening to him over the past 2 mths approx.  However, tonite, i just don't know what happened, nothing was going on, we were all sitting here quietly etc, keep in mind also that these bites have been about a yr in between.  He is still jumpy around him dh, especially if he yells etc BUT has been getting better till tonight.

My breeder is now in MI and I am in AB so returning him (even if she wanted to take him) isn't really feasible.  PLUS like i said he is realy really attached to me, which is kind of strange since my daughter feeds him etc (10 yr old) but he is still MY velcro dog.

GR8DAME

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Re: what do i do?
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2006, 02:20:49 am »
I was going to stay out of this post, really I was. That is how I stay out of trouble, I avoid the issues that really are upsetting to me. But I just can't help myself.
First of all, if Thunder really wanted a piece of dh, he would have had a big one, not just a couple of scratches. The aggression seems to be totally tied to you, and violence. Therefor you have to curb the violence and you have to bow out. That means, like Cricket said, dh has to take total control over the dog. HE must provide the food, the walks, the training, the affection and the play sessions, and you need to ignore the dog. TONS of positive reinforcement, but all from dh, nothing from you. Transfering velcro dog to him means that you must cease to exist where the dog is concerned.
Do not expect a quick fix. There is no such thing. It will be hard and a challange for all concerned.
This will not work if 1. Hubby will not cooperate 2. You cannot bow out.
If you feel you cannot keep the dog you have an obligation to contact the breeder and allow her to make the decision if she wants to make arrangements to take back the dog. It is all very well and good to rant about irresponcible breeders that do not care about the lives they bring into the world (and we have all seen the posts, even here)but the best breeder in the world can do nothing if they are not informed by the people that they have trusted with those lives. If she chooses not to make those arrangements, I encourage you to contact a dane rescue and surrender the dog, as they can and most will get to the bottom of the behavior issues and take the time and make the effort to rehabilatate such a young animal.

Before anyone decides that I am being too harsh and that I am talking out of my hat, let me say that 10 years ago we rescued an abused doberman. She hated men, and was fear-aggressive. Loud noises or violence toward anyone, even yelling would set her off. And once set off, the damage those teeth and jaws could do was extensive, trust me. It took well over a year for her to trust my dh using the above methods, and another year before strangers could come in the house without constant vigilence. But every minute was worth it. She is 11 now, and a valued member of our family.
Stella

Offline ZooCrew

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Re: what do i do?
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2006, 03:08:11 am »
I totally agree with Stella and Cricket.

The methods suggested have been known to work in these types of situations.  But they are right, you have to stay out of the picture, and your husband has to be totally involved in everything having to do with the dog.  Feeding, attention, walking, letting outside, playing, giving treats to, petting, etc, etc.  For this period of training, you will not exist to the dog.  Yes, it will be hard, much harder than you could ever imagine.  And this will have to go on for at least several months, maybe even longer.  There can be no bending of the rules, or you will have setbacks, which will only make it harder to correct the behavior.

I agree with Cricket when stated that dh is not the alpha to Thunder.  Otherwise, he never would have bit him.  It does not matter that your husband has been home for 9 months.  To the dog, your husband is an outsider, or at best the lowest ranking member of the "pack", and he was correcting him for acting out.  Your dh of course must be willing to do his part fully, or it will not work.  And this should be started as soon as possible.

I wish you luck, it will be a long road ahead, and not a fun one on your part if you decide to go thru with this.

Offline Senghe

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Re: what do i do?
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2006, 09:19:19 am »
I agree too. Your hubby needs to take over Thunder's care and training and it must all be done with gentle, positive methods with no physical confrontation or raised voices of any sort.

When you say 'listening' to your hubby, do you mean he's been disciplining him by sending him to his bed etc...? This isn't ideal as the dog may do as he's told by 'force' but he'll just end up resenting your husband and treat him like he's a subordinate who's getting too big for his boots, which might be behind the sly nip he gave him the other night. Remind your hubby that alpha dogs are often not the biggest, strongest or most aggressive, BUT they are the clever ones. He can put Thunder in his rightful place AND appear to the dog to be the nice guy doing it.

It might not be easy for you to become 'boring old mum' for a  few months while the boys bond, but it will be well worth it. I'd get your husband to start with this little exercise. Get him to sit on about eye level with Thunder or slightly higher, but with no eye contact. Either get him to call the dog over or if he won't come over, lure him over with his favourite treat. He should feed Thunder something really tasty that he likes (chicken often works) in small pieces and tell him he's a good boy in a quiet and gentle voice. As long as Thunder is nice and calm, keep the treats coming for a few minutes, then just calmly get up with either his side or his back to the dog (not facing the dog as this tips the action from a slightly dominant one to a threatening one) and walk off to do something else, ignoring the dog. After a few days, once your hubby can reliably get Thunder's attention focused on him when he wants to, he can progress to stroking Thunder while doing this (on the chest and shoulders etc... but not on top of the head or back). Then progress to basic obedience for the treats, but no forcing into a sit or down etc...  Take everything very slowly, just like basic puppy training. Practise this randomly through the day and always end on a positive note.  I know all this sounds very basic and maybe unnecessary, but it's a very good way to build trust and confidence between them.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2006, 09:23:24 am by Senghe »

Offline cuttles/sadieMay

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Re: what do i do?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2006, 09:50:35 am »
Awww poor you! I feel so sad for you! I really hope that your hubby will give Thunder another chance! Maybe if you can convince your hubby to trust Thunder and explain what all these smart ladies are telling you he might change his mind. I will keep my fingers crossed for you!
Good Luck
Carole

Offline Kermit

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Re: what do i do?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2006, 11:41:11 am »
Islander... any news? Updates?  :-[
I am really paying attention to the behavior forum because of troubles at my house right now...
Please let us know how things are going! I hope you can work things out!!!! I feel for you!

Offline islander

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Re: what do i do?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2006, 01:17:31 pm »
I have shown hubby this post, not too sure yet if he's willing to give it a try at this point or not but since he knows that his ultimatum (sp) of him or the dog may not work.... he may try it, who knows.  Thunder loves to be petted etc by him but up to last night, things were going well and the first 2 incidents are 'understandable', it is just last night that is bothering me.
My breeder isn't going to be much help (read byb--didn't know any better at the time) BUT I have found another a few hrs away that will be trying to help me.  Hopefully, I will be able to work this out with dh and thunder.